Should I keep this friendship?
Hi! Hopefully this won't be too long. Here goes.
I have been friends with a girl for about six years now, we met at a Christian camp when we were both still teenagers. My family sent me to this 'retreat' after I came out to them when I was seventeen, in the (vain) hope that it would change me (needless to say, it didn't). I had no desire to be there, nor associate with anyone because I was in a bad place emotionally, but we really hit it off. For some reason our personalities clicked - we, still to this day, make each other laugh a lot! It was great to find someone that I could be friends with, when I was hurt by the actions of other people around me, and at a sensitive time... so I appreciated having her, as a friend.
Skip forward a year or two, and I moved to a new city for University. I was surprised, and delighted, when the same girl was in my class! I had an instant friend, we really enjoyed each others company and became inseparable. Our relationship developed over a number of years together, and we've been so some sh** together, and helped each other out, and I have appreciated having her when I was battling some of my demons. Equally, I have seen her at her worst and kicked her butt when she was wrong, all in all - we needed each other for those years. Also, we had great fun, and it was only us for many of the milestones - for example we always went out for dinner (just us) for occasions separate from our friends, struggling with exams etc.
But, the problem. I'm a gay man, and she's a conservative Christian and believes my sexuality is wrong. We've had many arguments over the years, that have tested the relationship on many occasions. Her views are fixed and she won't budge. I've been hurt by some of her comments, and if I've ever had a problem with a boyfriend she will never discuss it with me. As a best friend I've gone to bars with her so she can talk to guys, but she'll never step foot in a gay bar for me. It's a contentious issue but over the years we've agreed to disagree, so to speak. But I've never felt comfortable with that. I think the only reason I've remained friends with her is because I grew up being raised like her, so I understand how she can think the way she does. My parents have similar views to her. Also, when we're going out, or just hanging out, we have a lot of fun and it's easy to forget the issue. Every time I try to bring something up, recently she just shuts down and refuses to talk, or gets upset when I call her out on something homophobic and she leaves.
I went through the process of fully coming out when I was in college, and because I was rejected by my family (initially, not so any more) and my best friend - it's something I did alone, and made many mistakes, largely I feel because I couldn't talk to anyone about the issues I was having. It was a hard process. But she was still my friend regardless. I recognise that it's also difficult for her sometimes to be my friend, but I don't think it is as personal for her as it is for me.
This has continued on for some time, and now I feel it's coming to a head. In two months my country will vote to make same-sex marriage legal and she has told me she'll vote to reject the bill, because it undermines the value of marriage and homosexuality is wrong. I don't know how to be okay with her for voting like that. I can tolerate her views even though they hurt sometimes, but now I feel her views are actively infringing on my rights. It makes me angry with her, but it makes me sad because she was raised with those views and I feel I cannot blame her for that.
I don't know what to do. I feel like I have to tell her that if she votes no for same-sex marriage then it's not something I'm okay with, and I don't feel like I can be friends with her. On the other hand, I don't want to throw away a relationship that has been so important to me for many years, I think I'll miss her. Should I wait around in the hope that someday she'll change her views? I'm so torn. Please help!
Btw, thanks for reading, I realise it's long!
You need to understand that for her to be your true friend, she needs to accept everything about you. You also need to accept her views and opinions for you to be her true friend...but above all, both of you need to RESPECT each others opinions to be true friends. You cannot expect her to change her views.
If you guys agree to disagree, then you have sorted it to a degree, but the fact that you feel that you cannot be friends with her if she exercises her right to vote against something that you feel strongly about(your basic rights) should tell you where you stand with her.
And if this is the case, then you will have lost a friend, but ask yourself if she is a true friend (and are you to her?) because true friends will never tell you what you want to hear. They'll tell you what you NEED to hear.
I'm sorry, but most of us will go through life counting our true friends on one hand only and still leave three fingers spare. Rest assured, going by your post, if you guys do go your separate ways, you both will have left positive impressions on each other that will last a lifetime regardless of your individual opinions.
You said: "the only reason I've remained friends with her is because I grew up being raised like her, so I understand how she can think the way she does."
WHY do you think you have to please her? She represents everything judgmental and withholding in your life! She has conditions on her love for you. If you understand her thinking, then you understand she will never accept you totally and the choices you make in the future.
Begin the process of "weaning" yourself away from her now, because eventually SHE will do the same. And it will be abrupt.
It is time that you surround yourself with people who accept you totally.