In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in for dire help: he’s in love with his BFF.
Sure, they dated once before so catching feelings for him isn’t the most surprising thing but our dear reader is having a hard time shaking them. And he really just wants to be the supportive best friend.
So what is a boy to do? Well, Hola Papi! has some advice.
If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!
I love my best friend, but I think I might also be in love with my best friend. I just like being around him more than most people, I care about him deeply, I want him to be happy and succeed in life, and I really like the person I am when I’m around him. I feel more myself when I’m with him than I do with anyone else. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.
Full disclosure, we used to date. I already know that, while I’m one of his closest friends, he doesn’t have any kind of romantic feelings for me. Usually that doesn’t hurt, I’m just really happy to have him in my life, but sometimes the old feelings flare up again and I get sad that it’ll never be more than just a close friendship.
How do I manage these feelings when they happen? How do I move on but still be a good friend to him and keep him in my life?
Ah, yes, good old unrequited love! How very queer. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve received on this topic. Well, I could, but I refuse to put labor into doing so. You will just have to trust me. If you don’t, then why are you writing me? Sounds like a “you” problem. Fix that.
Back to the point, this is an issue that pervades gay life. Straights too! Probably. I don’t know actually. But tbh it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one. Anyway, regardless of your sexual orientation, loving someone in that way who doesn’t reciprocate your feelings is an extremely unpleasant situation to find yourself in.
It can make us feel worse about ourselves. It can make us wonder, “Am I not enough?” It can stress us out and put a serious strain on relationships we hold dear. In all likelihood, it’s not fun for the other guy either, as our unmet desires might cause him anxiety or discomfort. These factors often make us wish we never felt this way at all. But let’s face it: is it even possible to not fall in love at least a little bit with your gay friends?
The answer is yes. I don’t love any of mine. They repulse me.
However, that doesn’t sound like it’s on the table for you. So let’s get cracking on some alternatives.
Each relationship, Gayzing, is a living, breathing thing. Each one is unique, has its own set of challenges, needs its own degree of space to grow, and requires responsibility if we want to maintain and nurture it. And like all living, breathing things (a pet gerbil, for example), sometimes they die, and in order to move on, we must grieve them.
It sounds like you have not properly grieved the loss of your romantic relationship with your friend.
That’s not to say you can’t be friends with him! It’s wonderful to hear you want the best for him and his happiness makes you happy. I don’t know either of you, but just know I am rooting for your friendship from way over here, in my room, by myself.
But he has made it clear he doesn’t have romantic feelings anymore, and you seem aware it will never happen, which is painful and shitty but, much like taxes and getting wrongfully banned from the state of Ohio, it is just something we have to accept.
You needn’t prolong that suffering, however, by dragging it out. You need to lead it out to a gentle stream, talk softly to it about fuzzy rabbits, close your eyes, and put it down.
If you truly want what’s best for him, ask yourself these questions: Would you still be happy to have him in your life if he had a boyfriend that wasn’t you? What if he gets in a relationship and wants to introduce you to him? What if the person who makes him happy isn’t you?
If those questions inspire a “twist of the knife” feeling in your gut, then the answer is probably “no.” Or, at least, “not right now.” Which means you need to communicate your feelings to him, determine how best to let go of a romance that will never be, figure out what you need to move on, and then follow through with those needs even if it hurts in the short term and even if it means putting distance between the two of you.
It’s great you want what’s best for your friend. But chief among your concerns should be what’s best for you. Sometimes what’s best for us is not the thing we want, and sometimes doing what’s best for us, like not buying that coat we can’t afford or denying ourselves a fourth cup of coffee, requires us to be our own guardian.
I hope you eventually get to a place where you two can be friends. But I hope even more that you get out of this deeply painful mental space. And I hope most of all that you tell your friends and family about Hola Papi! The Internet’s best column sponsored by Goya Guava Paste.
Just kidding. It is neither of those things.