For starters, I am a gay 25 year old man. I am in the closet to most everybody, with a few friends/family members being the exception. I am not "hiding" my true self per se, meaning that I don't fear being outed every waking moment like I did when I was a teen. Part of me wants it to happen just to get it over with so I can move on with my life. I grew up in a religious family, although not legalistically so. We went to church on Sunday and Wednesday, I went to Christian private school (thanks to my grandparents, we weren't wealthy haha), and when I went to college it was a local Southern Baptist affiliated school. I live in the southeast United States in a more progressive city, but that's a stretch. My first job out of college was with a religious organization, so I was very closeted in that position. Only for the last year, since I changed jobs multiple times haha, have I started to feel more pressure to come out and stop hiding who I am. And this is where my problems start...I feel like I'm trapped in the closet because I still associate myself with the church for emotional and financial reasons. Having been in church all my life it is a comfortable space where I feel like I am at "home". The songs, the messages, the people are all familiar. Everybody is "nice". I enjoy getting up on Sunday mornings and going, it doesn't feel like a chore. That being said, I no longer consider myself a believer, and honestly I disagree with most of what I hear in church on Sunday morning. Most people would say "find a group who will accept you", or, "if they can't love you for who you are they don't deserve you". I KNOW these are true, but it's one of those things that I can't shake. It's a tie to my childhood, to my life up to this point that I'm not ready to lose.Financially I am also tied to the church because I "serve" in a way that is an important side-hussle for me as a young single guy trying to pay the bills. Without going into too much detail and outing myself, I am involved with the service on Sunday mornings and I am paid for it when I "serve". Without this income, my lifestyle would dramatically change and I'd have to pinch every penny. Also, the job that I fulfill is a passion of mine that I'm trying to find other outlets for, but right now I'm building my reputation in said area. I need the connections and relationships I have within the church to build that up before I can take it to the "secular" world.My other struggle that I am dealing with right now is loneliness. I am a 25 year old virgin who has never been in a relationship. I understand why. My life situation up to this point hasn't exactly been conducive to having a boyfriend, but I am really getting tired of it. I am very particular about the guys that I fall for. Not necessarily their looks, more personality. I don't just fall for anybody. I wouldn't consider myself demisexual, I am sexually attracted to good looking guys, but I definitely put more emphasis on the emotional part of a relationship than the physical. That will probably change once I DO have a boyfriend haha!Because of this I have a hard time on apps trying to find somebody that I am interested in. Even if I think a guy is really cute, it's hard to move past the initial attraction into building a real relationship. That and most guys on apps don't really want to talk. Every guy that I have fallen hard for (IRL) has been somebody who I didn't initially feel a strong sexual attraction to, but it developed as our emotional relationship came about. I'm in the middle of a huge crush on a guy that I can't have right now. He's a friend who is straight. At least he says he's straight and plays the part well. He's engaged to a woman and won't be around for much longer. BUT he's really sweet and flirty with me, physically and verbally. I really DO think that he's at least bi and hiding it. He has plenty of reasons to stay closeted. But it's absolutely KILLING me that he's so cute and sweet with me but we can't be together. Sitting here typing this makes me feel distraught. He's the first guy that I've fallen HARD for in my adult life. He's exactly what I'm looking for in a guy, but I CAN'T have him and it's eating me alive. He makes me feel special.So what do I do y'all? I feel like I'm torn between to different versions of me. There are parts of my life that simply DON'T work with my "gayness" (lol) that I don't want to let go of for numerous reasons. But on the flip side I absolutely wan't to be true to myself and stop living a lie. I also need help moving past this guy even though I REALLY don't want to. He's leaving soon, so I guess that I'll have to get over him then. But god damn do I want to date him. Like do cute, super gay couple-y things together. Ugh. sorry for the wall of text...
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reader, anonymous, writes (16 April 2019):You say there are parts of your life that simply DON'T work with your "gayness", then change those parts of your life. It's as simple as that. You can't change your "gayness".You describe your relationship with church as a link to your childhood that you are not ready to lose.. But, I really think you need to grow up. You're 25, you're a man. Take responsibility for yourself and your life, be brave, be out and open and live it to the fullest. Allow yourself the happiness that comes with living your life as you are.Your relationship to the church and it's community comes across as unhealthy. You are too reliant on it, in every way; emotionally, financially etc. It has been too easy for you, it's a safety net. Honestly, it sounds like it comes from a place of privilege. And, not something a 25 year old man should want or need.Most of what you have written is an excuse for not coming out. It doesn't sound to me that you are as comfortable with your sexuality as you make out. You would be best trying to understand why you are making those excuses.Ultimately, if you want to live the life you dream of you will have to come out and if that means losing some of the benefits of the church and it's community then so be it. The benefits you will receive from being open, honest and in a loving relationship will outweigh those you will lose. Good luck to you!
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