I am a bisexual widower in my mid-50s. My wife was a remarkable woman and the love of my life. She died two years ago after a wonderful 30-year marriage. I decided if I was ever ready to date again, I’d be interested in both men and women. Last year I met “Eric,” and we hit it off immediately. We spend a lot of time together; he’s very smart, talented, successful, and a lot of fun (plus he’s good-looking). Normally I have a fairly good intuitive read on other people’s orientations once I’ve gotten to know them, but I’m drawing a blank with him. Other friends who know Eric well have commented on our surprising closeness, saying that he usually prefers to do things by himself. He hasn’t dated in over 20 years and has apparently never had a serious relationship. We live in a fairly conservative community, which may have an impact on this.
Recently we were having dinner at my place and put the news on in the background. A male celebrity had recently come out as bisexual, so I decided to mention that I was too. Eric replied, “Interesting,” as if I had said “My favorite color is blue.” Then he moved on to another topic. I figured that may have turned him off. But he called the very next day, and it has made no difference in our friendship. He never comments on the attractiveness of either women or men. Maybe he doesn’t notice. Is it ever OK to straight-out ask someone about their sexuality? I want more of a relationship with him, but I don’t want to insult or upset him by being intrusive. If he’s not interested in romance, I’d happily keep him as my best friend and pursue romance elsewhere.