Mortal (Mormon) Man

Navigating Same Gender Attraction

Our “Coming Out” Story

This is our story as a mixed orientation couple.

Part 1:

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 lighwalkts 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 Beachfor 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:

 

11 Comments

  1. Bryson Wellington

    June 28, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Thank you for your post. Cheers to you and your wife for being so brave and put your story out there. As we have discussed your post we agree on so many of your points. Why is it that SSA is treated like the cardinal sin?! There are decent, worthy and Christ-like people who are faced with an opposite sex attraction. We as a populace need to be better at opening our hearts and minds to the needs of ALL of God’s children.

    That being said, we are elated that someone is publically talking about the taboo. We are with you in your journey. There are many more husbands and wives out there that need to hear your story.

  2. Mr. and Mrs. McCallin

    June 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I don’t know where to begin. First, thank you for speaking so candidly about this subject. I read your post last night and made sure my wife had a chance to read it this morning. We both agree with your words. Why must there be so much shame and pain associated with our feelings? Blogs like this will be a great resource to the married and dating peoples of the Church. This blog caused my wife and I to discuss our situation in more depth, for that I am thankful. We are anxious to read parts two and three…hint hint. Thank you for going out on a limb for the cause.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story! You encourage me to keep trying!

  4. Bravo Bro. and Sis. K!
    There are so few couples that have done this- and how very needed this is for women/couples that find themselves on this journey. I commend you!

    One note that seems to be often misunderstood… And something that’s been on my mind for some time now…

    Because of the tremendous shame we carry as men with SSA, because we honestly believe that if we keep doing everything we’re supposed to do (i.e. ordination, mission, marriage, temple, service, family), we hope and even believe that our SSA will be taken from us. This is why -or at least one honorable reason we don’t simply tell our wives before marriage. Most of us have buried it so deep it’s hardly something we can even admit to ourselves let alone the one person we fear rejection from more than anyone in life.

    Our reasons for not sharing our SSA then morphs into the need and justification to protect our loved ones from the very pain we wouldn’t inflict on our worst enemy. And besides, since we’re told it’s not a sin but hope it might be lifted with a little more faithfulness, a little more sacrifice… only to realize it will never happen in this life (try 50+ years…)

    So when the spouse feels betrayed when they learn of our greatest challenge and personal secret, I wish they could understand that the betrayal didn’t begin with them. It is superseded by our own sense of betrayal from God in a way we can’t express or feel justified even feeling because we know such feelings don’t fit in the Gospel plan – especially when you love the Lord and have dedicated your life to His service.

    Looking back, I can more clearly see that men are given mixed messages to contend with. On one hand, we are told not to identify with being “gay” and that we merely “experience” same-sex attraction. But those we date and ultimately marry expect us to have this all figured out in a way we can identify as being who we are -what we are -so we can unveil it like a birth defect so they can decide if they want to share our complicated, beautiful, messy life.

    Does this make any sense?

    Again, you two are going to bless so many lives with your blog! You are reconciling some of the greatest contradictions of our lives in the most vulnerable way possible. I’m grateful and inspired by your courage and your willingness to share your lives with the world. Bless you!

  5. I wish you well. I told my wife about my SSA before we married, but we never really talked about it. Previously I had been actively involved with other men, but mentally never gave it up even after marriage. I hoped my feelings for guys would fade over time, but they didn’t. About 12 years into our marriage I became despondent and the floodgates opened. We had a few really awesome years after that because we were so open and honest. It just felt good. Then gradually things fell apart. We are still together in name and physical space, but the fight has gone out of both of us. It hurts too much to try. I hope and pray that you find the right middle ground. I hope you can both let go of the ideal. I hope you cling to each other and no other, because your life together cannot survive otherwise. And please, don’t stay together for the kids. They can see right through it.

  6. What have we gotten ourselves into!
    This topic is so overwhelming sometimes. I am married and deal with same gender attraction also. I didn’t tell me wife before we got married and I am trying to muster the courage to tell her. Your blog is interesting. It is an interesting journey between you and your wife. I am happy that she took it so well. I am afraid my wife will not be so understanding. She has some strong opinions about gay people and when she finds out her husband is one of those people, Im afraid she’ll leave me. I know that I have to talk to her though, it is eating me up inside. I’d love to email you privately and ask you some questions if that is okay. Also, I wanted to thank you for referencing the NorthStarLDS.org site. I joined and have been reading so many stories and posts that have been helpful to me. I am waiting to join their facebook group also. It is so refresshing to see that I am not alone, that the things I have a struggle with are not just happening to me.

  7. I agree with the others on this topic. It is a tough road and I don’t know if everyone is able to travel it. But for those who do, I offer all my respect and admiration.

  8. You are on a very incredible journey that is not only possible, but worth the effort. Keep fighting.

  9. I’m curious what the follow-up story is. How are things going for the both of you? Any update on the good (or bad) parts that make your marriage so unique and challenging?

  10. Gee wikiellrs, that’s such a great post!
    But seriously, it was a good read. I love your brain and the way you can help me think outside of the box.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2017 Mortal (Mormon) Man

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar