Last week our roommate left his computer open and we decided to look at his Internet history. To our enjoyment, we came across an online dating profile he created behind our backs. Upon reading further, however, we found out he was gay and has graphic sexual fantasies about one of us. How do we figure out which roommate he has the fantasies about, and how do we approach this awkward situation?
Not your typical bromance
So, you played the “you shouldn’t have left your computer open because now we’re gonna mess with it” prank, and you came across its downside — you learned information that you should not know. And not cute, “he runs a Beanie Babies fan website” information.
How do you approach this? Keep being his roommate.
He has elected not to tell you that he is gay. That is a part of his life, not yours, and you treat him as you did before — except you stop investigating his computer.
If he decides to come out to you, you respect him. If he never says a word, you respect his privacy.
This is not something you bring up; this is something he brings up.
By and large, sexual fantasies are private, harmless and universal, a fun way to envision an otherwise unobtainable desire without risking offense or rejection.
The exception — and you need to think long and hard before deciding upon this conclusion — is if his “graphic sexual fantasies” are a real threat to you.
For instance, if he talks about actually planning an act of sexual violence or incriminatingly uses your name in a public forum, like the Internet, without your consent, then you address him in calm conversation. You apologize for playing with his computer, say how what you found makes you feel and discuss how you all can resolve it.
But with six weeks left on your housing contract, let him approach you. Stay off his computer, and limit pranks to hiding the toilet paper.
Alex Bill is a junior studying psychology and criminology.
Broken trust hits like a swinging sucker-punch.
No one asks for lying friends or wants people tarnishing their faith in others — but it happens. People make mistakes, and those mistakes make their fates.
Do the sexual fantasies sound threatening? Harboring those fantasies about whichever roommate might lead to undesirable or even scary actions by your roommate. That’s not to say fantasies are harmful; most prove healthy and innocent.
Preventing unwelcome sexual behavior is the priority in this situation; however, victims of sexual abuse always meet harmful endings, emotionally or physically. All roommates need to feel safe in their own home.
In dealing with his sexuality, acceptance is the best policy. So he is not who you thought? He isn’t a serial killer or rapist. His only crime is protecting his privacy. Think about it — this may be a new exploit for him also, and his first step toward being courageous is telling strangers via the dating site.
Love is love, no matter what form it takes.
You guys are treading in dangerous waters by snooping on his computer. Telling him what you saw risks losing his trust in you guys, which sounds like a fun living environment — not.
Unless the sexual aspect of what you found disturbs you, Nancy Drew, drop it.
Wait for your roommate to approach you. It may never happen, or he might tell just one roommate, but sexuality is private. He will invite you in when he is ready. That takes maturity on your part to avoid drunken confrontations or schoolgirl gossip.
Get barefoot and walk in his shoes for a while. What would you want?
Steph Doan is a junior studying journalism. Are you having love, sex or relationship issues? Email Alex and Steph at firstname.lastname@example.org.