logo
Call Us Today! 022-33814248

Same Sex Attraction While Married

Same sex attractions while married

Introduction

A heterosexual may be married to a homosexual or a bisexual. In these cases, one of the partners in the marriage is not sexually attracted to their spouse, instead they are attracted to a person of the same sex. These kinds of marriages are sometimes called mixed orientation marriages or MOMs and it is difficult to quantify the exact number of such marriages that currently exist because of the secrecy surrounding MOMs and the societal stigma and repercussions attached to them. However, it is estimated that they may range from under a million to maybe even 4 million in the US alone.

Cause

Many factors may contribute to the emergence of mixed orientation marriages;

It is not unusual for many individuals to not self-identify themselves as homosexuals even up until adulthood. It is easy for many to be in denial as they are conditioned from birth into believing that they are straight, harboring only heterosexual feelings. This can be attributed to their upbringing, especially if it happened in an overly religious family or conservative community and also because of misinformation, ignorance and societal pressure. An individual’s actual sexual feelings may be so repressed that they willingly enter into marriage with a heterosexual person. It is only later, perhaps unable to reciprocate their partner’s feelings, that they are forced to confront their deepest and most basic thoughts and desires. In fact, many homosexuals in such situations may exhibit internalized homophobia, which is the negative feeling gays have towards themselves due to their homosexuality. This causes them to have deep seated hateful and homophobic feelings and further binds them to their life of denial.

In many Asian countries such as India and Malaysia, homosexuals are not socially accepted and sexual intercourse with a person belonging to the same sex has even been criminalized.  Gays therefore tend to stay closeted, even though they are aware and accept their homosexual feelings. The government, society and in many cases even their families and friends, who may or may not be aware of their sexual orientation, are not able to accept and support such a lifestyle. They therefore marry a heterosexual partner in order to appease their families and avoid social stigma. Sometimes a homosexual person may get married in order to conceal their true sexual orientation because they may belong to a high profile career such as politics, acting etc. In these cases, revealing themselves as homosexuals, in their minds and many times in reality too, will most decidedly put an end to any career aspirations they may have.

Risk Factors:

There is an increased risk of mixed orientation marriages in overly religious, conservative and other socially repressive societies.

 

 

Clinical Presentation

Marriage between a homosexual and a heterosexual or bisexual affects both partners.

Many women on finding out that they have married gay men, feel a sense of responsibility, guilt, and shame. They may even feel, albeit incorrectly, that something they did may have affected their husband’s sexuality. Some partners may not yet be aware of their partner’s real sexual orientation; in these cases the invariable lack of intimacy between them may cause increasing levels of anxiety, failure and low self-esteem. Many may also develop deep-seated trust issues which they will have to overcome in order to have fulfilling relationships in the future.

In some cases the homosexual or bisexual spouse may truly believe that they would be able to suppress any gay tendencies in order to conform and be accepted into society. In other instances, this may have been a deliberate attempt to conceal their true self from others. Either way, it is not uncommon for them to feel guilt, responsibility, anxiety, depression, anger and suicidal. The burden of carrying on a charade is not an easy one to shoulder and in many cases one tends to crumble under the pressure until full disclosure is all but inevitable at least to the spouse.

Treatment

Mental-health professionals will recommend that the homosexual or bisexual spouse come clean to their partner. Full disclosure is the first step in rebuilding trust. It is then left up to them to decide further course of action.

Divorce is the most common outcome, this allows both parties to go their separate ways and if possible have satisfying relationships with people they are sexually compatible with. Sometimes couples may choose to stay together due to societal and religious pressure, pressure from a high-profile career and/or the presence of children. In such cases, it is necessary for the couple to accept each other’s sexual orientation, to be open, communicative and respectful of each other.  For some people, a successful marriage need not necessarily be based on sexual intimacy, companionship and shared history may provide greater reasons for staying together. It is necessary to give each other time and understanding and preferably consult with a counselor and/or engage with a support group. It is also not unusual in some mixed-orientation marriages, for spouses to reach an understanding regarding each other’s sexual needs and find ways for fulfilling them.