In the last blog we have discussed about mismarriages. By definition, ‘A mixed-orientation marriage is a marriage between partners of different sexual orientations.’ Simply put, one of the partners is heterosexual and the other one is homosexual. In this blog we are going to discuss the reasons behind such marriages. Why mismarriages happen!
According to an interesting finding of Deakin University, Australia (2002), the two most common reasons referenced for engaging in mismarriages were that, they seemed normal or natural (cited by 65.4%), and that they ‘wanted to have children and a normal family life’ (65.4%). (reference is given at the base). However, social expectancy (societal acceptance) and concerns over homosexuality were the most frequently mentioned reasons over the earlier two.
Taking societal acceptance into consideration, a lavender marriage is contracted as a marriage of convenience to disguise the socially stigmatized sexual orientation of one of the partners. Even before World War II, the contemporary society and public attitudes had made it so inconceivable for a person admitting homosexuality to pursue a public career or normal family life that they had to take a cover for their identity.
Some of these partners genuinely loved their heterosexual partners, had children and a perfect family but after few years the high felled apart and their true identities (sexual) started emerging. Some of the partners came out and revealed their true sexual identities to their partners while some chose hiding it due to the fear of non-acceptance and shattering of their world, their family, etc. Due to the fear of receiving social disapproval or ostracism most commonly the partners choose to hide their actual sexual orientation. In such cases though the sexual orientation of the partners is not compatible, it can serve to cover up one’s sexual orientation, sometimes for intentions of holding or progressing one’s career, especially if it is a position in highly public career or is a matter of survival.
Even today though society, the laws and cultures are changing and society is undergoing ecdysis, not many show the same behavior or acceptance towards homosexual individuals and put them down ruthlessly. They are pulled down in professional as well as in personal life and denied the well-deserved credits or appraisals, declined for their intelligence or creativity, made fun of publicly. Life of a non-accepted homosexual is even far more difficult emotionally. They are always experiencing the emotional turmoils and it takes lot of guts to accept a difficult life being true to what we are. Hence the so called easy and trouble-free appearing path is chosen. However such marriages are hard to sustain.
According to the relationship theory with same sex people (Jerry J., 2004), approximately one third of marriages end straight off when the non-heterosexual (bisexual or homosexual or pan sexual ) spouse discloses his or her sexual orientation, whereas another third end in a short stretch of time. The remaining third try to continue with the marriage successfully. In this case, the most successful marriages reevaluate their relationship in consideration of the sexual orientation. Minimal conflict in mismarriages can only be achieved with clarity of thoughts, wants or desires and communication.
Sexual relationship disorder: this is when a person has trouble creating and maintaining a romantic relationship due to the gender identity or the sexual orientation issues. In such cases, the uncertain person follows trial and error method and get into different kinds of relationships due to the discomfort or denial about their own sexual orientation or only to find the truth about themselves. However due to the homophobic nature of the society many homosexuals either trick a heterosexual or force their own-selves to be in relationship with heterosexual in attempt to appear heterosexual.
Now many of you will question me if I have seen mixed orientation marriages work? My answer is, yes, of course. Have I encountered with couples trying their hardest to make their marriage work only to fall apart eventually? Yes, I have witnessed that too.
Having said all that, let your truth be true. Don’t pressurize yourself to be someone who you are not, whom you can’t handle to be. Have courage to acknowledge and accept your true identity, your potential being true to yourself, your ability and capacity for love as well as emotional and physical intimacy. Honor your life by accepting your truth. Don’t disgrace your life by living a life of lie and deceive someone and destroy their life. That is the worse thing you can do with anyone. Don’t let the fear overpower your courage. It will be difficult for sure but the other path is also not as easy as it seems. It is full of shame and deception. When you are in that moment of decision, just remember that this isn’t an uncommon path. Many have gone down the road before you. You are not alone!
Daryl J. Higgins PhD (2002) Gay Men from Heterosexual Marriages, Journal of Homosexuality, 42:4, 13.
Jerry J. Bigner, Joseph L. Wetchler Relationship therapy with same-sex couples.