He's your gay best friend and no straight man can live up to him. How this friendship can damage your chance for healthy relationship.
When I ride the New York subway, I'm the envy of most guys around me. I'm ruggedly handsome and have an understated sense of style (it seems I've perfected the sexy just-got-out-of-bed look) and I often have a big grin on my face—one that is inevitably triggered by the smart, sexy, funny woman at my side. On the face of it, we're picture-perfect. We banter; we flirt; I make her laugh like no other man can—at least, not on public transportation. It looks like a devastatingly irresistible dynamic. But not many know how devastating it can be.
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You see, I'm the gay best friend. Eric McCormack, Paul Rudd, or Rupert Everett have played versions of me in movies and on TV. Or maybe you've seen someone like me on the street, arm in arm with an adoring woman, grinning at a private joke. It's the kind of friendship that has great perks. There are the late night calls after a bad date and the early morning boasting after a really good one. There's the reliable ego boosting—"Bald is the new black!"—and the hours of bad TV, usually ending in a heated debate about who's the sexiest man on Grey's Anatomy.
The connection between a gay man and a straight woman is one of the most exciting permutations of any relationship. It allows both parties to revel in the thrill of a close rapport with the opposite sex—without the pitfalls that often (OK, always) accompany dating. But though the dynamic is rewarding, it's rarely simple. Because friendships between gay men and straight women do not adhere to the strict guidelines governing physical and emotional intimacy, it's easy for them to impede the development of healthy romantic relationships.
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Take Will & Grace. One of the sitcom's primary contributions to popular culture was its ability to candidly portray the feeling of being in love with one's best friend. As the title characters slipped into codependency worthy of an all-consuming romance, they found it increasingly difficult to cultivate meaningful relationships with other men. And because the list of women I've known and loved is—sadly—twice as long as the list of men I've loved and slept with, I, too, have fallen prey to what I've dubbed the "Will & Grace dilemma." Keep Reading...
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