Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's next?






I had a pretty good defensive argument with my wife yesterday that caught me off guard a bit and a bit red-faced. We still aren't speaking much to each other today. Needless to say, it is tense around the Beck home lately.

Some things have manifested themselves to the point where "concerns" have arisen as to "what's next?" regarding my gaydom. Things such as:

1. My hanging my head in complete disgust at Fast and Testimony Meeting last Sunday with a sister gloating over the Prop. 8 victory and her interpretation of witnessing the fulfillment of one of the "signs of the times". I guess my disgust was a bit too animated and was duly noted by my wife.

2. My calling my son's seminary teacher an "absolute bigoted moron" for teaching in the class that if Prop. 8 or anything like unto it were allowed to pass, there would be homosexuals demanding their right to have gay marriages performed in temples, and the Church would have to comply. I guess I did that too forcefully as well, and in front of the kids, my wife AND my elderly dear mother. Fortunately, my mother backed me up and thought it a stupid thing for her grandson's seminary teacher to say.

3. My changing my dress standards a bit - with my favorite jeans ( :) ) and tighter sweaters, and wearing sweaters without dress shirts underneath them. I guess this is a signal to her that I'm sending my wife that I'm trying to be more "gay". Heck, I've even been known lately to be caught wearing the MOHO approved attire at Church lately and not the prescribed white shirt (see Abelard's latest post) - and anyone who knows me knows what a huge step off the cliff this one is - I mean, what a poor example I'm setting for my impressionable teenage son (*gasp*)

4. My change of attitude with following the local church leaders, disliking my calling in the High Priest leadership, and my pushing toward more radical thoughts and ideas.

5. My change of attitude regarding my work. This economic downturn has really hurt my projects that are not receiving financing or funding, with many being put on indefinite hold or cancelled all together. I guess I've been cranky lately and stressed over where my career will go into the future and how well I am doing as a provider for my family.



6. Finding an interest all of a sudden in dumb bells and weights and working out and building up my arms - things that are strange for someone my age to suddenly take interest in - a new development that isn't encouraged by her, so she asks "so, who are you trying to impress anyway if not me?" in that oh so knowing sign of hurt and resignation that her husband is hopelessly not attracted to her and is seeking attractions elsewhere.

7. See her eyeliner out on the counter, knowing that she remembers leaving it in the drawer and why would it be out unless I was... (um... no comment).

She directly asks me: "So what's next? Are you really for gay marriage? You identify with them, don't you (emphasising the "yuck factor" that is still firmly within her mindset) - this same "yuck factor" that most all other straight individuals just can't get past and I can't see how they don't see the same thing I see - and I see nothing yucky about it). What are you going to come up with next? Where are you leading your family?"

Even if I try to explain that I don't support the Church stepping into politics and that things should be left on a religious basis - doesn't seem to satisfy her or calm her worries. She's worried about changes within me. And I get defensive and clam up and we revert back to old ways of not talking.

Of course, I don't tell her about my secret rendezvous with multiple MOHOs or that I even have this blog, or that a fellow blogger wants me to attend an upcoming party of MOHOs. I don't even tell her what a MOHO is. I really was going to tell her about this amazing support group, and had my speech all outlined in my head to break it gently but kindly to her about this queerosphere, but when she cornered me with "what's next?" as if to say "So, who's your boyfriend on the side and when do I meet him?" I just couldn't do it...


So, I ask: "what's next?"





I think I've been blogging way too much... It may be time for another break in the action and take a time out. I think I need to stop and think what direction I'm really heading in, and where I'm leading, or not leading, my family.

43 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry, Beck.

Don't stop talking to her, please. Find a way to work through this. We would seriously miss you if you stopped blogging for a while, but do what you need to do.

I wish there was something I could do. Pray? That's all I can think of.

Good luck!

Abelard Enigma said...

You need to do what's best for you and your family. If that means a blogoholiday then so be it. I, however, will miss your presence in the queerosphere; so, I selfishly hope it doesn't come to that.

I think you are struggling with a similar issue as I am: Why can't we be gay and a faithful Mormon husband all at the same time? Why do they have to be mutually exclusive?

Hmmm, I think I feel a blog post coming on.

Bravone said...

Beck,
Who took the photo of your new muscles? You are looking good my friend.

Forgive me if I am out of line or totally wrong in my assessments of your comments. I see myself in them. I see myself in them when my spirituality is lacking. I am far from a "spiritual giant," but when I felt the disgust with church leaders, hated my callings, was quick to find fault....was when my life was way out of balance.

The working out is a very positive step in your life, for your health and self esteem. I think she would appreciate it more if viewed in the light of you trying to find better overall balance in your life. If she also saw that you were more diligent in your gospel study and personal prayers. If you took her to the temple more often. If you led more meaningful FHE, etc. I am making a lot of assumptions, based on my experience and hope I don't offend you.

To me, balance is the key. When the physical is stronger than the spiritual, the soul suffers and our lives become unbalanced.

None of us has the same marital relationship, so it is difficult to give advice, but I think spending a little more time talking together during peaceful moments would help a lot. Watch for the right moments, create them, and share your true desires. Tell her you are having some tough times now, but not to feel threatened, that your testimony is intact and she will always hold your heart and fidelity no matter how much angst you feel or express.

You will do the right thing. Tell her she is just lucky not to be married to me!

Scott said...

Tell her you're just having a gay mid-life crisis. :)

Seriously, though, your list of "concerns" seems to contain two categories:

There are the concerns that are directly related to the Prop 8 issue, which has affected many members of the Church who aren't gay (and even many who have no gay family members) in much the same way. Your wife may not share your political views, but you can assure her that you're not alone and that it's not just the gay community that feels the way you do. Maybe that will help, and maybe it won't.

The other category in the list seems to contain mostly activities that amount to a harmless bit of experimentation. You're a gay guy who has been living a straight life for [some number of] years. It used to be that straight-acting was necessary for survival, but society's acceptance of homosexuality has increased to the point where there's not nearly as much need to pretend to be what you aren't.

So you're reaching out, trying to "find yourself", for lack of a better term, in ways that are reasonably acceptable from the standpoint of an active member of the Church. Rather than seeing your new wardrobe and new physique as a precursor to a gay fling, perhaps your wife could be persuaded to see them as an alternative to such--a way of being gay that isn't incompatible with being married to a woman.

I agree with Sarah that you need to continue to talk to your wife. It's easy to "get defensive and clam up", but that serves no purpose, and in fact will probably only serve to convince your wife that you have something to hide. Opening up and sharing things that you find difficult to share provides evidence that you are being honest when you tell her that you are committed to her.

You're in my thoughts and prayers. If a blog sabbatical is what's needed, take a break and know that you'll be missed.

Bravone said...

Beck, after reading Scott's comments, I feel like I might have been a bit too hard on you. Sorry:(

Bror said...

My wife freaked when I told her I voted for Obama. She didn't talk to me for 3 hours. She and her family are bleeding red republicans. They think he is the "AntiChrist". She just couldn't believe I would do such a thing. It was my first time ever voting for a democrate president. I told her also I didn't want prop 8 to pass. I guess she saw that one coming. I have been feeling like crap with all the stuff going on. I had to do something. Anyway, I totally understand where you are coming from. We have patched things up a bit, but she has her "what's next" questions for me all the time.
I guess what I really want to say is that I hope you keep on blogging bud. I would miss you to much.

UTMOHO said...

Beck, I have spent the last 6 hours reading your entire blog. I have read many entries where you said you just wanted to take a break. You don't know who really reads these or why you do it. Well I can say that I have never met you but, I feel like I know you. I am not married but I have just come out of the closet in the last few months and it is a exciting and scary journey. I really enjoyed all your entries. I hope you continue on writing. But if you need a break I will be here with the many others waiting for you to come back.

MoHoHawaii said...

Two observations.

1)

According to "family systems theory," anger is resistance to change. When one person begins to change the others in the system fiercely defend the status quo.

This means that anger isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it's undesirable or unproductive. It's just a sign that change is in the air.

Change is a good thing. It's the source of personal growth. It's the process of getting unstuck.

Conclusion: just giving your wife room to be angry for a while may be the way to go. She's got a lot on her plate right now. Of course, keep the conversation going.

2)

The default assumption always seems to be that you are the bad guy. I don't buy this. There are always two sides to a situation, and rarely is there one saint and one sinner.

You are meeting your obligations as a parent and spouse. You are trying to deal with your own issues with integrity and respect for your commitments. You are working hard to provide for your family. You have the right to be cut a little slack.

You work out because it makes you feel better about yourself. Period. Your own moral compass tells you that Prop 8 was wrong. Period. You're not asking your wife to join you in this view. You don't need to explain this further, and you don't need to acquiesce to her demands as to what you should be.

I'm sorry to beat this into the ground, but this is where a competent counselor might be able to help.

I'm rooting for you guys.

P.S. Why don't you suggest that she join you at the gym?

Jay said...

I'm a lurker here and will miss your writings terribly if you take a break. I will keep checking back. Good luck to you.

Mike said...

Beck,

I have felt this pain before, and I know how much it sucks. I don't think that I am one to get advice from as I know many others who show more wisdom than I do, but I do have a comment to make.

I wiould give your wife some space, let her figure out how she feels. Don't close the lines of communication, but don't offer any ovations. Just be ready to honestly share your feelings if she wants to know. and If she doesn't want to know your feelings, then provide unbiased facts.

I think that she will come around, I mean she has been with you for so long already.

I will miss your views on life if you do resolve to quit blogging, but please do what is right.

Right now my wife wants to see me be more spiritual and that is what I try to focus on when I need to focus on something than I know that I can do.

Beck said...

SARAH: Don't be sorry - it's part of the process of "coming out". Sometimes it goes faster and seemingly easier for some, and for others, it's slower. I'm changing as I evolve and have these identity mentalities crystalize. The problem is, she's not changing with me and sees no reason for me to change... I don't fault her. It isn't something that she should naturally gravitate towards.

I appreciate your prayers at this time... I need more than luck.

ABE: As I've done from time to time, I disappear for a while to think. And, as I've done subsequently, I always come back, whether you want me to or not. :)

BRAVONE: My personal trainer took the photo of me - you like?

I know my prayers are lacking, but not absent. My scripture study is constant and at times intense. Our FHEs are regular, but not always meaningful. Our temple attendance has slacked off of late. Is this a PPI? :)

I see your point and know that some of this is due to my lack of diligence with the above, and yes, there is room for improvement. But, I'm not saying I'm rebelling against the church - I'm just saying that as a phased approach to this "coming out", I'm evolving into another creature. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen. And whether my wife wants me to evolve is certainly clear that she doesn't. But I am just the same - I can't help it. I can't go back to the self-loathing man I used to be. I'm beyond that. The toothpaste is out of the tube and can't go back.

But, your points are well taken and I'm always grateful for you to call me out to remind me of those things I should be doing.

Beck said...

SCOTT: Yes, I'm still trying to "find myself", something I should have courageously and seriously done back in high school. It's part of the process. I'm experimenting. I'm testing the water. I'm feeling the feelings I didn't allow myself to feel before. I'm okay with all that. But she's not. She doesn't want to know. And yet, she doesn't want to be surprised. Her greatest fear is really what I'm going to do next and whether it involves her or not. I know that's an awful way to live - in fear - I've done that.

But, when she brings "it" up, it comes out so hurtfully and negatively and I'm always the one in the wrong and am always the one that has to stop changing and go back - but I can't go back. It's not that I demand more understanding of her, for talking about it is just too stressful. She just doesn't see the need for the change in me, and sees my changes, insignificant and harmless as they may be, as negative. She wants me to be who I once was. The problem is, I don't want to be that person anymore.

Thanks for your prayers but be patient. Not everyone moves at your lightning speed!

Beck said...

BROR: You voted for Obama? Really? And then you told your wife about it? Wow!

Again, I'm not going anywhere - just need some space - I wasn't even going to respond today, but I couldn't resist. It's an addition - this blogging thing - and I don't think I'll be gone for long. Just need to think, and blogging makes me think to one-sided.

UTMOHO: How sadistic is that - to spend six hours reading my blog? I haven't even done that. I'm scared to do that. I don't want to remember what I wrote. But, now I'm curious... do you see any growth, or do you see, as it feels for me, that I tend to just repeat the same cycles over and over again? I'd seriously be interested in your insights!

MOHOH: Anger is here, but it isn't uncontrolled or unhealthy anger. There is hurt and frustration and stress over these things more than anything else. Giving her space is easy - it's engaging her in conversation that's hard.

And, yes, I am always the bad guy. The point is, she's a wonderful, amazing person who really does do righteous and "right" things most all the time. She's really, really good, and she tries really, really hard to be good, kind, sweet, loving. And I love her for it. This isn't to rag on my wife, okay? But, in her eyes, this is still bad. She understands it is inherent within me, and always has been and that I haven't chosen to be this way - which are good steps of progress. But, watching me choose to be more vocal, to appear more edgy, to express opinions that may be more inconsistent with my past persona - for her all personify going to the "dark side" and choosing to do so.

I know counseling may help. To do that step, I've got to decide what I want. What do I want?

Beck said...

JAY: Thanks for lurking. I wonder how many more lurkers are out there?

MIKE: She wants me to be more spiritual as well, and not be so defensive or rebellious in my attitudes. Again, it's not the big things, it's the little things, but they add up and I know I can do better.

Sure, I give her space, but typically I get hurt, clam up and don't talk about it or push the subject and so I may be giving her too much space.

I don't know... that's why I need to stop and decide what I want to do.

Thanks for your support and concern.

Bravone said...

Fratello mio, I have thought about your post throughout the day and have come to the conclusion that your self discovery process is so much more benign than my path, that you should use me as an example to your wife. Show her that although your changes may annoy her at times, they are harmless when compared to those I and some others have made, like turning to addictive vices or immorality to deal with our pent up same gender attraction.

This may seem silly, but could you bring her into the process a bit? For me, humor helps. For example, see if she would like to help outfit you with the official Moho attire. Maybe hold a contest to see who can list the most "adorable" gay things she likes about you, etc.

After reading my post, I think I need a new drug!

UTMOHO said...

Beck: In response to your questions
"How sadistic is that - to spend six hours reading my blog? I haven't even done that. I'm scared to do that. I don't want to remember what I wrote. But, now I'm curious... do you see any growth, or do you see, as it feels for me, that I tend to just repeat the same cycles over and over again? I'd seriously be interested in your insights!"

Ya it was a lil crazy to spend all that time reading your blog but I read one entry about how your son caught you and I was quite interested in you. So I kept reading and the time just flew by. I know that you are ashamed of that but hypothetically speaking I don't mean to offend anyone or say that this will happen but what if and I really mean what if, your son by some chance has the same feelings you do? Did you just scare him to the very back of his closet by reacting the way that you did? Just throwing that out there. Again I hope not to offend but that is what
I was thinking as I read that.

I do see some repeats but that is how we all learn and grow. I also do see you growing as you find yourself. I am not sure what you want to do now and you might yourself not be sure but, I am still young and have not chosen to get married because I am scared of what it could do to my wife. I love the fact that you have been together for 27 years. I cannot imagine the trials and struggles you have faced together but I do commend you on getting this far. If you are coming to the Moho party I can't wait to meet you. I really think you are a great example.

Pieces of Me said...

Beck:

I want to share with you from a wife's perspective, and maybe it will help you understand her.

I saw my husband do all the thing you are doing, working out, changing his wardrobe, making new friends that I was not a part of, an ever increasing negative attitude toward the Church etc. It was like you said all part of his coming out process, and evolving from the man he was pretened to be into who he really was.

For me as a wife it was VERY scary. I never knew what change was coming next and none of the changes were being influenced by me. There were both external and internal forces working on my husband that I had no control over, and I seemingly became unimportant to him. (I know I was not unimportant to him, but it felt that way when he was making these changes taking US in a new direction, and I had no imput in those changes or the direction WE were heading.)

I finally realized the person I thought, or rather wanted my husband to be was DEAD. That person would never return. Hence I began a grieving process for what I once had that I would never have again. Sadness, anger, fear, and acceptance are a part of that grieving process. She is probably grieving now, time will cure that one way or another.

Philip said...

Beck,

Possible scenario:

Now that you are out to yourself the next stage is to go through gay adolescence.

Signs of gay adolescence - focusing a lot on appearance and things gay.

The change is evident and your wife sees nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Whether you come out to yourself at 12 or 22 or 52, the adolescence stage cannot be skipped.

Eventually you get past this stage and go onto others and you get more and more comfortable in your own skin.

You can go forward or stop in your tracks or go backwards but to make any progress you have to go through the adolescence stage.

If you go forward it may take a year or two or more to get past the adolescence stage to the next stage.

The adolescence stage is often when a gay person feels like a kid learning and discovering all sorts of things about other gays and themselves.

It can also be a scary or crazy time what with learning and trying all sorts of new things at once.

The other stages are not as scary or crazy or enlightening or difficult.

Your wife will probably continue to feel threatened until she sees proof that the more comfortable you are in your own skin the happier you are and the better things are between the two of you.

Let me know if this scenario resonates with you and we can talk more.

Regards,
Philip

Bravone said...

Pieces, again your input is helpful for me and others to understand better what our wives are going through. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Philip, What an interesting perspective. I have never thought of it that way. I guess just like my adolescence was full of experimentation and some rebellion, my "gay adolescence" has been the same. Some make it through adolescence better than others. Some are scarred by it and others find themselves. You have given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

robert said...

I want to say that I do not know how a person "takes back" that which they are becoming through consciousness.
If space aliens suddenly appeared here and told us about all of the mysteries of the universe and they completely contradicted our previous belief system, we could not simply return to our old beliefs as if nothing had changed.
As others have said, change is not a bad thing. It just is. Its our judgment and fear of change that is the problem.
From my reading, it appears that the LDS have a remarkably difficult time with change because life is so culturally constructed to look a certain way from early childhood. And this is reinforced at every level throughout a person's development. This is neither good nor bad. I do think it is fundamental in understanding the concept of MOM and other outgrowths of the Mormon culture.

Scott said...

Beck,

You've gotten a lot of good suggestions about what might be behind the changes in your behavior and what your wife might be thinking and feeling. Hopefully some of what people have said in their comments has resonated with you and helped you to figure things out.

But please don't just assume that the suggestions about what your wife might be thinking and feeling are accurate. Talk to her and find out for sure, and then let her know how you're feeling. Do it with the help of a therapist or counselor if you need to (really not a bad idea) but however you do it, and even if you don't want to do it and she doesn't want to do it, make talking to your wife about "the gay thing" on a regular basis a priority.

You've tried silence, and she's tried ignoring it, and it really hasn't worked all that well for either of you. Take a chance and give communication a go.

Beck said...

BRAVONE: I'm not going to use you as an "example" for my wife to realize how innocent my "what nexts" are. But, I can use your example of how an amazing MOHO has come full circle. That is an example that I can hold onto.

UTMOHO said: "...I am not sure what you want to do now and you might yourself not be sure..."

That is the point. I still can't put my finger on what I want because what I want is in conflict with other parts of me that say that I can't want that. I need to sit down and decide what I really want and make a plan of how to achieve that... the hard part is, I'm conflicted with what I want.

As for being an example - I guess I'm an example of how NOT to do this thing. Yes, I've made it this far, but I don't feel very good about myself right now - another down cycle as you obviously have observed by reading my entire blog. I'll get back at it - just don't know what I want.

Beck said...

PIECES said: "...I began a grieving process for what I once had that I would never have again. Sadness, anger, fear, and acceptance are a part of that grieving process. She is probably grieving now, time will cure that one way or another."

Your words are stinging and painful to hear - but I need to hear them and feel from her point of view. I see your pain and appreciate your willingness to share it here with me and slap me a bit into a wake-up mode.

That said, I feel like from her point of view there is NO reason for any of these feelings, changes, thoughts, emotions that I'm going through. She feels lost and excluded from the changes I'm taking her through and I know she doesn't want any of it.

So, is there no hope? Is there no way to do this together? You obviously went separate ways from your husband who became "dead" to you. Do you see any other way than this ending? What would you have wanted him to do differently? What would you have done differently?

Recognize, my steps "in a new direction" have been pretty innocent. Sure, they always start there, but I've lived my life with clear boundaries and have been able to stay within those. So, within those boundaries, that keep me anchored to my wife and kids, is there some way of still expressing and feeling these emotions without violating her or without her feeling the man she once knew is now "dead"?

Beck said...

PHILIP said: "You can go forward or stop in your tracks or go backwards but to make any progress you have to go through the adolescence stage. If you go forward it may take a year or two or more to get past the adolescence stage to the next stage."

This really, truly resonates with me. Of course I feel stupid at my age for going through these things. But, because I can't face them directly and plow through this phase, I feel like it is taking longer than a couple of years. I've been out to myself for 4 years now and here I still am playing the game and tempting to experiment, but not get through this stage.

I've blogged about this before, but the adolescence continues even if I recognize it for what it is - it still continues.

"...The adolescence stage is often when a gay person feels like a kid learning and discovering all sorts of things about other gays and themselves. It can also be a scary or crazy time what with learning and trying all sorts of new things at once."

It is crazy and scary and fun and terrifying. But, I see no end to it as I deny going forward and seeing my wife desiring me to not go forward.

"...Your wife will probably continue to feel threatened until she sees proof that the more comfortable you are in your own skin the happier you are and the better things are between the two of you..."

I hope so, but how do I actually produce the proof that the "new me" is actually a "better me" and not someone who is viewed as being "dead" as Pieces notes?

Beck said...

ROBERT said: "...I want to say that I do not know how a person "takes back" that which they are becoming through consciousness."

That's my point... I can't go back. I don't know how to go back. That's why I talk about the toothpaste out of the tube - no way to get it back in the tube. It's out and it's done. So now what? But, what if she wants it back in and me back to where I was, even if that was when I was subdued and non-existent as a person - a non-person? What if she'd rather have the non-person than the new me? I can't go back and I don't want to leave her behind, but with her dreading my "what's next" next step make sme dread myself as well.... AAAGGGHHH!

Beck said...

SCOTT said: "...You've tried silence, and she's tried ignoring it, and it really hasn't worked all that well for either of you. Take a chance and give communication a go."

That's easier said than done, my friend. Are you willing to come and be the facilitator? The referee?

I hear you! I've heard you for months! I get it. :)

I just don't know how to not clam up when we get into these confrontations. It is my natural response to just back off for fear of saying things that I will regret and I don't want to hurt her. She really doesn't want to hurt me either, but her confusion and pain are so similar to PIECES that I feel like she's afraid I'm becoming "dead" to her and there's no where to turn to for help.

To even talk about counseling will require talking about "it" and when we clam up and retreat to our corners when we get pushed by the other in this discussion, it's hard to say - hey - let's go see a counselor.

And my fear of a counselor is real because of my negative experiences of the past - but that aside, I'm still not sure "WHAT I WANT". How do I figure out that? If I don't know what I want - or in honesty I'm afraid to admit to myself what I want, how do I articulate it to her or a therapist?

I still need time to think...

*big sigh*

Abelard Enigma said...

just don't know what I want.

If I may be so bold (and play an armchair psychologist) : I think you probably do know what you want - you're just afraid to admit it.

It's OK to want things. God didn't tell us "thou shalt not want" - He told us "thou shalt not covet", which the dictionary defines as "an inordinate (i.e. unrestrained, uncontrolled) desire." And, I think that's what you, and I, and others are afraid of - that our desires go beyond mere yearning and border on the unrestrained and/or uncontrolled. But, I think we need to acknowledge our desires before we can learn to control and restrain them.

For me, it helps to write them down. I think written language must use different parts of our brain or something - because seeing it written provides a new perspective. Verbally talking about it out loud is another way to help sort through things. (and yes, there is an offer implied in there)

Scott said...

I hear you! I've heard you for months! I get it. :)

Okay! Okay! I'll shut up now! :)

Are you willing to come and be the facilitator? The referee?

I'm willing to do anything that you think will help. I know that Sarah feels the same way. We're here for you.

--

Reading PIECES' description of her feelings and comparing/contrasting it with Sarah's and my experience (with the help of her most recent blog post) made me realize another thing that I probably ought to have included in my last blog post.

I'm a different person than I was several months ago, and Sarah recognizes that. She went through a grieving process and mourned for the loss of the old "me", but then she shifted from mourning what was lost to getting to know and appreciate and love what she had gained. That has made all the difference, I think.

Maybe it's kind of like the father marrying off his daughter, mourning the loss but consoling himself with the idea that he's not losing a daughter--he's gaining a son.

The question is how to get your wife to see things that way, and that's a question I can't answer.

Though it may be the same question as this one:

...how do I actually produce the proof that the "new me" is actually a "better me"...

The proof should be in the pudding, as they say. Or, "by their fruits you shall know them". Is the new Beck more comfortable with himself? More confident? Happier?

I've found myself generally to be more confident, more able to motivate myself, somewhat more patient with the kids (Sarah may question this one). I feel like I'm happier overall (notwithstanding the bittersweet moments of longing). I think I'm actually closer to the Spirit (even though I'm questioning Church leaders and policies). I think that overall the "new me" is the "new, improved me".

If you feel the same way about yourself, help your wife to see that. You don't even have to rely on demonstration and hope that she picks up on it--you can actually tell her that you're happier, etc. (I know, I'm not supposed to harp on the communication thing anymore).

We're still praying for you. Let me know if there's anything else Sarah and I can do to help.

Philip said...

Phil: "...Your wife will probably continue to feel threatened until she sees proof that the more comfortable you are in your own skin the happier you are and the better things are between the two of you..."

Beck: "I hope so, but how do I actually produce the proof that the "new me" is actually a "better me" and not someone who is viewed as being "dead" as Pieces notes?"

Gather stories from your MoHo friends and others and use that to prove to yourself and your wife that there is reason to believe it possible that the "new you" will be an improvement.

Then both of you have to take a leap of faith.

Regards,
Philip

Peter said...

After thinking about this for a few days, I wonder if your wife could benefit from being more involved in your coming out and in your changes. I think it might be good for wife to be involved in your blog- to go to the gym with you, to go shopping for new clothes with you. That may be scary to you, but if it brings you together, I think it'd be worth it.

Captain Midnight said...

That's rough. After my mom found out I was gay I always got worried about what she'd think about me getting a gym membership and buying new clothes and stuff. I always felt like she'd get worried. Haha. Good times.

Pieces of Me said...

Beck:

My husband started out with small innocent things, IM with other MOHO's who where still active in the church, but gradually as he became more accepting of himself, becaue he spent a lot of years in denial, he began to experiment more, with new people and ideas, including a lot of MOHO's who have left the church. He shut me out of his world, for several reasons, first he knew it made me uncomfortable, and second he did not want me "judging" or critizing what he was doing. The ironic thing, I have really have not judged him as we have gone through this process, I realize he is who he is, has always been that way, and will continue to always be that way. I love him and I always will...

The more he hid from me, the more it destroyed the trust in our relationship to the point that it was not repairable.

He has also left the church. Probably the two key things that killed our relationship was his leaving the church, and his unwillingness to give up his friends. I realize and understand his need to have male friends, and know that he he did not have those friends he would not be happy, but those friends began, and still do have more influcene in his life than I do. His listens to them, he will drop everything for them, he spends more time with them than me.

Because of the choices he was making it made our marriage an unhealthy situation for me. I was constantly being left behind, and neglected. I did not change, but he did. Seeing your spouse change right before you eyes, and you have no control over those changes, is very hard.

Also because of his attitude toward the church I could not have the spirit in my house, something I needed in my life. Since he has left the spirit has returned, and I am again finding peace.

It clearly did not work out for us, but admire those who are trying to work it out. I wish our situation was different, but for it is not. My hope for the future is that both of us can continue to love and appreciate each other, find new direction and peace in our lives.

Philip said...

pieces of me,

I have talked to a lot of straight wives left behind, neglected, lied to and mistreated in numerous other ways by their gay/bi spouses.

I find having a safe forum to share even vent one's feelings with other people who have been there and who can validate, support and share what they have learned is one of the best ways to heal.

I personally recommend support groups. A support group helped me more in two hours then a year of professional counseling had.

Do you know about the Straight Spouses Network? They have support groups and message boards that might be helpful. PFLAG also might be helpful even though it's primarily a support group for straight parents with gay kids.

I'm sorry for all you have been through and I hope you well.

To gay/bi spouses not out to their wives,

I don't think I changed. However, when I disclosed my sexuality, my marriage changed forever. All I did by coming out was to become the person I was intended to be all along.

One thing that changed in our marriage was that my wife felt deceived and no longer trusted me. It didn't matter that I had not acted on it. It also didn't matter that I told her as soon as I figured it out. My deception was in marrying her without letting her know I had doubts about my sexuality. Since my sexuality directly impacts her life, she felt I had denied her the information she needed to decide if I was the right person for her.

And "pieces of me" makes a good point that many gay husbands focus so much on their coming out journey that they leave the people in their lives behind.

And I hate that many gay/bi spouses keep lieing and hiding things from the straight spouse which makes it impossible for the straight spouse to rebuild the trust lost at disclosure time.

And sometimes the straight spouse sees nothing to gain or is so hurt that they are unwilling or unable to see the gay/bi spouse's sexuality as something both of them need to work on together if the marriage is to succeed.

But having said all that there are positive ways to deal with one another after disclosure.

One thing is to do what many couples post-disclosure advise which is to communicate, communicate, communicate.

There is also an approach my wife and I did not take but that I think is the smartest approach that I've ever heard of for couples post-disclosure.

That approach is for each party to figure out what their core needs are, compare what they have in their marriage to their core needs and then determine if the discrepancies are too great or if the marriage is worth fighting for.

Of course, it may take a while before each party can arrive at what those core needs are. And it requires compromising and revisiting the core needs from time to time. Both parties also have to be willing to fight for the marriage; one party alone can't make it happen.

I won't lie to you it's not easy and it's going to take time before things go smoothly again.

Lastly, I think most husbands put off disclosure not so much because they are worried about their wive's feelings as they are scared of how much disclosure will hurt them.

Regards,
Philip

J G-W said...

Beck - I know it's hard, but I think you have to find a way to let go of your resentment about Prop 8. That will be like a pebble in your shoe... Let go of whatever creates resentment toward the Church. The Church has been the source of your spiritual strength; and your spirituality has been what's keeping your marriage and everything else together.

Not sure I have much else to add. It does seem like things have been shifting for you. Know that you're in my thoughts and prayers!

Damon In CO said...

Beck,

I only have two thoughts.

First, you have the queerosphere. You have sounding boards and help from multiple people both online and in person. Who does your wife have?

Perhaps it would be helpful to introduce her to Sarah and Scott.

Second, I think that perhaps you lack purpose. This is why, on occassion, you have these floundering moments. What are you trying to achieve in life? Why are you trying to achieve it?

Why do you wake up every morning, what gives you energy, excitement, fulfillment? What's the one thing that you feel like you're working to achieve?

I love you, Beck and I would miss you immensely if you either stopped blogging or took a break. However, I want you to do what is best for you.

I was recently reminded just how temporary and short life is. I came back from Salt Lake 2 days ago. My Dad was in the hospital, problems with his heart. He's ok now. But it made me think about this mortal life and the limited time we all have here.

So Beck, in the limited time you have here...what is your purpose? What are you trying to achieve?

~Damon

GeckoMan said...

Beck,

I agree with what you and the others have said--you are changing and there is no going back.

Part of the forward climb must branch into a more full disclosure and mutual support, or there is no marriage. I hope you can find a means whereby you can both trust each other enough to disclose and then support, while prior commitments and time smooth out the rough spots.

You love and respect your wife; you want to also be respected for the changes that are evolving in your life. I think seeking professional help will assist you both in clinging to trust and unfolding understanding of each other's needs as fuller disclosure is worked through.

Silver said...

Beck,

I keep checking every couple of days to see if you have posted. I'm missing you. Even so, I feel your pain and I know the need to manage the marriage and take a break from the blogosphere.

I hope you're well and finding answers as to where you go from here. If you figure it out maybe I'll follow your lead...I don't have the answers either.

How my wife is at a given time seems to determine how my life goes and the temper of this entire struggle. I hate being so codependent. I often try to divorce myself of those emotions and responsibility for her reactions. They are truly her own yet, we are so connected. It's a difficult balance to meet my needs while respecting her's. It can be a tug-o-war.

I hope you are both healing and enjoying the holiday season. I pray for you and all of us who deal with this. I pray there are more victories than defeats.

Be well friend. I'm thinking of you today.

Silver

Beck said...

ABE: I think I know what I want... now the question is how to get it.

SCOTT: The proof is in the pudding whether the "new me" is better than the "old me". But, you always give me much to think about. Your compassion and concern for me is genuinely felt.

PETER: Sure it would be better to have my wife be involved with my coming-out, but if she wants me to stay-in, it's hard to have her participate, right? Small steps... just keep making small steps...

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT: I've been thinking a lot about getting a gym membership... working out at home is limited. Maybe I'll ask my wife for one for Christmas.

Beck said...

PIECES: Your example, though potent and shocking, of what happened with your husband, must not be construed as the only way for us gay men to end up, and that our marriages are all doomed to the same fated conclusion. I appreciate your comments and want to encourage you to do more - but I'm going to use your story of your husband as what I am NOT going to allow to happen to me. Just you watch.

PHILIP: We husbands do hold off on full disclosure because we are afraid, very much afraid of hurting our spouse and wanting to spare her (though in reality we are sparing nothing, but just avoiding the inevitable) the pain and suffering that comes from our confessions. Oh the webs we weave...

Beck said...

JOHN: I sincerely appreciate your advice and am trying to "let it go" and seek that which is good and strengthening within the Church. I'm not bitter. I'm not hateful. I'm okay. Taking some time off to think about other things and to obtain a new perspective has been good. I'm always grateful for your advice.

DAMON: Yes, I lack purpose - a vision - a goal of where I want to be. It's taken me some time to put together my wants and I still am not convinced that my convictions are sound, but I'm getting there and will be blogging soon. Thanks for hanging in there and pushing me onward.

GECKO said: "...Part of the forward climb must branch into a more full disclosure and mutual support, or there is no marriage. I hope you can find a means whereby you can both trust each other enough to disclose and then support, while prior commitments and time smooth out the rough spots."

The "more full disclosure and mutual support" is easier said than done. It may take professional help to get through it - I'm realizing that. But, it's got to be done. My smooth spots are less frequent than the rough ones - if I want more smooth I may need to receive counseling to help me through the process - for when I try with my wife, we both get tense and it's easier to just go to our corners and not talk about it. We're really good about not talking about "it".

Good to see you still around. I miss you and hope you're doing well.

Beck said...

SILVER: Yes, I'm still around. I've just taken a blogging holiday and have tried to get my arms around what I want and where I go from here. I'm not closing up shop, so please take time to check back. I have so many things to blog about - I just needed to figure some things out. I'm still not there and who knows, I may still need more time, but I'll hopefully be blogging shortly.

It is sweet of you to care and I feel your concern, your friendship and your brotherhood. Yes, we are codependent as couples. When my wife is happy, I tend to be happy, and when she is stressed, particularly over our rapport or the "big issue", then I'm stressed. The roller coaster ride is something we do together. I, too, wish it weren't so, but it is.

Thanks again for your kindness, and yes, I promise to blog again shortly.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I have much more to add to what's already been said, communication being the most important thing. But as the wife of a struggling MOHO I would plead with you not to underestimate your wife. I know it's hard not to be frustrated with her but she's come with you thus far, and I'm sure she's felt a great deal of hurt and confusion, and like many women has blamed herself at times for all that's happening. Be patient with her and seek for her to be patient with you. Pray for understanding on both sides and ask her to pray for it too, for me it has often been the only way to deal.

Beck said...

ANON: I know the prayer needs to be more a part of my vocabulary and countenance as I contemplate what I need to say to her. It's been so hard to formulate even a prayer for her to understand me when I don't understand me fully. I am patient... we are patient together... we've made it this far, we can keep going.