Where’s the love?

I’m a same-sex attracted male who, until recently, was involved with a group that helped people lose same-sex attractions. I left because it was a cult, not a place for deliverance. I used to believe God did not love me because of my same-sex attraction. Now, I believe God is accepting of me and loving toward me, in spite of it, because this is how he made me. I decided that if I have to be this way, then my relationships must reflect something of God’s love of me. Unfortunately, the men I meet want sex and nothing more. I want a true courtship. I want to share my whole self in a relationship, not just my sexual parts. I have been approached by the opposite sex, and, if the attraction had been mutual, it could have been love. Should I continue with my same-sex attraction in the hope that it will eventually be more than sex, or should I seek further help to end these attractions so that I can experience a true relationship (love and romance)?

Beneath your question is the belief that true relationships (those with love and romance) are exclusive to heterosexuals. Survey the culture. You’ll discover plenty of heterosexuals who yearn for a loving, God-centered life companion. Being hetero is no guarantee that love and romance are yours or that life will be any easier. After all, attraction (to another’s appearance, skills and interests) only ignites a relationship. The mutual commitment to the relationship and the daily decision to love the other is what keeps the fire burning. Genuine love is a decision, not a feeling. You must decide to love God, yourself and others, especially when not doing so would be easier.

But feelings do exist, and yours are conflicted. Hear this: God loves you because of who you are, not in spite of it. That love is unconditional and never-ending. We are called to respond to God’s love by offering God faith and friendship. When you reject superficial sexual encounters, you begin to reflect God’s love for you. As you deepen your friendship with God through prayer and solitude, you grow in love for yourself, God and others. That will inspire you to nurture friendships that may, over time, become the loving relationship that you feel called toward. Once reborn in spirit, the only relationships that will interest you are those that welcome your whole self. Will they be same-sex attractions? Well, what is your true nature? Explore that question with the support of a gifted therapist and give wings to your loving heart.

I have been seeing someone special for three years. When we dated in high school, we talked and had fun. Then, we lost contact and married other people. Now we’re both divorced. She eventually had a child through an affair with a married man. We met again and are close in every way, except affection and commitment. I cannot get her to open up and show her feelings. I know there are more feelings than just friendship. I am about to give up and move on.

Trying to force her to share is hopeless. Her refusal says she is not interested in an intimate relationship. (Her affair is also a red flag.) Intuitively, you know this because you don’t trust her. You think she has more feelings for you than she reveals. The problem is your excessive feelings for her. The good news: It’s mostly nostalgia. Take your own advice and move on. Without affection, intimacy and commitment, you have an addiction, not a relationship.

Meditation of the Week

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Rob Morse reported that the best anti-war sign he’s seen read, “How did our oil get under their sand?” How does your self-centeredness play out in the world?