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Falling in love with my stepbrother

I am love with my step brother. I am pretty confused by my feelings and i really appreciate any advice or feedback. This is a long story so I appreciate anyone taking the time to read and understand.

I met my step brother, who I will call Steve, back in 2016 when I was 16 and Steve was 17. His mother began dating and eventually married my father. Growing up, Steve lived with his father about two hours away, but he spent most weekends and summers living with his mom, so I would live with him about 30% of the year.

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Growing up, I never had any sexual or romantic feelings towards Steve. In fact I was much closer to my other step brother- who I’ll call Ray Steve’s biological brother. I met Ray when he was 15 and I’ve always felt like I was his biological big brother. I can honestly say that the same relationship never developed with Steve. Instead I always felt like Steve was one of my close friends. I have researched the westermarck effect and this seems to be consistent with that theory.

When i was about 17, I came out as gay to my family and while some were initially hostile, I never experienced any problems from Steve. At 19, I moved out of state for college. That was 2 years ago. During the course of that time, I traveled home for some holidays and the occasional wedding. I probably came home for a total of 60 days in 2 years. During that time, my feelings for him never changed.

It was 4 months ago, when I came home for my biological brother’s wedding- we’ll call him Tristan that I realized I had feelings for Steve. It was during that visit that I hung out with Steve quite a bit. Now he he 22 and I am 21. During that visit, We spent hours talking about life, ALOT about philosophy, and the kind of lives we want to live. These were eye opening conversations for me because I hadn’t spent a lot of alone time with Steve since I had left for college, and because he had grown up and matured so much. I found myself admiring and respecting him so much. I never expected him, out of all my siblings, to think about the world so much like I do. At the time, I was extremely confused by my feelings and pretty embarrassed. I wanted to extend my visit so I could spend more time with Steve, but decided to return home. At home, I confided my feelings about Steve to one of my former exes who is one of my best friends. He assured me that I wasn’t weird since Steve isn’t my biological brother, but then also proceeded to tease me about it. This compounded my feelings that there was something wrong with me and I eventually convinced him and myself that I didn’t feel anything for Steve beyond brotherly love. I was so scared to admit my feelings.

Last week, i surprised my family by flying in and planning to visit for a week. When I walked Into the house and shocked everyone- my family is fairly big- there was a lot of excitement and questions for me. I was a little overwhelmed by everyone. Steve is the quietest person in our family. He is a wallflower. With all the conversations going on, the one thing that kept catching my attention was Steve ceaseless smile and gaze. I tried to ignore it because it made me nervous, but I couldn’t help looking and smiling back because it made me so happy to do so.

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Over the last couple days, me and Steve have hung out quite a bit. During one of our conversations, we were talking about his current relationship-which is a disaster and I will get to later- when he asked me if I had ever had sex with a woman. I told him I hadn’t and then jokingly asked if he’d ever had sex with a guy… I was so surprised when he told me he had. He told me he had had sex with one of our family friends. Steve has known this friend longer then he has known me and he also sort of grew up with him. I asked him if he was interested in guys or if it was a one time thing and he said he wasn’t really sure. He said he didn’t know if he would want to have sex with a guy again unless a girl was also involved, but then he added that he might. He said they only had sex that one time. I should mention that Steve has only had sex a handful of times in his life.

That night I decided to join him and my brother-in-law at a local female strip club. I had never been to one before and I think it surprised him that I was open to going… In all honesty it wasn’t a big deal for me. I enjoy physical contact with other people, including woman so it was a good experience. During the lap dances, I watched the girls on him and I enjoyed it. At one point he leaned over and said we should do a private lap dance with one of the girls together. He also joked that we should tag team one of the girls. Honestly, I have no sexual attraction to woman, but I was actually tempted by his suggestion. I enjoyed seeing the pleasure the woman gave him.

Now to his girlfriend situation. He has been dating this girl for about 8 months. None of my family are very impressed by her; some even dislike her. In my opinion, she is pretty socially delayed. Also, the more time I spend with her, the more I get the feeling that she pretends to be nicer than she actually is. This suspicion is confirmed by my siblings who know her better. She is also extremely jealous and controlling. I notice she consistently reads his texts and tells him how he should respond… Luckily, he usually responds In his own way. When the three of us were hanging out the other night, I was trying to convince Steve to visit the city I live in and come to a music festival this summer. I told him about all the fun things we can do when he comes to visit, including a naked bike festival that I wanted to participate In. This made him really excited and he said he really wanted to join me for the naked bike ride. This really irked his girlfriend who almost immediately asserted that he couldn’t go to something like that because she’s uncomfortable with him being around naked people. I should mention that he never told her he went to the strip club because she would have been very upset.

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At this point I should mention something before you start judging Steve for lying. About four months ago, Steve had sex with his girlfriend for the first… And last time. This was her first time having sex and after they finished, she told him she never wanted to do that again. In fact, she doesn’t like doing anything sexual or intimate except holding hands. This girl isn’t religious or anything. In fact, she’s all gone on about trying psychedelic drugs and partying. This had led me to believe that she either experienced sexual trauma In her early life or is just asexual. This is beyond my ability to asses. All I know is that this has led to extreme dissatisfaction on Steve’s part. Steve says he’s never cheated on her but he craves that intimacy and closeness with someone. He has attempted to bring this subject up to her on several occasions and he says she gets angry and refuses to discuss it.

Last night, after spending the day with Steve and his girlfriend, I couldn’t help but confess when we were alone that I didn’t think he and her shared a lot of the same values. I explained what I had noticed during the day. I could list all the things I noticed but that’s really not the point. Needless to say, I am confident that she will be an anchor in his life. Our entire family agrees. At the end of the night I asked him what he likes most about her and he thought silently for a minute and then said ‘that she’s loyal and cares about me’. This sunk my heart because that’s not a character trait he should most admire In a partner… That’s something that he deserves to feel from his partner. He then explained how he really wants someone to love and need him. This made me even angrier with her because admittedly, I was jealous. I was already angry because throughout the day, Steve didn’t wear his seatbelt and I reminded him to wear it on at least ten separate occasions, all while his girlfriend was sitting next to him In the front seat and said nothing. I can’t handle the thought of losing him in a preventable accident because I love him so much. All the while she never said anything.

Okay enough bashing on his girlfriend. Needless to say, Steve feels unfulfilled by his girlfriend and yet stays with her because he wants to be loved. This is his first girlfriend so I understand why he doesn’t leave her. I, by contrast, have had many long term relationships and I am independent and love myself and my life. I am the only member of my family to leave the state. I live In a large city by myself and I enjoy the freedom that affords. During my experiences in love, I have experienced heartbreak and also the guilt of breaking hearts. My last relationship ended a year ago- by my choice- and I was able to maintain my friendship with my ex. He is today one of my best friends. So I know how to be In a healthy relationship and I also know how to enjoy being single. Over the last year I haven’t found anyone who I am interested in dating… And I don’t mean to sound cocky but I’m a pretty good looking guy and I have many admirers… Which is why I don’t understand why I haven’t felt this desire for anyone except Steve.

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I feel so confused. I’ve been in and out of love so many times in my life that I know this feeling is different. I’ve know Steve for ten years and I’ve always loved him. We already have so many memories together and we’ve always trusted one another. That’s why this feeling is so weird. Usually when infatuated with someone, i have this image of who I think they are, all the while knowing that the image is faulty. By contrast, I already know who Steve is and I love him for the person I know he his. We already trust and love each other.

I have no idea if the extent of my feelings are or would be reciprocated. Steve is a wallflower and holds his feelings close to the chest. He opens up to me when I ask him a direct question like when I asked if he’d had sex with guys before, but he doesn’t usually express himself first. It’s also hard for me to gauge his feelings because we already have the trust and love so I’m really trying to gauge the depth of that love, which I’ve never done before In this type of circumstance.

The thing is, Steve is very open minded, has the sweetest heart, and is extremely adventurous. If a romantic relationship were to develop, I think it could be extremely healthy. I understand his interest in woman and so I would be completely happy letting him have sexual relations with woman. In the end I am looking for the same thing he is: Someone who loves and trusts me, who I trust and love. Someone I can build a future with and travel the world serving underserved people. Someone whose heart I admire and revere.

Regardless if the extent of my love is reciprocated… I am thankful that he loves me and is already a part of my life. In the end, I really just want him to be happy and find the love he craves. I am trying to have no expectations as I know that Is the cause of disappointment and suffering. But I also don’t want to have any regrets later In life because I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and express myself. This is my conundrum.

Yesterday, I decided to extend my visit by three more weeks. I was dreading going home, partly because I miss my family at large, but also admittedly, because I want to spend more time with Steve.

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