Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Will it ever be the same?


Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have "lost" my boy-friends to that social ritual called matrimony. Both Will and Tim were married - No! Not, to each other... but to two amazingly beautiful, talented, and intelligent young women. It's been really hard to see them both grow up and become men as they move into their next phases of life. Hard, not in the sense that this step is a bad thing - only that it's inevitable that with the passing of saying "yes" in the right place at the right time with the right authority, they step away from what we have had together as friends. It's just natural that as they cling to their new eternal companions and help-meets, they become less connected with the rest of us.


Or so it seemed...


I know that I have allowed myself to become emotionally and physically attached to these two much more than conventional wisdom would grant me the courtesy of acknowledging, and it is I who now needs to learn to step aside and let them move on. But can I move on?


These two in their own time and place have meant so much to me and have given me the spiritual, emotional, and especially physical male-bonding closeness and love that I have always sought, craved and needed in my life to survive. I will always cherish these feelings and time together.


***


At the funeral last week, Will was on his honeymoon, but Tim had returned from his and was there for me. When I caught a glimpse of him, I was overcome with emotion and broke down sobbing. I was well in control for the most part, but just seeing him humbly standing in the chapel as we entered as a family threw me over the edge and I broke down. Fortunately for the occasion being one of emotion, most everyone, even my wife and family didn't know why I suddenly burst into tears as my eyes met his.


After the services, and fighting my way through the family and friends, I saw him leaving toward the church parking lot. I came from behind him and touched his back. He slowly turned and we fell into each other's arms and he held me so tightly, so completely. We were one. It didn't matter what family or friends saw of the two of us fully embraced together in that parking lot. I needed him to be there for me and he was there for me and at that moment, in that embrace as we kissed, I felt comfort... I felt peace... I felt love... and nothing else at all seemed to matter. I was whole again - complete in his embrace.


Though we didn't speak - other than mutually whispering "I love you" - nothing else needed to be said - I knew then, that he would always be there for me as I am for him despite the roads that life will now take to tug us apart - He was not afraid or ashamed to be my unique and special "friend". And even now that he is married, he was there, unchanged, unaltered - still the same Tim.


I am a romantic at heart. I often allow my emotions to get in the way of mature thinking. I am aware that with our age differences and different stages of life, and with our belief system entrenched, we will never really have anything more that what we have... but...


But, for now, for this time and place, I am grateful to have a true friend who wants the best for me, and who is not afraid to show it in an amazing way time and time again.


And, everyone needs to have at some point, that unabashed, unashamed, real embrace in the parking lot...
But now what?

13 comments:

Damon said...

...But now what? Now, you appreciate the relationship you have with Tim and the opportunity that you have had to experience emotion and love and oneness with him. You appreciate it, cherish it and recognize it as an important and very special relationship. Know that the emotion exsists and although some things have changed because of his marriage, the emotion is still there. And then you move on to live your life.

One of the lessons I have learned about life that I both love and hate is that almost nothing lasts forever. Pain and suffering, happiness and peace, all of these things during this earthly life are temporary. During the miserable times you can say at least this won't last forever and during the great times you learn to cherish and relish them because it isn't going to last forever. Peace and joy that lasts forever is reserved for after this life.

I've been where you are Beck. I know how you feel. I watched the man I love marry in the Salt Lake City Temple. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. The months after were harder. And I discovered, like you have, that he still loves me. Maybe my guy doesn't love me the same way I love him, but he loves me.

Tim still loves you too. The relationship won't be the same because he's married and life's path may separate you. But cherish that time in your life. And know and love the knowledge that he still loves you and is there for you.

It may not be enough, it may not feel like enough. It may be all some of us get. Be grateful for it. What other choice do we have?

You've had a rough couple of weeks, my friend. At least you can't say life is ever boring.

~Damon

Anonymous said...

How's your wife feel about all this? I mean does she mind? Does she feel like some sort of consolation prize because you can't due to your testimony of the gospel be with a man? Is she sacrificing being loved like this so you can stay in good standing in the church?

Beck said...

Damon: I appreciate knowing that I'm not alone in this situation.

I, too, watched as Tim was sealed in the SL Temple, and it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I, however, was grateful to witness his happiness with her.

This occurred during a period of deep personal loss. After the ceremony, I slipped out shaking with so much emotion. I found a quiet couch in the south visitor center (where the large glass windows face the temple) and just sat by myself to think, pray, and gain my composure. A calm came over me - one for my personal family loss and two, for the great sense of love that I felt for Tim.

I don't need to say more. Thanks for understanding.

Beck said...

ANON: Yes, my wife was there witnessing my expression of love in the parking lot. She and I have come to terms with this. She respects our friendship and is trying to show trust in me. I try very hard to not thrust my relationship with Tim in her face, nor try to hurt her.

She is not cast aside. She is my primary focus. This blog, if you've read any of it, does not emphasize ALL aspects and relationships in my life, but is particularly centered on my needs to come to terms with my attractions for men. Obviously, I have attractions, affection and deep love that is reserved solely for my wife that are not shared in this blog.

She has made tremendous sacrifices for me and for our kids and for our marriage. She is a saint and has been very loving and patient in helping me come to terms with these issues. We are working very hard to make the sacrifices necessary on both sides to create something that is rare, very rare indeed among mix-oriented marriages and the miracle of it is that we still both want to try.

Tim has been a source of contention at times in our marriage. She knows how I feel about him. He knows how I feel about him. It has not been easy. It isn't easy. But I still feel that I'm doing the right thing for all involved.

Thank you for your comments and concerns.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for being so judgmental. I think I am projecting my fears.... I have no right to judge your situation. I am sorry.

Damon said...

Anytime Beck!

You mentioned in your reply to anonymous that Tim knows how you feel about him.

Did I miss something? I mean, did you tell him exactly what he means to you or do you mean he simply knows that you love him...without specfic definition?

~Damon

Kengo Biddles said...

Beck, buddy, I have to say, you're in a hard place. Having never had friends exactly like Tim and Will, I can't completely understand, but I've had close friends, and watching them get married was the hardest thing for me. I became the Green-Eyed Jealousy monster. it was ridiculous. I think that Damon is right, and that you enjoy the friendship you have, remind yourself mentally that it is just that, deep, abiding friendship, and you go forward as best you can, being the loving, wonderful man that you are.

Beck said...

ANON: Don't be sorry. I need contrasting points of view to help me sort things out - which is why I blog. This blog, however, is just one aspect of my life... it isn't my life. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

DAMON: No, he doesn't "know" in that sense. He just simply knows that I absolutely love him - WITHOUT any further explanation - and he's totally okay with that. That's the magic of it all. I haven't felt the need to explain more because there isn't any "more" to explain for there is no "more" to us than what we have.

Some may think that I'm fooling myself, I'm deceiving Tim, and I'm hurting my wife... I can see that. But the way I look at it, I'm being honest with myself about who I am and what I feel. I know I'm attracted to Tim and he to me, but the male-bonding between us is just friendship - it isn't romance. In other circumstances it may be romance on my part - but there is no romance here - I hate to dispoint, but it's just a deep friendship and that's it. So, why tell him anything else when nothing else will result but confusion and heart-ache. So, am I deceiving him if I really don't openly desire anything more? Yes, secretly I do, but that is where I am trying not to let those thoughts get the best of me. I have been working hard to not hurt my wife either, by being open to her about these feelings, but reassuring her that I am not going anywhere.

Maybe I am a dishonest deceptive fool... :( This path I'm on ain't easy...

Beck said...

KENGO said: "I became the Green-Eyed Jealousy monster. it was ridiculous."

Yeah... those feelings were mine as well, the first time I met both women who were taking MY men away from me. I mean, these two guys have come to me as a confidant and shared their feelings and trials and struggles and we've had great talks as only friends can have. Yet, now that they are married, they will naturally turn to their better-halves and not to me. And that made me jealous.

But when I see how wonderful these wives are, it is hard to keep feeling that way. I am sincerely happy for them. That feeling has helped me to get over any jealousy monster from getting the best of me.

Thanks for your kind words and confidence in me, my friend!

Damon said...

Hey Beck...I was just making sure I didn't miss something.

I don't think you are a dishonest fool. You choose not to act on feelings. You truly feel friendship for Tim and you act on those. Which is appropriate given your situation and your goals.

Revealing the other feelings you have for him would not help you achieve your goals and could present you with great temptation. So I don't believe you are decieving. Instead you are choosing, out of prudence, to keep personal feelings private to prevent situations that could be tempting or destroying.

I think you're handling it well. Choosing the appropriate friendship and not indulging the inappropriate feelings.

Certainly your frienships together meet a certain need for both of you...I think you're too hard on yourself.

~Damon

Silver said...

Beck,

Have really found this post and comments heart rending and wanted to comment. I also do not think you are dishonest or foolish. These are difficult issues and deep feelings you are dealing with!

For me at least, I form emotional attachments; even bordering on dependencies at times with other men who come into my life. It is difficult to manage these friendships that can be so gratifying and fulfilling after years of going without (in my case). I spent a great deal, even most of my life in relative isolation; being in public and around other men but, not really connecting on a deep level. I had a few, very close, even intimate friends who knew my struggles but, in recent years that has changed.

I now reach out to other men. I know them intimately and they me. Relationships become intimate, close and even physical but, not sexual. It has provided me with a closeness and comfort I have never known. I've come to know that I need male affection and touch to be complete but, it needs boundaries and I need to balance it and keep it within the proper bounds which help me remain faithful to my spouse. She and the children must come first but, there is room in my life for men as well.

I've found it hard to manage these relationships because out of necessity they are limited in their scope and frequency of contact. I have a very close friend in another state who knows all my issues, is also SSA and is a wonderful comfort to me. I would very much like to see him and spend time with him but, out of consideration to our spouses we have to be very careful in waht that looks like.

I have close friends who I meet for lunch and at group meetings but, I will likely never meet their families, enter their homes or be invited to important functions like a "normal" friend would be. Out of consideration of our spouses and children; and the sensitivity of their feelings we can't be that open in our relationships. It is something that hurts me every day. I want more contact and intimacy with these men but, circumstances don't seem to allow it, at least now.

I wish my wife met all my needs. I love her dearly. She is the joy of my life. I have remained faithful to her for 20 years in spite of my attractions and yearnings toward other men. I wish that relationship were all that I need but, the truth is it will never be and I need affirmation, acceptance and the love of other men. It is hard to come by and to preserve. Our culture doesn't allow what other cultures embrace but, I am finding ways to overcome that. I'm more connected with men than ever in my life. That is a challenge but, also a great blessing and gradually even my wife has come to realize that it's a good thing and that there is room in our relationship and our lives for these other needs.

I sense you are greiving the loss of Tim and Will. They really aren't gone; you'll still have them in your life but, it won't and can't be quite the same as they move into their new lives. I feel for you and know how that hurts. What I hope for you is that as you move forward they will still remain your friends. I'm sure you'll still have that bond. I hope for you that at some point you might share with them your deeper feelings. In my experience, usually, when I have sincerely reached out to a friend with my truth, they have stayed by my side and supported and loved me.

Once a very close intimate friend of several years left me and bolted from my life when I shared my attraction to him. I grieved the loss of that friendship for two years. It hurt me deeply but, in every other case, I have been loved and accepted in my truth, with their full knowledge of my issues.

You are going through a lot. I hope you sense my empathy to your pain. I'm so glad you share your challenges here. It is nice to not be alone in carrying my burden.

I have nothing but respect for you and your discretion in how you deal with balancing your life. It's obvious that you care about all the parties involved and that you have taken care not to hurt any one of them.

All the best.
Silver

Beck said...

DAMON said: "Certainly your frienships together meet a certain need for both of you...I think you're too hard on yourself."

These friendships meet significant needs in my life! They are essential for my life!

And yes, I am hard on myself. But, hey, if I don't do it, who will?

Beck said...

SILVER said: "I have nothing but respect for you and your discretion in how you deal with balancing your life. It's obvious that you care about all the parties involved and that you have taken care not to hurt any one of them."

Thank you. I respect your story and the similarlities. These "friendships" are very, very important to me. They give me a balance, and fulfill a deeply rooted need. Why that need is so profound and fundamental I don't know... maybe I'm gay? I only know that these "friendships" allow me to keep everything in balance, including the good and wonderful things of marriage and family.