Lisa’s first thought when I walked in the room? “Wow, he’s cute! And gay…”

She was a recent high school graduate enjoying her last summer before college. She had a serious boyfriend, but from the moment she saw me, she knew she wanted to marry me. There was just a slight problem:

I wasn’t attracted to her.

I met Lisa through her older sister, Cassie. We were best friends at college together, and I went to visit her during a summer break. Cassie was stoked to introduce me to her family, especially her little sister Lisa.

She just knew Lisa and I would be friends as well.

And she was right! We hit it off great, having a million inside jokes after just an hour of hanging out together. We got along amazingly! I felt so at ease talking with her.

After that fateful day many, many, many years ago, Lisa and I kept in contact, remaining good friends.

I simply enjoyed her as another great friend; she, however, was still smitten with me.

Over the years, our friendship grew closer. As I started taking my faith more seriously, I began texting her each day about my devotions. She in turn replied with her own daily Bible devotions. For probably a year, we texted every single day about all God was teaching us. This eventually turned into long conversations via text with visits from our respective schools as often as we could make it.

Then life happened — we were both college graduates moving on to jobs many hours apart. But we wanted to remain good friends. So, I decided to drive to visit her — on Valentine’s Day. I swear it wasn’t on purpose.

We celebrated the “holiday of love” with a picnic lunch and coloring pages.

As I drove away, Lisa couldn’t help but feel depressed. We had known each other for years and she had been liking me more and more — even falling in love with me — for all of them. And these feelings were taking their toll on her. Even though she treasured our friendship, it was honestly killing her to remain that way — as just friends.

I had already opened up to her about my SSA at this point, so she knew nothing would ever happen.

But as I drove away that day, a single thought came to mind: “Crap, I think I’m in love with her.”

I talked with several close friends in the following weeks. I had never really liked a girl like this. I mean, I had attempted dating girls before, but that was about as successful as a snowman on the sun. This time, though — this time, I was seriously head over heels for this girl.

After months of agonizing over what to do, the unthinkable happened. Lisa texted me saying, “I like you. You don’t like me. Something has to change between us.”

I immediately texted back the most romantic thing I could think of: “I never said I didn’t like you.”

I’m a charmer.

We discovered our “like” for each other. But we decided to hold off on dating. Our lives were pretty distant in the geographical sense, and I wasn’t ready for a relationship. After all, I had only just been able to admit I even had feelings for her.

More months passed, and Lisa had finally had enough. She liked me. I liked her. I was doing nothing about it.

She sat me down at a coffee shop while visiting me and said to date her or leave her.

I did the most romantic thing I could think of.

I asked her for time for me to pray about it.

I’m so great at relationships.

After weeks of prayer, many conversations that involved my getting called an “idiot” and much patience from Lisa, I called her up one night and asked her to be my girlfriend. We started dating.

Nineteen months later, we married.

And trust me — this story is only just beginning.

How has dating the opposite sex played out for you? Have you struggled to gain the courage to ask out someone?

* Photo courtesy Neerav Bhatt, Creative Commons.

  • By the time I was 23 I had dated 2 girls (sex included), dated 3 guys “seriously” and had sex with over 100 guys (rough estimate). I had/have serious emotional issues relating to women (feeling inferior to other guys being the major challenge).
    At 23 I made the decision to leave the gay world, and pursue women (marriage). I was petrified to ask women out – rejection was always soooo painful. So I joined a dating service (yes they existed before the Internet). I perhaps met / dated 10 women. The only other “date” I had was an older married woman at work – who pursued me and our friendship became sexual. I opened my heart to her, including my homosexual history. But I felt very guilty about being the “other man” in her marriage. Ironically she was the only woman I dated that I told of my SSA.
    The last woman I met through a dating service I married (I was 31) and we’ve been married nearly 24 years. She still doesn’t know my history. In my mind telling a woman about that part of me would had killed any chance of a long term relationship – and ensured rejection. I respect the courage you men had who revealed SSA to girlfriends and future wives. I did it the “wrong way”.

    • Thank you for sharing, Jim. I’m sorry that your past experience in relationships has been so rough. Relationships are already so difficult. Past hurts only complicate them more. I pray you and your wife can continue to grow in your relationship.

      • Thanks Dean for your prayers. We are entering uncharted (emotionally volatile) waters as our daughter nears college (Fall 2016) and the “empty nest” stage.
        BTW, the only TV show my wife and I both like to watch is Supernatural. We have every season on DVD and hoping for Season 12!

        • Good luck with the “empty nest” stage- it will provide some great quality time for you both.
          And you can fill with reruns of Supernatural, the best show EVER. Always thrilled to meet another fan! And things are looking good for a season 12- I’m praying for a season 12, 13, 14, and 15 too.

  • I was in total denial of any SSA so I did pursue girls, though I was so innocent. Lol! I could have had sex with at least two of the girls I dated, but that really terrified me, as I had a rather religious idea about sex before marriage being the unforgivable sin. After my basic arts degree I came home and met a girl from a family long known to our family. I remembered her as freckle faced with a mop of red hair, but now she was a total knock-out. I was totally bowled over and then had the opportunity to get to know her better and things started moving along. But the end of the year we were engaged and married some nine months later. After three children and a lot of water under the bridge, I was confronted with my SSA. My wife picked up something was wrong and confronted me. I came out to her the same time I came out to myself for the first time! But there was no help to be had and we stayed married, raised our kids, but didn’t live happily ever after. When internet happened my addiction to porn got out of hand and I separated from my wife in an attempt to find answers. We had been married for over 40 years by then.

    • I am sorry that your story didn’t end well, Jeremy. I pray you can find the answers you’re looking for.

  • I was on the road to marriage with a woman I dearly loved. Like you and your wife, we shared profound faith, and she knew that I was gay, or at the very least bi, but unlike you that knowledge was not helpful in preserving our relationship. I was simply not capable of loving her the way she deserved and needed – not erotically, not romantically, nor maritally. It broke both of us. I had been in several serious relationships with women, but this one was what finally forced me to see the truth: for me, pursuing a relationship with a woman was not kind, loving, or self-sacrificing, but a terribly selfish enterprise.
    It was after that relationship that I realized my two options: be celibate, or be with a man. I simply was not willing, unless God made it explicitly clear to me, to put another woman, nor myself, through such a hell. I am now with my partner – a wonderful, holy man. My relationship with Jonathan is everything my relationship with women was not – fulfilling, self sacrificing, and a channel for God’s grace.
    I fully support anyone who is gay and chooses to be in a heterosexual marriage. I am delighted when it works. One of my favorite phrases is “normal, but not normative.” It might be normal that most gay people cannot make a straight relationship sustainable, but neither is it normative. A few can and do make it work. My concern also has to do with the reverse: many Christians making straight relationships for all or even most gay people normative.
    Many blessings on you and your wife,
    Stephen
    Sbradfordlong.com

    • I had mentioned to Lisa early on in our dating relationship that she was the only woman I could ever imagine marrying. I knew she was my only option for having a heterosexual marriage. I’m sorry your relationship with such a dear woman in your life had to end in brokenness, but I am glad you have a person with whom you can share your life.
      I appreciate your support in my pursuing this marriage. I have had people criticize me harshly because I have chosen to marry a woman- people I used to be close to. I love that you point out that neither side should make this relationship “normative” though. The church has needed to correct its response in this area and I believe culture also needs to adjust its current views as well.

      • Dean, what do you mean about the church’s response? The church’s mandate is not to make believers of Jesus but followers whom Jesus calls disciples. The church is commissioned in Matt. to teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded. The church is to teach that gay relationships are abnormal and are acts of disobedience called sin. And sin is the most dangerous thing in the whole universe!

        • I was referring to what Stephen said about SSA men entering into a relationship with a woman. A strong majority of churches will say that “true” signs of faith will come when a man who deals with SSA marries a woman. I even believed it myself for all too long a time. However, that is simply not the case. Not everyone, straight or gay or anywhere in between, should get married, no matter what they believe. Marriage is a calling- it should not be entered into lightly.

  • Dean, I love your story and the happy inevitable (because of Jesus) ending! Thanks for the detail :). After coming to faith and moving from just believing in Jesus to following Him, I slowly (emphasis on slowly) learned that loving Jesus meant obeying Him. And so, in his Matt. 19 account of marriage Jesus pointed to the irrefutable standard of Genesis 2 that a woman is God’s only suitable companion. I identified as a son of God with SSA temptation but without any OSA. This was a problem because being with a man was not an option so being single was my lot.
    But, I learned early that many desires and their corresponding attractions were missing from me such as the desire to be kind, humble, giving, honest, loving, gentle etc. Yet God promises a new heart in Ezek. 36:26, and of course out of that heart new desires and attractions arise even OSA! And so it was with me.
    One day I saw the feminine in a girl and it was beautiful and attractive to see. Like you, I spent a lot of time with this girl. And then married her. She has indeed been the suitable companion of Genesis 2 and because God invented marriage He is powerfully into it beyond my wildest imaginations! God is jealous about marriage and makes it work as both my wife and I turn to Him in our days of conflict.
    Have my SSA disappeared? No. Neither have many other temptations which remain. As I’ve said in a previous post there indeed are two of me. But that is normal this side of Heaven. My identity is not my temptations as some describe themselves but rather I am a son of God whom Jesus saved and is redeeming daily. Indeed, as you say “the story is just beginning” and it is quite the journey because of Jesus!

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Jon. I am glad my it has been a blessing so far. I pray you continue to grow closer to God through this relationship.

      • Thanks Dean for the prayer. I’ve been married 25 years and with two children added to the mix it has indeed been quite the ride! My own wife knew about my SSA before we married and knew God would help me deal with it and He has not failed me. The best to you :).

  • I have never dated anyone. Beyond just the attraction issue, I struggle with selfishness and lack of confidence. I have a demanding list of things that I would want in a woman that I was dating, which makes it all even more difficult. I guess since I don’t have the immediate emotional or physical response to women, my intellectual response has taken over. I was excited when I got a job with one girl I thought I may be able to date, but even just our lunch outings started to bug me 🙁
    However, like you, I’ve had women who have admitted or at least hinted at having a crush on me. I hate to lead them on, so I tend to really cut back my time with them after I learn such things.

    • Marriage and fatherhood are two of the most unselfish acts I have ever done. The commitment any romantic relationship takes, gay or straight, is mind boggling at times and will definitely stretch you to grow as a person. You will struggle in areas you never thought possible! I pray you continue to grow through friendships and work partnerships.

  • Ugh… I never wanted to date anyone. Not really, anyway. I used to think that if I ever dated a girl, she’d have to be a lesbian biker chick, so that at least our mutual disdain for each other sexually would be something we’d have in common. I thought we’d understand each other much better that way. I’d had two good friends with whom I just clicked with quite naturally and they both happened to be lesbians. I wanted a strong, tough woman who loved God more than she loved me. Instead, I fell in love with a gentle, super-feminine Japanese girl who wasn’t even a Christian when I first met her. I began to feel attracted to her immediately after she’d gotten saved, though. We got married and I can honestly say that she is the best woman for me. Those lesbian bikers don’t hold a candle to her.

    • I had once considered the same actually- I figured a woman attracted to other women would help balance me out. However, that is completely illogical, I see now. I am so glad you found an amazing woman that trumps your imaginary lesbian biker wife.
      Also, you have been a huge inspiration to me in my own marriage, Kevin. Thank you.

      • It’s a little funny to me that you and I thought the same thing about our possible future wives. I also thought I wanted to marry a black girl, or Asian, or some other race; I just couldn’t see myself getting hitched with a white girl. That much turned out to be right.
        I don’t know how I’ve inspired you in your marriage, but I’m glad I did. Glory to God. You’re welcome.

  • I am interested to see where your story goes. For me, getting married was not really a choice. It was expected and since I was in denial of my SSA, I pursued it. I am fortunate in that I found a beautiful Godly women that I really did fall head over hills for. I know and believe that it was love that joined us, but I have also come to realize that even though I did not believe marriage would heal my SSA, I did think it would stifle it. I wish I had told my wife (and others) of my struggle before marriage. It was prob about 5 years into the marriage that I admitted it. She took it well and we were both committed to our marriage. We have been married for 15 years now and have two boys. It has been rough at times. I allowed addiction into my life and eventually pursued a relationship with a guy. The guilt and shame was hell and I confessed. God put this wonderful women into my life and she has indeed been a blessing. I am walking in repentance and seeking healing in our marriage. My wife loves me dearly and pursues my love for her ferociously. We are closer now than ever and I know I am blessed. Of course I still struggle, but more than ever I bring this to Christ and pray that His grace will indeed be sufficient for me.

    • Mike, I admire your honesty which speaks of your integrity. As Luther said on his death bed (I think) “we are beggars all”, but few of us have the courage to confess (unless we get caught). To be human is to beg for mercy, grace, and power to repent. You are an example to all of us. Repentance is tied to the good news which Jesus proclaimed in Mark 1. What is wonderful and true is that He supplies the Power to be able to turn from sin and become free of it. It’s a truth that the enemy of our souls wants us not to know but Jesus makes sure we do!

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Mike. I am sorry you had to fill in your marriage but how amazing the grace of your wife and the Grace of God that gives us strength to come back from that. I pray you continue to grow in Christ’s Grace. Stay strong and keep pursuing Him!

  • let me just say that your story is actually pretty adorable – I understand how you feel as not being the most romantic person on earth haha; my husband is constantly reminding me. Oddly enough it was while I was engaged that my coming out to myself process really began. Our dating/engaged phase was different I guess than most, because as a SSA person I obviously relate differently to men than most but in that I´ve discovered that I am capable of loving him and loving him deeply even though it may look different to people on the outside looking in

    • I know what you mean, Ashley, about relating differently to your spouse- because I had always related to women better, I related to Lisa differently than her previous boyfriends. It led to some humorous conversations as well as a few frustrations- but it eventually brought us closer together. I hope the same has been true with you and your husband!

  • I hear about stories like yours and still think they are fairy tales, or at least for me and not someone else.

  • I am 21 years old and my parents had this rule that we were not allowed to date anyone until we turned 16. So that kind of put this weird mindset in my mind… (imagine that… a mindset in your mind) that dating was wrong. And as a kid going through puberty seeing lots of my friends dating people, I wasn’t allowed to and ended up pretty my thinking dating a girl is wrong without really consciously thinking, all while I am discovering that I have attractions to guys in more ways than I realized. I think that God has really started to heal a lot of my fears of dating and being in a relationship. I have started praying almost everyday for my future wife which I think is so important, and I am believing that God will bring her along in His timing.

    • I understand the fear of dating- I had sworn it off personally until college. I figured high school was going to have enough problems. I love that you are already praying for you future wife- keep that up! Definitely trust in God’s timing, Brandon.

  • Dean

    I write under this pseudonym account and do my best to pursue Jesus Christ every day. I fail often, yet I get back up each time. I am married to an incredible woman I call Lisa – she is far better than I deserve. My daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. And in my spare time, I watch my favorite TV shows and movies, play RPG video games, and hang out with my friends. Yes, I am a nerd and I am proud of it.

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