Dear Amy: I’m a gay man. My male BFF, “Steve,” is straight. He’s been married (to women) multiple times, has children, etc. Currently, he is single. I’m also single.
When Steve gets drunk, there have been many times where he gets physically amorous (kissing me, essentially making out with me), and he gets romantically expressive: whispering in my ear how much he loves me, etc.
There’s even been some light sexual interaction.
I’m very attracted to him and he knows it because I was very honest with him when we first became friends. As a result of that attraction, I allow him to engage in this behavior to begin with; but invariably I always stop him from escalating it – (and he’s tried), because my good sense kicks in. I don’t want him to do something he may regret while under the influence.
When he’s sober, we never talk about any of this.
Amy, do you think he is potentially in love with me? I’ve always thought he was gay/or bisexual ... or is this kind of behavior normal/common among “bros,” regardless of orientation?
Is the booze acting as a “truth serum” here, or am I reading too much into this? Should I allow him to fully escalate his affection? – Confused Gay Friend
Dear Confused: Do other friends of yours (gay and straight) aggressively hit on you when they’re drunk? I’m assuming they don’t.
Bro culture does seem to confer an arrogant privilege regarding sexual behavior, but I do feel confident observing that (while many people likely find their best friends sexually attractive), no, it is not the norm to aggressively sexually pursue your friends, sober or drunk – even among bros.
I don’t know if “Steve” is in love with you, but he is obviously sexually interested in you.
So yes, just as I become even more hilarious after a few cocktails, he is likely expressing an exaggerated, low-filter version of himself when he’s drunk.
It is not necessarily your job to protect him from his drunken choices, but because issues of consent could arise, you are wise to put a stop to his advances, certainly when he is under the influence.
What you must do now is to talk about it. Granted, this might be a tough conversation to have, but you could start by asking him a simple question: “Why do you hit on me whenever you’re drunk?”
Dear Amy: My mother and her husband of over 20 years have decided to have an open marriage. They even bought an apartment in order to have sexual encounters with others.
I have known my stepdad since I was 15; I am now 41.
I have a happy marriage and a family of my own. I grew up watching my mother date numerous men. There were times I would hear her engaged in sexual activity.
Now that I am an adult, I find the lifestyle she exposed me to was unhealthy. The “open marriage” decision is bringing up bad memories for me.
My mom does not have many friends and I can tell that she wants to share details of her new life with me.
I am not interested in hearing about or meeting any of the new men in her life. I don’t want to go to the new apartment. I do not want my kids to know about her lifestyle.
I do not want to hurt her. I am not sure how to deal with this.
Any suggestions? – Devastated
Dear Devastated: Boundaries.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
Your mother’s specific choices regarding her own boundaries are her business. You have the right to declare your own boundaries, insist that she respect them, and deliver consequences if she doesn’t.
It is not unlike when loved ones face a family member’s addiction. You say, “I love you, but I believe your lifestyle is unhealthy. It is certainly unhealthy for me, and so I need to stay away from it. Don’t talk to me about it, don’t share details with me, don’t expect me to visit, and don’t expose my children to it.”
Dear Amy: Chiming in on your poor response to “Sick at Heart,” who witnessed a child screaming and the mother screaming at him at a public bus stop.
This child could be autistic. I can’t believe you missed that. – Disappointed
Dear Disappointed: Yes, the child could have autism. If so, this should have been the first thing the adult restraining and screaming at the child could have said to explain the unfortunate situation.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.