An Expert Explains What to Do If You Have Feelings for Your Gay Best Friend
Having a gay best friend is quite the interesting dynamic.
They can fill in as your date to the school dance or be your +1 to a wedding without the pressures of leading each other on or having people question your relationship status. Nothing is off limits in conversation because you've got nothing to hide with them, just as you don't with your girlfriends.
But, there are some cases in which the line becomes a little blurred between BFF and sudden crush. Even though you know your gay best friend isn't interested in girls, you may still be attracted to them or feel a sense of romantic attachment based on everything you've shared and the way their companionship fills the boyfriend void in your life.
If you think this is happening to you, we reached out to adolescent psychologist, Paul Bierne, LPCC, for healthy ways to tackle the issue. Keep reading for what to do if you fall for your gay best friend.
Sweety High: What's a healthy way to handle the situation if it's something you're dealing with?
Paul Bierne: I think if it were to occur with a client, we would talk about why they're spending so much emotional time pursuing a relationship that would never happen. I'd ask if they were actively trying to avoid a relationship that might actually have a chance of working.
The healthiest way of dealing with the situation, in my opinion, is to think about why you're having these feelings about this person. What is it about them that attracts you? Are they emotionally available to you when you need them? Do they make a good shoulder to cry on? Is it physical? Journaling is one tool that might help sort out your feelings.
SH: How do you prevent yourself from getting jealous if they flirt with a male or get into a relationship with one?
PB: Some would say it's impossible to prevent a feeling from occurring. What we can do is choose how we interpret that feeling. If you find yourself feeling increasingly jealous, it's important to bring yourself back to rationality so that the feeling of jealously doesn't morph into anger towards your friend or friend's new friend. You can bring yourself back to rationality by telling yourself what's truthfully going on. Something like, "I'm feeling jealous because I still have feelings for him that I'm working through. I know we're not going to be romantic, and it's important that I become okay with him flirting with other people."
SH: Is there any value in telling this friend how you feel, given that they likely won't reciprocate these feelings? Or is it best to act as if it's nothing?
PB: I think this would be on a case-by-case basis, and it depends on the depth of the friendship. There is value in complimenting your friend's attributes that would make him a good partner. Love exists in so many different ways. We love so many things for so many different reasons. It's important to process what kind of love you are feeling for your friend before proceeding. It's possible that you're confusing deep friendship love with romantic love. A good therapist can help with sorting out these feelings.
SH: What if you know that you and this friend will never be a romantic match, but you still can't get over them?
PB: The more you can learn to bring yourself back to a rational headspace when these feelings start to overwhelm you, the better. Over time, as you learn to gently bring yourself back to rationality, you'll start feeling less and less anguish. It takes time and patience, but it works. Again, this is a time to speak to yourself in an honest way saying something like, "I know it is going to take time to get over him and I will. Maybe I can focus on being the best possible friend I can be to him."
If you're on the other end of unrequited love, HERE's how to politely reject a friend who has romantic feelings for you.