Today we’re happy to introduce Cassandra, the Buzzsaw Relationship and Sex advice columnist. Cassandra is open to any questions our readers have and they can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask Cassandra” in the subject line. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous with your email, use this site when sending your questions.
I am a 20 year old female and I have a problem. I live in a dorm with my friend and roommate “Amy”. We’ve been friends for a while and decided we would be good roommates. We haven’t really had any problems until now. But since we started living together I’ve developed really strong feelings for Amy, both emotionally and sexually. I’ve never felt like this for a girl before and I don’t know what to do. Should I talk to her about how I feel? Should I keep my mouth shut? Should I move out? I feel guilty whenever she comes into the room and changes clothes because I feel like a creep for getting a thrill out of it. I cut back on my drinking when she’s around because I’m afraid of getting drunk and slipping up or trying anything on her. As far as I know she isn’t into to women at all. Then again, last I knew I wasn’t attracted to women either. I’m really stressed out and I try not to be around her as much anymore because I feel like a creeper every time she’s in the room. I feel like I’m betraying her trust by not saying anything but I’m afraid of losing her friendship. What should I do?
First of all, that really sucks. My apologies for your supremely awkward living situation. But in order to resolve this problem we need to break it down some more. You say that you’ve never felt this way for a girl before. Women’s sexuality is more fluid than men’s so it’s entirely possible that you are just experiencing a new side to your sexuality. It could just be a phase, or it could be that you are bisexual or a lesbian. On the other hand, you could be 99.9% straight and your friend Amy is just so perfect and awesome that you couldn’t help but fall for her. Before you say anything to her, and you will eventually have to say something, you need to examine your feelings. Are they predominantly emotional? If so then it’s more likely that you have a thing for Amy, and not all women. Are they predominantly sexual? If yes, then it’s more likely that this is either a phase you are going through or you have discovered you are bisexual. Are there any other women that you are now finding yourself attracted to? I’m assuming by your age that you are not a first year college student and that you have lived with other women in dorms before. This means you have seen other women getting changed etc. which leads me to believe that maybe your feelings for Amy are more about her as a person than all women. But I’m not inside your head. I recommend going to the counseling center to help you work through this or to a club that promotes an open dialogue regarding sexuality, such as Spectrum. Next, you should talk to the people in your Residential Office about the process of moving out of the dorm. This is sort of an emergency plan incase Amy freaks out and wants you gone (and you couldn’t really blame her for being uncomfortable if you are as crazy about her as you say). This way you know what steps to take. To be completely honest with you, imagine that Amy was secretly in love with you as well and wants to date. You should move out anyway. It’s better to have a relationship on solid ground before living together, especially one as new and different to the partners as their first same sex relationship.
So now on how to talk to her. You are right to feel like a creeper for being around her with these feelings of attraction. You are betraying her trust. I can almost guarantee you that if she knew you had feelings for her she would feel different about getting changed in front of you. Clearly this situation can’t go on for much longer. You want to take the initiative. You can go about this two ways. One, you can pose a hypothetical question regarding a “friend” that you have in your situation. See how she reacts to it. If she doesn’t react negatively, lets say starts to preach about the immorality of homosexuals, then maybe over time you can start to drop hints about how attractive you find her, or how close you feel to her. I don’t really recommend this approach because it would have to be done just right and there are a lot of places where you could go wrong. You would be better off just being direct with her. Say something like “Look, we have been friends a long time. I am not normally attracted to women but lately I have been attracted to you. If you are not interested in me I want to still be friends and I understand if you want me to move out.” Hopefully she will be interested in you as well, or at the very least understanding of your situation and not want to end the friendship.