Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Choosing the better part?

In my last post, it triggered a comment from Parallel that asks a fundamental question of whether we, as gay men in straight marriages, can have or should have other close male associations that may lead to distractions in our marriages and cause difficulties in our attractions to our spouse, and as such may lead to "gay play". Do men like me want that proverbial cake sitting so beautifully at the center of the table, but to eat it too?

You bet we do!

And that is the challenge of this life - how to balance all things for good, and to choose the better part.

My response:

Thank you for your concern for me. I know it is sincere and I take it as such.

May I state that I have been blessed with a precious and special wife who I love eternally. I am amazed at the miracle she is in my life and I want nothing more than to be with her forever.

However, though you may think I'm delusional, I respectfully disagree that my open heart to my friends is the source of my difficulties with my wife. The source of my difficulties is much deeper and more fundamental than that and remains in me, whether I have close male friendships or not. My relationships with my friends are not "gay play" nor giving into the "force". They are deep and unique friendships with other males and in no way are "gay play". Yes, believe it or not, it is possible to have dear, even close friendships with other males as a gay man, without placing my eternal exaltation in jeopardy. In fact, I would argue that "100% happiness" comes from learning to be a true friend, opening oneself and risking oneself for others in such friendships.

Yes, I have attraction issues. I am attracted to my "boy-friends", both physically and emotionally. I love them! I care for them deeply. I cherish such love as a wonderful and exciting thing. But, I have, with the help of the Spirit, set my own boundaries and have not crossed them. And the Spirit has witnessed to us the miracle of our friendship.

Does that make me less celestial? Am I choosing to limit my eternal potential? Am I seeking only 50% or 75% of happiness? Do I want my cake and eat it too?

These are questions that I'm glad the Savior will help me to answer as He is my judge and knows the intent of my heart. The Spirit has whispered to me to open my heart, to be sensitive and generous with others and not be afraid of such risks. It's a crazy life - complicated by the fact that there is a lot of gray out there. His Grace is sufficient for you and me in this not so black-and-white / all-or-nothing world we live in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Climbing walls...

January continues on the course of despair as we reflect on our marriage together...

I hate January.

Come to find out my wife has been trying to make herself "more attractive" to me, and of course, like the loser of a man that I am, little did I notice her efforts and didn't say anything or react to them... so that stresses her out even more that she continues to be married to a man who is not physically attracted to her. And in turn, that shoots down her self-worth and the ugly cycle of our relationship continues. This then makes her consider no other alternative but divorce.

I know that is the voice of desperation as despair fills her thoughts. But then, we've both noted and commented that what good does divorce do for us when we still love each other?

I don't need her to be more attractive to me. I love her the way she is. Why can't she accept that? I appreciate her efforts and I try to compliment her and build her up, but it always comes across to her like I'm faking it (which I'm not) or I feel obligated to say so (which I don't), for deep down, she knows I'm not attracted to her no matter what she does in getting in shape, changing to more sexy women apparel etc. I must admit, she could lose ten pounds or change her bra to a more push-up model and it wouldn't change anything in me. I still love her the same and don't want her to change anything, so why is she trying so hard to make me notice her? And then I don't notice her the way she wants me to notice her until it's too late or the wrong time or whatever, and the whole moment is destroyed and it becomes drastically apparent that I'm never going to change not noticing her trying to be noticed by me...

This isn't getting easier. What's a gay guy to do?

I can't win. I can't notice her and have her not think that I'm doing it out of obligation. I can't not notice her for her not to think that I never do notice her in the first place because I'm gay. And then, I can notice a guy walking by just like that...

I have written her a letter explaining my feelings and the love I feel for her and the attraction I have for her that is real and true and valid, despite these other issues... but I haven't sent it. I don't feel good about sending it. It will just exacerbate the whole situation and draw even more attention to it and she will feel that I'm writing this love note out of some commitment to an assignment or something... so I haven't sent it. Should I send it? Won't it just stoke the fire of angst?

UUGGHHH! I feel like climbing a wall.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shopping musings...

I'm taking a break from my marriage-angst posts... at least for a while until I feel inspired on how to take the next step...


Over the last couple of weeks I visited two IKEA stores in two different states doing some post-holiday shopping, and my gaydar was beeping around every display. Is that store a gay-magnet or is it just me? I know my gaydar sixth sense isn't the best, but these couples weren't hard to spot. I found myself envying them as they obviously discussed together the European design potential of this or that piece of furniture fitting into their home. I was even jealous of them being so beautiful and open with each other. I couldn't help but watch three (count them "3") different couples in this mode within one store! They were all the perfectly groomed and attired stereotypical type sponsored by the Bravo network.

Contrast that with also recently visiting CABELLA's (I took my son there), the hunting and fishing extravaganza emporium, where I noticed guys in stereotypical flannel plaided untucked shirts, with 4-day-old gruffy beards. Their "straightness" was just as incredibly blatant. And though I felt inferior and uncomfortable in "their" world of "killing" things, I was drawn to and envious of their masculine beauty.

I know I'm playing off of false stereotypes, but the juxtaposition of these two stores with their two different types of male customers was astonishing - like a slap in the face. I found myself admiring both sets of males. Both were attractive in their own ways... but I then I found myself desiring the two worlds to be combined into one... The straight-macho 4-day-old gruffy bearded guy in the flannel shirt openly gay (despite his straightness appearance) and madly in love with another guy lovingly picking out Scandinavian furniture.

Draper and Lehi just two freeway exits apart, and yet worlds light-years apart. Can't I have it all? :) Does this say something about how confused I really am? Here I should be shopping and admiring the merchandise, but, instead, I find myself admiring the different varieties of the male clientele.

* sigh*

This post makes no sense... just as I and my thoughts make no sense...

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Today is the day - our third anniversary of "the big coming out". We've made it through three years knowing the proverbial elephant in the center of the parlor at least has a name. Yet, that elephant is still sitting there in the center of the parlor three years later...

So what, if anything, has changed?

BEFORE: We hardly spoke to each other beyond superficial conversations. We had drifted apart. She became lonelier and lonelier and would cry herself to sleep. I knew why she was crying (even though she took great steps to hide it from me) but felt powerless to do anything about it. AFTER: We have opened up more to each other about our feelings, being willing to at least address the struggle that is between us, but sometimes getting too close to the real issues are still painful, and oft times, result in her shutting down and refusing to discuss. But now when she cries, I am there to comfort her and she accepts my comfort.

BEFORE: We had evolved into a non-sexual marriage, with even little touch or cuddling and kisses were quick perfunctory pecks at night. I would work late into the night to avoid such intimacy as there was always another deadline to finish. AFTER: I no longer work late into the evenings (for the most part) and we are committed to go to bed together and share that quiet time together. We have rediscovered sex (especially within the first two years - it has leveled off now) and the joy of kissing, cuddling and holding each other - and in being companions at the end of the day. I still don't naturally desire to do all that she would want of me in this context, and thus, my hesitancy or lack of natural desire continues to make her doubt my commitment or her self-worth, even whether I feel "stuck" in this relationship. As our intimacy has leveled off (though it is much higher than BEFORE) more doubts have manifested themselves in her eyes. She implies from this that if I do not desire her, then I obviously desire someone else. I don't know how to get past this one.

BEFORE: I spent a lot of time focused on young men and hanging out with them, openly desiring their company. AFTER: I spend no time with young men or any men (except in Priesthood meeting). The occasional visits (such as recently with Tim and Will over the holidays) are rare and our time together is spent in a spirit of trepidation and guilt. Some may view this is a good change. For our marriage, it has been good to show her my commitment to her. But in the end, it raises my angst and increases my hunger for male companionship that she cannot comprehend or wrap her mind around without going into her own personal angst. And if I do meet with any male friends in any kind of setting, it is done with a sense of guilt or secrecy. This isn't good. I wish I could get her to the comfort level that I can have male companionship without destroying our marital companionship. Is such a thing possible?

BEFORE: We only did things with the kids - it was our family commitment that was keeping us together. AFTER: We have focused on ourselves, on increasing our interests and relationship between the two of us - for sometime soon, the kids will be gone and then there will be just us - and then what if we don't have that romance and sense of commitment for each other? I have tried hard to be "spontaneous" - to take her away on retreats and romantic weekends, on trips with me (instead of me happy to be away from her) and these have increased our flickering flame a bit. But, it's a constant task to keep the flame burning.

BEFORE: I rarely told her I loved her. AFTER: We confess our love to each other daily.

BEFORE: I refused to discuss these things with my Bishop. AFTER: We have not found it necessary to bring the Bishop into this corner of our lives.

BEFORE: I never knew other guys were in my situation and had no one to talk to. AFTER: I discovered the queerosphere and the sense of community and support that comes from this blogging world. Yet, she still doesn't know of my blogging. I don't think I could be so open and use this as a vehicle of therapy if she were an active participant in the blogging community - still the secrecy between us continues - but it continues because of trying to work to keep our relationship going and honoring marital covenants, not in efforts to destroy the marital covenants.

BEFORE: I hated myself for being gay. AFTER: I like myself for being who I am, gay included.

BEFORE: I was attracted to guys in a big way, but would always push away such thoughts and deny that I could be oriented "that way". AFTER: I am still attracted to guys - even more so - and I don't find myself nearly as willing to push away such thoughts or to deny that they exist. I accept them, even cherish them, but still beat myself up at times for doing so.


On New Year's Day, we went to a party at a friend's house. This is an annual event and the group of friends has stayed constant for nearly two decades now. We celebrate the new year with good conversation and sense of renewal. This year, there was a new couple at the table... a gay couple. They sat across from myself and my wife. We engaged in a variety of topics, including the Church and gay relationships. Needless to say, it was a different discussion at the party than in times past.

On the way home, we discussed their "partnership". I told her that I thought they were very nice and I support what they are doing. She asked me with tears in her eyes: "So, do you still desire to have what they have? Do you wish you were living with a man?" I had to tell her "No, of course not..." but she knew that denial was obligatory. I mean, I couldn't say that I longed for a physical and intimate relationship with another man even if I do have those tendencies and desires. My desires are still to love her first and to make this marriage work. But, her even asking the question in such a painful angsty kind of way demonstrated just how far we haven't progressed... she is still waiting for me to announce that I'm leaving her for another man... and she lives her life in fear of that moment.

Are we progressing? I NEED FEEDBACK! I don't know what I'm doing here... I think we still have a long way to go - but at least we are working to keep together all the good that we share.

Happy New Year!