Saturday, July 07, 2007

Feeling very envious...


I met up with a dear friend this week and I've done nothing but think about our conversation since then. He is an "old" friend - I've known him now over ten years, though we don't see each other very often anymore. He contacted me out of the blue and we connected soon after for lunch.


He looked great! I was worried about him, because the last time we saw each other, he wasn't doing very well. You see, he's gay, too. In fact, a couple of years ago, we both came to terms with this fact in both of our lives at about the same time and over the course of several heart-to-heart conversations, and we both "came out" to each other. This confidential revelation has bound us together in a unique way, even if we don't see each other as frequently as we did or as we would like.


Our paths have not paralleled since "coming out" to each other. I have gone through a self-loathing and self-accepting process, while trying to keep my family together and marriage solid. He has started into the exciting and anxious world of gay-dating, ending with boyfriend relationships! And I can see that he's loving this path of discovery he's on. His personal dating standards, as misunderstood in the community-at-large view of things, involve the same "moral standards" of any other returned missionary dating scene (hand-holding / kissing / cuddling and the like, but not a lot more). He has established his own self-discipline regarding the church (kissing boys = not worthy to attend the temple) and has maintained a rigid sense of his personal morality (if you're not going to be committed to me in a long term deal, then why should I give you any of my goods?) limits. I admire him so much for this and for his strength and happiness in his quest. I wish him all the happiness and peace he can find... and I'd rather him be happy and wanting to live, verses miserable and wanting to end it all.


In fact, I find myself envious of his quest, of finding that moral and dedicated guy who will honor and be completely faithful and devoted to him. I've been pondering about my own path and how I haven't gone down this road my friend has chosen and I wonder, yes, I still stop and wonder, what would it be like to be "out there" searching for the right guy. (NOTE: The dating scene terrified me the first go around in the heterosexual world - I don't know that I could handle it again in the homosexual world!) In my situation, particularly when I'm not that "hot" of a catch being a middle-aged average guy (though I try desperately to disguise the fact to no avail but my own deception), would there be such a guy for me?


Is there such a guy waiting for me?


Now before you slap me in the head... I know I need to be reminded of the great partnership I do have with my wife, the family and home we've created for ourselves and our kids and the relative peace, blessings and good times had together... but, I have to wonder, as I look back, what it would have been like if all this wasn't there around me and in front of me, the commitments and covenants already made, the lives affected by my being together forever with them, what if life did happen differently? What if I were younger and more "available"? And what if I were to have come "out" earlier in my life instead of so late as I did? What then? Would I have chosen any different path than my friend?


I doubt it...


And so, here I am, feeling a bit down, feeling a bit like life has passed me by... feeling a bit envious of the "what ifs" of life, and seeing the choices that others around me are making. I'm not anticipating any change in my chosen course. I feel spiritually anchored and connected with what I should do and that this is the right course for me despite my feeling very alone in this choice, but - I ask myself: Why do I feel so "skipped over" or "not included" in life? Why do I somehow feel "jipped", robbed of missed opportunities?


I know those are rotten things to say, but for today, a day that I am feeling VERY GAY, they are my true feelings.

11 comments:

Forester said...

No, there is not a guy waiting for you, but I'm sure if you want one enough, you will find one. I understand your envious feelings. I think we all have had these at times. I have a gay cousin in a great monogomous relationship with his boyfriend. I think many of us would find a great degree of happiness in such a relationship. But for me, the choice has already been made. I have chosen to marry and have a family. I don't think I really ever question the choice I made, but I do still wonder what it would be like to be with another man. I have no doubt I made the right choice, but what can I say, men are hot.

Beck said...

Forester: I am completely on your page of music. I am not questioning my choice I've made, in being married and having kids with my wife... I'm not doubting that choice or questioning why I did it or whether it was the right thing to do - it's just occasionally I look back and still wonder what it would have been like to be with a man. Is this the proverbial "grass is greener on the other side"? Or is it the "longing for that which you can't have" envy?

How firm is my desire to hold to the rod, keep myself firmly plodding forward, happy in my choices, when I constantly wonder about the other alternatives and their attractivenesses?

GeckoMan said...

Beck, I relate to your feelings entirely. Sometimes in a weak moment I look at the Yahoo personals and wonder what it might be like to be with this or that man; I wish I could just be friends with some of these lonely guys; sometimes I even long for more. But the fact is, we've made our good choices, we are blessed with good families, and all things in the balance, we would not switch it out. We have our faith and integrity to uphold against the angst, and our family is simply the weightier matter.

But that doesn't mean that the desire or what-if envy isn't real, it is. It tempers my steel, and drives me to be more real in all my relationships. It drives me to try for deeper and truer expressions of friendship with my male friends. I think we are all lonely and needy at times, regardless of the path we're on.

Abelard Enigma said...

[SLAP]

Now go hug your wife and kids.

(btw, I know exactly how you feel)

J said...

I think it's rare to think back on choices you've made and not wonder "what if." The difference is that with most choices, when the decision to go with one option is made, it is accompanied by the closure of the window of opportunity to choose the other one. With this choice, there is no closure. The imp is always sitting in the corner winking at you saying, "it's not too late. . ."

Beck said...

Gecko said: "It drives me to try for deeper and truer expressions of friendship with my male friends."

I seek after this! And I know I'm blessed. But I can't help but wonder about the "what ifs".

ABE: Thanks for the slap - I already did it to myself, but your follow-up is still appreciated and reassuring, just the same.

J: When will this ever be benind me when it "is too late" and the imp goes away and I'm just past my prime to the point that I stop asking the "what ifs" that lead to the "it's not too late" kind of thoughts? Shouldn't I be past all of this thought process by now? How many times do I have to go through this cycle??? UGGGHHH!!!

J G-W said...

Do you think that these feelings you struggle with are qualitatively or quantitatively different from those that anybody struggles with?

Both my partner and I are in our early 40's now, and we both often see younger, buffer guys that make our hearts flutter. Now that I am seeking to apply LDS standards more consistently in my life, I am careful not to let a cute-guy sighting drift off into lustful fantasies. I've posted about this on my blog; I have experienced a much more dramatic sense of the presence of the Spirit in my life since I have begun to exercise this discipline.

But I have to admit, I don't see some younger, cuter guy and find myself wishing I was in a relationship with him instead. Nor do I ever meet a heterosexual friend and find myself wishing I had somehow settled down with a woman instead of a man. In fact, I pretty much know for a fact that under no circumstances do I want to start over again with a new relationship. I've put a lot of work and energy into the present one, I've learned too many painful lessons, and I am finally coming to the point where the long-term aspect of the relationship is yielding rich emotional and spiritual rewards.

I think you have said more or less the same thing about your relationship with your wife. You seem pretty clear that this isn't about feeling like you want to ditch her and start over with someone else. That seems right off the table. But then what are these feelings?

I have struggled with a kind of angst when LDS folks suggest with great certitude that I will be damned for all eternity in the telestial kingdom (that's where adulterers go); and that my partner and I will somehow be neutered and incapable of sharing a physical relationship in the next life (because celestial sexuality is the reward only for those who have been temple married and faithful to their covenants). That stuff used to make me feel like I wanted to die.

Beck said...

"You seem pretty clear that this isn't about feeling like you want to ditch her and start over with someone else. That seems right off the table. But then what are these feelings?"

That's the million dollar question... why do I still have these feelings? I am very committed to making my marriage work. But am I committed because it is spiritually a testimonial assurance that this is the right thing I should do?, because it is intellectually stimulating?, because I love to talk with her and share and plan and dream and scheme things with her?, because I have invested too much to throw it all away?, because I've created a home and family that I cherish here and now and don't want to lose in any shape, way or form?, because I'm afraid of loneliness and scared that nothing out there is better?, because I'm settling for what is comfortable and safe and not willing to risk anything different?, because I fear the eternal consequences of leaving my family?, because I really do love her and need her and my children in my life?

You see, I could answer YES to all of the above, and yet I still feel like there's the forbidden fruit out there that I never partook of, or the "great and spacious building" where I could be living a totally different and "fun" life... I mean, is it more just feeling regret for having married so young and never exploring these feelings when I was young? Am I still coveting the green grass on the other side of the fence because I'm not completely satisfied in this current commitment? Am I just wanting to sin? Am I regretting that I'll never know what it feels like to truly be loved by a man?

Too many questions for one comment.

Beck said...

J G-H said: "I have struggled with a kind of angst when LDS folks suggest with great certitude that I will be damned for all eternity in the telestial kingdom (that's where adulterers go); and that my partner and I will somehow be neutered and incapable of sharing a physical relationship in the next life (because celestial sexuality is the reward only for those who have been temple married and faithful to their covenants). That stuff used to make me feel like I wanted to die."

I am so sorry. I feel like church members can take gospel teachings and twist them to their own thinking and bias and use them against others in very hurtful ways. I am so terribly sorry that such thinking and certitude has caused you pain enough to consider not living! I personally "twist" my own understanding of the Gospel Plan to accept with certitude that the Lord KNOWS ALL and has a plan for us to feel and know His JOY, and things will work out for the best as we try to know and accept Him and that his Grace is sufficient for even me, after all I can do with what I am and what my circumstances and situations have given me (2 Ne 25:23). I don't mean to get all preachy here, but I have no doubt that there is an eternal plan and purpose for each of us, including wonderful, partnered people as yourselves!!!!

J G-W said...

This is why I love you! You are a most wonderful, incredible, beautiful person!

Thankfully, after much wrestling and prayer, I have come to this same sense as regards my own destiny. It is still not easy to be confronted by people with this attitude, but it doesn't touch me personally the way it once did. I have had this most remarkable experience of finding that every time I am confronted with these attitudes in the Church, the Spirit is right there beside me reassuring me in a most wonderful, powerful way. I described one such experience in my Dialogue article, but it has happened countless times since then.

But it means so much to me to hear such an affirmation coming from you! What a wonderful friend you have become.

As regards your own angst... I truly believe that some day you will find some way of resolving all the what-ifs and coming to a place of perfect peace and satisfaction with this. I believe it and hope it and pray it with my whole heart. You deserve this and so much more.

playasinmar said...

I too have struggled with the ide that Heaven is not a place of eternal reward but rather a place where I'll be transformed into something different, alien, and incappable of enjoying the things that make me me.