It should have been a normal friendship . . .

The first day I met Roman, I had no idea I’d one day idolize this guy above God. Only to have him ripped away from me by his mother.

The day after receiving that fateful email, I walked around by myself most of the day. My family was used to my aloofness, so they never questioned my behavior.

I thought through everything concerning Roman from the past several years. Something told me his mom was right — I just wasn’t ready to accept it yet.

How could everything about our friendship have been wrong?

Eventually, I sent Roman a message. I simply apologized for anything I had done wrong and said I’d be taking a break from talking to him for a while. He messaged me back that he appreciated it and that he’d be praying for me.

The next few months were rocky. I was alright some days; other days, I was a puddle on the floor, weeping for the lack of Roman in my life.

My conversations with other friends sometimes derailed into a whine-fest for my lost friendship. I sneakily divulged some information that made it seem like I was wronged in all of this. However, it never actually worked.

Finally, a friend of mine who’d probably listened to me the most got fed up. Amid another of my whine sessions, he just blurted out:

Dean, you’ve got to get over Roman! So what that you’re not so close anymore? If you truly are someone who follows Christ, then you shouldn’t still be crying because you can’t talk to some random guy every single day anymore! Grow up, go back to God, and stop this incessant whining!

I was stunned. Speechless. Convicted.

I sat there in silence for a minute, taking it in. He looked at me and asked if I was ok. I said yes and excused myself.

I went away, sat, and wrote down what I called a “progression.” Here’s how it went:

Roman and I were friends. I became weak and needed a stronger brother. Roman was that brother. I grew stronger but refused to let go of Roman. I insisted I needed him as my stronger brother forever. God saw my idolatry and removed my idol. Thus, I needed to return to God and let go of my idol of Roman.

I got up from this, passed it on to my friend who had just yelled at me, and began to pray.

I begged God for forgiveness. And then I asked for the wisdom and guidance to uproot the idols I had placed around my life, rooted firstly in my idolization of Roman.

Over the next few months, I grew incredibly in my walk with Christ. My other friendships began to develop well, my time at school improved, and my relationships with some of my family actually began to improve.

As for Roman . . .

He and I hung out randomly and sporadically afterward, but it was weird — for me, anyway. It was like looking at a past version of myself that I wanted to forget.

Fast-forwarding many, many years later to today, I barely talk to Roman. I might get a text from him once a year about something random. But I haven’t seen him in person in about four years.

I wish that things had been different. I know Roman would have been a great friend to have in my life.

I am content where I am now. Thinking about it, though, it still saddens me a bit that the friendship was ruined.

After all, it should have been a normal friendship.

Have you experienced codependency on another friend? Did the friendship end, or did it survive? How did you learn to cope in the fallout?

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  • What a coincidence! But as we all know there’s no such thing as a coincidence in God’s economy! I’m going through this very thing right now with another guy. I’ve become so emotionally dependant, attached to him, making him an idol and a god in my life rather than the Lord Jesus Christ. In the end we thought it was best to break ties and go our separate ways…..permanently or temporarily was up in the air but the point was to leave one another for our own good. It was hard and it’s okay for it to be difficult and, like you Dean, i sat like a puddle crying my river of tears for days, in deep end despair pining after this guy attesting to the fact that for 5-6 or 7 years I spoke to him sharing my dark seasons and he displayed love and attention with his listening ear. (I will admit romantic feelings started to gather in my heart which I know was wrong.) But the problem was I went excessively to him rather than boldly to the throne of God. And when I lost him, I thought my world was over without this guy. I wanted to talk to him but felt like God was putting a hedge in whichever direction I went. I still hope one day we’ll talk again and he’ll unblock me from his Facebook but it’s up to God and His wisdom as to what He feels is right BUT I must focus on placing my hope ultimately in Him, seeing Him as the great counselor rather than man. Maybe He will one day redeem the sinful attachments I had to this guy — and vice versa — and have a true healthy, biblical, masculine friendship. But it’s all up to Him and that is His business. As for now, it still hurts and I cry….and its okay to cry but what do I do next? Where do I go? Do i lie down in despair and mope about or get up, dry my face, go the Lord and carry on in living within the day the He has made? It’s still hard but I CHOOSE to get up, dry my tears and LIVE asking God for His forgiveness and believe that He’ll grant me mercy and grace for such a sinner as me no matter what my feelings say — though it’s easier to say, hard to do. I need to return to His Word and look up to Him to comfort and guide me forward.
    Why is it that those who struggle with SSA struggle with much emotional dependecy? Ive struggled since I was little and at 33 yrs old I still struggle. It keeps me from having friends and I can’t relate well to other guys.

    • I think codependency is present in everyone, no matter sexuality. But for guys who identify as SSA, perhaps it is because the object of codependency is another guy, and sometimes a straight guy at that. A straight guy may be codependent upon a girl- but that gets viewed as “normal” or “healthy” even. Remember that noticeability does not dictate commonality.
      Thank you for sharing your story, Brian. I pray you continue to find healing and that you start developing strong relationships soon.

  • so basically if any of you have ever read my comments about my highschool best friend and what happened with her the “progression” you wrote out was basically the same. I to this day believe that she came into my life when she did because I needed someone and God sent her to me. I was in a bad place and needed crutches to get back on my own 2 feet. I swore she was perfect. And because she had always taken care of me I thought that if I didn’t need her as much anymore then she’d leave me. I almost ruined it. It took me longer than it should have to realize fully what was going on but we were kids. I realized it when she asked for some time and that we both needed to take a step back from our friendship. It made me really mad and I had to face some things, because I knew I wasn’t making logical sense. I moved away not long after that when we were just starting to make amends. Now we are fine. Me and my husband hang out with her and her husband and kids and its like we haven’t missed a beat. We are still just trying to figure out how our friendship is goin to look NOW, cause we are different people a little bit.
    Now though, I tend to be on the other side of unhealthy friendships, though I haven’t in a really long time. I know myself and my red flags and what to watch for, and I also know when I didn’t catch it soon enough and by virtue may have ruined it because I know it started on the wrong foot and we either have to adjust or just walk away

    • Thank you for sharing, Ashley. I greatly appreciate your story and your willingness to be open about it. I’m thankful you have been able to recover with your friends, even if things look different. Praying you continue to grow in and through all of it!

  • I believe I mentioned my co-dependent friendship with a guy I called D, when I was living in IL. I moved out to CA for family reasons, and I think some breathing space between us, as well as my acknowledgment of co-dependency, which I had been in denial about for so long, managed to help salvage our friendship. On a couple occasions, I made it back to IL to see friends & things have gone relatively well in light of the past circumstances.
    That said, when I was back in IL most recently, at the beginning of this month, I had a very tearful goodbye to D & his roommate, given that I know that I likely won’t be back in IL for quite some time, and that D might be joining the military anyway.

  • Dean, what you describe sounds a bit more like emotional dependency than codependency. I was definitely codependent in my relationship with my mom and learned some terrible ways of relating to people because of that. I say this to say I am familiar with codependency. I know a few men who are emotionally dependent. There are differences. Anyway, I am glad for your friend’s words that helped you move on and grow.
    God often brings people into our lives “for a season” and then they are gone. I never willingly let anyone go, but I have come to realize I cannot hang on to someone who is moving on. So, I have learned like you did, to release them and thank God for the “season of fruitful relationship”. I do have other long term relationships that I treasure. It is a different kind of joy.

  • Hi, Dean…
    Your post made me think about my co-dependence toward a best friend (who is also SSA), which leaded us to some sexual encounters years ago.
    Seven years have passed since our last effective hook up. Althrough a bit far, we are still friends (I was one of his best men two years ago). However a weird and tense climate round us. Usually we are in divergence even before our wifes and common friends. A bad disfarced jealousy is also present between us. Sometimes, he solicits me some erotic benefit. Praised God, I used to refuse it…
    As you have mentioned, I perceive my disordered love for him as an idol… As sign of hope, I can fell a growing inner freedom when I commit my affects to Christ, and I accept His call for taking my Cross as adult man, husband and father, and follow Him…

  • I had quite a few codependent friendships. It was like God would take one out of my life and then a few years later I would find someone else.
    Looking back on it I get so embarrassed thinking about how clingy I was with the last guy and how I always wanted to be with him. I even wrote him a sappy letter when he went off to college becasue I was afraid he would forget about me.
    Him leaving for college definitely helped. 6 months later I read an article from LiveHope and realized that he was my idol and quickly repented. From then on out for a solid couple years I was afraid to get to close to other guys. I was constantly worried if I was being codependent or if I was sinning and just making sure I didnt get to close to any guys that were in my life.
    Now I have more of a healthy fear of codependency in my relationships and just keep an eye out for red flags. My first red flag I always know to look for is if I am constantly thinking about them, and I just go from there.

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