Prisoners of love

Tales from the glass closet: These openly gay men married to women insist they are happy

20 years ago, Doug Mainwaring walked away from his marriage to a woman because he realized he was gay.

“I made a stunning error in judgment,” Mainwaring writes in a new op-ed. “Thankfully, our marriage has been very happily restored for more than five years now.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Mainwaring divorced his wife, then remarried her 15 years later after he says “I learned that marriage is more than just a tradition or a religious or social construct. Monogamous, complementary, conjugal marriage is a pearl of great price worth investing one’s entire life in.”

Mainwaring, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is a devout Christian. He believes marriage is between one man and one woman and that homosexuality, in general, is nothing more than “hormone-triggered impulses” that keep people “prisoner.”

Related: What’s up with this creepy ‘pray the gay away’ ad popping up on LGBTQ people’s Facebook feeds?

“Popular culture now espouses the notion that heteronormativity is harmful to those with same-sex attraction,” he writes. “But many who experience same-sex attraction would disagree.”

He says people like him merely “seek nothing more than to fit in with the entire universe, to be part of the wonderful ecosystem of humanity and all of nature” and do not want to be “at odds with nature and the entire cosmos.”

Mainwaring spoke to other gay guys in his situation. Check out what they had to say:

One man who wanted to remain anonymous explains:

Over the years, I have had passing thoughts of giving up my family and marriage for a same-sex relationship or partner, but decided that in no way is it worth destroying my family and marriage for that. There is enough unhappiness in this world without me adding to it.

Another man named Joseph says:

I don’t remember ever being attracted to someone of the opposite sex since my earliest memories. As a boy, I kept my feelings to myself knowing I would not be accepted if anyone knew how I felt. I joined the United States Marine Corps to learn how to be a man and learn masculine characteristics I lacked. After 6 years of service, I fell in love with the only woman I have ever been attracted to and we were married. … Had I followed my own desires and impulses toward other men, my life would be very different today.

And third guy named Jeff comments:

People like me have always been around, but we seldom have any reason to speak up. I choose to do so now not out of any desire to help myself, but to advocate for those who are in the position I was in in my twenties and early thirties, and even more, for the children whom I believe deserve (if at all possible) to be raised by their biological parents if at all possible.

Mainwaring says he and his comrades don’t deny their same-sex attractions. In fact, they “fully accept” them, but they also refuse to allow those feeling to “dictate” their lives.

“While we may not have a choice about our attractions,” he writes, “we do have a choice about our relationships. And rather than choose the now culturally acceptable and popularly celebrated same-sex relationship, we instead have chosen marriage. The real thing.”

Mainwaring concludes by saying, “I would rather live freely according to reason, in harmony with the universe, than as a prisoner.”

Related: Bestselling author’s big Facebook reveal: She’s divorcing her husband because he’s gay

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  • JerseyMike

    Sadly I know a couple like this.. Were married years ago.. divorced. Years later married again.. I do know that he was in relationships with men between the marriages. Now they are divorcing again..

  • eireapparent

    I love how they couch their sentiments in humanistic language when it’s clearly a religious place they are coming from. It’s a pale attempt to validate some sort of universal truth to their clearly Christian ideology. Testimonials like this do a little more than we’ve a seductive web for people who should really avoid forcing they are square pegs into round holes – no pun intended. Well, maybe a little pun.

  • eireapparent

    Sorry I shouldn’t dictate these things without proofreading them. That should read weave and their not they are. Ugh. Technology.

    • Mundo

      Not important. It was a good post!

  • Donston

    Trying to figure out why the comment I just posted is “awaiting moderation”.

  • Donston


    This is one of the many reasons why so many gay-identifying men remain suspect about bisexual/fluid/queer/I-don’t-believe-in-labels identifying men. Hetero-normalcy, personal frustrations, wanting to “fit in” with the rest of society have always had a huge effect on people’s sex lives, romantic lives and identity. And these types of things extend way beyond Christians.

    I’ve always been a fan of living your life as you please as long as you’re being honest with the people in your life. So, as long as these types of men are honest with their significant others about their attractions, instincts, behavior and motivation I’m not even mad at them. Though just like fully accepting homo men these kind of guys continue to have their own type of frustrations, and from my experiences are rarely truly happy (unless they’re indulging their real sexuality).

    I am far more annoyed by people like this who try to hide behind labels and “fluidity” and “open-mindedness”. My questions will always be: What do you have real and substantial sexual attraction to (not can you enjoy sex with men and women). And what gender/s do you view potential romantic/life partners? All people need to do is be 100 about those couple things. I’m sick of hearing about people’s experimentations, fetishes, narcissism, gay-4-pay, straight-4-comfort, their willingness to have sex with anybody because of ego and their internalized homophobia. And I’m especially tired of people trying to disguise these things with claims of being “progressive” or “complex”.

    At least these men are apparently completely honest about who they are and what motivates them, which is more than I can say for a lot of supposedly liberated people. I’ve always thought that instead of focusing on everyone living a life according to their sexual attractions (religion, ego, psychology, sociology and fetish will never allow that to fully happen) the focus should just be on people being completely honest about their exact attractions, behavior, fetishes and their motivation. Unfortunately, “identity politics” (a term I usually hate) and fear of being judged has not allowed legit honesty. And it has stalled a very much needed collective conversation about internalized homophobia, the emasculating and isolating nature of being a homosexual male, how much religion and social structure dictates can dictate sexual behavior and “lifestyle” and how much ego, fetish, habit and perversion play into people’s behavior and identity. Once we can have these conversations, instead of coming up with fifty new sexual identities and talking about how complex someone is, real progress can be made.

    • ErikO

      >This is one of the many reasons why so many gay-identifying men remain suspect about bisexual/fluid/queer/I-don’t-believe-in-labels identifying men.<'

      No, it's because these gay men are hypocritical bigots who don't know anything about human sexuality.

    • Donston

      I agree that there is a lot of hypocrisy and bitterness that comes from every side. But it’s also a bit naïve and polly-anna to believe that a lot of bi/fluid/queer etc identifying men aren’t driven by hetero-normalcy, ego, fetish and/or narcissism rather than legit sexuality. As I’ve said before, a greater understanding of sexuality and sexual language is much needed to truly be able to communicate and be honest with each other. And at least these men are completely upfront, as opposed to the vagueness you typically get from non-homo identifying who have frequent sex and relationships with women and men.

  • tr6886

    I heard this guy’s name so many time. He is heredity foundation’s puppet

    • Donston

      I looked him up. Definitely a puppet and an extreme Conservative (doesn’t diminish my points however). Now that they realize that true conversion isn’t possible the focus has changed to promoting hetero-normalcy, telling homo people they can be apart of “real society” and have a full life unless they’re with a woman and hyping the “fluid” sensation. And unfortunately, a lot “Liberal” media is falling for it.

  • kernowcraig

    I was married 15 years! the early Years you spend trying to “Fit in” with a normal life, eventually the urges grow stronger and thats when the damage really starts to set in. You convince yourself that these secret dirty little liaisons you’re having are just to help control your desire, meet one guy, get it over with and the urge will go for a while, but we all know its just “Feeding the beast” any indulgence of the real you, just creates a desire to want it more. I sadly and (I’m very ashamed to say) caught an STD and gave it my then wife! we still tried but that was the end. That was 8 years ago and I’ve been VERY happily with my new husband for the last 5 years. I add the very happily. You see its NORMAL to have a very happy, fulfilling monogamous relationship if you are your partner are the same sex. Thats when the world and “Universe” are truly in order! when you are happy.

    • Donston

      But according to these people gay couples can’t be happy and gay couples can’t properly raise children, gay couples can’t be monogamous, etc.

      Anybody who can’t be happy with the gender they have sexual attraction to or primary sexual attraction has real problems and will never truly be happy. I know that might offend some, but oh well.

  • GayEGO

    I chose not to marry a girl back in 1959 as I was going into the Navy. In 1962 I met my lifetime partner of 55 years, married almost 13 years, and I know to the bottom of my soul that I made the right decision. Although I was brought up as a Mormon, I left the church in 1959 because I could not let other people tell me who they think I should be, that is something I had to figure out for myself. People need to learn to think for themselves and make their decisions based on who they are and not what others tell them to be.

  • Jack Meoff

    In this article this man talks about divorcing and then remarrying his wife simply so that he can fit in with what is considered normal? How can he not see that the problem is with his definition of normal. How much domestic violence is the result of men trying to suppress their true nature by marrying women and then being unhappy in the marriage for obvious reasons and then taking it out on the woman. And what does this say about the women who knowingly marry gay men like the ones in this article. How low does their self esteem have to be in order for them to agree to marry an openly gay man simply to satisfy his desire to fit in with his church community. What are the odds that these gay men married to women are out trawling Grindr and public beats to satisfy their natural urges that they are trying so hard to suppress because we all know that doesn’t work in the long run. There is no upside to this situation for anyone what so ever.

  • ErikO

    I’m not sure who these people are but I find it rather odd; but in the end it’s their choice. Someone I grew up with is gay, deeply closeted, and married a woman because they have no intentions of ever coming out and they want a family, and let their parents dictate their life instead of living the life they want.

  • radiooutmike

    You have to be honest with yourself and that takes a lot of insight and courage.

    I had always struggled with my sexuality. I had a helluva lot of issues growing up, so what sexuality I was, was not a real consideration for me. And I did like women, and I did want to have a wife and family. I just thought, this is the way it’s going to be. So, I had girlfriends, met my wife and had that crazy kind of love you see in the movies. I enjoyed the sex. We had two beautiful sons.

    Along the way, with hectic life, the sex got less and less and I started to have my desires for men more. I never cheated. It was not untenable, I was just resigned to the situation; but I was not at the point where I considered myself gay…maybe bi.

    Anyways, we got divorced because sometimes, even when you love someone so deeply, 23 years together is enough. We put our kids first and had an amicable divorce. It was only after the final separation from her; where I decided to clean with myself, and explore everything that I had put away and compartmentalized.

    Then and only then did I only realize that I was gay. But the strange thing is, even though I am finally myself and totally down with men…I’d still re-marry my ex-wife if we were old and alone. As long as, I could have my my sex on the side…and she could too. No way I’m going back!

    So, maybe this makes me weird. I don’t know. But love really knows no bounds.

    There are many things wrong with Doug Mainwaring. His pathology of homosexuality as a glandular problem. His adherence to his religion. His model-ness as a reformed gay Christian. The least of his worries is that he re-married his ex-wife.

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