29 November 2007

You’re Considering a “Traditional” Marriage

neal called me a “pit viper” recently. what’s with that guy and phallic imagery?

You’re considering a “traditional” marriage. Good for you. A fool weighs not his options.

It works for some gays. I’ve met them so I can assure you it does work sometimes.* You’ll be a father like you’ve always wanted. You’ll be a husband like you’ve always wanted. You’ll get into that straight-only heaven you’ve always wanted.

Having weighed the pros and cons I’ve decided it isn’t for me. Having met the men who tried it only to meet with disastrous results I’ve estimated it isn’t right for most.

Normally, I would say this now, “Do as you will; it’s your life to make happy.”

But it’s not your marriage that explodes, is it? It’s her marriage, too.

It isn’t your life that explodes. It’s her life, too. It’s her identity, her self-esteem, and her kids that are caught in the shock wave.

She wasn’t prepared. How could she have been? Society didn’t teach her anything about this type of relationship. Neither did her family. Neither does her church. Neither did you telling her you were gay beforehand.

One might be fully aware they’re standing on railroad tracks, they may even be told the train is coming, see it’s bright lights, hear it’s sounding horn, and still not be prepared for the impact when it finally arrives.

And it always arrives.

*Allow me to make something perfectly clear for those of you who only read the first and last sentence of a post: I know it works for some gay guys.


good tune from an artist who will be missed (link, link, link)


draco said...

Before I joined the church- back when in my rated R movie days- I saw "Final Destination." Ever since then I've had kind of a phobia of trains- in case you haven't seen the movie, these teenage kids are standing close to a railroad track when the train goes speeding by. The train hits a piece of glass on the tracks. The piece of glass goes rocketing through the night to decapitate one of the guys. Ewww.

Mr. Fob said...

Before I comment, let me say that I know you're not attacking me, and I would know that even without your caveat. So don't consider this a personal defense so much as a theoretical defense.

That said.

As much as I would never encourage anyone to get into a mixed-orientation marriage, and as much as I agree that it is hugely important for men to be more aware of how their choices are likely to affect the women they marry, I think it's inaccurate and even dangerous to put all the responsibility and therefore blame on the man in situations like these. Yes, his telling her beforehand does not prepare her for what the reality will be like, but as long as she has as much information as he does then they are two adults entering a contract on equal ground. It's dangerous to portray the scenario otherwise because if you tell men that they have all the responsibility then you are encouraging them to make all the decisions. Yes, it is entirely valid for either party going into a marriage to opt out ahead of time without the other's input--otherwise it's not a consensual decision--but for a man to decide not to marry a woman only because he thinks that decision is best for her, without consulting her, is to treat her as a child, not an adult. It is not his place, nor yours, to decide what is best for her. That's her decision.

playasinmar said...

I know it's her decision. Mankind (Gay Mankind included) has fully abandoned the club-a-spouse ways of our past.

I maintain that the situation is too far out of her life's experience to shoulder the blame if things go sour.

I don't think I could even blame the wife if she was cheating on the gay husband.

Mr. Fob said...

I won't disagree with you there. I'm not sure "blame if things go sour" is the issue here, though. Blame and responsibility are not synonymous.

You seem to be suggesting that gay men assume the situation will go sour (or at least has a high likelihood of doing so), and then preemptively prevent it from happening. I'm all for both parties acknowledging reality as far as the odds that are against them, and I wouldn't call anyone unwise who decides not to proceed based on that. If it's a single gay guy who decides not to date heterosexually in the first place, great; if he's already dating a woman and marriage is being considered, then it is horrendously condescending of him to end the relationship for her sake without including her in that decision.

Who exactly are we electing as the authority on which situations are "too far out of [their] life experience" for mentally capable adults to make their own decisions and take responsibility for them? You? Me? Should we make skydiving illegal because the consequences of failing are lethal and for every person who does it the first time, it's "too far out of her life experience" for her to fully understand what she's getting into?

David said...

Playa, you hit the nail on the head. As one who is seeing his mixed-orientation marriage fall apart right now, I would encourage all mohos to think twice before getting married. And your reasons for not doing so are exactly right - it's not fair to her. In my case, she did nothing wrong. I can't make her happy in the way she deserves to be made happy. We thought we could make it work, we thought that if we did the right thing the Lord would bless us, but unfortunately it didn't happen.

drex said...

In some situations you'd be doing more harm by not pursuing a relationship than by avoiding it on her behalf. Just like I think some guys 'need' to sample the same-sex relationship thing before deciding where they stand and how they want to move forward, some women 'need' to sample the mixed-orientation marriage/relationship before deciding the same. For some that will mean a lasting mixed-orientation marriage, for some it will end poorly and they will return to their all-straight (you're in good hands?) relationships.

Most women don't want men to make their decisions for them.

Foxx said...

Consequences never seem to be able to convince the person who thinks what they're doing is justifiably right, in the greater sense, or righteous. So despite the statistics, people are willing to go against the odds and do it the right way, even when it's most probably not the best way.

I think it's important to look at mixed-orientation marriage from a viewpoint of love, if one is considering joining such an institution, with the idea that David posed in his comment: Can I make her happy in the way she deserves to be made happy? Can I love her the way she needs to be loved?

I believe that I cannot make a woman happy in the way that she deserves and needs to be. So I don't pursue that course. I believe I could love a woman enough to marry her, and she might love me enough to say yes, but even with knowing that I crave men beforehand, it's not taking one another's emotional needs into account. Does she need me to want her, to desire her? I may never be able to do that, and if I really love her in the selfless way that I would if I wanted to marry, I realize that she deserves more than what I can provide - for her happiness.

So I vote No to MOMs. For me. I agree with Playa that in most cases, gay men should avoid straight marriage, but then you've got Kinsey all mixed up in there, and that makes just about anything possible depending on your position and fluidity on the sexuality scale. So who can say?

Jake said...

One of the difficulties that MOMs face is there doesn't exist a body of experience to help with the day-to-day relationship issues that arise. "Trad" marriage has tons of societal helps. How a man and woman get along in a "trad" marriage is part of our American subconscious. From getting mom and dad's advice, to professional counseling, to cliche jokes on bad sitcoms on how men just want to fall asleep after sex and women want to cuddle.

Every relationship is different and I don't mean to generalize too much. I just want to say that our culture is structured to help "trad" marriages succeed and there isn't much support for those of us that don't quite fit the mold.

So not only is a MOM a difficult situation to begin with, but there is little help as well. I can't imagine going through that. Those who can make it work and are happy have my respect but I'm just not that strong.

MoHoHawaii said...

Playa, this is an important topic. Thanks for the post. I also appreciate the comments posted so far.

Foxx, your analysis pretty much says what I would have.

I entered a mixed-orientation marriage, and it was an unmitigated disaster for me and the woman I married. These marriages are incredibly risky. I, for one, no longer think I can beat the odds. Maybe that's the difference between youth and middle age.

MoHoHawaii said...

I tried to look up some statistics. The most quoted figures seem to come from a researcher named Amity Pierce Buxton. I can't vouch for her methods, but her papers do appear in peer-reviewed journals.

She says:

"When the gay, lesbian, or bisexual spouse comes out, a third of the couples break up immediately; another third stay together for one to two years, sorting out what to do and then divorce; the remaining third try to make their marriages work. A half of these couples divorce, while half of them (17% of the total) stay together for three or more years."

From my own experience in talking to people I'm guessing the lifetime success rate of mixed-orientation marriages is approximately 10%.

I'm going to do some more research and see if I can dig up more reliable numbers. I think this is information people should have when considering this path.

One of So Many said...

I would have to say that being SGAY in a Mixed Orientation Marriage is at least about three times as hard. Not just twice but three times. And a marriage to begin with isn't even close to a picnic.

Really those that deal with this issue have three choices:

Enter into a Mixed Orientation Marriage which is more difficult possibly full of constant struggle and can easily end up in divorce which affects the spouse and possibly the kids (if any). One could stay in the church this way but if involved in other weaknesses such as porn, masturbation or other "acting out," the full blessings aren't really being realized anyway.

Another Options: Alone...for eternity. One could be single for the rest of one's life. Of course, depression, societal pressure, loneliness, isolation and alienation can occur. There are the weaknesses above as well. But at least you might make it be with god...as an angel.

Find love happiness, fulfillment in a relationship that feels natural that you can express yourself in. Of course, enjoy the Telestial kingdom (i.e. Hell).

Granted the above are exaggerations of possibilities and a bit on the worst case scenario side. Overall, it seems that either choice sucks. Welcome to Win or Lose. of course, really there is no win. We were just kidding.

playasinmar said...

Good thing we know depression, loneliness, and isolation aren't the reasons we exist on earth.

salad said...

as a straight spouse i'd just like to say that i'm glad that drex gave me the freedom of choice and let me weigh the options and even knowing the statistics and the consequences, i still think i made the right choice--for me.