There I was, sitting on a bench next to a friend that I had met the previous spring. I could tell she was interested in me. There was just one problem. I was and am attracted to men.
Let me back up just a bit.
I was in my mid twenties when I met this girl I was going to marry. She was nineteen when we met. There is a six-and-a-half year difference in our age.
I was working at my fathers' business at the time. It was a nursery, you know, a place where they grow and sell plants and that sort of thing. I had recently 'come out' to my parents concerning my attraction to men (A story I might share on another post).
My father told me that a girl that lived near us had asked him if she could do an internship that summer at his business. From where we were living, it took about forty minutes to drive to work. My dad said that this girl and I could carpool to save some money that summer. He told me her name was Kylie.
So I called the girl up and we planned to drive together one spring morning. I pulled up to her parents house and she got into my car and we were off. My first impressions of her were not feelings of romance, as some of you can imagine (I like dudes). I was twenty-six and she seemed so young to me. She was soft spoken, yet there was a spark in her. She had a personality under that apparent shyness that I quickly decided I would pry out of her.
My mother worked at my fathers' nursery also and she knew Kylie and adored her. Any chance she had, my mother would put us together to work on the various projects that needed to be done. We spent quite a bit of time together that summer and we slowly began to build a friendship. I think I could tell she was interested in me beyond a friendship level, but I wasn't sure. She was so easy going and such a hard worker. My mom would say things like, "Why don't you date Kylie? You two seem to have fun." This was kind of really frustrating because of my previously mentioned attractions.
I had thought about dating her and dismissed it. I was still trying to figure my life out and my attractions complicated things beyond what I was willing to deal with.
Let me explain a few things about myself at this point.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Some refer to us as Mormons. My faith plays a big part in the way I have chosen to live my life. We believe that when a man and a woman are married in one of our temples that we not only marry for this life but for eternity. Pretty romantic I think.
All of my years growing up, I dreamed of one day marrying a beautiful daughter of God so that we could be together forever. I would be able to have my best friend, soul mate, or whatever else you want to call it, by my side... happily ever after, and not just 'til death do you part'.
So in my adolescent years when I started noticing some attractions to the same sex, you can imagine my despair. My attraction to men has generally been of a physical nature, yet I had found it much easier to be friends with girls growing up because I could connect with them on an emotional level.
I remember when these attractions to men started to develop, there were times when I would just sob into my pillow and cry out to God and ask Him to change me, to make me straight. He never did, but I figured eventually that there must be a reason for it. I never really became bitter with God about that. I've always considered Him to be a friend, the type of friend that you don't always understand their motives behind things, but you believe they have your best interests at heart.
Some of you that read this might think that I'm an old-fashioned prude, and I might just be that. There was a time in my life when I seriously considered starting a relationship with another man. In my searching, nothing ever came from it. I found that, it's really pretty funny when I think about it, I couldn't ever really be interested in anyone of either sex if they didn't have the same moral standards that I was raised with. According to those standards, sex is to be had only between a man and woman and only after marriage. I told you, a prude compared to today's standards of living, but I am what I am and I won't excuse myself for my beliefs. I love my beliefs because they really have brought me happiness and made me who I am today. In my search to find a guy I could date, I ended up disappointed and disillusioned. I wasn't going to find what I wanted in a relationship, at least in my case, with another man.
So back to Kylie.
During that summer that I met her I was trying hard to figure myself out, something I'm still working on. I was wanting to figure out what career I should do for a living. This actually played very well into how I believe God guided my steps.
As the summer wore on and came to an end, I had the feeling that I needed to move. The feeling was strong, so I decided to follow it. I figured that fate had a career ready for me and that I should get to where it needed me to be. So I moved. I got enrolled into college and eventually got a different job at this new location.
Fate, had other plans in store for me. Due to financial reasons I had to drop the idea of attending more college. The job that I had up in the new location was pretty lousy, and I was quite frustrated. I was living in a place that I now hatefully refer to as 'the hovel' because it was a dump. My brother was one of my roommates and he can back me up on that.
So there I was, in a new city, living in squalor, working somewhere I didn't want to, and not knowing many people. I wanted to pee on fate because it had screwed with my life once again.
I did know one other person besides my roommates that lived in this new city. Kylie was going to school where I was now at. We hung out fairly often as that semester began. The internship had ended with the summer so she was back to work on her degree in a classroom setting.
I spent a lot of time with her and her roommates. They were a fun group of girls, and like I said earlier, I get along easier with girls. I tried to keep myself busy with having lots of free time with only a part time job. I would go dancing and tried the dating scene here and there. There were girls that I wanted to date but things didn't work out for whatever reason.
One day my brother, roommate and I decided to have a party at our place. We invited Kylie and a number of other people we knew to come over. We had a fun time chatting and so on. Eventually Kylie needed to leave. She had just got a new car and asked me to walk her to it so she could show it to me, with hidden motives.
When we got to her car, she asked me on a date. I was surprised at her boldness and at the fact that she asked me out. I said yes and we planned the date and time. I returned to my apartment and told my roommates what had just occurred. I didn't really think she was interested. Again, the age difference had me thinking of her as a little girl. I was also very much oblivious to the many times she had flirted with me.
So we went on our date and had a good time. At the end of it I decided to ask her of her intentions. I know, the story so far sounds like my grandparents generation but with the gender roles reversed. She said that she was interested in dating me. It was after that date that I really started to think hard about what I wanted to do. She needed to know about my attractions. This was a wonderful girl that deserved so much better than a guy that was attracted to other men. I felt like I didn't have much to offer her and that she could do so much better than me. Yet, I had made a promise to myself and to God that if a girl came along that had a good moral character and wanted to date that I would give it a shot.
I told her that we needed to talk, so one Sunday we went for a walk. It was a beautiful autumn day and the leaves had changed to vibrant colors. We walked down a trail and we sat on a bench and it was time to tell her.
Here we are full circle from where I started my story. I told her that I was attracted to men but that I had always wanted to marry a woman in the temple and stay true to my beliefs. I said that I was willing to try dating her if she was interested, but if not that I hoped we could still be friends. I told her that she could talk to her parents about it if she needed to and that maybe she should pray about it. She didn't freak out or anything. She simply seemed to understand. We continued to enjoy the evening together and to my surprise, the next evening she called me up and said that she wanted to try dating to see where things would go.
So this started the dating phase of things. What a roller coaster that was. Honestly that time seemed to go by really fast. My feelings were so conflicted. Was I doing the right thing? What was I getting myself and this wonderful woman into? I had read a blog post by a guy named Josh Weed and an article in a magazine called LDS Living by another guy named Ty Mansfield. Both are stories about men that were attracted to men but married women. Both of their stories gave me hope that I might have a chance for marriage.
Kylie and I had many conversations about how things were going, if things were working. There are so many things to consider in a relationship. We had a good friendship going and the physical side of things were working as well. Holding hands was great, kissing was great. Yet doubts plagued my mind.
Mainly doubts about me being able to stay loyal to her if marriage ever came. Besides the two successful marriages I mentioned above, I had heard of far more horror stories of women marrying men who left them for other men. I did not want to go into a marriage with that idea haunting me. Beyond these stories, I really didn't have any logical reason to doubt my ability to remain true to my future wife. I have never nor have I since had a sexual or romantic relationship with a man. I was beginning to realize that for me there was no reason why a happy marriage with a woman couldn't be a reality.
This was a time of a lot of prayer, talking with God. Believing in a supreme being that knows everything has its perks. Things started to click. Too many coincidences aligned and happened that led me to Kylie. There was a force or power greater than me that guided me to her and her to me. Call it whatever you want but I will call it the hand of God.
We dated for about six months, not a very long time by some standards, but I knew we should get married. I spoke to Kylie's dad about me marrying his daughter. He seemed super happy and excited for me. I was surprised. I asked him about how he felt about my attractions going into a marriage with his daughter. He told me it didn't seem all that different to him. Straight guys cheat on their wives with other women. He trusted me to be true to his little girl regardless of my inclinations. I am so lucky to have the in-laws that I have. They are amazing people.
After that conversation, Kylie and I went to Walmart and got a cheap ring for the time being. We called it a 'practice ring'. We went to the temple grounds of the building that we would eventually get married in and I officially proposed. I don't recall what I said, but I hoped it would be something mushy and romantic. She had been waiting so patiently for that moment. Of course she said yes. By the way, I got her a nicer ring later on. I didn't want to wait any more to get the ball rolling. I knew what I was supposed to do. It was time.
We were engaged in April and got married in July. It was a whirlwind experience and a beautiful and exciting time.
I am about to get really personal...
I am about to talk about sex.
If you'd like rejoin this telling after this subject look down below for the next underlined section.
The wedding night did not go as I was hoping it would. I was a twenty-seven year old virgin. I had chosen to save myself for my spouse, something I will never regret. I was so sick and nervous about the idea of sex that we watched a movie and went to bed. The next night we tried some things but that freaked me out too. It was all so foreign and different territory. I knew what I was supposed to do, but I wasn't 'working' if you catch my drift. Apparently it's really difficult to do intimate things with your spouse if you are terrified. Who knew?
All of my worst fears about this avenue had become realized and I wasn't going anywhere without help. So, after about four months of me not getting anywhere with that part of our marriage, we finally decided to go see a marriage and family therapist. That was a very good idea and that helped me to loosen up and get things going for me.
Sex, like every other aspect of marriage, is something that takes work. You can't expect to be a professional hockey player the first time you step on the ice. We have come a long way since those early days and it is amazing how wonderful intimacy with someone you love so much can become. I expect it to keep getting better.
My attractions to men don't make it impossible or undesirable for me to have sex with my wife. It still happens and it is pleasurable.
I am done talking about sex.
I gave that warning for family or friends who really don't want to know that much about us. :)
You may be wondering what other ways my attractions have impacted my marriage. Am I physically attracted to my wife? No, I am am an artist and I do find her aesthetically pleasing, which she actually believes is a huge complement.
Kylie has to point out to me when other girls are flirting with me when we are out and about. I am pretty clueless.
I have to have guy time for me to feel happy and balanced. I feel recharged by the energy they give to me and in return, when I come home I am able to be a better husband for my wife.
I have different support groups that I attend and people that I try to reach out to that keep me pretty busy.
My attractions to men have not gone away. They may have diminished a little bit, but they are a reminder that I need to stay close to God, my wife, and seek out friends that can help support Kylie and I on our journey together.
I have learned that I cannot ignore my attractions or pretend that they don't exist. That has never helped. By doing something about them, addressing them in positive and healthy ways, I have found resources that have blessed my life.
To those of you who are gay and are living the lifestyle, I ask for what you've been fighting for so long, acceptance. Yes, my life may look different than yours, but love is love and it's something worth fighting for, whatever it looks like. My happiness may look different from yours, but we all make sacrifices to have the happiness we seek. Please don't attack me for my life choices and I won't attack you for yours.
To those of you who are straight and don't get this at all, thanks for reading. We all have different issues and struggles in life. Mine might look very different, but I wouldn't trade them for yours and you wouldn't trade for mine. My attractions have taught me so many good things and have helped me to become who I am today. They are sometimes struggles still, but I see their value in my life.
Those of you who experience same gender attraction and are sitting on the fence and are wondering what to do, let me say you have options... More than you think you are limiting yourself to. Marriage to an individual of the opposite gender might not be for everybody and it is not the pill that will magically fix all of your problems. It is hard. It's so worth it, if that's what you end up doing. I add caution and say that you should choose wisely. If you believe that you might be right for an opposite gender marriage, not everyone would be right for you. It would take a pretty tough person to go through this with you. Those people do exist however and Kylie is not the only one.
It's been over a year and a half since we've been married and I hope for many more happy and wonderful years with my beautiful bride.
Love you Kylie!