A little over a month ago, I republished a blog post about mixed-orientation marriages that had been originally posted on my old blog in 2011. It was about a man named "James" who described what his mixed-orientation marriage was like.
Yesterday, "Jeff" left a comment on that post. In order to give this comment the exposure it deserves, I am posting it here in its entirety.
I can't help but wonder why more people have not responded to this post. I would love to see the original replies.
Thank you so much for reposting this. James' story is exactly mine. To a tee, with the exception that my wife has not caused me to be disfellowshipped. Might I share a few thoughts as I read this today?:
Today is June 26, 2015---a momentous day in LGBT history and equality. As I heard the announcement that gay marriage is now legal, I cried. Tears of joy fell from my eyes for quite some time as I realized the magnitude of the decision to allow same-sex couples to marry. After the elation of the moment passed, I sat back and looked at my current situation. I am a gay man, married to a woman, with three beautiful children. I live each day under the guise that I am just like everyone else. I've done everything that the church says that I'm supposed to do. Like I say, my story is just like James'. He did an excellent job of describing the emotions, intentions and reasons for his life decisions. Mine were exactly the same.
So here I am on this beautiful day, so happy that gay marriage is now legal in our country. And it will literally have no impact on my life, as long as I continue the status quo. So I find myself faced with this question: Why do I continue life as a gay man who lives each day as though he is in hiding?....especially when the rest of the world seems to be progressing more and more towards acceptance of homosexuality and understanding of people like me? Why do I let my church, my family, my wife and even myself squash me down as though in a vise?
The answer is, and always has been, my children. I can deal with the church rebuking me, my family chastising me, and my wife giving me hell if I were to leave her, but I don't know if I can leave my children. Sure, I would still be in their lives, but their world would be crushed. And their father would be the one who threw down the hammer. Compounding things, my parents divorced when I was little. I never grew up with a dad, really. He lived on the other side of the country, so I never saw him. It devastated me. How could I do the exact same thing to my children?
On the other hand, I am going insane inside. I am quickly dying. My ability to keep my mask up for the world to see is waning. I feel that my children would see a much healthier father if I completely came out, divorced my wife, and moved on with my life.
So, today's decision by the Supreme Court is a cause for celebration. I wonder if it will be enough to convince myself that accepting gay marriage in my own heart, truly, means no longer being a hypocrite. No longer staying married to a woman. No longer telling myself that my children would hate me forever if I divorced their mother. No longer telling myself that my children would hate me if I chose to marry a man instead.
In the end, my children's love is the only love I care most about.
Please, anyone who reads this who has been or is currently in a mixed-orientation marriage, leave a comment for Jeff to lend him support and counsel.
I am the first to say that each mixed-orientation marriage is different and that I respect the decisions of each man in such marriages as to how they deal with their particular situation. That being said, Jeff, here are my thoughts.
I was once, in a sense, where you are now. However, my situation was a bit different. I never planned to come out, and my marriage was already on life-support when events propelled me out of the closet. I was willing to continue to try to work on our marriage, but my former wife was not.
I had already reached a point, shortly before coming out, where I realized that we'd probably all be a lot happier if we divorced - me, her, our children. Like you, my parents were divorced when I was young. I never wanted to divorce. But it happened.
Though there have been some difficult times for everyone involved over the last five years, I don't regret the decisions I made. After 40 years, I was able to live my life authentically and happily. I met a man with whom I fell deeply in love, and I have experienced more happiness during these past four years that I ever would have thought possible.
Several of my older children have expressed gratitude to my husband for facilitating the happiness they see in their father - something they rarely saw as they were growing up. These same children have also expressed gratitude for the example I set of choosing to live my life authentically. They have made the same decision and are experiencing their own happiness as a result.
As to my younger children, though I don't live with them, they know I love them. They see me happy. They experience the love of my husband. They see Mark and I together. They see the love between us. Just the other day, as Mark and I shared a hug and a kiss, my adolescent daughter said, "Awwww, true love."
I understand the desperation you feel, Jeff. I understand what it's like to feel dead inside. I understand the fear you feel when you contemplate what your children might experience in the event of a divorce. But I ask you to consider this: a parent's profound unhappiness affects his children in ways that can be deep and long-lasting. If you are dying inside, can you be the best father you can be?