My wife and I left the church nearly four years ago. We married young, w/o prior sexual experience and suffered a lot of frustration because of it. Among other things, my wife's repression of her sexuality as she attempted to follow church teachings led to her never really understanding her own sexual identity. I understood mine at least a little better, but certainly didn't accept it.

One of the things she has realized is that she has never felt particularly attracted to men, but very much attracted to women. This led to some anxiety and concern in our relationship, but we have been working through this together.

Yesterday we posted an AMA thread (Ask Me Anything) on reddit.com explaining the situation and inviting discussion. We received a lot more (and better) feedback than I initially expected, so I am posting a link here for anyone who is interested in this subject. You don't have to sign up or sign in to read the thread, only to upvote/downvote or post comments of your own. Some of the best comments are nested several levels under some remarks that don't seem serious, but that we answered seriously because they helped us reflect intelligently on interesting or significant factors.

The conversation on reddit definitely expanded my thinking and helped tremendously. If anyone here is in similar circumstances and could use the help, or has anything to offer by way of comment, or is simply curious, I invite you to check out an intelligent conversation by a remarkable community.

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Thank you for posting the link. I applaud how you and your wife are handling everything. I think that with the way you are open, willing for discussion, and apparently very thoughtful not only in your words and actions but plans for the future are very commendable.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I know it will be the right decision for not only your wife and yourself, but for your family as well.
Thanks. One of the great things about leaving the church was finally being allowed to deal with situations like this as adults. We don't have to bow to social pressures or church doctrines as we figure things out. And we can be open to changing our minds, which was always very hard to do in the church.
I just finished the thread you started on Reddit. Wow. You guys have really been going through a lot over the last year or so!! Kudos to you both for being open and honest about it all. I think you are sounding very open and level headed. I do know two exmo couples who are in somewhat similar situations. I could possibly hook you guys up for talking to each other if you are interested. I may point them in the direction of this thread and see if they chime in.

I think every post mormon marriage goes through some measure of sexual readjustments. I know mine did. I won't go into huge detail here, but I am always a little surprised at how many people in the exmo community start to honestly think about and consider alternative sexual lifestyles. Swinging has been a common discussion and idea. I think that idea could be a good answer for you guys in the short term, but sounds like you both have a tendancy to bond deeply and that may get tricky. There are a lot of options though. I wish I had more to add. I think you both are very brave for being open about your lives.
Hey Kat. I can't believe you read the whole thing! That thread got a lot more response than I was expecting. I've spent a surprising amount of time the last two days just trying to respond intelligently to everyone who posted. I was also amazed at the level of insight we found through doing this.

We definitely didn't expect to find ourselves here when we started to reassess our sexuality after leaving the church. The fact that we did actually encourages me that we really have been able to throw off the repression we grew up with and honestly examine our lives. I think you're right that swinging may prove to be very hazardous, given the level of emotional connection we both associate with sex. We plan to move forward carefully and thoughtfully so we can hopefully find our new equilibrium without anyone getting hurt unnecessarily. And we can always blame the church for the associated stress, right?

Definitely feel free to pass on the link. Thanks for not mentioning this on FB though, as Jaimy hasn't yet come out to everyone that sees our pages. We're working up to it. It's been really helpful to build up a support group online among fellow redditors and post/ex-mormons. I suspect I know of the two couples you mention, but definitely possible I'm not. It's been really helpful to see how others have handled similar situations.

I have also been surprised to see how many exmos find themselves reconsidering every aspect of their lives. I get it now, though, as I have realized that virtually every aspect of my life was structured around the church and needed to be examined and reconsidered in a critical light. I feel a lot more confident in my choices these days because their based on a lot more than the prejudices of a bunch of rich, old white men and a vague sense of unease at the thought of disagreeing with them.
No worries Rick!! I wouldn't dream of outing you on FB. I value our friendship, and it is your story to tell. :oD
Hi Rick. I haven't read through the whole thread and doubt I would be able to make it through it either. But I understand somewhat the scenario you are in and know of other couples who've been where you are now, explored and found new paradigms to live by. DW and I, though not in your position (we're both straight), have looked into alternative relationship, open marriage, swinging and so forth due to our now being open to explore whatever it is we want out of life. As for your wife, is she full on lesbian, or bisexual? It is more common for women to be bi-sexual than fully lesbian. You'll both likely learn more about this once you've began exploring. As for where to begin and how to navigate or define such alternative relationships for yourselves, I highly recommend the following site and relationship articles here: http://www.redefiningmonogamy.com/resources/relationship-advice

It would be best if you both read through each of the topics at the link above (not necessarily together): Relationship with Yourself, Relationship with Others, For Guys Eyes, and Secret Subjects. It will be a great aid in helping you both prepare and avoid the levels of jealousy that might otherwise occur, as well as help you both define the relationship that works for you, which doesn't have to match any relationship of anyone else you know.

Beyond that, have fun exploring, communicating and learning about yourselves in ways you would never have dreamed of as Mormons (well, maybe you have, but didn't think it could happen without serious guilt of consequences). Be quick to forgive, learn the source of jealousies when they arise and look for whether the jealousy is justified, and be gentle with yourselves. There are swinging communities everywhere, Utah even being a hot bath of sorts for them, but Arizona too having them as would all states. The most common reason for couples exploring swinging IS because of a bi-sexual wife. Let me know if you have questions about anything. Private message might be more appropriate depending on the nature of your question.

Good luck, and have fun!

Thanks Micah, those are some great resources. It helps a lot to know that "alternative" lifestyles are considered normal and healthy by so many people.

Rick--
You had a lot of very well thought out responses. Just my two cents. A couple that my spouse and I are friends with, met in a polyamourous group. They have been together for 10 years, the husband has had side relationships with the permission of his wife. It has not always been easy, but they are pretty happy.

As for myself, I did some readjustment myself after leaving the church, every serious relationship I have had was with a girl who also liked girls. The first relationship I was in, where that was the case, was really difficult for me to handle, mainly because she was not really into monogamy and not completely honest. This does not seem to be the issue for you and your spouse. Best.

Honesty and openness are definitely rule one for us. We are considering a polyamorous solution, but taking baby steps so we don't screw up too badly all at once.

It was so freshing to read this post. Adults discussing sex in an open and honest way...I love it!
I have a close relationship with someone who is exmo and married to a man (with three kids) and is lesbian. She has a wonderful take on how she's handling it, I forwarded the Reddit link to her in hopes she'll have some insight for you.
Best wishes to your family.
Here is my sister's response to your post on Reddit, she didn't want to register for the site but wanted to give her thoughts:

I always knew that I liked women since I was about 14 years old. However, being raised in the church I just saw myself as a horrible person for even letting thoughts stray that way and squashed those feelings down as hard as I could. I made sure I ALWAYS had a boyfriend and was horrified whenever I found myself in a typical teenage girl situation such as sharing a bed at a sleepover or a shower after swimming.

I ended up marrying my husband, who I love dearly, and having 3 kids. We've been married for 11 years, together for 13. We haven't been active in the church since just before we met. My husband always knew that I was interested in women also. We've been open about it since we met. He supports (read: LOVES) the idea of simply bringing another woman into the mix but we all know that there is nothing "simple" about such an arrangement. And so it has never happened...not for lack of trying...just for lack of the right fit.

This last summer I started feeling as if I was cheating myself out of true happiness by being in a heterosexual marriage. I felt that I'd been rushed into the marriage by a surprise pregnancy and tricked into it by an LDS upbringing. I sought help from people that have been in similar situations and got the same advice from basically everyone I asked: leave him, find a woman.

In the end, however, communication ended up being key. My husband pointed out that even though I am attracted to women I am still attracted to him. And if it were a situation of me being attracted to other men, it wouldn't even be an issue as I'd know that in the event we weren't in each other's lives in the future, I'd act on these feelings for other men. Why, he asked, is it different for an attraction to women? Why must I feel an urge to leave a man I love to seek out a woman? Why not just be secure in the fact that should him and I no longer be together at some point in the future, I will be able to seek out that woman? Or another man? Or whoever I want.

I spent awhile thinking on this and mulling it over. I realized that it'd be a horrible thing to do to myself, my family and my husband to throw our life together away in the name of a possible relationship with an unknown woman at an undetermined point in the future. Especially when there is no other reason to leave and he is open and accepting about my feelings. Why make life harder than it is?

tl;dr version: Be true to yourself, accept who you are and your options in the unknown future but don't trash a relationship with the person you love now just because he isn't a she.

Kudos to both of you for being so open to be able to discuss this in a level-headed manner. And also for leaving the church, I know how hard that is too.

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