My Husband’s Not Gay

My Husband’s Not Gay

Husband Not GayTLC has a new reality show called, “My Husband’s Not Gay.” I have mixed reactions to this show. My friend Tim Rymel has written his opinion on the matter, which is very well done. I recommend reading his article.  I agree with most of what he’s shared in his article, however not everything.

My struggle with a gay man marrying a straight woman is that the potential for the marriage to end in a traumatic divorce is very high. When a gay man marries, the reasons for the marriage may seem to be love and desire for his potential wife at the beginning. But the likelihood for that to come from something other than a true desire for her heart is great! A friend of mine posed this question, “Is this your First Love?” I think that’s a great question because many gay men or lesbians would say, “If I had the option, my life would be with someone of the same sex.” This tells me that his future spouse may not really be their first love.

I’ve known many gay men who have said, “I’d love to have a family. Or I want children.” I can’t say I’ve heard them say, “I want to sacrificially love her as my wife and I am truly in love with her for who she is, all of her.” Sometimes it seems to be more about the image of marriage and the desire to extend themselves into children. I believe when a person marries for those reasons, there is bound to be a time when their personal truth comes to the surface and there lies a wounded woman and children who are confused about the love they felt from their dad, or their parents.

When I married my first wife, it was to escape the pain of my adolescence. Not knowing I was gay when I married, I know now that the underlying circumstance’s stemmed from that truth. Marrying the second time, I was in love with the idea of being a normal married man. The ExGay movement held within it the façade that that was possible. I married whom I married because I was in love with who she is, and that I trusted her and believed she loved me in the middle of my journey. I believed so deeply that I would continue transitioning into a place where I could love her romantically and sexually. Much of my decision was placed on a future hope rather than a current reality.

I also realize that for some people marriage isn’t about the sex or the intimate love as much as it is about the relationship and the family. As long as this is a matched reality, then this type of marriage may work well.

In my experiences with being married to straight women, I had a great desire to connect at that deeper level of intimacy, I continually felt alone and anxious. I finally admitted that my needs for physical touch and heart intimacy were just not being fulfilled. I also lived with a constant level of guilt knowing that I was not capable of meeting their needs to know they were loved for who they are, women. I just couldn’t give them that kind of love no matter how hard I tried. When my first wife moved on to other relationships she was very clear with me that she had now experienced the difference between straight men and me. I felt slighted at the time, but I get it now.

My quandary about these married couples stems from whether or not they are being honest at a deeper level. From the trailers I’ve seen, they are at least being honest about their sexual confusion. I was honest about mine before my second wife and I even dated and she knew all about my homosexual attractions, But is the show going to reveal the deeper honesty?

I know men who are gay that are married to straight women. Some of them have what appears to be a true love for their wives and seems to work for them. I would never want to say it couldn’t work. I wouldn’t want any man or woman to forego a marriage that would truly satisfy their desire and need for intimacy. However, I would like them to be given the opportunity to know their own truth beforehand.

When I got married the second time, there were a lot of people encouraging me to move forward. I followed their hope for us. But they didn’t know the questions to ask me, or they were afraid of those types of deeper questions themselves because many of my friends were “ExGay.” Not to be graphic, but the questions would have been connected to sexual intimacy, and heart attractions. I would have appreciated someone who could have helped me open my heart up to that kind of truth. But I was trapped in pursuing the image of marriage and the hope that it would be fulfilling, so it would have been tough for someone to open up those places. The only words I was given about my questions about the sexual compatibility were, “The plumbing will work when it’s time.” I’ve felt resentment for those words many times because it made sex out to be a mere physical reaction and it oversimplified true heart of sexuality.

I really appreciate Tim’s drawing the point of fluidity in sexuality. I truly believe that there aren’t just two genders. There aren’t only two sexual orientations. Our sexuality and relationships are far too complicated to fit those narrow places. This is why it is so very important to explore a large variety of questions and discussion topics with pre-marriage counsel. The typical pre-marriage counsel doesn’t come close to those things even when the couple is willing to be honest about their sexual attractions and struggles. Many pre-marriage counselors are afraid of the topic of fluid sexuality and the reality that sex doesn’t fit into the neat boxes most of us would like.

It would grieve me if someone looked at the surface of this TLC reality show and said, “See there, gay men can marry women and it’s okay.” I especially do not like the title, “My Husband’s Not Gay” when the show is all about gay men marrying straight women. It reveals to me the potential for extreme denial from a woman who has found a gay man she wants to marry. There are women who are sexually wounded that find a gay man a safe place for her to live. There are also naive women who believe they can heal their potential husband’s sexuality by loving him. There are also women who believe that a man’s testimonial of transformation in his sexuality to be true even when all of the science and life practice show otherwise.

We’ll see what the outcome is with this program. But on the other hand, maybe it will open the discussion to a wider place and more people will be able to be honest from its existence. I hope so.

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One Response to “My Husband’s Not Gay”

  1. Pepper Schwartz says:

    Even when two men or two women who love each other get into a relationship, they have to navigate past their different values for money, work, life, and find values that they match well on to build a lasting relationship.

    When a gay men gets into a relationship with a straight woman, they may never have the part of themselves that wants to be sexually and intimately loved fulfilled. You can do better than that.

    Lesbian life in Singapore:

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