“Ask a Priest: What If I Feel Closer to a Gay Man Than to My Husband?”

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Q: I am unsure of whether a relationship I have is wrong/grave. I am married but have a friendship with a man whom was previously my manager at work. He suffered from depression and anxiety and didn’t believe in God. I always had a strong desire to pray for his conversion. I spoke to him about God, and he seemed open to it. He suddenly left the work, and I felt worried about his mental health as he had told me previously that he had been suicidal. I kept messaging him, telling him God loved him and sending him religious quotes. Eventually he answered me, and, as I had suspected, he had been in a really bad place. A while later he told me that he had been on the verge of killing himself but that I saved him. He said I reminded him of God. Anyway, the man in question is gay, but I have at times felt closer to him emotionally than to my husband and can speak to him about anything. The thing is I do love him and have had fallouts with him which have left me devastated. I know that if he were not gay, the relationship would definitely be wrong. But I have genuine confusion to whether or not it is. He tells me he loves me as well, and at times I have felt he may not be 100% gay. I think I am attracted to him, and a part of me likes the thought that he could be attracted to me, although I would never lead myself or him to grave sin. I want our relationship to be a virtuous one. I feel closer to him than any female friends. I would really want you to help me discern whether this relationship could be from God or simply an attraction I felt for him. Thank you. – E.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s admirable that you were praying for the man and encouraging him about God’s love.

In any relationship with a man who isn’t your spouse, it is good to ask whether the relationship is helping you to be a better wife and a better daughter of God.

Let’s say at the start that it might be better to see your friend as a heterosexual who struggles with (and maybe has succumbed to) same-sex attraction.

In other words, he is a man who could have all the natural affections for a woman that could be expected of most men. That is worth keeping in mind.

It is worth pausing to re-read your e-mail. You write:

“I have at times felt closer to him emotionally than to my husband .…

“I do love him .… He tells me he loves me as well .…

“I think I am attracted to him and a part of me likes the thought that he could be attracted to me, although I would never lead myself or him to grave sin.”

More than a few married people have said something similar, only to fall into a big sin later. Your comments send up a red flag. It sounds as though all the ingredients are in place for a marriage-wrecking fall.

It might be good to step back a bit from this “friendship.” If your friend has considered suicide, he needs to get professional help quickly. For spiritual help, you might consider pointing him toward Courage.

Also, it might be good for you and your husband to have a heart-to-heart talk about your own relationship. If need be, the two of you should seek out counseling together.

If you don’t find emotional satisfaction in your marriage, you will be tempted to look for it elsewhere – which seems to be happening already.

It might also help for you to have a regular confessor or spiritual director. You need an objective party to guide you on an ongoing basis. Count on my prayers.

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One Comment
  1. Let’s put it simply: The DUTY of a married woman is to her husband and family. My opinion, in sending email notes telling him God loves him… and he ignoring them at first but then he says ‘you’ saved him. He is not religious, he has problems of the mind, as Father says … he may THINK he is homosexual but most likely NOT. I believe all you had to do was ‘OFFER UP’ for this person at Mass and leave it to God. You aren’t responsible for evangelizing GOD in such a way. It would have been better to tell husband of this person, talk over
    together how to help him (take him to restaurant AS A COUPLE) Introduce him to a SINGLE female friend if
    you think he’s ok. MUCH LATER IN THE FRIENDSHIP of you and your husband, maybe invite him to be at a large social gathering with other friends (in public place)

    STAY CLEAR and cling to your husband.

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