This straight guy, who we’ll call Mike, has been roommates with Alex for a year. When Alex told Mike he was gay, he was absolutely fine with it. But then when Alex started to bring guys home…he started getting annoyed, resentful, disgusted.
Posting on Reddit, he said: ‘First things first, let me say that I’ve never thought of myself as being discriminatory before. I had a gay friend in high school and we made it through some tough times together, I never felt weird about him dating a guy. So all of this is coming out of nowhere.
‘”Alex” has been my roommate for one year, and I pretty much knew upfront about him being gay. At some point we became friendly enough with each other that we could even joke about it, as in, sometimes he’ll pretend to flirt with me and I’ll pretend to flirt back. I’m straight and he knows that, but I don’t feel threatened by him flirting with me and he says most straight guys do.
‘The problems started because of this: Alex brings guys home sometimes. At the start I thought I was okay with it, since it’s really not my business who he sleeps with. He’s usually discreet enough about it that I don’t see/hear anything I wouldn’t want to see/hear from anyone else, but for some reason I’ve started feeling weird if I even see him with other guys.
‘I don’t know when it started but one time that really sticks out to me is when I came home and saw him and some guy making out on the couch. I don’t know how to describe what it was like to see that, except that for a moment I felt so bad I thought I was going to throw up. Alex was embarrassed (he didn’t think I’d be back for a while), but I told him it was okay since I was embarrassed too.
‘I felt bad for being as disgusted as I was, since there’s NO good reason for me to have a reaction like that. I thought maybe they just caught me by surprise and that’s why I reacted so strongly, but it turned out it wasn’t a one-time thing. After that, every time he has a guy over (not that often, but every once in a while) I just start feeling like shit and wishing that guy would leave, and I can’t stop thinking about what these guys might have done to him even though I don’t want to imagine that. It makes me really uncomfortable and grossed out. And these are just guys he fools around with, I don’t know what I’d do if he ends up getting an actual boyfriend.
‘Alex has started to notice and it’s affecting our friendship. The other day I came home right when some guy was about to leave, and the guy tried to be polite to me but I ended up being rude to him (don’t remember what I said, but it was really obvious I was pissed). When the guy left, Alex asked me why I was being an asshole. I didn’t know what to say, but then he asked if I had a problem with him sleeping with other guys. I said no. For some reason that pissed him off more and he said I can’t complain since I used to bring my fuckbuddy over and he was forced to see me being affectionate with her sometimes. (I was in an FWB situation with a girl in the early days of me and Alex living together, but I broke it off after a few months and I haven’t done anything with anyone since.) I agreed with him and told him I was just having a bad day and I don’t care who he sleeps with, but he looked more upset and told me he’s going to a friend’s place to cool off. I said okay. When he was leaving for some reason he casually said, “and you’ll be okay if I sleep with him as long as I do at his place and not ours, right?” Or something like that. I told him it’s none of my business what he does at someone else’s place, but when he said that I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t stop thinking about it.
‘He didn’t show up later that night even though he was supposed to hang out with me and my sister. He’s never blown me off before and it made me feel like shit, but part of it was my fault since I made him feel like I was judging him for sleeping with guys. Now he’s acting like nothing happened but I’m worried I might mess things up if it happens again. I want to keep him as a friend, but he’d be hurt if he knew that whenever I think about him with other guys it disgusts me.
‘How do I deal with this? I’ve never been homophobic but I’ve suddenly developed some kind of homophobia where just the idea of my roommate’s sex life makes me uncomfortable. And I don’t react like this to other gay people either, it’s just Alex. I don’t know if this means I’m only okay with gay people as long as I’m not living with them or what. Does anyone else have experience with this? I want to get over myself and stop whatever this is, but if I can’t I’m going to have to leave since the last thing I want to do is hurt Alex, and if I stay here and keep automatically judging him for his lifestyle that’s what’s going to happen.
‘tl;dr: Roommate is gay, I am not but I thought I was okay with him being gay until I realised I feel crappy when I see him with other guys and it’s started to affect our friendship. How to deal with this/stop being such a dick?’
One Redditor asked: ‘Are you sure that weird feeling isn’t jealousy…? i mean, this only seems to revolve around Alex specifically.’
And Mike responded: ‘I thought about that, but I don’t know what I’m meant to be jealous of. He definitely has a more active sex life than I do, but reacting like this to something like that seems really strange and irrational.’
The Redditor responded: ‘Yeah i thought maybe you don’t like seeing Alex with other people because you want his attention to yourself?’
‘The day I made the post, I met up with my sister Laura [24F] and I showed her the post. She read the whole thing and called me an oblivious walnut and said it sounds like I have a crush on Alex. The same conclusion some of you came to in the original post.
‘Anyway, she talked me through it and we confirmed I’m not as straight as I thought I was. She also pointed out something in my original post, where I said the more I tried to reassure him I didn’t mind who he slept with, the more he got upset. Also: how he brought my old FWB situation into it. I just thought he was understandably mad with me for being an asshole, but Laura thought it sounded like maybe Alex wanted me to be jealous? We moved on from that topic pretty quickly, though, since I couldn’t really handle the implications of that when I’d JUST started to understand that I like this guy.
‘The next few days were mostly me sitting on my ass trying to wrap my head around everything. I was scared of messing up our friendship and losing him, but I was even more scared that I might just let this pass without saying anything and then he gets a boyfriend and I have to see him with another guy…etc. Because if that happened I would probably have to end it anyway, since as we’ve established, I’m not great at dealing with him being with other guys.
‘Probably could have planned it better, but I told him. Right after a Tarantino marathon, if anyone’s interested, since nothing says romance like graphic violence. I told him I’ve been such a dick because I was jealous. I don’t think he got what I was getting at because he just laughed a little and said I didn’t have to be jealous since it wasn’t like I’d have any trouble finding people to sleep with me. No clue how I explained, it’s a blur. Luckily he saw how nervous I was so he knew I was serious.
‘We talked. Long story short: all that flirting was real, but Alex didn’t have any hope of it going further because of me being an oblivious “straight” guy. So he’s been trying to get over me. He laughed really hard when I told him about how I mistook my jealousy for homophobia, and he teased me by saying he’d never expected me to be the jealous type. Then again, we both ended up laughing a lot of out of nervousness and awkwardness. I’ve never seen him like that before since he’s usually pretty confident. In the end we agreed to maybe try something out, and we kissed. Never kissed anyone with a beard before, so…interesting experience, but also really good. (Plot twist: it turns out I don’t have any problem with Alex kissing guys if it’s me he’s kissing.)
‘Since then we’ve kind of been easing into the whole dating thing, I guess? I know this place is wary about roommate relationships and I get why, but it’s been great so far. We had our first proper date last weekend and it was incredible, though a bit weird since we’ve done that a thousand times already and this time there was a new context. At home we still do our normal thing, but sometimes we get distracted. Last night I almost burned dinner because I had to kiss him and we got kind of carried away, haha. We’re taking the whole sex thing slow though since I’ve never done anything with another guy before.
‘I’m a little worried about coming out to my family and my other friends, especially since this is almost as new for me as it would be for them. My parents are very openminded and my mom especially loves Alex. But I have some more conservative family members on my dad’s side, and I can already imagine them blaming Alex for turning me gay. They can also be pretty racist (Laura’s boyfriend is Latino so she knows all about that) and Alex is mixed. It’s something to think about in the longterm, I guess. Alex has said he doesn’t expect me to jump out of the closet right away, but if we end up calling ourselves a couple then I’m not going to keep him a secret or anything.
‘So…we’re trying. And I am not a homophobe, and nobody needed therapy. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was this happy, and I never would have expected this when I made that first post. It’s a good thing some of you picked up on the actual problem and tried to get it through to me despite me being an oblivious walnut, so…thanks, guys.’
Funniest self-realization in the world? ‘Plot twist: it turns out I don’t have any problem with Alex kissing guys if it’s me he’s kissing.’