You’re the star of your adventure now, Lolly Weed!
For me, giving my whole heart to Josh while knowing that he did not love me the way a man loves a woman has always been devastating. We were best friends, but he never desired me, he never adored me, he never longed for me.
No matter how much I knew “why” he couldn’t respond to me in the ways a lover responds to a partner, it wears a person down, as if you’re not “good enough” to be loved “in that way.” And what I didn’t realize is that as human beings, we actually need to feel loved in that way with our partners.
This deficit started to mess with my self-esteem. […] No matter how clear I was on the technicalities of this reality, it was impossible not to internalize his complete lack of attraction toward me. Subconsciously, it was a constant message. You aren’t attractive. You aren’t wanted. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t a good enough woman.
It was making me unhealthy. I gained a lot of weight. My self-concept was diminishing over time.
That’s Lolly Weed, writing a segment in Josh Weed’s heartfelt piece describing the end of their high-profile mixed-orientation marriage.
Early in the piece, Josh recounted the “three currents” that led to the demise of their marriage:
First: Love for the LGBTQ population
Second: Love of self as a gay person
Now, if you have read the above-linked piece, and if you’re like me, you probably anticipated #3:
Third: The realization that this marriage is slowly crushing Lolly’s soul, and that her happiness also matters.
But, if (like me!) you guessed that, then (like me!) you guessed wrong!!
Nope, it was:
Third: the death of [Josh’s] mom.
Ummm, Okaaaaaay… So your realization that the marriage was hurting Lolly (as described above) didn’t even come in fourth or something…?
The other disturbing bit is the following, (again quoting Lolly):
Almost everyone has said to me, with an air of protective emphasis, “Oh, but Lolly, you deserve to be loved that way! You will find someone else who can love you like that. You deserve to love and be loved in that way!” And I agree with them. The thing that I find interesting is that these are all straight people looking at me, another straight person, and being able to see the injustice of me not experiencing true love.
I mean, isn’t the same true for LGBT people? Shouldn’t we feel the exact same intuitive injustice at the thought of them deserving to be “loved like that”?
Yes, of course we should (and many do). But here’s the problem: This is a personal piece about your feelings about your marriage. Your marriage contains exactly zero (0) gay people who have never been “loved like that.” Josh obviously faced a number of profound challenges in your marriage, but failure to be the object of true romantic love isn’t one of them.
Lolly, if you are reading this, I find it disheartening that — the one part of this story that’s about you — you can’t just let it be about you. You have to immediately pivot to concern about other people’s needs. It’s as if you’ve been profoundly conditioned to believe that your needs always have to take a backseat to everyone else’s needs; that you think you fundamentally don’t matter.
Lolly, I hope you find the love you deserve. You are probably well aware that unfortunately — as a Mormon single mom — your chances of finding your new soul-mate are a lot lower than Josh’s. But you know what? Even if you never find true love, you’re still better off getting out of the situation you described: the marriage that is strangling your spirit.
Josh’s whole post describes a path of learning a truly beautiful love and empathy for LGBTQIA people. You both have developed a great understanding of the beauty and humanity of queer folks. Which is why the treatment of Lolly’s experience in the piece is so jarring.
Well, Lolly — you’re not the co-star of Josh’s adventure anymore. You’re the star of your own adventure now. Let me help you get started:
Since so much of the rhetoric in the church in defense of traditional marriage is about “the children,” an additional reason to divorce might be, “We finally realized the harm it did to our children to grow up in a family where their father could not help but break their mother’s heart on a daily basis.”
In any case, I hope the future holds much more happiness for Josh, Lolly, and their children.
Good insights, chanson. It’s disheartening that in this day and age Mormon women still feel compelled to forget their own needs – in the manner of that “elect lady” Emma Smith.
I also wish them the best.
@Holly — Yes, exactly. I don’t think staying in a miserable marriage “for the kids” actually benefits the kids…
@Donna — Thanks, me too.
I am so fed up with the church’s complete lack of regard for the happiness of its members. Although “The Church” doesn’t officially encourage mixed orientation marriages anymore, the subtle pressure is still there–and church leaders know it with Mormon organizations like North Star parading around their supposedly happy mixed orientation couples. As Carol Lynn Pearson said thirty years ago, “Enough women have been sacrificed on this altar.” Of course, there are strait Mormon men married to lesbians also–I know some, but it seems to be the women who have suffered the most on this “altar.”
If you have the time and patience to listen to 50 minutes of them being interviewed by Peggy Fletcher Stack from the Tribune, it becomes apparent that Josh not only absorbed the heterosexism of LDS culture but also the patriarchy. He interrupted her several times to “correct” her when she made statements that didn’t fit his narrative – at one point she used the phrase “emotional abuse” and he quickly intervened to reframe that both of them being victims of some vague abuser. The LDS church was barely mentioned as the source of this harm and they both defaulted to relying on “personal revelation” as the ultimate reason they were getting divorced. Of course, they seem to recognize that external forces shape these spiritual confirmations take. All in all they still seem to be stuck in that weird space of cognitive dissonance as they claim to still believe in the mormon afterlife and some version of the plan of salvation. I guess give them time because once Josh starts dating men openly, he will find out how “loving” church discipline will be.
PS – I haven’t commented in years but I remember an argument broke out between Alan Michael Williams and some other commenter who raised the issue of the power dynamics of a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage and the role sexism and patriarchy played in shaping those relationships. This is just another example of the different but no less real harm that the wives suffer in these relationships…
@Jeff Laver — The fact that the “The Church” doesn’t officially encourage mixed orientation marriages anymore gives them nice plausible deniability. So if you were in one an it wrecked your life, then the church is off the hook for the blame. But I think you’re right that the church keeps up the subtle pressure by giving a big platform to these sorts of couples.
@etseq — Wow, I’m not sure I could stomach listening to that.
You can already see the patriarchy clearly in Josh Weed’s post (linked above). At least he quoted Lolly a bit, but he didn’t hesitate to write his own apology and then attribute it to both of them. Meanwhile, nowhere in the 9+ paragraph apology does he apologize to straight people who might also have been hurt by mixed-orientation-marriages that were encouraged by example couples like the Weeds.
So I wonder — is he only sorry about the gay people that got hurt by the church’s terrible advice here? Does he not give a shit about any non-queer person that may also have been hurt by a mixed-orientation-marriage? Or did he just not notice that some straight people are also harmed (despite the fact that Lolly described her pain quite explicitly in the very same post)…?
He just gives off this vibe that he thinks Lolly’s his dog or something….
BTW, yes, we had a number of such arguments. If you click on the “MixedOrientationMarriage” category link at the base of the original post, you can probably find them.
There seems to be a lot of misogyny in mixed orientation marriages. The man “uses” the woman to maintain a level of normalcy. “I’m gay, but I want the kids, the wife, the career, the prestige… and only by marrying a woman can I get all of that”. When, in fact, he is attracted to men. This is horrifying!