Sometimes truth comes from an unlikely source. Today, it’s from Karl Marx. I disagree with his political philosophy, but he did say something that mirrors my feelings on friendships. Where he refers to his son, insert friendship instead.
“Bacon said that really important people have so many relationships with nature and so many interesting possessions that any loss is quickly forgotten. I do not belong to these people, the death of my son shattered my heart and brain, and I feel the loss as freshly as the first day.” – Karl Marx
While this may seem a bit melodramatic, it is. I’ve since come away from this viewpoint on friendships and how deeply I let them affect me, but this is where I was emotionally when I moved from Utah right before graduate school. I was lonely and looking for someone to be my friend. Since I didn’t know anyone in the area, and didn’t have a good mechanism by which to meet people right away, I turned to someone I knew from online. This someone was a guy I had met on a site dedicated to overweight gay men and those who are interested in the same.
When I met “Kevin” (not even close to his real name) I was interested in just having someone to hang out with. I wanted a friend, and nothing more. Unfortunately, Kevin was someone about whom I had previously fantasized sexually. When he and I had chatted online while I lived in Utah, our conversations were of a sexual nature, though not to the point of cybersex.
When Kevin and I first met in person, things went well. We went to a hole in the wall mexican place to get something to eat, and we talked like friends do. It wasn’t until the second or third time we spent time together that things became sexual. What started out as watching TV turned into oral sex.
While I’d love to jump to some sort of platitude of how Kevin was a bad influence, I instigated the entire relationship. I was the one who contacted him, and I was the one who took it down the path to us being sexually involved. Kevin was certainly a willing participant, but I was fully culpable.
Prior to Kevin, every time I would engage in sexual activity, I would not have any contact with the individual afterward. Kevin was different. I enjoyed being around him. The friendship which developed made me want to continue spending time with him. The majority of the time that we spent with each other was spent in benign pursuits. We would sing karaoke, we would cook, we would watch movies. Over time, I came to love Kevin. In fact, I still love him.
Kevin and I were “together” for about four and a half months. During that time we had sex several times. Finally, I decided that I had to stop. He and I still hung out together, but no longer took our clothes off. It was a bit of a charade, since we both still wanted to. We both still had strong sexual desires for each other, which we acted on when we weren’t together.
Kevin told me once that I was the first guy he had fallen in love with. I didn’t really know what to do with that information. It made me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel like I was hurting him all the more when I told him that I couldn’t keep doing the things with him that we had done. More than anything it made it hard for me to watch him as we tried to just be friends again.
Kevin became more and more depressed. He took the whole situation hard, especially since he didn’t see an emotional release anywhere. He told me that it was particularly hard because he couldn’t even be mad that I was making the choice, since God was the one guy he couldn’t be jealous of. Eventually, I realized that I needed to break off contact with Kevin.
I needed to not see him. The memories of the things we did were too fresh not to present a huge temptation. (They still come to mind from time to time and I have to fight to quash them.) More than that, I needed to let him move on. His depression was getting to the point that he questioned his self-worth. He questioned if anyone would care if he were alive or not. I saw that even though he wanted to hold onto me in any way I would let him, it was killing him to not be able to have me be in his life the way he wanted.
I haven’t talked to Kevin in nearly six months. I miss him from time to time.
The mixture of my love for Kevin and the sexual desire I had still were not enough to overcome the knowledge that what I was doing with him was not in line with my beliefs. Even though I was getting emotional needs filled, it was eating away at the part of me that wanted to do what I felt was the Lord’s will. I was a person divided. When I met with my therapist at LDS Family services, I wanted to be the person the Lord wanted me to be. When I was with Kevin, I turned off that part of me. The split was tearing me apart, and I couldn’t keep it up.
I chose to end my relationship with Kevin because I knew I wouldn’t be happy denying my religious self, and I could not bend my theology to allow the relationship without destroying my faith in my theology in the process. I know there are many who have made the other choice, who either have been able to come to terms with a modified theology, or with an abandonment of their religious beliefs altogether. To them I would say that the choice is still there. It hurts, a lot, but it is still there.
If anyone would like help making that choice, if you need a friend who will support you in the choice, please know that my offer of friendship is genuine and is always extended. If reading my experiences is sufficient, or is all you can bring yourself to do, please keep reading. If you need to talk to someone, I am available, always.