Thursday, June 4, 2009

...I guess I will stay with my wife...

Gathering together a recent comment(from this post) and an e-mail that came in today from a different person, I wish people could actually talk to each other, listen and evaluate what they are saying. On the one hand, you have someone inferring "change" can happen if there is, "an in depth process within the person," while on the other is someone revealing how he really feels.

Besides the fact that this anonymous commenter assumes there is only one "lifestyle," among gay people, it appears that they have not lived "change" themselves, and even then recognizes only that "the homosexual impulses diminish." Here is the commenter's quote:

I think some of these comments may be over simplified. I think what "Anonymous" brought up was a true-to-life point about someone who experienced change, and it was dismissed. There are homosexually oriented men who are NOT happy with the gay identity, who fall in love with a woman and want to make a life with her and feel terribly conflicted. I know one personally, who has agonized over feelings for a woman. And no one has the right to tell them they should just embrace a gay lifestyle, that that is the only outcome that is true or possible for them. It is very much a continuum due to likely many causal factors, and no scientist has proven it is innate. And studies on those who SEEK their own change report it is possible, not from an overly religious process but an in depth process within the person. Their heterosexual impulses do come through, and the homosexual impulses diminish. That is their right and no one has the right to say it isn't possible for them.

hmmm...their RIGHT? What is right? Is it right to cover up one's true feelings and marry a woman - just because he thinks he MIGHT be able to let the "homosexual impulses diminish"? Or is it to live the best he can, going through life feeling "terribly conflicted," "agonized," and hoping the "heterosexual impulses ... come through,"?

Give me a break. I'm sorry, but here is the opposite side of the story, from a married man who is tells what is really going on...

...[I'd] Like to be able to say I don\'t understand, but I do. Although I guess I will stay with my wife and love my kids and try to hold back all the other feelings that come over me. ... I\'m 52 been married for awhile have 3 kids, but still deal with the other feelings!!...

Honestly, who would want their spouse to feel this way? "I guess I will stay," just isn't good enough for me, nor is it the way other straight spouses want to be lied to. And if the spouse-in-denial is really good at deception, many spouses DON'T even know. How does THAT feel?

What about, "hold[ing] back all the other feelings that come over me,"? Does this sound like change? Dear Anonymous commenter, please don't continue to deceive yourself or let your friend proceed to have false hope that the answer to unwanted sexual feelings is to marry a straight woman!

And besides all this, what I hope for my gay friends is that they can recognize that there is no shame in the way they are made. There is no shame in feeling attracted to someone of the same gender, wanting to share their lives, and even marry the one they love. My hope is that eventually there will be no more women who get married for all the right reasons (love, family, hope for a future together, and yes, for sex) only to find that someone just "guesses they'll stay."


deb said...

Carol, I have to repeat the same thing I say often. The world is a better place because of you. I hope that gay men and their straight wives are reading you and seriously considering what you say. You speak with authority.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the author's candidness and well-founded reasons for rejection of conversion therapy. Moving beyond the gay-man-deceiving-innocent-straight-wife trope, though, I would suggest that there is a place for mixed orientation hetero relationships if one or both partners are bisexual, and out and honest to each other before getting involved and during their relationship. As a bi woman partnered with a bi man I met in a LGBT social group, I would have to say that this has been the most enriching relationships of my life. Enriching - not because he's a man - but because of the kind of person he is. If he were to leave me for someone else, I would be equally upset if that someone else were a woman as if that person were a man. And I'm sure he would be as upset to lose me to a man as to a woman.

My humble observation is that one can and needs to be open to the complexities of orientation and identity while continuing to reject homophobia and deception outright.

Ettina said...

Bisexuals in mixed orientation marriages are a completely different situation. They're attracted to their spouse. Essentially bisexuals shouldn't have any worse struggles in a relationship with a straight person than another straight person would, as long as they aren't involved with someone who holds homophobic or biphobic views.

I wish we had different terms for it. Couples where one partner isn't attracted to their partner's gender are a very different situation from couples with compatible but different orientations.

Also, it's important to remember that not everyone who calls themselves bisexual really is. Many gay people, especially in mixed orientation marriages, call themselves bisexuals because they haven't given up on having an opposite sex relationship work, not because they actually feel any attraction to the opposite sex.