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I’m Hindu and semi-out, and after leaving a toxic relationship that left me feeling suicidal, I came out to may best friend, who is older and in an open relationship.

He was amazing about it, and as we talked openly and frankly, this turned to flirtation – I realised I was in love with him. He would allude to being unhappy in his relationship and send me flirty texts at 3 am, so I thought I should tell him. I was wrong.

After I revealed my feelings for him, he cut me out of his life completely. He’s adamant it’s the only way to move on. I’m dating other people now and don’t want to be with him romantically anymore; I miss my friend and I wish I could tell him I’m over him, but he won’t reply.

Part of me is angry that I’m apologising for my depression, but on the other hand he saw me through some of my darkest times. We have mutual friends but nothing that would impact our lives massively. Do I give it one last try or is it too late?

Anil, by email

The Guyliner replies:

We all have those people in our lives who were there for us at a big moment in our lives and will forever be special to us because of what we shared. Usually, that person feels the significance of the occasion too, and it forms a bond that may well last a very long time.

Sometimes, however, no matter how momentous a life experience this was for us, they won’t hold it in the same regard. There are (at least) two sides to every story, and our own narrative and perception of an event can be skewed by our feelings of what happened.

He was there for you when you came out, which is one of the biggest experiences you will go through. It’s natural you will still feel some affection for him – a wistfulness, perhaps, that things are no longer as they were. But are you being honest with yourself about why you’re so anxious to maintain the friendship?

You say you are over it, and this isn’t impossible. We all say and do things in the heat of the moment. After sharing your coming-out with him, there was bound to be an emotional connection between you which – and here we go with two narratives again – you either misread or, and this sounds more likely, he got spooked by once shit got real. But this will have been a big thing to you, emotionally draining.

Cutting off all contact does appear to be very extreme and suggests the problem lies with him…

It’s a shame that his actions made you think you were safe to tell him how you felt – given your history, that must’ve taken a lot for you to do. Without the ability to talk it through – you say he has cut off all contact – has time helped you move on? Or has a few months on the dating scene made you realise there’s more to life than falling for the first guy who shows you some sympathy?

There is a danger, from looking at your letter, that this brand new you is only temporary, that you’re a sleeper agent, and all it will take to awaken you from your “I’m fine!!” hypnosis is to see your pal, or sit and be on the business end of his flirting again.

Whatever his reasoning, cutting off all contact does appear to be very extreme and suggests the problem lies with him, not you. He may well be embarrassed by how he acted. Perhaps he is ashamed that he gave you the wrong idea. Maybe he is worried he gave you the right idea but has now backtracked.

Related: Does he really like me, or is it just a physical thing?

I’m not a massive fan of the idea of you going to him cap in hand, trying to convince him you’re not in love with him anymore, apologising for your very understand slightly fragile state of mind when you saw him last. You don’t have anything to prove: you are out (or semi-out, or however out you feeling like being, it’s no matter) and, as you say in your longer letter, learning a lot about yourself and gay culture – such as it is. You could argue you don’t need him at all. But then we come back to that bond, that string between you, and whether it can withstand being pulled tighter.

So: stop apologising. Be direct. Tell him that after everything you experienced together it would be a shame to let a friendship go over a blip. Tell him you miss talking frankly about your situation, and life, that a touch of mentoring would really come in handy, that you trust his judgement. Joke, perhaps, that you will keep your hands to yourself – you could just do with a friend.

If he doesn’t respond again, you’ll probably have to respect his wishes. He might come and seek you out once he’s got over himself, but you should not hang around waiting for that moment. You have wasted enough time – the hour is yours.

And if he does get in touch and agree to be just friends… well, make sure he means it. Same goes for you.

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