My obsession with Supernatural goes beyond the 11 seasons that I have watched almost twice now. It goes beyond looking up endless posts about the characters, subtext, and non-canonical fan fiction, for I have also begun to follow the lives of the actors themselves — primarily the actors portraying the two brothers.
These wonderful gentlemen are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Jared plays Sam, and Jensen plays my namesake Dean.
Back in 2005, these two met for the first time post-casting. Both grew up in Texas but had zero relationship prior; now, they’re best friends. Brothers to be more accurate, honestly.
Their families spend tons of time together, and the two interact as lifelong brothers would. These two strangers met ten years ago and now cannot imagine life without the other. Each found his best friend, their true brother.
And I can’t help but wonder: where is my true brother?
I wish I could say that John has been my only attempt and that it’s his fault he isn’t my true brother. But it’s not. I could list off a dozen names of guys I have known and befriended where the relationship failed after our getting close.
Each time, it was the other the guy who simply left me.
It’s to the point that I now enter all male friendships with the expectation for it to end with the other person leaving me. Unhealthy? Definitely.
But in my experience, I have yet to find one that hasn’t had the same ending. We meet, become friends, start to get close, and then he ditches me because: he moves away and doesn’t feel like contacting me again, he has other friends to keep him company, he’s already close to his family and doesn’t need me, he is uncomfortable being around me, or whatever else.
Maybe it’s too much to hope for my Jared / Sam / Jensen / Dean / true brother / BFF. Maybe it is completely unrealistic. Maybe it is more common to have the longing than the fulfillment.
But is it wrong to hope?
It’s wrong to obsess; I get that.
But is it wrong that I look for that true brother still, that I still pray for God to bring that true brother to me?
I hope not.
O brother, where art thou…
Do you also long for a “true brother”? Have you ever experienced such a strong male friendship?
* Photo courtesy fanpop.
I do have a similar longing for a best friend, and I try to approach each friendship cautiously like you do.
It helps me to think more like “What can I give? How can I be a blessing to him? How does he prefer to receive expressions of love?”. I try to think less about what I can get out of a friendship, and give expecting nothing in return. When I do get a response of affection, I respond with amazement and gratitude.
I don’t think we should be looking for just “The One” like a person looking for someone to marry, but a group or network of guys with each fulfilling a different emotional need. And if one should leave your life for whatever reason then you have the others to lean on for support. In my case, I’m looking for my band of brothers.
But boy has that been hard. And I totally relate to your stories of being ditched. It’s happened to me so many times. Just recently I met a guy online and had a few phone chats with him until out of nowhere he said he didn’t want to meet or even stay in contact. It hurt so much it made me physically ill. Oh my god it has been so hard. I wish brotherhood could just be handed to me for once.
I have been praying for a friend to have, but especially for a friend I can be close with.
I moved to Lewiston, ID and I have zero friends here and have yet to make any.
I pray almost daily for someone to come into my life since I’ve been mostly alone in my struggles with very little support in trying to live gospel standards while living with SSA.
Same boat, man. Same freaking boat. I have friends that I’m close to relationally, but not geographically. When two people, even though they may be very close, live very far apart (and, sadly, even if they live in the same city, but their lives are each busy, a forty-minute drive might as well be the other side of the world), communication usually dies. People want convenient, self-gratifying relationships. I think this is quite the opposite of the kind of love and friendship Jesus said his disciples would be known by, so I see this as a serious problem in the church.
Your post is so true. What’s crazy is that it’s what so many want that so few have. I don’t think it’s mainly because of SSA either – that straight guys are freaked out by us or we put up walls around other SSA guys – even tho there may be something to that. And church should be the place where deep friendship is the norm but it isn’t. Friendship was easier when younger, you’re trying to figure things out with others who are figuring things out and everyone screws up at it and it’s ok. You go thru things together and end up at a different place together. When you’re older, you’re supposed to have things figured out and screwups are viewed less kindly, especially in the church.
Did anyone notice this weekend, so many of the stories of Muhammed Ali were about how good a friend he was? The guys being interviewed would say that Ali was his best friend. Other stories about other guys who everyone felt was their best friend were those who made people feel that they were the most important person in the world. I think Marshall’s got it right. I know when I’ve screwed up at friendship I was too needy and either expecting something from them upfront or trying too hard. Friendship’s one of those weird experiences in life where you have to work at it, but all the work in the world doesn’t necessarily result in something real, a genuine opening and meeting of heart and soul.
Dean, it’s not wrong to want that brother who’s true, it’s what were made to be for others and to have with each other. It’s kinda cliche-ish, that to have a friend you need to be a friend, but beyond it being trite there’s truth in it. Along with that prayer to God for true brothers in my life, I’m praying that God would work in me so I’m a guy who makes others feel like they’re the most important people in the world.
That is an outstanding prayer. I am going to borrow it.
No Dean, it is not wrong to hope and it is not wrong to look. I just prayed Isa. 45:2,3 over your hope. My wife and I were praying that passage over several of our friends here this morning. It was originally a prophetic promise to Cyrus, King of Persia, but I believe God wants to give you and all of us “hidden treasures stored in secret places” that we can know He is good. The bars of iron and gates of bronze that keep us from true brotherhood, healed sexuality, and possibly excellent marriages can only be broken down by prayer. And I know we have all earnestly prayed for these things until our hearts are sick with disappointment and disillusionment. But when I have staggered away from my crippling disappointment, I have found good things. And yes, I still long for a true brother. I’ll be sharing a week of national parks and good music with one of my best friends next week and am praying that our brotherhood will deepen during that time.
There are so many people looking for true friendship. Why is it that we never seem to find each other in real life?
I sure know how that feels. Being in missions people come and go all the time and it’s painful at times as there are people you love on the other side of the world and there are just periods where you aren’t close to anyone. I have my husband but I definitely feel the fault of female friendship at times. Last year was hard. I felt like I almost had nobody.
And I used to have a few very close short lived intense friendships but I’ve also come to see that those leave u just as empty afterwards. “Healthy friendship” almost seems like an possible goal at times.
Wow Ashley, I was involved in a mission agency for a number of years until it folded. Working at the headquarters, people came and went all the time as it was a short-term mission agency. I felt the sting of feeling alone many times…it made it harder when I had “official” responsibilities and had to keep a “wall” of protection so I would not hurt others or myself. I was expected to give without any return…and that was fine, but when one gave and gave and had no one giving back in your life it became hard…People would share things about themselves while they were part of the organization and then when their time was up, they often were gone and one never heard from them again. As I look back on that time, I thank the Lord for what He did teach me…to be a blessing without expecting anything in return, to name one thing.
It is interesting that we had people who were SSA it in and some who were openly gay. Sadly, we had a couple of people commit suicide…although there may have been several factors in this, I suspect their struggles with sexual orientation play a part…
I think you’ve struck a chord in all of us, Dean. You certainly have in me. To be known and known fully by another man is a beautiful thought, one that I refuse to believe is impossible. Let us keep striving forward. Grateful to have you in my camp and to be in yours.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that goes through this, the longing for a “true brother”, I’ve tried to explain it to my family an some friends and they don’t understand. One of the usual replies is “I’ll pray you meet a good girl soon” !?!? I feel like they didn’t hear a thing I said.
So it helps to know there are others that understand what I feel and think about this. I’ve prayed for one and somedays I just tell God to remember my brother where ever he may be or “they may be” (incase I’m not suppose to be looking for just one person)
I had a real deep connection with a guy a few years back, he was truly like a brother. He helped me get closer to God and was very understanding about my ssa. Sadly he had to move away the distance plus life has had an effect on our connection. I miss having a bond with someone close to home. Somedays I get tired of the long distance friendships
Recently I’ve started trying to concentrate on what it is that I can bring to a friendship. I usually just think about me and how the friendship would affect me and I want to change that throught process
That sounds like a great change, Bidkar. God’s grace all over that effort.
Hi Dean! Good post and a very relevant discussion for men with SSA. What we need is often that missed affirmation, attention, and affection of other males in our lives in healthy ways (non-sexual friendships). So seeking those close friends is actually very healthy. Don’t give up!
On the other hand, this goes with a warning. A man with SSA is often “needy” and may tend to focus his attention on one guy. This can put lots of “pressure” on the relationship which can scare even great, caring and generous guys away. I have done this. I have been a sponge trying to suck the life out of another guy…
But the flip side of the story is that I do have wonderful close relationships with men: Gay, straight, and with unwanted SSA. It takes work and patience. Look for responsive, accepting, vulnerable men who aren’t trying to hide their weaknesses and show only their strengths. And having more than one friend takes the pressure off trying to get your relational needs met from just one guy. Be cautious at first, but reveal some things that go beyond the “safe” level and find someone who accepts you as you are and is also open to go beyond the “safe” level with you. Good luck!
Hey Dean, I keep coming back to the pic you posted above with your post. It’s probably a long shot, but do you know the backstory to this pic? Knowing that they’re friends and they’re straight, there’s something compelling and innocent and good about it.
I believe that this picture was from an interview they were doing in between filming scenes during the first or second season. It is an incredible photo- you can see the bonds of friendship in they look at each other. Gah, kills me. Like you said- it’s good, innocent, and compelling.
Thanks man. You know what good thing your post and the pic reminded me of, I had 2 friends in high school and we all went different directions to college but we’d visit each other at school, and each summer we’d each take a couple hundred bucks, pile in the junker and head out for a week with a direction but no plan. We did this for 4 years and the last trip was the farthest, to Nova Scotia. We got in so much trouble and helped each other out a lot and successfully resisted responsible adulthood for a few weeks each summer. I still have the provincial flag that that Canadian police station hopefully doesn’t miss. Food fights in restaurants, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, skinny dipping. They literally saved my ass from being face down in a swamp after a night of Jamison’s. They were straight as all get out and I was still denying things. They have since gotten married and have kids and we’ve sort of lost touch with each other since college. Anyway, your pic brought back those summers of friendship when we had each other’s backs, stuff I hadn’t thought about it in awhile. . . thanks.
But then I feel most men don’t operate at the same relational level as me. Or operate at the same level I need. :/
I have been here too many times and wish I could find some men that want to have real, honest close relationships for the long haul.
So few and far between of men who know how to be real, caring, intentional but still mascualine.
Now being married… It makes it 10x harder and leaves me longing for the mascualine in healthy and unhealthy ways. I find so much fulfillment and satisfaction with my wife yet there is a need that she cant fulfill.
Is it wrong to look for that “true brother,” or to pray for God to bring that true brother to me?
If it is, Dean, then I’m in trouble too! Because I certainly do long for that “David and Jonathan” kind of brotherhood and friendship.
Have I ever experienced such a strong male friendship?
I’ve spoken of my relationship with Oscar before, in commenting beneath other YOB blog posts. I actually wish we all had the ability to link to our past comments, when we need to reference them as I just did.
To make a long story short, I loved Oscar as if he was my own flesh-and-blood brother, for all five of the good years of our close friendship. He was literally the filfillment of the “David and Jonathan” friendship I’d often prayed to God to find… and then our friendship suddenly ended on an extremely painful and sour note.
Even more painful than the death of my own father, losing Oscar’s friendship is by far one of the worst personal losses that I’ve ever experienced.
[…] have written about my longing for a “true brother.” And I have chronicled my adventures and misadventures looking for one. Recently, I came to the […]
Uh Dean if you could stop stalking me and writing about my life that would be great…ah as my mom says, “You have to laugh or else you’d cry.” I don’t know what to say except I feel the same way. Although, I’ll admit I’m equally uncomfortable with the idea of someone approaching me and being like, “Hi I’m Gerald, and I’m looking to be your best friend forever. Don’t leave me.” Yet, this is probably the way I come off (except my name isn’t Gerald). Who knows. I’m kind of sick of searching and trying.