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.


Scot said...

I say send the letter. But also explain in it, as you did here, why you second guessed sending it in the first place: fear of it being misinterpreted and so on. Not that I'm near an expert on women ;-), but I can’t imagine that would do anything but help her.

Anonymous said...

I would send it. It does make us feel more loved and appreciated. Getting a love letter from spouse is a treat because we do get used to each other begin somepoint taking each other granted. A friend of mine who is in hetero/hetero marriage is going through similar situation. She knows her husband loves her but they are so used to each other that it is easy not to notice how someone is trying to get noticed. Have you seen Fried Green Tomatoes? It gives a great but quite extreme example how the wife tries to get noticed by her husband. I assume the husband is strait.
I'm a wife of a SGA man and I would be thrilled to get a love letter from him. I'd be speechless and happy and perhaps wonder why he send it. It also would make my heart warm and secure as well. I would say in it what Scot advised you.
Also perhaps you can add a homework assignment in your day. Make a goal to see/look for something in your wife you love ( maybe the way she did her hair, the dress/outfit she wore) and compliment her on it purposely. After a while it will become a second nature. It has worked for me and when I do that, it seems to make my spouse happy that day. It does not need to be always sexually is the little things. It has helped me. After a certain amount of years of any orientation marriage one easily
take the other granted. Try to make a point to notice something new your wife has done and go from there. It still will not change your orientation but it will make her feel something we women need from our spouses be they SGA, hetero or something else ( I assume there aregender neutral marriages as well).
Did not mean to give a lecture but the idea has worked for me.It may feel a bit forced at first but it will become a second nature. Think of her as your new client you want to retain. It may give you some direction and naturality.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry,onemore thing to share with you! I was helped by Neal. He was able to find me a great person ( in one try, he is very in tune with the Spirit) to talk to. The person I chat with via phone has given me a lot of insight to how things can work. She did not take my side or my husbands side but was neutral in pointing out things how they can become a bigger problem if not addressed. I feel you wife needs another female to talk to and phone is great way to do it. You are still as anonymous as you want to be or as open of who you are as you want to be. The great factor is that one hears another person, it is not just someone typing but a voice makes it more personal and spontaneous/spur of the moment questions can be asked.
If i were you, I would ask Neal (you can trust Neal) to find someone who is very supportive and right for your wife to talk about. You need to find out if your wife be open to this. I have been very open with my husband, what I talk ( mostly) about our relationship and it has made him happy as well. After my first chat with my phone friend my spouse ( he has SGA) sounded a bit like a whipped puppy even he did not know what I had talked about, but when I shared things with him, he was astonished and have said I am confident and happy sounding person. The main thing that helped me about this chat was to find out I'm normal. I have the basic needs like anyone else. Most of my marriage I felt I was a needy person. Actually I'm not but that is how I was made to feel and I believed it. I have gotten my "freedom" to be who I am back. It may scare my spouse at times but marriage is a companionship and not a prison term. Problems will prob up when one or both start feeling such way. Openly talking about things will help and draw you closer.
This will be hard work but you'll love yourself and your wife and visa versa a lot more and become much closer "partners in crime" - best friends so to say. Think of marriage as designing a building. It takes a lot of work and thought ( You would know this since it is what you do, I only have seen it done..I have few immediate fam. members in this profession. It is a field I'd like to try my hands on someday). You need to deal with building codes etc and materials. You may find that the client may not like a certain design aspect in the blueprint but you think it works and is wonderful, but to keep the client happy you need to compromise and find new materials and a design that leaves your mark(important to make it your work) in and their mark in. It takes painstaking many hours to come up something that both parties will be happy with. Sometimes you have the easygoing client who suddenly begins to have issues.What to do in that situation? You may take some time off to think how to resolve the issues, you may sent the client to visit other clients in the past to see how they like their product etc.
I'm new at this myself (SGA)but talking to someone who has gone through this before me, has helped me enormously. I'm even willing to talk with your spouse if you like. If I were you, I would talk with Neal. My husband had a "chat" with him and that was the catalyst for me to have a support person as well.
Don't give up yet!

One of So Many said...

At least you are trying. You are doing all that you know how to do to keep your marriage alive.

Neal said...


One additional thought. My mom and dad were sweethearts since kindergarten, and it never ceased to amaze me the ways he found to let my mom know he loved her. One year he gave her the 12 Days of Christmas over the course of the entire year. Each month was a "day", and during that month he would write her a poem and give her a gift, which was always hidden somewhere, or placed where she would discover it accidentally. These weren't huge gifts - just little things. A pair of earrings, a rose bud, some bubble bath, etc. But the EFFECT was huge! I think its these little things we MoHos have trouble with, not the big things.

Contact me if you feel inclined.

Best Regards,


kittywaymo said...

Beck, hello! Just be honest with your wife. She loves you very much, obviously you love her too~honesty IS the best policy in every instance, but especially about something as important as this issue. She probably deep down knows that SGA/gay issue is floating around her head for a long time now, but her heart doesn't want to believe and keeps trying to get more attractive for you because she blames herself for your lack in interest in her intimately. I think it's great that you compliment her sincerely and reassure her. Prayerfully ask the Lord to give you strength to be honest with her. You both will become closer and therefore she will be much happier. We women have this "6th sense" if you will, about knowing when our husbands are holding out info about something important. Or when our brain tell us "is he gay?" and proceed to laundry list all the various signs and signals that resound "YES!" back into our brain, we turn to our heart and our heart says "he just can't be gay!, that means he'll NEVER want me". That's the fear we women live with when we find ourselves in the situation your wife is in. So please keep telling her you love her just the way she is, that you find her beautiful (in your own way i'm sure you do) and that you will never leave her...but also when you are ready, be honest about your gay-factor, how much or little it influences your daily life and life in general etc. She wants to be part of your life, your REAL life and feelings. Please let her in. Love, Kittywaymo (my site is "kittywaymo mormonmindspace)

Beck said...

SCOT: I think I will add a footnote to the delay in sending it. I need to find the right timing. There are other issues (not related to me) that are also pressing down on her and I don't need to pile on... Thanks for your insights.

Beck said...

ANON: I'm flattered that you feel inclined to comment and appreciate it. A woman's point of view is sorely missing many times in these discussions. What I fear is that if I make it such a discussion point in our marriage, we won't be able to go on anymore - it will end up consuming us and destroying us, not helping. Whether that is a valid fear or not is irrelevant - it still just is. I'm not saying the "don't say anything" policy is doing any better, it just is the way it currently is, because the other is too painful.

Beck said...

OOSM: Yes, we are trying. There is no room for no hope - there IS hope and there is a future. It just needs to be on better foundations than the current shaky ground.

Beck said...

NEAL: I know my efforts to "think of her" spontaneously will go a long way... I've planned and carried out numerous romantic weekends, getaways away from the kids, surprise special dates etc. And they help - but when I miss the small things that trigger my lack of attraction to her physically - all else doesn't seem to matter at that moment! AAUGGG!

Beck said...

KITTY: Wow! Two outside women in one blog entry! I agree that honesty is the best policy, but how HONEST is HONEST? I mean, sometimes, withholding some evidence at certain times is better in the end then just spilling your guts. There's a fine line between what is helpful verses what is hurtful.

Looking at your profile, obviously you've gone through a change of marriage presumably over this kind of discussion. I'm not prepared to do that.

I'd appreciate more insights as to how honest honesty has to be to bring about the most good for all.

Parallel Mormon said...

Beck, Beck, Beck:

I wonder, just wonder, whether what is feeding her anxiety is that she perceives, emotionally and spiritually, your unconsumated trysts with the hotties of your heart. You tried to have your cake and eat it too, and it may not be working. If you can hug, kiss and connect with a gorgeous hottie guy, whether you tell her or not, she feels the energy. The Spirit can also and will eventually out you.

You have the power within you to give up these unconsumated liaisons and turn your heart to her. Don't listen to the traditions, however new or popular, that the options are living in a marriage without that umph or getting the umph at the cost of everything else. There is a third opportunity, that of living in a marriage with that umph. The decision is ours, we call the shots, but we also need His help. The Lord won't give us the good we do not want above all else, and we have to opt to follow what we want more, gay play or the choice to rejoice, divorce or the "force."

We can marshall our spirits to harness the body's energy for good in this life and win the prize for all eternity, or marshall the spirit in the spirit world for second or third place in the resurrection. We will learn to overcome homosexuality, will by choice, and the only matter is whether we'll do it soon enough to qualify for a fullness of happiness or later on for 75% or 50% of happiness.

The choice is ours.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for your kind words. A quote:"What I fear is that if I make it such a discussion point in our marriage, we won't be able to go on anymore - it will end up consuming us and destroying us, not helping. Whether that is a valid fear or not is irrelevant - it still just is."
I think I know/feel what you mean. There was a time in my marriage to my husband when I began spending. First it started with little things such as my income monthly basis was not enough (when my spouse was at school) I was bringing in from my own start-up business. I would then "borrow" from student loans to the needs such as mortgage, utilities. Then when the monthly income was good, I did not end up putting it back but things like seeing the new skirt on great sale and thought my hubby would like me more because of such bargain and I would look prettier for him when we went out and I would think I'll pay it back next month...this went on and on...then when I realized, I caused a mess, I did not dare to go to him and be honest about it. For numerous reasons, one was his anger about small things I did not do well, another that I had kept that from him ( he has a thing about been honest and if one is not, watch out...since he came out we have been super blunt honest and I think it has been one of the things that is keeping us together). Another reason was I wanted to fix the money mess and show I was good and great but there was a great fall to that. I was doing well on my business but then it took a downturn and you can see the picture. I was more afraid to go to him for reasons of his anger, embarrassment, the big D word and to be honest my self esteem was probably the lowest of the lowest. This was caused by many things the way I handled our money and not been honest about it, not been able to satisfy my husband in anything. It was a vicious circle. My husband never forgave me for the financial mess (and I do not blame him for that, I deserved it) I caused but when he came out to me, he has changed and I feel most of the time he has forgiven me, there are few times still (because we are still paying for how I managed money) that things pop up and it makes me question it. Back to the honesty part. I know and feel your fear what it would cause. I would pray and then follow what you are prompted to do.
My daughter has some children's DVDs. One of the Moomin stories, where Little My is thought to be in love with someone because she acts strangely ( actually she had a sore throat because she had eaten soup that was too hot). Her friends begin to speculate. Snuffkin ( who is very wise person of the group of friends) said wisely:" More natural one tries to act the more strange one acts or becomes" ( well this is my translation of another language to English, forgive me but I hope it paints the picture though). This hit home to me and really made me understand my husband and myself better. My husband tried to beat himself to be straight but more natural he pretended to be more unnatural things became and bigger quieter wedge it was causing. The more natural I tried to be about the finances the the more strange clues my husband was getting and the more glues I was getting from my husband. I could go on and on about examples but do not want to take your space.
I can see it can be frustrating. The little things do go unnoticed by us women as well at least by me they do. That is the reason, why I began purposely looking for something to say or do but they don;t always work.
Take some time for a good prayer. I did, I was desperate and in the end of my rope in Sept. 2007 when I prayed for forgiveness,release, someway to pay my husband back, freedom.I asked for freedom and forgiveness in the basis of by giving example that if I had been imprisoned, I would have served a time and then released. I did not see anything but eternal punishment. I was desperate when I prayed. Little I knew there was a freedom and it came in a different package than I had expected. The package was in a form of my husband coming out to me not far in the future of my prayer. Since then I have been super honest.
You will know in time, how to work this out. Pray and do what the answer tells you. You will be protected. Take this from someone who constantly talks/argues with promptings of the Spirit but I have learned to follow them and the rewards have been great. I'm still work in progress, not perfect!

MoHoHawaii said...

I want to respond to the comment left by Parallel Mormon, above.

I agree with you, PM, that the solution to a troubled mixed-orientation marriage isn't only the choice between self-indulgence (deserting her for hot man sex) and barren perseverance (enduring in misery). Indeed, it is possible for some people to reach reasonable accommodation, sexual, emotional and otherwise, within a mixed-orientation marriage.

My point is that it is extremely hard to prescribe from the outside what should be done in any given mixed-orientation marriage that is in crisis. Divorce helps some families build better lives. Staying together and reaching accommodation works for some. Some may be better off just leaving the issue unspoken. It all depends on the people involved. Each must find his own way, as Beck and his wife are trying to do.

In other words, there's no right or wrong way that applies across the board. This is not moral relativism; it's the notion that couples deserve respect, privacy and autonomy in working out what's best for their relationship and any children that might also be involved.

Solving deep problems like this requires more than slogans, prayer and positive thinking. It requires facing up to the situation as is actually is and not as we wish it to be. To the extent that the church is fostering false hope (for a change of orientation or for guaranteed marital success if the partners are 'righteous' enough) it is not being helpful in these situations.

I am not trying to be argumentative here. Having gone through this experience myself, I understand how vexing and traumatic these issues can be for everyone involved. I wish you all the best.

Crisco said...

I do have not advice for you, just wishing you the best. I am not good about opening up. For example, I've been married awhile and have never discussed SSA with my wife, partially to avoid this very situation. Also, I've been reading your blog for over 6 months and this is the first time I've posted a comment to it.
You seem to be in a good relationship that has lasted a long time. It doesn't seem like either of you want to give it up. I feel for your struggles, and hope you can find the best path for you and your wife. I don't feel I have any answers or advice, and perhaps should ask those like you for advice for myself.
Parallel Mormon suggested in his comments that your friendships might be interfering at a subconcious level, deflecting some of the needed energy for the relationship with your spouse. I don't know if that is true. For me I crave a healthy relationship with guy friends. I have had a handful of those over my life, only keeping in touch with 2 right now. Those relationships have not reached that emotional intimacy like that which you describe with your two friends. I don't know whether to be jealous or grateful I'm not that emotionally attached to a guy. I'm afraid that I would want to add a level of improper physical relations. Yet, I crave for the friend who gives me a huge grin every time he sees me, hugs me, and asks with sincerity how I am.
Anyway, you have a lot to be grateful for. You seem to be attempting to find the right path for you through prayer and devotedness to your wife, for which I commend you. I hope you find peace with God in your efforts.

J G-W said...

Beck - Send the letter. You can't give her what you don't have. Give her what you do have -- your unconditional love for her. It's up to her to decide if that's enough, and there's nothing you can do about that.

P.S. I love you!

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

Parallel: You've triggered many thoughts and I appreciate that. That's what I love about blogs. You've inspired my next post...

MOHOH: The world isn't so black-and-white, no matter what they say. The irony of being a gay man in a straight eternal marriage is just one small example of how complicated and blurry and individual our circumstances are.

ANON: You encourage me to be more honest as I face my fears for the better part.

CRISCO: Welcome to my blog and to this community. Please make yourself more visible and vocal as you find your way. I look forward to learning from you.

JGW: I love you, too!

kittywaymo said...

Beck, Hi! Thank you for checking out my profile~I added some songs from Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Sarah Mcgloclan(spell?) and others that kinda helped me express my feelings about my former husband, spence and also falling in love with dr. h. I loved spence so very much. I didn't divorce him for being SGA. I found out about a month after we were married and had it confirmed 5 months later) I divorced him because he and I drifted so far apart emotionally, spiritually, physically. The song "foolish games" by Jewel kinda expresses how I felt. I felt like i was on the outside looking in and he would not let me in..also the song by Shawn(female) Colvin "sonny came home" (video and song) really expresses my feelings at the time. He held everything inside and although we were such best buds before we married (i mean the singles ward we were in got so sick of us being the "beautiful couple that always was kissing constantly" (i actually had someone tell me that!LOL!) but kissing is alot different than marital intimacy (emotional and physical) and our "honeymoon" ended when he closed himself off from me emotionally and didn't trust and confide in me. I felt empty and very lonely. Do to this,and some issues with his depression and anger, we attempted one year of therapy. Still, he kept everything inside and became more distant from me etc. Most of the problem was the secrecy. I felt like he led a sort of "double life" I promise you, had he opened up to me as I believe you eventually will with your wife, i would not have left him and divorced him. i want to make it clear that it was not because i found out he was SGA. i just longed to be close to him and have the kind of marriage where we trusted and confided in one another and were honest with one another about all the stuff in our lives. I fell in love with a physician in my town who was in my ward. Yes, you guessed it, that was dr. h. he himself was seperated from his wife, i was just looking into my divorce, seeing an attorney etc.

i know its difficult to lay your feelings and heart on the table, beck. but i believe if you were open with your wife about what you've been going through, how you love her and the gospel and would never leave either etc. she would continue to love you unconditionally. my experience with spence had such different factors due to no outside support really for our "problem". we were both embarrased, confused, etc and we didn't have the resources to understand our feelings as you both have now. spence and i divorced in 1999. i left in 1997.

you and your wife have an excellent chance, but if you continue down this road of not communicating truly about your SGA and feelings, you run the risk me and spence had. He knew he was SGA, but darn if he'd talk to me about it. he knew i knew and the 2 times in our whole marriage we tried to talk about it, he told me he didn't relate to "gay" or "gays" for that matter and thought they were gross etc. but he did however, have an attraction to men, especially younger men/boys(say around 18 or so) now i'm 42 and today spence is 44.

in the ward he would like some guys and i would know it and of course it would bug the heck out of me. if he would have just reassured me, even a little or been honest like "hey, yes i find bro so and so attractive, but i try to keep my thoughts clean and i love you and will never leave you
" i would've even been grateful for that~ if i can help in any way, please feel free to email me at my private email. neal has it if you want to, love kittywaymo