Monday, January 8, 2007

Talking to my wife

I want to tell my wife about my 'inclinations'. But, I want her to be OK with it. If she is going to freak out then I'm not sure I want to tell her. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect her reaction to be something along the lines of "that's nice dear, what would you like for dinner?". I know it will be difficult for her. But, I also don't want this to end in a divorce (which seems to happen all too often when gay men come out to their wives). Although I'm attracted to men, I'm committed to the relationship I have with my wife and I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize that relationship or my standing in the church.

A few weeks ago I was determined that I was going to talk to my wife about my attractions to men; it was just a matter of finding the right time and the right way to talk about it.

But, now I'm having doubts if telling her is really the right thing to do or not. When I think of the reasons why I want to tell her I realize that they are selfish reasons that would only benefit me. I want to be able to act natural at home. There are certain things I would like to be able to do without worrying that doing so might clue my wife into my gay-ness. Such as: reading certain books (like books by Carol Lynn Pearson), watching a gay themed show (not the smutty ones), etc.

I also worry how well my wife would take the news. A couple of months ago, I talked her into watching the movie "Latter Days" which is about an LDS missionary struggling with being gay. It was on LogoTV (a GBLT cable channel); so, I recorded it on our DVR. It was a risky move on my part since I haven't told her I'm gay. I really like the movie (especially the edited version on LogoTV where they bleeped out all of the bad words), and I wanted her to like it too. Unfortunately, she hated the movie which led to some uncomfortable conversations about why I liked it. I managed to stammer out something along the lines of "I found it thought provoking". Over the next few days she repeatedly brought up different things she disliked in the movie. I've never seen her react so negatively towards a movie before; it really must have touched a nerve. Perhaps, deep down, she suspects I'm gay and doesn't want to face it; and, seeing a gay themed movie brought these feelings to the surface making her uncomfortable. Or, perhaps I'm just over analyzing the situation.

In any case, the first thing I need to decide is if telling her is the right thing to do. Will she and I both be better off if she knew? Or is it better for me to keep her in blissful ignorance? I would like to be able to talk about it openly; but, doing so could very well could backfire and cause her to doubt me and my faithfulness.

But, then I wonder if I'm not giving her enough credit. I've never heard her say anything disparaging about gay people. In fact, she has had more contact with gay people than I have. She majored in Ornamental Horticulture in college - some of the male students in that major were gay. While I was serving my mission, she dated a guy who turned out to be gay. After we married, one of the guys she worked with was gay. Even now, one of the quilt shops she frequents is run by a gay couple. I start to wonder if, perhaps, the Lord has been preparing her for the ultimate realization that she is married to a gay man.

This is a lot harder than I ever imagined it could be.


Anonymous said...

Due to computer technical difficulties, the emma-emmawrites blog has been temporarily suspended. Also, if you have received any emails from emma, please delete. They probably don't contain viruses, but one would not want to take chances.

As the wife of a man with SSA, I again urge you to seriously consider the reasons you want to tell your wife. If you think her knowing will help you in your struggle, then that must become a matter of prayer. I asked my husband about this matter, and he thought, given the length of time you have been married and the fact that you have never acted on your inclinations, then what good purpose could it possibly serve to tell her now? When you are resurrected, I firmly believe it will not be a part of 'who you are' - and I also believe it isn't who you are now -- it is simply an aspect of your mortal probation -- so telling her will not necessarily draw you two closer. Only you, the Lord and she can know that.

I think it is important for you to explore in appropriate ways how you can deal with this. It has been my experience that some blogs about this subject are more conducive to understanding, healing and growth than others. Be careful not to get drawn into mists of darkness or philosophies of men. Only you and the Lord can know if and when it becomes necessary to tell your wife. If you feel the Spirit when you think about it and you feel it would lead to healing, then perhaps you should ... otherwise, be patient and wait on the Lord.

Mormon Enigma said...

I agree that, ultimately, it comes down to prayer. I'm doing the "study it out in your mind"; but, I'm not getting that burning in the bosom (D&C 9:8). I guess I'm just not getting the answer that I wanted.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about a 'burning,' but I do know what it feels like to feel peaceful about something, and I don't get the impression that you feel peaceful about it yet.

Yes, not getting the answers we want can be very frustrating!

Just remember, Satan's main purpose is to destroy families. If he gets an individual here and there, so much the better. Perhaps using that as a guide (will telling your wife ultimately help sustain you and your family?) may help you as you seek answers.

I wish you the best either way.

Samantha said...

I have to say that having my husband on "my side" as I deal with the issue of being same-sex attracted has been invaluable to me. He, however, is one of the most open-minded, loving people I have ever met. He's done much study on the subject of SSA and is a bishop who works with a couple of young men in his ward who wish to remain faithful and are trying to figure out how to live their lives.

I would suggest the book,"In Quiet Desperation," rather than the Pearson books. It provides such a spirit of hope, and can help your wife understand the reality of SSA without being fearful or judgmental. Truthfully, the more she understands about homosexuality, the better she can support you as you strive to remain faithful to your covenants.

In the end, the choice is between you and the Lord, of course. I wish you all the best.

Foxx said...

I'd be glad to send you my copy of In Quiet Desperation if you like. I won't be reading it again soon. ;)

I'm of the mind that secrets - even secrets in good faith - undermine efforts for greater emotional intimacy with your spouse. Things could be difficult at first, but like Samantha said, having your spouse on your side, allowing her to understand you more deeply, can provide an invaluable boon to your relationship - not to mention your commitment to live the Gospel.

I would recommend watching a movie called Happy Endings. I don't remember the movie well, but I was going through a review I wrote on the movie and it seems to send a similar message about secrets and hard truths.