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» Nauvoo Forum » Nauvoo Classic Forum » Mormon Life » Marrying someone who struggles with SSA (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Marrying someone who struggles with SSA
Zalmoxis
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Rex Goode, the good brother mentioned in my earlier post, has given me permission to post the following. He may join the discussion himself when his Nauvoo membership goes through.

I'm sorry for the spacing problems, but that's the problem with copying and posting from e-mail and I don't have time to fix it.

And again: this is not to make any claims regarding the individual case that started this discussion. This speaks rather to the general ideas regarding SSA and the Church.

----------Begin Rex Goode post----------

So much misinformation; so little time.

The straight story (no pun intended):

1. The Church does not counsel self-identifying homosexuals to avoid
marriage. The Church counsels that marriage should not be used as a means to
overcome same-sex attraction. Certain politically motivated forces like to
misinterpret the statements of Church leaders, but that's not new or
strange.

2. There is no known biological component to the origins of same-sex
attraction in an individual. With all of today's genetic advances, no
genetic or other biological factors have ever been discovered for same-sex
attraction. Serious, non-political scientific researchers now adopt a
diathesis-stress model that says that there are probably some biological
factors that might contribute to same-sex attraction, but that same-sex
attraction doesn't form until environmental stressors come into play.

3. The marriage isn't a train wreck waiting to happen. I've been married
almost 28 years, 16 years less than I've known about my same-sex attraction,
and the tracks have been fine. So has the scenery. It's a great journey with
the right engineer. Choo-choo!

4. Horror stories about husbands who unsuccessfully tried very hard for a
long time to make a go of heterosexual marriage abound. For every such
story, there are many times more of men who quietly and faithfully lived
their lives and have great marriages. You don't hear those stories, and why
should you?

5. I operate resources for Latter-day Saint men who struggle with
faithfulness in their marriages. They're overwhelmingly straight. Marrying a
same-sex attracted man has no guarantees. Marrying an opposite-sex attracted
man doesn't either. Do you know where your husband is tonight?

6. There's a lot of nonsense in the ideas behind therapy to help homosexuals
who want a straight life. There's a lot of wisdom in them too. I don't like
all of the ideas, but you can't argue with success. Dr. Robert L. Spitzer,
M.D., led the fight to have homosexuality removed from the American
Psychological Association's _Diagnostic and Statistical Manual_ as a
treatable condition, because he believed that there was no therapy that
could be effective in helping a homosexual achieve heterosexual functioning.
A couple of decades later, to prove it once and for all, he interviewed over
200 subjects who had lived homosexual lifestyles and self-identified as
homosexuals, but now claimed to be in heterosexual relationships. To
everyone's surprise, he found that people who are motivated enough can
achieve significant levels of heterosexual functioning.

7. "Homosexuality" is not a sin. Sex with anyone outside of marriage is.

8. The divorce rate of same-sex attracted people who marry, then divorce, is
100%. The divorce rate of same-sex attracted people who marry and awaken to
the reason they don't feel normal is probably high, but no studies have ever
measured it. The divorce rate of same-sex attracted people who marry and
stay married is 0%. Lies. Damned lies. Statistics.

9. I didn't choose to be attracted to men. I did choose to be faithful to my
wife.

10. Therapy exists that purports to help, and as stated above, has been
found to be successful. Therapy is not necessary.

11. You can know everyone you know and think you know the details of their
stories, but just because you know them doesn't mean you know everyone.

12. 11 points seems like a strange number to end on, so here's #12.

-----End------

I hope you all find this useful and perhaps even comforting.

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everdaygrace
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I appreciate you sharing what is a personal and difficult experience. I did the take time to read over the information on your site. I found it inspiring.

That said, I do think that it is valid to be circumspect about entering into a marriage with this additional challenge.

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TheOne
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I would like some clarification of #2. I have seen brain scans of homosexuals and heterosexuals and there is a difference. The differences were due to differences in development from within the womb and on. Wouldn't the differences be called biological in nature? If there is no biological reasons for homosexuality then what causes it? Upbringing and/or environment? God?

Now, that doesn't mean (I'm restating) that I think all professed homosexuals are indeed that way because "that's the way they are". I do believe some (not most) choose to be homosexual merely for lifestyle reasons and not biological. I do feel that most homosexuals are that way because of a biological difference - a biological propensity for SSA. That is based on evidence that I have seen to date.

[ March 24, 2005, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: TheOne ]

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Zalmoxis
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I can't speak for Brother Goode, and I'm not familiar with studies on the issue, but notice, TheOne, what he says here:

"Serious, non-political scientific researchers now adopt a diathesis-stress model that says that there are probably some biological factors that might contribute to same-sex attraction, but that same-sex
attraction doesn't form until environmental stressors come into play."

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TheOne
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I will admit it has been almost 15 years since I had my psychology class at Ricks so the topic is not fresh in my mind. What was well demonstrated was that the difference can start even before birth due to developmental hormones. Of course, I have to say that I think environmental factors can have affect in that direction after birth as the brain takes a while to fully develop.
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nshumate
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Tom, my apologies. I don't know you well enough to assume that such remarks are meant to be humorous.
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Zeta-Flux
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TheOne,

I too am going to be skeptical of those results. Maybe provide a little documentation.

Thanks,
Pace

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arbilad
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The only study I know of relating to brain anatomy between homosexual and heterosexual men showed only that one gland (I forget which) was shrunk in certain of the homosexual men. This actually proves very little. First, the study was done on corpses. The author of the study stated that it would be quite difficult to measure that particular gland in childhood and then over the course of that person's life. If they were born that way, that would perhaps be more evidence that homosexuals are "born that way". But there are many studies that show that behavior can alter the size of various parts of the brain over time. Homosexual sex could especially have a significant effect on the brain.
There were a few other factors to the study. Most of the corpses identified as homosexual were done so because they died of AIDS. It is possible that the disease had a certain effect on the brain. Also, the size of the gland was still in the range seen in some of the heterosexual men.
So yes, there were differences in brain anatomy. But it was unclear whether those were present at birth or later in life, and what, if anything, they mean.

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Tom
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nshumate, I was being selfish, and thinking, "Oh, I would be so clever!" But, I just made myself look like a fool, and I appreciate you being so kind about it.

P.S: Homestar, my computer didn't beep, but I did feel rather special! And I have a feeling that your day of page-turning glory and splendor will soon come to you, if you try hard enough. [Wink]

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TheOne
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After a little research, it appears that my psychology teacher at Ricks was using studies that have since been toned down in scope and results questioned. However, studies of brain differences continue and some include differences in living homosexuals and heterosexuals.

Regardless, environment and learned behavior cannot account for all homosexuality. The gays I know were raised in well-adjusted, normal families. I can not account for stressers that would result in their being homosexual. I have to continue to believe there is a biological propensity for homosexuality. Again, environment can be a contributor but it just doesn't add-up that that it is the only "cause" of homosexuality. That is the only thing I disagree with in Brother Goode's points.

[ March 25, 2005, 10:07 AM: Message edited by: TheOne ]

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
There is no known biological component to the origins of same-sex
attraction in an individual. With all of today's genetic advances, no
genetic or other biological factors have ever been discovered for same-sex
attraction. Serious, non-political scientific researchers now adopt a
diathesis-stress model that says that there are probably some biological
factors that might contribute to same-sex attraction, but that same-sex
attraction doesn't form until environmental stressors come into play.

I have read several studies to the effect that SSA is largely genetic/influenced by physical factors before birth, at least in men. This is widely accepted as fact by most physicians I know who have expressed an opinion on the matter (and I've discussed it with many of them, as I've had many chances to interact with them in a social capacity-- my dad's one.) I'm skeptical of this statement because of that.
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Zalmoxis
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Brother Goode has not yet received a confirmation e-mail for his Nauvoo registration so he has asked me to post the following responses.


-------------Begin Rex Goode post--------

Everydaygrace wrote that it was still important to be circumspect about
entering into marriage with this additional challenge. I agree. I could,
however, if it weren't for confidentiality concerns, introduce a number of
women who would urge for equal caution marrying a straight guy. Pornography
abuse is rampant today. At the LDS Family Services office where I volunteer
as a group facilitator, I was told that 9 out of 10 men who come there are
struggling with pornography addiction. Bishops have also verified the
seriousness of the problem in the Church. I operate Clean-LDS for just such
men and women and LDSR.org. Marrying ANYONE is a risky proposition these
days. It pays to not enter that covenant lightly.

Regarding TheOne's question, I am not aware of anything in the various ways
of scanning brains that can pinpoint the origin and time of differences.
They would need to have neonatal brain scans of the same individuals to know
for certain that the differences began in the womb. Like Simon LeVay's
research on the interstitial nuclei of corpses, there is nothing conclusive
about the origins of same-sex attraction in the data, unless one is
politically motivated to claim a conclusion. The Rick's professor, as most
psychology and social work professors, was probably biased by the same
political forces in their profession that removed homosexuality from the
DSM-IV as a treatable condition.

I attend a Lutheran university's social work program, owned and operated by
a very conservative church. Yet, the social work and psychology professors
are politically pretty liberal. One professor told me that I was swimming
upstream trying to become a social worker with my conservative leanings.
I'll find myself to be an outsider. He doesn't realize how accustomed I am
to that status.

Having virtually accused that professor of being politically biased, I still
admit that there is a potential biological factor we have not yet
discovered, but researchers who rely only on the actual scientific data
without political bias say that homosexuality is likely a combination of
biological and environmental factors.

Neonatal hormones do have a profound effect on gender. We are all start out
female and become male through the introduction of androgens in the womb. A
lot of things can go wrong with that process. You end up with hermaphrodites
and other anomalies. Some people who have those anomalies may have a higher
incidence of homosexuality, but the determining factor is still largely
environmental.

What's important is that having same-sex attraction is not an easy thing.
How you get it is relatively unimportant compared to what you do with it.
When the teachings of modern apostles and prophets are so clear, there is
little doubt what the Lord expects. The fact that his expectations are
sometimes difficult or next to impossible is fairly irrelevant. Many a man
or woman has had impossible things required of them. With Him, all things
are possible.

For the record, I've done a pretty good job with my "impossible" situation.
28 years of marriage, faithful, father of five, and now grandfather of one.
My daughters both married good Latter-day Saint. Two sons served full-time
missions. The third is currently serving.

My pulse still races in the presence of a hunky guy. I'm still relatively
oblivious to attractive women. There's only one gal for me.

I swim regularly at a gym where there's a lot of competition for lanes. We
recently had an unpleasant situation where a family came in and used a lap
lane for just splashing around. One of the serious swimmers complained so
bitterly that she ended up leaving when the management refused to take her
side. She had a lane. No one else wanted the lane where the family was
splashing around. Another swimmer made the comment to me that all you need
when you come to the pool is one lane. You don't have to be in control of
what happens in the other lanes. I only have to be attracted to one woman.

------And---------

The study arbilad mentioned was the Simon LeVay study. It was not a study of
homosexual corpses versus heterosexual corpses. It was a study of AIDS
victims versus other causes. It was only assumed that the corpses who died
of AIDS were homosexual.

Normally, it would be politically incorrect to assume that someone with AIDS
got it through homosexual behavior, but they don't mind breaking their own
rules when it is in their own interests.


--------------End Rex Goode Post---------

As always, these posts don't necessarily reflect my experiences, knowledge and/or attitudes/beliefs -- they do reflect, however, my belief that Rex Goode is a credible, important source on this topic.

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PaddingtonBear
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I completely and totally disagree with Rex's #12.

That said, I admire the guy quite a bit. It seems to me that everything he said could and should also be applied to married members of the Church who are struggling with opposite sex attraction.

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Janey
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Zalmoxis, thanks for bringing Rex Goode into the discussion. I appreciate his insights.
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Asael
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TheOne, I don't think anyone is saying that there are no biological factors. There are literally millions of biological and environmental factors that could combine to give rise to SSA. I do not think anyone can positively say that it is "caused by" either biological or environmental factors. As with most other things in our lives, it is a combination of both.

There is an excellent article on this subject by Elder Oaks in the October 1995 Ensign. Although the studies he cites may be a little dated, it is a very insightful article.

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arbilad
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BTW, in relation to the political correctness of assuming that people who died of AIDS were gay, it's interesting to point out that originally the disease was called GRID, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency. People pointed out that some heterosexuals and drug users get it, and it got renamed. However, to this day, the majority of the cases, unless I'm badly mistaken, are homosexual men.
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trooperswife
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I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your comments, Rex.
I got into a rather long discussion with my husband last night and he has come to some of the same conclusions that you had as he has thought about this relative's situation.
Mainly, the idea that ALL sexual attractions must be controlled, and that this young man having SSA shouldn't be anymore of a concern than a young man who has very strong attractions to women. He sees men everyday who refuse to be faithful to their spouses, regardless of which gender they are unfaithful with.

After reading everything you wrote, I am feeling more relaxed that both of these young people can and will make wise decisions. I am also reminded that although I have some information and facts about this situation, only the two people involved know and feel everything in their situation. I am comfortable now that I can welcome this union should it happen, knowing that this decision need not be the wrong one, if done in the right Spirit.

Talitha

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TheOne
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What I am concerned mostly about are those out there who say there is no biological component. Thus being gay is completely a matter of choice or bad upbringing. This often a reason used for hating homosexuals.

I am quite sure my Rick's professor was citing LeVay's studies after doing some reading last night and he also covered the possibility of problems neonatally with hormones.

Thanks for your participation, Br. Goode.


PS The confirmation e-mail for registration usually arrives immediately. I do not know why it would be delayed.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
However, to this day, the majority of the cases, unless I'm badly mistaken, are homosexual men.
You are badly mistaken. According to the World Health Organization, 44.6% of people living with AIDS are women. That's just to start with. In many parts of the world, heterosexual intercourse is the largest mode of transmission of HIV. I don't know where your facts are coming from, but they are wrong. [Wall Bash]

[ March 25, 2005, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: ketchupqueen ]

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TheOne
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3/4 of those women reside in Africa where nearly 2/3 of all HIV infected people reside. I imagine the primary modes of transmission vary demographically as do the gender and sexual orientation composition of those infected. It is absolutely false to say HIV is a gay disease even if in the early history of it in North American it was spread moreso among the gay population.
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Nicole
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I too appreciate Bro. Goode's comments. He has provided much food for thought.

However, I wonder if in Susie's case, she and her "intended" should have a heart to heart talk. How will he "deal with it" when his SSA issues come into play? If he is like Bro. Goode and does not act on his attraction, it sounds like marriage could be a viable option.

It may just be reading typed words, but "just dealing with it" sounded kind of flippant to me.

Brother Goode, thank you for sharing your story and your views. I learned a lot.

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mrsmylifestory
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Oh...so many comments to make...so little time.

I did want to mention one anecdotal experience, however, that is relevant to the question of a biological cause for homosexuality.

I am an actress and am very involved in our local theaters here. As you might imagine, I am acquainted with many gay men! One of them is the son of another local actor who died many years ago--I never met him.

I have an older friend, however, who knew the father and the family quite well. She says that the father, despite being married for 50 years, was one of the most flaming, obviously gay men she ever knew. He had three sons. All of them, she said (including the one I know), are the spitting image of their father in looks and habits. All of them are openly gay.

She said that if ever there were an argument for biolically transmitted sexual preference, that family would be it.

Of course, if they lived with him and he was their example, the argument could also be made for environmental factors.

But I just thought I would add my two cents.

--
Have you written your personal history yet?
http://www.mylifestory.org
Helping busy people write about their lives
...one story at a time

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quidscribis
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Rex,

I appreciate your openness and willingness to discuss your personal experiences on SSA and marriage. It's nice to hear a successful side of the issue.

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everdaygrace
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Rex, I agree that pornography and infidelity plague marriages between heterosexuals. I am in no way suggesting otherwise. Nor am I uncomfortable with homosexuality. I grew up outside the church and a great many of the dearest people to me are gay.

I am suggesting however, that choosing to marry someone with this struggle has additional complications. While it is true that a worthy man seeking to overcome SSA will battle that, it's also true that this choice represents some significant loses to the woman who undertakes it.

Being desired and feeling you partners attraction for you is a joy in marriage. You dicuss learning to be attracted to your wife on the link Zal gave. I greatly admire that effort. But that also a wife's sacrifice of something tender and precious.

I am not wishing to denigrate your efforts. You have shared a lot of good information. I truly admire your accomplishment. I hope that I am able to share my caution without giving the impression that it is a reflection on you or a judgement of you.

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everdaygrace
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quote:
So, tell me, what gains did she have in marrying a man thus struggling?
This is a false choice. Women are not left with either a SSA husband or a porn addicted sex fiend. While I understand your experience running the support group has exposed you to men whose desire has become bent towards pornography and other inappropriate activity and selfishness, that is not true of all men by any measure.

The fact that their behavior is viewed as problematic suggests the possibility of men who behave in non-problematic ways.

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ketchupqueen
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And I'm sure many of us here can anecdotally support that, as well. [Smile]
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everdaygrace
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My husbands attraction for me is tender and precious to me. I didn't say it was the key to a happy marriage. It is something I value and would miss. Surely, if your experience is valid so is mine.
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everdaygrace
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quote:
Well, since you're getting defensive about this,
Ah, I see.
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ldswain
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Choice? I'm a hetero male. I never chose to be attracted to girls. I remember wanting to hold hands with my neighbor's daughter when I was very young. It made me feel tingly all over. Next thing I wanted to do was kiss her.

I don't care how handsome a guy is, I have no desire to hold his hand or kiss him.

FWIW,
Wain

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olavmah
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If Susie doesn't want advice about considering a proposal from a guy who is SSA, consider pointing out all the marital problems that can be caused by sexual dysfunction. By that I mean a marriage where is a lack of sexual attraction and intimacy. Regardless of the reason for it, it will often lead to other serious problems. Susie's situation, if she marries this guy, could be just like a thousand others who married the person they felt they ought to marry, rather than a person they both ought to marry and WANT to marry. That second part is essential.
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Pink Floyd
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quote:
For someone whose nickname carries the word grace, your reply here is lacking in graciousness.

As I have said elsewhere, I'm staying away from this thread. But this is an example of something that caught my eye in the "Today's Active Topics" preview screen that gives the first sentence or so of the comments.

Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone was reflected in their screen name? eh Tarzan?

everdaygrace: count to 10... slowly...

[ March 27, 2005, 11:23 PM: Message edited by: Pink Floyd ]

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Zhubber
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Grace,

You are right on. I wish you weren't getting picked on for expressing what so many of us feel, but we're glad you're doing it.

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Zeta-Flux
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grace,

I've been avoiding this thread, but thought I'd take a look. I too thank you for your opinions.

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KeeleyB
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Grace,

I agree with you in everything you said. My sister married a bi-sexual man who told her after they were married. She chose not to leave him. It caused everyone heartache even now. Yes, I love him as a person but I hate how he's choices hurt my sister and niece! I'm not going to say anything more because it makes me sad and mad all at once, even though he has been dead for 13 years.

I want something totally different! I want my husband to love and DESIRE me.

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everdaygrace
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Thnaks guys, I really can't tell you how much this meant to me.
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nshumate
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quote:
For someone whose nickname carries the word grace, your reply here is lacking in graciousness.
Remember, it's her everyday grace. She only pulls out the expensive, bone-china grace for special occasions.

[Big Grin]

[Kidding! I'm just kidding! Funnin' with ya! Lightening the atmosphere! Gee whiz, tough crowd...]

I appreciate both Tarzan's and everydaygrace's comments, and I think the upshot is: There are no hard-and-fast rules. There are individuals. And any two individuals will interact in a completely unique way.

To everyone contemplating marriage: SEEK THE SPIRIT. What God says is clean, let no man declare unclean. And vice versa.

[ March 28, 2005, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: nshumate ]

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Asael
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Well, you can call me intolerant, homophobic, or whatever, but if I'm walking through the locker room and see a man, hanging out in the hot tub, that I know "get[s] all ga-ga over" other men I am gonna cover up. And I see no reason why I should be ashamed by that. [Dont Know]
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Asael
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quote:
Then I recommend have your towel permanently attached. They're there.
Apparently you missed the key words "I know" in my previous post. As long as I don't know, I don't care.

quote:
Usually, the men who are afraid of being looked at don't really have anything to worry about.
Would that that were true. I may not be hunky, but unfortunately I've had the uncomfortable experience, on several occasions, of being goo-goo'd at, and even propositioned [Eek!] by other men. So either your sweeping generalization is inaccurate, or I'm an exception to the rule. I suspect the former.

By the way, that's at least the third sweeping generalization you've made in the last two posts (and, ironically, only a few posts after calling Grace on the carpet for saying something far less presumptuous). Still, up until these most recent posts, with the exception of the not-so-clever play on Grace's name, your posts have been fairly well reasoned and articulate. Your contribution to the discussion is appreciated.

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BrooklynChris
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Tarzan wrote:

quote:
I saw the posts by women giving panicky advice to not marry men like me as fairly ridiculous. Talk about sweeping generalizations. It's one thing to speak from one's own experience and quite another to give blanket advice to anyone in a situation that seems similar on the outside. There was some fast backpedaling for one woman to state she was only speaking from her own experiences when she previously made a general statement about the desires of all women.
I have appreciated your participation in this discussion. It is important for us to hear from men like you. I know one in a similar situation.

That said, I don't think the advice I've read on here really qualifies as panicky. I think it has been honest and heartfelt. And I think that women are right to want to be not just loved, but truly desired, in their marriages. I'm glad that, by your account, your wife has found that in her marriage to you. But I don't think it is unreasonable or panicky to suggest that that might not be the case in all, or even most, marriages involving same-sex attracted men.

To be sure, there are no doubt many women in marriages with straight men who don't feel desired, for a number of reasons. But throw into the equation a man who is generally attracted to other men, and, well, that's going to be a challenge.

We should certainly avoid careless generalizations. But I don't think this concern is careless or lacking in validity.

I don't think any of us begrudge you your happiness or are challenging the validity of your experience. But I, for one, would suggest that it is more an anomaly than the norm for men who are same-sex attracted.

[ March 28, 2005, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: BrooklynChris ]

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BrooklynChris
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quote:
For those that have tried to make a marriage work, the successes far exceed the failures. "They" don't want you to know that.
First, I don't know who "they" are.

Second, I'd like to see something other than anecdotal evidence to support that assertion. The truth is lots of marriages don't work for lots of reasons. I'm having a hard time believing that marriages involving a same-sex attracted spouse do better than average -- though when spouses are open and honest about the issue, I can imagine that it can be a catalyst for greater emotional intimacy.

quote:
When men succeed at a heterosexual marriage, they don't usually announce it to the world. They just quietly go about living their lives. I should probably follow their example. Ooops! Too late!
Don't stop now. As I said, I'm glad to have heard your voice and perspective in this discussion.
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