I'm sure this has been discussed here before but I am not sure how to search back beyond the last few weeks so...

My close male friend is a survivor and he told me about it soon after we became friends. We've talked about it at length - mostly his confusion about his sexual orientation - and I've just tried to listen without judgement.

Our friendship has been slowly, slowly evolving into something more over the past several months. We talk a lot about our changing feelings for each other and our attraction to each other. We hold hands in the movies and kiss on the lips when we see each other. But when we talk about the future of our relationship the discussion becomes very....ambiguous. I can't seem to get a grasp on where we stand.

He recently told me that he's certain that he is heterosexual. I, myself, am not heterosexual so it's not of grave concern to me that he is. Once we're together, he can look as long as he doesn't touch. But I'm not sure what to think about the progression of our relationship. He is constantly critizing his male friends for moving too quickly into romantic/sexual relationships. He is always talking about taking it slow. But I wonder if the need for the snail's pace is because he's confused or scared or "just not that into me" or all of the above. Or, gosh, am I just a Jezabel and is he just old fashioned?

I'm afraid to ask. We talk about everything else and I'm afraid to ask about this part. When we talk about the abuse, I always let him bring it up. I'm afraid to bring it up for fear of traumatizing him or exacerbating the shame I know he struggles with - that I know I struggle with (I'm not above admitting that I am still in the process of figuring out what to do with my feelings about all of it). To ask about the progression of our relationship... I know it's at least partly related to what happened to him as a child. The one or two times we have addressed it head on he's said, "I have some things I need to work out" or "It'll work itself out."

I don't know. I am trying to be patient. I am here. I am not going anywhere. But I want to know what's going on with him. We joke constantly about his being a typical "Southern Man." He says he's full of "pride and bluster" and don't take kindly to people snoopin into his business. I feel like I have to tread lightly. He talks about it when he needs to but I don't know if I'm "allowed" to ask about it or to ask what it has to do with our relationship. Can I ask?