This post started from a conversation I had with Lindsey (from *! [emphatic asterisk]). Thank you for starting me off! To everyone else reading, I am sorry it is long, but it is a complicated issue.
In all of the current “Gay Marriage” debate, there is a lot of discourse on what marriage is, and what a relationship is. Even the church’s all weigh in with views, denouncing homosexual relationships as disordered. I am in no way arguing for gay marriage (though I do believe in legal rights to protect a same-sex-couple financially for example).
I would like to share my insight into what a homosexual relationship can be.
When I was 22 I met my soulmate. He was a lot of firsts for me. (He was not my first kiss, but he was my second! ;-) )
It started on gay.com of all places. I don’t mean to be judgmental, but it is not the nicest of places. People tend to cruise there for random fun. It’s just not my thing. But that night, it all seemed it was a chance by design. I was about to give up for the evening, maybe for a while. I had just not had any luck finding someone for months and months. But like quitting smoking, I was going to quit it tomorrow :-P Then someone in the chat room piped up: “Someone, say something!”
And I did. And there was every chance that I might not have met him. I might have closed the window before he replied. The internet connection might have dropped out (dial-up in those days). Who knows. But it did happen.
And after a few weeks chatting online, then on the phone, we finally met. That day I was so nervous, but at the end, I thought I had met my soulmate. He was going to be with me forever. From that day had begun my spiritual bond.
Over the 5 years, our relationship was also sexual, but because of our secretive circumstances, it wasn’t a constant. And not that it mattered much to me. What else I had was wonderful. His presence was with me, even when we were not together. We talked all the time. We spent a lot of time on drives together, holidays together. He shared my circle of friends. He loved my family, especially my mother, and I loved his family too. We went to dinner at all different places, saw movies, theatre, symphony and opera together. We snuggled on the couch together, we kissed. On our holidays away, I slept next to him, I woke next to him. We cooked together, we ate together. We watched TV together after dinner. I was teaching him to drive a manual.
Because we both lived at home with our respective parents, we couldn’t always enjoy physical aspects to our relationship (and physical does not just mean sex). But I still felt close to him all the while. I would wake in the morning with him on my mind, and go to sleep thinking about him. I’d text him on my way to work, and he’d text back when he got a chance. We planned our future together. We wanted a vegetable garden. We wanted a dog. We enjoyed our escapes to the Blue Mountains, and he loved to go bushwalking.
While now that has all come to a sudden end, it did exist at the time.
When it ended, that close connection was severed. The pain and the loss, it was excruciating. There was no communication, and I never knew exactly why it ended, though there was someone in the middle, that much I knew. I spent my time cyber-stalking, piecing fact together from clues. In the end what I learned showed him to be a stranger to me. That hurt even more than the sudden end. It broke all my trust. For me, it was like he had died. I had lost him forever. The extent to which he had changed is dramatic. Even though he still exists on this planet, my first love is dead.
Where does this leave me today?
The Catholic Church is apparently quite explicit about how it views homosexuality/same-sex-attraction. It states the homo-genital act is sinful, and homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered”. It calls SSA Catholics to a life of celibacy, much the same as for single heterosexual people, and heterosexual couples before marriage.
Since the breakup, I will admit, I have lost interest for sexual intimacy. It was never that important to me. What is more important to me is the companionship, the closeness of bond one has with a partner. The bible talks about different love, and I can state there is different love in our lives. My parents love me, like no other. My sister loves me too, like no other. My friends love me dearly too. And above all, God loves me, unconditionally. And my partner loved me. And though there was all this love, each love was different.
It is in our human design, that we are meant to have that bond, to become one with another. That does not change even for homosexual people. I am not interested in the sleazy sex that is often assoscated with the stereotypical gay community, a different night, a different guy (or perhaps more than one!). The same pattern I just mentioned can also be said for heterosexual men. The Church doesn’t do much jumping about that though, do they?
I am a monogamous guy. I want that one to share my life with. The love that two people share in a relationship is so different than that experienced anywhere. As with “straight” people, it is every bit as deep and meaningful for “gay” people.
While I am now seriously considering a celibate lifestyle, I can’t see that I wouldn’t be allowed to hug or kiss another man. Since it is not a sin for premarital kissing and hugging in a heterosexual relationship, I don’t see that as being sinful in a homosexual relationship. Hugging and kissing are socially acceptable modes of communication in any case, that are expressed daily, in public with all manner of people. A peck on the cheek in greeting, a quick kiss on the lips goodbye as ones partner departs on a business trip, or a comforting hug for one who is in pain.
The biggest question for me is, am I ever going to find someone who would feel the same, who could feel complete in the closeness we would have together, even without the sexual act? And if that person is out there, and we did live together chastely for the rest of our lives, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, supporting and loving one another, contributing to our community and working to live out our Catholic faith, does God really condemn that as a sinful, disordered life?
God did create Eve for Adam, so that he would not be alone. By that, it is intrinsically a human need for a life companion. In my case however, I was created as I am, with a same-sex-attraction, and though that be the case, it has not absolved my human need for that other person.