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Auntie SparkNotes: Should I Give Up on My Closeted Crush?

Dear Auntie,

I am a 16-year-old gay male. I have never had a boyfriend before. I have had a crush on this guy for a long time now and I don’t know if I should go for it or move on. He is a senior and he is adorable and just my type. We aren’t super close friends but we interact regularly. He is gay, but he is in denial about it because he is very religious. I can tell he cares about what I think about him. He always apologizes and explains himself for trivial things and he has said to me that he doesn’t want me to think he is “like that.”

Recently something happened and I am not sure what to think. We both went to a Halloween party at our friend’s house and we were both spending the night. It ended up being an extremely crazy party. I went upstairs to find a bed to sleep in and try to get away from the noise (and vomit) downstairs. I went into a room with bunk beds and closed the door and got in the bed, and he was there too. I apologized and got up to get on the top bunk but he told me to stay down on the bottom bunk with him.

I got in the bed and we didn’t necessarily cuddle but we just were lying together. Another person came in the room and we all three (mostly just them) started getting in a long conversation about politics, religion, and life in general. The subject of relationships came up and he said something like, “If you have a connection with someone, you should let them know.” I slowly crept my hand over and interlocked our fingers to let him know I liked him without the other person in the room knowing. We stayed like that with me holding his hand with my left hand and playing with his hair with the right for a while until the other person finally left and we were alone. He got up and locked the door and we were laying in the dark. He asked nervously if I wanted to “spoon” and I said sure. We cuddled for a while, then I kissed him and he kissed me back and we started making out. We eventually got mostly unclothed and we were sort of dry humping.

He told me that he had never “gone that far” with a guy. He asked if I have and I told him that I had.

The next morning I texted him asking if last night was “real” and if it meant anything. He told me that the whole thing was “hazy” but he knew what I was talking about. He said sorry if he “hurt” me. I told him that I was sober and I thought he was too and I didn’t regret anything. He replied with “it’s all good.” We still interact as if nothing has changed.

I can’t tell if he likes me at all or if he just took advantage of me. I honestly felt something with him that I have never felt with anyone else. I have been told that he has done things with other boys, so I’m not sure if I can trust that. I also don’t remember tasting any alcohol on him or anything, so it was strange to hear that it was “hazy”.

He is now sending me mixed signals and I just want to know if I should give up, which I really don’t want to do.

Wait, you don’t?

And why might that be, darling? Seriously, I’m asking you: what is so special about this guy, particularly, that has you just rarin’ to become another human roadkill on the endless, twisted, torturous highway of his denial and self-loathing?

Because that’s what’s in store for you if you continue to pursue him. I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but… well, just look at your letter. Even if this guy does have real feelings for you, he can’t admit or confront them; he’s so uncomfortable with his sexuality that he’d rather claim amnesia about your hookup than bump up against the truth about who he is. It might not be malicious (and in fact, he’s almost certainly too wrapped up in his own angst to even consider how all this makes you feel), but this is not a person who is capable of being in a relationship, with you or anyone else. He’s just not there. And until he does some serious work to get right with his own identity — until he can look in the mirror, in the cold light of day and say, “I like to kiss men on the mouth” — the best he’ll ever give you is what you’ve already got: a one-off makeout when darkness and drunkenness have lowered his inhibitions enough to allow it, followed by a bunch of responsibility-dodging malarkey the next day about how it’s all a blur he’d rather not discuss.

That said, you’ll note that I am not actually telling you that you have to give up on this guy. You are your own master — and if the scenario I’ve just described sounds like your idea of a good time, then far be it from me to instruct you not to enjoy your crush (in all its dead-ended, occasional dry-humping glory). But if you’re going to pursue him, you must as least do it with your eyes open and in full recognition of what kind of relationship you’re in for. Dating a deeply-repressed closet case is a recipe for frustration, especially for a person like you who has already done the hard, important work of self-acceptance. You’re ready for more than this guy can offer you — and personally, I think you deserve better than you’ll get from him. So before you resolve to keep chasing your closeted crush, please do look around, and look inward, and make double extra sure that you don’t like any of your many, many other options better.

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