In love, cut off, what now?

Originally Published: December 10, 1999 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: January 27, 2012
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Dear Alice,

I am a male CU grad student who over the past year and a half has fallen in love with my best friend. His feelings for me are, or at least were, similar (we've even talked about it). Now, this makes us at least bisexual and probably gay, kind of a problem for two guys who have been straight to this point. This I think is kind of a problem. It has taken a lot of time but I have come to accept it and now I am very curious to know what it is like. I also find my feelings for my friend growing stronger and stronger.

He felt the same, and we had planned a weekend away from the city together to just be together and see what happens. (We've tried to get together so many times in the past but for whatever reason -- mostly fear -- nothing has ever really happened.) Anyway, this trip was planned about six weeks ago. And then after that, he just ignored me, we stopped seeing each other for a few weeks, and then when I called him to see what the problem was, he told me just like that that he was seeing a girl in another department and that he didn't understand why I wasn't happy for him. But he also said he was confused.

I was so hurt, so crushed. He still will not speak to me. I can understand if he's having a hard time accepting himself, or even if he doesn't like me anymore, but to be dumped in this way just kills me. I am trying to carry on but I really need some help here. I've read your responses to other questions and they seem very intelligent, so since I don't really know where else to turn, let me ask you: what would you do if you were me?

Confused on Amsterdam Avenue

Dear Confused on Amsterdam Avenue,

This sounds like a very painful loss indeed. “Nothing” may have happened sexually between the two of you, but a whole lot has taken place for you emotionally. It seems that you've likely spent a lot of time and emotional energy working, hoping, and wondering, about the possibilities beyond friendship. On top of that, you've come to some realizations about your own romantic and sexual interests. All of this mental activity can be incredibly draining and the loss on top of that must be very disappointing. But whether or not it’s apparent right now, the recent investments you've made in yourself will pay off when future friendship, love, and lust opportunities come your way.

Fear sounds like it may have motivated your friend's actions. It also sounds like you may be a little further along in your understanding (and perhaps acceptance) of yourself than he is. It's possible that your new found acceptance of your interest in men (and him in particular) is scary to your friend. Rather than continue exploring the possibilities, he might be seeking stability by starting up a relationship with a woman, something perhaps more familiar to him and certainly more affirmed by society at large. Does this mean that your friend doesn't care for you anymore? There’s no way to know for certain, but it seems unlikely. Your friend's sudden ending of your relationship probably has much less to do with you than it does with his need to protect himself while he questions (or doesn't question) his sexuality.

But to turn the focus back to you, and how you're going to get through this presently sad state of affairs: Do you have friends and/or family with whom you feel okay sharing your feelings? Would you consider accessing CPS (Counseling and Psychological Services— x4-2468) for even more support? CPS has therapists who identify with various sexual identities, racial backgrounds, and genders. Many are specially trained to help students deal with the kinds of struggles you're experiencing, as well.

In addition, there are a number of groups for grads and undergrads that you may find helpful. In particular, you might want to check out one of the weekly meetings of the Coming Out Group. The coordinator can be contacted at x4-1488. There's also a QueerGrads group; their web site has some information you may find useful. . For the most updated information, check out LGBTQ Students site through Columbia’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. No doubt, other students have had similarly crushing experiences, and can help you figure out how to move on. Outside of Columbia, check out programming at the LGBT Community Center.

It will surely take time and energy for you to get back up to speed. Luckily, you've already taken difficult steps towards feeling better. Your desire and willingness to talk, vent, and reach out about what's going on, can aid you in the healing process.

Take care,

Alice