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Mixed-orientation marriage

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A mixed-orientation marriage is a marriage between partners of differing sexual orientation, one person is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual while the other not. The broader term is mixed-orientation relationship and both terms are often shortened to MOM and MOR respectively.

Lavender marriage

A mixed-orientation marriage used to cover up one's sexual orientation, sometimes for purposes of career advancement, is called a lavender marriage.

The heterosexual companion is often called a beard.

Some eprsons cite spiritual reasons for getting married. One married homosexual ma said his "spirited identity" has always been "marriage and family".

The New York Times reported "On the whole these are not marriages of convenience or cynical efforts to create cover. Gay and bisexual men continue to marry for complex reasons, many impelled not only by discrimination, but also by wishful thinking, the layered ambiguites of sexual love and authentic affection.

Gay and bisexual men

A study of 26 gay and bisexual men found that inernalized homophobia is a factor that leads such men into mixed-orientation marriages. Marriages between a homosexual man and a heterosexual woman have a high probability of failure.                                                                                            

Joe Kort, a counselor specializing in mixed-orientation marriage, said "These men genuisely love their wives. They fall in love wih their wives, they have children, they're on a chemical, romantic high, and then after aout seven years, the high falls away and their gay identity starts emerging. They don't mean any harm. While many hide their orientation from their spouse, others tell thier spouse before marriage. It is also possible taht someone was exclusively heterosexual in behavior and fantasies before marriage, but grew toward a more homosexual orientation during marriage.

Heterosexual women

One study states that heterosexual women in mixed-orientation marriages may be attracted to homosexual men and proceed to marry them. Kort said "straigh individuals rarely marry gay people accidentally." He theorized that some heterosexual women find homosexual men less judgmental and more felxible, while others unconsciously seek partnerships that are not sexually passionate.


Heterosexual wives of homosexual men who did nt knw of their husband's sexual orientation may feel deceived or blame themselves for not having known. Fear of encountering social disapproval or ostracism often makes i difficult for them to seek support form family and friends. Findings suggest that heterosexual wives struggled less with the homosexuality itself than with problemes of isolation, stigma, loss, cognitive confuion and dissonance and lack of knowledgeable, empathic support or help in problem solving.

Possible risks

Heterosexual wives often feel they are not feminine enough, while heterosexual husbands feel they are not masculine enough. In the particular case of a heterosexual-homosexual marriage, the heterosexual spouse may feel sexually inadequate.

Sexual relationship disorder

If a change in sexual orientation after a periode stability in sexual orientation causes anxiety or depression, escially if the person is involves in a relationship, the person may have a sexual maturation disorder.

A perso who is either in a mixed-orientation marriage or wishes to enter into one may go to therapy or support to deal with issues in that type of marriage. A significant number of men and women experince conflict surronding homosexual expression within marriage. Although a strong homosexual indetity was associated with difficulties in martial satisfcation, viewing thesame-sex activities as complusive facilitated commitment to the marriage and to monogamy. Research by Coleman suggest that some develop a ways of incorporating same-sex and opposite-sex feelings into life partterns. Peers provide the most support, while therapists ate often unfamiliar with sexual orientation, mixed orientation couples, or societal attitudes that impact mixed orientation families.

Approximately one third of marriges end immediately when the bisexual or homosexual spouse his or her sexual orinetation, whereas another third end after a short period of time. The remaing thrid attempt to continue the marrige successfully. In this case, the most succesful marriages reassess their relatonship in light of the sexual orientation.

Some bisexual men express with minimal conflict their homosexual and heterosexual impluses within the framework of a mixed-orientation marriage, with openness and commnication, being a key factor.


Divorce is one possible resolution for the homosexual partner, potentially with re-marrige to person of the same sex. Gay and lesbian people who come out late in life may have children from aprevious heterosexual marriage.

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