Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A BROKEN RIB...


I think I really did break my rib! I haven't been able to sleep for two days now. I need to keep myself propped up with pillows in a semi-sitting / semi-reclining position. I can't roll onto my side without pain. I can't breathe deeply without pain. But otherwise I'm doing fine.

Maybe I should explain... I was just standing there at the Pioneer Day ward breakfast in the Bishop's backyard. There were a hundred ward neighbors and friends gathered around socializing over runny eggs, pancakes, sausage, catelope cubes and orange juice. It was another 24th of July in Utah! I saw HIM and we made eye-contact. I didn't do anything more than that. HE gave me a heart-melting smile back. I didn't approach HIM or talk to HIM (I was with my wife and kids after all). A while later after we had eaten and my wife had gone off talking with some other sisters in the ward, I was engaged in conversation with the Bishop's wife, HE came from behind and wrapped his strong arms around me and proceeded to squeeze the life out of me with a bear-hug from behind. As I quickly stopped breathing and assuredly turned red, I naturally resisted, twisting and squirming helplessly like a rag doll, and then I felt something pop. We wrestled to the ground, me screaming to be let go. HE looked down at me on the ground smiling. The pain I was feeling disappeared magically as I looked into his eyes. I smiled back at him, realizing I'm on my back on the grass looking up at him with infatuating eyes, with 100 ward members staring at us.

As I've thought about it since (with the help of a couple of blogsters recent entries as well), each time I get a sharp pain on my upper left side, I've realized a couple things:

1. I'm not getting any younger - and I don't like it!

I'm in my mid 40s. I sometimes act half my age, particularly around HIM. HE makes me feel young again. HE is half my age and twice as strong. HE's an athletic rock-solid 6'-6" beauty of strength and I'm old enough to be his father - but we don't have the father / son relationship (I'm still not sure what kind of relationship we have but I don't see him tackling, hugging, being affectionate with any other older men like me - we're buddies / confidants / friends). I mistakenly try to be 22 again and find out I can't do it. And it depresses me.

I'm always ATTRACTED to younger guys. I think it's because I feel young and alive around them - it reminds me of my youth and the experiences that I missed out on, and the desires to be connected and enlivened by young guys (early 20s) makes me feel young again myself - a chance to reclaim something I lost or am still seeking or missing in my life.

I don't want to go flabby, grey and decayed. I want to be strong, blonde and vibrant. I've dreamed of finding a bottle of pills on a beach somewhere and taking them and slowly returning to age 22 within a week's time. Is that moronic or what? I've started counting my grey hairs and contemplating dying my hair (at least I still have a full head of thick hair to work with). I've started noticing my middle expanding into a soft ball... (Now I'm not fat. At 6'-3" and 185 lbs I don't think anyone would call me fat - but I'm not as firm as I once was, and my shape is reshaping itself with gravity and time) so I've decided to get serious and do some weight training and exercise for the first time in my life (but I'll start as soon as I heal from this broken rib thing).

I've chalked it up as envy - desiring something young and beautiful and perfect as the image I have of HIM. HE's everything I want to be and would wish that I was when I was 22.

I've also chalked it up as LUST - HE's young and beautiful. I'm gay. So where's the problem?

My fear of getting older is also based in the fact that I'm gay and realizing this fact MUCH LATER than most and that so much time has gone by and to come out at this point as a middle-age greying soft dude is suicidal. Who's going to want me? I'm beyond prime - I'm not young meat any more and never will be again no matter how much I work out, lift weights, or dye my hair. (And then there's my wife's point of view that loves my little soft belly and cherishes my grey hair - why isn't that good enough for me? How come I can't accept that as being satisfying enough?)

2. This is just another in a long string of infatuations.

In GM's blog, (I don't know how to link to it) he linked to an article that defined infatuation:

"The answers to these questions will tell you there is little happiness in infatuation itself, precious little daily satisfaction is possible while we are acting the Fool For Love. That is because the state of infatuation thrives on distance and frustration. It flourishes under difficult circumstances. It is not magnified by consummation and familiarity."

My relationship with HIM is DIFFICULT (we are seldom alone and the few times we've been I've desired to take it to the next level - he hasn't resisted my advances - and then I get scared and a voice tells me to back off and rethink what I'm doing). It is based firmly on DISTANCE (we only see each other at Church, ward functions, or the occasional coming over to the house) and on FRUSTRATION (knowing that he is straight as an arrow and I'm as gay as a closeted married Mormon can be). My desires are not ever magnified by consummation and our familiarity isn't based on a relationship of reality - it's based on my foolish FANTASY of the "what if...".

HE makes me feel wonderful inside! I sparkle at HIS sight! HIS smile melts me! I have transfered these emotions of folly onto him - HE has become the personification of what I wish I was. I call this LOVE. I've told him I love HIM in more ways than HE will ever realize. HE tells me HE loves me, too. But the LOVE I seek isn't something HE can give me.

SO, I'm seriously working on realizing all these things and staying in control, anchoring my feet on solid ground. I seek male-to-male emotional, physical, social bonding with HIM. If I can do it in a healthy way, maybe I can overcome my feelings of lost time, lost youth, lost love.

Meanwhile, I've got a broken rib that tells me I better start working out with those weights soon or I'm going to be killed in the next wrestling match!

19 comments:

Dave Walter said...

Beck,

Your scenario is one of the most unenvious among those of emerging gays. You're coming out at an older age, you're married, your wife is not gay-supportive, and you're a member of a religion that has warped views on homosexuality.

Regarding the attraction to, and infatuation with, young guys, that's entirely natural. Guys look their best in their 20s and therefore look attractive to gay guys of all older ages, just as young women look attractive to straight guys of all older ages.

I had a friend who came out in his late 60s. He wanted nothing but to hang around young guys. He entered a counseling arrangement with one, and ended up making inappropriate sexual advances, with horrendous consequences for him.

If you end up coming out, the guy you'll be connecting with will someone close to your own age, not a 22-year-old hottie, unless you pay(!). You'll lust big-time after the young beauties, but they're not available.

So try changing your perspective to view coming out as the opportunity to lead a gay life with a middle-aged guy. What impact does that have on your ruminations?

Regarding HIM, it's all a little bizarre; straight guys generally don't act the way he did. I suppose he's just more affectionate and playful than others. He might not be crushed (and angry?) to find out you're gay, but you might consider cutting back on any behavior that departs from the usual butch straight-guy behavior.

Beck said...

Thanks for pointing out my unenvious qualities, including my hopeless infatuation with a great young guy.

Though you state the blantantly obvious (to everyone else) I'm realizing for the first time that my infatuations are just like the older straight guys going nuts over young women. I don't know why that never hit me before - and it makes me seem a fool, a ridiculous middle-aged slutty fool!

I know your advice is sound, in that I should stop chasing after guys half my age, but I don't find guys my age nearly as fun or exciting... I'm a lustful slut, aren't I.

I know it's impossible to have any kind of relationship with HIM (except maybe the straight kind), but that's where the attraction lies.

I don't want to get into trouble. I'm reasonable enough with this infatuation that I'm not allowing myself to be alone with him anymore. Yes, he is playful and affectionate and loves me deeply in many ways (but sexual), and I can see where I could use that to my "advantage" and our mutual "detriment".

This whole thing is so absurd! Maybe I just need to pay for what I want, because I certainly don't see it in my age bracket...

Dave Walter said...

For one thing, I wouldn't say it's obvious to everyone that people remain attracted to younger guys/gals as they grow older. When I was younger, I assumed incorrectly that when I turned 40, I'd find 40ish guys good-looking and that when I turned 50, I'd be attracted to 50ish guys, and so on.

A lot of gay guys who come out later in life actively seek what they were denied earlier in life, namely, a young companion. And the rest, I'd venture, would like to have that, but don't pursue it.

A side note: I once talked to a guy who made his living as an "escort." I asked him if he had difficulty maintaining an erection when having sex with guys in their 60s or 70s. He said that he didn't, because of Viagra. But he added that he liked having older guys as clients because they so appreciated the opportunity to have the encounter. Anyway, I'm not advocating prostiution, but I put that out there for what it's worth.

When I referred to the unenviable position you're in, it was a clumsy way of acknowledging that the coming-to-grips/coming-out process is significantly more difficult for you than it would be for, say, an 18-year-old son of agnostic liberals living in San Francisco. I wish you didn't have to experience the angst you're feeling.

Beck said...

"A lot of gay guys who come out later in life actively seek what they were denied earlier in life, namely, a young companion."

This certainly is true in my case... I want to be able to have positive bonding relationships with men - young men in particular. HE most definitely and most perfectly fits this category. Since I'm coming out at a "later stage" in my life, maybe HE satisfies what I was "denied earlier in life". I don't know, but he sure satisfies my passion. POSITIVE relationships with young men, I'm told, can be healthy - especially for someone like me, NO?

In any case, because I'm not 18, son of agnostic liberals living in SF, I've got to keep it POSITIVE, keep it safe...keep it honest, keep it out in the open. And keep it natural! Is that possible?

Meanwhile, where are the hot 40 year olds?

Dave Walter said...

POSITIVE relationships with young men, I'm told, can be healthy - especially for someone like me, NO?

A positive relationship with a person of any age can be healthy. I've met lots of gay couples in which there was a big age difference.

One question to ask yourself is: Assuming you found a young man who wanted to be your companion, would you be comfortable serving as a mentor, as the wise one, as the strong one -- instead of as an equal? Could a 22-year-old be your soulmate? Maybe the answer to both is yes. Or maybe you think it would be yes.

I've got to keep it POSITIVE, keep it safe...keep it honest, keep it out in the open. And keep it natural! Is that possible?

Yes!

Meanwhile, where are the hot 40 year olds?

I just wandered over to mancheck.com and found bunches of 'em! : )

Here's the thing, Beck: You can get rid of your angst and become happy and content. Maybe not perfectly happy and content, but who is? But there's a lot you've got to sort through before you get to that point, and you'll get there much faster (but not overnight) with a therapist helping you get things untangled.

Ward Cleaver said...

The mere mention that you WANT TO BE HIM is a significant clue to what you really want. You desire what he is....what he has. Is it possible you think the only way to have it is to cannibalize him? Ingest him into your body and you will magically become him....possess what he has?

Been there....done that....have the emotional scars to prove it!

In fact, I STILL fight cannabalism almost every day!

EVERYTHING you wrote about....I TOTALLY comprehend...understand.

Most all of my friends are the younger set. Currently, my best friend is a 19 year old...from where I moved. The guys I talk to....attracted to...etc. at the gym are younger than I.
I have to force myself to make friends with men my age.

Please realize only SOME of this has to do with ssa. Some of this has to do with a mid-life emotional crisis you're probably experiencing.

Some of this has to do with regrets...mistakes made in your youth. You want to return and make different choices....have different outcomes.

You and I want our cake AND we want to eat it.
We can't have both ways.

This is the life we chose.

Kim Mack said...

"Meanwhile, where are the hot 40 year olds?"

From the way you describe yourself, maybe you should look in the mirror? I'm thinkin there's a hot 40 year old (give or take) there.

Beck said...

DW: In many ways (of which I haven't expounded maybe as much as I should) I'm imperfectly happy and content with my marriage. As unenviable as that sounds, there is happiness in our life together. Now, if I can just ban all 22year old young men from my life I'll be perfectly happy as well.

WARD: I find many things true in what you say. I do want to be him. I do have regrets for being the way I was in my "youth". I am suffering a kind of mid-life crisis. All of these together had been attributed to HIM and I find it hard not to misinterpret these issues as anything but school-boy twitterpation!

KIM: I think one of my many hang-ups is that I feel inferior in the "looks" department. Though others have said otherwise, I don't believe them. I feel weak and unmasculine and I see a strong, masculine prime piece of meat that is my dear friend who loves me in a unique way. I find myself longing to be young again, to have the chance at life again. I know these longings are wrong but there you have it. Thanks for the encouragement to have me take a better and longer, even envious look in the mirror!

Kim Mack said...

Not "wrong" ... just not in your ultimate best interest ...

Beck said...

If something isn't in my best interest, then pursuing it would be considered "wrong", no?

I know there are gray areas with these things, but I've been taught and I have taught that there is a "right" and a "wrong". I need to work a bit in the "gray" so as to not beat myself up to the point of distruction.

In all of this awakening, I'm liking who I AM more and more. The odious attitudes are gone!

Kim Mack said...

Yes, there is "right" and "wrong" in some parts of life. But our longings are not one of them, in my opinion. They are just longings. Evidence of our innards. :) And our innards aren't "wrong". They are something to work with and refine.

Dave Walter said...

Beck,

The reason I'm once again nagging you, via this post, to find another therapist soon is that there are mulitple, complex issues that you need to sort out. Issues that you may not recognize as being such.

For example, consider your wife. If I were a therapist, I might ask:

How do you feel when she gets mad and says you ruined her life?

Do you feel you ruined her life?

If so, why? If being gay is natural, isn't that something that's not your fault?

How does it feel that your wife does not truly understand your homosexuality?

How does it feel that she sees your attraction to men as a problem?

How does it feel that your wife wants a fulfilling sexual relationship with you but does not want you to have a fulfilling relationship?

Employing that logic, do you feel your wife is ruining your life?

How would it make you feel if your wife fully understood what you're going through?

How would you feel about doing what it takes to make her understand?

If she did understand, how do you think that would affect your marriage?

Would that make her even more your soulmate?

Do you feel that she is your soulmate now?

If not, what's missing?

Do you think that gap can be filled?

Describe a perfect day with your wife, entirely from your perspective. Would that include the both of you being able to comment on the attractiveness of a young man you pass on the street?

Do you believe such a scenario can happen?

If not, how do you think you'll end up feeling about your wife as the years go on? Would you be more likely to resent her or to regard her as a victim of your failings?

How important to you is the sheer longevity of your marriage?

If it is very important, why?

Are you more concerned about what has been or what will be? About what must be or what can be?

Beck, I'm just scratching the surface here.

Beck said...

Dear Cyber-therapist:

Though I'm not under any obligation to answer these questions, I feel inclined to do so seeing that I need to be thinking about the hard questions I refuse to ask>

How do you feel when she gets mad and says you ruined her life? I FEEL GUILTY - THAT SHE IS RIGHT BECAUSE I'VE BEEN SO SLOW IN COMING OUT AND NOT TOTALLY HONEST WITH HER - THAT'S MY FAULT NOT HERS.

Do you feel you ruined her life? NOT YET. I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT. RUINED IS A STRONG TERM. THIS SITUATION HAS MADE HER LIFE MORE STRESSFUL AND COMPLICATED.

If so, why? If being gay is natural, isn't that something that's not your fault? BEING GAY IS NOT MY FAULT. I UNDERSTAND THAT. SHE'S WORKING ON UNDERSTANDING THAT.

How does it feel that your wife does not truly understand your homosexuality? IT COMPLICATES THINGS. I DON'T KNOW THAT SHE EVER CAN TRULY UNDERSTAND. I HOPE TO GET US TO A POINT WHERE THERE CAN BE MORE UNDERSTANDING.

How does it feel that she sees your attraction to men as a problem? I SEE MY ATTRACTION TO MEN AS A PROBLEM - NOT SIMPLY BECAUSE I'M ATTRACTED TO MEN, BUT BECAUSE I HAVE COMMITTED MYSELF TO HER AND TO MY FAMILY - THAT MAKES THIS ATTRACTION SOME KIND OF PROBLEM!

How does it feel that your wife wants a fulfilling sexual relationship with you but does not want you to have a fulfilling relationship? SHE WANTS TO FULFILL ME. IN MANY WAYS SINCE COMING 'OUT' TO HER, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FULFILL EACH OTHER'S NEEDS. SHE WANTS MY FULFILLING RELATIONSHIP TO BE WITH HER. NOT OFTEN, BUT AT TIMES, WE HAVE ACHIEVED THAT GOAL. WHEN WE HAVE IT HAS FELT WONDERFUL.

Employing that logic, do you feel your wife is ruining your life? I FEEL SHE WANTS THE BEST FOR ME UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE FIND OURSELVES IN. SHE WANTS ME COMMITTED TO HER. I WANT TO BE COMMITTED TO HER. MY ATTRACTIONS IN THAT SCENARIO ARE 'RUINING' MY LIFE.

How would it make you feel if your wife fully understood what you're going through? IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL! IF SHE COULD TRULY UNDERSTAND, IT WOULD BE A BURDEN LIFTED. BUT, I DON'T TRULY UNDERSTAND! UNTIL I DO, HOW CAN I EXCEPT HER TO?

How would you feel about doing what it takes to make her understand? THIS SCARES ME. I FEAR THIS QUESTION BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF BEING IN A SURE PLACE. I HAVE NO ANCHOR.

If she did understand, how do you think that would affect your marriage? I HAVE NO IDEA. I THINK IT WOULD END IT.

Would that make her even more your soulmate? I WISH, BUT I DOUBT IT. I KNOW THAT SHE WOULD LOVE ME NO MATTER WHAT - BUT I'M NOT SURE IT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO HOLD US TOGETHER.

Do you feel that she is your soulmate now? IN SO MANY WAYS SHE IS.

If not, what's missing? MY DESIRES TO BE WITH A MAN ARE MY ISSUES - THAT'S NOT HER FAULT.

Do you think that gap can be filled? I HOPE THERE IS A WAY TO MAKE IT WORK.

Describe a perfect day with your wife, entirely from your perspective. Would that include the both of you being able to comment on the attractiveness of a young man you pass on the street? I HAD A PERFECT DAY A MONTH AGO WHEN WE HIKED TO A LIGHTHOUSE. I SPENT THE WHOLE TIME INFATUATED WITH A YOUNG BUCK ON THE TOUR. I WAS ASHAMED. I COULDN'T THINK OF TELLING HER.

Do you believe such a scenario can happen? IT WOULD BE AMAZING IF WE COULD GET TO THAT POINT WHERE WE COULD DISCUSS AND SHARE AND LAUGH ABOUT SUCH THINGS TOGETHER! I'VE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT THIS WAY BEFORE.

If not, how do you think you'll end up feeling about your wife as the years go on? I'M FEARFUL OF WHERE OUR RELATIONSHIP WILL GO AFTER THE KIDS ARE GONE. Would you be more likely to resent her or to regard her as a victim of your failings? YES.

How important to you is the sheer longevity of your marriage? CRITICAL / ESSENTIAL / ETERNALLY IMPORTANT.

If it is very important, why? RELIGIOUS REASONS THAT ARE HARD TO ANSWER HERE.

Are you more concerned about what has been or what will be? About what must be or what can be? I DON'T KNOW. I NEED TO COME TO GRIPS WITH MYSELF BEFORE I CAN ANSWER SUCH QUESTIONS. I WISH I HAD A CLEAR DIRECTION TO TAKE THIS. RIGHT NOW IT'S NOT ENOUGH FOR ME TO JUST SAY - I'M GAY - THERE ARE TOO MANY OTHER THINGS TO STILL GET MY ARMS AROUND.

Samantha said...

Just a thought, Beck...

I have found that feelings of guilt surrounding my attractions to members of my own sex often intensify those feelings, making them impossible to overcome or ignore.

On the other hand, accepting them when they come, acknowledging that they exist, seems to make those feelings more manageable...allowing me to interact on a less intense level with the person to whom those feelings are directed.

I believe heterosexual men and women go through the same process when they are attracted to people of the opposite sex, but wish to remain faithful in thought and deed to their spouses.

Sooo...my process is 1. Accept the feelings 2. Relax into them 3. Get to know a really great guy/girl 4. Do not allow guilt or fantasy--those ARE things over which you have control, attraction is not.

Beck said...

Sam: Thanks for still following me. I appreciate your wisdom. I find myself living in GUILT and FANTASY; guilt for not being able to let the attraction go, and fantasy for allowing myself to build the attraction into an unhealthy level. I appreciate the insight that in both cases it is NOT the attraction itself, but what I do with it. That is my choice and within my control. But how do I do it? I'd be "guilty" if I didn't admit that I go through a cycle of "guilty pleasure" with my fantasies.

Dave Walter said...

Beck,

I didn't mean for you to answer the questions online; I'm trying to prod you to seek counseling, which of course does not merely involve answering a list of questions. There's a lot of exploration and side trips in the process.

For example, I can see the direction of a therapy session going in any number of directions, depending on a breakdown of your answer to just the first question:

How do you feel when she gets mad and says you ruined her life? I FEEL GUILTY - THAT SHE IS RIGHT BECAUSE I'VE BEEN SO SLOW IN COMING OUT AND NOT TOTALLY HONEST WITH HER - THAT'S MY FAULT NOT HERS.

Why does her being "right" make you feel guilty?

Why does your coming out so slow make you feel guilty?

Why does your coming out so slow make you think you were dishonest with her?

Could it be you were slow in coming out because of fear?

If you were acting out of fear, did that make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to come out sooner?

What is it that you really feel guilty about? Being dishonest? Being other than what your wife expect(s)(ed) you to be? Being other than what your religion expects to you be?

Why do you feel the need to assign fault?

What purpose do you believe guilt serves you?\

What would happen if guilt were removed from the equation? Would you feel fear? Anger? Sadness? Hope? Relief?

Do you feel mad or disappointed in yourself for not coming out sooner -- because of the potentially happy gay life you've denied yourself all this time?

Beck, I could come up with a list of questions in response to each of your answers to all the rest of the originally posed questions. But I'm not the one who should do that.

Beck said...

DW: Oh, but don't stop now... you're doing such a great job! HA HA

I wanted to force myself to answer in this forum. It's forcing me to think about this in a more honest way.

I do get your point! I see the value of someone who would continue with probing questions. It would get me to think things out more completely and maybe think about things I've not even considered.

Thanks.

Chris said...

Beck, three things:

1. 40-something guys can be hot (says the gay man on the brink of his 35th birthday).

2. You friend doesn't sound very straight to me. (There. I said it.)

3. I think DW is asking you all the right questions.

Samantha said...

It's all about what you want--and you're still trying to decide that. And it looks like you have many voices directing you, at this point.

So, yeah, I'll admit that when it comes to indulging in an improper fantasy occasionally--I've been guilty (pun intended). But I've made MY decision, and I can't move from it. You, on the other hand, are still exploring your options.

Sometimes, when I read what you write, I can't help but contribute my two cents...but in the end, regardless of all the advice and hooplah, you're the only one who can decide what you want to do. And quite honestly, I believe THAT is the responsiblity you're actually running from. You don't want to have to be accountable for deciding to stay in the church/in your marriage, and maybe miss something you've been longing for all your earthly life--and you DEFINITELY don't want to take responsibility for leaving your wife and family and partaking in the life that attracts you.

Hmmmm...how 'bout that...you're human...