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Hi Mark,

I’ve been seeing this guy for about six months now. We met online and it was really a great connection at first. He was everything I was looking for. He was sexy as hell and the sex was great. He was also smart, funny, sincere, and he had a good job and owned his own house. A dream come true, right? The only problem is that he had…

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Hi Mark,

I’ve been seeing this guy for about six months now. We met online and it was really a great connection at first. He was everything I was looking for. He was sexy as hell and the sex was great. He was also smart, funny, sincere, and he had a good job and owned his own house. A dream come true, right? The only problem is that he had been married before. He has two grown kids and has been divorced from his wife for many years. I could deal with that. The other kicker is that he still goes to the same church he has gone to with his family for 20 years. Again, okay…kind of. Then I find out it is a right wing fundamentalist Christian church. His church believes being gay is not only wrong, it can and should be changed. His ex-wife knows about his “secret” but his kids don’t know and neither does his mom. I personally think they have to have some idea, but he swears they don’t. He’s been making progress with all of this, but not as much as I want him to. He actually broke down and told his pastor who has not responded. I gave him some books about religion and homosexuality, including “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality,” for him to give her but it’s been weeks and still nothing back from her.

He told me he is going to call his pastor to make sure that she received the books. He is expecting a response from her, and is hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. He says he hopes that we can attend Church together realizing that it would make a statement nonetheless. I told him I was comfortable with my faith as a Jewish man. This brought us to a two hour conversation about religion. He says he knows that I am an intelligent man, that I would research, and come to realize that Jesus is the only true savior. He also says that if I don’t accept Jesus as my savior, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but he would be very disappointed. And that of course, every other religion is wrong, and misguided. He also said that he knows that there is a reason that we were brought together. And that reason, he believes, is to help me to accept Jesus as my savior. To me, this is very dismissive of me and the whole Jewish faith.What should I do? I really like this guy, but I see a mountain of problems for us. I’m not sure what my next step should be. Guidance please?

Thanks,

Scot

Hey Scot,

This is a hard one. You really like this man, but there is obviously a vast difference in perspective. It seems as if you also have different agendas for your relationship. My suggestion would be to sit him down and ask him what he really wants….what he expects out of his relationship with you. This will give you some insight. His expectations will also help you decide if there’s any “common ground” between you or find out if the divide is too great. If he says “I will accept nothing less than you joining my church, accepting my faith, and hiding your sexuality” then this will help you find a way to cut ties with him. If he says “I don’t know. The church has been a huge part of my life. I can’t imagine my family knowing about my sexuality and still loving me. I’m scared of being rejected on all fronts of my life”…this is a very different story. You will know there is some wiggle room. It is clear he is struggling. He is finding it hard to integrate his life (family, religion) with the reality that he is gay. You can’t force him to find his way. Only he can do that. And, truthfully, it may go either way. It sounds like he has been living “under the radar” for a very long time. He has grown comfortable with the shame he feels about being gay. His sexuality has become like collateral damage in his life. All you can do is put your needs out there. Continue to show him there is another way to live his life. Be as authentic and open as you can. Be empathetic of his struggle. AND stick to your guns. I wish you the best. Shame is a worthy adversary. But Love can also conquer many things. Good luck.

Sincerely, Mark Rutherford LCSW

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