This is Part 2 in my series about my friendship with Justin. Check out Part 1 here.

Almost immediately after I moved in with my straight friend, Justin, things started to go bad between us.
He was not at home as much as I had expected since he was starting to spend more time with other friends. I found myself jealously wishing these other friends would go away. I spent many hours sitting alone in my room waiting for him to come home and dreaming of how we would spend time together when he arrived.

As soon as I heard his car driving up, I would go straight to the door to greet him.

Sometimes Justin was happy to see me and would spend several minutes telling me about his adventures and making me feel like I was an important part of his life. Other times, I could tell that he was irritated with me or that he just had no time for me and would brush me off.

That hurt.

I spent more and more of my alone time thinking about how Justin was affecting my emotions. When I felt his love and acceptance, I was very happy.

But whenever I felt like he was neutral or negative toward me, I would feel deep emotional pain — to the point of tears.

I instinctively knew that I shouldn’t show him my stronger feelings, especially those tears, so I held them inside as much as I could.

One day, Justin came home and found me in deep emotional turmoil that I just couldn’t hide. He directly asked me what was wrong, so I tried to explain what I was feeling about him. I couldn’t avoid the topic, and at that point, I told him for the first time that I was dealing with same-sex attraction.

I heard surprise, fear, and even anger in his voice as he responded, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“I wasn’t sure you could handle it,” I said.

He shouted, “I probably wouldn’t have moved in here with you if I had known about this before!”

That devastated me. Somehow, I kept myself from bursting into tears as I contemplated a future without Justin and only hurtful memories remaining of him. I desperately struggled to find the right words to salvage what was left of the friendship.

“Well, let’s move on from here and try to work this out,” I cautiously suggested.

After my reassurances, Justin calmed down and agreed to remain friends while he learned more about my SSA and how it affected the way I related to him.

To be continued . . .

Have you ever experienced unhealthy emotional dependence on a male friend? What happened to that friendship? Did you work through the struggle, or did the friendship fall away?

* Photo courtesy giusibarbiani, Creative Commons.

  • I have a guy friend that I became very emotionally attached to at one point. I guess I was so enthralled by the fact that I finally had a straight guy friend who wanted to actually hang out and be friends! I would bug him every weekend to figure out something to do and hang out. After a while I could tell that I was wearing him down. For some reason I was absolutely terrified of him getting a girlfriend, for some reason that thought really stressed me out and filled me with dread. I guess it was part insecurity on my part since I’m not OSA like he is and I was also afraid he wouldn’t want to spend as much time with me. I later saw on facebook that he was hanging out with a new group of people which sent me over the edge and I became ENRAGED. Thankfully I didn’t completely lash out at him. It wasn’t so much that I wanted him all to myself but that I didn’t have any other friends I could turn to and was jealous that he could find another social group so easily whereas I was struggling with it. I did shoot some snarky comments at the fact that he was hanging with some other people and he told me to back off at one point. We’re still friends but we don’t hang out as much as I feel like some of the magic is gone but the infatuation is also thankfully gone as well.

    • Brian,
      The kind of jealousy that you and I had is probably the most accurate sign that a friendship is unhealthy. Now whenever I feel that jealousy I immediately re-evaluate the friendship. That doesn’t mean I should cut off all contact with my friend, just that I should give up “owning” him and instead help him do what is best for him, even if I don’t get what I want.

      • Oh yes very true. I guess I did have an attitude that I did “own” him and that if he did anything without telling me then it was an act of betrayal for me I guess. Its funny, I was actually sort of aware that I was overly attached at the time and I was pushing hard to make new friends so I wouldn’t have to rely on him. But people kept rejecting me, so I was angry that he was going off in social situations while leaving me behind in my lonely rejectedness. And it is true that I need to do what is best for him though there is that part of me that snarls, “well what about what’s best for ME?! I’ve been through worse, I deserve it more!”

  • I remember a slightly similar event in my life. His name is Ronnie. I met him when I was in college without knowing that he’s also a christian and our churches are just few blocks apart.
    I am very aloof with straight guys for 3 reasons: 1. I can’t relate to the stuff they’re into, 2. I fear humiliation and 3. I don’t want to be emotionally dependent on them and develop romantic attraction to men.
    Most guys around me are not persistent. Some guys initiate acts where their motive to befriend me is clearly seen. When I brush them off, they don’t insist. However, Ron is different. I saw his efforts in trying to be nice to me and he had attempted to tame me multiple times. It started when we found out we’re both christians.
    At first, I really feel awkward every time he comes near. It’s not that I’m attracted to him but I’m very precautious and I anticipate the chances that it may happen. Eventually, I see him differently. He’s not like other guys I know. Hence, I gave it a shot.
    We became very close. I never thought I could be friends with a guy. Yes, I felt emotional towards him but it’s purely platonic and non-sexual. I told him about my SSA and he understood (this is the first time I ever opened up to anyone). He even confessed about his porn addiction and his hyperactive sex drive where I sympathized.
    Like you, I felt jealous when he spends more time with his other friends. Eventually, I got tired of always being the first one to approach him so we could bond. It seemed like I always have to beg for his time.
    Our friendship ended because he lied to me over a certain thing. Yeah, what he lied about is not really a big deal but the fact that he can lie to me breaks my heart. After all the truth I told him, after I showed him my vulnerable and helpless self (He’s the only one who saw my weak side), this is what I get in return.
    As a result, my trust issues grew exponentially. Opening up is very traumatic. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do it again.

    • Yes, opening up is traumatic, but I believe it is worth it! All my genuine friends have hurt me and we had to talk through it and forgive each other. Somehow in the process we often became closer friends. Don’t give up because of hurt. Let the hurt motivate you to work things out!

        • I am praying for God to provide a brother for you!
          As you reach out to the guys around you, slowly build trust by showing unselfish love. Give love, not demanding anything in return. You will be surprised by someone freely showing genuine love back to you. Keep being more concerned about what is good for him than your own desires, and he may be the friend you desire!

  • I’m sitting here trying to find a way to say what happened a few months ago but I don’t understand it so I’ll skip the details. All I know was I was blindsided by a whirlpool of emotions from something totally innocent, and the more I tried to understand and get out of it, the worse and deeper it got. At the end, I thought being a good friend meant walking away. But telling him felt like dying inside, so yeah, if painful means unhealthy, then that would explain it.
    Whenever I screw up, I want to learn something to handle it better next time, but I’m coming up empty on this. How do you know what to do when your best efforts make things worse?

  • I can totally relate to this. When I bought my first house, the mortgage was quite high. I ended up renting out a room, the first rental went quite well and the guy eventually had to move since he was starting a new course. I rented out the room to another guy, things sent well at first and then I noticed I was got more interested in Nic. It pretty much went down exactly as you described, except we didn’t have any type of confrontation and I don’t think he knew I had these feelings toward him. I was just torn by fantasizing about something that would never be and finally decided that I would need to ask him to move. I felt heartbroken but eventually got over it, these days I don’t rent out to males anymore ūüôā

    • pmason,
      Please don’t refuse to rent to males because of one bad experience. Of course it is good to be cautious, but healthy friendships are very possible in situations like this.
      When I am tempted to fantasize about a guy, I run from the fantasy, not the guy. Unless he is attracted to me no sexual stuff can happen, so I don’t worry about that with straight guys. I try to treat him as a friend and not fantasize or sexualize my feelings of love. Usually if a friendship develops I am motivated to keep sexual feelings and emotional dependence out of it, only because those things destroy friendships.

  • I’ve been there before. But quite frankly I think that’s how an ideal roommate situation should look. What’s so gay about two or more guys living together and becoming something of a family? I don’t understand why guys seem to think that when they live together they still need to keep their lives separate. I don’t get it.

  • Mike, thanks for you compliment! I’m not sure I have mastered it, but I have and do successfully live with OSA guys. Some have become very close friends. I have been best man in 6 weddings.
    After my experience with Justin, I have stopped placing big expectations and demands on my friends. Instead I seek whatever is best for him, not me. I go slow at first to build trust.

  • Thanks for this post, I think we should deal with emotional dependency because in some way the desire for exclusive intimacy in SGA strugglers is directed to men. Also something that is really painfull to me is that when a friend is attractive to me and I become emotionally dependent I start to lust and have sexual fantasies with my friends. I have a friend, I became emotionally dependent with him and the Holy Spirit told me to separate, not sure if it was definitive of only for a period of time. I separated and I completely destroyed him, he ways in some sense also dependent on me, I can’t tell him about my SGA because I am his autorithy in the youth and I am not sure how is he going to take it. We have been separated like 1 year and all this time has been really painfull for me and for him, I miss him and during this year he has tried to be my friend again like 5 times, He is really persistent, and he makes me miserable, because even when I hurt him so much by separating and not giving him any explanation of why. He told me a week ago that He loves me as his brother and that he has been praying for me. I hurt him so much because sometimes I never told him a word when a saw him and I was really cold with him, it was because I felt the guide of the spiritu but maybe I was too radical or legalistic. This month after a year of separation we have been talking but only when we see each other in church, Sometimes we joke each other and I really miss him, but I have fear, because I don’t want him to be my idol again, when we become close, emotional dependency starts to present, and also I have had sexual fantasies with him even in this time of separation when we were not friends. I fear that if I pursue this friendship emotional dependency will return and also sexualization of the frienship, I don’t want to see it as an sexual object anmore =( I love him, really love him, because of his loyalty and patience. But I don’t know how to manage this.

    • E,
      Your English is far better than my Spanish, so I will answer you in English.
      Although I became emotionally dependent on Justin, that friendship was actually restored later after much pain. I will tell more of the story in my next post. I understand how painful it was for you to cut off your friendship.
      I was not an authority figure for Justin, so my friendship was a little different than yours. You definitely need to be more careful with a member of a youth group. Maybe you can show him friendship at church events, just be careful not to give him more attention than you give to others in the group. If he asks why you are not closer friends, just tell him you don’t want the others to feel left out. You may find that with God’s help you can replace any sexual feelings or dependency with healthy friendship.
      In my experience it is not good to tell a straight guy that you have sexual feelings for him. He will probably misunderstand and it will cause worse problems. Just proceed to care about him as you would any friend and those sexual feelings may disapppear anyway.

      • Thanks Marshall, I really appreciate this. Here in my country we don’t have a lot of information, or people or blogs like this to help us about SGA, that is why I started to search for it in English. My leadership to him is in the Youth but it is not as if I were his Pastor or something really high, he is part of a logistic team which I lead. You think that we cannot have deep intimate friendships with people which is led by us like in this case? That would be part of other debate about leadership and friendship LOL
        You know He came to me because he saw me as a good friend, he was new in Christ so he decided to get close to me because He wanted to learn from me and have a “mature christian friend” to trust, to teach him some things and develop a godly friendship, but he never imagined this and still now he doesn’t know. I would be really happy if in some way I can transform this to a godly friendship and return all the investment that he made on me and that caused him just pain in the past. It will be very helpfull if in some future posts you guys can talk about some clear boundaries and strategies to kill emotional dependency and also to kill sexual fantasies and lust. Maybe you have done it and I haven’t read those post yet hahaha Also you think that my interaction with him should be only in church activities? is it imposible for me to hang out with him some times or send messages or those things?
        I really appreciate this because with this resources I can help some young people here who have no idea about SGA and this valuable information. Thanks for taking the time to answer and advice us =)

        • I misunderstood. I thought you were his youth pastor. It is ok to be friends. Be cautious but definitely show him Christian love which is unselfish.
          The best way to keep away from fantasy and emotional dependency is to replace those things with a love that desires what is best for your friend, even if that means not having time alone with him. Be willing to let him have other friends too!

          • When you say “even if that means not having time alone with him”, you are suggesting that I should accept this as an honest boundary for the relationship and apply it forever? Or you are saying that sometimes if we cannot see each other like we planned I don’t have to be angry for that? Not clear about that point =)

          • I meant the second one. Don’t demand time alone with him, let him have other friends too. Definitely let him spend time with you if he wants, just don’t allow yourself to be angry or jealous if he doesn’t.

  • Marshall, Emotional dependency is incredibly painful. My emotionally dependent relationship with a man almost twice my age lasted for years. Interestingly, I showed all of the inward signs of emotional dependency, without the outward expression. The outward expression was avoided because it did not seem socially acceptable for me to demonstrate any affection toward him. My mind, however, was consumed with making him god; I did not see any of his flaws… The emotional pain was so strong that I felt a physical aching in my heart.

    I appreciate that you are sharing about this experience. Perhaps, a few more words on the healing process after you separated from each other might be helpful. I have healed from my ED relationship, but I know that it was quite a painful, awkward journey. Blessings!

  • Marshall

    Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. I seek to do that with great joy, because He is better than everything we give up! Also I want to love others in an unselfish way as Jesus taught. I currently do my best to live out that kind of love with 15 other friends on a farm near the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. I love talking about what really matters, and seeing a friend's heart turn from pain to joy, from fear to peace, and from despair to hope! My writing tends to focus on the topic of friendships with other guys. I have never married and am currently the oldest author on YOB.

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