Q.I am a woman in her mid-20s who has had one real relationship, and it was fairly abusive and terrible. It lasted for about two years and ended well over three years ago. Since then, I haven’t been worried about getting a boyfriend and have concentrated on making my own life better, and so far everything is going really well.
A little over two years ago, I met a guy I’ll refer to as Jake. I met Jake through some mutual friends, and he is gay. Jake is almost eight years older than me, and I immediately liked him because he would laugh at my terrible jokes and liked a lot of the same activities I liked. We exchanged contact information and started hanging out right after.
Fast-forward a little over a year, and I am now totally in love with Jake. He is big into random hookups, not interested in anything to do with a relationship, and someone I can have so much fun with. It was confusing for a while though because from time to time, we would make out and sleep in the same bed and I’d get a little too drunk and tell him how in love with him I was. This was the point that my friends/family started saying I needed to stop feeling like this because he was gay and things would never really work out (they did not know about the physical aspects).
Fast-forward to this current year and our relationship has grown even more. We talk every day, hang out at least three days a week, and he is constantly talking about how much he loves me and how much he wants to marry me. Last week, he made a joke about how I am going to need to pick out a ring soon because he wants to marry me soon and spend every day for the rest of our lives with me. We talk like this frequently though, so it was not a big deal.
This past weekend, he was hanging out with some old friends. They brought up how he was supposed to move to another city halfway across the country. After they left, we were sitting on the couch watching TV and he grabbed my hand and said, “I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I’m waiting to move until you want to. I love you, and I want you to be part of my life every day for the rest of our lives.” I didn’t know what to do, so I just responded with “OK” and left shortly after the movie (usually I stay over his place curled up in bed with him).
Given that background, I have multiple questions on what to do from here. Part of me is saying that I should just tell him that I’m in love with him, but explain that I want more than just what we have. Part of me is saying that I should just move on because he is gay and our relationship will never be as good as it could be, and I could never be enough for him (though I have always been OK with open relationships). I’m also afraid that if I try to bring any of this up, he is just going to brush it off like it was nothing (he has been far less communicative the past few days). How should I approach talking about this with him? What if it ruins everything?
A.You can’t worry about ruining this because it’s already a mess. You’re in love with your gay best friend. The only thing you could ruin is the safety of it all. You’re getting relationship perks without having to take a real risk. If you tell him how you feel and the relationship becomes more platonic, you might have to date other people — and yes, those people might disappoint you.
But that’s life. That’s dating. You can’t avoid it all by immersing yourself in a relationship that has limitations. You need to tell Jake how you feel — because he’s your best friend. Ask him to clarify his own feelings and to be honest about how he sees this partnership.
My guess is that Jake adores you — and that he’d love to have you as a life partner/best friend forever — but that he wants to continue having relationships with other people. And my guess is that as much as you love Jake and say that you’re OK with open relationships, you’d like to be involved with someone who is totally into you. Because that’s what you deserve.
My hope is that an honest discussion will clarify your priorities. If Jake can’t give you what you need, you have to spend time with other people (including other friends) and look for someone who offers more.
I think what you’re hoping for here from us is magic advice on how to talk to this guy stone-cold sober. Because you’ve said and done all sorts of things while smashed. You’re too chicken without liquid courage. My actual advice — is to listen to your own stone-cold sober words: “Part of me is saying that I should just move on because he is gay and our relationship will never be as good as it could be.” MOVE ON. You’ll never get what you really need from this guy.
OK, so you were in an abusive relationship, so now you go for an unattainable guy because you know that he can’t hurt you the way the ex did. But you know what? This guy is hurting you too, because he’s keeping you from moving on to something more real.
Tell him to move and you’ll stay here. You need to be uninvolved with this guy and believe me he quickly will make a new “best friend” halfway across the country.
Jake is a fantasy. A warm, breathing, safe, comfortable fantasy. You want to be safe, and there’s nothing safer than a guy who can’t really love you back. Pop the bubble honey, and live your life for real.
This situation is just sad. Without getting all twisted up in the rationalizations and trying to make sense of all the wishful thinking I would just ask: What do you want out of a relationship? Is this it?
Oh Wait! It’s Will and Grace!
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com.