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Women are politely asked not to read this post.
Quite often I hear from straight guys who complain that they have trouble dating but nobody wants to help them. And then I add to their problems by having to say, "Would it help if I just pretended you were ex-gay and then advise you the way I advise guys on English Manif?"
The thing is, while you may think ex-gay men have zero chances of getting with a woman, I know a large number of ex-gay men who do well with women. The common denominator among these success stories is that they tend to have decided firmly they wanted out of the gay life, they worked on building themselves up, they dated with confidence, they approached heterosexuality as a chance to do things right (and not be promiscuous or messy), and they didn't waste time. Guys who have tried homosexuality and found it wasn't for them tend to fail unless they really want to go straight. If they decide what they want is to go straight, find a wife, and live out a normal life, they tend to end up married with children within several years. That's actually a lot faster than many straight men who flounder for as long as twenty years not making any headway in their search for a woman to marry.
I have gone back and forth with people I know posing the question: "why do ex-gay men do surprisingly well when they decide they are going to look for a wife?" Here is what I have heard and come up with:
1. Ex-gay men tend to be uninhibited.
Only recently did I spend time thinking about what exactly happened in my life when I got out of the gay scene in the late 1990s. I find the events I remember quite extraordinary. Even with the burden of a scandalous past and seemingly impossible odds, I went out and asked girls out on dates. I emerged from cancer surgery in April 1998, met Mrs. Lopez in August 1999, got engaged by February 2000, moved in with her by the summer of 2000, and was married by January 2001.
Was it all luck?
Well, it was God's blessing and surely a gift from Heaven. But the gift was, in a sense, a lack of fear. I'd seen wild things in the gay scene and been through quite a roller coaster ride. Things didn't necessarily scare me so I asked girls out and expressed my interest when I felt it. I find many ex-gay men are like this. As a group they tend not to have the same paralyzing fears other men do. This makes sense, at least for my generation, because it took bold and undaunted guys to come out of the closet in the first place. It makes sense that the same subset of men would be bold and undaunted once they decided to get out of the gay scene.
2. Ex-gay men tend to be very sensual.
I have nothing good to say about the gay lifestyle. But I can suggest, in a morally neutral way, one effect of having been through it, which could work in ex-gay men's favor when they start going out with girls. In the gay scene you have a lot of sexual experiences. You tend to get fairly comfortable with human contact. This may make ex-gay men more physically expressive with women, which gives them an advantage in competing against other men for desirable women. Just a hunch.
3. Ex-gay men tend not to be overwhelmed by women.
Generally I've noticed that ex-gay men who go out with women do not feel like they are desperately under the woman's erotic power. Perhaps part of having such tendencies involves not being desperately obsessed with getting a woman. The lack of desperation means that ex-gay men can often go out with a woman and not be "trying too hard" to get the relationship to work out. Many guys say that women are attracted to men who don't seem to be looking too desperately. There is a possibility.
4. Ex-gay men tend not to be excessively judgmental.
We are dealing in generalizations here so of course some of this may not be true in all cases. But a guy who's been through the gay scene is not someone who can consider himself pure as the driven snow. Though he may have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, he will usually understand that people have back stories and mistakes happen in people's lives. Women can often struggle with feelings of guilt over their past mistakes. Women also tend to back away if they feel someone views them with disdain or too much harsh criticism. Ex-gay men have started over after a life of sin and hardship so they may be less prone to dismissing women who have complicated things going on in their past lives.
5. Ex-gay men tend to be flexible with life situations.
Along with the lower levels of judgmentality comes, for many ex-gay men, a certain amount of flexibility with women's life situations. Most ex-gay men are sensible enough to know that their past is a huge strike against them and they do not expect every woman to be understanding about their homosexual track record. Many know that it takes a woman who is incredibly open-minded and gracious to give an ex-gay man a chance. So ex-gay men can sometimes reciprocate in a way that makes them more adaptable to women's life situations -- like living with a sick parent, or not being fully employable -- which other men might not be patient about.
6. Ex-gay men tend to be ready for something serious.
If a guy has reached the point in his life where he's said, "I am getting out of the gay scene," he is usually not interested in frittering around with a lot of aimless and vague dalliances. Aimless and vague dalliances abound in gay life and there would be little reason to jump from gay promiscuity and instability to a straight version of the same thing with the added stress of possible pregnancy. Most ex-gay men I know who were serious about getting out of homosexuality were also serious about getting into a functional monogamous relationship with a woman. After dealing with the flighty and unreliable flavors of gay life they were drawn to the model of stability and loyalty. This is not to say that ex-gays do not slip up and make terrible mistakes--believe me, they can be backsliders extraordinaire--but they usually have an end goal they want and are upfront about working toward. Women who are tired of noncommittal casual dating may find this desirable.
7. Ex-gay men have a lot of life experience.
If you have come out as gay, done enough of the gay scene to have decided you want to leave, and then made some transition into dating women, you have simply seen and done a lot more than most people do in life. It can make you jaded and haggard in some cases. In many cases, however, it makes you seasoned and worldly. You have ease with different subcultures, different dialects, different styles and scenes. That makes you interesting and gives you a lot of things to talk about.
8. Ex-gay men tend to be religious.
In the gay scene, "spiritual" men were a dime a dozen--the guys who played with crystals, Tarot cards, prosperity preachers, or contrived faiths like the Metropolitan Church. The men who get out of the gay scene are overwhelmingly not spiritual but actually religious. It is usually not just a vague desire for feel-good spirituality or self-healing that can push a man to the extreme of wanting to renounce homosexuality. Something that difficult only becomes a doable goal, in most cases, because of a strong faith in God, a fear of displeasing God with sin, and a yearning for holiness. While ex-gay men carry with them the memory of tremendous sin they committed and they must wrestle every day with temptation, they may find some advantages with women in the fact that a strong religious mindset drives them. Women are more likely to be churchgoers and often they cannot find strong churchgoing men. So sometimes Christian women are willing to look past an ex-gay man's homosexual history and enjoy their company based on their faithfulness of today.
9. Ex-gay men often left the gay scene because they want to become fathers, so they can often feel comfortable dating women who have children.
Divorced and single moms have a tough time, not only in the Christian world but everywhere. Your average straight guy has never grappled with the pain of fearing he will never be able to experience fatherhood, so straight guys often take for granted that whenever they get around to fathering children they will do it. Why date a woman who's raising another man's child? Many straight men do not want the complication. Ex-gay men can have the same reaction but many whom I know see fatherhood as an incredible gift because they passed through a period when they had all but given up on the thought it could happen for them. So if a woman has children, I've noticed that ex-gay men see this as a plus rather than a turnoff. This doesn't eliminate all the difficulties stepfathers have with stepchildren, but it can push them past the threshold that often other straight men do not want to cross.
10. Ex-gay men are probably good at intimacy.
There are not many people in the world who have full sexual experience with both sexes. This is not a desirable or holy thing to experience and is rooted in sin, so I do not encourage anyone to go out and try bisexuality just on a whim. But to offset the many disadvantages ex-gay men face, they have one ironic plus: they just know a lot more about sex than the average man. They tend not to be as freaked out or skittish by sexual contact. Since women enjoy sex with their husbands, this could be one factor explaining why ex-gay men can do well with women.
These are all guesses and informal observations. Maybe there is something else entirely to explain why ex-gay men can succeed with women. But I can say, it happens and I've witnessed it. Rather than undatable and hopeless, ex-gay men tend to be viable on the dating scene. In many cases they get to marriage and family life faster than their straight peers.