[Originally published for DTM magazine November 2009 Issue #63]
When my girlfriend left me, I was devastated. My best friend, Carlos — who I grew up with — started to take care of me. Carlos is gay and so are most of his friends. We started to hang out in all the gay spots around the city and I had a really good time. I know that I am straight but I have developed really strong feelings for him. I love it when he touches me, and when we lay together watching a movie. I am very confused because I never felt this way towards another man. All I look forward to is the time I spend with Carlos. Am I gay or just going through a difficult break-up?
I love that you sent me this question, because I think this situation is more common amongst 20-somethings than most people think. Relationship breakups suck. That’s the truth and the only way to get over it is to go through the pain of it.
So your best friend, Carlos, is gay? First of all, that doesn’t mean that you are gay at all. Nowadays we all have gay friends, whether we know it or not! You say that you are straight, but that you’ve developed strong feelings for him. Well, if you love it when he touches you, and when you lay together watching a movie, I don’t think it feels good just because you’re heartbroken – I think it’s possible you may have had feelings for him all along, and you’re only realizing it now.
I cannot personally tell you whether you are gay or not, because there is a broad spectrum when talking about sexuality. You may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bi-sexual. Some people think sexuality is a very black and white issue — you are either straight or you’re gay. I think it’s possible to be straight but be attracted to one man. But I also think it’s possible that you’re gay.
At the end of the day, ask yourself how you feel when you are in these gay clubs. Are you comfortable? Do you notice your eyes wandering and thinking, “hmm, he’s hot!” Your sexuality is your business, and it has to be your decision.
In your heart, I think you already have your answer. Part of finding out may be deciding to “experiment” – if it feels good to you, and you feel no shame or discomfort, you will know. Please do not allow anyone to influence your decision. Give yourself time, give yourself permission to have the feelings you have, and see where it goes. Most of all, whether straight or gay, always use protection. Your heart will not mislead you – just listen to it. Good luck – you deserve to find your own happiness.