More on My Mo-Mo Marriage


I have so much respect for Matt, my ex husband. His talent as a director of theatre is mind-blowing. His ability for reasoning and talking me through emotional situations is 2nd to none. He makes me cackle and guffaw. I must say, I feel lucky to have this man be such an intimate part of my life. I refer to myself as his #1 Bitch- not in the prison way, but the gay 'you are one of the most awesome people on my life' way.  It is a title of honor.

Matt tried so hard.  Harder than I did, I think.  Meaning, I was ready to call it quits way before we mutually decided to end it.

I Wanted Out

I expressed my desire for a divorce twice.  Once at 5 years of marriage.  Then again at 11.

We simply did not connect at the most basic level; we did not have that core that exists between two people of the same sexual cup of tea.  And the pretending that we were a-okay for so long, got OLD.  Ask actors who do the same character every night for several months or more on Broadway.  There is a word we use in the theatre community when we see actors like this who have lost their zest for a show or a role:  tired (I remember when I saw Les Mis on Broadway in '96.  That Marius looked like he would have rather been clipping his toe nails, or eating them)

Both times I told Matt I wanted a divorce, it was because I felt a desperation that didn't allow me to breathe.  And both times, I guess Matt just couldn't understand why I'd want to give up what we had- the white picket fence, the path to eternal life with our children, the comfort of being a part of the norm.  Well, the 2nd time around, in our 11th year, my response to that was, "Because I feel like dying.  Because I want to drive my mini-van off the side of the mountain.  I have deteriorated to the point where I don't recognize myself.  I am a lump of human flesh and nothing more."

 Meeting Matt & Discovering Difficulties

We first met because we were both cast in a production of Macbeth at BYU. The first time we hung out other than at the theatre was when a group from the cast went out for a late night Denny's meal. He was hilarious- so funny. And a sense of humor is a surefire way to my heart.

{Also, I respond to the gays; I love them so!  I wonder what the psychology is behind that.  Maybe it's that my dad was the exact opposite- redneck, macho, and rough at times.  Sidenote:  Matt took me to my first drag show recently in Riverside, California.  Raven, anyone?  OMG, I felt right at home.  (what's the psychology behind that?)}

One of the first difficulties of our relationship was an unspoken understanding that I would keep the secret.  I mean, come on.  What percentage of gay spouses in MOM marriages are out and proud?

The burden of this was a daily strain on me.  I didn't explode and tell someone until our 5th year.  And I felt such enormous guilt for telling Matt's secret.  Thing was, it was my secret, too.

There were a couple of people in the BYU theatre department who in a very vague way tried to 'warn' me about the rumors and assumptions of Matt's sexuality.  I had to play dumb.  And then I felt like I couldn't ever talk to that person again.

Then there was the slowly creeping reality of how I was undernourished in such a vital aspect of my being- intimacy.  It wasn't Matt's fault.  You can't blame a puzzle piece for not fitting with another when that piece is part of an entirely different puzzle.  And who knew how complex a thing intimacy was?!  NOT ME.

"So why couldn't Ashley receive all the nourishment she needed from her church," you ask?  Because there is a reason we go to a doctor for hernia surgery and not church.  We cannot go to church to earn a Master's degree.  I cannot simply go to church to experience emotional/sexual intimacy- um, god forbid?  I am a complex, multi-faceted being.  We're all created that way.  I'm just sayin'-  a church, a gospel, a dogma fulfills a very specific need for humans.  The spiritual is just one part of us, and as big a part as it is, it is not everything we are.

Carol Lynn Pearson (who is nothing short of a Mormon celebrity- poet, playwright, author, philosopher- was married to a gay man who she cared for when he contracted AIDS post-divorce) said of her husband, and this unquestionably applies to all humans, that his need for intimacy "was far more than sex; it related to every aspect of his personality" (No More Goodbyes, p.6).

Carol Lynn also says in her book, "Most of us yearn to be in a marriage where no amount of love can be too much, where husband and wife adore each other, celebrate each other, are hungry for each other, body, mind, and soul" (NMG, p. 69 ~insert joke~).

Thomas Moore, poet and songwriter, said, "something eternally valid comes to us in the sensations of sex and romance...Romantic love is as important to the soul as any other kind of love."

This is how we were made!  We have this need for romantic love/intimacy/connection at a core level/mutual & intense attraction.  But-

This need is bigger than just a mere detail of our make-up.  It is our infrastructure.  It is our essential being.  It is our foundation.  It is fundamental.  For me.  For you.  For gay or straight.

In a post to follow, I'll talk more about the effects of these, as I put so mildly, difficulties.  And what methods I used to attempt to fill the void.  I'll even share with you how I thought I was in love with someone else, and how that was yet another fairy tale (ex: the Mormon dream) I clung to for survival.


  1. An Incredible outlook. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us. Gives me great perspective.

  2. From someone who loves you both dearly and has watched this struggle for so many, I appreciate your candor. Always have.

  3. Just found your blog through a link on Dooce... I love your writing and candor. Thank you for sharing your story.


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