This is our story as a mixed orientation couple.
My wife and I decided to co-write a blog post that would give our different perspectives on our navigation through same sex attraction. We have been married a little over 10 years, active members of the church with young children who are the lights of our lives. My wife never knew I experienced SSA and I never made it a point to tell her. I, like many of you found myself in a peculiar situation. How do I tell my wife, my eternal companion that I have a same sex attraction? How do you prepare to crush everything that you have built: your relationship, your family, your career, your life? Hindsight is the great educator. Looking back I should have sat her down and explained this part of my life during the time we dated. I regret not giving my wife the option of choosing to spend her life with someone who obviously couldn’t give her everything she deserved. I avoided telling her…even using the most blatant lies to hide my identity. If you are in the same boat I was, know that even if you haven’t told your wife, you need to. Tomorrow might be too late.
For as long as I can remember, I have experienced an attraction to guys. As a young kid I remember feeling different around other boys and always feeling a stronger bond toward them. As I grew older and matured the feelings intensified and I found myself more attracted to men than women. It was an inconvenient truth for me. I couldn’t understand why this was. I fit the mold of a typical Mormon kid. I went to church, I had incredibly decent and honorable friends, I excelled in school, moved through the ranks of the priesthood and served an honorable mission. All of that means nothing when you struggle to accurately decode who you really are; who God has created you to become. I have always struggled to find out where my sexuality belonged. I knew that this mortal life was just a brief moment in the whole picture. I studied everything I could find regarding Mormonism and homosexuality. In time I realized my pathway was clear: remain absolutely silent about my SSA, go on a mission–serve honorably and all these feelings would disappear. Imagine my surprise when weeks, months and years into my mission I was still experiencing the same sexual attractions as I did prior to my mission! I completed my missionary service and returned home. Again, I focused so much time on studying how to merge my faith and beliefs with my SSA. There was no clear path for me. Listening to the advice of others, I chose to begin dating and eventually found my eternal companion. Again, I felt that if I did everything I was asked: date, get married in the temple and begin my family, the SSA would be taken from me. I’m evidence that the plan isn’t that simple. Fast forward 10 years into marriage and at least that many years “experiencing” SSA and we get to the ‘night’ that I was finally honest with my wife. She hijacked my phone, she searched it and she found far more than she had expected.
I am a planner. I take calculated risks, analyze my situations and always have an exit strategy. I wasn’t prepared to confess my darkest secrets to my wife. How do you react to a convulsing, sobbing wife who held you in the highest regard, a wife who just had everything holy and honorable in her life destroyed? I had always dreaded the day my wife would find out about me. I dreaded the pain, the sorrow and the ultimate betrayal. I had convinced myself that when she did find out, she would probably decide to leave me and that her finding out equaled our divorce. There is so much shame and depression that is associated with SSA. It doesn’t have to be that way. I caused a lifetime of pain for my wife, but in her humble way, she eased my burdens; she listened intently, asked questions and reacted with kindness. I was so grateful for her reaction. I wanted the enormous weight to be lifted off of my shoulders. That relief eventually came and each day my burdens get lighter and lighter. For those who still remain in darkness, I invite you to find the light. There is a reason why tall trees grow towards the light. Each day is a step forward; it does get better and it does easier.
For the remainder of the blog, I will “bold” the font where my wife types and my comments will remain in regular font. Hopefully you can follow our points of view and glean something from our evolving experience. This is a brief look from my perspective of “the night.” The following is from my wife’s point of view:
If you have actively read Dave’s MortalMormon.com blog you already know Dave’s story, but “our” story is slightly different. It isn’t eloquent, beautiful or perfectly written; it’s hard, it’s daunting, it’s work, it’s a lot of love.
Let’s go back in time 3 months. I was sitting in bed with a dead phone, I was bored. I grabbed Dave’s phone to use to pass the time. He was asleep, his password wouldn’t work so he unlocked his iPhone for me. He seemed hesitant. I played a couple of games on the phone but because of his hesitancy I felt like I needed to dig around. I don’t like feeling that way. Over the past few months I felt like Dave was telling a lot of white lies, he always had a reason or excuse. Deep down I knew I was being lied to. I found a messaging app that he had for a long time that I knew he rarely used for work, this time his “other” user account was accidently left open–thank goodness. So many things that night worked out perfectly for our good, so that I would make a discovery and force Dave to open up to me.
I saw things that completely took my breath away. I immediately started shaking and getting physically ill. I’m tough. This had never happened to me before. My mind was racing in 40 different directions. What now?? It was about 1:00 in the morning. Do I wake him? Do I run for the hills? Do I dig for more juicy details? I decided to be a bigger person than he was being, and to be honest, immediately. I ran to my husband. I woke him up ready to jump all over him and tell him what a horrible person he is. Instead I listened. I had an amazing spiritual experience where I felt the deep love that our Father in Heaven has for him. My words came out of my mouth in a kind and loving manner, even though my mind kept going to dark places. I think Heavenly Father needed to use me as a mouthpiece for a moment, so that Dave could know that the world wasn’t ending, but instead this was a new beginning.
One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person. – Elder Kevin R. Duncan
We talked for hours. There were thousands of tears shed on my part and Dave’s. He was honest with me for the first time since we met. I became the only person on Earth to know Dave for who he truly is. From our experience we’d like to offer some tips for the day that you or your spouse is finally honest.
Please, if you have the chance, disclose your SSA before you get married. It is selfish and unfair not to. I’ve told my husband that is upsets me he didn’t give me an opportunity to choose to get married to a same sex attracted spouse. He chose for me. Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone. Telling your spouse out of love and wanting to be open will be better than them finding out accidently. It will alleviate other fears, issues and hurt that accompany the lying.
I want to address a few things to the wife (or fiancé) of an SSA husband (or fiancé.) The way you found out the truth should not outweigh the fact that you now know and you are at ground zero. I wish I could have expressed everything on my mind without the pain, hurt and emotional stress that accompanies the truth. Seeing your husband as a son of God, imperfect and weak will help each of you to begin the healing process.
When you find out, take a deep breath and think eternal thoughts. This is your eternal companion, we still have so many great things to look forward to.
I have come to learn through this experience that my mortal body experiences SSA, my spirit does not. I always have to keep this perspective in the forefront of my mind,
Try with all that you have to see your spouse the way our Father in Heaven sees all of his children. Wouldn’t you want to be seen that way in your most challenging moments?
Now is not the time to accuse and be angry, it’s the time to be patient and understanding.
As the wife of a husband navigating life with SSA, you need to know that it isn’t an easy road; that you will not understand everything your husband is going through or has been through. Sometimes the greatest thing you can do is just listen.
(If you didn’t already know) SSA is not a choice, nor is it a sin!! Your spouse has likely struggled all of their lifetime. Remember that they chose to be married to YOU! It wasn’t an easy decision. Little known fact: your spouse will be equally as panicked as you in those first moments.
Your husband didn’t plan on being gay or find ways to become more attracted to men. From my experience, most guys would do anything to have their SSA go away. This is a really hard reality; it’s a daily experience (I could easily say hourly or minute by minute experience.)
We are in a much better place today than we were in a few months ago. Our experience is fluid and evolving. We are taking this one day at a time.
We will continue co-blogging our experience in three parts, focusing deeper on the topics that we have discussed in this post. We are both curious to hear your feedback and comments about what tips and tools have worked for you. What works and what doesn’t work in a mixed orientation marriage?
We want to hear from you, leave us a private comment below (we will honor your privacy) or you can post a public comment on the blog at the top of this post: