Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Left Behind

I am starting to stick out.

Today a good friend of mine (and also an off-limits crush) got married. This week, a significantly younger cousin of mine will get married, the second one to do so.

My last remaining mission companion who is single just announced he was engaged on Facebook. Most of my mission buddies have been married for several years now and have a baby. My friends from college wards and even high school are all married. Heck, the girl I took to prom has been married for three years and already has four children.

My mother (who wants to be and is an awesome grandma) has sweet, wholesome intentions and does her part to tactfully and lovingly encourage me along by asking about my dating prospects and reminding me of everyone I know back home who is getting or has gotten hitched.

I am acutely aware of the fact that I am not yet married and am reminded of it more often than I would like. I am the only son in family with a unique last name and a proud family heritage that would end if I stay in my solitary state. When compared to the typical Mormon marriage standards, I am becoming a menace to society since I have not yet found a wife and started a family.

Because I have the desire for a happy, postcard-like eternal family, yes, I am frustrated that I do not yet have a companion. There are times when I achingly yearn for it. Seeing couples growing old together is a beautiful manifestation of love, service and devotion. There have been many opportunities for me to possibly move forward and get married.

My last year at BYU, I was all but crazed to take advantage of my remaining time and find a wife. The clock was ticking. I almost did. I already had the ring. In the back of my mind I wanted to (and hoped I could) marry the gay out of me. I prayed about it in the temple and was frustrated that I didn’t feel I had received an answer either way, and this was a huge decision for me.

Feeling that I needed to talk to someone, I called my father from the parking lot almost in tears to discuss my situation, saying that I liked this girl except I did not find her physically attractive. My father is one of the nicest men alive and helped me think through the benefits and challenges the decision would bring. He suggested that many times it is the spirit and personality we are attracted to rather than the body. He counseled me to do what I felt was right and told me that there was no ticking time bomb ready to go off if I didn’t get married at BYU (even though the last three generations in my family had).

Ultimately, I never asked the question. I let things fizzle because deep down, I knew I could never truthfully love her to the fullest extent. I could never give her the true measure of devotion she deserved because I thought I would always have wandering eyes. And so I remain solitary and single to this day, having never yet truly been in love.

Contrapuntally, though, I am comfortable being single. Having never acted out on my attractions, being single and Mormon is essentially a safe holding pattern where I can remain in the knowledge that I am still alright in eyes of the standards I am subject to. Yet, I am starting to stand out. I don’t want to fly in circles my whole life long. I just can’t see which way to land.

Who knows what the future will bring. I may get married one day (to which sex is still up in the air). But in my comfortable holding pattern I feel like I am missing out on much that life currently has to offer. I want to experience life. I want to live. I want to love. But right now, I am feeling left behind.


  1. I hear ya! I feel much the same way. Nuthin' like bein' in your mid-twenties and still single...and nearly the oldest one in the singles ward.

  2. A belated welcome to the blogging family to you. I'm glad that you've found your voice. I've read what you have written so far and can't wait to hear more. You'll be a great addition to the family.

    Thanks for letting us into your life.

  3. Sheesh, I've been reading/hearing a lot about marriage lately.

    My Bishop got up on the stand during sarament meeting and said to all the congregation -"Elders, DATE! You're on a mission now, and that is to get married."

    Would I like to be married? Sure, but on my own timing, when I feel that it is right. I take omfort in what your father had to say, that there is no ticking time bomb, one that will detonate if I don't get married by a certain time, thus destroying any chance of that happening.

    The Cultural timing in Mormonism has brought a lot of regret in my life. I feel that it is time to let other's timing go and follow what I feel is right.

  4. "But in my comfortable holding pattern I feel like I am missing out on much that life currently has to offer. I want to experience life. I want to live. I want to love."

    That is exactly why I came out. It is also a good example of how coming out is not "the easy/lazy option" that so many church members claim it is. I loved the church. I had a good ward, and a calling that I loved to death. I enjoyed the temple. The easy thing to do would have been to just keep on toeing the line and filling my life up with other stuff to keep me distracted. In the short term it seems like I have lost a lot, but if I ever make it to a family of my own, I will have gained so much more.

  5. Yeah, don't stress to much on the marriage thing. You will know when it's the right time to do what ever you do.

  6. I know the feeling well. And you did the right thing by not asking that girl THE question. The Church culture can make it agonizingly difficult for a gay Mormon to be honest with himself and others about who he is, we all know that and experience it ourselves. But having endured too many years in the closet myself, I can tell you that no matter the difficulty, the internal peace, satisfaction, and sense of integrity that comes with that honesty is worth all the difficulty you/we may face.

    FWIW, I agree with El Genio and Bror.

  7. It seems pretty clear that straight guys also have wandering eyes after marriage. But the good ones remain faithful.

    Far be it from me to say you should get married, but if you honestly believe that you can remain faithful to your wife, I don't think you should refrain merely because you will be tempted. The question is whether you expect to overcome that temptation.

    Anyone you would marry has a right to know in advance the nature of the temptations to which you will be subject, IMO. And if she still agrees to marry you, she can help you overcome them.

    A few people report changes in their attractions — men gradually stop being sexually attractive. But you are absolutely right not to expect marriage to be a sure (or even likely) cure.

    Love and sexual passion are not identical, so if you think you care enough for a woman to want to share the rest of your life with her, to give yourself to her and none other, IMO that is a love sufficient for marriage.

    There is no guarantee that if you have children any of them will be sons to carry on the family name.

    God bless you.