Hi Lyfe…..sorry I missed your original post.
I have considerable experience in this area of mixed orientation marriages. I’ve incorporated it as a part of my coaching practice.
If you want some more specific details you can email me directly if you like.
Basically….as you say it is not as cut and dried as people would have us believe.
When I was facing this issue I could only see two options….and there was no support or a single person I could find who really understood the issues.
I work with people to see that there are at least 6 different options….governed by a whole range of variables. Some of these include, church life, friends, business, health, age, children and their ages, financial considerations, length of relationship, personalities of the individuals…… to name a few.
Below is an intro I use when we begin discussions.
Mixed Orientation Marriage – What to do?
A mixed orientation marriage is where one partner is heterosexual and the other is same-sex-oriented (gay or lesbian) or bi-sexual.
The situation we find ourselves in was not one of intentional deception. (In some cultures, families and geographical areas this maybe different however, as it is a matter of survival). For most of us though, our marriages were the result of us conforming to a society, who at that time, believed homosexuality was crime, perversion and mental illness. We married thinking that it was the right thing to do and that it would help to change what we perceived was faulty within us. I know this was the case for me. I wanted to do the right thing. Having a wife and family was everyone’s goal. There are also a number of people whose same sex orientation did not become obvious or awakened till after they were married. You, I, and 1000’s of others are the products of an uninformed society. We are at the fault line and our generation is the one caught in the transition.
Had the current knowledge on sexual orientation been available to us growing up, our choices would have been different. If we were born 40 years earlier we wouldn’t have ever considered coming out. If we were in this current generation we would have realized our sexual orientation is natural and normal and wouldn’t have married to help fix it or felt it necessary to conform.
Making a decision about what to do, being gay or lesbian in a heterosexual marriage, can be quite complex. It has many consequences that can include firstly our partner of course but also children, families, employment, business, finances, friends, church, faith. The decisions we make will impact several or all of these.
Living with the internal conflict (dissonance) will eventually impact us either psychologically (e.g. depression), emotionally (distancing and unable to have intimacy or strong friendships) or physically (stress related illnesses e.g. high blood pressure, insomnia, ulcers etc). We need to put strategies into place to manage the stress and resolve the dissonance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is coaching?
Coaching is a one on one interactive process that helps individuals gain clarity, set realistic goals and make better decisions. Your self awareness is heightened. I create a safe space for you to think, reflect and create strategies. I also support you through the process in a completely non-judgmental environment which is free of any agenda except to help you gain the clarity you need.
2. Is coaching the same as counseling or therapy?
No. Counselling and therapy usually focus on resolving issues from the past. Coaching is not so much about your past as about the creating the right future. Its more solution- based than problem-based.
3. What will happen in the sessions?
We will talk. Actually you’ll talk more than me as I will use my skills and experience to ask the right questions, reflect back on what you are saying and the things you might not see yourself and summarise. I will walk you through exercises that will help you gain clarity about your situation and how to resolve it.
4. Can you advise me?
A coach never advises or tells clients what they should do. I will be able however to share with you the information I have from my own experience of being married for 16 years, overcoming my sexual addiction, working with many clients in this area and the research I’ve been doing for the last 10 years. Most people find this invaluable but ultimately the decisions and choices are yours. I also have a bank of helpful articles and resources if you need them.
5. What outcomes can I expect?
Firstly, and most importantly you will get clarity to make choices. When I separated from my wife, I could only see two choices: stay in the marriage and try to overcome my attraction to the same sex or leave my Christian world and live as a gay man. There are actually seven different options we look at to help you decide which one is right for you. You will know what the right thing is for you to do right now. And that may be to stay in the marriage or put your decision on hold. Whatever you decide the internal dissonance will be greatly reduced.