Monday, January 7

Trying to Re-Figure Out Dating

I have a confession to make. I haven't really dated since November, when I shared my identity here on (Gay) Mormon Guy.

There are plenty of excuses I could come up with - finals and final projects, stress, my brother's cancer, sickness, family gatherings, PhD application to Stanford, my business, church callings...

But at the core of it, I find myself shying away from dating because it seems even more stressful than it did before. Relationships seem way more complicated now because there's yet another variable I have to analyze. Now, not only do I have to find someone to date, I have to figure out if she knows about my blog, and, if not, I have to tell her. And what are the rules? Guidelines? I know at least some of the rules around dating... and have often broken them. But what are the expectations when a guy who's openly attracted to men asks a girl out?

Maybe I'll just ask some people out and ask them to give me pointers. That wouldn't be okay if they were interested in me and there was a chance I could be interested in them... but adding in impossibility on my side makes it okay to break the fourth wall, right?

I am so clueless.


  1. I am just curious, if you are attracted to men but still continue dating women, how does that affect you in the bedroom department? Are you bisexual or you do you just chose to date women. I have recently subscribed to you so I don't know very much about you.

    1. I'm definitely only attracted to men, and not to women. I date women because... well, that's complicated. Part of it is because I'm pretty sure I won't fall in love with a girl unless I'm dating, and I can't get married to a girl and start a family unless I'm in love with her... so dating is the first step. Step two will be (at least as far as I can see) a miracle from God - where there'll be a girl that I fall in love with.

    2. I can't believe that it right for a gay man to marry a woman. How unfair and dishonest is that??? I don't believe that my God would want you to lie to a woman about your sexual desires. Be a man, be brave, and be what you are - a gay man.


    3. Alicia -

      I am not condoning or suggesting that men ever lie to women about their sexuality. I have never done that, and I agree with you that God does not want us to lie - that is obviously unethical.

      The difference in my desire to marry and your interpretation of it seems to be in the factor of attraction to a woman. There's a post called "The Place of Attraction" here on (Gay) Mormon Guy that explains exactly what factors will need to be in place before I would even consider courtship, let alone marriage, but to briefly summarize, I will need to be in love with a woman, in the same way that a guy without same-sex attraction would be.

      That will take a miracle on the part of God, but personal prayer, study, and talking with hundreds of other men who have successful marriages to women confirms that, if marriage is going to happen in this life, that is the way it will. And while a man who has never been attracted to women may have trouble understanding how he could become attracted to one and fall completely in love, God does much greater miracles in our behalf all the time. Yes, marriage is always difficult. Yes, same-gender attraction adds a complexity that is diverse from marriages without it. But the men I know who have happy marriages would never trade their lives, their marriages, and their families... and their spouses are in agreement as well.

  2. Wow dude. I think you need to just get on with your life as a gay man. Find another guy and date him. I am not gay, but I have to think it's got to be the same as straight, but for the same sex. Like, from my perspective it sounds like you are saying "Man do I find women super attractive, but I am going to force myself to be gay, because that's what is typical". That sounds like a recipe for life long depression/unhappiness.

    1. Anon: Lifelong happiness doesn't come from following whatever your gut tells you. Otherwise druggies and the rich would all be perfectly happy - and most of those are not. Yeah, I could find satisfaction in finding a guy, but not true and lasting happiness - especially since having autism makes it close to impossible to get close to people in the first place. Real happiness comes from doing the right things and becoming the right person... and comes from God.

      I'm definitely not putting myself in a mold because it's typical. I'm nothing typical. I'm doing what I believe will lead to happiness down the road of life.

    2. Being gay is not just a gut feeling. If you are gay, you are always gay and you are gay all the time. It is not something you can compartmentalize. At worst you can deny it and unsuccessfully repress it. You have many logical fallacies in your thinking. First of all, studies show that rich people generally speaking are happier than poor people. How do you know something is right? What is true and lasting happiness? How do you know that the right things you are talking about are coming from God and that they are not a philosophy of men? Many people follow all of the church's teachings and are miserable. But I guess it is comforting to know that if you follow the church and do the right thing and then you are not happy then you can blame the church. The part that sucks about that is that the church will not be there for you when you pick up the pieces and decide to be true to yourself. They will turn their back on you the moment that you don't fit the mold. I'm sorry if I'm coming across as angry, but I feel like I am talking to myself 10 years ago. I have never been as truly happy as I am right now, in a loving relationship that let's me be me.

    3. That makes more sense. If you're talking to yourself, it'll be a little harder for you to hear me. ;)

      I don't see why being a gut feeling is a bad place to put sexual attractions. That's what sexual attractions are, right? Different sets of feelings in different circumstances? An emotional high here, a low there, that follows a given set of directives based on a map inside our brains.

      Happiness is a complex issue. I wrote a post on it a few weeks ago that talks more in depth about what the sources of "true" happiness are - money, following feelings, etc. You can find it under the title "It makes me happy... What?" I'll leave that post to deal with the questions of happiness, as it was many pages long and far more in-depth than I have time to re-write on a school night. It also covers different types of happiness. In short, I believe you - you wouldn't claim to be happy and write on my blog if it weren't true. Being open and honest with yourself and those around you can be incredibly fulfilling if you've been living dual lives, regardless of circumstance. But I'm looking for a different kind of happiness in my life.

      It sounds like you've had some less than ideal relationships and experiences in your life. I'm sorry about that. The people I know who follow the gospel faithfully (since there are none who do so perfectly) are truly the happiest people I know. They often also have the greatest trials and the greatest perspective. The most miserable I know are those who claim, or at least try to convince themselves that they are following the gospel, but are in truth only going through the motions. They sometimes look similar, but the difference is that they try to convince themselves that they are happy... because they feel entitled to it. I've been that way many times... and it's only by turning to God that I found the faith to actually let the gospel guide and light my life, instead of trying to tell God what happiness had to look like.

      The church has always been there for me, and always will be. Priesthood blessings, counsel from inspired leaders, miracles, friendship, service, and divine revelation to prophets will always be available in my life no matter what choices I make.

    4. Actually, I have had only one serious romantic relationship. It has been a wonderful one. I followed the gospel as faithfully as anyone and it did not take the gay away. I think that true happiness comes from not forcing yourself to fit a mold that a cultural group sets for you. You sound very inexperienced and in 20 years when the church succumbs to the social pressure to fully embrace gay people you will feel betrayed that you wasted your time searching for "true happiness" that was based on prejudice and ignorance. The beliefs on homosexuality have changed dramatically since I was 12 years old 23 years ago as far as the church goes. I was told I was bad because I had those feelings. Now the church unapologetically says the feelings are okay. They never recognize the pain and self hate that they have caused so many to go through. The church does not have your true happiness in mind. They are an organization that fights to keep order by creating rules.

    5. I've never heard prophets teach that following the principles of the gospel would make you immune to the travails of mortality. On the contrary - my understanding is that the people who are most faithful also undergo the deepest life-changing experiences. "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth." Sometimes God does miraculous things and heals a man born blind or a woman who has been unclean for 12 years. But the true miracle is a miracle of internal healing - the faith that comes, often, only through extended personal trials and developing a relationship with God. The miracles come in tribulation, because of tribulation, because I can turn to God and learn of Him when I'm humble.

      The Church has always been there for me, and always taught me the truth I needed to find happiness. Love One Another. I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus. Keep the Commandments. Follow the Prophet. Heavenly Father Loves Me. The Lord Will Prepare the Way. I Am a Child of God. Self-hatred isn't part of the Church I know... and, when it was a part of my life, it was because I had a flawed understanding of God's Plan for me - not because a true understanding of His will had pushed me in that direction.

      The Church is a central reason that I am happy. Without the knowledge that God loved me, depression would have moved me to kill myself. Without the help of Priesthood blessings, I would have died in hospitals and lost family members in the same way. Without the structure of the gospel, I would be bitter towards life and organized religion. Without a deep relationship with God, I wouldn't care about other people in the world... and I wouldn't realize that serving others and helping them find peace in the gospel is a key to my own happiness. The Church is made up of millions of imperfect people, but it's headed by Jesus Christ... and He definitely has my own personal happiness in mind. My General Conference notes on Twitter are an easy confirmation in my mind. People don't just answer my deepest questions with a sentence in their public discourses unless God is guiding them in their lives.

  3. Just out of curiosity. What if the church got to the point where it says "If you're gay, go ahead and be in a monogamous relationship with somebody of the same-sex." What would you feel about things then?

    1. Then that would be a good sign that I need to leave the Catholic / Methodist / Protestant / Evangelical church. Thankfully that will never happen in mine.

  4. I normally feel happy and hopeful for you after reading your posts. This one makes me sad for you David. You're equating your sexual orientation to a drug addiction... And then a gut feeling. This is setting yourself up for a life long cycle of feeling broken. I hate that for you.

    1. ???

      This post talks exclusively about dating.

      Where did you get the idea that I was comparing same-sex attraction to a drug addiction?


    I am in a similar field where I don't really want to date, but not because of my sexual orientation.

    Maybe I should tell my story. If you are interested let me know.

    If not (or even if you are), I will pray for you!

    Stay strong!

  6. what if....
    You just don't date?

    I applaud you for working on staying within the confines the church teaches about sexual relations.

    Why don't you throw yourself into service, work, temple attendance, activities you love... and just forget about dating and marriage for now?

    1. That's definitely an option. But I want to date. I love helping a girl feel appreciated, and having someone to talk to about whatever, whenever. I have a really hard time making friends, Karen... because of having autism... and dating is a great way to at least try to make a friend because most girls will say yes, and then you can try to build a friendship.

      And I don't think that I could ever forget about dating and marriage. Wanting to be a father and husband - finding the right girl and falling in love - raising a family and teaching my children - is the central part of who I am. I would drop out of school, work, and give up absolutely everything in my life if I needed to in order to follow the right girl. Half of my patriarchal blessing talks about being a father and husband to my future wife. The other half talks about being a missionary and teacher. Both are the reasons I get up in the morning.

  7. If you ever decide to date men, things will fall into place and be more natural feeling. Right now I'm sure you feel like dating women is robotic: you see what people do when they're on dates and you mimic their behavior as there's no attraction to push you along.

    1. Dating isn't robotic for me, Ryan... and it never has been. I have no idea what other people do on dates, and up until this moment, had never even thought to ask or look. That's being autistic for you... totally oblivious to social norms and things that everyone else takes for granted. Dating for me is just horribly complex - pretty much the opposite of robotic.

      Maybe if I were neurotypical in brain function, then some part of my experience would resonate with your remark. But as it is, I feel like trying to date guys would put me in a far worse situation. At least when I'm keeping the commandments, God can help me and give me relationship advice because I am actively listening. I'm socially blind, and when I'm in tune with God, He essentially helps me see by telling me what people are thinking and feeling. If I were going against the commandments, it would be like muting the counsel that helps me understand people in the first place. Not a smart idea, since when I've tried that, I am hopelessly and totally lost. Thankfully, I need God to be a central part of my relationship in order for the relationship to function... which might be different from some guys with ssa... but I'm grateful for the forced link even though it means relationships are always hard.

    2. As someone else with autism, I can attest to this! Dating was always frustrating and difficult for me, whether it was someone I was attracted to or otherwise, because I had no idea how to act. Being autistic makes dating incredibly confusing.

  8. Ok, here is a perspective from a straight Mormon woman, who is married to a gay man. You said, "Maybe I'll just ask some people out and ask them to give me pointers." I think that is a GREAT idea. Find a girl that you like to be around or think that you might want to be around and ask her out. When you are asking her out I would explain something to the effect of, "I'm autistic and I'm gay but it is really important to me to continue faithfully living to my beliefs and I really want to figure out this whole dating thing. As I am autistic is has made it harder for me to figure it out. Would you be willing to go on a date with me and help me figure it all out." You might have a few turn you down but I think you will find that a lot of girls will be happy to help you out. You are really cute, so I am sure that will help your case. :)

    I would think double dating with another couple might be good. Is there a guy you admire in his "dating skills" that you could double with?
    Big thing to remember is dating is supposed to be fun. So just go have a good time.

  9. David, I really believe you have your heart and your head in the right place.

    I don't believe that the Lord is going to eventually say that being in a monogamous sexual relationship with another man is OK.

    And I do believe in miracles (see Mormon 9:15, 20). One miracle you have received from God is your ability to stay true to His teachings and His expectations of you, in the face of worldly questioning. You are able to see things as they really are (see Jacob 4:13) even when those around you are deceived by the wisdom of the world.

    I appreciate your strength and devotion.

  10. thank you so much for sharing this!
    i just found your blog and i loved reading through your posts.
    i love everything that you write because its so sincere and even though i don't know exactly what you're going through, i can get a glimpse of it and it'such a great eye openner.
    keep on dating! i'm sure there's someone out there for you :)
    i look forward to following along! i hope you tell us more about how its going

  11. Mormon guy temptations will always be there u are choosing what u need instead of what you want. HF knows your heart and will continue to bless you with the strength, endurance, knowledge, and unconditional love that you already possess for him. =-) I have nephew who is autistic he means the world to me and though I can't have kids I truly feel my calling is with him and his siblings and any child who suffers from anything. Kudos to you for your undying loyalty to our lord and savior because I have a lot of gay friends who succumb to their wants gay and straight or bi rather then humbling themselves and holding on to what they need. Well wishes to you and I hope you date soon :-)

  12. I just wanted to say that I admire you and applaud you. You are in a tough situation and in the middle of a lot of potential cross fire from judgemental mormons and/or insulted gays. I definately think you should try dating. Be honest and upfront with your ladies. Woman are more forgiving of faults and struggles than you may think. Plus there are plenty of us Mormon woman who have family members or friends struggling with gay tendancies that would be more than happy to help you ease into the dating field if you want to start with just people to give you pointer. I bet you have plenty of woman in you life that would do it for you tomorrow if you asked. Keep yourself close to the Lord and be open-minded to falling in love with a wonderful woman who will love and support you. It CAN happen and your life will be fulfilled with kids or whatever else you desire to complete it. Good luck and keep poitive people around you. Your amazing!!!

  13. I was in the same predicament as you were. I was not happy during my faithful years in the church. I tried the world, and I was even more miserable so I came back to church where I did find happiness. My struggle for ssa is still with me and sometimes I am discouraged. But I am holding to what is the dearest to me; my testimony of the church, my loving wife, and my beautiful daughters.

    I have never had the courage to tell them and I dont think that I will ever find that courage, but I am holding my grounds, living the gospel, and feeling the Holy Ghost in my life.

    As I was dating my wife 25 years ago, and made the decision to marry her, I prayed to the Lord to find out if I would be Ok with her. I received an overwhelming feeling of love and peace in my heart and throughout my whole being.

    It has not been an easy road. I am certainly traveling on the less traveled road, but I would not change anything to what I am living with my family and my callings.

    God will inspire you, he will open the door to someone with understanding and wisdom.

    I am thankful for your blog, it helps me in time of weakness to stay strong, to stay true!


  14. Hopefully you have been on a few dates since you wrote this post two months ago. :) David, there is some good advice on here from great members of the church. When I was at a crossroads with my life, I had to make the firm decision on what type of life I wanted... Faithful priesthood holder or wayward son of God. I chose the former for the same reasons you have indicated- happiness. Not worldly happiness, but eternal godly happiness. Homosexual attraction is not an easy thing to have when one tries to date the opposite sex. It always felt like I was missing the mark of what I was wanting to feel. I fervently prayed that something would change within me, but it never has. After some time of a revolving dating scene, I finally found the woman that sparked some interest in me! It was more deep friendship than full on attraction but nevertheless, it was enough for me to feel LOVE for another person in the proper setting that God has created. We married and now have two children together. My SGA attractions have never left, trust me they are still present, ever lingering on the fringes of my mind and they are ready to pounce at the faction of a second the moment that I let my guard down. The temple covenant of marriage is truly a safeguard and blessing. I feel its power on my marriage when I stand with God. I sincerely hope that you will be able to have the happiness you so desire. It is there within your grasp, I promise you! I love the cliche, "life gets better" because it truly does, especially for a deserving person like you! Don't lose the faith! I admire your openness about your life. I am not so open. I still have many fears, but I know that one day, we both will be delivered through the merits of Christ.


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