Trying to stay clean shaven

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Joined in 2011
February 19, 2013, 00:27

So this is where I am in my story. I am a closeted gay Christian man living in a place where homosexuality is accepted but not necessarily acceptable particularly within my own circles. I have this female friend (at church) who I am rumoured to be attracted to. Unfortunately (or fortunately or maybe just honestly) I do not like her in ANY sexual or romantic sense. I think she is an awesome person but beyond friendship, I have no inclinations towards her. It's kind of the same way a straight guy might like another straight guy: Friends without even the suggestion of the idea that things "might get more serious".

This whole situation would be easily resolved if I were out but that has a host of other implications which I am not ready to face. I have been able to deal with the rumours but now, I am beginning to think that she might actually have developed feelings for me. Maybe that's my own sense of self-appreciation but in the last few weeks, her actions towards me have become more confusing. When we meet, she's more excited to see me than I ever remember at any point in our 5 year friendship and she suggested twice in the last week that we would make a good married couple and even said that I'd be lucky if I asked her out.

Now, knowing full well that my own sexuality precludes me from any genuine relationship with women, I began to keep my distance when the societal suggestions of our possible 'coupleship' began some years back. But now, as the 'marriage age' draws nigh and friends start getting married left, right and centre, the pressure from both her and others seems to be mounting, and I am tempted to ask her out for the sake of having a 'beard'. But inasmuch as having a beard might be nice, ultimately as a closeted person, I think I have more integrity if I persevered in singleness rather than to further perpetuate what already feels insincere with an ersatz relationship.

Furthermore, I know that to use her as a 'beard' is cruel desperately selfish so, to minimise this temptation, I have resorted to minimising ALL communications with her lest she or others get the wrong idea. (Even at church meetings, I limit our interactions to "Hey! How you?" and little more. I miss the friendship but feel that I don't have an alternative given that I'm not ready to come out. (I'm not sure what form coming out will take or indeed what my life will look like thereafter but I don't want to feel like more of a liar that I already do.There is no reason that I can't date her except that I'm gay and just not interested in her or any girl that way.)

I'm not really sure what I expect from anyone who reads this. Just wanted to get it off my chest.

Joined in 2012
February 19, 2013, 11:46

Hey there, and welcome to F2B

Hmm that situation is a tough one and I haven't been in a relationship at all myself so take my comments with a grain of salt here.

If it were me in this particular case, knowing full well that I wouldn't be ready to come out, I certainly wouldn't want to mislead her into a false sense of security where she thinks there's even a slight possibility of marriage or a more-than-just-friends relationship – knowing that it wouldn't lead anywhere. If it were me, I would probably tell her upfront that she's a really great friend, but that's as far as it'll go. You could give several reasons without having to lie about your sexuality like:

– I don't feel that same connection or spark that you may have for me, and with some people you immediately get that, and some people you just don't, but we can still be great friends

– I'm not looking for a relationship right now

I can't say this enough though, you should only come out when you're truly ready. For me it was make or break – ending my life or coming out, and I certainly didn't want to end my life and give up on my future, so for me I never really had that choice because it was quite literally forced upon me, but for those who are strong enough to wait it out and have that time, you'll know when to come out.

Like for me, I've come out to my friends on an online game I used to play, as well as my parents. I haven't come out to my relatives or my brother yet though until I get enough self confidence to come out to more people. But first you have to come out to yourself (where you are confident enough in who you are to the point where it doesn't matter if you lose friends or family over a small part of who you are), and sometimes staying in the closet can be a safe place until you're fully ready to come out to others. Going to a local LGBT group of some sort in your area would definitely help you feel less isolated in your circumstance.

And I don't know you personally, but from hearing countless coming out stories and being gay myself, I know that most people who are still in the closet don't want to end up marrying a person of the opposite sex only to split from them 10/20/30 years down the track. So for you, perhaps staying in the closet until you're ready to come out could be the right decision at this stage, it's up to you, and only you will have an idea as to how family, friends etc. would react to you coming out, but yeah, I think a local LGBT group would help for gaining confidence and a sense of identity, self worth and inclusion.

Joined in 2005
February 19, 2013, 13:48

Dear AfricanAmerican911

Thanks for your post….

Firstly – have you read through the our stories section ? Here

It is of course a situation you will need to find your own answer.

I will share some thoughts below – these are just thoughts but i want to note that my journey is NOT your journey. If something resonates – thats great. If nothing does – thats fine….

Ill also note that I personally am an experiential learner – (Homer simpson'esque) You cant tell me the fire is hot but Im STILL going to stick my hand in the fire (a few times) to check – so I recognise the need in others to do that also …

So firstly you are right…. If you date her as a "cover" that is cruel as you say.

I know – I did it myself. My excuse was that I hadnt admitted to myself at the time that I was gay (although deep down i kinda knew – and I definately knew there was NO sexual attraction there)

What happened though was that I met my first BF and then – well things got interesting – and she got hurt and although we are now friends – I still (decades later) feel guilty about it

I know people who even go so far as to get married – and even have children – but that JUST increases the hurt when the truth comes out.

and those hurts can resonate across decades.

So I would suggest that you are on the right track when you think its cruel to do that.

What to do instead ? Thats not so easy and I have no answer but ill throw some ideas into the wind but Im not saying that are GOOD ideas.

Coming out seems very hard and we have to all do it in our own time – but most of us do it eventually.

I dont think telling lies is a good answer (unless you work for MI6 or ASIO or the CIA) but if you want to buy time – perhaps is there a girl you know – that you can tell ? That you can spend time with – and just leave the rest to the rumour mill ? that means you can have someone to talk to about all this and might relieve some of the pressure…. as long as you are sure she wont tell everyone….

Or Maybe just tell them you are waiting for the right girl (if you want to be really honest – say person but that might be saying too much ! Grin)

Can you occasionally go to another church or group (at college or something) – and perhaps then people might think theres someone there that you might be interested in.

My experience is – its MUCH easier to be in the closet when you are single – Especially once you move out of home but once you have a partner – then it becomes MUCH more complicated. – BUT once you have partner things like Birthdays, Christmas (and thanksgiving ??) are times when its important to be with the once you love and I found the need to separate my partner and my family at those times was too much….

and I know I wasnt looking for a partner when I met my first BF. It just happened….

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
February 22, 2013, 16:02

Hi AfricanAmerican911,

Welcome to F2B, it's a great suggestion by Shadowboxer to read some of the other stories on this site. I'm am sure they will give you hope, courage, support and you will find some level of connection with many of the stories. There are some amazing people, with some amazing stories of courage, hope and strength.

Some great thoughts by other's already and I'm sure you will get many more insightful comments. Personally I feel you have to be true and honest to yourself first, sounds like you are on the right path for doing that. Second as much as possible to be honest with other's and hopeful be yourself with them. This does not mean in anyway you have to reveal all to anyone. We all keep aspects of ourself private and share different aspects with different people depending on the relationship. I just mean with the young lady you have mention to be honest with her as much as you are able at this point. Since you are not out you cannot tell her you are gay. But you can say with all honesty that you value your friendship with her and that you only see her as a very good valued friend. There is a chance you may lose her friendship but with you avoiding her and minimizing your contact with her you are losing your close friendship with her anyway. At least this way she will know and understand why you have pulled back from her. Like Jordan has said you could give some reason to go with it if you feel it will help soften things for her.

As Jordan has said you should not feel pressured to come out to other's until you are ready. One plus of today's society is male and female's can be just friends.

God bless

Joined in 2011
March 4, 2013, 04:46

Thanks, guys for the encouragement and advice. So far, it has been easy because I have not had to have any interaction with her. (That's not intentional on my part; just the ebb and flow of two separate lives.) Your poignant reminders that 'saving face' now and getting involved could have more devastating consequences later have not gone unheeded. In fact, they have been reinforced by a couple of movies that I recently watched in which a cheating husband admits to his wife of many years that he has been unfaithful with a man. The clear sentiment is that this sort of a betrayal runs much deeper than if the other party had been another woman. It effectively posits that the entire premise for their relationship was a lie. (This could actually be the subject of another post exploring the concept of being closeted, 'living a lie' and the entrenched insincerity – or downright deception – which results).

I have read some of the stories here and even been brought close to tears. But I will need to take a step back and reassess some more analytically to compare and contrast them to my own situation. While I understand the argument that we should compare our lives, I think that for me this will be helpful in getting me past the rut I am in. My emotions seem to cloud some of the usefulness of these stories. Am I the only who finds the being gay and closeted inordinately time-consuming? Seriously. I've spent so much time moping about and trolling through dozens of sites both pro and anti and actually have no idea on which side of the fence I (want to) land which only leads to more trolling and moping. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy these forums* – this one in particular and I've found myself wishing I could attend a chapter meeting – because I find solace in our mutual suffering (and hopefully imminent liberation) but I think my time could be spent more constructively both within and beyond the forums. I eagerly await the day when I can either present my boyfriend/husband/partner unabashedly or stand in singleness completely confident of my worth as a person and child of God. For now, though, I wait for all the noise to die down. But I digress…

Further reflection of my own interaction with many people has revealed that I am a quite the flirt. Oddly, in spite of my 'closetedness' – or indeed because of it, I don't reserve my flirtation for girls. I've flirted with some of my gay friends and their gay friends. (Yes, I have at least a handful of gay friends yet this has made coming out no easier). For the most part, the idea that I may be gay has crossed very few minds or at least few lips. Most people trump my unintentional flirting down to innocent Christian naïveté and kindness especially with the gay guys (because "of course you weren't interested but he was" as I was once told).

The first call of duty in response to this is to stop being so flirtation especially with girls since I both cannot or will not follow up. So, in conclusion, my lady friend and I will remain firmly ensconced in the 'friend-zone' unless God intervenes in some completely unexpected way and I find myself suddenly attracted wholesale to women. While I have absolutely no doubt that this can happen, I'm not convinced that's the way He works. Some of us are gay. And gay we will stay. What we have to do is figure out what to do with that.

Again thank you for your responses and sorry if this seems a touch incoherent; I was just follow my train of thought.

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