Cynthia in Keokuk writes:
I’ll try to make a long story short! My daughter’s father and I split up when she was a year old. We remained friends and he remained in my child’s life as much as possible. He passed away a little over a year ago. Here’s my problem… his brother has become my roomate. Lately we have become really close and the subject of sex came up.
He claims that out of respect for his brother, he cannot take this thing with me any further. I say, his brother is gone. Maybe that sounds heartless, but it is true. Do you think it’s wrong for us to take our friendship to another level? We are both adults over 40, and we are very compatible. He does things for me beyond what “just a roommate” would do. What do you think?
Your roommate definitely has thoughts and feelings for you that go beyond a cohabitation friendship, but you were his brother’s girl. He struggles with the moral issues associated with his feelings, but he really doesn’t deny that he has feelings for you. He just isn’t ready to make the leap from friends to lovers.
While your relationship with his brother has been over for quite some time, it isn’t that black-and-white for your roommate. They never stopped being brothers, and his hesitations are out of respect for that family bond. He also has concerns over what other people would think if the two of you became a couple. It’s a very tangled situation inside his head, and it’s going to take him a while to sort through it all.
Your points are valid. Your daughter’s father is gone, and you and your roommate are consenting adults. But be aware that you lost a friend, and your daughter lost a father. Your roommate lost his brother. It’s not so clear for him, because even though his feelings for you have developed, he has always regarded you somewhat as family.
The best approach you can take with your friend is to respect his decision, and continue interacting with him the same way you always have, without focusing on the desire for a more intimate relationship. If you push, you will push him away. If you do nothing, he will draw closer to you in time. For now, just be happy knowing that he cares about you a great deal, but understand that he currently can’t take this relationship to the next level without regret.
In the end, his desires will overcome his ethics – all you have to do is be patient with him.