Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Hardest Question


Answering questions about being gay and being parents is part of our everyday experience on Gay Family Values. We have been open books about nearly every part of our lives. We have covered, coming out, bullying, our pasts(pasts both separately and together), adoption, politics, parenting, relationship issues, sex...you name it and someone has asked us a question about it. And for anything we do get asked, we have done our best to answer within reasonable boundaries  Now... we are not experts in any of these topics but most of the time you don't have to be, you just have to be a good ear and a shoulder to lean for someone who may not have anyone else to talk to about the issue at hand. But needless to say, we get A LOT of questions both from gay and straight people alike.

I think it's funny that the religious right always think that gay men are all about sex 24/7. If that was true, you would think that would be a large percentage of the inquiries we receive, but it is hardly ever asked about. Not never.... but very rarely. Instead, people most often want to know about issues that relate to love and family. And among those, there is always one question for which I have the hardest time answering and...no, it is not, "what is the meaning of life?"...it us actually:

"How do I find someone to love?"

Indeed...how does someone who stumbled into it himself answer a question like that?

I hear it in a variety of forms from someone who is starting out at square one in the coming out process and wants to know where to meet good men(aka more than a hook up)...to people who have heard Jay and I go on about how we met and fell in love and ask us how they can do the same. After all, we work to help those who reach out to us realize that being gay is what we each make of it and that it does NOT  mean that we have to give up our dreams of love and someday making a family....and now they want to know how to take the next steps.Well...that parts not so easy to give advice for.

When  asked about how to find love I struggle for a reply that doesn't come from some pat answer self help book...or pop psychology. I want to answer them in a way that sets their heart at ease and lets them face a new day with a sense of hope for what might be. The problem is I feel like I suddenly turn into Dr. Phil and what comes out of my mouth is more pop psychology then honest answer. Dr. Phil would say it happens when your ready for it to happen....but what does ready mean? Dr. Phil might say that love happens when it's meant to and that we can't rush it....but that is cold comfort for someone who is looking for someone who stays for snuggles and breakfast in bed and only finding rejection or hook ups.When someone asks me how to find someone to love my own heart skips a few beats because the only honest answer to give is, "I don't know."



But when you are looking for something and want it so badly, "I don't know" can sound a lot like "never". I remember, because that's how I felt when I came out. I had been fighting this gay thing for a long time...from my teens and early twenties and now here I was finally able to accept who I was and not having a clue about what to do with it. I had twenty years worth of pent up frustration and loneliness and that only served to turn my into a heat seeking missile for for one thing...a boyfriend. The problem was that I was the only gay person I knew period, full stop. So I looked into my future and thought the only place I was ever going to find somebody was at the one bar my town had then and that was not an encouraging thought. Finding someone who I liked....and who liked me and wasn't going to take advantage me at a bar sounded like an impossibility to me then. Prospects did not look good.  But life had other plans for me that it didn't see fit to let me in on and a fateful trip to my local bookstore led me to my first gay friend...who then led me to a gay youth group...and my first relationship as a young gay man. None of it did I see coming.

So I know that if I could go back in time now and talk with my 21 year old self, the first question the younger me would ask is..."will I find somebody?" That same question I here today coming from deep wells of loneliness. The same loneliness I knew then. Had I not decided to go to a book store and read up on gay topics on that day 20+ years ago...I could still have been in the search to find someone right for me and standing in front of someone else right now...with my heart in my hands, and asking when it was going to happen for me. What could anyone tell me then that wouldn't sound like complete and utter bullsh*t?

I guess the best thing that I could tell anyone is to keep an open heart to what lies down the road because, while many of my friends in long term relationships have met through various dating sights....just as many are still looking. In the end, it may not be the bar you went to, or the dating service you signed up with....but a trip to a bookstore....Hell, maybe even an ER. You just never know....sometimes it doesn't happen because of our concerted efforts but is something we just stumble into when the time is right. But we never give up because you never know what life holds in store for you..."I don't know" does not mean "never", only that your path is going to be uniquely yours and no one can see what that will be.

But given all that I have written here, this is the single hardest question I can get from anyone because the answer requires powers that I just don't have....and because sometimes we kiss a lot of frogs looking for that prince with only warts to show for it. But when someone is emailing you with a heart full of hope I want to water that seed and let it grow...because it did for me. 

But now I open it up to my readers. How would you handle that question? In the face of that kind of personal pain and loneliness and no good answer in sight. How would you answer?

Until next time dear readers.....


16 comments:

  1. Well, first of all, you made me cry. I'm getting ready to be the one asking that question. And, again, you write it just the way it feels.
    It's indeed the hardest question and maybe it's not the point to answer it directly. As you yourself did, you went about your live. Not just work/home, but engaging new friends. In retrospect it seems that you followed your path. But thats a bit spiritual.
    Stil, either doing nothing or go on a wild goosh chase seems not to be the answer. Exploring yourself / furfulling your life maybe is a part of it (become who you are).
    For me the other part is something hard to explain to someone so lonely (i know). Getting to trust in your future, knowing that it's not the gay-thinh you're dealing with, but the universal question about love . I now do believe it will be there whenI'm ready. But that might mean that I got ready to do so many other things. Things I did not dear. Things I never felt were in my comfortzone. But what those are, is different for everybody. It might be that dstingsite, it might be doing charity.
    Listen to what you (your inner voice) tells you. What do you really want? What keeps on popping up in your mind, but doesn't get the attention it deserves. And why not? Don't rush it. Take the time to first listen.

    Offcourse it's not like a rainbow and the pot of gold. But (and this is important) you came more and more in contact with you (thats by the way very attractive). And even though you might not find love, your life did not stood stil.

    One last point. Listening to your self, I imagine, is not a one way ticket to always the right thing.
    You're maybe an angel, but you're not god. It tells you what you need, what you want. And you can learn to listen better by trying and giving yourself chances. And you can learn to create new wishes.
    So in short (my theory) follow your path. And don't forgot to keep doing that when you meet your love. But together (somehow).

    I hope it makes sense. (I'm dutch, sorry for possible spelling / sentence mistakes)

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  2. Wow I read this and like so many others I always ask this question after 4 failed LTR and not finding a click and reading about my friends both gay, and straight. I am reaching that point that I sorta running out of places to look. As for me giving advice all I can give is what I have told my friends.

    Be yourself, never stop looking, and always keep your heart open. I believe there is someone for everyone. I don't believe this world is made to have single people but it is made to have someone very special in your life. Don't settle for anyone just because you don't want to be alone (I learned the hard way).

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  3. i am blessed to know what love is. real selfless "i would love to build something with you" love. he is crazy(literally on meds) and straight and i was broken in ways that i did not even know. it was not love until i became no longer broken. obsession was part of that at one point. it took me time to get over the damaged mental patterns i had and for many reasons he and i did not get to have the time necessary for me to have a healthy platonic relationship with him, so i walked away for my own sake before it became something needing intervention.

    i told him, i had no other option. i did not expect it to be returned and i was not trying to manipulate him-for once i was actually being healthy there. thanksgiving will never be the same and i will probably spend that friday drunk for a long time to come.

    i just consciously realized that my dad died 2 days and 3 years ago. i wish he had been available for me to talk to. although that was a helluva 'coming out' for mom.

    while i dont exercise my role as priest often(in terms of others asking for some need) i have and do occasionally field questions like you discuss here..even with all my experience and capacity for understanding i have to say. i have seen dragons and spirits and a multitude of other beings i have felt the music of the mountain and heard the call of the lady. i am owned by the land upon which i walk.... but i know nothing of how romantic life-long love comes to us. some of us dont ever get it and that has always been the case, some of us have different structures of love and care from what the broader society tells us is "normal." i have asked for love twice and i have gotten it; both times it was and has been among the most amazing things i have ever experienced and both times they ended with someone walking away, in the first case my bfam moved with his family to NH(we do keep in touch more or less) and the second i walked away because i did not know what else to do- i do not like the person i became in that relationship and no helpful answers came when i asked.

    now i am just grateful that i get to see the beauty in this world and am grateful that i no longer have an unhealthy desire for my own death and want nothing but the best for ant and his family.

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  4. Weirdly enough, I just asked the very same question yesterday. I've been watching and reading a lot of coming out and it gets better stories recently and most of them end up with meeting the person whom they love dearly. It's all nice and lovely but what is it that I'm missing? Since they found theirs there should be something in common that they did to be able to have that, right? Or are they all just random coincidences?

    I've no answers as I've never been in love. I thought I did once but turned out it was something else. To be honest, I don't think there is an answer to the question. But I do think luck plays a big part in it.

    Fabs

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  5. For what it's worth - here's my story. The moment I stopped actively "looking for love"...it just happened. I had more guys interested in me than I knew what to do with! I don't know, but the unconscious neediness one projects can be an actual turn-off. It's just there...in the air. If you relax and just 'let it go', that relaxed being (who is your 'best' you)is able to shine. People will want to know you. I know it's difficult. It takes time and practice, but, gee - love happened pretty quickly thereafter.

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  6. Okay, here's the thing. It may never happen. There's no guarantee, no fundamental right that you will find someone to love you that you love back. In 49 years I've never found someone who loves me and I love back. I've had a few short term relationships, very short term but on the whole out of the 49 years I've had about 3 months of relationship. So am I unhappy, miserable because I'm alone?, frightened ill spend my remain years alone?. Well, to be honest, no, I'm not. Ya see, relationships arn't all wine and roses a lot of couples are unhappy, uncontent and lonely in their relationship. In their hurry to find the perfect partner they found imperfection and now have to live with it. Now I don't want to knock relationships and I don't know if someone is gonna knock me off my feet at the next turn but if you spend all tour time looking for something you're gonna miss what's there. In my life I've scuba dived some of the best places in the world, I've seen ziggy Marley singing "no woman, no cry" in Jamaica. I've parachuted from 2000 feet, I've taken a year off work to do stand up comedy. I've met incredible people, had incredible experiences. I've cried and laughed till my heart ached. The point being, a life without a partner is not a waste, it's not fruitless, it's just another way to live a life. Another way to enjoy the world.

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  7. I know I find my self asking that same question quite frequently. I have never been in a long term relation ship I have been in a few short ones the longest being 6 months and the others just being a month or two. I try to keep my self open to the posability of love.

    I feel like after some relatively recent life events and a year of growing that it is almost as if I am starting off at squire one in ways at what a relationship is and how to make them.

    I hope that the person that I am meant to be with will come into my life and that when they do i will be ready for them. But until then I must be complete with in my self, and happy and comfortable with who I am. Which is something that I have to admit that I am working on.

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  8. To this day I was ( is to be correct ) in two long term relationships. Both started when I was nearing or starting depression states, and both returned my need to be alive. As I say to my all friends - you can find happiness in darkest moments. So don't give up!

    Relationships are messy, sometimes twisted and most of time hard - but totally worth it if you really look for love in you life! ;)

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  9. I wanted to say thank you from the deepest part of me for all this.

    I am so grateful to God to have found this site.

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  10. Do you have an email liisted on this site to send you a email?

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  11. OMG..Bryan .. After reading some of these comments..I feel kinda bad..and sad..and I am sure you do too. I am happy as a clam and have been for nearly 22 years now. After leaving the "hell" of the closet (yes..it was "late"..I was 30..BUT..that was in the early 90's..so maybe back then it wasn't so "late?") I soon met Dave... We have had a GREAT ride!
    Here's the deal.. I want all of you without someone to keep searching... There is someone for everyone..DON'T give up!!! Sharing your life with another human being that you are physically and emotionally attracted too..well..it makes you feel so complete... Jim

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  12. AS AN EX-LESBIAN,I DON'T SUPPORT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AT ALL.I WAS GAY ONCE BUT THEN SOMETHING LED ME TO REPENTANCE AND I GAVE MY LIFE TO JESUS.I CHANGED COMPLETELY.I SAW TESTIMONIES OF OTHER EX-GAY PEOPLE WHO ACCEPTED GOD TOO.

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  13. I tried posting it twice but neither time worked, lol. :p however as a response to your post about not agreeing you have every right not to agree. That's a God given gift called free will. However attacking us (homosexuals) is not part of what Christianity. There is a time and place for everything. And while you have bad the opportunity to become a heterosexual (which I believe is. completely possible due to the fact that through God anything is possible. Also due to the fact that I have a friend that's in those same pair of shoes.) not everyone has the option. Some things God doesn't give us a choice in. No matter how hard we try. As a fellow Christian we must learn to accept others for who they are. That doesn't mean we have to agree completely with them but it does mean that we will show them love as Jesus would. I'm still only 17 and I really don't claim to be an expert in Christianity but rather the complete opposite. I'm still following my path. I was raised to believe that homosexuals that marry don't go to heaven and when I grew old enough I separated from the church. Especially when I learned 4 years ago I was gay. When I came back to Christ there is one major thing I learned. You are saved by faith and faith alone that Jesus died for all of us. So whether you believe homosexuality and homosexuals is wrong or not (which I firmly believe isn't a choice or I wouldn't have chosen it therefore leading me to believe it is okay) it doesn't matter. God accepts those who are His children.
    On that note listen to the song called" the generous mr. Lovewell" (Mercyme i think the band is)
    Great song about love and how it should be shared. We are called by Jesus to love. So whether your gay, straight, black, white... God loves you.

    Also realize that Christians come in all types. Whether it be gay teens like me, or homophobic adults (and I'm not pointing fingers but rather just stating generally) we must love all. One thing I learned over the summer is forgiveness. It's just as bad if you don't forgive those who have hurt you, which leaves me just as guilty because I do have friends (I'm still in the closet) who support no gay couples and rant on about it which saddens me and hurts me. I find it hard to forgive them. As a Christian, I don't believe it is right to take ANYONE'S rights. That's like saying if you did anything wrong (assuming you think its wrong) that I would be aloud to correct you. That's part of free will. I'm aloud to teach but nothing more. You live your life the way you want for Christ. We all have a journey. God bless you ma'am. :) Peace!

    Also just a question for the crowd: How do you know when you have a keeper? Someone who is a good boyfriend? Ive never had a relationship with a guy and i dont even know where to start, what qualities to watch out for, ect. thx guys! :)

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  14. i need help finding out my sexuality but i am born with spina bifida
    can you help me ?

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