Dear Apartment Guru,
I am an openly gay man with a very big crush on my closeted roommate. I know you will wonder how it is that I know that my roommate is closeted. Well, he told me that he is definitely curious about gay sex, has a "history" on our shared computer of looking at gay porn (although, admittedly, he also looks at straight porn), and he hangs out with me and my friends all the time, openly flirting.
I know that it is a terrible idea to @#$ where you eat, but let's say I just wanted to help him find his way into the light, would this be an OK thing for a roommate to do? And if not, how do I get over it, because I think about this way too much?
-- Bert Loves Ernie
Dear, dear Bert,
They say that the best predictor for falling in love is proximity. You, my friend, have that in spades. What you don't have is a very good sense that your roommate is feeling the same vibe. And, as I'm sure you know, despite sexual orientation, it's possible he's just not going to be that into you.
But based on your question, pointing out the obvious isn't necessarily going to get us anywhere. The truth is, it is
possible that your roommate has simply always fancied himself straight until he met you and your crew of entertaining friends and now suddenly he is discovering another side to himself. Even then, Bert, take caution.
"As someone who's had my fair share of line-crossing experiences," says Gabe Zichermann, a close and very wise friend of mine who also happens to be gay. "I speak from the heart when I tell you: Go gently."
First of all, if
your roomie is in fact a gay man who is choosing
not to act on his gay impulses (or tell you about them) for whatever reason, but who is still totally comfortable enough in his sexuality to spend time with and living sex-free with gay men, then de-closeting him might be more difficult than you think. And despite the straight/gay porn trail onto which you have stumbled, like it or not, publicly this man is straight and that is something you have to respect, first and foremost.
"While it might be tempting to go `all in' on sleeping with your straight roommate," agrees Zichermann, "you should take his hesitance at face value."
But this doesn't mean you have to sit back and lust from a distance. "Engage him in an open, non-judgmental dialog and let him know he can talk to you anytime he wants, without strings or expectations," Zichermann suggests. "Think back to what it was like when you were experimenting/coming out and give him the mentorship you would have liked to have had."
I think the big problem here is that you think about this way too much, Bert. Maybe you need a hobby -- I hear pigeons make lovely pets! In other words, if you do cross this line, there is a good chance that you will find yourself hurt in one way or another -- not to mention without a roommate -- no matter his sexual orientation.
Exercise caution, my friend!
Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Aparment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of "The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin" and "Have Sex Like You Just Met." Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, Ohio and abroad in Prague, she knows what it means to live in a home that you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.
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