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July 23, 2018 5:55 pm  #1


Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

One of the things that brought me a LOT of peace early on in this process was finding a dissertation on MOMs by Kevin Zimmerman. I'm married to an academic, and I did a lot of research as an editor and investigative journalist, so I take great comfort in these kinds of studies. There isn't that much literature out there on successful MOMs, but this one really gave me hope, as well as some useful tools and ideas to put my energy into as my husband and I redefined our partnership.

I was truly surprised that I don't see a mention of the study anywhere on this forum, so I'm starting a thread so I can share it with you all. I hope you find it as useful and hopeful as I did!

Maintaining commitment in long-lasting mixed-orientation relationships: Gay men married to straight women (PDF): https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4471&context=etd

From the abstract: This qualitative study investigates the nature of commitment in long-lasting mixed-orientation relationships, in which a homosexual man is partnered with a heterosexual woman. Previous research into mixed-orientation relationships has generally not focused on which factors contribute to keeping the relationship together. The primary theoretical frameworks used in this study to understand long-lasting, mixed-orientation couples are social exchange theory and Johnson’s (1999) commitment model. Thirteen couples from the U.S. completed questionnaires and were interviewed about three main topics: (a) the history of their relationship, including the coming-out process, (b) strengths of the relationship, and (c) challenges to the relationship. The couples also offer advice to other mixed-orientation couples who wish to stay together. Transcripts were coded to illuminate how these mixed-orientation couples remain in committed relationships. Participant comments revealed that there are three essential characteristics of long-lasting, mixed-orientation relationships, which are (a) a high level of personal commitment, (b) open communication, and (c) adaptability. 

Yaz again: If you are in the early days of your MOM, and a little dense academic prose doesn't scare you off, there are gems to be mined throughout this study. But if you just want the nuts and bolts, skip ahead to the advice section. Happy reading!

(Edited to remove the phrase "peer-reviewed")

Last edited by YazPistachio (July 26, 2018 4:58 pm)

 

July 24, 2018 9:03 am  #2


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

Great post Yaz.  This is exactly why this forum section exists..  To provide tools and strategies to help those who chose to remain married find success in that endeavor.   If you have more please do post them.   At some point I can create a single "sticky" thread atop the forum to collect all the links, etc.. 


 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
 

July 25, 2018 2:23 pm  #3


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

Did anyone read the article?

here's what I observed:
The article is not a fair sample of all str8 spouses who find out there spouse is gay.  It is focused on those who found out and then committed to remaining married. 
The article is focused on the "couple" rather than on the gay man or the str8 woman. 
The article shares a number of important components in the relationship that are required to make it succeed.  In also gives advice on methods to achieve those goals. 

If you are a straight spouse who is committed to finding constructive advice on how to make your relationship work I think this article has good information in it.  

If nobody else agrees and you all feel it's harmful then I will delete this thread. 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
 

July 25, 2018 4:12 pm  #4


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

Ellexoh_nz wrote:

phoenix wrote:

Did anyone read the article?.....If nobody else agrees and you all feel it's harmful then I will delete this thread. 

 I don't wish to read the entire  article.
For myself it was reading the title that put me off. The MOM group the member Yaz belongs to must be a whole other level of straightspouse/LGBTQ relationships.

One which my own set of values and beliefs wouldn't be comfortable in. If Yahoo MOM is here trying to recruit new members maybe they should make their group easier to join

I understand that you might not want to read the article.  I won't force you.  But you have to understand that credibility of your criticism is reduced. 

I read it.  (quickly.. I didn't pour over every word).   I felt that there is advice and observations made in the article that may be helpful to people trying to find ways to make there MOM work.   Just because it's written by a gay man doesn't automatically make the advice poor.   Unless the advice is on how to help only the gay partner and take advantage of the str8. but I didn't feel it was written that way. 

If others read it and can share an opposing viewpoint, I'm all ears and I'm happy to remove the link or thread. 
 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
 

July 25, 2018 10:36 pm  #5


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

phoenix wrote:

Did anyone read the article?

here's what I observed:
The article is not a fair sample of all str8 spouses who find out there spouse is gay.  It is focused on those who found out and then committed to remaining married. 
The article is focused on the "couple" rather than on the gay man or the str8 woman. 
The article shares a number of important components in the relationship that are required to make it succeed.  In also gives advice on methods to achieve those goals. 

If you are a straight spouse who is committed to finding constructive advice on how to make your relationship work I think this article has good information in it.  

If nobody else agrees and you all feel it's harmful then I will delete this thread. 

Please leave it  I want to stay in my marriage. Although I am just a few weeks in 7/10/18 = DDay. I intellectually know that right now I am grieving a tremendous loss of the husband I thought I knew, while also looking forward to a relationship with a much happier partner.

Although my husband was not honest about his sexual attraction to men, he did not cheat on me, he has had very limited real experiences and has never had sex with a man. We will eventually open his side so he can have some true insight to what he has only fantasized about.
So, I may have bad days...I feel like we broke up and I am with a new person now. I may come on here on a bad day and vent but...I love him, he loves me and right now we are committed to making this work. He does not want to open his side..not yet anyway.  Please keep these posts as tools, at least one of us needs them..me

Lisa
Waves and Riptides

 

July 26, 2018 3:14 pm  #6


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

I read the article, and I found it very interesting (thanks for posting Yaz).  I'm not sure what the objections to it are--the author was very upfront about his history and orientation, and he posted his methodology quite clearly.  The fact that the study was interview based and presented in that manner made it much more interesting to read.  It was far more helpful to me to read "We felt this way and acted this way and solved our problems this way" than to just look at dry statistics.  So please keep it up.

And can I just say that while this is the Straight Spouse Network, this sub-forum is about making your MOM work, and a marriage by definition is about more than just one spouse.  We can't discuss a MOM without taking our gay/bi spouses into account.  They are part of the conversation.

I believe that a marriage can only be successful when both partners feel happy and secure with at least some of their needs met (all marriages require some sort of compromise, MOM or not).  There are many types of MOMs-- celibate, monogamous, open on one or both sides.  What's right for one person may not be right for another and it is up to you and your partner to create a marriage that works for you both.

This board should be a place where everyone can find help and support no matter what their choices.

Julie (married 35 years, 20 post-disclosure, one year into a closed loop relationship)

 

July 26, 2018 3:47 pm  #7


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

My apologies, I misspoke. Duped is right, this particular dissertation was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it WAS an accepted doctoral thesis at a recognized accredited institution, reviewed by a doctoral committee and approved by the faculty and administration as meeting their standards of scientific rigor before the degree was awarded. So there is a reasonable expectation of non-bias, use of the scientific method, and research gathering/processing, which has been upheld over the years as this particular piece has been recognized and cited by other researchers.

I don't understand why people think this might not be a good resource for this forum. If you are in an MOM, and you want it to succeed, wouldn't you want to find out what tools and behaviors are associated with successful long-term MOMs? Why does it matter if the author of the piece that lists those tools is gay or not? This kind of reaction is openly hostile and borders on homophobic.

If you could remove your blinders long enough to read the thesis, you will find that the author goes through a significant amount of discussion about and effort to specifically removing any whiff of bias by using established interview protocols (as well as discussing different protocols used in the field, and why he chose the ones he did. It was an education in data recruitment and social science procedures all in itself). 

Why would anyone want to remove something that even one person found to be helpful in advancing towards the very goals that this particular forum purports to uphold? If you want to be in a long-term MOM, you need to hear from the people who are actively living that LTR MOMs, and by definition, one member of each of those marriages is going to be a gay or bi man. If you want to discount everything that a gay man writes, you are going to limit yourself severely (and quite unnecessarily). 

I'm not going to tell you that you are doing your MOM wrong. If you are genuinely happy with your marriage, you certainly don't need my approval for validation. But when those of us who are still trying to figure this out are willing to share the things that give us hope, that give us the tools to move towards the kind of joyful and fulfilling marriages that we desire, it's truly discouraging to have those things dismissed and shit upon. I know that's exactly the reaction you were hoping for, and I'm torn on whether giving you that satisfaction is going to be productive, but I've decided that you need to hear what your anger, bitterness, and hurt are doing. You are not being supportive, you are not giving hope, you are not helping people build healthier relationships. You are sowing doubt, you are tearing down others, and you are creating stumbling blocks and hurdles for people who are already struggling. 

Instead of telling me why you think this survey is wrong, show me the research and the literature and the studies that YOU have found to be uplifting. What information have YOU turned to, that brings you hope and peace and real joy in your marriage? What has helped you move from despair, anger, hurt, and pain to a solid, mutually respectful and beneficial partnership? I understand that not everything will work for everyone... but even if one person finds hope in something, shouldn't it be a welcomed resource for this group?

     Thread Starter
 

July 26, 2018 4:55 pm  #8


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

Congratulations on your degree, Duped!

I used Google Scholar to find this link. But I suspect you are just trying to use your degree to try to make me feel small and intimidated. I'm not intimidated, I don't have a research degree, but I am doing the best I can with the tools that I have. 

We all found ourselves here via different pathways. Invalidating my pain does not make yours more real. I've done a lot of work as a doula, and most of that work in the last ten years has been with women who have lost their babies, either during pregnancy or soon after birth. One thing I've learned is that pain is pain is pain. Maybe that woman crying for two years over her miscarriage doesn't rate the same empathy to you as another woman whose six-year-old son was hit by a truck. Or maybe you judge that second woman for not seeing her kid as he dashed into the street, you might even say she deserved to lose that kid if she didn't take care of him, and so the miscarriage loss is more undeserved and thus worthy of your support. But loss and grief is hard for all of us, and if one of my clients says she is in pain, I believe her. I don't tell her she chose the path that got her there (what a terrific way to promote self-recrimination and shame, by the way!), I don't tell her that her pain isn't the same as mine, and I'd never tell her that the thing that gives her hope is invalid.

I'm aware that I can never truly understand what it's like to have a partner cheat on me, because it's never happened to me. But just as my three first-trimester and two second-trimester losses give me enough empathy to support women who have lost their toddlers, I feel like my experience as a member of an MOM that has undergone a major upheaval and a challenge to my previously stable 19-year-old relationship gives me at least a taste of the struggle that another person in a different MOM is experiencing, even it if involves cheating or deceit or STIs. I cannot walk in your shoes, so no, I cannot read your heart. But I know the pain of hearing that my husband wants more than I can give him, that I don't have the penis he aches to play with, the feelings that I am not now nor never will be "enough" for him, that I am the only thing standing in the way of him realizing his deepest desires. No, that is not the same thing as a woman who discovers she now HIV positive due to her husband's infidelity, but I can still offer her words of validation, support, kindness, and encouragement. 

In fact, isn't that kind of what a support forum is supposed to do? How does tearing me down equal support in your eyes? The fact that your pain is different than mine does not invalidate my pain. 

     Thread Starter
 

July 27, 2018 6:44 pm  #9


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

Thank you for the encouragement, Wondering89. It means a lot.

I remember getting SO annoyed by the supercilious attitudes I perceived throughout that damned More Than Two book... like, "we are so enlightened and generous, we love our partners unconditionally, we have such marvelous relationships because we are so open-minded and evolved!" Bah. I've known plenty of people in open/poly relationships... some are happy, some are not so happy, some are selfish a$$holes, some are martyrs, some bite off more than they can chew, some leave wakes of destruction in their paths. I wanted a book that laid out the possibilities, the benefits to expect and the pitfalls to avoid of the various choices, troubleshooting difficulties, and specifically... how to forge a compromise when it feels like the two parties involved are on completely different levels of desire and understanding. MTT was NOT that book for me. But if it brought clarity and bliss to other couples, more power to them!

     Thread Starter
 

July 29, 2018 4:26 am  #10


Re: Tools to Make Your MOM Work... The Zimmerman Study

YazPistachio wrote:

Thank you for the encouragement, Wondering89. It means a lot.

I remember getting SO annoyed by the supercilious attitudes I perceived throughout that damned More Than Two book... like, "we are so enlightened and generous, we love our partners unconditionally, we have such marvelous relationships because we are so open-minded and evolved!" Bah. I've known plenty of people in open/poly relationships... some are happy, some are not so happy, some are selfish a$$holes, some are martyrs, some bite off more than they can chew, some leave wakes of destruction in their paths. I wanted a book that laid out the possibilities, the benefits to expect and the pitfalls to avoid of the various choices, troubleshooting difficulties, and specifically... how to forge a compromise when it feels like the two parties involved are on completely different levels of desire and understanding. MTT was NOT that book for me. But if it brought clarity and bliss to other couples, more power to them!

Yaz, there is so much more to the absolute grief that we are hit with.  We are giving and supporting a scenario that really was not a choice, in the beginning anyway.  Here I am, husband, family, life and love with a man who married me because (so I thought) he wanted to spend the rest of his life with ME.  Then my foundation crumblees...where is my choice...how could I even contemplate walking out the door. I love this man and he is hurting, he is terrified of his own truth, he doesn't  want to let go o f us, there are times he says that he will make the gay part go away. I tell him and he knows that is ridiculous. I am the only person he has ever told his whole life. There is no walking out. It would devastate him. I didnt have a choice, not yet 

We talk about his fantasies, that show we stay sexually intimate. I hear him saying  things you do with a person you love  it terrifies me inside.  I cant compete, I just have to wait...will he settle in into a sex only relationship?...will he fall in love (I want vomit when I think of that)    it's all too much right now..

The dissertation was great from what my Paralegal degree brain could understand. Thank you for posting. I'm new to all of this, I understand exactly where you are coming from and all your positive ideas. I would recognize the fact that we as wives of men who kept the very essence of their being, of their ability to fully love us a secret. We have been thru a trauma

Im too new for my thoughts to matter right now.

Lisa
Waves and Riptides

 

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