In part 3 of his interview, Rich Wyler, life coach and founder of People Can Change, expounds his perspective on the origins and expression of his same-sex attraction and the experience of finding that perspective.
While Rich describes his father as kind, he also believes a fear of touch may have led his father to unwittingly contribute to the thing he was afraid of by creating or exacerbating Rich’s deficit of masculine affirmation and connection. But his experience with masculine rejection goes beyond this. Rich placed a lot of importance on typical middle school experiences like being picked last for the team, around which he felt shame and rejection. Looking back, Rich doesn’t know how often he was bullied, but what he does clearly remember is his daily fear of it. As a teenager, he discovered pornography and used it as a coping mechanism to deal with stress and shame. When a stranger at a bookstore sexually approached him, he was simultaneously thrilled to have a man’s interest and horrified by what it meant. It was the first time he thought he might be gay, but he held on to the secret through additional experiences of rejection and shame through his mission and beyond.
Nine years into his marriage, Rich found reparative therapy and began the difficult work of changing habits and bringing up past pain. Therapy offered Rich something twelve step programs hadn’t: it asked what needs underlay his actions and sought to help him overcome his fear of men to meet those needs nonsexually.
by Jay Jacobsen
(The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect those of the producers of Far Between but are reflective of a part of what it means to be homosexual and Mormon.)