Dear Christine, Wondering in Westland

Dear Christine,

I have been an out member of the community for many years, totally sure of who I am and my sexual preferences.I am a man who has always loved men!I am single at the moment and have been spending a lot of time with my longtime straight lady friend. Over the last few weeks something very odd has been happening.I feel like I am getting a crush on her!I have been feeling sexually attracted to her lately and can’t stop thinking about her and what it would be like to kiss her for real.This has never happened!I can’t remember ever having sexual feelings for a woman before.I think I’ve been pretty careful about not showing this to her as I value our friendship so much I’d hate to jeopardize that but, just curious.Is this normal?I haven’t shared this with any of my friends for fear of what they would think.

Am I turning straight at 38? Ha, I made a rhyme!

Wondering in Westland

Dear Wondering,

At least you have a sense of humor, rhyming and all! We all need that to get through life! And life is rarely predictable! So what it sounds like you’ve been discovering is that you’re fully human! Most people have some ability to be attracted to either/both sexes, as that’s just the way we’re wired. We may have preferences of one over the other, but only a few people on either end of the attraction scale prefer only the opposite sex, or only the same sex and that’s all that can arouse them. It’s not uncommon for me to hear clients who have been one orientation forever, find that when they are single, they find they have more interest in the other orientation than they ever noticed while being happily coupled. Also, having a crush on someone is quite different than wanting sex with them and making a life together! Crushes are fun, but not necessarily an attraction that has real possibilities for either one of you. As with any friend, it’s important to sort out what your true feelings are about this good friend. Even if she were a he, it still might jeopardize the friendship to turn it romantic. We are all very capable of love and lust, but often Mother Nature sets us up to fall in love or have a crush on someone who Is really not compatible for a committed sexual relationship.

In my mid20s, I had a therapist who told me to tell others about my noticing women were attracted to me, and that would reduce my anxiety about “what does it mean about me that all these ‘best friend’ women seem to fall in love with me. I was a minister at the time, and couldn’t look at my own orientation, as coming to terms with being lesbian would have made me ineligible to keep my ordination with the Presbyterian Church (USA). So, I did as the therapist suggested, and told one such best friend that the therapist said that this pattern wasn’t about me at all! I slammed the door on my closet for 10 more years before leaving ministry and dealing with coming out as lesbian. My best friend disappeared from my life. We had been inseparable, till I disclosed more than she was ready to hear about my therapy and me!

So, you might want to talk to trusted friends, perhaps this woman, perhaps not. Trust your gut sense, and be kind to you. Not everything is as it first appears, and not every attraction has to be or should be acted upon. Just keep your sense of humor and keep an open mind! Christine Cantrell

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