by Dan Savage
on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM
I have recently come into who I want to be in this life and that is myself. I am a 20-year-old male college student who goes to school Ohio. I am gay. During the last month at school this semester, I met this kid—lets call him Matt. Matt and I instantly clicked. We spent the remaining time we had together sneaking away on long car rides, secluded beach trips, late night walks, and late night car hookups. In the short time we had, we really fell in love. But as the year came to an end, Matt and I parted ways. He went back home to Kentucky and I went home to Chicago. We were committed to taking all day everyday with each other. And we did. But then Matt mentioned something one night on a phone call that didn't sit right with me. We were talking about our future and jokingly arguing about what kind of dog we were going to get. But then Matt said, "I don't want to hurt you but I have different values, beliefs and those determine my actions."
Three weeks later, after inconsistent texting, no Facetime sessions, and maybe one or two phone calls, I asked and he told. There would be no future for us because for him being gay was not necessarily a bad thing, but it was definitely a thing that he has to resist for the rest of his life. Because God wants him to be challenged. He told me that God gives everyone problems to overcome. Some cannot stop lying, some cannot stop stealing or killing. His was to stop being with men. My heart hurts. Not because I don't get to be with him, because I have already moved on, but because I hurt so much for him. He continued to tell me that whenever he hooked up with guys or when he watched gay porn he would always feel guilty and "dirty" afterwards. I started crying when I heard this.
Everything was perfect when we were hanging out at school. It is like he finally got away from the people who have been telling him all his life that the bible is the only way to think. He was finally living his life. I hurt because I can imagine that guilt. I felt it for 18 years. I felt it until I finally decided to say, "Fuck it. I want what I want. I hurt because I know for the rest of his life he will feel guilt and shame. I hurt because I know if he would have grown up where I grew up things would be different. He ended our argument about religion by telling me that he thinks he just needs a best friend. So for the remaining two years at school I am going to be the best damn best friend he can have. I am going to try to help him on his journey into the difficult life he is creating for himself.
I want to try to persuade him, I want to help him. But I fear if I push at all he might back away. I want to be there for him through his difficult life. What should I do?
Basic Brokenhearted Boyfriend
My response—a brief one, as its a holiday weekend—after the jump...
Send your gay ex-boyfriend a copy of Bishop Gene Robinson's terrific book God Believes in Love—you can order it here—along with a note that reads, "Maybe homophobia and self-hatred are the problems God wants you to overcome."
Then say goodbye.
Don't hang out with him a ton when you get back to school, BBB, and don't invest much time trying to persuade him or help him. There's no need to be an asshole, of course, so go ahead and maintain a friendly but dialed-way-the-hell back dialogue with Matt. But you're going to have to let him figure this God-made-me-gay-to-test-my-love shit out for himself. So long as Matt insists on playing narcissistic head games with himself—"God loves meeeeee so much that he's given me this hunger for cock to test my love and devotion to him!"—you're really not in a position to help him.
And whatever you do, BBB, don't fuck him. Trust me. I speak from experience when I say: even if you two wind up back in bed together—and I predict that Matt will be begging for your cock before the first two weeks of the new semester are up—fucking him will not help him see the light. All fucking Matt in his current state will get you, BBB, is seeing yourself cast as the evil gay villain in his stupid immorality play. He'll blow you then he'll blame you—blow you, blame you, blow you, blame you—until he succeeds in making you as miserable as he is.