Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The cycle...

Been out of town again, but was joined by my wife for the weekend.

Took in the magic and lights and spectacle of the season at one of the greatest cities on earth...

Did some Christmas shopping, took in a play, and had some fun and great times together, creating cherished memories...

Enjoyed the time together away from the kids - just the two of us, but...

that wasn't enough. She wanted more than "good times". She needed more bonding and renewal, much more so than I - and our needing each other being on different waves created anxiety when all else was there to create the "magical moment" that she craved... and so...

Just as I sometimes boil over, or go into a panic, or desire things that aren't conducive to a happy marriage due to my attractions, so she desires things for our marriage that sometimes I can't provide, and that leads to stress, anxiety and insecurity on both our parts. I'm never exactly sure when these desires or needs of companionship, security, interest and focus on her, attention and attraction that is genuine and reciprocated, need to be manifested in a certain precise way in order for her to feel anchored in our relationship... and when I don't manifest them in the exact way she needs, tears begin to flow and angst, heartache, loneliness and insecurity rise to the surface - for a while - boiling over a bit - and then we simmer down and back together again.

It was this time this weekend that it happened that I realized my inabilities or incapacity to truly connect with her in a real sense - more than intimacy - an emotional and total connection of souls - in the way that she needed to be reassured that I'm still "with her" together, forever - was so painful to her because she truly LOVES me and she doesn't, at times, feel that I love her back. Being good friends, best friends, companions committed to each other, focusing on each other, isn't good enough. At times, I need to truly be bonded in LOVE with her as she is with me. And when I'm distant, or not as connected, or I just can't, or when I'm giving all that I have and it's not enough to satisfy her inner needs - it hurts her. All the consoling and empathy, all the increased amounts of affection and attention can't make up for what is missing at that moment. She knows right then and there, and is painfully reminded, that my attractions aren't focused on her no matter how hard I try. She knows that I long for something she can't give me, even as much as I try only to long for her to be happy.

Why does she so deeply LOVE me? What have I done to completely inflict such intense stress on her because of this love she feels for me? Knowing all that I am and all that I am not, how come her love for me grows - and thus hurts more when she needs me to feel the same (and I feel in so many ways that I do) and yet it isn't enough? Because, in the back of her mind, though we may not discuss it in so many words, she knows that I will never be totally focused on her in the way she needs - and yet she can't stop loving me, in fact, she loves me even more because of it...

and so we cycle through another round. I try to comfort her the best I can. I try to not feel uptight or frustrated that I can't do my "job" as a husband and eternal companion better than I do, and turn the whole thing to a "woe is me" or a "look at the poor gay boy not being able to measure up to an impossible task of a happy heterosexual marriage" kind of thing, though that is the most logical and immediate reaction to have. I try to talk about it with her. She doesn't want to talk about it because it's "too painful". I try to not take offense - though deep down I'm angry with myself that I am doing this to her, that I cause her so much unintentional grief and pain, that I'm unable to console her in the way that she needs to be consoled, that I'm such an inadequate and broken figure of a man... So, I just hold her in my arms and squeeze tightly as she breaks down... (this time I was void of emotion other than frustration that I'm doing this to her) and then, it's over and we go on - and life is normal and other problems and living life's adventure takes over and this gets pushed down to lower levels of immediacy - at least until the next time...

Someday, we are going to need to find the right person to talk to, to help us to get through these boiling over moments and come to some higher level of resolution. I don't know when, but we can't keep going on this cyclical path we're on...

Forester recently posted about whether our challenges are unique. I don't think they are unique. If it weren't this particular challenge, it would be another. We all have challenges and I'm not about to compare mine against yours or anyone else's. I am convinced that the real challenge here is centered on what we do about our trials, temptations, challenges... not weighing them and bemoaning over them.

So... um, how was your weekend at this festive time?


J G-W said...

I was wondering where you were. I always notice when you're gone for a time. (And I miss you!)

Do you think you are learning from the cycle? Is it a circle, or a spiral?

GeckoMan said...

Beck,I know a specific person in SLC who can help the two of you with this. Email me if you would like to talk about the referral.

I go through this same thing with my wife, and I don't have an easy answer, other than to reassure, hold her, talk openly etc., but like you, I feel it isn't a really true connection--at least for me. Connecting on our deepest levels hasn't happened because I think we're on different wavelengths. And sync takes mutual committed effort, that is a next step for us. But then I realize the same thing occurs with hetero marriages, people struggling for intimacy and connection is not unique to MOM arrangements.

Abelard Enigma said...

she truly LOVES me and she doesn't, at times, feel that I love her back.

Wow! Are you sure you're not writing about the relationship between me and my wife?

I don't think they are unique

I don't agree. I think a mixed orientation marriage presents unique challenges in a relationship that none of us are really prepared for. It doesn't mean those challenges are unsurmountable; but, it is virgin territory where we just have to sort of make it up as we go along.

Consider everything we've been taught, everything we've ever read or heard, about relationships between men and women. We just don't measure up. It is physically and emotionally impossible for us to be the prince charming from romance novels.

Also, be honest, the other challanges you referenced. Aren't we subject to them in addition to rather than instead of?

Beck said...

JGW: Yes, I'm still around - I've just been gone out of town for work.

The cycle tends to be a circle more than a spiral. I don't feel we are moving forward or backward - just revisiting old ground and not progressing. I guess not progressing is better than digressing, but no progress doesn't mean we are moving. We need to move and yet I'm not sure how.

Don't get me wrong. We are very happy. We are very committed. Just sometimes as we aren't in sync, and the known reason why is my "attraction deficit disorder", things tend to magnify themselves.

Taking a break doesn't always help when the magnification becomes the focus of the break.

Beck said...

GECKO: There is no "easy answer". I don't have the answer. If I knew what to do, I would be doing it. But I don't and I don't know that anyone knows. Some will say that the easy answer is to leave the marriage all together since we will NEVER be in sync together in a fully and deeply connected manner. That would be the easy answer - though for many, the right one as well.

For me, it is just the course of my life. The goal is to find connection and ways to connect, even if all cylinders aren't engaged.

Beck said...

ABELARD: I'm so glad that you commented! I need your comments!

You're right... I can't truly argue with you about "uniqueness" of our attraction deficit disorder (the new ADD) as you're correct in that we tend, as MOMs, to have this disorder on top of all the other relationship shortcomings.

I was just trying to post something without rolling in the muck of self-pity, and trying to lift my spirits in thinking that I'm not that different from any other husband... I guess you've pointed out that I am.

So what's to be done?

Beck said...

By the way, Abelard, even if they are "unique" challenges, what's the point in dwelling on the uniquenss of them? They still are the challenges I've been given and the point still remains that I need to do the best with what I've been given. I can't gripe about whether this is uncharted territory, with no comfort or counsel provided by leaders and friends - as they, too, don't know what to do about the "unique" nature of said struggles - I still can't gripe.

I'm not going to gripe. I'm just stating facts of where things are, and I'm going to try to "make the best of it" just as she is "making the best of it as she's stuck madly in love with me".

Life isn't a fairy tale (despite what "Enchanted" may preach otherwise) and the sooner I realize that, the better.

I just wish I could get past the "making the best of it" stage, to "loving the best of it" stage. You know?

Abelard Enigma said...

So what's to be done?

That is the $1,000,000 question, isn't it?

This is an area where, I believe, we could use some guidance from our church leaders. Wouldn't you love to see an Ensign article "How to make a mixed orientation marriage work"?

But, our church leaders are not likely to seek inspired counsel if they're not aware of the problem. Do they even realize we exist? Or have we become so expert at hiding that even prophet's, seers, and revelators aren't aware of us? Or are there so few of us that we are just a statistical anonymoly such that our church leaders need to focus their time and energy on issues which impact greater numbers of people?

In any case, I think that we are on our own in this - at least for the time being. Maybe we need to start having more dialog on how to face up to the challenges of a mixed orientation marriage. Instead of bemoaning our fate, perhaps we need to start throwing out ideas. I'm a big believer in synergy - perhaps together we can come up some answers.

We have a good mix of people here in the queerosphere. We have married people, divorced people, those considering marriage, those who have written off the possibility of marriage. I'm sure everyone has thoughts and ideas on this - so let's hear them!

Ron Schow said...


I believe Gecko has the right person in the way of a referall. I suggest you follow his advice.
The help you can get there will be tailored to you and your wife's individual situation and much better than a general article in a publication somewhere or even anything we might come up with here.

I also feel that in all relationships there comes a time when both persons have to accept it is not going to be perfect or just what they wanted. If both want to stay in the relationship then each has to accept what can be offered and leave the dreams behind. Help in terms of understanding this reality and communicating in the best way about it can be given with the right professional assistance.

Counseling, in my experience, helps us to accept that we (not our partner) are the primary ones who must make the adjustments to make things better or just accept things as they are. We can only really control ourselves, but sometimes it is frustrating because it would be wonderful at times for the other person (like a spouse) to shift in their position and make some adjustments.

Beck said...

ABE: You remind me of my favorite Dr. Suess book "Horton Hears a Who". I guess until every last one of us MOMs is willing to speak up and be heard, we won't be able to burst the cloud cover shrouded over our existence and thus outsiders will deny our existence.

I can't wait for an Ensign article. I need help NOW in addressing this cycle I'm in with my wife. Though it's not getting any worse (which is a good thing), it's not getting any better - and chronically being sick (though better than dying) doesn't seem to be the answer.

Beck said...

RON said: "Help in terms of understanding this reality and communicating in the best way about it can be given with the right professional assistance."

Okay, I can wrap my mind around this one and I'm getting ready to pursue professional help more... but I don't need an LDS stake president type treating my discussion as a worthiness interview or a reminder of my eternal choices I'm tinkering with here. I need compassion and understanding, someone who REALLY knows what I'm going through and what it is like to be in my situation and circumstance. If I knew that the "professional" had any concept of my crazy life and the situations I face and how I deal with my marital crises, then maybe I'd consider them 'expert" enough to help me. Otherwise, it's hopeless. I've tried the other route and it just doesn't feel real. I need authenticity to open up to the degree you suggest and to the degree that will be required with my wife. Without that authenticity, I don't give much hope in outside help.

MoHoHawaii said...

Beck, your wife is heterosexual. You are not. This causes a kind of structural asymmetry in the relationship. It's not due to any defect in you. It's just the nature of the situation you and your wife find yourselves in.

You are not broken. You are not deficient. You are not incapable of love (far from it, judging from your posts).

Feelings of self-blame can sometimes make problems worse. Sometimes looking at an issue from a more neutral perspective can help.

Best wishes to you both.

Forester said...

I disagree that we, as gay married men, can't provide for the needs of our wives as would a straight man. Yes, we are unique, but we're not special. All marriages have problems and struggles,and although we don't have things spelled out to us as cleary as guidance from the church for straight couples, we have the same tools at our disposal. We have personal revelation, priesthood power, the scriptures, inspired leaders, etc.

I think you are making a too big a deal out of your inadaquacies. Stay focused on your strengths. Your wife doesn't relate to your SGA the same way you do. Do you think that if she didn't know, things would be a little easier?

October Rising said...

I've just gone through a lot of your posts and wanted you to know I feel for you. Your in a much tougher position than I am (being that I'm not married) and can only imagine the difficulty of the struggle you feel within. At the same time though, I can relate to some of what you've said.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I really am trying to be more neutral in my outlook. I use my blog, however, to pick myself apart as a form of self-therapy.

I do have the capacity to love - lots of capacity to love! It's just that at times, I can't bond fully with my wife and that is painful for both parties when it doesn't happen - the result: angst.

FORESTER: Your question has made me think about whether life would be different had I NOT come out to my wife... I think I feel a post coming on!

OCTOBER: I just got caught up with your blog. Thanks for checking in. I can relate so much with your heterosexual gay dates, your affectionate relationships with heterosexual guys, your desires for a gay relationship, the safety of where you are in these relationships... I'm completely on your page, even as a married man.

You may not be exactly in my experience, but our feelings are still the same and we are still brothers of the same heart.

Thanks for commenting and becoming part of my cyberfamily.