Help! My Same-Sex Attraction Is Hurting My Friendships!


August 1st 2023

#270: Help! My Same-Sex Attraction Is Hurting My Friendships!

Undeniably, fear, shame, and insecurities can be major roadblocks when trying to foster healthy same-sex friendships. But what if we told you that it’s both possible and important to navigate through these barriers?

In this week’s podcast, Josh replies to questions from a listener who feels his same-sex attractions are getting in the way of forming new friendships.

Perhaps you, too, have same-sex attractions and wrestle with fears of rejection or judgement as you try to build new friendships with other men or women. Or maybe you wonder how to tell if you’re truly desiring friendship or unconsciously hoping to get closer to someone you find attractive.

You’re not alone, and in this podcast, Josh unpacks these emotions and the complexities they bring to developing male relationships.

Listen in as we explore questions like these alongside the thoughtful listener who wrote in.

✋ If you enjoyed this episode of Becoming Whole, please head over to Apple Podcasts, leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe.

Josh shares insights and experiences and most importantly, he offers hope.

Undeniably, fear, shame, and insecurities can be major roadblocks when trying to foster healthy same-sex friendships. But what if we told you that it’s both possible and important to navigate through these barriers?

It’s crucial to not let the possibility of rejection or falling overshadow your need for genuine connection with other men or women.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

What We Discuss:

  • 0:03 – Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
  • 10:57 – Rebuilding Trust and Safety in Relationships
  • 14:52 – Journey Towards Becoming More Whole

Discussion Questions:

  • 1. How do you think same-sex attraction can impact someone’s ability to develop healthy friendships?
  • 2. Have you ever experienced self doubt or shame in pursuing relationships or friendships? How did you confront and overcome these feelings?
  • 3. How do you think assumptions and misconceptions about others’ motives can hinder the development of friendships?
  • 4. What are some practical strategies for navigating friendships when you have same-sex attractions?
  • 5. Do you think it’s important to seek help and support when struggling with self doubt and shame? Why or why not?
Transcription: Help! My Same-Sex Attraction Is Hurting My Friendships!

Josh Glaser

Josh Glaser [00:00:13]:

Hey, welcome back, podcast listeners. Glad that you’re here again to Becoming Whole podcast. Hey, I got an email from a man who had some questions that I wanted to get after today. And you hear on this podcast every week that we invite questions and I rarely answer them. We rarely get them honestly, but when I get them, I want to answer them. So I’m coming back to some questions that a guy sent in a while ago, really vulnerable email, and I appreciate it. Specifically, this guy, he experiences same sex attraction and he’s wrestling with friendships. And he notes in his email, he said, look, I know that American men in our culture wrestle with friendships anyway, we’re very independent, we struggle with friendships. But for those of us who have same sex attractions, it can be even more difficult. And he lays out some of the reasons why. He gives two or three specific questions related to why he feels like it’s particularly difficult for him as a man with same sex attractions, same sex attractions to develop healthy male friendships. And honestly, the questions he raises, the issues he raises are pretty common. I’ve heard them from other men who wrestle with same sex attractions and honestly, I’ve heard them from some men who don’t wrestle with same sex attractions from other men. So I want to get after his questions in today’s podcast. I think it’ll be helpful for every man listening and for women too, I think, as you might give you a little window into some of what men struggle with. And I think you might relate also because friendships, I think, in our culture have become increasingly difficult. So with that, let me just roll right into his first question. He says self doubt and shame are quick to overwhelm when a new potential friend suddenly pulls back. He asks questions like, was it something they sensed from me? Did they get a weird vibe from me? Should I pluck up my courage and press in again? Or do I just let it go? And then when I do let it go, sometimes I feel shame when I see that person again later in church and kind of this friendship or bird judging friendship just fizzled and I don’t know what to do when I’m around that person. So a few things in answer to that question. First of all, I can so relate with this situation. I too have experienced friendships that are new or people I’ve met, and I’m excited to know them better. And I reach out to them and get kind of a lukewarm response. Or maybe I try to schedule with them and it seems very, very difficult, like they’re never available. And I wonder, should I keep working on this with them? Should I keep trying to find a time? Or is this their subtle way of saying, hey, look, I’m busy and I don’t have time for you, but they’re not willing to tell me the truth. So just note, by the way, if you’re listening to this podcast and there is someone you actually don’t want to have a friendship with, sometimes it can be helpful just to be honest with them about where you’re coming from, because you don’t want people to feel this sense of awkward, shame, weirdness about it. So to the person who sent in the email, I want to say a couple of things. One, this is common to men. You are not alone in this. There are a lot of us men I don’t know that all men struggle with this, but there are a lot of men who really have difficulty navigating. Is this some vibe I’m getting from this person? Do they not want to hang out with me? I’ll tell you this, there’s one man in my life, a couple of men in my life like this, who we don’t necessarily live close together, but who I really, really appreciate. I appreciate who they are as men. I appreciate what I know of their lives. I want to spend time with them, and they’re very, very busy. And one of these guys, I was emailing or texting several years ago, and it just seemed very hard to get together. And I had to push not him, but push myself to reach out because I kept feeling that self doubt of like, I think he doesn’t really like me and is just not telling me, well, we end up getting together and have just a great time. And I don’t see him that often. Again, he doesn’t live close by, but we do get together on a regular basis, and he’s become a dear friend. We’ve known each other for ten to 15 years now, and I know even though, honestly, I’m usually the one who initiates and I’ve kind of accepted that’s part of my role, that’s one of the services I give to this friendship. It is possible I get more out of the friendship than he does, but I also know that there have been times I’ve been able to authentically care for him and that my friendship has been a blessing to him and not just the other way around. But I wouldn’t have known that, and I wouldn’t benefit from his friendship if I hadn’t pressed in. So I want to encourage you to be suspicious of those weird vibes. And so let me say a couple of things about those. First of all, if you had a fire alarm in your house that would go off when there was no smoke and no fire, eventually you would learn. I mean, you’d probably eventually change the battery out, but barring that, eventually you’d learn that, hey, I don’t need to freak out every time this alarm goes off because it tends to go off when there’s no fire. I think that may be happening for you. What you’re sensing is them pulling away because they’re getting some kind of quote unquote weird vibe or they’re sensing something from you or they don’t want to be with you. They don’t want to be with you, the weird vibe, all that. I think that’s an alarm going off on you that may just be in you. So I would encourage you the only way to find out is to continue to press in. Now, I don’t mean to harangue the person. I don’t mean to harass them. I don’t mean to ask and ask and ask repetitiously. You don’t want to be obsessive. That would be a problem and that would push somebody away. But if you’re giving some space and some time and you’re giving the person the opportunity to bow out, then I don’t think you need to worry if they haven’t pushed you away. If you text somebody or invite them out and they’re not willing to do something or they’re not able to right away, or they don’t get back to you right away, just assume they’ve got other stuff going on. Try to flip the grid a little bit, flip your lens and say, you know what, they’re busy. Trust they’ve got stuff going on. Maybe they stink at friendships. Maybe they don’t know how to do this well. Maybe they’re intimidated by you. Maybe they think you’re going to send something weird from them. Who knows? There could be a million reasons. So try to assume that something’s happening for them before you take it on as they’re somehow picking up on some kind of they’ve got some kind of radar and they’re picking up on something weird in you instead. Assuming has something to do with them. Now also, by the way, if they truly are being rude or just not responding to you, you might want to ask, is this the kind of friend that I really want? But first of all, assume, assume the best. Assume something’s going on for them and reach out. Check in with them, text them, call them. They don’t hear back from them and there’s something time sensitive. Check back with them a few days later. Hey, just wanted to follow up on this.

Josh Glaser [00:06:48]:

Hey everybody, do me two big favors, would you? First of all, if there’s a topic you’d like me to be talking about on this podcast, shoot me an email at [email protected]. Secondly, would you rate and review this podcast by going to rate. When you leave a five star review, it actually helps other people find the show. Thanks so much. Now back to it.

Josh Glaser [00:07:12]:

One of the things I like to do when I’m inviting somebody to do something is I’ll say, hey, this is just an invitation. There’s no pressure. That’s my way of saying to them, you don’t have to do this. I’m not expecting it. You can bow out if you want. Like no pressure, just invitation. That’s one of the ways I kind of try to nurture my own heart in that. The second thing I want to point out for you is that the self doubt and shame that you’re experiencing, I’d like to suggest that a lot of times what happens for people is they assume that self doubt and shame have something to do with their sexual problem, their secret struggle. But more often than not, it’s a separate thing. And sometimes even the sexual struggle has roots that go into the self doubt and mean sorry, not Dr. J. Stringer. The author and therapist Jay Stringer talks about how shame is actually not the result of unwanted sexual behaviors, but often a root of unwanted sexual behaviors. So I don’t know if that’s the case for you, but I’d encourage you seek help to deal with the self doubt and the shame so that you can move with more courage into relationships, towards potential friendships. Don’t assume that these things, the self doubt and shame are there because of your same sex attraction or whatever your secret struggles are. Assume rather that these things are independent issues or even issues that preceded whatever struggles you may have and get some help for those. Because whether you know it or not, at this point you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord. You have gifts to give to the body. You have gifts and talents and personality that other men in the body will benefit from. And so for you to grow in self confidence and courage so that you can be the initiator in those friendships, so you can pursue other men will, in the end benefit from them or benefit them too. As you said, so many men struggle with relationships. And so if you are a man who is aware of your need for relationship, even that is a gift to other men who struggle with relationships. So get some therapy or some spiritual coaching or some healing prayer to begin addressing your own self doubt and shame so that you can bring yourself without as much kind of worry and angst about reaching out to them and more confidence to reach out to them for their good and not just your own. Okay? The next concern this guy raised, and this is really important too, he says, are my motives actually 100% pure? I wrestle with self doubt. Whether or not do I want to get together with this guy because I truly want a friendship with him, or the fact that I have same sex attraction is that I’m attracted to him and maybe I want something sexual from him, or my motives aren’t real. Good, man. You’re not alone in experiencing that either. Now, other men who don’t experience same sex attraction will deal with this with friendships, with women. They might wonder about this with colleagues, that they might find themselves attracted to? Do I like this person’s personality and really want to work with them? Or is it that there’s an attraction there? Am I striking up this conversation with this person at church because I authentically like her personality and want to bless her? Or is it selfish? Is there self seeking here? So again, your struggle is common to everybody. Everybody deals with this on some level or another. So the antidote or the solution? I want to offer you anecdote antidote, I always get those wrong. The help I want to offer you is bring somebody else into the equation. Do you have a trusted friend that you can confide in and talk through what you’re being drawn to and how you’re managing that? The fact that you have an attraction does not in any way negate that this person could be a good friend. All of us in every relationship, when we want to move towards somebody, we’re drawn to something in them, we’re attracted to something. It might initially even be their smile. And just because we’re attracted to a physical feature doesn’t mean that we’re not actually drawn to the person because the person is a physical being. Some people believe that actually a person’s physical body is an outward expression of their spirit, of their soul. And so whether that’s the case or not, I think it was John Paul II talked about being attracted to somebody attraction as kind of the beginning material of a good relationship. And so the fact you have some type of attraction, there might be some kind of spark or chemistry there. You want to be aware about that. You want to be honest with trustworthy people in your life. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue the friendship. It just means that that’s something you’re going to have to navigate in the friendship. So find someone trustworthy and reliable who you can talk to about it. A spiritual coach, regeneration or elsewhere, a good therapist, a trustworthy pastor or priest. Somebody who’s wise and who can offer you guidance as you’re trying to navigate that part of this friendship with somebody. And then the last thing this person raises is how hard it is to find others with more experience, others who experience same sex attraction, who’ve got more experiencing, developing healthy friendships with other men. And where can I find somebody like that? How do you pursue that? You don’t just get up on a Sunday morning and say, hey, you have same sex attraction, but you have good friendships. Could you let me know so we could talk about it? And I know that’s hard, but pray, pray, ask the Lord. Lord, is there someone you can draw me to who might have this part of my story might also be part of their story and they can help me out with it. We have people on our team for whom that’s true. There are other people in similar ministries who likewise can share that part of their story, you might check out our online Awaken community. I know there are at least some men in there who have same sex attraction. They’re navigating those things. But more importantly than that, I actually want to suggest to you that underneath the surface of your same sex attraction, the things you’re dealing with, the shame, the fear, the insecurity, the struggle with friendship, those kinds of things are common to everybody. So more than finding someone who also has same sex attraction and who’s pressed through in friendships, I want to suggest to you keep pressing in. Get some help to deal with the insecurity and shame, and keep pressing into friendships. Because in those places you will find more commonality with other men who can also be open about what they’re struggling with than you will difference. And as you find more commonality with men of all stripes, whatever their attraction struggles are, then you’ll be more freed up to recognize that you belong with other men. You are part of the body of Christ. And men and women need each other, yes, but men also need other men. Women also need other women. They need you. You need them. And it’s very good. This is how God’s designed it. So let me pray for you, brother. Lord, thanks so much for this brother. I do pray, Lord, that you would lead him to good, healthy friendships with other men and anything that’s getting in his way. Lord, would you put your finger on the things that get in his way from being fully alive and fully integrated into the body of Christ? Lord, heal those places and give him eyes to see who you’ve made him to be, or that he might walk in confidence and security, beloved son, that he is with you and brother to the brothers in his church. Lord, I pray this for his good. I pray it for all of our good. I pray for your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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