Observations on MOMs from a Rambling Lesbian
I am new here. But I was invited to write this blog post because people wanted to hearthe viewpoint of a lesbian in a Mormon mixed-orientation marriage. I am not sure exactly what kind of perspective that gives me, but I will share what I have observed and learned over the years from my own experience and from my bird’s eye view intohundreds of other lesbians in MOMs.
- I have never seen a happy MOM. This is not to say it does not happen, but I have never seen a marriage with one partner straight and one partner gay, that is monogamous or polyamorous, where both partners are happy. I have seen marriages with one or both partners bi that are happy and healthy. I know of few open marriages that have been successful long-term, and none when the reason they are open is because one partner is gay. In one successful case, both of the base partners were fundamentally polyamorously wired. The wife was bi and they had a mutual girlfriend. It worked for them and has for years. Most of the other cases of open marriage, and all of the cases Ive known with strict MOMs, have been transitions into divorce.
- Female sexual fluidity only takes you so far. I would consider it fundamentally irresponsible of myself to date or consider marrying a man again (I began my divorce last summer). Yes, women are sexually both more bisexual and more fluid than men. But it only goes so far. I do not know of any lesbians who married men, knowing they were lesbians and figuring they were fluid enough, who have been happy long-term. And I know dozens who married under the idea that What does gender matter? I have found the person I want to spend my life with, who cares if hes a man? This is the 21st century for crying out loud! But, come 5-10 years later, their sexuality seems to move back into the well-entrenched lesbian domain and they have this hole in their soul that CANNOT be filled with their male partner. A small, but growing, number of MOMs seem to originate from forward-thinking and liberated lesbians (and their partners) who believe that gender should not matter. But the reality is that it DOES matter, if you are not bisexual. No matter how I try, I cannot connect to a male individual with the same depth sexually, emotionally, or spiritually that I can connect with a female individual. Its how my brain is wired. No matter how much you try to dress it up, you cant force yourself to like broccoli if you DONT, much less force yourself to love it.
- The majority of the divorces between lesbians and their straight male partners that I have seen have actually been triggered because the marriage sucked, not because of sexual orientation. This was the case with my marriage. There appears to be a strong correlation between women who are motivated to ignore their gayness (and thus marry a man and have a traditional family) and women who enter into domineering and misogynistic marriages. This, I believe, is a HUGE difference between lesbians in MOMs and gay men in MOMs. And this, of course, makes perfect sense if you consider that most cultures that are homophobic are also strongly patriarchal and sexist. A gay man who subverts his sexuality to remain favored in a traditional culture at least gets to keep the power bestowed upon him from that patriarchal culture simply because he is male. But a lesbian who gives up her identity as a gay woman also gives up a great deal of personal power in entering into these traditional and unequal marriages.
- My right to sexual satisfaction is diminished. Everyone knows men are sexual. But women? Ha, noooooo, of course were not that filthy thing called sexual. At least, that is still a strong undercurrent running through the fundamentally conservative environment I have lived most of my life in. If a gay man is sexually unhappy in a MOM, people understand that, and give him credit for that loss. But a lesbian sexually unhappy in a MOM? Oh, come on, half of straight women are sexually unhappy in heterosexual marriages! Why are you complaining?
- My right to personal happiness is diminished. It is my job as a woman to sacrifice myself for my partner and my children. My own personal happiness is not important; it is the happiness of those around me that I must focus on. Our society encourages men to be successful, to think of themselves, and to take care of themselves. But our society tends to guilt women who are successful (how have their children suffered? or have they, gasp!, forsook having children to selfishly pursue their own interests?), to train women to think of others, and to focus on nurturing the people around them. So, how could I POSSIBLY consider breaking up my family simply for my own happiness? How selfish is that? I should be glad to be miserable for the rest of my effing life just to not inconvenience anyone around me.
In conclusion, I would never recommend a strict MOM (meaning one partner straight and one partner gayI have no problem with combinations of bi). Furthermore, Id be tempted to hit anyone considering such a marriage with a frying pan, especially if s/he was the gay one trying to convince their straight partner that it could work. And the sad truth is that MOMs that have already been created, for whatever reasons, will probably never be fully satisfying relationships. The vast, vast majority of them end in divorce, and for a reason. I would tend to advise people in these situations to divorce as soon as you are ready, so that you can start on the rest of your life. I have just seen too many MOMs hold on, sometimes for ten or twenty years, only eventually to still end in divorce. And theyve spent years, or decades, of life wasted, struggling in a painful and emaciating relationship. There really ARE worse things than divorce.