A Month ago I wrote a Valentine’s Day post and I got a very interesting response from someone named Matthew Chiglinsky. I have wanted to write a response for a while now, and I am just getting around to it, but I knew my response would be too long for just the comment section, so I decided to do a whole post about it. Sorry for the delay if you are reading this Matthew!! His response to my post is below and then I’ll give my thoughts. I suggest you read the Valentine’s Day post to get the whole gist of things. I have added numbers to Matthew’s thoughts for ease of discussing the points he makes.
“#1) Choose to be happy? As a general plan, that at first sounds like a form of denial.
#2) But what’s so depressing about not having a boyfriend/girlfriend anyway? Being heterosexual doesn’t necessarily solve that problem so easily. Some of us heterosexuals are a little socially awkward, and so it’s not like we can just walk out into a public place, point at a female, and have her follow us home. There are lots of heterosexuals who’ve been alone on every single Valentine’s Day since birth.
#3) It’s not like it really matters that much. Our society places too high a value on sex and sexual relationships, as if people somehow need sex to survive. Friends and acquaintances, yes, they are probably important to emotional health, but boyfriends and girlfriends are overrated. The purpose of sexual attraction is reproduction. If someone isn’t going to reproduce, then there’s no real point in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship anyway.
#4) So, what’s wrong with having a guy who is just a close friend? Homosexuality without the sex isn’t really homosexuality. It’s just friendship. Heterosexuality without the potential to reproduce isn’t really heterosexuality either, but most people are too vain to realize this. Most people use girlfriend/boyfriend relationships as a from of entertainment, without understanding the real purpose.
#5) Were you depressed by your own feelings or by your jealousy of other people’s foolish vanity?”
Well Matthew, first off, I am not sure of you are LDS (Mormon) or not, so I will answer as if you aren’t just to make sure you understand where I come from. If you are LDS, forgive the excessive explanations.
#1) I guess choosing to be happy is a form of denial. But I would like to suggest that denial isn’t always bad. I think that there are some things that are necessary for us to deny. Take excessive sleep, for instance. It isn’t healthy, and plus, if I slept as much as I wanted to, I would flunk out of school or lose my job. Now, I think that you meant that me choosing to be happy is denial in that I am ignoring my sadness and trying to trick myself into being happy when I really am not. But honestly, like allowing myself to sleep too much, I could let myself continue to be sad. If I wanted to, I could let myself sink into a deeper depression. It is dark and gloomy and it feels good to feed those feelings when you are in that place. But it only gets worse if you do.
Ask anyone who struggles with depression. There are some days when you know that you are just unhappy and you can’t help it. But there are other days when you know that you are just feeding it and and that you could let yourself enjoy at lease some happiness. There is still a choice involved. I choose to be happy rather than allow myself to wallow in sadness and depression. Sure, some days I am just really bummed and no amount of positive thinking helps. I just try to remain patient and pray for help until I am able to say, you know what? I got this. I’m feeling better. I deny myself the opportunity to feed the monster. I find my motivation to do so from scriptures like this:
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. Moroni 10:32
2) You are partially right about this one. No, being heterosexual wouldn’t solve all of my problems. I would still be single and I might have some trouble finding a girl to date. But at lease I would be free to pursue those I feel attracted to if I wanted to. Because I feel that living a gay lifestyle is not in keeping with God’s wishes, I am not able to pursue those to whom I am attracted. Heterosexual people who are single at least have the opportunity to seek out a companion to whom they are attracted. Maybe they will need to be patient and wait to have a significant other, but the option is still there. For me, I have to live without a relationship to a man. It isn’t an option. Having that option gives a lot of hope, and sometimes I think some heterosexual people take that hope for granted.
#3) I feel like you mistakenly confuse the desire for a relationship with a desire for sex. Yes they are often present together, but they are two different things. People find romantic fulfillment through many ways, because romance is not just sexual intimacy. There are other forms of attraction. Some that I identify are physical (or sexual as you refer to) intellectual, spiritual. Couples enjoy each others company. They find their partners intellectually stimulating and attractive. You can be attracted to someone’s spirituality and find their faith inspiring and desirable. Relationships are more than just sex. Having someone to share moments with and spend life with would be a wonderful thing. And I would really love to have a significant other to share that with. Which brings me to number 4.
#4) There is nothing wrong with me having friends who are male. I have several. And I am very close to them! But it is different from having a romantic relationship with a man. In #1 you said that even heterosexuals have issues finding a significant other. Would you also tell them to just find friends of the opposite gender? If you are single, does it fulfill you? It might. But I think the vast majority will agree that having a friend is very different from having boyfriend/girlfriend. That romantic connection, not just sex, is important to most people. And it is something that I wish I had.
Would it be ok for me to let myself develop a romantic relationship with a man, but just not include sex? You said “Homosexuality without the sex isn’t really homosexuality.” Well, I kind of disagree. Letting myself fall in love with a man, even if I’m not having sex, is fulfilling my desires to have a romantic relationship with a man. And I don’t believe that my Heavenly Father is ok with that. I say this on my about page about what I believe:
“My body tells me that I am attracted to men. My spirit is not [attracted to men]. After this life, when I no longer have this imperfect body, I will not have these feelings of attraction to men. Because God loves me, he has given me laws that can help keep me safe and clean while on this earth. One of those laws is that a man should not lie with a man. Now how could such a law make me happy when I am attracted to men? Well, if i cultivate and allow feelings for a man while in this life, what will become of that relationship in the next life when I no longer have those feelings of physical attraction?[They would only serve to damn me(meaning to stop progression)]. A homosexual relationship has no place in God’s kingdom. So having one now would only make me unhappy in the end.”
Isn’t that harsh though? Isn’t that really difficult? Well, yes. But I believe that it is what God has asked of me and I am willing to do it in order to qualify for the blessings of Eternal Life. As said above, I must deny that part of myself. It may be hard, but it is most certainly worth it.
5) So to round off, I am not depressed by others’ “foolish vanity”, as you call it. I simply have what I think is a natural desire for a romantic companionship. And for whatever reason, I feel attracted (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually) to men. God say’s I can’t live that life. So I don’t. That leaves me feeling a little sad sometimes. But only sometimes.
The point I was trying to make in my Valentine’s post was that people let February 14th depress them, and they don’t have to. Sure it might be hard, but if you focus on the positive things, being single isn’t all that bad. Does that answer your questions? I would love to hear your thoughts. And to everyone else, feel free to comment!