"I'll keep you my dirty little secret . . ." (All American Rejects). We all have secrets. Sometimes it's best to keep them secret. Sometimes the secrecy becomes a problem that festers in a relationship, or in my case, a family. I have had some realizations lately about traditions in my family that could have cycled onward in my life but that I have been able to escape.
Without disclosing things that aren't mine to disclose, I will say that I belong to a family with secrets. Sexual secrets that are swept under the rug. Secrets that are dirty, unhealthy, even disgusting. And I've been a part of it. I've had my own dirty little secrets. I'm referring to things that are degrading and harmful.
Another family tradition, however, is the appearance of perfection. We have this innate need for everyone to know that we are living normal, happy, righteous lives. The result is that we have lived double lives. We hide, ignore, suppress, and bottle up the problem, and then outwardly live the life we want others to see. But it caught up to us- to my dad specifically. Watching the pain that experience caused my family has taught me so much about what I can do to break this cycle.
Without that realization, I would likely have ended up getting married to a woman, pretending to be the perfect Mormon I wanted to be, but I would have had a secret. I would have lived a second life. I would have turned, at best, to pornography and masturbation. At worst I would have cheated on her. Either way would have been devastating to our relationship and to our family. Even if I had told her early on in the relationship that I had same gender attractions (and I would have), I would have quietly found ways to satisfy those attractions in unhealthy ways. I have seen many relationships where this is happening.
Now I am not in any way implying that this is what mixed orientation marriages always are. But it is something that I would have had because of my family tradition and the way that I have learned how to handle myself and my attractions growing up. I am so grateful I was able to recognize it. Some of you may be disappointed if I were to pursue a relationship with a man. I would rather, however, have a healthy, complete, honest relationship with a man than a fake relationship with a woman and a secret sexual impulse.