Gay, Mormon, and Married… but This Time, It Didn’t Work Out

Maybe you saw the story about the Mormon who is gay but happily married to a woman. Things are working out for them (so they say…)

But what happens when you no longer want to suppress your spouse’s sexuality? Ashley is a 36-year-old Mormon who (knowingly) married a gay man, but unlike the other couple, they couldn’t ignore it and keep the charade going:

I was quiet at first. He couldn’t look at me as he said it or after. But I just sat quietly and supportive in the passenger seat of his car.

He went on, “I’ve never acted on it. I don’t want to.”

We were both quiet now.

Then I spoke, “I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.”

“I want to go to therapy when I am making enough money to afford it. There is a certain type of therapy that fixes it.”

All of these things sounded very reassuring to me, a 20 year old. Naive, hopeful, and in-love.

Neither of us realized at the time that it doesn’t go away.

We both were on our own individual roller coaster of depression, denial, angst, and wanting to die. A roller coaster we stayed on for 13 years. And while we were each on our own separate coaster, our kids were on the ground watching us, wondering why we were on a ride that we weren’t enjoying, and why we couldn’t be on an enjoyable ride all together.

… During our marriage, we did have sex. It was mechanical. It felt wrong. It was like a chore. It was a way to relieve tension… sometimes. Other times it only created more tension. It was not intimate in any way…

Sometimes, perhaps, a lot of the time, our homosexual loved ones will choose to love as they feel naturally inclined, in same-sex relationships. I believe that they are choosing joy. I’ve known too many gay men and women personally who have attempted either celibacy or relationships with the opposite sex, because of their strong testimonies of the church, and they DO NOT experience joy.

Read the story to get a glimpse of what her life was like before she got divorced. Sometimes, ending the marriage is really the best option in that situation — even when you have kids, even when you love that person, even when you don’t want to leave your faith.

To live in guilt, or in fear of god’s wrath, or as someone you’re not is a waste of the only life you’ll ever have.

(Thanks to Katie for the link. Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Miko

    Adding “so they say” after describing a couple who says their marriage is working is both rude and presumptuous.  We live in a world with many people who want many different things and it’s silly to assume that their marriage doesn’t work just because it doesn’t fit your conception of a traditional relationship.

    • asonge

      Normally, I would agree with you, but I come from a background where testimony is not always the truth, but a claim for a desire. By voicing God’s (your) will, you are putting up the facade in the hope that you can (with the help of God, obviously) construct something that is actually joyful. It’s not an act of bearing witness, but of trying desperately to maintain the perfection that is seen as wholly possible by the church (social group). We’ve got a *lot* of empirical evidence of people who have claimed to be joyously celibate or joyously and then later say that it was nothing but a facade they were keeping up *exactly* for the hope that things would get better. When it comes to late term in the relationship, we’ve got a lot more (unhappy or happy) divorces and unhappy marriages where the couples admit that this mismatch in sexual attraction was not able to be overcome. Aside from that, since these couples also usually do not have sexual relationships where they achieve a full sense of intimacy and they do not know it, having not experienced it. This puts us in an empirical trap, yet again, but there’s just too many stories of happiness after divorce for me to give them the benefit of the doubt *completely*. If it weren’t for all these other later testimonies, I would have to give more of a benefit of the doubt, but I think the doubt here is warranted.

  • Dcovill

    @b8df2035c4a21fe883095f4d957e9e20:disqus 

    I think it is rude and presumptuous to call someone rude and presumptuous for a parenthetical comment.  Hemant reminds us that our public self-evaluations need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Why not cut him a little slack?  (i.e., like it says in the blog title, be ‘friendly’.)

  • jagadishchandar

    I am pleased that the club unicorn story is triggering others to talk about their own experience. Probably the only good thing to come out of it.

    • jagadishchandar

      From the original blog:
      “I mentioned a certain other blog post that seems to have gone viral.  I am frightened at the message that the other post is sending.  Some couples might be able to achieve what the Club Unicorn couple is (hell, Matt and I did when the denial and repression were working), but in most cases that type of arrangement can only end badly…and where children are involved, let me tell you first-hand…
      I am frightened that the message that other post sends will further encourage Prop 8 or Prop 22 mindedness.
      Let me ask you this:  How did those Propositions protect my marriage, myfamily?  Hm?
      They did not.”

  • Stev84

    Apparently Josh Weed’s original post is being emailed around by tons of Mormons as “Look, see! Here is the solution to the problem”. Weed claims that this isn’t what he wanted. I don’t believe that for a second, but even taking him at face value, he is extremely naive if he didn’t know this wouldn’t happen.

    The weird thing is that this isn’t anything new. Marriages like his have always been the norm in the Mormon church. Yet he acts like he is something special.

  • Penn

    The posts about gay Mormons makes me think of this – it’s a link in my ‘SUPER INSPIRING STUFF’ list. :) So yeah, in case you haven’t seen it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFLGJyXG-UQ&list=UUoPmNkAsINPgS8Hlxw-VTeQ

  • Donna Swafford

    Well, apparently Josh Weed, the gay man who is happily married to a woman, is also a therapist who advocates reparative therapy. http://www.lifestarwashington.com/staff.php

    • Stev84

      In the strictest sense, he doesn’t do ” reparative therapy”. That refers to a specific kind of therapy that places the cause of homosexuality in defective relationships with ones parents and attempts to turn people straight. If you accuse him of that, he’ll successfully deny it.

      His approach is more subtle. Weed uses the Warren Throckmorton style of ex-gay therapy. Instead of turning people straight, he wants them to accept that they are gay, but not act on it. He gives them the option of either being celibate or marrying an opposite-sex partner and living a straight life. Then he helps with them making that happen. For example, having same-sex fantasies is ok in his book. That’s probably a bit less dangerous than outright conversion therapy, but still despicable. And he never thinks about what he does to the wives of these men (it’s usually men).

      That said, two of the leading Lifestar managers are tied to Evergreen, which is the Mormon ex-gay program:
      http://evergreeninternational.org/Speakers.htm

      • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

         Most “ex-gay” programs today wont even pretend they turn people straight.   For them a “success” is a gay person who still considers him/herself gay but just doesn’t have gay sex, or one who lives a simulated heterosexual lifestyle by  marrying someone of the opposite sex.  So it’s still “reparative therapy”, just without the claims that it produces straight people.  It’s just as oppressive as it tells gay people “being gay is bad, and the only way to be whole/clean/complete is to deny who you are and to act straight”. 

        http://www.truthwinsout.org/ex-gay-is-not-necessarily-straight/

        • Stev84

          It really depends on how you define it. While it’s sometimes used synonymously with all kinds of conversion therapy, some people see the term “reparative therapy” as a specific type of treatment based on specific claims about child/parent bonding in childhood. “Ex-gay therapy” is the general term.

          That’s why they can say “No, we don’t do that! What we do is different.” Because strictly speaking it is. Doesn’t mean the general outcome isn’t very different. The shame and guilt are still there. They just lay it on more gently.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    But to the anti-gay bigots, it’s better to live a lie (which also involves hurting an opposite-sex partner and likely children) than to be honest to yourself and everyone else.   

  • Ken

    Does anybody else have this mental image of God as a cosmic voyeur?  He seems obsessed with our sex lives, and is presumably watching everything we do sexually.  I always thought of this kind of behavior as a perversion, but I guess there’s a loophole there somewhere.  Beats pornography all hollow, and I suppose he watches that, too.

  • Mdwelch27

    Nobody should have to deny who they are for any reason short of physically damaging other people.  You only get the one life to become all that you desire.  Any repression of that will lead to misery and waste.

  • Mattthais7777

    Oddly enough, i know a couple that make me believe such marriages are possible, and can even be fufilling. I just think their also MASSIVE exceptions to the rule. She’s lesbian, he’s asexual, so it’s a celibate marriage from the getgo…. except their an open couple, and while he’s not interested in sex at all she’s allowed to go sleep with whomever she wants so long as she’s safe and ethical about it (Not giving anyone the illusion that she’ll stay with them.) They’re a sickeningly gooey couple most of the time, and i can see how if you really that in love you might be willing to put up with some serious stuff  to be able to make the relationship work. It’s kinda like when someone marries someone who’s paralyzed, or has a mental disability, or who’s parents are orthodox something or another. We applaud these people cause they’re putting a massive handicap on their success rate. But well, quite frankly? For every one of the last couple, or my friends, there is one of these couples that just can’t take that kinda strain on their relationship, and no one should be forced to attempt that kinda hardship.

  • Anon

    I was lucky enough to realise that I identified as bisexual after I identified as atheist (as opposed to just apathetic). I didn’t have to deal with having to justify my sexuality to an imaginary deity or in relation to an out of date book.

    And that is still pretty much my sentiment to this day. Fuck everyone else, the only people whose thoughts about my sexuality matter are mine and my partner’s.  

    That’s got me through being told I’m lying, making it up for attention and also that I should kill myself.


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