Monday, January 01, 2007

Cycle of Attraction...


My life is going in circles and I don' t seem to be progressing anywhere fast. There seems to be a cycle of attraction, through a common pattern...

My thoughts go back to a Dec 31st many years ago when I was an MTC teacher (pre-marriage days). I had recently returned from my mission the summer before. I loved teaching the missionaries. It was as if I attended BYU in order to teach at the MTC instead of teach at the MTC as a job to go to school at BYU. My priorities were all messed up. I lived at the MTC. It was the only place where I was truly happy. I hated the "real world". At the MTC I could make my reality. At this time, I had become so extremely attached and attracted to a particular missionary that I hardly could breathe when I was around him. He was my every thought. At this time in my life I did not believe or even acknowledge that I was gay (that came years later as those of you know who are following along) - no at this time, I was caught up in the spirit of the "brotherhood" and my longing for male companionship.

During my one and only post-mission / pre-Christmas holidays I spent at home with my parents, I was a true jerk. I didn't want to be with them. They didn't know what was going on inside me. Heck, I didn't even know what was going on inside me. All I knew was that I loved this particular missionary - body and soul - and I was miserable thinking about him leaving on his mission. I remember he made me a tape of a song he had written for me and I remember sulking in my room away from my parents playing it over and over again crying myself to sleep. My mom tried to figure me out but I'm sure I put up enough road blocks that she even gave up on me.

I remember meeting two departing districts at the SLC Airport in route to their missions. One district left before the fog rolled in but HIS district (of just three elders) stayed most of the day waiting for the fog to lift enough to take off. I remember holding him in my arms for hours in the airport quietly talking, caressing each other in the bonds of "romance" I had created for myself. I remember weeping openly after seeing him board the plane. I didn't care what others may of thought of me that day. I was "in love". I still can feel the emotion of that New Year's Eve.

* * * *
Fast forward to yesterday - and the cycle of my life continues.

Several of "my" young men (now post-mission college students) had returned home for the holidays from their respective universities. It was so much fun seeing them again. It was like a line-up of greeting good ol' Beck with a warm holiday hug. It felt good to know that the years had been kind and we still had something between us. Some hugs were quick but heart-felt, others more distant, and some very affectionate. I started analyzing the differences and attaching meaning to the physical contact we had with each other.

Of course, I came to the conclusion that my feelings for Tim were the strongest they had ever been. He sat with me at the back of Priesthood / RS combined lesson and I had my arm around him. I felt so warm and good inside. I wanted him to be there always. I noticed my daughter came in late and though we made eye-contact, she did not come sit with me, but chose to stay on the other side of the chapel. (When I asked her later that day why she didn't come sit with me, she said in a very snide and sharp tone of disgust: "I didn't want to interrupt your lovefest with your boyfriend!" She said this around the dinner table that afternoon in front of the whole family - that got my wife's attention and she started inquiring what I had been doing, etc. Needless to say it was awkward at best and it made me realize for the first time that maybe I was overdoing the affection thing and it was bothering (even creeping out) my own daughter. Was I that obvious? Of course I try to be somewhat discrete, but it isn't easy when I'm not thinking "straight".

Anyway, advance forward to an incident after the Sunday School hour... The young man that began it all - meaning that began the realization within me finally that I was truly gay - had returned from college and found me alone in the hall. He is gorgeous and to this day is such a good friend. I will call him "Will". Will has been gone quite a while out of state to school and though we write emails back and forth, the passage of time has softened the strength of my attraction toward him. But, when I saw him in the hall, I fell into his awaiting arms (we have been huggers for years now). The funny thing was, though, as I fell into an embrace that the "magic" wasn't there. We both could tell that the special friendship and indebtedness was still there, but the "magic" was gone. This came as a huge revelation to me, as I had banked all my hopes and aspirations of a relationship around him. And though I see him as bringing me to the reality of myself more than anyone else, it just wasn't the same. Time had taken it's toll.

Now advance forward to after Sacrament Meeting. I was talking to the SS president and the HP group leader as nearly all of the congregation had gone home. My family had gone home in a separate car. It was then that I noticed that HE was waiting for me. When everyone was gone and we were essentially alone in the foyer, Tim grabbed me and we embraced romantically. It was like no other hugging scene from this very long hugging day. He wrapped his large hand around my head and pulled me toward him. I pressed my cheek to his. We rocked back and forth. I knew this was going to be it... he was going off to college. He was leaving me! It was the SLC Airport scene of two decades earlier all over again. I found myself emotionally and romantically and physically attached to a guy - a gorgeous, wonderful guy who loves me.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do without you," I whispered in his ear, still embracing him hard full body.

"Hey," he tried to calm me... "You made it through my mission without me being around, right?" he pulled back to smile and make close eye-contact, our faces just inches apart.

"Yeah, but that was different," I rebutted... "This time, you're going off to school and on to bigger and better things and time is going to rob me of you!"

We held hands for a moment. He hugged me again telling me that he would never allow that to happen. And then he left.

I know better. It won't be the same. And maybe that's a good thing... I've been a blubbering idiot since then, trying to hide (not this time from my Mom, but from my wife). I've allowed this cycle of emotional and romantic inclinations, of physical male bonding to ruin my life again, and again and again...

I know that as an outsider, I can hear some say: "Hey, Beck! Wake up! Do you see what you are doing? Think of this as a straight situation where you are carrying on so over another young woman! Do you see the absurdity of the situation? Smell the coffee burning, you moron!"

I know, I know... It's the same ol' cycle that has nearly ruined our marriage countless times. It is where I cannot find the way to seal my heart completely to her. As much as I try, and believe me I've tried, I can't do it. I get caught up in other guys and become attached when I shouldn't and then I begin to make associations of leaps of logic that just aren't real or practical and then I start "hurting" those that really are my true "family"... not this world of pretend.

Maybe it's for the best that Will has gone. Maybe it's for the best that Tim is going. Maybe it's for the best... For you see, at that moment yesterday, had he asked me to truly go with him (though I know he never would have or could have) I would have liked to have thought that I would go!

But here I sit, depressed for another holiday - contemplating the reality of my situation. I recently heard a statistic that only 5 to 10% of mixed-orientation marriages really last, that the pressures of these attractions finally win out. I've tried so hard to fight those odds. Over 20 years I've been fighting. I'm the "odd one out" of all odd ones... I'm still fighting but I don't feel like I'm winning. I feel like my heart has betrayed her. I feel unfaithful. I feel unworthy. I feel disloyal and dishonest. I feel like I'm cheating. And I know she knows. She woke up crying this morning... believe me I know!

But I don't know what to do about it. I'm caught in this endless cycle... If it isn't the departing missionary, it's Will. And if it isn't Will, it's Tim. And if it isn't Tim, then it will be someone else... It's a cycle - a pattern that I've allowed to happen to get my drug "fix" of male intimacy while being untrue to my wife.

Maybe some growth is finally happening this time around... Though my heart is breaking right now, I am at least recognizing what is going on. Will I learn from this and try to keep from allowing my heart to be so emotionally and romantically attracted to another guy in the future?

I doubt it.

I'm feeling like such a jerk right now.

What a way to start another year.

Happy New Year!

7 comments:

santorio said...

i don't know whether to be jealous of your brief and unrealized but nonetheness real male relationships or to be grateful that i don't find myself thus entangled.

Beck said...

I guess I look at them (right or wrong) as a means of survival. I know it's "wrong" for the sake of my marriage and sealing up my heart, but I see such "right" in the relationships themselves.

So what do I do? Can I break it off and never allow it to happen again?

Oh the entangled web...

Kengo Biddles said...

Beck, here's the thing. You've made your marriage work for 20 years, you've worked hard from your side of things, and as long as you and your wife both work at it, you'll succeed.

As for Tim and Will and everyone else, I think you need to break the cycle. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results."

Maybe you need to not be "as close" with your friends that you make. I don't think it's wrong that you're close with them, but I know the feelings you're having of wanting more than you're sure they're giving. I'm in the exact same boat with Davros.

Find a middle ground, re-evaluate your actions and find a level that you feel is appropriate for you, for your marriage, and most importantly for your covenants.

Beck said...

KB:

The "appropriate level" is having them go out of state to college so that contacts are reduced to email friendships. Anything more than that will TRIGGER my desires to have male companionship in "inappropriate levels".

I'm LITERALLY going insane! But, atleast now I know the reason why! I keep doing the same thing... I keep desiring the same thing... I can't stop it!!! My insanity is caused by my desires that won't go away and won't decrease. I need "close" associations or I'll go nuts. If I have "close" associations, my marriage suffers.

AAAAUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Kengo Biddles said...

it sounds to me that you need to take this one to the Lord, talk with him and come to a godly understanding of everything you need to do.

Remember that Satan likes to make us think that our choices are limited. Try to step back from the problem (whatever it may be, not just your friendships) and see _all_ the options you have.

You've got a lot of us in your cheering section, Beck, so don't feel alone!

Beck said...

KB: Per my myopic view of things, my choices are limited. I either swear off all "close relationships" and stay completely faithful as I know I should, but go crazy in feeling trapped and imprisoned. Or, I seek out more potentially developing "close relationships" and destroy my marriage. The third option of trying to do both is what I've done my whole life now - and it doesn't work either!

So what other options are there???

Anonymous said...

Joe Pitt: Harper, as long as i've known you you've been afraid of men hiding under the bed, men hiding under the sofa, men with knives. Who are these men? I've never understood it but now I know. It's me. I'm the man with the knives...

Harper Pitt: Oh God! It's you! I recognize you now.