First Gay Breakup: Are We Still For Each Other?

My friend Aaron, a faithful Christian and devoutly gay man, recently broke up with his first boyfriend.  I asked if he would like to share his story on this blog.  He said yes, and then promptly wrote the following sarcastic, witty, and beautifully sad essay.

If you read what follows as carefully as you should, you’ll find a myriad of lovely and provocative ideas.

When reading this story, however, I think I was most struck by the realization that a gay man talking about a difficult break-up sounds just like a straight man talking a difficult break up.

Hmmmm…

Too often, when people talk about “gays” and “Christians,” the assumption is that they’re taking about two separate groups of people.  The conversation too easily becomes one that’s about “them” and “us,” as if the Christian community and the LGBT community are egg throwing, cross-town rivals.

Stories like Aaron’s remind me that in the midst of us and them, so much of our common experience still binds us all together as we

“Eating crow… a full-on murder of them.”

-Aaron

To borrow from one of my favorite bands, “Humility is so proud.” Nothing is Innocent by Over the Rhine.

What does it mean to be for something? Are you a fan? A fanatic waving your foam finger? Are you an admirer? A devotee? A follower? A supporter? A lover?

What are you for?

About 3 weeks ago my then boyfriend came to the conclusion that we weren’t a right fit for each other. While I felt differently I can’t be in a relationship by myself (at least not a healthy one) so I have had to attempt to close that chapter, as well. He was my first boyfriend. And it was my first breakup. A process that, at 31, has made me feel much more like I am 13 from time to time.

We didn’t even make it past our first fight.

It turns out I’m really good at fighting. I’m articulate and logical. And very even sided – finding every possible ugly side of the situation and using them all evenly in my attack until the other is silenced with an inability to respond. Think Bush era “Shock and Awe”. It’s very effective (as noted by the conclusion of “us”).

And of course I could see all of these ugly sides because I am so humble. I spend hours thinking about “how best to love my neighbor” and “how to give dignity to those around me”, so it’s clear that I am justified in my use of “Shock and Awe” to help others see that they are failing at those two ideals. I mean, clearly.

Ok so 1) I really hope my sarcasm is coming through in this post…

and 2) I don’t recommend the use of “Shock and Awe”. I really, really don’t.

Really.

Really.

The ugly context: A lot of BIG issues came up very early on in our young relationship that seemed to bring out things that neither of us wanted to admit. I felt like he was (situationally) asking me to be deceitful to his friends by corroborating something that was untrue. Spending as much time as I do thinking about what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” and how to “give dignity to those around me”, alongside my belief that we can’t even begin to approach things until we know what’s true about them, this situational request made me very uncomfortable.

This is where the story gets a little unfortunate. And unfortunately ironic. After our guests left I proceeded to tell him of my discomfort with the situation. He came up with some plan to “fix the problem” that I didn’t really think would fix anything and, on his asking how to fix it, I simply replied with “STOP LYING TO YOUR FRIENDS!!! IS THIS WHAT OUR RELATIONSHIP IS GOING TO BE BASED ON?!?!”

Conversation done. There was nothing left to say. He had no legs to stand on in the dialog.

I win.

(Dramatic pause to absorb the sarcasm of those last 2 words).

Though my concerns were valid and needed to be discussed, my failure to continue to Love my ex in this context (capital “L”) seems to be as big of a failure as his.

“How?”, you ask? “Where you not justified?”

Maybe.

But it’s the existence behind the scenes that truly dictates that, I think. Knowing the heart of the matter. It’s a if-a-man-lusts-he-might-as-well-just-sleep-with-him type of thing.

Why?

While I believe that my desire for these things (loving, dignifying and knowing) is good, my intense obsession with achieving these things is actually the very reason that I failed to do them. Deceit and moral arrogance were only the symptoms of deeper issues of self image and insecurity but, with my gaze so firmly fixed on the “how to achieve”, I lost sight of the “who to Love” that was standing right in front of me at the time. And in that blindness I used the true object of my desire (achieving) to humiliate and shame the one that I should have been loving and dignifying and knowing. The pride of my humility caused me to humiliate the one I cared about and ended something that I was excited about.

Ironic, no?

And really, really unfortunate.

So back to my original question…are we still for each other? It’s tough to know how. We screw up, make mistakes, ask people to enter into things that they aren’t comfortable with, ridicule, deride, and humiliate. Situations are complex and it’s hard to know how to navigate them well. We have our goals and aspirations, our code of ethics, our experiences that shape our understanding of the world. So how can we be for someone else at the same time when it often competes with all that?

Well…I don’t know the answer. It’s clearly difficult. I’ve seen that it doesn’t take winning. In this case I may have won the argument but I lost the one that I was hoping for. I think it goes back to that whole losing-your-life-to-gain-it thing. Perhaps If I had carried the genuinely humble capacity to approach this man with a gentle and loving spirit, rather than a brutal focus on achieving my own “humility” at any cost, we could have both grown in our humility and healed from our engrained insecurities and fears that rooted the situation so deeply. We may have even had a bit more life left in “us”.

Perhaps if we all could do that a little more we would soon find ourselves in a world where we were genuinely for everybody. And everybody was for us.

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4 Comments

Filed under Conversation, Encouragement, Opinions, Partners, Questions, Stories

4 responses to “First Gay Breakup: Are We Still For Each Other?

  1. What a breath of fresh air to read the content of this as part of a holistic life! I am greatly encouraged by the normalcy of the relationship in this Christian brother’s life. With a few pronoun replacements, it might have been any number of my straight friend’s stories. Hopefully this story will serve to humanize “us” into “them” to create a “we,” as it were. I hope that’s not too confusing.

    Even more – Aaron, I love the language you chose to use in relating your story. Specific phrases or capitalizations, like ‘L’ove, resonated with me so much that I balked at the screen for lack of a better way to express fulfillment, agreement, and excitement. If the overflow of heart is from where the mouth speaks, your words reflect a deep and engaged heart desiring to be like the Father’s. Well done.

    The thing that stands out to be above all is the excellent way that you recognize the truth of the Everlasting and allowed it to penetrate so very deeply into your life: actions and heart. I have lately observed in my own life and that of many, many others the tendancy to preach the will of the Father, recognize the words and desires of God’s heart, and then apply them to our circumstances, but only to a point. Once we reach an area in which we no longer desire to apply it, we stop doing so, for whatever reason. You allowed God’s heart and truths to penetrate to the very core, despite pain and the uncomfortable admission that you failed to love well, even though you were technically correct in your diagnosis.

    I know that in my own experiences, such a thing is extremely rare. I delight in it for you, and commend you for your submission to the Spirit of the Living God, and praise that same Spirit for bringing glory to the Father through your life.

    Brilliant.

    • Aaron

      Hey thanks for the kind words and the encouragement, I really appreciate it. I’m glad to hear that something there resonates! Now if I could just figure out the application part of that learning curve from time to time we’d all be a little better for it 🙂

  2. Former Ex-Gay Program Director Admits: I Never Met a Man Who Changed From Homosexual to Heterosexual

    In a blog article published this week, John Smid, former executive director of the well-known ex-gay program ‘Love in Action’ admits that after 22 years as executive director of the program, “I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.” Pertaining to his own ‘change’, he says, “Nothing I did seemed to change me into a heterosexual even though I was in a marriage that included heterosexual behavior.” He says, “This is a very tough issue” and admits, “I am trudging through some very deep waters trying to better understand God’s heart on this matter… This is so different than I always thought in my small world of ex-gay ministry. And yes, it was a small world because I made it small. I was completely unwilling to hear anything that didn’t fit my paradigm. I blocked out anyone’s life story or biblical teaching that didn’t match up with what I believed.”

    Link: http://wp.me/1tsIE

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  3. well im a christian guy 26 frm india hoping to find true love. m a bit nope let me rephrase a lot scared about coming out to my family and i hope things would change . if theres anyone out there would like to chat and talk … lets connect through my email : loveusaanyday@gmail.com

    Regards,
    Thomas

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