(Many thanks to Astrid, author of the following blog)

My husband and I are now 3+ years into our journey down the “alternate path”.  One of the tough things about being a veteran on some of the online support groups is that I have seen a lot of people come and go in the last three years. The fact is that some folks who embark on the road of trying to make a mixed-orientation marriage work will decide at some point that it is not for them. While none of us wants to see our marriages end, I have observed that certain things have to be in place in order for a couple to survive the shock of disclosure.  Each couple has to be able to reconfigure their marriage in a way that works for both of them on a long term basis. In the case of me and my husband, therapy has been immensely helpful, especially couple’s counseling.

My husband has ultimately concluded that he is more gay than bisexual– the classic “one woman short of gay” situation. Still, we tend to tell everyone– including our teenage children– that their dad is bisexual.  It has been a struggle for almost everyone to wrap their minds around the idea of a gay man being married to a woman. I too have struggled with the “logic” of that and it continues to be a challenge for my husband and me as we maintain a sexual relationship.

For what it’s worth, I see the fact that he is not sexually attracted to me as a “paradox” rather than a problem in our relationship. I would like to share a poem to explain what I mean.  This is a short excerpt from a Taoist book that I have read many times. It is a loose translation of Verse 22 of the Tao te Ch’ing, translated by William Martin:

Relationship Paradoxes

Paradoxes abound in love and they must be fully lived.

Being wounded is the only way to healing.

Being at fault is the only path to forgiveness.

Feeling empty allows for satisfaction.

Paradoxes cannot be solved as problems are solved.

They can only be accepted and cherished.

Are the current issues in your relationship problems or paradoxes?

The fact of my husband’s sexual orientation is a paradox that cannot be solved or changed. I need to learn to accept it and, if I plan to stay married to him, to cherish it as part of what makes him the human being he is. It is an important part of him, but it is not the only part. I think it is easy to forget that in these days of “identity politics” and so much talk of how people identify.

I personally identify as a human being… with all kinds of facets to my personality. Sexuality is just one facet of me, and it is only one facet of my husband. Why should it completely define our lives? Easy for me to say, I know.  For many of us, whole years of our lives have been consumed with dealing with our husbands’ sexuality as if it were the only important thing about the relationship. Well, it isn’t. I hope that my husband and I are close to getting past that and to getting back to identifying all of the other reasons we got married in the first place 23 years ago. Most of those reasons still exist and have sustained us through these last three tough years. If you can find those things again, it will help.    ~Astrid~



There is 1 comment so far

  • Brassyhub
    2 years ago · Reply

    Dear Astrid, Thank you VERY much for what you share. I’m also in a MOM, married to a lesbian who came out to herself and to me three years ago, and thirty plus years of marriage. I love the poem. I’m going to print it out and carry it with me, adding it to my collection of little ‘mantras’, quotes, prayers, songs that help me when I’m down. Therapy has helped us/me, and I’m still seeing both a spiritual mentor and an EMDR therapist, working on feelings of inadequacy and failure going back to my childhood. It’s clear that not being able to sexually satisfy the partner that one loves is a major traumatism. As is not being desired. We now have a totally sexless marriage, and I would say that I’m struggling to move from resignation to acceptance… but it’s not easy. And there’s very little help and support on that difficult journey. There are very few men who stay married to their lesbian partners (and vice versa!). Brassyhub

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