What do I do if I find myself with same-gender attractions but am in an opposite-gender marriage and family?
I can’t speak to today’s Tough Question directly from experience. A reader submitted this question and it might be on your mind too (it might be a Question you’re even asking yourself).
Here is what I can offer: there are no Answers (at least not for me).
My Evangelical upbringing taught me that there was an Answer for everything (derived from the ultimate answer of God/Jesus). Thus, Life was an adventure in finding and pursuing the Answers.
Every decision, every relationship, every interaction had the potential to unlock an Answer. Conversely, every decision, if chosen incorrectly, could send me completely off course. I needed to know the Answer.
My friends Haven and Alexey have been instrumental in reminding me that I Am Enough. That I know myself, and I know my truth, and I know what is right and good and necessary. And sometimes life is hard and messy. And sometimes I need to push myself and grow and learn some new things. And even in the face of that, I can do it.
Anti-gay Christians with whom I speak are often surprised to hear that I have a relationship and sexual ethic. I formulated this basic response: I seek to cultivate relationships based on honesty, communication, and consent.
I was taught that relationships are a game and a competition: it’s about finding “the best” person out there (hottest, richest, most talented) and then “getting” that person. “I am too good for him.” “She’s the best you’ll ever get.” “He’s a catch! Don’t let me him get away.” The relationship (often, any relationship) was the goal in and of itself.
Now, I desire a relationship based on honesty, communication, and consent. Well-being, respect, care, mutuality, partnership are the goals—not the relationship itself. If my significant other is no longer attracted to me, or isn’t having their needs met by me, or feels unsafe or unhealthy in our relationship, I want to know. I want to know because I care about that person. And I also want to know because I want to accurately understand the nature of relationship.
I want to believe that honest and compassionate communication will guide my relationship decisions. I don’t know what I would do if I found myself in a relationship with someone I was not attracted to. I do know that, if that describes you, I trust you (and the people in your relationship) to determine the best course forward.
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
Would you consider responding to this prompt? Are you or have you been in a marriage where one partner was not (or no longer) attracted to the other? We would all be enriched to hear your response. You are invited to respond publicly to this prompt (link it here and ping me to let me know). As always, you can email me your response if you would prefer.
Photo by Leland Francisco
Want to get those each week (plus some occasional, more private thoughts on sex & relationships)? I’d love to keep in touch. Drop your email address below and I’ll keep you in the loop!
P.S. hit reply to any email from me to start a conversation!