May 11, 2023

Podcast Transcript | Life is Complicated — Understanding Attraction and Sexual Orientation with Dr. Ty Mansfield

Written by

Ty Mansfield

Live Your Why Podcast

with Tammy Hill 

Life is Complicated—Understanding Attraction and Sexual Orientation with Dr. Ty Mansfield

— Episode 66 | January 1, 2023 —

Tammy Hill: Are you wanting to live a life with more clarity and happiness? I'm Tammy Hill, a licensed marriage and family therapist, sex therapist, professor at Brigham Young University, and most importantly, a wife, mother, and grandmother. I am also an optimist. I strive to live my life on purpose with purpose. I am here to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that together, each of us can change our world for the better. Join me for Live Your Why Podcast. Together, we can live a life full of passion and purpose.

“Love is complicated”. This is a catch-all phrase for times when marriage feels really hard. Relationships are hard. They're also one of the two things we take with us when we leave this life. We take with us relationships and wisdom or knowledge. So, I think they're worth the risk. I often tell my students and clients that love is not complicated. It just is. The complicated part is finding two souls who are feeling it at the same time in their lives and feeling it for each other. That can be really complicated. But when that feeling is so deep in your heart, so clear in your mind, and so felt in your gut. You become willing to fight every second of the day to keep it alive. You choose intentionally to put the relationship to the forefront. What's best for the marriage always requires sacrifice from both the husband and wife. In therapy with a couple, I always let them know who my client really is. I tell the husband; you are not my client.

I tell the wife; you are not my client. My client is your marriage. And this is the complicated part. Coming to fully realize that love isn't always easy. Sometimes it's pretty sticky. There’re times that it's bliss. And it's the mix of these emotions that makes it feel complicated. Some of the most marriages are mixed orientation marriages. In these situations, one spouse is straight while the other spouse is gay or lesbian. When two individuals in a mixed orientation, romantic relationship deeply care for one another and are inspired by one another. They cannot imagine living life without each other. They sometimes make the choice to marry. In my private practice, it has been an honor to work with several mixed orientation couples. These individuals are intentionally choosing the marriage and in so doing are creating beautiful lives of devotion together. Today, my guest is Doctor Ty Mansfield. We are going to be discussing how complicated love can be. If you like this program, please go to the link in the show notes and give it a rating and review.

Hello, welcome back today. We get to talk again to my good friend Ty Mansfield. Ty, will you tell us just a little bit about yourself as we get started?

Ty Mansfield: Yes, especially for those that didn't listen to the previous interview. So, I am a therapist. I grew up in Utah, attended BYU. Originally, actually was going to my undergrad was in Chinese studies and business. It was for the state department. But had a change of heart and a bit of a course correction later on and went back to school and family therapy. Got my masters in my doctorate in marriage and family therapy and now, I have a full-time private practice in Provo and I also teach part time in religious education at BYU.

Tammy Hill: Yes, and you're a beloved therapist and teacher. So, did you serve in a Chinese speaking mission?

Ty Mansfield: No, I served stateside. But when I got back from my mission China, I was always interested in business. And China, I just entered the WTO, so there was a lot of speculation about opportunities with China and I lived in Japan when I was younger for about three years. So, I loved Asia, was interested in Asia and China was always just this really kind of exciting question and opportunity. And when that happened, I thought this was, it just seemed like a great direction to go. So that's great.

Tammy Hill: That's cool. Alright, so today we are going to talk a little bit about a little more about sexuality and especially sexual orientation in marriage. I have a lot of terms here to talk about. Maybe I'll that I'd like you to describe the terminology for our listeners. There's heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, sexual orientation, asexual and pansexual. Can you help us understand each of those terms please?

Ty Mansfield: Yes, and so to do that I want to reiterate a concept that I kind of touched on in the last podcast that it's really important to differentiate the qualitative experience of attraction that might be less fluid and there's different domains of attraction. So, you have erotic attraction, romantic attraction, affectional, aesthetic, social, and spiritual. And we all experience degrees of this. We typically don't always use this language but for both sexes, right? So, for example my wife and I were doing initiatory recently. And as my wife came out of her session with initiatories doing initiatories. She said, “Oh, I just had this really sweet experience”. And the woman that was leading her through initiatories just grabbed her by the face and said, you are so beautiful, right? And my wife didn't think oh that's so sweet. Are you a lesbian? Right? She didn't even, right.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: Right, Because I think women often have a permission to notice the beauty of other women and they're not even necessarily, they're not at all typically not thinking of it at all in sexual or romantic terms, right? And I think men will notice that too. We'd call that aesthetic attraction, right? You see other people that you just think are very beautiful or very handsome or whatever. Men will think that but they don't, they're not allowed to say that. What they'll say is, oh, the ladies must like him, right? It's you have to they have to kind of deflect it, right? I love you bro, no. And so, there's a sense in which when we experience various qualities of attraction. Sometimes there's going to be a mix of or an overlay of erotic or romantic qualities of attraction to some of these others. I think some of these qualities of attraction like aesthetic and social and spiritual and affectional can all be experienced in purely platonic ways. And that sometimes they're also overlapped with erotic or romantic.

All that to say. We're all experience a variety of different kinds of attraction to different human beings. Some of those qualities of attraction are going to be more and this is going to be important especially as we get into different some of the more the newer identity labels that we're hearing more of today. So, I'll get there in a minute but again, we all experience a lot of different qualities of attraction and we can have, there's actually a kind of a newer scale looking at attraction that one of my colleagues developed.s Historically, you have the Kinsey scale.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: This kind of scale of 1 to 6 which is problematic for a couple of reasons, right? So, as Kenzie considered this, Alfred Kinsey, a 6 was exclusively homosexual and 1 was exclusively heterosexual with variations of bisexuality in between. That's problematic for a number of reasons. One is that it doesn't take into account other domains of attraction or someone might have low erotic attraction but high romantic, right? Or they might have low or maybe even high erotic but low romantic or low erotic romantic and high affectional and aesthetic and social. Does that make sense?

Tammy Hill: Absolutely.

Ty Mansfield: So, it doesn't take into account these other domains or dimensions of attraction and it also doesn't take into account aversion. Because you have the scale of maybe orientation but that could be strong or weak in each any of those numbers or you can even have a version and a version is different than low attraction. Where it's necessarily complicated, right? So, you have this Kinsey scale that's kind of obsolete in a lot of ways, but then some of those patterns of attraction are going to be more stable over time where some are going to be more fluid and some of those patterns of attraction that are more stable is what we think of as sexual orientation, right? But gender is only one variable in who we find attractive, right? So, there are going to be other things in terms of who we think of as attractive. That can be age, body type, racial or ethnic background, tattoo no tattoos, how do they dress other social attributions, right?

There are some cultures in which heavier women are seen as more attractive than thinner women. Some cultures with thinner women and that's a lot of that has to do with what that society or culture sees as valuable or usually having something to do with wealth or social status, right? So, we have a lot of variables that play into what we find attractive and who we find attractive certainly beyond genes, right? And then, but those patterns that tend to be more stable over time is what we would typically refer to as sexual orientation.

Tammy Hill: Okay.

Ty Mansfield: Because I do work with individuals. I have a handful of clients right now who are kind of navigating what I would call situational attractions versus orientational attractions. But we typically think was orientation, where they might typically identify as heterosexual and have historically only thought of themselves as heterosexual. But then they fell in love with a mission companion or a roommate, because they develop this really deep emotional connection. And out of emotional connection, sexual feelings can arise and they're now questioning their sexuality or what that means or sometimes they're not, right? One client right now she's doesn't identify because I had kind of put out this question. So, you're describing this relationship and what you're feeling how is that played into identity and she's like it hasn't. That wasn't even a question right, but this relationship with this other former mission companion and roommate just developed into more of a romantic relationship.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: So, then you have the behavior is kind of the, so I have think of this as a 4 tiers right, kind of a four tier. Where again this lower tier is attraction this kind of wide base then you have orientation these patterns and you have behavior and then ultimately identity.

Tammy Hill: Okay.

Ty Mansfield: And identity is the ways in which is sort of the interpretive lens or the narrative through which we interpret what we're experiencing and incorporate that into a sense of self. Historically, you have descriptive labels at least what they were at the time you have they when homosexuality came into being, or was aa a term right in the late 1800s was the first time the word homosexual was ever used. But you can have a homosexual without its correlate, right. Nobody ever talked about was no such thing as a heterosexual at the time. Nobody those terms but once we have a homosexual now, we've got to talk about what the opposite is then we have heterosexuals too. Then later you have bisexuals, but then there was always this sense of homosexuality is just homosexuality is the orientation but then as part of the sexual liberation movement and the kind of gay liberation movement which was a subset of that. You had people identifying as gay, you're taking on this label of gay as a way of incorporating their homosexuality into a sense of self, right? And so, you had gay homosexuals and non-gay homosexual, right.

Tammy Hill: Interesting.

Ty Mansfield: And so, historically you have these terms have been used very different. And then since then you have additional identity constructs. You have identified as asexual. But again, a lot of these are just the labels that people are using or the identities they're incorporating. You have pansexual which people identify as pansexual tend to be it's different than bi and that gender is less of a variable, right. So, what's interesting about this when we talk about sexual orientation is that typically we thought of as gender is the primary organizing variable.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: You're attracted boys or girls or both so for people who identify as pansexual. What bisexual you're just attracted to both. It's still gender but you're attracted to both. For people who identify as pan that that variable of gender is DM emphasized. And it's more about the person that they're attracted to gender. Does that make sense?

Tammy Hill: Yes.

Ty Mansfield: And then you have a newer kind of not as common but it's starting to become more common of what some people have referred to as demisexual. And demisexual is where it's more of in order to experience any kind of attraction there has to be regardless of gender. There has to be a more of a deep emotional connection first. Does that make sense? So, there's all of these different ways which we experience attraction and how it's connected to emotion or social attraction, all these other things and then there's how we label it and develop a sense of identity around it and that's where we get a lot of these other terms.

Tammy Hill: Oh, so interesting. So, I'm curious when you have someone, a client coming in and maybe they're having attraction that's this way or this way. Do you give them this assessment like is this something you do typically in a therapy session to assess where are you on all of this?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, a lot of times. Especially if people are trying to understand it. right? We'll just say let's just look at what's happening and I'll talk about those tears. Because again because we people tend to grow up especially youth today just kind of saturated in a culture. Where to feel is to be, right? I feel therefore I am and where again a feelings and attractions and identity is just all one and the same or you feel this way and then therefore this sort of identity is getting just as soon right or projected onto people. Just to give them an opportunity to sort of unpack that a bit to look at the complexity of it and also to give them a little bit of space to say okay this is what I feel and I have some options in terms of how I understand that and how I develop an identity around it where sometimes that option has never been presented even as a choice.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: And then to be able to go through all these different domains of attraction and to see where they are with regard to the opposite sex or the same sex and sometimes you Somebody who identifies as gay. But when they get to the opposite sex, they might have maybe low or moderate attraction to the opposite sex both erotic and romantic. But it's not no, but it's because it's higher right, in maybe in the same sex or they have really high social attraction.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: Really high spiritual attraction or aesthetic or affectional. So, there's just to be able to see it and to see how varied it is and it provides a lot of freedom to just think about it outside of just these very rigid LGBT if you even if you add the Q plus it still all feels very like I'm being put into a box. Versus I get to just look at what I'm experiencing and think about it in this very kind of nuanced and complex and even a little messy ways, without having to be forced into a box or a story or an identity.

Tammy Hill: I think that assessment would be so helpful.

Ty Mansfield: Yeah.

Tammy Hill: I really think that that would be very helpful for a lot of people. So, If you're a parent and you have a child that's questioning what it is they're feeling and what their attraction is, would you encourage them to have an assessment like that just so they have the space to kind of ponder and sit in it for a little bit before they identify as something specific?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, and I think of it just more as kind of an exercise, right? Let's just look at what's going on. Because it's when I'm diagnosing anything. It's just sort of like a way of conceptualizing it that gives a little bit of space and so I think that can be helpful for anyone.

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Ty Mansfield: Yeah. I think for people just be able to look at that and begin a conversation that way can be helpful.

Tammy Hill: Yes, I agree. So, as far as the DSM is concerned and we're talking about these different identifiers of sexuality, they're not considered any longer. I know historically, homosexuality was considered a dysfunction in the DSM but these are not considered as diagnosable issues, correct?

Ty Mansfield: Correct.

Tammy Hill: Correct. Okay. So, when it comes to a couple that is interested in one another wherever their attraction is, their identity is. I love, I just want to study more about that assessment or that kind of figuring it out, and maybe you have someone that would identify as bi and someone that would identify as straight and they want to marry and there's some mixed orientation type of marriages that go on. I know I counsel with a few couples like this. I'm curious how prevalent do you think this is or what does research tell us as far as its prevalence and how high is the rate that they stay together and make it work?

Ty Mansfield: So, let's take well there's two questions ultimately there. One is the prevalence of who people experiencing this.

Tammy Hill: Yes.

Ty Mansfield: And then what is the prevalence of people getting married? The first question we have more data than we do the second.

Tammy Hill: Okay.

Ty Mansfield: So, the prevalence of those who experience some level of non-exclusive heterosexuality. If you're looking exclusive homosexuality, there's been a number of studies that across time and space, those numbers are pretty consistent. Across age demographic and across time. For men, it's two to four percent of men identify as exclusively homosexual and one to 2% of women identify as exclusively homosexual. When you start getting into mostly homosexual all the way to mostly heterosexual, you start to see some variation across time and demographic. There's a much larger range of bisexuality than people have historically thought and the ranges of those who are identifying as mostly heterosexual is where you're seeing the most variability across age demographic especially. So, there was a U-gov study recently that had a British sample and an American sample United States and in the British sample of those that were in the 18 to 24, 26 I can't remember the exact time frame but that kind of young adult category. A full half 50% identified as not exclusively heterosexual and most of those.

So, if you again if you look at the exclusively homosexual that's going to be the same as all other age demographics. But as you get into that, that mostly heterosexual that's where you start seeing these numbers kind of skyrocket in younger demographics. So, there's just an openness, a curiosity, a willingness to note if there's non-exclusive attractions than there are in other generations. So, how much of that social, how much of that's a socialization and how much of that is just people feel more able and comfortable talking about it. There's still a conversation about that. In the United States sample, it was a third.

Tammy Hill: A third.

Ty Mansfield: So, I imagine there's probably still some cultural variables there that have to be scout. But again, so you have a third of young adults who in the United States who are reporting being not exclusively heterosexual.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: So, that's kind of prevalence piece. Now, of those who, now, again, from those who are mostly heterosexual to those who are some levels of bisexuality, you're probably going to have more people entering opposite sex relationships. Opposite sex relationships are going to be more common than same sex. But we don't exact have good data because when you start looking at mixed orientation marriages or mixed sexuality relationships as they're sometimes being called now. It's all what we call convenience sampling. So, we just don't have really good representative samples of that and then there was a second part of your question that you asked in.

Tammy Hill: I guess if you don't have a lot of data on the marriage of mixed sexual, what did you call in way you're terming it now?

Ty Mansfield: Mixed orientation or mixed sexuality is what there's called.

Tammy Hill: Mixed sexuality marriages when you don't have the data on How many are getting married or the prevalence of that, then it would be really difficult to know how much did they stay together was the divorce rate, right?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah. They are all projections. We did do a big study. So, as part of a research group did a big study that we called the four-options survey. And in that study, we had about and today it's the largest study of its kind. And we had about 2000 participants and we were looking at four kinds of roughly there's variations of each of these, but four life path for sexual minorities. So, those that are single and celibate. Those that are single and sexually active. Opposite sex or mixed orientation relationships or same sex relationships.

Tammy Hill: Okay.

Ty Mansfield: And we had roughly between four and 500 in each of those demographics. So, there was actually the two most common were mixed orientation marriages and same sex relationships. So, you have we had about 500 in each of those and then 400 something in the in the other category in the same categories. But so, even though there and the purpose of the study was to say, is there something we can tell about those because in each of those categories, you have people who are high or spectrum of people who are highly dissatisfied to highly satisfied and that was true in each of those including same sex and then, how are people doing in mental health? So, the question we're asking was not is there a right path but if someone was to pursue this path, what do we know about those who are both healthy and satisfied and looking at those common factors. But, in that research, we have this kind of broader narrative that mixed orientation relationships just don't work, right? Or what we typically hear of is the kind of the tragic stories.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: But in our sample the average age or sorry the average length of mixed orientation relationships it was a little bit of an apples and oranges situation in that mixed orientation relationships were more stable than same-sex relationships. The same sex relationships were more satisfied than mixed orientation, right?

Tammy Hill: Interesting.

Ty Mansfield: And so, you had 80% of mixed orientation relationships reported being satisfied. And 94% of same-sex relationships reported being satisfied. So, it's a little bit of an apples and oranges situation, right?

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Ty Mansfield: That mixed orientation relationships were two and a half times more stable than same sex. So, and there are these kinds of variables that just often don't get talked about in this broader conversation. But the fact that 80% were satisfied was is surprising to some. Almost as if that that shouldn't be the case, right? But we're more likely to hear from that 20% than we're likely to hear the 80%.

Tammy Hill: That's so interesting.

Ty Mansfield: Because it's the 20% who are likely to divorce.

Tammy Hill: Right. If you were in a situation or counseling a couple let’s, say who's coming in a situation and there's going to be a mixed sexual marriage possibly. What kinds of advice would you give this couple as a therapist?

Ty Mansfield: Well in light of your, the title of your podcast, right? I would want to know their why, right? Where are you coming from? Why are you wanting to do this? I think if their motivations are internal versus external. I think if they're externally motivated, it's social pressure. Parents really want me to; I would counsel against it. I think for someone to have a healthy and sustainable, marriage, it really needs to come. They need to know their why and it needs to be something that they really feel good about and something that they want personally. From there, it's more of the how.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: So, if you have your why and I'll often tell students or tells, well, tell students or tell clients like, I can tell you how but I can't give you your why. So, if you're really clear about your why, there's a lot that we can do.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Tammy Hill: If you're not clear about your why, then, you're going to have to do some work there first. So then, from there, it's okay. So, what are the variables or the factors that are most strongly contribute to a healthy, satisfied, sustainable relationship and we would talk about those. I think you also have to have a pretty strong sense of self. I think the idea of people are still kind of in a conflicted relationship their sexuality. I would advise some caution to take some time to kind of make peace with and integrate what it is that they're feeling at a minimum the conflict is gone and they feel like they can make this choice from a healthier place, a less anxiety-based place and then I think it can be healthy, right? So, if they've got a strong sense of self and they know their why. Then we're just looking at the how and what variables contribute and that's an easier conversation from that point and I think work with a lot of people who are either in really solid relationships or who are kind of in that premarital kind of discernment stages is something that I want and who have gone on to get married have really healthy marriages.

Tammy Hill: Yeah, me too. Not the numbers that you do, but a few. So, when you look at the let's look at the 6 attraction pieces types of attraction. And you have a mixed couple that you're counseling with. And obviously you're going to kind of give him time to meander about all of this. Are there certain levels of attraction that are stronger than others or that lead if it's a real spiritual attraction is that going to override maybe not having the erotic attraction? Does that make sense? Are there some that are contributing in greater levels of satisfaction to the relationship?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, it's a good question. I think there's a couple things. One is that low to no Attraction in some domains is different than a version. When you start to get into a version, we're having a different conversation. I think if we're talking about different degrees of attraction in those 6 domains, I think attraction is important, but I think of it as net attraction, right. So, we're taking all of those domains into, into consideration. And some of those domains, you might have the spiritual, that's stronger, than romantic erotic or the social or the affectional that's stronger than those others. But I think if the net experience is attraction, then they have something to work with that feels honest for them.

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Tammy Hill: Because I've also worked with heterosexual couples who felt really peaceful and guided into a relationship where the erotic piece or the romantic piece wasn't as strong. And they're heterosexual, but it was just this feeling of divine guidance and peace and ultimately just really loving and being drawn to this person as a whole. Even if erotic romantic wasn't as erotic was attraction wasn't as strong or maybe romantic attraction wasn't as strong, but there's a strong affectional or a strong spiritual or a strong social. So, I don't think this is exclusive even to mixed orientation, but I do think being able to see all of those domains and taken in the whole and I've had couples even as we talk about situational attraction.

There was one woman that I was talking to who I had do this and her question when I gave her this sort of exercise and she's looking at these different. She said, “Are we talking about men or are we talking about my husband?” Right? She says, because my answers would be different, right?

Tammy Hill: Interesting.

Ty Mansfield: And she said, for most men, it would be quite low. She said, but when I meet a man for whom I feel a lot of respect, it's pretty high in all of these categories. And so, she's like, this is not an issue between me and my husband, like, I'm good with that, but I need to figure out how to manage these attractions to women that keep coming up for me.

Tammy Hill: Oh yeah.

Ty Mansfield: And so, you can Have someone, right? That and especially when you if we're differentiating romantic and erotic. Erotic attraction has more biological underpinning. It's not deterministic, but there's a stronger biological component than there is with romantic attraction which is more tied to attachment. So, there's no romantic orientation per se in the way that that develops or plays out in terms of the parts of the brain that govern attachment and govern romantic of attraction. So, that romantic piece is going to be more variable than which is why I think you have more people who are that exclusive piece or the nonexclusive. Whether it's a heterosexual individual that finds themselves falling in love with somebody the same sex or a same sex-oriented person that tends to be finds themselves kind of falling in love with somebody opposite sex. That's going to typically be more tied to that romantic piece, the attachment piece, feeling safe and seen and then the sexual energy can rise out of that. But that's usually where it's going to start, right?

So again, there's so many different variables that can play out so differently for different people. So, what when I'm working with someone, I'm really looking at that and how can you leverage some of that in a positive way.

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: And how might some of these differences determine what might be healthy or less healthy for some than others?

Tammy Hill: Sexual fluidity is it seems like we research it a lot more now than we did in the past and it seems to be of it as something that people experience now than they did in the past. What do you say about like about that? Because I think for me personally if I've made covenants with this person and I'm going to put all my romantic energy into this relationship and maybe there will be someone I'm attracted to that could be a woman but it's like it's not even that fluid piece isn't going to be part of who I am, right? What makes it so that it becomes fluid for people.

Ty Mansfield: Well, it comes back to that in those tiers, right? Attractions or what might vary over time, but when it comes to behavior, behavior is evaluative piece.

Tammy Hill: You're right.

Ty Mansfield: Whether the behavior is going to come. So, if I'm an exclusively heterosexual Catholic who wants to join the priesthood, it doesn't matter what my attractions are if I'm taking on this vow of celibacy, right?

Tammy Hill: Right.

Ty Mansfield: So, there's a sense in which everyone has the capacity to be attracted to people other than their spouse. And once you are married, you're living more from this place of value and commitment and covenant. Even if you notice yourself finding other people attractive, we're still kind of gently kind of guiding and refocusing back into the relationship regardless of what patterns attraction might be or what orientation we might tend to have.

Tammy Hill: That makes sense. So, if I were to go back and look at or you go back for a minute and look at a younger Ty and knowing all you've learned throughout your story and you've taught so many people and are helping so many people, what advice would you give your younger self? Let's say yourself when you're 18, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?

Ty Mansfield: That everything's going to be okay and that you don't have anything to be afraid of. I was so afraid of even acknowledging it, because I had very high values and I wanted my life to look a certain way. I really believed in the gospel. I wanted to get married and have a family and the idea of acknowledging that was very scary to me. Because I didn't know if that would be possible and so I suppressed it and I think if there was a way for me to go and reassure that self that there's time to look at all that you don't need to be afraid you don't need to feel shame and you've got some time to kind of figure this out and figure out what your future looks like and that you can still have a beautiful life and a beautiful future. None of this has to deter from that. I think that's what I would want to say, and but ultimately just that shame piece I just felt so much shame.

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Ty Mansfield: That this was the worst thing that anybody could ever know. Mm hmm. And the way we talked about it back then was a lot different than today.

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Ty Mansfield: But I think that the pendulum swung, right? I think that, in today's day, I know I would have just been told what my life should look like and that what it couldn't look like and I think I that where I probably would have suppressed it even more.

Tammy Hill: Yeah.

Ty Mansfield: So, I would just go back and just reassure right that this is going to be a journey and everything's going to be alright. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Tammy Hill: I love that and I think a lot of us I think the older I get the more that's what I would tell my younger self is hang in there you're going to make it, it'll work out. So alright, let's end up today. I like to close asking my guests about their why. And we talked a little bit about why earlier and knowing who you are and what it is that you're wanting to be about while you're here on earth. But Ty could you share with us what your why is?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, similar to what I mentioned on the previous episode that when I was working through kind of an existential crisis around all of this, I had some very powerful spiritual experiences but more so some very powerful manifestations of God's love. And that even when I was in a very dark place feeling that love when I was in a place where I felt like I wasn't worthy that love or didn't deserve that love just completely changed the way that I saw God and how God works with us in our lives. And trusting that love trust every changed everything for me and I just see everything today through the lens of that love, that everything that he calls us to do and invites us to do is from this lens of love what he wants for us, what he sees is our potential if we're willing to trust in that to surrender our own stories and expectations and attachments and just kind of trust in that divine hand, right? And I think everything that I do is for that and because of that and wanting to manifest that love that I have felt to the world so that other people can also know of that love.

Tammy Hill: It's beautiful. I guess I'll ask one more question, because obviously you had deeply spiritual experiences that were really grounding for you as far as who you are and that you are loved completely. How do we help people that don't have those experiences but that are experiencing some of the things that we've talked about?

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, I think we love them where they are, right? And I think that's what I learned from God when I was in a place where I saw myself on my way out of the church at the time I just didn't know. I didn't want to be there but I didn't know how to make it work and feeling that love and knowing just this reassurance that I am here and I'm not going anywhere was very healing. And has changed my view of the nature of God that wherever we are that God is in this with us and he wants to guide us and he'll work with us as much as we're willing to be worked with. And that might be a lifelong journey for some people. And that our opportunity is to be something of that manifestation as well. That regardless of where people are at in their lives. Love them where they are. Be with them where they are. And God will work in and through them and sometimes through us, right?

And I've known people who have come back to the church because of the spirit that they felt is people just love them where they were and didn't feel the need to critique or to judge. They just love them and when they felt that, there was a pull back. Sometimes after many years but there was a pullback and I think we just again, love people where they are.

Tammy Hill: Yeah. Thank you, Ty. You're amazing and I am so grateful you'd spend some time with us tonight. Thanks.

Ty Mansfield: Yeah, thank you It's been a pleasure.

Closing: I really enjoyed learning from Ty Mansfield. He is so intelligent. He's articulate and yet he has the ability to explain things in a way that's helpful and easy to understand. I hope you learned like I did today. I know that even in complicated marriages, there can also be a holy union, a sanctifying power, the ability to dig deep, and choose the better part. Have courage to live your why, especially when life is complicated. If you like this program, I hope you'll rate and review it. Follow the link in the show note.

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Podcast Transcript | Life is Complicated — Understanding Attraction and Sexual Orientation with Dr. Ty Mansfield