Challenge Number 4: Dating a guy who is closeted or has a non-supportive family. Back when I was still closeted I started up a conversation with a really nice guy. After firing off a few messages back and forth he told me that he wasn’t interested in seeing anyone who wasn’t completely out. At first this somewhat shocked and offended me, but soon I came to realize the logic in his philosophy. All around me I see relationships falling apart due to the strain of one or both of the parties being in the closet. Having to pretend you’re not seeing anyone, lying to your parents about who this person is and covering your tracks so no one knows is heartbreaking. It is also very difficult to build a life-long relationship out of lies and deceit. The only thing that is worse is when the family does know but doesn’t support the relationship. Straight relationships often have to deal with their mother’s-in-law worrying about them burning the pot roast. Gay relationships sometimes have to deal with their mother’s-in-law worrying about them burning their son in hell for all eternity. Starting a relationship is hard enough without having someone on the sidelines cheering that it will fail. This largely comes from the fact that many people believe a person isn’t gay unless they’re living ‘actively.’ Speaking of being active…
Challenge Number 5: Finding a guy who shares and respects my Christian beliefs and will to wait until marriage. Up until now I’ve been talking about strains that occur in any gay relationship, but there is additional drama when you throw the Christian element into it. My beliefs are very important to me. Although I see the goodness and worth of all people, I cannot see myself building a life with someone who doesn’t identify as a Christian. The bible speaks to Christians and non-Christians being married as being unequally yoked, that you’re going at different speeds in different directions. Yet again, the strain of having a non-Christian partner would be too much for me. I need someone I can pray with and lean on for spiritual support, someone who will share my beliefs and pass them on to our children. Within that, I have committed myself to celibacy before marriage. As a personal choice I will not consummate a relationship until I know that this life and this man are what God wants for me. Problems arise that if the gay population is small, the gay Christian population is even smaller. Many people have been so hurt by the church that they refuse to believe which is an issue. And even within the Christian population, both gay and straight, the choice to wait until marriage is not a popular one from my own insights. And it does get lonely. Even though there are guys my own age who share these beliefs that I have met there are so few of us that sometimes I have worried my standards are too high. I have met incredibly nice, funny, witty, handsome young men who aren’t Christian and don’t wait who I get along well with and could see myself building a relationship with. Even so, the difficulties involved would be too much. I’d really rather have it all or nothing. Which leads me to the last challenge…
Challenge Number 6: Normal relationship stuff. In addition to all the stuff I as a gay guy have to deal with, I also have to deal with the same things straight people do. For one, guys can often be jerks. I went on a date once with a guy who showed up 45 minutes late and then proceeded to talk about his ex-boyfriend for the rest of the afternoon. Suffice it to say there wasn’t a second date. But even if he is nice, smart, funny, charming… it doesn’t mean that it will work out. Sometimes, sadly, there is no chemistry there and regardless of how much you try to force it you can’t create it out of thin air. Sometimes everything seems to be going right, but then one of the crappy realities of life steps in and the relationship falls to pieces. Sometimes you fall for people who aren’t available, emotionally or romantically. And oftentimes I curse myself for not being able to fall in love with someone rationally, choosing a logical mate. All of these things are normal and terrible but make up the greater complexity of the human experience.
In researching bible verses relating to dating a lot came up about sexual immorality. I chose a different one, Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman (person) who fears the LORD is to be praised.” It is in tearing down what we think we want that we find what we truly need.