Half-year happenings

It’s been a big few weeks.

Last night I drove to my parents’ place with my clothes, linen, computer and other accumulated possessions. It was moving time after three and a half years living in (town) and working on the local newspaper. A couple of hours earlier as I gave my rented room a good vacuum in preparation for my exit, I listened to political concession speeches like Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 2007 or John McCain in 2008, because it was the right moment to appreciate emotional losers stating profound things. My outlook on moving resembled a concession speech rather than a victory one: “The past three and a half years were a hard slog of becoming a man with many mistakes made. Tonight I am thankful for these years and those people who were part of them. I do not leave this (town) as I came, and will always remember the lessons taught in the shadow of these fine green hills”.

Living at my parents’ is to study three subjects over the internet, so next year I can work towards becoming a high school teacher. This move, with more time to study, write, ponder, speak, chat, seek Him and appreciate winter sun streaming in the window, will be good. I don’t like where my attitudes to life and God are heading and this is an opportunity to create some good patterns in a safe environment.

I’ve been restless for a couple of months. I know, let’s get a haircut. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll try some facial hair. A new jacket? Yes, please.

Nine days ago my girlfriend of six months and I broke up. We sat on a piece of water company infrastructure overlooking paddocks and powerlines as our relationship ended. It was mutual and necessary. Afterwards she gave me a packet of honey crusted salted peanuts and I walked home and cried real tears of “whoops, I’m a screw-up who screwed that up”.

When people asked why we broke up, I said there were differing expectations and abilities to provide and it wasn’t going to work into the future. That was kind of true as she wanted me to be more affectionate and engage in deep, long conversations about life. I said I’m not likely to change those things in upcoming months. Also she is committed to (town) for the next two and a half years and I have no idea where I’ll be in 2011/2012, so we were going to be in a holding pattern if we continued.

This was my first relationship. Ever. And I won’t be rushing into another one. By the end of it my deficiencies in desire, action and intensity were all too prevalent. I would like to say this is due to same sex attraction and on some level that is true. But I was also apathetic about the success of the relationship because it would get in the way of my selfish desires. I wonder whether straightness would have made it work, though part of me doubts that. Alternatively the SSA provided a scapegoat for what may have just been incompatibility issues.

She is truly an amazing person and I wish her all the best. I feel bad about it for her as well. Perhaps I should have ended it a couple of months earlier. Perhaps a lot of things. A relationship is unchartered waters for me and I learnt along the way.

There was good stuff being half of a couple. Cycling together, picnicking, going to cafes, swimming at the beach, lots of text messages, having someone who makes me a priority etc etc. As well there is an awareness of what needs to be right in me before I embark on another relationship.

By the way I say (town) because if I wrote the actual name within a couple of hours my newspaper colleagues would have a Google Alert pointing them to this here blog.


16 thoughts on “Half-year happenings

  1. Dude. I understand more than you know. I dated a girl for a year (also my first and only relationship so far). I will have to say though, that I had no desire for her physically. I assumed that would change after a few months. It never did. I still have zero sexual desire for women. She was so insecure all the time about whether she would be able to compete with other guys for me. I was frustrated too because she was also expecting me to meet all her emotional needs, hold her hand more, share more of my feelings, etc. I just got frustrated, but didn’t want to lose the deep friendship that we had.We don’t talk anymore. Too much crap happened at the end there. I hope you ended things better than I did.

  2. Hey, Chris, praying for you, bro.  Relationships are tough.  My wife still wants more of me to “engage in deep, long conversations about life”.  That part made me smile.  Even straight guys struggle with that one.  Keep working on it.  It’s a good skill to have in any friendship or relatinship.

  3. @carleton1958 – Do you think female expectations are too high in regards to deep convos with differently wired men? Like should they be seeking this kind of interaction with their girlfriends?

  4. @wakeupgen – I was hoping my desire would increase from mild to ‘can’t stop thinking about her’. If anything it decreased, which was frustrating.Holding hands, ugh. Not only was it uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure she rated the success of our relationship based on how much we did. I asked a straight mate if I could practise with him sometime so I’m more ready next time, haha. There was a bit of a pause from him while I laughed.

  5. @Chrisjb7 – hahaha thats hilarious. yea i had that. holding hands with her did nothing for me. but as soon as i touched a guy or he touched me, even with a finger, it was like a jolt of lightning had touched me. im just not aroused by girls…at all.

  6. @Chrisjb7 – I wouldn’t say “too high”.  It’s just how they are wired, and I had to adjust to it.  In the best of moments, it’s nice having a long intimate talk.  It’s a common thing in stand-up comedy, though, to tease women about their need for relational intimacy and long conversations and how guys can be satisfied with one-word answers. 

  7. Chris, I’m really sorry to hear that :(I don’t regret a lot of things, but this one thing I regret: dating my best friend from high school.  Soon after joining an online ex-gay ministry (and being quite successful there, I might add!), and right after coming back from my first Exodus Conference, I asked my best friend of 8 years (going back to my high school days) if she wanted to take our relationship to a different level.  I was unsure of this step all along.  I sought the advice of trusted mentors, family members, mutual friends, even her FATHER!  Most of them knew of my “struggle”, and they pretty much all said that Tonya was PERFECT for me!  And on paper, she was.  Eight months after we started dating, with me becoming increasingly frustrated with my inability to develop any significant attraction for her (as a matter of fact, like you, my attraction for her waned over time), and feeling like she was squeezing me well out of my comfort zone to meet her needs, I said we should probably break up.  Part of me thought she felt us growing apart too, and somehow in my crazy convoluted mind, I thought she’d be on board with me.I was wrong.  DEAD wrong!  She was actually thinking we were going to get marred 😦  Because she was in school in a separate state, we broke up over the phone, and I felt like poo for the better part of a few days.  Seriously, I sobbed and sobbed.  It was awful.I tried to maintain contact.  I felt horrible for breaking her heart.  Eventually, she told me she needed a little space so that she could get over me.  We haven’t really talked since.  I lost my best friend from this.  Oh how I wish I could go back.  I NEVER would have started dating her!   I should have taken the advice I’d gotten from Christian authors about dating that I’d heard all my life: do NOT date someone for whom you don’t have emotional, spiritual, AND PHYSICAL attraction for.  Granted, they were talking to a mostly straight audience . . . you know, those guys that overspiritualize relationships, and try to marry a girl “b/c God told them”, and then they make a disaster of it.  Well, actually, I think the advice works well for strugglers as well.  Not to say that there probably aren’t some guys out there who sort of “practiced” their way into a good relationship.  But the reality is, the grand majority of strugglers simply don’t have the attraction factor to make it work with someone unless some significant attraction is there from the ground level.So don’t be discouraged.  I’m sure you’ll get over this soon enough – and she will too.  Heck, you might even manage to remain great friends!  But I think you’re wise not to jump into another relationship too soon.  It sounds like you’ve got a lot to sort out on your end before you’re even ready to give yourself to someone else.  Relationships sort of require that.  And jumping into a relationship when you can’t quite offer that just wouldn’t be fair to you . . .or to her.You’re on track, my friend.  And growing.  Simply be open to the Spirit, and learn from the good and the bad of your experiences πŸ™‚

  8. @djfree – Thanks heaps for sharing man! That is a sad story you shared. If I knew then what I know now I definitely wouldn’t have entered the relationship, but then I wouldn’t have known why I shouldn’t have entered. In some ways I’m glad I know because now I can see some of the ways I relate badly, how i’m like my father in some respects and the expectations a girl will make of me. I’m definitely in no rush to try another. Lifelong chastity is looking pretty good right now and the thing is I’m the kind of person who is going to be fine with that, which makes me think forcing any relationship on myself is probably a silly idea until I actually want it for more reasons then a mild desire to see what it’s like and to act out the creation story.

  9. Chris, Google Alert, jb7 If there’s anything I can convey it’s don’t beat yourself up for that relationship.  You were honorable and courageous and honest.  You did her much service by ending things when you did….don’t regret about not ending it sooner.  The lessons learned are invaluable.  My first and only real relationship didn’t end well.  We grew into false intimacy over the internet….me being a more communicative writer than talker….I found it easy to share and organize my thoughts….we covered a lot of ground really quickly.  We dated for 8 months or so….with one serious breakup in there.  I drove to her house one night and called it off….a moment of clarity and honesty from me….explaining that my intentions weren’t pure and that I mustn’t love her.  My brother tried to help me see that love wasn’t perfect and that if this was something I wanted, then I should go for it.  Unfortunately all I was seeking was an above reproach badge of straightness…..I hated people asking if I was seeing anyone….or the dreaded dude, are you gay…..I was looking to her for validation and affirmation…I was looking to her to make me a man.  At some point breaking up seemed to hard….and that I’d just make marriage work….it was two months before we were to be married that my spirit couldn’t stand it any more….I didn’t want to leave the house, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to chase this lie anymore.  We broke up (she agreed it was mutual) but haven’t spoken since.  She’s been quite hurt and bitter about the whole situation….even to the point of being rude to friends of mine who aren’t even involved.  There’s so much in that relationship that I regret/am ashamed of……but I wouldn’t be who I am today without those awarenesses……it takes those true glimpses of who we are to know who we are and how to proceed.  While I’m fully aware I made mistakes…I’ve grown leaps and bounds and I’m regularly able to offer that testimony as strength for others.  Finding our identity and strength as men is key before we pursue a relationship with a woman.  MANY kudos to you for being honest early and letting the chips fall where they may.  I’m proud of your decision.It seemed like you were alluding to a self-preoccupation that was interrupted by this relationship: if so, I think this is something most strugglers (people in general though) deal with….an over obsession with self.  It’s hard for me to care about other people….it’s hard for me to be naturally thoughtful on their behalf.  I can respond to need with generosity and kindness but I’m not always pursuing/hunting down/being intentional about that in my friendships.  I’m not the best friend to my friends because I’m too busy worrying about me.  This is something I need to work on!The holding hands thing was amusing bro.  I remember how big of a deal that was for me…..mostly just offering my hand….would she take it or would I be left hanging.  I was sweaty and nervous and anxious about it….so simple of a gesture, but I was unsure if I ‘knew how’ to hold her hand.  But it’s symbolic of our roll as men….we need to be offering our strength to women (and the world)….not looking to women and world to validate us or make us men.  Women respond to touch…I think in their minds it’s proof that they have our attention.Chris–good luck with the re-group at your parent’s house.  I’m excited for your journey.

  10. @Chrisjb7 – haha.  well, maybe God’s got other things in store for you than lifelong celibacy.  maybe not.  who knows?  i DO know that marriage for many people can be a wonderful means of sanctification that actually helps us to grow out of selfishness.  but often, we first have to reach some threshold level of selflessness before it can do that – and then marriage can push us even further along that path.  it sounds like you’ve had some wonderful insights from all of this . . . and so long as you’re open and hearing God, i bet you’ll get a few more πŸ™‚  i just think it’s really cool that you’re open about all this on your blog.  i’ve really enjoyed reading along as you toil and grow.

  11. “As well there is an awareness of what needs to be right in me before I embark on another relationship.”I couldn’t have phrased this better myself. Thanks for sharing, your transparency is appreciated

  12. Love your honesty and testimony regarding the situation with your now former girlfriend. Definitely insightful! Lord bless with this next phase of your life…will be praying!- Tom

  13. Partner every first experience is a learning one.   Is it really surprising that this first one didn’t work out?   We want to be surprised it didn’t work out, we want to think we should be surprised it didn’t work out, but we aren’t really surprised…not deep down, not really.  You’ve never had anything like this and you are coming from a completely different place from the “traditional” straight guy.   (What is traditional even for straight guys?  Not sure there is, but in our perception we think straight guys are traditional, though really the difference is just in our minds).   So male/female romantic relationships are as new to you as they are for say a boy of age 12.   Think about it, boys have already been trying to pursue girls from the age of around 12 or even before.   By the time a guy reaches your age, he’s had loads of experience being in that male/female situation.   The typical straight guy your age may not have had his first “real” relationship by your age, but what he has had is lots of experience in trying to get into the male/female relationship arena.   He may not be an expert, but he’s got far more understanding and experience of it than you do.    Think about it, this is your first real intentional male/female relationship….You have no typical male experience of trying to connect with females typical males do, so are you going to feel like a typical guy your age or are you going to be experiencing what a 12 year old male experiences?    You are experiencing what a typical boy experiences at age 12 in the body/mind of a 26 year old man!!YIKES!!!!Is it uncomfortable??   Of course!   Scary?  Of course!  Foreign?   Like visiting the moon!    Why is this so difficult you are an adult guy?    Ah, but you are not an adult guy when it comes to male/female relationships.   When it comes to male/female relationships you are still awaiting to start the journey the vast majority of males start around 12 years of age.   You are in many ways emotionally a 26 year old man, but you are also, emotionally, not much beyond a 12 year old lad.   It’s going to take time and effort to get you emotionally from 12 to 26.  You are arriving late to this aspect of life, so it will be a great deal more difficult for you.   The question for you shouldn’t be “Will I have to remain celebate, or does God want you to remain single?”   The real question is, “Are you willing to put in the time, effort, and pain to grow up from the emotional level of the 12 year old in matters of male/female relations?”    This journey will be made much more difficult because you can’t make relationships with 12 year old girls.   That kind of thing would get you arrested.   So you’re going to have to learn with females your own age, but they already have more life experience than you do.   Here’s the bottom line my friend:  What do you want?   If you want male/female relations then the journey will be very difficult, likely long, and painful.   The reward would be great indeed, but you have to be  willing to pay the price to have the treasure.    So what do you want?

  14. @Such_Were_You – I don’t think I want a relationship with a girl at the moment; that was my conclusion when I realised how much work it was. That probably makes me sound like a selfish prick, but it’s the truth. I mean I could be delightful and make jokes and engage about her life and pay for her meal or movie ticket, but the impetus for this was coming from a duty I felt because of what I had got myself into not out of a genuine desire to ‘love’ her. I don’t think I was unrealistic going into it. I knew it would be hard work and I said to her ‘I might not be good at this, so feel free to raise issues because I am new to it all’. But then it turned out to be harder then I thought it would be. But I’m not sure how to describe this ‘hardness’. It just was. Maybe it was a fact here was a person super-keen on me who I only felt mild attraction to physically or sometimes I felt weighed down by her expectations, which I think were quite fair, and probably wouldn’t even have been issues in a normal relationship. She believed strongly in male leadership of a relationship and was loath to initiate too much with things. I didn’t really think of that going in. I like being single. I like I can decide what I want to do when I want to. I don’t really get lonely that often. I’m not very often bored. I don’t desire to be physically affectionate with someone. I don’t feel a compelling need to give myself utterly to another person. etc. etc…Also I’m only 24, haha. I’ll be 25 in a couple of weeks. Thanks, as always, for your wisdom!

  15. @Chrisjb7 – I’m sorry about the age thing…I think you seem older to me, I don’t think you look older, in fact I think you look younger than your years.Chris I know exactly what you’re talking about.  My first forays into relationship felt the same way, “burdensome”.   And like you I like being single, but unlike you I understand something.   Relationship between men and women is evidence of emotional maturity.   When I say relationship I don’t mean at all what the world calls relationship…I don’t mean hopping into bed after the second, third, or fourth date; I don’t mean moving in together after 3 months of dating.   I’m talking about what God ordained between a man and a woman.  God created us with this in mind.   God said of the first man He created, “It is not good that he is alone.”   With that God created in His man a desire for someone human like himself.    Remember what I said in my first comment?   I said you’re starting where most 12 year old boys start… Well emotionally you’re probably younger than that…around age 9 or 10 emotionally.   9 or 10 used to be the time that boys were in love with being a boy.  When I say this I am not insulting you.  I’m not saying you are a child.   But in some ways we are stunted emotionally.   Every person I’ve ever known who struggles or struggled with any kind of sexual brokenness is the same way.  When I was a boy it was very common for boys to not like girls at all.  Boys were in love with being boys, and they only liked boys.  Usually there wasn’t anything sexual in all this, but even if there was it wasn’t really about being in love with a boy, but being in love with boyishness.  If sex play was involved it was all about what felt good, not real desire.   When puberty hits a few years later boys have become tired of being in love with all things “boy”, and they begin to grow toward being in love with girls.   The first relationships for boys age 13-15 used to be burdensome for them at first as well, but like everything difficult the weight of the relationship helped build their relationship muscles.   Boys need to be stretched emotionally just like their muscles need to be stretched and strengthened by physical activity.   What is at first a burden eventually becomes easier and easier to lift.   Marriage is the greatest weight a man can lift.   If a man does it right, by being in Christ, then that crushing burden of “family” can be born, and the man is stretched emotionally and spiritually.   It is not good for man to be alone, and it is a sure sign of our immaturity when we decide we’ll stick with being single.    Don’t get me wrong Chris I’m not saying being single is wrong for everyone.   I’m not even saying its wrong for you.   But for those of us who struggle(d) with SSA there is another meaning altogether from the average bloke.  I’m not trying to put pressure on you Chris, but I want you to be mindful that God needs to stretch you emotionally; to grow us up into the men He designed us to be.   Stay open my young friend.  Be mindful that you and I are going to have to be more aware, and more intentional about forming healthy relationships with both guys and gals than the average “straight” fellow.    If we will be intentional about forming healthy relationships with both sexes then God will stretch us, and grow us up to be the men He intended for us to become.    I hope my comments are not themselves burdensome to you.  I’m not trying to tell you what to do or what you have to do to please God.  You pleased God when you accepted His Son as your Lord and savior.   I am talking about God doing a wonderful work in you, and filling your life with the riches of family.  The work may be hard, and the burden great, but God promises that it is worth it.    God’s great blessings upon you my friend.   I hope you’ll have some more time to post, I’ve been missing you.

  16. Isn’t it wonderful to know that “God knows the end from the beginning!”  And we are totally safe in His hands.  His love for you, Chris, is infinite, as you certainly know!  We don’t need to know precisely what lies ahead, except that our future is secure with Him.  It is all right, of course, to have plans, as long as we are flexible enough to know that our plans may have to change from time to time, to accommodate His will as He reveals it to us!May God continue to bless and encourage and guide you every step of the way!”But He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (from the book of Job)

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