After sharing my story of overcoming homosexuality with the Prodigal community last month, I have been approached by more people than ever whose stories and struggles are similar to mine asking for more specifics about how I went from being attracted to women to legitimately being attracted to men.
Also interesting, I have been approached by heterosexual people who have never struggled with same-sex attraction wanting to know more about the mystery that is homosexuality and seeking to understand its dynamics and how a person can “get there.”
Regardless of the background of those who inquire about my struggle, the conversation that follows both angles of questioning is mostly the same, and I find it to be a place where bridges are being built. Up to now, the inability to understand our differences has given place for anger and hostility to rise between the two perspectives, but I believe a new conversation is unfolding where compassion will take root.
I have a special place of compassion for people who want to love those who share my struggle but can’t relate.
With no frame of reference within themselves, it’s sometimes difficult for those who have never experienced same-sex attraction to understand, and it’s a challenge for their spiritual growth to actively love and choose not to view those who do struggle as intentionally deviant.
Those who are attracted to the same sex usually can’t fathom an existence where it’s not at least something of a perfectly natural temptation, and struggle not to view those who say they can’t relate to them as unenlightened bigots. From their perspective, it is really hard to get your head around the lack of sympathy.
I want to share more details about my process here in the name of bridge building.
The roots of attraction may be a little different for everyone,
so this is not intended to be an oversimplified answer that is applicable to everyone, but I’ve seen evidence that the more people who have been on both sides of the issue and are willing to share their perspectives, the better off our culture will be.
Because I fought my sexuality so adamantly, I was not in many long-term relationships with women. But there were a few women I was especially attracted to—enough so that I was willing to suspend my convictions and attempt to form a relationship. These usually lasted just a few months. The relationships were characterized by a kind of manic excitement at first, with undertones of fear of abandonment and jealousy in place from the start.
Over a short period of time, the undertones would become defining marks of the relationship, and I would hold the person tightly to myself with the sense that letting go would be losing not only them but part of me.
The relationships would become either a highly dysfunctional tug-of-war of control and jealousy, or a symbiotic existence of codependency and expectations that mounted too high for either person to achieve. In either scenario, disappointment and heartache were certain to follow. In reflecting on the way my relationships went when I gave in to my same-sex attractions,
–over time I began to realize the women I was drawn to were women who had either physical characteristics or personality traits I felt were inadequate in my own expression of womanhood.
For example, I was mostly drawn to bubbly personalities because I am a quiet and serious person much of the time. Or I was drawn to petite women because with my larger frame, I never felt I fit the bill for what a woman should look like to be considered attractive in our society. When this first occurred to me, it didn’t seem that wrong because even heterosexual couples seek people who complement their weaknesses. Opposites attract.
But I began to realize I was seeking the rest of my womanhood from the women I was with.