Page four problems.

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by dolf250, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. dolf250

    dolf250 New Member

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    I had read a reply post in the “can straight men and gay men be friends” thread that was buried way back on page four that caught my attention. It was by SMUguy2007 and was his first post. For some reason it really hit me and I PM'd him. (part of what maybe got me is that in his profile he says he is 19. I recall the feeling of rejection at that age and I can imagine that loosing your best friend after being honest with him would be extremely hurtful and scaring.) I find that I am unable to really offer much support or relate any similar experience of loosing friends due to my orientation. Anyhow, the post was well written and very honest and I was quite shocked nobody commented. I assume that it was probably overlooked by most people on the board due to being so far back. I asked if I could repost it in the hopes that people might get to know him a little better and offer advice. (I know the most popular advice will probably be the old “he really wasn't a friend anyhow," but I get the impression he was.)

    Here it is:

    It is possible... Except my experience was very traumatizing. I had a best friend in high school (I've just graduated) and we were friends for merely 3 and a half years... basically all through high school. Senior year came around, and I came out and told him that I'm bisexual and he wasn't shocked at all. Well within weeks we were becoming very open and I was flirting and he was sometimes flirting back... which confused me a lot. Things exploded and he found out that I had a crush on him and was very attracted to him and he freaked and basically quit talking to me. We stopped talking to each other half way through senior year and that was it. We have never spoken to one another since then.

    I guess I thought that I could be open with him because he shared with me something extremely private... that his dad is gay. I was one of two people in his life (In terms of friends) that he told... we were extremely close.

    Ever since it's been hard for me to be open with straight guys and be friends with them because I'm afraid one of us will cross the line just one time and screw the whole thing up.
     
  2. D_Sheffield Thongbynder

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    High school is full of traumatic experiences, sexual and otherwise. If your buddy is now an adult, he should know that there is no reason he can't have str8 friends just because of that one bad situation. The events that shape our lives are often negative.
     
  3. fortiesfun

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    Glad you brought this to our attention, because it is a genuine and heartfelt plea to understand what happened. I'm willing to bet it is not what the poster (SMUguy2007) thinks it is.

    I've been a professor for over twenty years now and watched this play out among students (including lots of SMU students, whom I know well) countless times, and the story is almost always the same: A faster moving friend realizes his or her sexual orientation and identity are same-sex in nature. They confess this to a slower moving friend, who (unbeknownst to the former) is still struggling with his or her sexuality. Something gets started - sometimes flirting, often sex - and then there is a freak out followed by some sort of dissolution of friendship or former relationship.

    In this situation, the faster moving friend almost always assumes s/he is the cause of the problem and almost never sees that the slower moving friend is having a crisis of sexual identity that is exacerbated by being near him/her. S/he usually assumes s/he is being rejected by a straight person. In fact, s/he is almost always being distanced by a confused and worried person.

    In other words, the problem is not that one is being rejected by a long-term friend because of one's sexuality, but one is being distanced by the friend because of that friend’s undecided sexuality. They can't handle it yet.

    As hard as it is, try not to personalize the rejection and try to see it through the eyes of the closeted/questioning friend. Society tells them again and again that it would be bad to have same-sex feelings and the proper way to deal with them is to deny them. (Especially at Southern, Christian colleges!) How do they do that? Until they can handle the burden of their misgivings, they stay far away from anyone or anything that reminds them of their desires. It doesn't work, and it is not a good strategy, but it is extremely common nonetheless.

    I am not justifying this behavior, especially to the degree that it is hurtful to others who are also dealing with complicated personal questions, but just offering some perspective.

    This situation plays out over time in one of two very predictable ways: Eventually the friend successfully sorts out his or her sexual orientation one way or another, no longer feels threatened, and there is some cautious restitution of friendship. Or, the friend never feels comfortable with his or her sexuality, remains in doubt and closeted all through life, and repeats this pattern countless times until they have no friends left. Either way, guys and girls in SMUguy’s situation eventually find it easier to see what happened and why, and to understand that they are not really at fault. It is just the unfortunate collision of two people with different timing.

    Here is the hardest advice of all: If you can, try to make it clear that you would be there to help a friend who wanted to talk to you about his/her sexual identity, and could keep that separate from your personal relationship. Then stick to it. If asked, be honest and be sympathetic. If not asked, keep a respectful distance.

    Here is wishing you the best, SMUguy. And here is to Dolf250 for his thoughtful concern.
     
  4. Matthew

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    Thanks for bringing this back up, dolf.

    SMUguy - in a better world, you wouldn't have to worry about this kind of stuff, but as you know, we have a long way to go. None of that is your fault; you inherited it just like we all did.

    As you can see from reading through LPSG, some straight guys are cool and open-minded, but many are not. You will have to be choosy about which straight guys you make friends with, hang around or become close to. And remember - if you can't be your true self around a person, they are not truly your friend. Of course, that doesn't just go for straight guys.

    If you do become friends with some straight guys, it will be up to you not to "cross the line" with them. Part of any genuine friendship with a straight guy means that you must respect their sexuality just as they respect yours. If it turns out that someone is not really straight, then it becomes a whole different story. But that's up to them to decide, not you.

    In terms of your friend, I'm betting FortiesFun is right and maybe he is avoiding you just as he's avoiding his own feelings. But you can't know whether that's true or not. One day he may come back around and explain himself. In any case, you should move on and look for friends of all orientations with whom you can be yourself.
     
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