I’m an Otherwise Straight Man (Who Fell in Love with His Best Friend)

love-best-friend

It didn’t matter if it didn’t fit my identity. It didn’t matter if it didn’t fit my sexuality. It just mattered if it brought me love.

 

I’ve always prided myself on being open. I’ll try any new therapy or modality or New Age idea—and, believe me, I’ve tried them all. I’ve done the self-work. I’ve “found myself.” I’ve even practiced my affirmations. I knew who I was, without a doubt.

That’s why I found myself in unfamiliar territory when I—the open guy, the “figured out” guy, the unquestionably straight guy—realized that I was in love with my best friend, a man. A man I had known for seven years. A man I had never before even thought of in a romantic way. But, there I was, in love.

Only it didn’t start out as love. See, two summers ago, I came down with a mysterious illness. Not the common cold kind. Not even the achy back kind. This was the kind where you vomit massive amounts of blood throughout the day. The kind where doctors pass you from specialist to specialist. The kind where you’re bent over in pain with tears in your eyes.

And my roommate, Garrett, one of my best friends at the time, took pity on me. He took care of me. He picked up my prescriptions from the pharmacy. He cooked me dinner. He stayed in on Friday nights to watch movies. He’d even rub my back when I was in pain.

Each day, I waited anxiously until he came home from work. My face lit up when he surprised me with my favorite dinner. I replayed conversations we had when I was alone. I missed him when he was gone.

Two months into this routine, I had a thought—a tiny, little thought—that I loved him. It seemed preposterous. It seemed laughable. I shooed it away immediately. But that thought started creeping into my mind whenever he was away. That thought sneaked in whenever he did something nice or made me laugh.

And it all came down to this moment—one moment when he was cooking me dinner, and he looked over and smiled at me. I knew this was it. This was the moment where I had to decide if I could allow myself to love a man against everything I had previously known about myself. This was the moment when I had to decide if I was going to take a step forward into this crazy idea of telling my best friend that I loved him.

Read the entire story on MindBodyGreen here. 

 

The question you’ve been asking of Mike and his partner:  How a Straight Man in a Gay Relationship Made It Work

What Mike learned after he shared his story: What Love Is & What Love Isn’t

 

 

Previously published on MindBodyGreen.com.

Photo: Giulio Zannol/Flickr

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About Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele is a writer, wellness coach, and clinical herbalist who helps entrepreneurs and creatives define and create success on their own terms. After a debilitating illness pushed him a little too close to the edge, Mike traded in his perfectionist lifestyle for happiness. Visit him at www.bostonwellnesscoach.com where he writes about how to clear out the shadows, insecurities, and toxins so that you can let the real you rise up.

Comments

  1. Beautiful story. Your personal life is none of my business, but I am curious about intimacy. Are the two of you affectionate with each other, in a cuddling, kissing sort of way? Do you sleep together at night or have you tried sexual intimacy. I am wonder if either of you are sexually active with others outside of his relationship.

    • I love this story…thank you for sharing it I have read it 3 times today already! I too wonder the things user “matthew” posted. Beyond the love that you have found which brings so much inner peace and obviously makes you both so happy how do you fulfill the aspect intimacy and affection with each other? Best of luck to you both!

      • Basically these people are asking if you have gay sex. Honestly I’m hoping that you don’t answer this question. That’s nobody’s business but your own. All that matters is that you are happy as you are. Nothing is more precious, and the tawdry details are better left to the imagination! Mazeltov!

        • I think that these questions reveal a lot more information about the stigmas surrounding homosexuality than any answer could possibly provide. Maybe a good thing for those who are curious to consider would be why it is so important to know?

          As a bi woman I have to admit that I got a bit prickly when I read those two questions, because they’re missing the point: that it’s possible, at least for some people, that love transcends gender-and that if we’re open to life’s experiences, we may find unexpected treasures. But after I thought a bit, I realized that I could at least offer this in response: that in my experience, two women can have the same types of sex (gentle, sensual, rough, healing, exploratory, rushed, languid to name a few) and achieve the same levels of intimacy and satisfaction that a woman and a man can. I’d imagine it’s the same between two men. Some methods and activities may look different, but the end result is (if everything goes the way you hope) intimacy between two people.

        • Anonymous says:

          Love your post!

  2. Beautiful story. It brought me to tears. I am so glad you two were able to find joy in this world with each other.

  3. The problem with these stories is that there a ton of questions but if you ask them then you are wrong. Couldn’t you just be bi and how do you know that with this new discovery you might not be open to other same-sex relationships? And if you have never been in love before maybe you are gay? To be honest if you are not having sex your relationship with him sounds like one I have with my very best girl friend. Also gender kinda does matter that is why gay dudes are gay and straight people are straight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever hear that romantic and sexual attraction are independent? Didn’t think so

    • TiffanyG-
      You wrote: “The problem with these stories is that there a ton of questions but if you ask them then you are wrong.”
      Wrong, because their lives are None of your business.
      You’ve obviously missed the “love” in this story to add your judgements to the conversation.

      ‘All The Best’ works really well. Sheesh!

      • No. Lack of clarity about a published story does. When you publish a story and leave gaps questions are going to arise. If I was a stranger who saw him and his “boyfriend” on the street I would have no write to question them. But he made it everyone’s business by publishing it and the site invites people to comment. I assume he is big boy and when he decided to write this flawed piece he knew he would be inviting questions. I am not attacking him and unless you are Garret or Mike butt out.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you, Tiffany! Sincere curiosity is not the same as judgment. I am a straight white woman and I’m very interested in other ways of being and living. I take any chance I can to ask questions to dispel my ignorance not to “judge” someone’s difference. Maybe it’s a habit born from previous negative experiences to roll your eyes at innocent ignorance of another’s experience.

    • Amy Glass says:

      Does male sexual fluidity threaten you?

      • No. Lack of clarity about a published story does.

        • I agree – the headline is misleading and the story is incomplete. By leaving so many unanswered questions it just feels uninsightful. Were they both “straight” and happened to go through the exact same experience? Are they physically attracted to the opposite sex but felt confused by this uncharacteristic feeling of romantic love between each other? Did they suddenly feel physically attracted to each other also? Has he ever felt this way before? His conclusion is that “preferences change” — and obviously for 99% of the population they don’t. This sounds like a simple story of movement along the Kinsey scale, except that the author never discloses where he ends up on it. I do think there is a distinction to be made between sexual attraction and feelings of romantic love – it would be interesting if he felt romantic love without the sexual attraction. But if he suddenly felt both it sounds like yet another story of a closeted guy who finally realizes he is gay. Either way, it’s a sweet story but as a readers we shouldn’t have to be asking these questions – That’s the writers job.

          • I agree Paul. I am a gay man and would have to ask those questions also.The writers job is to tell us about this love not leave us asking the same questions. i appreciate that he found this love and was reciprocated and that his life journey is changing. But then again some clarity here would help.

          • Thank you Paul H.

      • Very well said. I think it’s a sweet story, but in the end, it didn’t really tell us much.

    • As a woman who, until I met my wife, also believed myself to be straight, I can empathise. Past decisions do have a way of interfering, aliasing to have more relevance in current decisions than they need to. I renege her telling me that there were two reasons that nothing could happen between us; I was much younger than her, and I was straight. And I remember looking her in the eye and saying “only one of those statements is a fact.” We traveled over 8 counties together, over 6 months, after that conversation, and by the time we parted’hey back to the USA, and me back to the UK, we knew we weren’t done. Now it’s a year on from that separation and we got married 4 months ago and I’m emigrating to the States. Sexual decisions are not set in stone and sometimes when you meet that person they’re everything you were looking for in a totally unexpected package. Enjoy the ride! Thank you for sharing your story!

      • I love your response!! The story above was beautiful because it showed no bias!!For me it showed unconditional love! Something I have experienced and will never forget!! I have dated men and women I do not label myself . I am a free spirit and I believe love is love no matter what!! If I fall in love with you I am committed to you 110%!! To each their own!! Everyone has my blessing!!!

  4. I Think This Is A Great Story! I Would Not Even Question It One Bit. All That Matters Is That They R In Love An Can Make This Work! :-)

  5. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful story. I wonder how many never had the nerve to say “I love you”. I wonder how many more would be happy, if they just followed their heart.

  7. Noone can judge you! Whatever the reason, I wish you both happiness and a long enjoyable life together!

  8. Have a Beautiful and Successful relationship, and your story was wonderful. Best Wishes…

  9. Awesome story! I thought that I was alone (besides the guy I love) in this circumstance. We’ve been friends for a few years when it hit us both. I had lost my wife a few years back and was a bit out of the dating game so I just spent the time doing all of the things I enjoyed. In my relationship for the first time ever I’m able to be and do exactly what makes me the happiest. It’s working out great! Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Dear me how we let our human understanding of limitations get in the way of what souls know they are meant to do. Souls know no gender. They leave that sexual intimacy/identity thing to the human mind to figure out. So glad that you two have taken on the challenge of being WHO you are with the person your instincts tell you you need to be with. Yes, choose love.

  11. Shawn Allen says:

    Maybe it’s time to expand our rather limited ideas about relationships and intimacy. This is really only a problem (for some people) if you equate Love and Sex.
    Real Love doesn’t see gender. It’s about a connection. We tend to get hung up in words like Love or “In Love” – meaningless arguments except for the people in the relationship. Only they know what they mean and how they feel.

  12. Dennis Wagester says:

    A heart warming love story. I’ve never heard love explained any better. The best for you always.

  13. I find that people who have these stories are just people who are in dysfunctional relationships and situations but need to turn it into something that makes it all okay.

    The fact of the matter is, the details do need to be shared. Is shame the root of this dynamic? Are you able to be intimate? Affectionate? You’ve just turned love, something so simple, into this oblique concept.

  14. This is a heartwarming piece, but absent details about whether this relationship has become physically intimate, it’s meaningless fluff.

    Why? And why can’t I just be thrilled with a great love story?

    Because of this part of the title: “I’m an otherwise straight man…”

    Okay, so what does that mean? If he identifies as “straight,” I assume he believes he falls on the spectrum of sexual desire more toward the opposite sex. That’s fine, as would be any other point he might fall on. But since he made a point in the [attention grabbing] title to point out that he’s “otherwise straight,” why aren’t we hearing about how that worked out? Is his love interest also “straight,” or flexible somehow, or whatever?

    GMP claims to be having the conversation no one else is having. If so, then have it. I’m sorry, but this story is not worthy of the good work this site does without going much deeper than this fluff piece- again, based on the title. The title suggests a conflict of some sort. Either play that out, or leave this be. It is a very nice story. But it’s meaningless without attempting to describe the inherent conflict that might be afoot in a relationship like this- yeah, the one the title sells you on.

    • Apart from it being a heartwarming and beautiful story, isn’t it worthy of being on The Good Men Project because it shows another side, one not often mentioned or encountered, to the male psyche?

      • To me it just sounds like another gay dude’s coming out story. Lovely but the straight moniker was misleading. Tons of gay dudes had sex with females before coming to terms with their identity.

  15. Tom Brechlin says:

    I’m presuming that given the “otherwise straight” he took it to an sexual level? If he hadn’t included the “straight” aspect, it would have simply been a story about the great affection two men have with one another. Was it the intent of elude to their becoming sexual?

    I have male friends whom I love but never gave it a thought to take it to a sexual level. In my circle of men,it’s not uncommon to tell one another “I love ya man.”

    We have two new Golden Retriever puppies that I have “fallen in love” with. So what does “fall in love” mean? Doesn’t have to have anything to do with sex, does it?

  16. Scott Mellon says:

    What if a straight woman had written this about her best friend? Would it even be noteworthy? What is it about straight men that this is seen as unusual?

  17. Straight, gay, bi… whatever. You’ve found someone who you love and who loves you. Sexual, asexual… which ever way you find to express your love for each other, I hope you both get fulfillment from it. I’m delighted for you both.

  18. Jack Colwell says:

    Yes, but some of us still want to know: has it or has it not become sexual… since it happened two summers ago? Are you two still in love with one another – platonically or otherwise? I don’t think it’s that uncommon for two men – or two women, for that matter – to truly, deeply love one another… as in, being deeply bonded closest of friends – perhaps even for life. And in fact, I’m pretty sure you can even have that kind of a relationship with more than one man, or one woman, at a time. But when you say that you are “in love” with someone, or that you have “fallen in love” with someone, generally speaking it is understood that there is a sexual component to that kind of relationship… or, at least, that you are perhaps desirous of a sexual relationship with th
    e person you are in love with, otherwise isn’t it really just deeply loving another person… albeit maybe for the first time in your life? Maybe that is a first for this writer, and that’s great. But that is not that unusual, or transformative, for millions of other people who have these kinds of relationships all the time.

    So Mr. Iamele, can you tell us: what has happened in the past two years?
    And thanks for sharing this obviously deeply-felt epiphany.

  19. I think the questions of physicality are the fluff. The “otherwise straight” opening statement I feel was the point only that there was an emotionally awakening moment that a guy could openly express love to another fellow outside of the boundaries of sexual labels. I don’t believe in strict sexual boundaries. I have never been attracted to another man but I am also not saying there would never be a time where I might be. That opportunity just simply never happened nor did it occur to me to actively seek it out.

    So I am at this moment a straight man and probably based on results continue to be one. The physical intimacy I experience with another person cannot in itself change my viewpoint of my sexuality so that I must choose a suddenly new label and self identity for the sake of making others feel comfortable with seeing me as one thing or another. Good for you guys.

    I also agree with Tom. I love my dogs but am not into bestiality. I love my best friend a guy whom we’ve been like brothers since we were 13. But there has never been a moment where we expressed that in any other way except the love means we know each of us always has each other’s backs.

  20. That’s the thing sexuality for some is fluid, I like this man was straight my entire life until around 25. Meaning I was/had only been attracted to women, until I met this incredible guy who I found my self very attracted to. As we became friends that attraction grew and I fell in love with him. Those feelings for him confused me for a while because outside of him I wasn’t attracted to men. I started dating him and like this man I still said I was straight with him as the one exception. Five years later we’re still together and i’ve stopped caring about labeling myself, what matter is that I’m in love with him.

    So my point is if he is happy and so is his boyfriend then screw labeling him self.

    • But you answered the question and I hope your relationship continues to work. But I always question the whole but for him I am straight. To be honest once you shift the paradigms of sexuality you kinda obliterate the straight moniker. Hence you are now open to kissing a guy and having sex with him. So let’s say you break up with your current fellow the new male friendships you have are no longer black and white. You now know you can kiss a guy and like it and those friendships have the flexibility to deepen into something more and that is okay. I guess my problem is not with sexual fluidity it is with the need to hang on to the moniker of straight. You are now bi and that is okay but straight no longer applies.

      • “Hence you are now open to kissing a guy and having sex with him. So let’s say you break up with your current fellow the new male friendships you have are no longer black and white.”

        Yes I can kiss a guy and even have sex with one except outside of my boyfriend I have zero interest in doing either with another guy. My friendships are still black and white as I’m not attracted to them, where as my boyfriend I am attracted to. He was and still is the only man i’ve ever been sexually attracted to.

        You may see it as bisexual and maybe it is, as I said at this point I’ve stopped trying to label it. If someone ask I tell them i’m in love with a guy so check into what ever box you need me in.

        • Here’s the thing. Labels do matter to some degree. I am straight. You are not. Nothing wrong with that. But the non-labeling brigade needs to stop. If you thought you were straight and now are having a sexual/romantic relationship with a dude. You are not straight anymore. If you still are attracted to women and could see yourself having an erection in relationship to a woman you are not gay. We created the term bisexual for this. The otherwise straight thing is cop-out. I hope you and he stay together for ever and every. But you might not. So if you breakup. I can almost guarantee that you will be with a dude. See your paradigm has shifted.

          • Bisexual is a term used to describe someone is attracted to men and women, I am attracted to women and this one man. I am turned on by him completely, no other man. If I look at other guys or put on gay porn I remain soft, if I think about him i’m anything but soft. If we did break up, I doubt i’d be with another man. If I met one who I was attracted to then sure i’d go there but considering in 30 years i’ve only met one man i’m attracted id’ say the chance of that are slim.

            It’s fine that you see me as non straight/ bisexual, I don’t care and for me a label doesn’t matter. I’m not clinging to any label, I don’t bother. I love him and plan on spending my life with him and that is what matters.

            • I agree no need to defend your current relationship I am really not attacking that relationship. But seriously if you break up you really think that you are going back to women? I would love to fast forward.

            • I know your not attacking it and I plan on marrying him and spending my life with him. If something happens It’s not a matter of I think i’m going back to women, it’s simple matter of outside of him that is what i’m attracted to. I’m attracted to women.

              You call me bisexual yet say go back to women like it’s impossible for a man to date both(at different times).

            • I’m in a similar relationship with my husband and at the end of the day, he loves me and I love him and all that goes with it.

  21. George VanWinkle says:

    So many of the comments seem to focus on sex, while completely missing the most important truth in the entire article. You found someone to love who loves you right back. .

  22. I think this story was very touching! I just was unclear if you two are a couple or two best friends that love each other ?

    • Exactly. I had was only child and when I got to college I met a girl (I’m a girl) who I really liked. She mentored me in makeup and cooked for me because my parents didn’t teach me to cook. I got happy when I saw her. We ate breakfast lunch and dinner together. I never felt like I wanted to kiss her or do anything sexual and it not clear that this author felt that with his friend. And although I felt very close to her I never would have said I was in love with her. Taking at face value he is describing his ability to feel safe with someone outside his family as “being in love.” Which sounds like a lot of close female friendships and everyone here so protective over his ability to just spout a story with huge gaps but really what is he risking. Because loving someone in the way he describes is not taboo to anyone but him.

  23. Nicole haney says:

    Beautiful an thats how love happens.Everyone. says your born this way that way noo love is born.It stars as a slow glow or a instant spark but its not planned an cant be pinpointed.Im a female a mother of four sins Ive been married 16 years an im in love with a friend a female she has no clue an if asked im sure all our mutual. Friends. Would pick the wrong girl thats how far off the mark this is .I feel strange an go out of my way for other females in the circle to take any attention to my true feelings for my real love away so im very inspired. By your story an honestly know that moment when its not a question. In your mind but a acknowledgement. In your heart I hope i can find the courage. You did.BEST WISHES AWESOME AWESOME. STORY .THANK YOU.

  24. I have two questions or issues with this story. One, he falls in love with his caregiver during a major illness, isn’t this common among healthcare workers in such circumstances. I would like to know if they had ever considered this or been counseled about it. Two, unless their love has become sexuallized, what’s the big deal in loving a male friend. I miss my male friends when they are gone and I’m excited to see them return. We smile and hug one another, and truly love one another. He does not say more than this in his story. Is it odd for straight men and to love one another? Did he not love his friend before the illness? What does he mean by “I fell in love with my friend”?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Talk about twisting a narrative to make it fit your pre determined conclusion.
    You can love someone without being physically attracted to them. You can be intimate without having sex; but if you have sex with him, then you are not “straight”.
    Many people “fall in love” with their care taker, or their psychiatrist, or anyone who they achieve a sense of intimacy with.
    Sexual orientation is not something that “happens”. You are primarily attracted to men or women or both. Having one experience doesn’t make you gay anymore than most gay people who have had heterosexual sex are straight because of it.

  26. Hey I have an idea!! Lets judge everyone about their curiosity!!! Please… why would I give a crap about anyone’s opinion on my wondering if they are having sex? If I have to read all the stuffy comments about how love is love and that’s all that matters then ya’ll can stand to read our questionings of their sexuality. To be gay yes.. it means falling in love with the same sex and unlike what the religious wrong & the conservative narrow minded uptights think, it doesn’t always mean everyone’s having sex or all we are in it for is JUST lots of sex. I always say if you can’t have sex anymore at some point in your life with the person you “love” would you still really be interested? If you can have a relationship without sex and still be there.. congrats. That’s a powerful thing. However… men are very sexual in nature so to be in a relationship for the most part it means taking things to a sexual level as soon as possible… or in my case as soon as a connection is made. Even someone like me who is 41 and can count the amounts of times I’ve had sex on 2 hands (I have to be in love or have a connection or its a waste of time so I’ve been mostly celibate by choice) I wouldn’t want a relationship without sex because for me its about the intimacy and sharing yourself with the one you love. I can think of nothing more beautiful than being in love and making love to the person you’re in love with. It’s part of the whole story in my opinion. To just be in love is not enough for me is missing something. That’s not me judging him either. To each his own really. It just makes me all the more curious if they are that intimate because I feel it would be even better and really bring them together as a couple. Its a cute and sweet story though. Something I wish I had. I don’t think its falling in love with your caretaker either. They were roommates & friends before his illness struck so there was a foundation already for them to build upon. I just can’t see them moving very far forward without at least being intimate like kissing or cuddling or at least sleeping in the same bed. Sometimes… those things can be enough. After 2 years tho… I’d say there IS at least some level of intimacy. You can see it all over whats been written. If not you missed it big time.

  27. When I was 19 I had a straight male buddy who always wanted to hang with me. He knew I was gay and always felt he needed to protect me. He was very masculine and was a body builder. I started to get feelings for him and I pushed him away for fear of rejection to the point of saying I had met someone. He didn’t take the news well and cried. I felt like crap for lying to him and knowing he had feelings for me. Could not turn back. Regretted it ever since.

  28. As a gay man, I could love a woman, but it’s the sex part that defines my sexual orientation. Emotional intimacy is something we all do everyday without limit to gender. It’s the physical intimacy that changes things.

  29. carlos s. says:

    I found the story beautiful. I did not have to look for details, e.g. sex, intimacy, who’s top, bottom, etc. Love does NOT have to equate to physical intimacy, and I think the emotional connection between two people, regardless of gender, can be sufficient. Those who are left hanging by the lack of sexual details are only looking for tabloid material to read.

    • every gay man’s fantasy this seems in the erotic sense unlikely unless the guy is a closet homosexual, which to me seems to be the case,

      • Don’t every gay mans fantasy, sure some but most actual want a man who is turned on by them.

      • Thank you. Let the straight moniker go it’s okay.

        • I’m not clinging to straight.

          • Dean that was not really directed at you. But…your current relationship notwithstanding are you still attracted to women and how does that work? Is your partner bi too? I am sorry I am pretty boring in my heterosexuality so this is all fascinating to me.

            • Sorry, thought it was.

              Yes I’m still attracted to women, it’s pretty simple i’m turned by/attracted to my boyfriend(hopefully soon to be fiancé) and turned on by women. I’d say attracted to but i’m not interested in pursing someone outside my relationship. I’m very monogamous that way.

              My boyfriend is gay.

          • Denis Stone says:

            You don’t have to answer. But that is just too curious.

            Do you feel attracted to his body, his male, manly body? As in, visually aroused? And his penis? Are you attracted to it as well? Do you engage in oral sex (giving)? If yes to all of that… I find it so, but so interesting that you would not feel attracted to other males or other penises. Very peculiar.
            Hope you guys have a great life!

    • No we are trying to see what makes this different from a really deep friendship. Sex is important.

  30. Willem Sterrenberg-Breedt says:

    Oh this made may day! Thank you for sharing this very insprirational story. My faith in true love has been restored!

    • Really, this story of a guy realizing he was bisexual is what restored your faith in true love… you really didn’t have far to go.

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