Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Lisa Merchant

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Joanna Mendez-Pounds

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Lisa Powell


Mixed-orientation marriages (MOMs) are often misunderstood. There is a general cynicism in research literature and in the broader culture regarding the relational viability of same-sex attracted (SSA) individuals who marry someone of the opposite sex. However, there exist couples in MOMs that are resilient and attain satisfaction. The purpose of this study is to better understand how MOMs might become successful. By interviewing maritally satisfied mixed-orientation couples, the Model of Relational Self- Determination in Mixed-Orientation Marriages was developed. This model is separated into five stages that are organized around the experience of disclosure of the SSA spouse’s sexuality. Depending on what meaning and perceptions are constructed by the couple regarding this disclosure, they may gain the ability to suspend disbelief regarding the viability of their marriage, which informs their attitudes and actions going forward. Mixed-orientation couples who practice relational self-determination—or make consistent, intentional, and self-motivated choices to believe and behave in ways that benefit the relationship—may develop the fruits of those beliefs and choices in the form of a mutually fulfilling relationship.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.