This is part 1 in my series about my friendship with Justin. Check out Part 2 here.
I met Justin about a year after he became a Christian. He had joined the same church I attended, and I got to know him through another friend at church. He was a straight musician with a very strong love and devotion to God. We were also both reaching out to share our faith with the same group of non-Christians.
I need to mention that Justin is extremely good-looking, so much so that he was always getting a reaction from people around him. I remember a female server staring at him and dropping her tray in the restaurant. An SSA guy once turned to me and said, “He’s hot!”
Justin dealt with this constant attention by pretending he didn’t notice.
A few months after I met him, Justin caught mononucleosis and moved back to his parents’ house to recover because he barely had enough energy to function. I kept in touch with him then, but most of his other friends did not.
I went to his parents’ house several times a week, and we texted or talked almost every day. My new straight friend started telling me his innermost thoughts, from the guilt he felt over his sin to the hope of a closer relationship with God.
I knew Justin was telling me things no one else knew. He was clearly spending more time with me than anyone else and talking with me on a deeper level, too.
This was a dream come true for me!
Our close contact came at a difficult time in Justin’s life, and he and I drew emotionally close to each other. We started treating each other as best friends. When he recovered his energy, he and I decided to move into the same place together since we’d shared such a strong bond of brotherhood.
This situation felt amazing to me. I was best friends with a straight guy.
We could live together and share hugs and other brotherly affection without worrying about falling into sexual sin. I felt loved, valued, and emotionally high!
To be continued . . .
Do you have a “best friend”? Have you experienced a close friendship with a straight guy? How did you love and support one another?
* Photo courtesy Brian Wolfe, Creative Commons.
For most of my life, all my friends were straight. And since I didn’t realize/recognize ssa was part of my reality until about 5 years ago it was never really an issue but at the same time not knowing what to look out for it did set me up for these codependent type relationships where I was emotionally attached to someone but never really”got” why the connection was the way it was. So back then straight relationships were safer in a way because I was never paranoid and then I got to a point where I would rather someone who understood (another ssa individual) and now I’m like I don’t care if they’re gay or straight – I just want a close friend that I’m not attracted to and isnt attracted to me.
As long as there are boundaries I don’t slip into emotional dependency as easily with any friend. Friendships can work with people with or without SSA.
Two guys I consider my best friends are straight and I have not told either of them about my struggles with SSA. While we have done a lot together and had a lot of fun times I can’t say we’re exactly “close” because we don’t share intimate details about each other or show much physical/emotional affection. I want it to be more intimate and affectionate but its hard to do (there is no handbook on how guy friends can be more affectionate with each together after all…) and some of the times I’ve tried to make it deeper have failed. With one of them I’ve tried to talk about some deeper issues but when I do he just sits there silently and acts like he doesn’t want to talk about it and simply changes the subject.
Its very difficult because like I said, there’s no handbook on how guy friends should be more intimate and I’m working under the oppressive modern societal rules that says guy friends aren’t supposed to be close unless they’re gay.
If you want to go deeper- make them cry. Or be around them when they cry. That shame-filled experience is usually the only time when walls come down- when they see acceptance instead of rejection.
Or you know, a socially acceptable situation, where later, they are allowed to deny having feelings. Like when they are drunk, or stoned.
Best advice- don’t tell them. It makes guys insecure and question your motives- which in turn means they lose trust in you. If there is any coming back from that- it will be rocky.
Instead, learn to satisfy your needs apart from friendship with guys. Become satisfied in yourself- without the affirmation you feel like is needed to complete you. Face your shadows- ask the wind- why it howls. And learn that you have what it takes, within you already, to be complete, to be satisfied. You have what it takes.
That God’s blessings can actually be real to you. That you can actually believe that we are new creations – and that we have become sons of God. That we don’t need to fill the hole- before we can hear God. No, if we light the shadows, we find the hole is already filled.
I’ve been hoping for a moment in which they would cry over something (as awful as that sounds) but I think since most guys are told that real men don’t cry, catching them crying will be very difficult. It also just so happens that I have been drunk with the one friend I was mentioning above and even then I couldn’t get him to open up much. And yeah I’ve decided not to open up about my SSA to them because I believe if I do I can kiss all hopes of intimacy goodbye from them because like you said, they’ll question my motives.
But I have taken the last few months to be on my own and meditate at parks and things like that and pray a lot to God for answers on what I should do.
Become satisfied in yourself? Are you for real? If that were possible, Adam would not have needed Eve. We were not meant to be alone. Even us SSA’s. I don’t know that a best straight friend is the answer. I have found that I can sexualize any male male relationship given enough time. It’s tough. Distance is the only cure for a friendship that heats up too fast. Myself is just not that interesting. I need augmentation from another source. I try to make that God, but the hole you speak of needs flesh and blood as well as presence. It will be a gaping wound until I die.
I think it’s possible to be content without a guy friend, or mate- just like Paul talks about in 1 Cor 7- some should marry. But others do not need to marry.
Think of all the examples of men in the Bible that were single, and in many ways, alone. All of the prophets, John the Baptist, the apostles, Jesus. Singleness is not a curse.
It’s possible, and a blessing to be content in any circumstance- with or without people. By yourself, alone.
Also consider that you are never actually alone- if you have accepted Jesus. The Holy Spirit dwells within you.
The other point I would make is that needing people, to feel ok about yourself, that is not friendship. I’ve done that many times and feel like, on some level, that I’m just using them to justify myself.
If I’m using them- is it really friendship?
Yes- people and friendship are a blessing. But, needing them- to feel ok with yourself- it points to a deficiency in yourself- that another person will never fix.
To resolve that, you have to ok with yourself. Trust that God has already given -you- all that you need to be whole, complete, to be functional. You got this.
Just sit with your anger, wild need, hurt. Talk to them. Ask them “what are you?”. Listen.
Bring these things to God, pray.
Look into the darkness- your shadow. And try to see what’s there.
These are the things that have been helping me recently. The alternative is to give into despare. Because filling the hole doesn’t work- it just makes it mad. Walking around it is dangerous. Diving into it is depression.
So what’s left? Confronting it. Bring it into the light. Like hidden sin, or a nightmare, it loses its power when in the light of day.
If you want guys to open up to you, you need to build trust over time. Repeatedly demonstrate that you are FOR them. Join in working on their projects or hobbies. Open up yourself about your own issues, not necessarily SSA. Some guys may still not be interested, then just move on.
I think my “best friend” is probably my therapist du jour (I change them up periodically). I end up telling them deeper thoughts- there is never risk of entanglement- because of professional boundaries- and I have their attention- because I’m paying for their time. Not that the conversation is ever only about me- it is a relationship after all- it’s just a very “clean” relationship- uncomplicated, upfront with expectations, we understand each other’s roles.
That type of uncomplicated relationship is hard to come by outside of the 4 walls of a therapist’s office. I mean, I would rather not pay for someone to understand me or be my friend- but it’s just much easier overall.
Unlike most SSA guys, I don’t connect with other LGBT people that well. The SSA guys I’m familiar with are usually older and needy- having just come out- or they are trying to figure out their way- or they are trying to fill the male- relational hole they feel. Something about the neediness- unnerves me- I can feel the emotions of those around me- and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I also feel uncomfortable with the idea that I could grow close to a SSA guy and end up having a sexual encounter with them. Again, this comes back to lack of boundaries- which seems to be a recurrent theme- a particularly difficult skill for SSA guys to master.
And I don’t really connect with women on a friendship level. So, straight guys have basically been my only friends through my life.
Straight, male, friendships are usually low commitment, low intimacy relationships. They are happy to hang out- surface level talk- until something more important comes along- of which there are many things. Wife/ girlfriend, kids, other family, work, sports, hobbies/ interests. These things are important- but they always trump any quality time we might spend together. So, I’ve adapted to have many low intimacy straight male friendships- because if one falls away- I can just replace it with another.
Sounds cynical? Probably is. Better than being frustratingly without guy time? Yep. Are these relationships perfect/ fulfilling in any substantial way? Nope. It’s like drinking saltwater from a fire hydrant.
But such is life. Without God nothing really comes to fruition. We hold on for dear life as the weather and storms try to blow us away- and instead of building on shifting sands, we cling to rock. That’s not to say that our needs- which savage our lives- are without merit. They are just heady and unreliable- a force of nature.
So I try to minimize my losses- and realize that God is the only reliable one. Not that I often realize that truth – or fully believe it. I still chase after the temporary satiation of male affirmation- but know deep within, that it will never, actually, satisfy.
Yes, God Himself is the only one who will fully satisfy. People will eventually disappoint me.
I do believe it is possible to have a deep friendship with a straight guy, he should just never replace God for me!
The whole ‘best friend’ thing is a bit homoerotic at best, even if it’s a couple of straight guys. It might be best not to rank friends in this way.
I agree now. Back then, not so much. I know I need several friends, not just one.
If I had a “best friend” like that… I think (knowing my personality) I would become emotionally dependent and/or co-dependent. I understand the “red flags” that mike (below) mentions. But still… I get it. The “high” of having a friend… a real friend… when for so long I have had none at all, is exhilarating.
Yes, it makes me happy too!
Ever since I was a child I had a desperate desire for a best friend. It was not about intimacy or touch for me, I wanted a friend that was willing to be invested in me. A friend who knew me well enough to know by just my tone whether or not I was having a good day or a bad day. A friend, who would message me in the middle of the day to say Hi or share the most random of things. A friend that would just listen to me when I needed to rant, scream, cry and laugh. A friend that would hold me accountable, would preach the Word to me in love and encourage my Spiritual growth. Sometimes this feels like too much to ask for, too much to expect….but there is still a hope in me that says “hold fast and don’t give up hope”. Amazingly enough, there is a community of men here on this blog that I believe all want the same thing. We are not alone in our hopes and desires for friendships. Our SSA should not disqualify us from reaching out and pursuing true Biblical friendships, because that is truly what we are longing for. Yes, we must guard our motives, we must set boundaries…..but we cannot live in fear that telling our story and being honest will scare others away. To do so, would be to live a lie, to wear a mask. How can we expect to build true honest friendships with that as are basis. No, we must share our stories with our straight friends, we need to be the type of friend that we want and expect of others.
I agree that deep friendships are needed, there just need to be boundaries.
One of my accountability partners is also one of my best friends, if not my best friend. After as part of my accountability arrangement with him, I told him/he found out I was gay and he didn’t hate me. It was only some time later that I realised that after how well he responded with kindness, acceptance and not hate, I had begun to treat him as my hero, that I had put him on a pedestal in my eyes. In realising this, it helped me reorient our friendship in my mind into a more proper context. I know he loves and cares about me as a fellow brother in Christ, and he knows that I really value his friendship and never take it for granted. We caught up the other day and had chats both superficial and silly, and deeper and more meaningful (it was he who coined it an accountability catchup, although it wasn’t planned as that). I know he’s there for me, and I’m there for him.
I don’t think it is a bad thing to have best friend/s – we don’t always have the same closeness with everyone we meet, let alone get alone with. if that translates/develops into something unhealthy, that isn’t good, but best friends (which by definition would be close friends, right?) are, I think, not intrinsically bad.
No there is nothing intrinsically bad about being best friends. I was obsessed with Justin and THAT was unhealthy. Wanting an exclusive relationship and demanding too much of his attention were bad signs of an unhealthy friendship.
It’s really good that you realise that you got to an unhealthy place – that itself is a sign of maturity. Super good to hear that you currently have a good relationship with a close friend!
Hey guys I am new here!!! sorry about my English, It is not my native language. I write from South America =). I recognize this situation, but when I find a friend who is close to me and is attractive I start to have him in my sexual fantasies, I get obsessed with him, I lust and that is really hard, I also fall into emotional dependency. Sometimes I think maybe we should pursue intimate friendships with straight guys who are not attractive to us, what do you thnik about that?
Welcome! Even though Justin was and still is unusually attractive, I actually did not have sexual feelings for him.
I have seen sex destroy several friendships and when I value a friendship I don’t want to destroy it. So, somehow I normally don’t let sexual feelings in when I form a strong friendship with a guy.
Unfortunately I was still emotionally obsessed with him, and I found out that can destroy a friendship too.
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