Boyfriends vs. Brothers


This has been a topic on my mind for quit some time now. I do a lot of mens work, from Kneading Brotherhood to life coaching and more. I love what I do and in the process I am constantly learning and growing. Life is like that, if we desire to learn we just keep moving forward, growing and hopefully coming to a better understanding.

I think that most Men, especially during this pandemic, are really lost or maybe a better word is hurting. The need for connection has really amped up and men are looking to fill the voids in their lives. Today’s world finds us not understanding what is going on or even how to proceed forward in the quest for more meaningful connection with other men. We are left to figure it out and are hurting in the process. And to be totally truthful we are not figuring it out to well.

I want to be perfectly upfront about this that it is not a “Gay” issue. This is a mans issue and as men we need to take a closer look at what is our motivation and where is our motivation leading us. In today’s culture it is easy to get confused and follow a path that maybe is not exactly what we are looking for.

I interview lots of men on a regular basis. I am not afraid to ask questions that perhaps make many uncomfortable. I have learned so much by simply asking questions and listening to the response. Words spoken and unspoken. I am convinced that most men are in the need of male companionship, bonding, connection, and affirmation. In today’s world we are not taught how to do that. It is ignored and pushed aside in the pursuit of other things. Things, to be sure, that are absolutely important but don’t always fill the void and need that most men experience.

It is interesting to me how many men get confused with the physical part of connection and totally ignore the emotional part. After all men are physical and sexual by nature and motivated most often by physical desires. Often times we that physical part of connection either pushes us into situations or totally pushes us away from connections.

To be perfectly blunt a lot men use their package as a campus for connection. If it is aroused at all it sends the message to the brain that it must be a sexual thing. For gay men this is a sure indication of connection. For straight men this is a signal to run far and fast.

Both are wrong. There are many many reasons why our bodies react the way they do and most often it is not for sexual reasons. Yes it can be for attraction, affirmation, affection, but not of these have to be or are sexual. Can we be attracted to a man and be aroused and yet have no desire to have sex with him. Absolutely this can happen. Once we come to understand that arousal does not have to be a sexual thing the game changes.

This is confusing to most men. The straight man runs for fear of being called out as gay. The gay man usually follows through with not so good results. How ever good sex might seem, most often it is the key factor in destroying friendships. Most often really good friendships are not based on sex.

Arousal tends to make us lean towards the boyfriend attitude. Meaning that if we are aroused it must mean the man is boyfriend potential. And if there is not arousal, often time men move on and don’t take the time to make a friend.

The brother attitude, meaning a man that is looking for friendship and not a boyfriend does not let arousal or lack of get in the way. This man understands that arousal can be healthy and does not have to be a sexual thing. When a man comes to understand that arousal is or can be normal in some men it leads to a better understanding and allows men to connect on a deeper level.

I have had a rich life of brothers. Men in my life that bless me in so many ways. Many of these brothers started out as a bromance. Meaning there was an attraction of some sort. Lets be real, attraction is one of the number one reasons we create friends in the first place. We are attracted to something about them and so we are moved into action. I think Bromance’s are healthy and wonderful. A bromance done right can and most often turns into a life time friendship.

One of the biggest falsehoods in our culture is about love. We are not allowed to love to much or to deeply. If we do we are told stories of who we are and what we should do with that love. I think its a bunch of garbage. Are you telling me if I love a man that deeply I must be Gay or want to or must have sex with him? Another falsehood is it is not right to love that deeply and I am told that my love has limits. Only so much to go around. If I were looking for boyfriends perhaps that might be true, but in the search for brothers I have learned this very important lesson. The human heart, my heart and your heart, has an unlimited capacity to love as many as deeply as we want. There are no limits to the amount of brothers one can love and enjoy. My heart has room for more. The more I love the greater my heart expands. After all we are created in God’s image and Christ is our example in all things. His love knew and knows no limits. It is limitless. We have the same gift as Christ does. To love as many as deeply as we want, in other words why limit how we love.

I for one am always looking for brothers. Yes I love a good bromance. I love those heart twitters at the finding of a new friend. I love the anticipation of texting, calling, and hanging out. And I do get flustered at times. But as I move forward building on that bromance it always turns into a great friendship/brother.

My life is full of wonderful friends, brothers, that bless me beyond my greatest expectations. I don’t need a boyfriend, I need brothers that respect me and help me to be closer to Christ, my dearest brother. I need men that love deeply and are aware in the process we do have to come to understand and control our mortal bodies.

Will you be my Brother.

Brad Petersen

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