September 8, 2017 at 8:41 am EST | by Michael Radkowsky
Close bond with supposedly straight roommate exposes what’s lacking with boyfriend

People we have crushes on or affairs with usually seem more exciting than the people we’re actually involved with.

Hi Michael,
 
I’m a 22 year-old gay man, living and working in D.C. after graduating college here this past May. I just started my first serious relationship (seven months so far) but now my heart is not in it. The problem is I am now crazy in love with someone else.
 
At the end of June one of my two roommates got an amazing job in New York and decided to leave D.C. We had to fill the space quickly and found Kyle on Craigslist.
 
I quickly fell for him in a big way. Of course I think he is handsome and a fantastic guy in every way. He works for an organization that fights cruelty to animals; he’s a really thoughtful roommate; he’s kind to everyone. He’s very smart but doesn’t show off at all. He uses this shampoo that makes him smell really good.
 
And of course he is straight. Meaning he has a girlfriend.
 
But when we’re talking and he’s looking in my eyes I feel all this warmth and caring that make me wonder if maybe he likes me back. And we can sit for hours talking. We have a lot in common, we see the world similarly and he seems to find me as interesting as I find him.
 
Obviously with all my focus on Kyle and daydreaming about him I have pretty much lost interest in Rick, who is sweet and fun but doesn’t come close to Kyle in terms of, well, everything.
 
Do I tell Kyle how I feel in hope that he reciprocates? Will that ruin our friendship if he’s not interested in me? Do I break up with Rick no matter what? Or have I just gone nuts and if I can stop thinking of Kyle, I can be happy with Rick?

Michael replies:

There are a few ways you could play this.

First, you could explore the possibility that Kyle is not-so-straight and is also interested in you.

You fear you might ruin your friendship if you let Kyle know how you feel. You might, but you can’t know that in advance. From your description, if Kyle doesn’t reciprocate, it’s possible that he might not be insulted or put off by another guy’s interest. I can imagine, though, that he might start feeling less comfortable spending so much time with you because he doesn’t want to lead you on or be subject to your nonstop adoring gaze.

And if Kyle isn’t interested, how would you feel about continuing to hang out with him? Would you be able to put your romantic feelings behind and enjoy the friendship? Or would you feel awkward with him going forward?

Now let’s say Kyle turns out to be equally infatuated with you. How serious is his relationship with his girlfriend? Would he possibly want to leave her for you? What if he wanted to have an affair with you on the side, or be in a relationship with both of you? Would you want to be part of that?

Another angle to consider: Why are you falling for Kyle now?

You are in your first serious relationship, when WHAM! you fall hard for another guy. Coincidence? Or not? My hunch is that you and Rick were getting a little too close for your comfort and developing a crush on Kyle may have served to relieve some pressure. Consider these questions:

What was going on with Rick around the time you fell for Kyle? Were the two of you exclusive? Did Rick have stronger feelings for you than you did for him? If so, were you feeling uncomfortable or pressured? Did you have a way to talk with Rick about this or did you feel like you needed to find some way out?

And what was making this a serious relationship? Were your feelings stronger for Rick than they’d ever been for another guy? If so, did this make you uneasy?  Remember, while intimacy can feel wonderful, being really close to someone also makes you vulnerable, which isn’t an altogether wonderful feeling.

I also wonder if it might have been scary for you to be in a serious relationship specifically with another man. Focusing on a likely unavailable, likely straight guy could be your way of taking a step back from fully committing to life as a gay man.

Finally, consider that people we have crushes on or affairs with usually seem more exciting than the people we’re actually involved with. This may be the reason for your currently lukewarm view of Rick. Or maybe, no matter what might happen with Kyle, Rick is not really the guy for you. Either way, before you blow up your relationship and possible turn your living situation upside down, look long and hard at my questions.

 

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@michaelradkowsky.com.

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