Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why Women Marry Men Who Have Sex With Men

Many women ask themselves after discovering their male partners have sex with other men, “How could she not have known?”

Some women, consciously or unconsciously, gravitate toward gays or MSMs. This happens for a variety of reasons—most of which are unconscious and subtle. While there are many women who marry gays or MSMs knowingly, the majority have no conscious awareness of this.

Many women who marry gays or MSMs are enablers and codependent. That is, these women allow their spouses to continue their behavior and feel unworthy and powerless to confront it after they realize it is happening.

A straight woman may be unconsciously drawn to men who might betray her. Perhaps while growing up, she experienced lies and witnessed emotional boundary violations that remained unresolved and left her traumatized. This could turn her into a co-addict who unconsciously seeks a “familiar” man who violates her trust all over again.

On the other hand, she may believe that she is attractive enough to “convert” a gay man.

Still other women marry gay men or MSMs out of unconscious codependency and an interest in controlling or micromanaging a “flawed” partner. Finally, some women are drawn to men who aren’t anything like their macho, patriarchal, abusive fathers in the hope that their partners will not sexually or otherwise overpower them.

A very common reason women marry men with sexual interest in other men is the desire for sexual and emotional distance within the relationship. Often these women have sexual issues themselves that have not been addressed and are attracted to men in similar situations.

Women are so engrained not to explore their own sexuality and to fend off the predatory nature of most heterosexual men that there is a tendency to lack awareness of their male partners’ sexuality as well.

No matter what the case, the majority of these women truly love their husbands, and their husbands love them back, while still being drawn to same-sex encounters. Despite the initial reasons for their attraction, it is important to stress that most of these marriages are built on actual love.

This blog will focus on how these men and women can understand themselves better and why to stay married—or decide to split up.

I will help these women understand their spouse’s sexuality and what they are trying to work through. Hopefully they will come away with more compassion and love for their male partners.
Likewise, these men are working through their own trauma and issues. But while women tend to withdraw and shut down sexually from their trauma, men tend to act out.

When women recover sexual abuse memories they need time and space and a lot of patience from their male partners. Straight Guise need the same from their female partners.

This blog will address how to help the women involved with these men tolerate their MSM’s recovery process, or if the man is truly gay and wants to divorce, how to tolerate that as well.
“Why would a guy who has sexual thoughts and behaviors with other men marry a woman?”

As for MSMs, it’s because they see their interest in men as purely sexual and do not have any interest in being romantic or affectionate with a man nor building a life for themselves in such a way. That is simply not their identity.

1 comment:

Steve Boese said...

It's important for me to clarify that while your focus in this post is women who consciously or unconsciously gravitate toward gays or MSM, for many it is as simple as falling in love.

When I was married, we had friendships with couples in which the guys had as many stereotypically gay traits as I did. So, my then-wife was one of many who chose guys whose relationship styles were more empathetic, collaborative, communicative, or creative than their dads' styles with their moms. The fact that I was wrestling with my attractions toward guys, and the other guys weren't, suggests that my wife's motivations weren't any different from the other wives.

Another circumstance I've run into is guys who were married for a decade or two before considering sex with men. Chronologically speaking, their wives didn't marry MSM; the guys didn't discover sex with men until 20 years later. For some it was the start of coming out as gay; others were straight or bi and said sex with guys was an uncomplicated and lower-guilt outlet than seeking extramarital sex with women after marital intimacy had faded or ended.

Historical trends certainly contributed to those late-comers' experiences. In the 60s, 70s, and even 80s, especially in small midwestern towns like the ones I grew up in, many folks were buffered from the existence of gay people and sexual options in a fashion that is no longer possible.