Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Coming Out

So everyone I ask advises me not to tell my wife of my attraction to men. Their reasoning goes something like this: Since you have never cheated on her (never been with another man) then telling her that you are attracted to other men would just blow things out of proportion. I've lived all my adult life with SSA, never kissed a guy, met a great woman in college, was and still am attracted to her, have three great children and a great relationship. It's not like I really need her support. Instead telling her would place a tremendous pressure on her to help me as well as make her question my attraction and love for her.

I can't imagine life without her and my children. They are what I want in life and that is why I have made the decisions I have made. Don't we all struggle with sex in some form or another in this day and age? I have talked with a former Bishop and he left it up to me to tell her if I wanted to, but suggested that I don't. I've talked to a close friend who knows of my SSA and he vehemently advises not to tell her. I've spoken with three therapists over the past two years, and only one of them has even suggested telling her about it.

I don't mind bearing this struggle without her, but I do like to share everything about me with her. We don't keep secrets from her, but maybe this is a secret worth keeping, at least for now. If I can continue to be strong and confide in others, including my Savior, then I believe I can make it through without her having to find out through an act of adultery with another guy.

I wish there were some sort of "safe" environment where I could try a few things like kiss another guy. I rarely look at porn, but when I do, I am mostly offended by what I see, so I easily turn it off. This leads me to believe that if I were able to try some things with another guy my curiosity would be diminished. On the other hand, if I really like it, then it's probably harder to go back and not give into temptation again.

The close friend that knows of my gay feelings is LDS and has had sex with another guy out of curiosity - before he was converted. He said that it did eliminate any curiosity and he has no interest in men. He too has been sealed in the temple now. Sometimes it makes me wish I had done more experimentation when I was younger, before getting married. Then I wouldn't be facing all of these questions now. They would have been answered in the past.


Samantha said...

Wow--interesting--so here's my two cents (and believe me, that's all it's worth):

The fact that you've said this: "I'm so afraid that one of these times I am going to give into the temptation that has been a part of me for so many years. If another man approached me, in person, I would have a difficult time refusing. I've often hid behind gay chat rooms and have come close to actually meeting these guys in person," leads me to believe that even though you don't THINK you'd ever cheat on your spouse (although, to me, flirting with it is the same thing), the feelings aren't going to go away.

All I know is this, if your wife loves you, if you trust her, if you plan to spend forever with her, she'll never thank you for keeping something from her that really is a definitive part of who your are.

Will it hurt to tell her? Possibly, but it also might answer some questions she's had. The trouble with all the good advice you've gotten is that it's coming from people who have no idea what it's like to experience SSA, who may or may not be aware that you're walking a tightrope, and quite honestly, this doesn't sound like the kind of support that can really help you.

There's something amazing about living with someone who knows you struggle, who supports and appreciates your efforts to remain chaste, who knows all your flaws but loves you anyway.

But the bottom line is, you know your wife and your situation better than I do, and advice is cheap.

-L- said...

Becoming "one" with another person is a pretty drawn out painful thing to do in my personal experience. But totally worth it. And that's not to say that I've arrived there completely, but I'm so much more intimately part of my wife than I was when we were married... hmmm. Still a long way to go too. But I've noticed that full disclosure--even when heart-wrenching--is necessary.

Anyway I don't think you are ready to tell your wife, or perhaps even believe for yourself that it's a good thing to do. I completely think you should at some point (and unlike Sam's humility, I always think I'm right and my advice is priceless! hee!)

Before being able to explain what you want and need to your wife, you need to understand yourself pretty thoroughly. Getting to that point is a lot easier with counseling (and perhaps ONLY through counseling). When it comes time to talk it out, it might be good to do it with a counselor there too. Therapy has a lot of stigma, but it's really good stuff. I know from personal experience.

Welcome to blogging. I'm going to link to your blog if you don't mind! :)

-L- said...

So, I've been thinking about your post. Sorry for posting multiple comments.

I was thinking about how you wanted a safe place to try things out and see what would happen. I can totally understand that. I've sometimes thought that it would be nice to have a few hours of free time--no consequences, you just rewind and move on like it never happened. Ah, wishful thinking!

I'm a doc (as of May!) and I'm still learning when the best time is to order lab tests. It turns out, despite nagging curiosity, I'm not supposed to order a test if it doesn't change the patient's management.

I was thinking about how this might apply to what you've said and I wondered if you would do anything differently if you really loved kissing the guy or whether it was a disappointment. Would the test result change the way you manage your life, so to speak? What do you think?

Beck said...

I don't know who "everyone" is who is telling you NOT to tell your wife. Believe me, it's not worth it to wait as long as I did (20 years) to make such a revelation to the one you love the most.

Though it's been very painful, and I've had regrets over why I ever told her, but things really have been better. Living a lie, hiding things from your eternal mate, keep you from being whole with her. And it isn't fair to her! I wish I had done this long before. Maybe we wouldn't still be married, but for now it's been worth it and certain aspects of our marriage have been vastly improved.

Though she doesn't understand me, though there has been lots of pain, though I'm still working on restoring trust (even though I technically have been faithful just as you describe it), I'm still better off having her at my side, instead of her wondering.

You may want to check out my blog. I think you'll see we've got a lot of feelings and desires and thoughts in common.

I look forward to hearing more from your blog.

Chris said...

I told my wife after we had been married for ten years. I wish I had told her sooner.

All I will offer as advice is ask that you consider two scenarios:

1. You tell your wife now: "I think I might be gay, and I don't know what that means for me but I want to figure it out with you, because I love you and our marriage and family are more important than anything else in my life."

2. You figure it out on your own and one day you go to her and say: "I"m gay, and here's what I've done about it." And what if what you've done about it is fall for another man or seek out a sexual experience?

Which of these scenarios hurts your wife more?

Elbow said...

Tell your wife...tell her that you have homosexual tendencies, that you think about men sometimes, but also tell her that you love her and want to be faithfull and spend the rest of your lives together.

This is an opportunity for the two of you to grow closer.

It doesn't have to be some huge discussion where the walls come tumbling down on you, just be honest and approach it like it's an opportunity for growth, as opposed to expecting the worst.

Zionita Fisher said...

I think you should try kissing another guy and see how you feel.

c.galen said...

reality never meets up to fantasy. of course you will enjoy male sex, or most of it anyway. and unless you're bi, you may enjoy it more than with your wife, whose breasts and clitoris and all may leave you cold. but you know that without having to try it. so what your real reasons for wanting to experiment?
anger or disappointment with your wife? or with the church? or with yourself? are you depressed?
in an incredibly self-centered justification, I said that I really wanted to know what gay sex was like, that if I thought about it all the time, I might as well do it. So I did. Anonymous, no strings attached gay sex is just mutual masturbation. Without the emotional connections, there is nothing lasting and much to regret later. Let's face it, by genetics we're gay, by too many years of upbringing we're mormon. we can try, but we can never, never shed either. in or out of marriage we are always, always going to be conflicted. I have been a part of medical teams to latin america and africa and was a missionary in the poorest parts of brazil, so sometimes in this sad world, my wish that I could have it all, gay sex, marriage, kids, and the church, seems all a bit of just another rich american whining. get over it. (would that I could take my own advice)

BariWalker said...

Don't tell your wife about your attraction to men. I did and it was the worst decision of my life. I thought it would make my life easier, saner if she knew of my internal conflict. It didn't. It made our life a confusing emotional mess for a long time. The experience left emotional scars just below the surface which I feel will someday come to the surface at an inappropriate time.

She questioned our marriage of close to 30 years as being a lie. She looked back at every difficulty that we had ever had and tried to make a connection to my "gayness". I lost her trust. She had put me on a pedistal and I destroyed that image she had of me. She no longer trusted me. Watched every move I made. Whenever "GAY" topics are on the news or TV shows, we both feel arkward. My life and Hers will never be the same.

I have also have not been with another man in the years we have been married. It was as a teenager that I had a relationship with a my best friend. I was advised by a Bishop as a young man to get married to a good woman and my SSA would take care of itself. It didn't.

I am convinced that I am bisexual, being more gay than straight. I love my wife and have made the choice long ago to stay faithfully married as long as she will have me.

But if I had the it to do over again I would "NOT" tell my wife that I was bisexual, gay or had homosexual tendencies. It hurt her too deeply and has not had any possitive influence on our relationship. I am extremely fortunate that we are still married.

kittywaymo said...

Hello... I am the ex wife of a gaylds dentist, currently re-married to an md for 6 years.
please don't mind me referring to their occupations to keep some anonymity.
I feel you have a good heart, and you should pray, read your patriarchal blessing, get a blessing.. then follow that good heart. You should definitely tell her the truth, but please don't give her details of your desires for men, that will make her super insecure. instead, reassure her
1. you love her 2. you will never leave she and the kids. 3. you've kept your covenants and have not cheated with same sex etc. 4. you love the Lord and the Gospel and want to be with her forever

I hope you don't mind my candidness. I didn't divorce the dentist because of ssa, i did because he was bipolar and had anger explosive disorder and i couldn't take it anymore. He never told me before or after we were married, i found a letter he wrote to byu newspaper (anon) stating he was attracted to men, but believed the church was true etc. I also found other things that left no doubt in my mind, (porn etc) in his dental school stuff. I was devastated. Dishonesty is like a slow poison, it seeps like a transdermal patch of meds, slowly into the system, and soon affects take place.. Please tell her, make her your best friend and confidant. Marriage, if nothing else, needs to be built on a foundation of love, trust, honesty, integrity...You would want to know if she had ssa. She obviously loves you very much. You'll be surprised how many women married to lds-ssa men "knew" ahead of time. I did. Before i found the byu letter and stuff. I just was in denial, and i felt like i was going crazy at times. It really takes a toll on the woman and the marriage (the dishonesty etc) I know you will be blessed for your honesty. Just be careful to speak in generalities at first to let it sink in. She doesn't' have to know details of your attractions, just that you have them as temptations very much like hetero lds men get tempted by women and related issues concerning them. Her biggest fear will be her future being secure with her children etc, your love for her and the Gospel and why you are telling her (she'll worry that this means you want to do something about it, just reassure her you want her and noone else) I am jewish by descent, forgive the jewish mom tone of my comments, i truly commend you and have respect for you that you are trying to keep the commandments and be a good father and husband. You will be in my prayers tonight.Kittywaymo

Forester said...

Thank you all for your comments, they really mean a lot to me. I haven't visited this post for a number of months. Haven't really felt the need. There is so much I have learned over the past few years about myself. I have been in counseling now for over a year. All of my counselors have suggested not to tell my wife. My bishop even suggested not to let her know, that it would only create problems instead of resolve them. At this time, I still believe that I don't need to tell my wife. Someday I will, but it may be in the next life. I know she would stand by me.

The majority of the time, I have no great inclinations towards ssa and have been able to live a great life with my wife and kids. There are days, weeks and even months when I don't think or dwell on the subject. Yes, there are times when the feelings come at a strong level, but they pass and I move forward. I have had some close calls, but believe that they are over for the most part. I've proven to myself over the years that I can be strong and that my desire for righteousness is stronger than my desiere for sin.

I think that every situation is different and we can't judge each seemingly similar situation the same. Through prayer and much consultation I have determined not to tell my wife at this time. I don't see this as living a lie or keeping a secret from my wife. You can call it denial, but I know that telling her would cause more harm than good, especially right now.

MoHoHawaii said...

This is an interesting post. I appreciate the thoughtful replies.

I'm an out gay man in my 40s. I was previously married to woman and have kids in college. I left the LDS Church almost 20 years ago.

So... with that background, what do you think my advice is?

Don't tell your wife.

If you don't plan on acting on your SSA (and it sounds like you have no plans in this direction), telling her will only cause pain.

I found the comment of bariwalker quite telling. His experience was similar to my own... once my same-sex attractions came out in the open, my wife monitored me constantly. It was not a good thing.

I hope you can figure out a path that works for you. Your blog is full of pain. I wish you the best of luck as you work through this.

Since July 15, 2007