Telling the Parents
By Malcolm Scrivens
He's 20, has a girlfriend, knows I'm a BL, and still is happy to be a part of my (celibate) life. He's the nearest thing in my life to a YF. So how did we get here? For the past 6 and a half years I've hosted a group of four teenagers on a regular basis in my home--up to about 8 weekends a year. Initially it started with my nephew, then 14, who then brought a friend from where he lived, and two boys I knew at church. The weekends consisted of board games, videos and pizza--a winning combination.
Things nearly went wrong two years later when the senior pastor of my church heard about these weekends and felt that as the link to the boys was via church, he had some responsibility for what was going on. The junior pastor knew it was happening, and both knew that I was a BL. The initial response was to tell me to stop inviting the boys; I negotiated this to telling the parents I was a BL. The parents were great and coped, though they chose to tell the boys--who were unconcerned. Indeed, in retrospect I am pleased that this occurred, as it freed us to be more real with each other, but it was a bad few weeks as the crisis played out.
So at the start of his junior year, I invited one of the two locals along to an adult alpha course (a discussion based course introducing the Christian faith). He really blossomed in that--often being the first one to open up the discussion sessions--and I got to see him once a week in a safe environment. But that came to an end, and I started to invite him over for evenings on his own.
There was a stage when I'd seemed to make an especially big effort for him--cooked a turkey--and I think he felt a bit uncomfortable, so had the amazing maturity to make clear that he didn't want there to be a sexual component to the friendship--which I was, and am, entirely happy about. And so things have continued. We've both had some bad moments which we've been able to share.
My only regret is that at the moment he's given up on the church; I suspect that is largely because he knows that his present lifestyle is inconsistent with the demands of God, although he does have a complex theological argument to justify his rejection of God. It is my hope that he will one day find his way back to God, though at the moment that is hard to see happening.
And what of the other three teenagers? They've become good friends. My nephew's friend came to university locally, so I got to see quite a bit of him during that period. The other guy from the church is a significant positive part of my life, although I'm not nearly as close to him as I am to the other one--we've just got less in common. My nephew is the one who has never lived locally, so I've never seen that much of him.
But overall I have absolutely no doubt that they all were a 'God send'--we have greatly enriched each other's lives, and the friendships grew so naturally and appropriately. My strongest advice when looking at such a relationship in your own life is to be brutally honest about how much of a sexual attraction there is, and how far it has other elements. To the extent that it wouldn't be important to you without the sexual attraction, to that extent the relationship is a problem one. With my present YF that issue is resolved, and as a result it is a friendship of great warmth and safety.
"Malcolm Scrivens" is a computer programmer in his early 40s.