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What am I and where do I sit with my best friend

Question:

Hi,
So until recently I’ve always classed myself as asexual. Even when I was little and didn’t know the correct terminology, I found myself not being interested in boys and girls the same way my friends were. I just knew that I was different – though I’m only ‘out’ to a very few people as I hope that one day this will change because I want a relationship and kids but just none of the intense physicality that comes with it.
Then last year I met this girl. We quickly became friends and she worked her way into my closest group of friends. We’d talk about crushes and things and as she only ever talked about guys I just assumed she was straight like me.
About 9 months into our friendship I started to have slightly more intense feelings for her. I wanted to hug her and never let go, and even had fantasies of us kissing passionately. I’d make up excuses for us to hug. But never anything more. Sex and the like is still unappealing to me.
In order to try and control/ squash these new feelings I decided to come out to her as a asexual interested in guys because that’s what I’ve believed I was till then. I did and she was very accepting.
But my feelings didn’t stop.
I found a new way of dealing with these feelings. I would imagine what would happen if we were in a relationship:
1. It wouldn’t work because sex is a very important part of a relationship for her and I don’t want any part of that.
2. It wouldn’t work because she likes guys.
3. It wouldn’t work because she doesn’t want a committed relationship/ marriage and I do.
4. It wouldn’t work because she lives a spontaneous life of doing something spur of the moment and I can’t handle too much spontaneity. This often hurts our friendship but not too much.
5. I’m a Christian Baptist who is very confident in my beliefs, and the whole no homo gets tagged in with that. I went on a camp last year where a young man talked about his life as a christian homosexual and how he believes that it’s not a sin to be gay god made us like that, but it is a sin to act on it – I kind of believe this and want to implement it in my own life. I am not judgmental of others and their choices though, it’s not my position to judge.

This list helped me push my feelings down. Then I was going through her old facebook history trying to find a old embarrassing status that I could mock her over and I found heaps of wall posts between her and a ex girl friend. Which makes me think that she’s Bi – this may have just been a phase I’m not sure she’s never talked about it with me before which is weird because she’s even told me that she’s bulimic and depressed and she’s only told like 4 people in the world (her parents know). And now all of my feelings are going everywhere and I don’t know what to do because I think I like her and nows there’s the chance that she might like me, but it would never work and I don’t even know who I am any more because just asexual is fitting me less and less and all this confusion is getting too much to just hold inside. Blerg, I feel better now that it’s out. Thoughts?

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

I’m so glad that you decided to write us at the Trevor Project.  You’re clearly experiencing a great deal of complex feelings right now, from trying to understand your own sexual orientation and feelings for your friend to doing your best to support her and make sure that you’re being the best friend you can be.  I’m sincerely impressed by your ability to think through everything in such a logical fashion and put your thoughts down on paper.  That, combined with the fact that you took the courageous step of writing us, shows just how mature and thoughtful you are.  It’s not easy to maintain that kind of grace under pressure in situations like this, and I hope you’re already feeling very proud of yourself for doing so.

I can imagine that it would be confusing to have previously identified as asexual and now be having romantic (and inklings of physical) feelings for your female friend.  In trying to understand  your sexuality, it might help to remember that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic as well as physical feelings and attraction for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay), and people of the opposite gender (heterosexual or straight). It can also help to think about whom you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with girls, boys or both.  When I say “being with”, it can also mean having romantic feelings or a desire for companionship.  As you note, there is a lot more to romantic relationships than physical activity.  If you continue to have feelings for men (in addition to your friend), you might want to take a look at this resource:  http://www.bisexual.org.  It has plenty of suggestions for things to think about when you find yourself experiencing feelings for both men and women.  As for your friend, it seems like the best thing you can do is support and encourage her, which I am sure you are doing already.  Nobody can answer the question about whether or not to share your feelings with her, but I must say that you sound like you are very attuned to your instincts and I trust that you will make the right decision as to if and how to proceed.

I can also see how your religious background adds an additional layer of complexity to what you’re already experiencing.  It’s very important to know that there is nothing wrong with having feelings for someone of the same gender and in fact, it is completely normal and natural. There are many, many LGBT people who are Christian Baptist and continue to attend religious services. Please know that you can definitely be religious and have feelings for your friend at the same time. It might also help you to know that though some people, including certain religious leaders, may believe and teach that homosexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be a good Christian Baptist and be gay, there are many religious leaders and members of religious communities who teach love, acceptance and equality for all of people and are supportive and accepting of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org and also reading the PFLAG guide “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf” If you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the most comprehensive and up to date website devoted to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community.

Generally speaking, it might be helpful for you to speak to an adult you trust about what you’re experiencing.  Perhaps there is a teacher or guidance counselor at your skills in whom you could confide?  You’re also more than welcome to call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386, as we have live counselors who are more than happy to talk to you about whatever is on your mind.  Feel free to share that number with your friend as well, as it sounds like she has a lot going on too.  You might also want to look at Trevor Space (http://www.trevorspace.org/), a safe social networking group for LGBT youth and their allies.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to us at the Trevor Project.  You are incredibly brave, mature, and thoughtful, and we are all rooting for you.

Sincerely,

Trevor Staff