Saturday, July 23

Somebody to Love

I talked with a girl I was dating once about the things she was looking for in a guy. (Yeah, I know that most guys wouldn't ask that kind of question. But I ask girls anyway. It keeps me humble.) She mentioned that she had a list of qualities she had used in the past... but now was just looking for someone who could & would love her completely. Someone who could meet her physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and social needs through love. I knew the context was important, because I definitely was not meeting her needs... But her comment made sense. You need someone who loves you. I thought it was ironic because that's never been my problem. I have a list of qualities, too... but I've tossed it out the window for one overarching trait. In my mind, I was looking for exactly the opposite - somebody to love.

Every relationship I've had so far has been one-sided. A girl is interested in me, so I give it a chance. More than a chance. I throw myself into the relationship headlong, do everything I can think of to summon romance in my mind, and ask God to help me fall in love. We continue to date until I realize that the miracle I need to fall in love isn't coming, and she realizes that she needs more than I can give on my own. Then we part ways, I start dating someone else, and a few months down the road I get a wedding invitation. The girl I dated is now happily married... has found somebody to love and be loved by... and I'm still totally single. It's happened more times than I care to count.

I haven't been concerned in the past, because I'm pretty sure that I'm doing everything I can. I ask girls out, try to get to know them in every way, use every skill and technique taught in marriage prep class... and still nothing is there. If I'm doing everything I can, then the Lord will bless me and make up for my lack.

But recently more and more people have been telling me that I need to change my attitude about dating... and I've been wondering if they're right.

Most of them are random people that I don't know very well, who assume that being my age and (still) unmarried is always due to a lack on the guy's part. They assure me that I have plenty of talents and skills, then tell me to "be realistic" and to "not be delusional" and "just find a girl with whom I am compatible" and "just make a choice and stick with it" - all of which may sound like great advice to someone who is married and in love with his spouse, but is nonsensical to a guy who has never been attracted to girls in the first place and is dating notwithstanding the difficulty that creates. I just smile and nod. And if I can't have a decent conversation and help them realize that sometimes the Lord's timing enters into play (ie - sometimes men and women are doing everything they should, but are still unmarried because of the Lord's timetable in their lives - even in middle or old age) then I change the topic or leave. Everyone runs into people who have good intentions and want you to succeed, but give advice that is too general to be really useful. Having a lot of problems myself has made me much more cognizant of the advice I give... and the potential difficulties in the application of that advice.

Some others are family members who are honestly concerned... who feel I should be married by now... and who find themselves wondering why I haven't found a wife. They don't know about (Gay) Mormon Guy or that my core issue is a lack of attraction to girls... but they still care. A family member commented on my dating life or the first time - mentioning that maybe I was somehow setting myself up for failure. Another asked what I was looking for in a wife. Another asked why I went through so many girls, especially when all of them were cute, talented, smart, spiritual, nice...

And I honestly don't know the answers. I've never found a book or even an article that outlines what I'm supposed to do in the dating world when I feel like I don't fit in, or that could give me the answers. The prophets have never said whether guys like me should date girls, or if they should just pull out of the dating scene altogether... leaving me and a whole lot of other people with a lot of questions. And maybe that's a good thing... because it means that I have to rely on God completely... and it also means that we shouldn't be judgmental of the people around us... especially since we can't understand the problems they face.

So, with the advice of well-meaning friends and family members in my mind, I asked God for His thoughts on the situation. Is there something that I'm missing? Am I being delusional, or unrealistic, or setting myself up for failure?

The only answer I've gotten is to keep moving forward. Which, at least in my perspective, means meeting new people, dating, reaching out, learning new things, trying to improve myself - trying to find somebody to love.


  1. That's the answer I always get too. I commend your efforts. You're working at it much harder than I am. I wonder, have you ever dated a girl who was a little more masculine than the other girls?

  2. I think you are such a brave Man for trying to move on from your same sex attraction! I believe that you will find a woman that you will love with all of your heart! But perhaps you or she isn't ready for it yet! I hate to hear it (and say it) but everything in due time! You keep praying, I'll keep praying and your friends and family keep praying and maybe you'll find the person you're meant to spend eternity with :) Best of Luck!

  3. As I read through this post I began to wonder if part of the "Setting yourself up for failure" might come from the the fact that you aren't giving your whole self to the girl you are dating. Not allowing them to know of your attraction to men, might in fact be causing a block between you. Conversely, it might not. Though I do feel that in not being able to share a part of who you are puts up psychological road blocks.

    I had it easy the with the last woman I dated because I was 'out'. We had conversations about my attractions and she felt comfortable doing so. Knowing where she stood within my life. Ultimately the relationship didn't work but it felt good to be completely honest.

  4. As a Mormon girl who hasn't had the opprotunity to marry at 33, I understand where you are coming from. Although I don't have same gender attraction, it seems like My Heavenly Father is very aware of my situation, but keeps telling me that I need to learn patience. You need to wait, it will happen when he is ready for it to happen. I love that I can trust him and when the depression and saddness overcome me as I am living single in a very family oriented church, constantly bombarded with questions of who are you dating, when are you going to get married, and my favorite from my grandmother who now says, "I would really like to see you married and happy before I die".
    So I return again to my Heavenly Father and my brother Jesus Christ who know how I am feeling, and prayer for patience to continue on in faith even when it seems they have abandonned me.
    I know what I have been promised that my children will be "the greatest blessing in your life". So I wait patiently for the time to be right and for things to more forward with faith in an All knowing God that he knows me best and knows what needs to happen for my life to move onward and upward.
    Thank you for this post, I know that Heavenly Father will make things right for you, just like I know he will make things right for me! Keep praying, attending the temple and reading his words, they will give you peace!

  5. I found myself in the situation of dating a girl I really liked (emotionally) but couldn't connect with in other ways like kissing, holding hands, etc. At one point I realized how painful the experience was for her. She wanted more (e.g., to hold hands, kiss, etc) but that never crossed my mind. Finally, I came out to her. We decided to give it a go anyways. It didn't go well. The experience caused us both so much pain that we didn't talk for quite a while. At some point I realized I was being selfish: she was nothing more than my ticket to heaven and exaltation.

    I've seen the same situation with so many gay Mormon men. They are encouraged to date not by a natural desire to be with a woman but by societal pressures. They enter the relationship with a secret. They try to make it work in exchange for a ticket into heaven, all the while causing their wife pain (because she isn't getting from the relationship what she wants and needs).

    I bring this up not to discourage but to realize this is a reality for women who are married to gay men and is something gay men should consider when entering into a relationship.

  6. I've always been of the opinion that if you are willing to love (true love - another matter to discuss) all you need will come to you. I can only suggest to be happy, confident and work on moving your life up and up. She'll come. When you are ready for her.
    Work on you.

  7. Hi, you don't know me, but you might recognize my last name, especially if you're LDS. I have several gay nephews. Anyway, I realize their struggles with love and SSA and since you don't know me and I don't know you, I'd like to share my thoughts...something I wish I had done with my nephews. One is now dead from suicide and the other is knee-deep in the SLC Q society. I had breast cancer last year which helped me realize a bunch of things. But above it all, I realized after 30 years of marriage, that real love isn't just based on sexual attraction (it helps) but it isn't eternal love. When all went wrong, and it did...this year..and I was bald, chest-less, and weak and very very sick with chemo, my partner (husband) sat on a chair next to my bed and loved me more intently than I had ever been loved in my life (I've been loved well!). He sat there for hours, reminded me how brave I was being, and how strong he thought I was, and refused to let me give up on life. It didn't have anything to do with gender attraction, our ages or anything else. It was "AGAPE", and true unconditional love. If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't have married at age 20 to the first guy who I was physically attracted to. I lucked out and married my best friend..but it took 30 years (yeah, I'm 50) to realize it. I can't say what I would do if I were in your situation, but I have to applaud you for looking for someone TO love. Please don't hate me for suggesting that you can find love in a non-profit organization, a homeless shelter, a chemo cancer ward or "best buddies" a organization that links people with down syndrome who need to be loved and mentored. There are also job mentoring groups and I find that when people do what they love...with people with similar goals (passions), then love will find them, or they will find an opportunity to love. I wish you all the best and you have friends, even strangers like me, who care and pray for you and those in your situation. There are so many people out there right now, who need YOU and will be crying themselves to sleep right tonight. You can find them...I can tell you're a great guy, who cares.

  8. Ryan -

    I don't think I've ever met someone who looked at marriage as their "ticket to salvation." I know I never have. As far as people getting married for any reason other than being in love, I think that's absurd. If you're not head over heels in love, then you don't have the right chemistry to get married in the first place...

    I also agree that going in blindly isn't fair - before I ever plan to court a girl beyond casual, non-exclusive dating (and definitely before engagement even becomes an option), I'll tell her. I've just never been interested enough yet. And if and when that happens, I'll probably be petrified... but everything always works out for the best.

  9. Maybe your future wife isn't ready yet. You may be doing everything right but maybe the Lord has someone in mind for you and she isn't ready yet. Just a thought.

    Thank you for this blog. It keeps me focused the important things in life.

  10. Alex -

    I once took a girl out a few times who was really passionate about stereotypically guy sports, but that's all I can think of to answer your question. All the girls I date are assertive, which is a culturally more masculine trait... and some have been self-declared tomboys, but I don't think that any of those factors has been incredibly useful in fostering love.

  11. Mormon gossip is such a huge problem among members and something I absolutely hate. If you're a woman and unmarried and at a certain age, you get that sad look by everyone: "She is so nice. Why don't the guys see it?" If you're a man and unmarried and at a certain age, you get that disapproving look: "What on earth is his problem?" Like it's ANY of their business!

    I have a friend who tried a pretty cool approach. This middle-aged brother came up to him and asked him about his single situation and why he wasn't married and whether it was lack of interest on his part or what the problem was. My friend replied: "You know, it's nice of you to ask, but I'd rather talk about how your sex life is coming along!" Indignantly, the man pointed out: "Well, that certainly is none of your business!" My friend said: "Oh, but MY private life is everyone's business?"

    Now I'm not saying that we should stop being nice and christlike to each other, but I just wish that the members would stop meddling and trying to make someone elses life their own business. If someone's unmarried, you can show love and support - but it's really his or her business, no matter what the reasons are.

  12. I'm in the exact same situation. I just broke up with my very serious girlfriend. We'd been dating for 6 months. It WAS painful for her that I couldn't connect physically with her, even though I treated her like a princess in every other way. We decided to end it for that reason. Now I'm stuck with the same old it worth breaking hearts like that? Have I made any improvement? Will I ever be attracted to someone I date?

    It seems with each passing relationship that attraction is not something that grows easily, or at all. We'll see, I guess.

  13. I believe if we are obedient, we will be blessed. Not in our time, but His. There could be many reasons why the time is not yet for any singles. I had long given up hope and finally decided to fully embrace my faithful single life and find joy in it. It wasn't until I did that, that my life changed. I was healed and met my spouse and we were sealed for an eternity. It has been 20 years now. I am still healed, sealed and happy. I have such compassion for you in this very difficult trial. I can't tell you what you should do. But I can suggest you fully love your Savior and focus on becoming the person He wants you to be. When He is ready things will change. Maybe he is waiting for you to be stronger. Maybe he wants you to grow. Maybe the right person is not available yet. Maybe your trial is meant to serve others through your example. But today, you can continue to focus on your love for your Savior and your love for all of your brothers and sisters. You can serve others selflessly. You can pray fervently for the worthy desires of your heart. And you can trust that He is listening. It took me many, many years...I am so grateful that I did not meet my spouse any sooner, or it would not have worked out... looking back, I was the one who was not ready yet. This may not pertain to you, but I wanted to share my experience. Be faithful, have joy, and protect others from being hurt. It happened out of the blue and very fast for me. I just needed to be ready, worthy and standing in the right places.

  14. David,

    Just a thought for you, have you ever tried to go on dates with girls you have already dated? You never know how it could work out with someone you have already dated. People change with time and they grow from their experiences. You also change. I know that it is hard for you, but do not give up on dating.

    I firmly believe that Heavenly Father wants us to make our own decisions most of the time. We have to make the choice and move forward. We have to trust in ourselves too. If we cannot trust in ourselves and our decisions than life will be harder. I'm not saying we don't need God in our lives because we do. Heavenly Father is in every aspect of our lives. He puts people into our lives for a reason.

    He wants us to learn and grow from our choices. I know dating and marriage are big decisions but we have to make them and move forward.

    You are wonderful person. I admire your dedication and kindness.

    What are you thoughts on this? please think about it.


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