We are created for relationship with God, others, ourselves and the world around us. It’s within this context of relationships that our “identities”, including our “false identities,” are formed; our perceptions of God, ourselves and others develop; and our behavioral and relational patterns are established. Unfortunately, most of the time these “identities” are not fully who we really are, our perceptions are misperceptions and our patterns of relating include some form of manipulation in order to get our own needs met.
Our own hearts, these misperceptions (false beliefs) and our dysfunctional ways of relating are at the core of same sex attraction (SSA). Our journey toward gender and sexual wholeness requires the development of healthy, non-sexual same sex relationships. While this can be intimidating at first it offers the potential of significant healing and wholeness.
Be sure to remember these key principals when developing these relationships:
- Healthy emotional and appropriately affectionate friendships are not dependent or erotic and they don’t include manipulation and neediness.
- We must be sufficiently secure in our own gender identity before we can join with and be a compliment to the opposite sex and not just in sexual relationships.
- Christ-centered, healthy same-sex friendships can provide non-sexual intimacy, love, affirmation, validation and the sense of security we need to become more confident in our biological gender.
- Gender insecurityis an emotional need that becomes eroticized in SSA.
- Healthy friendships and relationships in general are not SELF focused.
Here are some examples of things we might say if our relationships are too self-focused:
- You aren’t giving me enough attention.
- You aren’t calling me often enough.
- Why aren’t you including me?
- You rejected me.
- Why weren’t you there for me?
These statements exhibit a neediness that we’re hoping to get satisfied by another person. In order to experience God’s healing and find His purpose for our lives our approach with friends and others should be “How can I help that person grow in the Lord?”
To do so, we must communicate forthrightly, respectfully and lovingly instead of utilizing manipulation tactics such as the silent treatment, passive aggressive behaviors, detachment or withdrawal. If you need to separate from or end abusive or unhealthy relationships you should speak with a counselor or your pastor about how best to accomplish that.
For individuals with SSA, accountability is critical to maintaining healthy same sex friendships. Seek out a godly counselor, your pastor, or mature believers to help you with this and preferably someone without a history of SSA. We need relationships with solid believers, who will also have struggles but in other areas, throughout this process.
Here are some spiritual disciplines that you may find helpful as you walk this out:
- Fasting from your friend – if you become emotionally enmeshed with a friend, yield your friend up to the Lord and agree on a designated amount of time for the break.
- Journaling with Jesus – pour out your heart to the Lord; ask Him “What is it in this person that I am attracted to, what unmet need does that represent in my life and what do I want from him or her?”
- Confession – get it out in the light by confessing it to a brother or sister in Christ and ask them to pray for you about it (James 5:16, 1 John 1:7)
- Feelings – don’t suppress them, but deal with them with God through journaling or seek a counselor if needed.
Here are some helpful resources you may want to read:
- “Friendships of Women” by Dee Brestin
- “Emotional Dependency” by Lori Rentzel