Thursday, January 8, 2015

Advice to a MOM (mixed-orientation marriage)

The following is a response to blog writer, Blank Slate, who requested advice in his post titled, "If My Marriage is to Survive it might Take a Village".  He writes:

I have read a few comments lately from other MoHos who say that while they are not sure what to do to reconcile their faith and their attractions, the one thing they know for sure is that they will never marry a woman. Some of them also go on to say how selfish and hurtful that would be. I plan to write more soon about why I chose to marry and would hope that others who seek understanding in difficult situations would afford me the same as I try to figure out for myself and explain to others why I made the decisions that I did.
I can't change the past and am really struggling to know what to do about my present, but to those MoHos who have never married I think it would be interesting for you to ponder this question for yourself before reading the rest of my post:  What would it take for you to be married to a woman?...I invite you to use your imagination a little and maybe leave a comment or write your own post about what it would take to try to make a marriage with your less-preferred gender work.

Dear Blank,

I hope you will forgive me for being straight-forward.  My reaction is not based on philosophies around the purpose of marriage or individual rights to happiness.  It has nothing to do with statistics or the latest scientific findings around homosexuality or mixed orientation marriages (MOMs). For me, this is personal.  Take my words seriously, but add as much salt as you need.  I obviously don't know you or any details of your situation beyond what I've read.

First question: Do you have children?

If the answer to that is "yes" than it's a whole 'nother world.  You haven't mentioned anything about kids, so I'm hoping and assuming the answer is "no".

That being the case, when I read your posts these last couple of days, my primary reaction has been, "Why on earth are they not divorced yet?!?"

Nothing seems to have changed for your marriage in the last two years, except to possibly get worse.  You haven't mentioned one thing positive about your relationship.  It doesn't matter why you got married.  The real question is, "Why should you stay married?"

You both seem miserable.  And it seems like the majority of your issues are not directly related to SSA/gayness/Greg/porn/blogs/etc.  Hardly any trespasses have happened, yet you've got major trust and maturity issues.  The reason some MOMs work is because the husband and wife have such great relationships that sexual orientation issues are like occasional waves on the top of an ocean that remains unperturbed beneath.  Your marriage sounds like an underwater tsunami regardless of any churn on the surface.

If you are teetering now, jump!  Get off the fence before kids come along.  While you are both still young, take some time to learn to be happy as single adults and then freshly decide where to go from there.  Otherwise, when children arrive, it will get worse.  You will feel even more trapped.  Your wife will have even greater expectations.  Your kids will grow up thinking that strife between parents is normal.  And if your marriage eventually ends, they will be heart-broken and feel, socially, like second class citizens (especially in Mormon circles).

I am Mormon.  I believe in eternal marriage.  I believe in love.  I believe in commitment.  All those things.

I also have "the gay" in me.  And I have a failed marriage.  And I have children with lives that are much more difficult spiritually, mentally, socially, financially, etc., than I would ever allow if I could change it.  I'm also back in the situation of asking, "Uhhh. What do I do with myself now?" (and pondering the words of the MoHos you mentioned at the very beginning of your post).

My wife is the one that left.  She left me with a broken heart and a spinning head.  Years later, I'm still wondering what on earth happened to my Mormon-American dream.  I was not perfect, but I can tell you I didn't break any major rules or covenants.  I can also tell you that there was a great deal of immaturity in our relationship.  Too much argument.  Too much selfishness.  Too little trust.

I'm sure SSA played some role, but not a major one by itself.  Nonetheless, it became a scapegoat--a magnet and a magnifier for blame.

Successful marriage has a high price.  Mixed sexual orientation raises the price substantially.  This may sound harsh, but it does not seem you have the required currency.

If you want to stay together, then both of you must stop feeling sorry for yourselves.  Acknowledge that some hardships will continue, but together you must learn to treasure the pain and discomfort. That sounds odd, but what I mean is that you need to stop looking at the forgoing of gay relationships and normal heterosexual affection as losses.  

Instead, you must see them as investments--the high cost you voluntarily pay for something of great worth (i.e., your relationship).  Isn't it normal for people to take satisfaction in paying extreme prices for things they value (e.g., luxury cars, fancy clothes, diamonds, etc.)?

If you don't both feel you can do this, then I will repeat my advice: end the relationship while you can still call it a "false start".