The message he is sending you is unclear but that may be because he is confused or in denial about his own sexuality. There are many men who deny they are gay, go on to get married to a female, have children and many years later, admit or realize they are gay and leave their spouse for another man. You could imagine how devastating this type of scenario might be to the unsuspecting spouses and their families.
There are many reasons why one would deny that they are gay or be confused about their sexuality. One reason is discrimination and prejudice. Unfortunately, being gay in many cultures has negative consequences. Many people believe unfair and incorrect stereotypes about gay individuals and gay males in particular. For this reason, people may not be able to admit that they are gay and find it easier to keep quiet or try to “fit in.”
Another reason an individual may not be able to “admit” that he or she is gay is because they are not fully aware of their true sexuality. An individual in their late teens and early twenties (and even later) may experience confusion about which sex they are attracted to and some people are attracted to both. There are people who have homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves gay. The opposite can also be true, that some people mistakenly believe that because they had one homosexual experience that they are gay. Generally speaking, about one third of males have had homosexual experiences but studies show that only approximately 10 percent are actually gay.
With regard to your specific scenario, your male friend may not know if he is gay and it may be a while before he is sure of his sexuality. What is good is that they two of you seem to be very good friends. One of the fundamental qualities of a solid and sustaining relationship, whether it is platonic or romantic, is compatibility. Based on your account, your relationship has this quality and thus it may serve as the basis for a future romantic relationship if and when your male friend becomes certain of his sexuality. Until then, you may have to be content with being good friends. I know this may not be easy but no other type of relationship with him may be possible at this time. In the meantime, try not to overlook the fact that the two of you have developed a genuine connection to each other and that these types of relationships are truly rare. Most would consider you lucky because true friends are difficult to find.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 13, 2008.