As you might know, I am currently the oldest author on Your Other Brothers and a single man with no expectation of marriage. I once overheard a housemate talking about a guy in my situation. He’d said, “I thought he was supposed to be lonely and depressed!”
I am an older, single guy, but I am thankfully anything but lonely and depressed. I am very happy and full of hope for my future!
How did I get this way? Let me tell you some more of my story.
In the aftermath of my breakup with Sarah, I thought about my same sex attraction (SSA) and realized that I would probably never have enough desire for a woman to be able to marry. I was very committed to Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible that I believe clearly prohibit gay sex, and I still am.
I started considering the possibility of remaining single the rest of my life. However, I knew that without a wife, close friendships would not be optional — they are essential! I had found close friendships already, but those guys were all starting to get married, and they would all soon be busy with their families and not be as close as before.
God has been the one I turn to when life is overwhelming, so I cried out to Him. He answered in a surprising way.
After all my housemates had gotten married, I needed to find others to take their place. The guys who wanted to rent these rooms were right out of college and significantly younger than me. They were all Christians from my church, so I agreed to their moving in.
To my surprise, they became my friends! I learned from experience that I can have close friendships with younger guys that are healthy and beneficial to both them and me. I also learned that these friendships work best if I act more like an older brother than a father.
Although I had failed to be a good older brother when my own younger brother needed me, I now had another chance! I used this opportunity to love these guys, help them through difficult times, and rejoice with them in good times. I refused to abandon them as I regretfully did with my biological brother.
Not every housemate became a friend, but many did. I simply showed them that I cared by my actions, building trust. Eventually, some guys reciprocated and the friendship became mutual. Many of those guys are still my friends to this day!
As my life progressed, I changed jobs several times and moved across the country and back again. Every place I lived, God always provided me with friends. Some were housemates, some were from church or whatever other Christian function where I participated.
In all these cases, I approached friendship the same. I wanted to “love my neighbor as myself” as Jesus taught, so I sought out what each guy needed and tried to show him love by meeting that need and not selfishly demanding anything in return. Some responded; some did not.
When someone did respond, he usually became a friend! It has cost me a lot of time, stress, and lost sleep to maintain these friendships, but now they are making me very happy!
I wish the same for others who need love and friendship like I do.
I know older SSA guys out there who are single and lonely and depressed. No one seems to care anymore now that they are no longer as youthful and attractive.
The answer is first to be close to God and seek out His love, then with that love from God go seek out those in need and give yourself to serving them in your own unique way. Not everyone will respond and show you love in return, but some will!
The ones who do show you love are your new friends. Treat them as you’d want a friend to treat you.
How do you find and build new friendships when you need friends? Are same-sex friendships hard for you if you’re an older single guy?
What a great story Marshall! Gives me hope when I become older and actually answers my question about “what do I do when I get older to find friendships?” I guess when I want to be friends with someone I would talk to them/have a conversation about their interests and eventually we would become friends. However Same sex friendships always take time for me because I’m awkward around guys (especially ones that are good looking) and want to feel accepted and affirmed before I start actually calling them my friends.
I guess the church community is a great place to find friends which I’m grateful for! I like how you pointed out “to Love my neighbor as myself” that we should first love others and not demand anything in return and that we shouldn’t expect all to respond.
I pray you keep on making many friends brother! Thanks for giving me hope
I’m happy to share my story! I know it is many years until you get to my age, but still I hope you see that God will take care of you because you are His son. His care does not stop at any age.
My main messages are to love God with all your heart and love others the way He does – unselfishly!
I never had the chance to say welcome to YOB. I trust the Lord will richly bless your heart and life here and thanks for sharing such a terrific post.
I avoided same sex friends because of my SSA and female friends are pretty much out the question. I had my wife and kids and the occasional role-playing night with people I knew (they loved the stories I came up with, which is how Syntropolis came into being). But now the kids are older (with the twins in college and the Air Force) and the youngest no longer needing me to take care of him, it is kind of lonely. To make matters worse, my wife works two jobs, so I rarely see her. Still, God provides.
Just when things seemed to be falling apart, I found this group and became a part of Yobbers. I feel so much connection. I have also been able to help younger people going through SSA, to not make the same mistakes I made when I was young, especially when it comes to matters of sex. Few people talk about these things. I don’t want any young person to go through the confusion I went through.
Yes, keep telling what you have experienced! It will help others know better what decisions to make in their own lives. In that way you can positively change the life of many people!
My own story parallels yours Marshall. I didn’t become a follower of Jesus until my late twenties. It was then I realized that I could not be gay. What were my options?
Like you, I also felt “I would probably never have enough desire for a woman to be able to marry.” I bought a house and my best friend who needed a place rented a room from me. I decided to include others and I rented out the other two rooms to university guys. It was a wonderful time of eating meals together, watching hockey games on tv, and just hanging out. This went on for almost a decade. Like you, it was an opportunity to give to others in friendship and other needs as they arose. But, I wasn’t entirely happy…
To continue like that would have been good but celibacy was not me! I came to realize that there were two kinds of singles. One had the
I think you are pointing to something so often ignored, Marshall- what does the next stage of life look like for a celibate SSA Christian? Honestly, most churches can’t even answer this for celibate straight Christians.
Honestly, I believe you are doing what should be done. I think you’re setting a great example of a life that honors Christ as you enter this next stage of your life. Thank you for leading the way.
Marshall, you’re story here is gospel centered, and that’s what so many people need to hear right now. You’re words are so centered on following Him in all ways possible that it’s inspiring. Thank you!