Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Marriage, Dating, and SSA Men

So, I've been thinking about the topic of marriage as it relates to men with
SSA for a while now. I tend to feel a surge of emotion when I've heard so
many men express the idea that they are sure that they won't be married in
this life. I fear that will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy that isn't
necessarily meant to be true.

The key culprit in this issue is the idea that "I don't date girls because
I'm not attracted to them." Let me explain a bit more. Guys who I hear say
this usually have a follow-up explanation that basically says: "If at some
point, by some miracle, I develop attractions for women I'm totally open to
the idea of getting married, but since I don't feel any attraction to them,
it isn't fair for me to date them, and frankly, I don't have any desire to."

I strongly believe that this attitude is motivated by the enemy of our
souls. He would like nothing more than for us to put off courting and
dating until we are "attracted to women." This is because he knows that if
we do, the attractions to women will most likely never come.

I'm a firm believer that one of the most effective way to develop sexual
attractions to women is to develop a deep emotional bond with that woman.
One of the most effective ways to develop a deep emotional bond with a woman
is to spend time with and to serve that woman. Dating provides an excellent
opportunity to spend time with and to serve a woman.

I wonder if the Church-School Culture isn't at least partly to blame here.
Dating is not about going on a date with a woman who you can imagine
yourself marrying. I think dating is more about the process of getting to
know someone and figuring out if there is any possibility that you might be
able to find joy in a marriage with that someone. That process not only
takes time, it requires actually going through the process.

I kind of got sucked into dating my wife. We were totally not dating for
the first 2 months we were hanging out. She started it all. She asked me
to go walking with her one night, because no one else would go with her. I
had barely met her three nights before at our Singles' Branch Family Home
Evening. I felt bad for her needing to get out and walk, but not feeling
safe that late at night. I grudgingly left my interesting and extremely
isolated evening routine to go walk with this girl from the branch. I found
out I kinda enjoyed spending time with her and talking to her. So when she
said she wanted to get together again, I just blurted out that there was a
Multi-Stake dance that weekend. For the next couple of months we spent a
lot of time together. Then one night we were in my parent's basement
watching a movie. She told me about her week (one in which she had spent
some time with some other guys). I started to experience this
uncomfortable feeling in my stomach when she told me that she was
considering dating one of them. I liked spending time with her and, after
all, she was my only friend. It's not like I wanted to marry her or even
kiss her. I just wanted to have to to myself so I could spend time with

For the next 2 months, I thought up every way I could possibly come up with
to break up with her without breaking her heart. I made numerous plans just
to break it off, only to lose my nerve when the moment came. Finally, I
settled on what seemed like a fool-proof strategy. I committed to an
Internship 14 hours away. I would move away and the distance would simply
be too much for the relationship. She wouldn't take it personally and I
would avoid having to tell her that I wasn't interested in marrying her.
Everything was going perfectly, until the night that I realized I loved
her. I was totally unprepared for that 2x4 to the head. I mean I knew I
really like her and cared about her and enjoyed spending time with her. But
that wasn't love. There sure as hell wasn't any sexual attraction. At
least that's what I had been telling myself. After that, I was really
confused. I loved her but I wasn't sexually attracted to her. I couldn't
picture having sex with her. I had no idea what to do.

However, once I realized that I loved her, the craziest things started
happening. My body started having physiological responses. When we cuddled
or kissed, my pulse quickened and I started breathing funny. Blood started
flowing to new places. Over time, I found myself thinking about her in ways
that I'd not previously thought about her, and much to my dismay, I wasn't
repulsed at the thought.

Before I knew it I had asked her to marry me and move to Nebraska with me
while I did my internship. There's a lot of other crap that came from me
being stupid and not addressing my SSA before my marriage. I was dumb and
naive enough to think that once I had an appropriate outlet for my sexual
energy, the SSA would just fade away. Oh, boy was I ever wrong! Things got
a lot worse before they got better. However, I know that the process of my
falling in love with my wife was real.

I know a couple of friends who say that the process of sexual/emotional
attraction tends to happen backwards for men with SSA. I agree with this.
For a large number of straight men, the reason they date a woman in the
first place is because they think she's hot and they want to find out if
there is any way they can get along with her emotionally. So the sexual
attraction comes first and then as they spend time with her, an emotional
attraction develops. We don't get the same hormonal jump start to dating.
We spend time with her, develop that emotional attractions and then
eventually develop a sexual attraction. But the dating part is still
essential to developing the necessary emotional attraction.

I know this has been incredibly long and maybe it's too much, but the bottom
line is that if SSA men have any interest in someday getting married, they've gotta
date now regardless of the level of sexual attraction that they currently feel
toward women.


Hidden said...

Thanks so much for this. This has really helped me understand some of where I am and the things happening in my life. I really needed this post right now.

Cat[Catastrophe] said...

Kevin, I love this story and it will never get old. I love you guys. I love, respect and look up to you both for what you have overcome together. Your words of wisdom are amazing and I miss hearing them from you more often. Thanks for the post, its truly inspiring as are you and your lovely wifey.


Walking Bear said...


carolyn said...

Thanks so much...this was linked on the Northstar parents' site. I believe I have read it before, but how refreshing! What a great angle and a great story. I believe our young people are turning off their chances for a hetero relationship because they give up so soon...and label themselves as "gay"....with no other route to travel!

Kevin L. said...

I want to add that I'm certainly not saying this is the path for everyone. I fully recognize that there are people for whom marriage is not a possibility in this life. I don't mean to minimize their experience at all.

I guess the point is just that if we are humble and sincere, the Lord will guide our lives and direct us in whatever paths He sees fit. It doesn't do us good to resist those promptings because we don't see how it's possible. It also doesn't help us to insist on things happening just because they are the norm (in society or even in the church).

Beyond said...

I know that this was originally posted over 6 years ago, and I am not sure if the author of this post will see this. But this particular post has so deeply touched me; it completely captured so much of my own experience in my journey through SSA and I was lucky to come across it at a moment when I really needed it. I am struggling with many of the fears and insecurities mentioned in this piece, and I think that speaking directly with him will be very helpful to me.

Is there a way for me to reach out, via message or email, to the author of this post? (Tried to look for contact info but didn't find anything) Thank you for any help! And thank you for this piece!