Following the advice of my straight friend Brandon, I had now reached a milestone, a turning point in my life:
I was ready to talk to my girlfriend Sarah about marriage — even though I was definitely still attracted to guys.
It is so hard to describe my conflicted feelings at this point. I was scared — almost to the degree of panic — yet I knew God was in control and would help me.
I was confused but sure I should talk to Sarah about marriage. I knew I loved Sarah, but was it the right kind of love?
Before I could even think to ask my girlfriend to marry me, I was absolutely sure of another thing: I needed to confess to her that I was attracted to guys.
Any woman who’d consider marrying me needed to enter my world with her eyes wide open and seriously consider the unique and painful struggles she would have to deal with.
Sarah and I had anticipated the conversation for weeks; so, we were prepared. She actually started by sharing some difficult things from her past that I needed to know before marrying her. Then it was my turn, so I just dropped the bomb.
“Did you know I battle the temptation of sexual attraction to guys?”
“I knew something didn’t feel right! Would you say you are more attracted to guys or girls?”
“I am more than twice as attracted to guys as girls, but I believe God can give me an attraction to you.”
“No, no, no, I can’t deal with this right now. I need time alone to think!”
“Ok, please don’t run away and make a hasty decision. We should stay apart a week to think and pray about this, then meet and talk.”
We agreed to meet the next week.
I knew how to “read” Sarah well, so I was absolutely positive that she had permanently decided that she would never ever marry me.
I went home and cried.
As I prayed and talked to Brandon, I grew convinced that I should just give up on trying to persuade Sarah to marry me.
Brandon was surprised by her response and asked more questions about my attraction to guys.
When he saw how powerful my homosexual urges were and how difficult it was for me to feel anything for a girl, he said, “I thought you got over that same-sex attraction a long time ago!”
Even Brandon, my closest male friend, did not fully “get” me. I cried again.
When I met with Sarah the next week, both of us clearly stated that we were sure we could never marry each other and that our relationship was permanently over. We left open the possibility of remaining friends, but only after a lot of time apart.
I asked Sarah if she had any advice for me — even hard-to-hear advice.
She told me to quit suppressing my feelings.
She said most of the time I had given the impression that I was tough and unemotional. She thought I should only move forward in a relationship if my heart were in it.
If I didn’t intensely want a relationship, I shouldn’t even start it. If I wanted it, I should show my emotions in an undeniable way.
I thanked Sarah and never talked to her privately again.
More of my response and Brandon’s story to be continued . . .
Have you had an opposite-sex dating relationship end over your same-sex attraction? How did you move forward? Or on the flip-side, how did your marriage grow?
* Photo courtesy jobless_photoman, Creative Commons.
It was my freshman year in college when I met Rebecca through a common friend. Rebecca was in the Army ROTC and I was in the Air Force ROTC. Our common friend was Air Force as well, but also participated Pershing Rifles group with Rebecca. After meeting and one thing leading to another we became boyfriend and girlfriend. However, the romance was short lived as I wasn’t really harboring any romantic feelings for her. Some people even passively discouraged our relationship as they put down Rebecca as not an attractive prospect and felt I could do better with someone else. Eventually, I called off the BF/GF relationship and gave the reasoning as “I just can’t be in a relationship right now.” We managed to stay friends afterwards as she moved on to a teacher’s assistant position while I migrated from Ohio to North Carolina. Classic scenario of “it’s not you, it’s me.” At this point in my life I guess I was trying to rekindle those early teenage loving feelings of being in a relationship and to feel the loneliness void. Without having good solid social connections, the first year of college away from home can really suck.
The following year, my roommate introduced me to his on campus Christian group and finally I found the connection I was so desperate for the year beforehand. It was a great mix of people who worshipped and celebrated God on practically a daily basis. What I also found was a spirit of brotherhood where I could express words and acts of affection to my fellow “brother.” My SSA was still rather ambiguous at this point, but as I’ve come to realize (as I’m sure others have) I didn’t want a sexual relationship with these guys. I just wanted their love, affirmation and physical affection yet even this reach its limits.
Eddie, It sounds like your experience was similar to mine at least in one way. Your relationship did not last because the love you had for her was not the right kind of love.
As you pointed out, often Christian love and friendship are what we really want and need. Sexual love is not what we should seek as a substitute if we don’t have meaningful friendships!
It wasn’t the right kind of love. If I had to compare it was like the love of a sister. You are right… “Christian love and friendship are what we really want and need,” but more so I was wanting and hungry for the love of brotherhood. There is just this emotional hurdle I need to conquer. I’m not sure calling it “sexual love” really accurately describes this substitute as I see it as more lustful pursuits rather than loving endeavors.
[…] my girlfriend, Sarah, ended her relationship with me, I took some time to think through what had just […]
[…] only girl I had ever considered marrying dumped me and fell in love with my closest male friend. It looked more and more like I would lose them both. […]
Like you, I also knew that it was imperative that I be up front with my bride-to-be, before any marriage could take place. I was 27 years old at the time. And looking back on it, it really is an amazing story about an amazing woman, who has stuck by me as my wife for nearly 27 more years now, as I’m writing this.
We never really “dated” as traditions go. Dating was always so awkward to me, anyway. But I’d met Della in church, and she’d just come out of a previous “serious” relationship, herself. And other guys in our church singles group who knew her well would tell me that I didn’t stand a chance of dating her, because of that previous relationship.
I was attracted to her beauty and her warm smile, that much is true. But what was even more attractive to me was her love for God, and her wonderful personality. She was always easy to converse with, and I often acted silly and joked around with her during our church choir rehersals.
She never knew it at the time, but the first time that she held my hands and prayed for me one evening, before I left to go on a road trip… I was hooked! I knew right then that I desired to marry her one day.
When God finally opened a door for me to share my feelings toward her, it was right before being war-deployed to a little military skirmish in Kuwait that became known as “Desert Shield, Desert Storm.” I’d promised to write to her every day that I was deployed… and that I did!
Rather than traditionally “dating” as it were, over the course of those next 9 months, we got to deeply know each other through our letters to each other, and I felt myself falling in love with the woman who was speaking to me in all of those letters.
I shared many deeply personal truths about myself… my joys, my hurts, my hopes and dreams, and my fears… but couldn’t bring myself to tell her of my struggles with SSA issues and homosexual behaviors. I simply told her that there was “something else” that I did need to share with her, which had to be shared face-to-face, and that “I hoped she would understand when I shared it with her.”
In the remaining couple of months before I returned from the military deployment, God’s Holy Spirit truly did an amazing thing by revealing to her own spirit what it was that I needed to share, before I ever faced her to do so. She told me this only after I’d finally made that very difficult confession to her. And instantly, my own heart was set at ease.
As Red also commented, my wife could have done much better than me! And yet, here we both are, still together after all those years, and having raised two more beautiful daughters of Christ together during those shared years, as well.
I’m ashamed to admit that I did compromise our marriage one time, shortly after our first daughter was born. It was with another Christian friend who also struggled with SSA. But this wonderful woman forgave me, and she determined to trust me again during the months that followed that breach of our marriage covenant.
It hasn’t been the perfect “fairytale” of course. Every marriage takes hard work, and then marriage to an SSA guy takes even more patience and personal grace. But today I look at her and I see the wonderful gift that God has so graciously blessed me with, in the life-companion, lover, and best friend that my wife is to me.
I love her, and I thank God for her!
Thanks for sharing your story, Dean. I wish I had had the balls to tell my future wife. She was courageous, though. We met in a church that was pretty authoritarian (which was very good for singles). We had to even get permission from one of the pastors to date and we were monitored closely. I proposed to my wife-we had talked openly about sex-kind of. She knew that virginity was one of the things I valued (which was very ironic because I had involved myself in mutual masturbation with a friend). I was called to go sailing in this boat with one of our pastors. What was this about? On the Bay of Mobile he shared with me some news. My future wife was not a virgin and she wanted me to know before we were married. I was shocked. She was the greatest Christian I knew. How did it happen? We got together after my boat ride and we talked. She was not a Christian before she came to a personal relationship with Jesus at 22, but I knew she always went to church. She had fallen in college. It wasn’t just once. I was very sad for her, for us, but she misread my reaction. She thought I was greatly disappointed. But, there was a huge elephant in the room that absorbed my thoughts that day—“You have to tell her about your SSA and your sexual sin with your best friend”. I was way too scared to do that. I finally had within my grasp the very hopes and dreams I had had since childhood. A wife and children, the answer to my torment of my SSA. I have a hard time forgiving myself for being such a coward when my wife was able to lay it on the line. Would she have rejected me? I don’t know, she doesn’t know, but she tells me now she would have still married me in spite of my problem. After our first daughter was born we were laying in bed together one morning and I finally confessed to her my experiences with my friend. She chalked it up to teen guy stuff. I could not muster the courage to explain or reveal further my desires for men. Again, I chickened out. It took me almost 37 more years for me to tell her my secret. She still loves me and we are one flesh, connected at the hip. What would our marriage have looked like if I had been honest with her at the very beginning? I don’t know. It wouldn’t have changed my everyday struggle, but I wouldn’t have lived under the cloud of secrecy for so long. She would have helped me through this, I am certain, just as she is helping me today. Doggone it, I wish I had the balls to be a stronger man—for her, and for me.