Friday, October 27, 2006

Another good thing?

I hesitate to post such things.

We had really good sex this morning, my wife and I. It was spontaneous, unstressful, passionate and loving. I was able to "work" at the right time and in the right way. It happened while the kids were getting ready for school, with our bedroom doors open, so there was a sense of "being careless", "being discovered" or "being on a mysterious adventure". And, I didn't have to fantasize about "other things" (you know the other things I'm talking about).

In many blogs, us married gay guys seem to feel an obligation to explain the complexities of our love and attraction for our wives... It's as if we feel the necessity to defend why we are married or how we could have been attracted enough to get married in the first place. This defense seems to be necessary for some who have similar backgrounds (gay mormon) and yet can't see how marriage to a woman can even be possible.

For me, the attraction is real! I was "in love" at first sight of her. As gaggy as that sounds, it is true. I met her through a mutual friend and instantly I was head-over-heels in love with her! Or at least "attracted to her". This excited me, for I really hadn't felt much of any attraction to women previously. Yes, I had girlfriends (in high school and college) but they were always more friends than girls - if you know what I mean. With my wife it was different. I did feel something "magical". The fireworks of romance were present. And I seized the day!

The problem was: I was so excited to feel this attraction, that it scared her off. It took many months for her to come around (unbeknownst to me she decided to marry me just from observing me - we hadn't even dated) and for her to see me as someone she was truly interested and attracted to. We ended up working in the same place, and saw each other frequently - and one thing led to another and before you knew it we were engaged. It was her attraction to me, her devotion to me, that kept me going, kept me on the path of not pursuing my more natural tendencies. I was young. I was naive. I was very innocent. In many ways she was too. But we became best friends and our passion for life, for our common interests and beliefs, for our goals together became a bond that needed to be eternal. I found myself very attracted to her emotionally, spiritually, socially, intellectually, personally, mentally, romantically.

But, the physical attraction, though sparked initially, wasn't there. That lack of phyisical attraction on my part has caused us enormous grief and pain. I've inflicted that pain on her more than she has on me. Though unintentional, the reality of our married physical, sexual life together has been a road of tragic proportions. We've nearly divorced over it several times. I withdrew from her. She withdrew from me. We grew apart. We had no sex for years. It was too painful!

Yet, somehow, because of all of the other strengths of our relationship, our bond, and our covenants to God and to each other, we stayed together - as painful as it was. I feel the sealing power of those covenants helped us to never take that final step apart.

It was when she finally confronted me some twenty years into our struggling marriage on why I "hated her body so much", or why I was "repulsed" by her physical nature, and thus, she had no other conclusion than to realize that I "must hate her as who she really was as well" - her self-esteem was shot! (note: I wasn't repulsed by her body. She's a beautiful woman - but there was no attraction physically for her - it was all gone - sex equaled pain. That was the simple mathematics of it. Sex was stress. Sex was undesireable. Sex was lothed by me. I had no interest in it. We had struggled so much in that department that the sponteneity, the joy, the passion, the love was gone - it had been gone in our relationship for years) that I confessed to what I knew to be true (and had only come to personally and painfully realize to myself - coming "out" to myself just a few months earlier)that I was gay, that I always had been gay, that most likely I would always be gay... meaning my attraction was to men, beautiful men, and not to women.

Though not for this post, that revelation, as hard as it was to articulate to the woman I love and cherish, was the hardest thing for our marriage to endure. I was convinced that IT WAS OVER. Especially after twenty years, such revelation to oneself to to one's spouse, after the years of dedication to creating family, home, children, etc., was shattering to say the least.

But the miracle of it all was that she finally understood what she had suspected for years. She understood my pulling away from her (and that it had nothing to do with my thinking she was ugly, loathing and disgusting - but that I had my own self-loathing and self-disgust going on in the process of my "outing" to myself - though I don't feel this loathing or digust in any way, shape or form today -interesting!) and she became (in time) very soft, very forgiving, very sympathetic. And miraculously, over the course of the last year or so, we've been slowly becoming together in a physical way. This isn't to say that I haven't still had problems - major problems - with having a relationship as one hopes it to be - but we've had moments - the best moments of our entire marriage in the last year - and it's been because of her encouragement, love, and patience... And those moments - like this morning - seem to be enough to keep the spark alive, to keep it burning.

It's been a long road for us. I'm still very weak and I feel on the edge of the cliff of "outing myself" to the world and running away from it all with the first pretty face of a young buck that wants me... but I'm taking steps back from that precipice. Each time we have a moment of joy together helps me to draw closer to her. The journey isn't over and the road is still long with many trials and detours ahead I'm sure. I'm still not attracted to her physically - and that still causes her great pain - but at least she now understands why. I think she still thinks I can be "cured" by her love. I don't think I can. I don't say that to be negative - because her LOVE for me has helped me to heal in so many ways. But, I'm still drawn to that physical need, that physical desire for men, that Church term of SSA, SGA or whatever else you want to call it. Whether that will ever change in me is not for me to say right now. I don't feel there is a need to change. I don't want to be anyone but who I am - and that includes my attractions. But I do feel a bit closer to her today when I'm reminded how beautiful and joyful we still can be together.

Call our relationship a big mistake if you must... I know I have. I've thought about it a lot. Had I come to my self-realization before our marriage, we probably wouldn't have been married.

Call us delusional if you must... I know I have. But there is strength in covenants and commitments that come through bonds of love that transcend even the physical attraction. And even then, we sometimes can experience that attraction, too.

And I call that another good thing...


santorio said...

many messages in this post. two that resonate with me:

1. an attraction to another person involves more than just sex and can be so complicated that we just cannot sort out the different factors. like you i was immediately attracted to my wife. i was too young and naive to separate sexual attraction from emotional/spiritual/intellectual. i just knew that in the society i travelled in, one marries the women to whom one is attracted. so i did, 'and that has made the difference'

2. the progress of a couple's life, sex and non-sex, is unlikely to follow a straight line [no pun intended]. your post is a wonderfully optimistic encouragement for all of us to not accept anything less than complete intimacy

Anonymous said...

I got married when I was in my mid twenties--not early and not late. I think there has to be a balance between figuring out whether marriage can work beforehand and just learning it as you go along after making a commitment. We were honest with each other through it all, but we had no idea what it would really be like. How could we? But does that make it a terrible mistake? Not by my reckoning. It's the best thing that ever happened to me, I get more happiness from it every day.

Thanks for this really interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I have to say you made a comment that was profound for me. If you had come to your "realization" earlier, you might not have gotten married. I have recently come to my "realization" and I am frusturated by it, because I as of late have been thinking more and more that marriage is not for me. -So what is? I don't really want the "lifestyle" and I can't seem to reconcile myself with the church either. I feel very stuck.
I am glad that your marriage is working out. It is a sign of hope for many I'm sure. Marriage is something that I don't think will ever happen for me. Perhaps it's my disparity-tunnel vision, but I am afriaid that I would bring on more pain to another person than I would satisfaction of the relationship.


Beck said...

Santorio: We resonate! The "optimistic encouragement" is a good goal - if I could just hold it together and not look back...

L: I was barely 22, just a year back from my mission... naive as they come, and "figuring it out" has been the story of our life together. I don't think that's negative, but I do wonder if I wasn't so naive about myself would it have been different... oh well.

Thanks you two for posting. It gives me strength!

Beck said...

CAS: Because I'm "different" in the sense that my "realization" came late in the game, I can't help but think what I would have done had I really been self-aware BEFORE marriage. This subject has haunted me of late. More later...

I appreciate your willingness to share your struggles. We all have different paths, but the constancy of my Faith and the Church has kept the path a bit more clear. Don't give up on your options.

Thanks for adding to the dialog...