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cheating, divorce, and homosexuality

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by SiennaFire, Jan 5, 2017.

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  1. SiennaFire

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    If someone posts that homosexuality is wrong, EC members would strongly disagree with that point of view. I have seen several posts pointing out that cheating as part of sexual discovery is wrong. One could also make a case that divorce is wrong using the same logic (a broken commitment), yet we don't see many posts about the morality of divorce. What is the difference between cheating and divorce? Both involve breaking a promise. The reality is that cheating and divorce are often part of the process of coming out later in life. Why then does cheating evoke strong moralistic judgements whereas divorce and homosexuality do not?

    When someone is still in the closet and in a mixed-orientation marriage, they have learned from an early age that who they are is wrong from church, society, family or friends. They've internalized this message so much that they feel they need to lie about their sexuality to the world and pretend to be someone who they are not.

    It's not uncommon for people who come out later in life to have an affair with a member of the same sex to help them explore and clarify their sexual orientation, especially if they entered a marriage with no gay experiences. For many this is a required part of the process and provides validation of the inner self and rejection of the faux self created to meet the expectations of others.

    Personally I do not feel that it's appropriate or helpful to judge others who did what was necessary to find themselves. My view is far more pragmatic and non-judgmental, for many this was a necessary step of self-discovery and based on their experience they realized that they need to make changes in their life and found their way to EC. Shaming people because of cheating is as unhelpful as beating them up because it's taken X years to come out. Everyone comes out when they are ready via their own path.
     
    #1 SiennaFire, Jan 5, 2017
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  2. OnTheHighway

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    I can understand where you are coming from, and while I can not think of a post where I have judge someone for cheating per se, I do want to address what you have just written:

    Divorce occurs when two adults consciously and knowingly agree that their marriage will not work out. Whatever lead up to that point is different from the actual decision that two people make to end the marriage.

    Living in the closet while unsure of ones sexuality is indirectly hurting both the individual, while they are struggling, and hurting their loved ones around them. However, the struggle may very well be unintended and the pain caused inconsequential at the time.

    Living in the closet knowingly gay having accepted one's sexuality may entail an individual lying to themselves, and by doing so they may be directly hurting themselves and hurting those around them. At the point of acceptance, the situation is a conscious one, but if that individual continues on with life as is while maintaining their vows of marriage, that is their prerogative. It may very well cause real pain down the road, and that is a bridge to be crossed.

    But lets call a spade a spade, cheating is a direct lie. It is against the vows of marriage. It is a conscious decision being made by one person where they have morally committed themselves to another. And it is being done without the knowledge or consent of the other party. Unless agreed to by the other party to the marriage, it is absolutely acceptable to be considered unethical and unmoral.

    Someone whom has cheated may try and justify it it however they like, but it is still breaking a vow by one party without the open discussion and approval by another. And as part of the coming out process, if in fact someone has broken their vows, it is simply another personal issue that such individual does need to deal with and personally resolve with themselves.

    It is absolutely a fair point of discussion in the later in life section, regardless of what side of the spectrum someone falls on.
     
    #2 OnTheHighway, Jan 5, 2017
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  3. smurf

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    The main different between the two is that divorce usually comes from a place of understanding and being honest with your partner. Cheating is the opposite.

    So yes, I agree that we shouldn't judge people that cheat in certain circumstances. The world is in fact not black and white, but I really don't think you can equate cheating and divorce. It doesn't help your point.

    This.

    Cheating isn't defend-able, but it is a required piece of the puzzle for many people's journeys.
     
  4. Quantumreality

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    Why?

    I don't see people on EC generally arguing that you can't KNOW your sexual orientation without actually having a sexual experience with both genders - or without having any sexual experience at all. So, why does someone who Comes Out later in life "require" a same-sex experience which involves cheating on their spouse?

    Just asking...
     
    #4 Quantumreality, Jan 5, 2017
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  5. SiennaFire

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    I'm not going to go on a tangent and try to propose a theory why people act this way. Based on the stories posted here on EC, a lot of people either enter a marriage knowing they are gay (because of same-sex experience before the marriage) or discover it once they are married. I am advocating compassion for people who are coming out based on the reality of what actually happens while also trying to understand why some people have very strong reactions to cheating but not other aspects of the coming out process.
     
    #5 SiennaFire, Jan 5, 2017
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  6. Quantumreality

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    I'm sorry, Sienna Fire, but you opened a can of worms with your original post. You can't really pick and choose which parts to defend now, can you?:slight_smile: It seems to me that you are offering a 'defense' of cheating as a "required part" of the Coming Out process for some later in life LGBTQ people. I simply asked how you are making that determination.

    I certainly am an agreement with you, OTH and smurf that it is not for anyone here to judge cheating or engage in shaming in any form. Cheating is ultimately an issue for the couple to deal with. I would however, argue that it shouldn't ever be recommended on this site.

    My 2cents.
     
  7. SiennaFire

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    It seems to me that you are putting words into my mouth through selective quoting and then trying to take me to the mat because I'm not defending something I didn't say :slight_smile: The reality is that cheating happens as part of the process for some (but not all) people coming out from a mixed-orientation marriage. This is more of an acknowledgement than defense.

    I agree that we should neither advocate nor judge cheating on this site.
     
    #7 SiennaFire, Jan 5, 2017
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  8. OGS

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    I think dishonesty is a hot button issue for a lot of LGBT people because they've been there. They've experienced the reality of being radically dishonest in a way that a lot of people haven't and see the ways that the little lies you tell yourself to justify it hurt yourself and others. Once someone has come through that and made it to the other side, I think it's natural to just not want any part of it and to be suspicious of people's attempts to justify it...
     
  9. WriterArtGirl

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    I don't think it requires cheating nor should you be in the closet to your spouse. Both are forms of lies.

    My husband actually gave me a free pass when I first told him. I think it was out of spite though and that he was secretly hoping that I wouldn't like it. He even told me to date because he wanted me to be sure that I was gay.

    I didn't really do either, but I spent a lot of time writing, thinking, and speaking with a LGBT therapist. I also joined a bunch of meetups and got to know people at my local LGBT center. All of these helped, and after 6 months, I can finally say that I am accepting me more and more as gay. I've wrote lists, thought about my sexual, emotional, and romantic attractions and tried to pay attention to my thoughts and fantasies. When I came up with excuses in my head of why I couldn't be gay, I then wrote them down and tried to analyze them.

    I know we have our own processes, but I can't explain it, but after 6 months of really paying attention to who I am at my core, I just know. I've always known that I wasn't attracted to men and I was even somewhat aware that when I saw sexy women I would sometimes come up with excuses. I even knew that I had crushes on girls in my past and when I was high school fell in love with my best friend. These were in plain sight, yet I ignored them and when they came to the surface, I came up with excuses.

    I guess my point is, each their own, but in my opinion, you don't need to actually cheat on your spouse. When you really look at your life, you will find occurrences of same sex attractions. They will fit together, and when you are ready, you will see them.

    Also making the list of physical attractions, emotional attractions, romantic attractions, etc. and how you felt with both genders really helped. It made what was in front of me become clear.
     
  10. Quantumreality

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    Fair enough, Sienna Fire. I'm definitely not trying to put words in your mouth. I was quoting part of what you wrote that struck me in a particular way and I am interested in your thought process. What struck me most was your phrase "For many this is a required part of the process." I was simply asking why you feel that this is "required." If you rephrase it, as you did above to say that "cheating happens at part of the process.." then I am in total agreement.

    I'm not trying to make mountain out of a molehill. I was really interested in why you considered cheating to be a 'required' part of the Coming Out process for some LGBT later in life people.

    Sorry for any confusion or misunderstanding on my part.:slight_smile:
     
  11. OnTheHighway

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    I would add that many also entered marriage knowing they were gay even without having had any sexual experience, I am not sure that changes the overall challenges anyone faces coming out later in life and after entering a marriage.

    Prior to my marriage, while a teenager, I did have sexual relations with both guys and girls. I had discussions with her about the sex I previously had with guys (and not just one account but several). This was certainly a time of life where I still had not yet accepted that I was gay, was still at the beginning stages of a very long and protracted negotiating stage with myself, and at that time tried to convince myself that I was bi.

    While this in no way dissolved me of the material responsibilities to the breakup of our marriage, it did allow for her to make her own decisions at the time prior to our marriage to go down a different path. But even then, as you suggest above, I still needed to rectify for myself the shame, guilt and regret resulting from the choices I made; and I needed to take on the material responsibility.

    All I am suggesting, in the case of cheating, is that such individual needs to go through a similar process of working through such shame, guilt and regret, but the cheating adds an additional dimension to work through.
     
    #11 OnTheHighway, Jan 5, 2017
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  12. Creativemind

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    It's a problem because It leads to dishonesty and betrays another person. It also puts the straight spouse at risk of STD's without the consent of even knowing they were at risk. HIV is deadly and a horrible thing to expose a spouse to just because you wanted to "explore".

    Another issue is that it invalidates same sex relationships. If we say that It's "ok" to sleep with the same sex, we're saying that same sex relationships have no value, especially if one is bisexual. It could also lead to more straight and gay people being less willing to date bisexuals at all. If I hear that "someone needs to explore their sexuality in a relationship and we shouldn't judge" my mind is going to link that to "Should I bother trusting bi women or newly out women who haven't been in same sex relationships in case they decide to cheat behind my back and spread STI's to me?" Now, this question would be biphobic and discriminatory and you would be right to call me out. But the point is that justifying this sort of thing can lead to unnecessary fears and more biphobia from the community.

    That being said....that's not to say I don't understand why you would need to explore. I'm not saying you should be trapped in an unhealthy marriage at all. I'm just saying there are better options. You should first bring it up with the partner, suggest an open marriage or a divorce. I think cheating is cowardly, EVEN if I understand why you did it. It's a lot more courageous to communicate like an adult.

    And no divorce and homosexuality are not the same thing. Divorce is a consensual agreement that both parties decide on. Cheating betrays the other person and in extreme cases, can even physically harm them in cases of the more deadly STI's being passed on without their knowledge.
     
  13. SiennaFire

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    :thumbsup:

    This is a great explanation for what I've observed. I've noticed that people who are out and living authentically with integrity are less tolerant of cheating (myself included in certain situations). You provide the underlying motivation (wanting to distance oneself from being radically dishonest).
     
  14. WarmEmbrace

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    My opinion: I was not in the closet to my spouse. I did not cheat on my spouse. She did cheat on me because she decided after 5 years she wasn't actually okay to be with someone in a m2f mindset anymore but could not tell it to my face and coudn't tell me to go away. I can understand and respect she wanted something else. After all noone owns anyone no matter what vows have been made , how many gifts have been exchanged. Anyone is free to seek their freedom and happiness how they see fit. I understand and respect that. Maybe in spite of my best efforts to conform to a male role, i was a lousy husband because of my m2f issues .

    I can't understand the deceit towards someone you love though.

    Still never have i considered cheating to experiment, even though i didn't get what i needed from the relationship sexually, but i did try to provide what she needed. I loved her too much for this thought to ever enter my head.

    To be lied to by someone who you had chosen to put at the center of your universe messes with your mind and sense of self worth in fundamental ways. More than being abandoned for a logical reason. The mutual trust is fundamentally cracked at that point. You feel manipulated. You feel less like a person. It does not only break you, it shatters you to the core.


    Even moreso when you syspected and you said. "Babe it would hurt me but i would understand why. Tell me the truth. If I ever meant anything to you tell me the truth. If you want me to stop trying, if you want me to go away so you can be happy, please ask this of me. Tell me to go away and i will". And you hear " No there isn't anyone. I don't want you to go away. I want you to keep trying".. . And tgen you get proof. And you ask this again and get the same answer. And then you show the proof and only then there's some admittance, that yes things were "kinda"over from her standpoint.

    It shatters you and you have to hate yourself because you want to be able to keep loving her. It can't be her fault so it has to be yours.

    No i do not think cheating is excusable for exploration. It is not right. If the relationship is no longer right for you and You want to end it, end it before cheating. Make it clear. Don't wipe the floor with someone you once loved because they actually might have loved you more than you have known, even if they weren't able to show it the way you wanted them to.
    :confused:
     
  15. I'm gay

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    OTH's post #14 resonates with me the most.

    This is a very interesting topic and one that is surely needed. I don't think we in the EC community should ever condemn others for cheating. It isn't helpful to this process.

    Each individual must come to a place of peace and forgiveness in their own time for the decisions and choices they've made. Although I didn't cheat on my wife during my 20 year marriage, I did choose to hide my sexuality and marry her under false pretenses. Isn't that just as wrong as cheating? Sure, I was lying to myself as well, but I can't really say it was truly unintentional. I don't know that any of us can truly say that marrying our straight spouse was completely unintentional if you knew you were gay when you married. Of course I knew. Like OTH said, though, I didn't accept my homosexuality but I still knew it.

    I do think we should advise people here that they shouldn't cheat if they are still doing so or contemplating doing so. That's not a moral judgment, just a practical suggestion. For me, not cheating on my wife helped me and my family come to a place of peace about me coming out so much easier than if I had cheated. The loss of respect from people in my life would have been devastating to me.

    So, let's leave the moral judgments out of our posts, and help others to find a way out of the mess they've found themselves in - cheating or not.

    :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:ride:
     
  16. TravelerMe

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    For those out later in life in the "I didn't cheat" (meaning physically having sex with same sex) category. I wonder the following:

    Did you ever erotically look at another of the same sex? Check them out?
    Did you ever look at gay photos or porn? Did you ever masturbate to gay porn or the idea of another of the same sex?
    Did you ever fantasize about a same sex experience?
    Did you ever have sex with your spouse and imagine you were with the same sex during the act?

    The above are all different to each other and different than a one on one sexual encounter but all are cheating in some degree IMO.

    In my case I had no relations with my wife for 10 years; the one on one experiences got me over the hump and challenged me to confront my orientation. I'm not proud of it but I am now and will be a better man because of it. Right or wrong.
     
    #16 TravelerMe, Jan 5, 2017
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  17. justaguyinsf

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    The answer to the original question is that cheating leaves a wake of collateral emotional damage behind the person coming out, damage that will probably be profound and life-long for children. It's not necessary to cheat to come out or to understand your sexual orientation and cheating should not be brushed aside as a mere irrelevance. It's quite appropriate for those who feel this way to comment on it, although I would agree that overly judgmental comments would probably be counterproductive.
     
  18. bunnydee

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  19. Quantumreality

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    Hey bunnydee,

    You ended up leaving something out of the necessary administrative markings and make it look like you were quoting me instead of Sienna Fire. But I would like to second to your comments because this is the serious discussion that I was trying to put forth earlier.:slight_smile:
     
    #19 Quantumreality, Jan 5, 2017
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  20. faustian1

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    This thread raises an important issue, one that I have discovered over time, and also one that disappoints me.

    As indicated by the original post, there is indeed quite a difference between compassion and empathy, and the problems intensify when one has neither. In particular, it is painful to see how many LGBT people attack and vilify others who walked the same path. This is nothing more than a re-run of being picked on, bullied, and victimized by straight people.

    I know that this discovery has convinced me that I wish to come out no further. To see people whom I know actually would have effed anything that moved now engaging in fidelity-centered moral lectures like some kind of religious fanatic is profoundly disappointing, not at all politically useful, and enlightening in the extreme.

    Gay folks continue to make great friends, in a variety of platonic settings that I am in. However, the idea that there is a "community" or anything particularly special about that group rings hollow to me.

    For awhile I have stopped posting here, mainly because I am putting this perception into practice and finding places to contribute in society, where I can do some good without repeating the experiences of the past.
     
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