I’m in love with my best friend and telling him could ruin everything
I’m Zachary Zane, a sex writer and ethical man (a fancy way of saying I sleep with a lot of people, and I’m very, very open about it). Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of sexual experiences, dating and sleeping with hundreds of people of all genders and orientations. In doing so, I learned a thing or two about navigation issues in the bedroom (and a bunch of other places, TBH). I’m here to answer your most pressing sexual questions with in-depth, practical advice that goes beyond just “communicating with your partner” because you already know that. Ask me anything – literally, anything – and I’ll gladly do it.
To submit a question for a future column, complete this form.
Dear Sexplain It,
At the end of the summer, I cross the coast to find an old friend… who I may also be in love with?! We were close in college, where I dated, but he wasn’t – I don’t think he fully realized his sexuality at the time.
After college, we moved to opposite parts of the country, but kept in touch on social media. Then, during the Covid, we talked a lot on FaceTime… and he came out to me! I was really shocked, then a little curious if something could happen between us. I should also mention that this man has only been pissed off since our college days. And THEN he asked me if I wanted to visit him in California.
Well, the trip is approaching, and I’m not sure what to expect or what to do. Should I tell her that I love her? My feelings for him are getting stronger by the day, but we both have great jobs in our respective states, and I don’t see either of us moving, and I’m not sure I want a long distance relationship. But maybe I’m going a little too far. There’s also a chance he doesn’t feel the same way, and I end up making things awkward. To help!
Dear Coastal Crushin’,
Tell him how you feel! Sure, it might be disappointing if he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings – not to mention an awkward rest of the trip – but the risk seems worth it to me. If you saw this guy every day and he was totally enmeshed in your social circle, you might have a lot more to lose by opening up to him. But since he lives across the country and you hadn’t spoken to him in years before the pandemic, I think it’s worth putting your newly rekindled friendship on the line.
When you see it, do a “vibe check,” as the kids say. Does he maintain eye contact for a period of time thinking about kissing you? Does he make an effort to touch you, like a hand behind his back or his leg brushing yours? Do you share the same bed?
If he seems to be flirting with you, or if you can’t tell, I’ll say something short and sweet, like, “Hey, so I’m starting to have a crush on you.” Before I let my feelings take over, I wanted to see if you had romantic feelings for me too. (This straightforward approach implies, “If you don’t feel the same way, you’ll be fine. We can go back to a place of friendship.”)
FYI, if you do your vibe test and he’s definitely not interested – say, he reveals he’s in a monogamous relationship with the love of his life – then don’t bother to confess. your crush. Enjoy your week in California with your old friend!
But let’s say you do confess your crush: Then you talk about it. Maybe it turns out that you misinterpreted the signals, and he’s not in it; Then you can respond with “I completely understand and I’m excited to continue being friends.” Although romantic rejection hurts, at least you will have your answer. “You’ll be able to move past the feeling of being stuck in place,” said Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., Founder of Modern privacywhen I showed him your question.
But if you ask me, there’s a better chance he’ll say he’s started developing feelings for you too. After all, he came out to you, then invited you across the country to be with him! While platonic friends travel to visit each other all the time, you’re two single gay men who haven’t seen each other since college, not best friends planning trips together. If you get the answer you’re hoping for, well, I’ll just leave this beach sex guide here.
You wonder if you are going too far. Yes you are. Attempting to make important life decisions without certain key pieces of information – in this case, whether your friend loves you – is a recipe for an anxiety spiral. Wait to build your future until you have all the relevant building blocks. Who knows? You may learn that he is not only in love with you, but has also been planning to move to your town for years. I cannot guarantee any of his answers, but I box guarantee you’re not going to have clarity without talking to the guy first.
Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on lifestyle, sexuality, culture, and entertainment. He was previously associate digital editor at OUT Magazine. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Washington Post, Playboy, etc.