Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life Update and Some Thoughts on Dating

Some of my friends and family who read my blog have been asking me a few questions as of late, which has led to lots of introspection and pondering on my part.

First, my sister has been asking me about how things are going and I've been honest with her about it. Things are going great for me. I've got some distance between me and pornography (no doubt helped by my computer's unfortunate status as deceased), I'm still on the road leading to a mission, I've got some great friends who know my story and some other great friends who don't, and I'm passing all of my classes (incluyendo espaƱol! Es un milagro!).

I'm also making new friends who are helping me understand what it takes to be gay and Mormon and who are encouraging me to be as religious and active as possible, which feels great after the hot mess that was Toby. I was afraid that if I ever was out to another gay person again, all he'd really be looking for was sex, so it's refreshing to see that there are people who can be supportive without angling for something else.

Another friend asked me something a little surprising and deep the other day. We were talking about dating and being Mormon and gay and what implications all that had on our lives.  We had been discussing whether or not dating girls was a good idea, but it made me start thinking about what it would be like to just date and meet guys, without it becoming a relationship.  With Toby, dating was never a part of the picture.  We got together, we cuddled, we made out, we split.  There was rarely introspection or sharing of emotions and goals.  It was mostly sexual/sensual for us.  So I'm naturally curious what it would be like to go on a normal, non-physical, get-to-know-you first date with a man, like so many of the first dates I've had with women.

My friend asked, "Wouldn't dating a guy be counterproductive, given all that you're trying to accomplish?"  That, friends, is the question of the hour. Would dating a guy be a bad choice even if we were able to keep the dating chaste?

My initial response because of my upbringing would be to say, "Yes, dating someone of the same gender is bad, no matter what."  But in my mind there are a million little justifications, like, "It'd be nice to have someone to confide in," and, "Maybe we could help each other be good," and, "Dating a girl is not sinful as long as we don't have sex or go too far, so why should dating a guy be any different?"

These are rationalizations I used when I saw Toby.  I would go to his house under the pretense of him needing to talk, and once we ended up kissing for like, an hour.  I don't necessarily feel guilty for any of that, but I also acknowledge that it wasn't emotionally or spiritually fulfilling, and it certainly wasn't a relationship of confidence or helping each other be good.

Given that I want to serve a mission, in spite of my misgivings towards the church regarding homosexuality, I reckon that dating would be counterproductive. And in spite of my attraction to those new friends (one in particular), I'm grateful they still encourage and champion my desire to serve a mission and leave their  attractions off the table.

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