We all had one — that kid in school who just seemed to “get us,” didn’t mind that we were a little different from the rest of guys and was always a formidable opponent on the mean streets of Mario Kart.
But what happens when that puppy dog crush doesn’t find its natural closure early on? It must happen all the time. Grade school becomes high school. High school graduates to college, and all those secret feelings stay red hot beneath the surface, always wanting to erupt but knowing better than to ruin the deep and meaningful friendship cultivated over the years.
As one Redditor (and millions of people before him) learned, the truth will set you free.
At 14, John (we’ll call him John) met a boy who would become his best friend, and so much more. “I spent many sleepless nights wondering why everything had to turn out this way, it crushed me every time I thought about it,” he writes. “Over the course of the rest of high school my feelings of love gradually faded to where I could think of him as a brother, rather than someone I lusted for, although it wasn’t easy.”
Now both 18 and attending separate colleges, John knew he had to reveal two secrets — two coming outs — to his friend. Telling someone “I’m gay” is one thing, but “I’m gay and have secretly been in love with you” is a whole other bag.
“Most of the reason I decided I had to quell these feelings was because he has a girlfriend whom he is committed to and I didn’t want to cause them any disrespect through my actions, words, or thoughts. I cared for him and wanted him to be happy and to do that I wanted to ensure that his relationship with his girlfriend was unadulterated from my feelings towards him.”
But the moment had arrived. John built up his courage and managed to come out to his friend, leaving out the bit about being in love with him. Baby steps.
“I was euphoric. He began to ask me what I looked for in a guy, how long I’ve felt this way, just everything. To finally be able to tell how I felt and discuss it with someone who cares was something I had never experienced before in respect to sexuality. It really sucks having to bottle it up as so many of us have done or are currently doing. As I described to him what my ideal guy would look like, he asked me if I thought he was attractive because my description very closely matched someone with his characteristics. I said yes.”
That’s when the whole truth spilled out — the years of silent agony, the longing and the lust.
“He said that he doesn’t hate me for feeling that way, rather he was flattered that I cared about him that much…He kept telling me how strong I was that I was able to see him happy with his girlfriend while I would wallow in my own sadness, never once letting a word out to anyone until now. He holds nothing against me and doesn’t treat me any differently than he did before, he even said he wouldn’t mind sharing a bed with me again. He reaffirmed my belief that a true friend doesn’t care whether or not you like dick or pussy, nor will they hold your feelings against you. I love this guy with every fiber of my being for giving me the best relationship of my life so far.”
Cue the “aww’s.”
He went on to share some advice for people who find themselves in similar situations:
“If any of you are apprehensive about coming out to your best friend as I was, just fucking do it. Just rip the band-aid off because you’re doing yourself the biggest disservice by hiding a part of your identity from the people who care about you the most. Everybody doesn’t need to know your sexuality, however the people who care for you deserve to know just as you deserve to be happy. If they’re truly your friend they will accept you for you and love you just the same.”