Monday, December 01, 2008

Thomas - Part I



During the last few weeks I've been searching for a direction in my life, and an answer to the "what do I really want?" kind of questions. As much as the answer to these questions should be obvious to a true believer (which I am most definitely one of the true believers) of "the Plan", it hasn't been an easy task. I've struggled with the difference between what I should want verses what I really want. And that struggle triggers all sorts of thoughts as to why there even exists such a struggle in the first place.

But, this post isn't directly about that... My list of wants is still forthcoming. I'm still working on it and it has been my prime focus for some time now.
That said, there has been a new development which has made my task and my focus more difficult. I'm hesitant to share this development here, as I'm sure most of you will say: "... well, there he goes again, that Beck, always looking to hook up with somebody - if he can't get it from his young men who are now all married off, then I guess he's got to get his bromancing in from somewhere... (heavy sigh)".
Where do I begin... A brief synopsis may be justified...

While I've been having problems, distancing myself from confrontations with my wife (and feeling compromised and bruised a bit in the process), a friend from the past comes back into my life.
This friendship is a deep and dear friendship that extends back nearly three decades. This friendship began toward the end of my mission. Thomas was a 22 year old law student and newly baptized member when we met. I fellowshipped him and guided him through the process of preparing to be an Elder and go to the temple. We became very close, extremely close. Nothing immoral happened between us, but I fell in love with him. I couldn't use those words at the time because at that time I couldn't and wouldn't accept that I was gay. To put it in those words implied that I was attracted to him sexually, and I wouldn't allow myself to go there. Though we were more intimate than a missionary should be, we encased our relationship in the bonds of "spiritual brotherhood" that our love for each other was just that - brotherly love. For now, I will leave it at that.
When my mission was up, I remember the hardest thing I had to do was leave Thomas. My parents came to pick me up, and he was there at my side. We cried openly and wept in each others arms as I had to leave. I did not want to go. I was in love with him. This attachment I had with him and he with me caused my parents great concern. They wanted to receive in their arms a welcoming son, and instead, they found a son who wanted to spend the rest of his life with another man. Though none of us cloaked it in the words of "gay", it was obvious that we were more than "best friends" or "mates". They were convinced that getting me home and back to college and away from Italy would solve the "problem".
Several months later, Thomas was getting married in the Swiss Temple. He was marrying someone that I knew (he was engaged the last month of my mission) not because he loved her, but because it was the right thing to do. I didn't like her (she was the sister of a sweet member in our branch who came to visit, but she was anything but sweet and desperate to be married - and in Italy, finding an eligible worthy priesthood holder is difficult - and was going to find "her man" hell or high water!) as it felt like she had hooked him and was taking home her catch. He seemed happy, and what was a missionary supposed to do but encourage eternal families and temple marriage as "the Lord's will" for all of us. But, as I look back, I was deeply jealous of her because I knew that she didn't love him as I loved him and I didn't see him loving her as he loved me. It was being done out of duty, and "the right thing to do" and nothing else.

I couldn't think of not being there to witness his marriage, so I emptied my student-poor savings account and bought a ticket to be there with them on their special day. It was the most out-of-body experience of my life. So many things happened on that trip, but needless-to-say, we fell into each others arms all over again. I bawled at their ceremony in the temple (most thinking I was overwhelmed with joy), but I was hurting too much inside. I wanted him to be happy and this was part of the Plan and so it had to be the right thing to do, and so I kept encouraging him on. I remember walking around the temple grounds with him in the middle, his bride arm-in-arm on his right side, and me arm-in-arm on his left side. I was sooo glad to be there with them, but as I think about it, we had to have made quite the odd threesome - and some must have wondered what this clingy American was doing with these newlyweds. Again, I'll leave it at that...
We wrote epistles back and forth for the first year. Then I got married and we eventually went to Italy several times and met up with each other - but our relationship became strained as the "wives" interfered with our closeness. Both sensed it. I had shared and revealed in detail my feelings for Thomas with my wife prior to our marriage and she "accepted" this bromance though she did not understand it (now she has a clearer picture). Soon, however, his relationship with his wife soured and turned ugly and crazy and they split. Mine turned stressful and lonely as I sunk into the 90s in my great denial period of my life. Our letters became less frequent, but still very powerful - enough to keep the passion and friendship alive - where typically any other friendship, with the distance of a continent and an ocean separating us, would have died.

Then came the invention of email... (Yes, there was life before the Internet believe it or not!) and we began corresponding. He went through a deep and dark depression after his split from his wife and eventually left the Church. He never denied the spirit or the teachings, but felt the rules and the culture of "pro-marriage" at all costs drove him to this living "hell" he found himself living because of those decisions. Whether he should have blamed the Church for his decisions or not isn't the point... but our correspondence weakened as he would be so bitter.
Finally, he found another woman who helped him out of this bitterness. They could not marry as his wife would not grant a divorce (divorce laws in Italy are very convoluted) so they moved in together and have had a common law marriage and one child who is now a young teenager. We've visited them and I've found him again to be not very happy in his family situation, but he endures it well, and muddles on...

The rest of the story... Two weeks ago, after several months of silence, he emails me (by the way as soon as I came out to myself, I wrote him a 37 page letter and sent it to him explaining my "coming out" story) and wants to ask me several deep probing questions about me being gay, about my feelings for him when I was a missionary, about my feelings for him now, about things that I wanted to talk about nearly four years ago, but didn't - at that time he took my gay discovery as being a great revelation for me, but he didn't internalize what it might mean for him, or what he means to me.
These deep and personal questions baffled me, but in my current matrimonial funk, I was in the mood to be completely honest for the first time with him and I admitted that without a doubt I was "in love" with him, that I was attracted and turned on sexually by him, that I wanted him as a missionary, but I couldn't and wouldn't and DIDN'T allow myself to do it (the story of my life). At first he was a bit shocked by this revelation, but that led to other questions and over the course of the last two weeks we have been sharing lengthy correspondences daily back and forth (good thing I was on a blogging-holiday) and he started opening up to me for the first time about his own sexuality...

Some translated quotes - all from him:

"I didn't believe truly that you were in love with me. I thought you loved me as a brother, and wouldn't allow myself to imagine otherwise. I wish I had known this fact sooner... because maybe my life would have been different."

"This is a major guilt in my life - to not have understood that you loved me, and not just spiritually."

"Now I think, if it was truly God that put us together, wasn't it for our happiness? And if God is true love, maybe there should have been more between us."

"... the fact is that since we met, neither of us have been very happy in our lives! So, now, here we are. We have other family responsibilities that we must honor... But, I must confess something: If one day I remain alone and also you are alone, it doesn't matter what age we are, wait for me for I will want to be with you, not to just relive the past and try to make it what it wasn't, but so that you can really know me!"

"how would my life have changed had you confessed your love to me? Certain, it is difficult to say. Maybe at that time it wasn't right for us, and neither of us would have accepted it then, I would have been hard on you... but in my heart there would have been such joy, not pain."

"why is it only now that we have discovered this between us - when our lives are not free?"

"I never really felt the spirit in Church, but I felt the spirit with you..."

"If God has established his plan for us, let's leave it up to him to guide our future life. I think that on this earth there hasn't been a friendship so profound like ours. I will never forget it. I will never abandon you..."

"This discussion between us has helped me to be more tranquil. You are helping me to see that I am bisexual and am open to a relationship with another man. I've come to realize that sex must be accompanied by love. Without love, there is no satisfaction. So, if I decided to be with you for love, and not only for friendship, I would have been sexual with you."

"Why are you so far away? There are days when I want to go back to be alone with you."

"You are the only person that I can truly open my heart to without being judged, and you can do the same to me!"

"From among all of my friends, you are the one I feel more than "brother". Why? You have always given me your heart with sincerity and purity that I couldn't help but be in love with you... My love for you for the most part has been spiritual, but now, today, if I were free, I would give you so much more... because physical love for you would be a completion of our spiritual love."

"I have such a desire to hug you, to hold you, to feel your body's heat next to mine, to smell the scent of your skin... but, I don't want to come between you and your wife. It wouldn't be right to make her suffer... that is why I only wish to have discovered all of this before I got married or you got married. I've always missed you! Always, always, and what pain I have suffered for our distance from each other.... We are two stupid idiots! We could have waited... we should have waited... and then our lives would have been so much happier. I don't want to go crazy thinking about the "what ifs"."

"Be it clear that if we can figure out a way, I will want to be with you..."

What am I to think of all this? Is he teasing me? Is he playing on the fact that we have marriages and we live on separate continents and so it really isn't going to happen so it's easy to be gushy and emotional like this? And why now? Why all of a sudden, after our nearly three-decade relationship, we are sending love letters back and forth and discovering our feelings for each other are stronger than ever?
Am I so desperate for a bromance that I'll go to another continent to find one? Am I so screwed up I want to be in a fantasy world of make-believe romance? Is this all a pleasant distraction to keep me from facing reality? Sounds like I'm wanting to live in a soap opera...

I need help from my blogging community to help me sort this one out before it gets more out of hand than it already has... Comments? I'm an open book so have at it and critique away...

To be continued...

53 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

Beck, I've gone through similar spirals with my friend Davros--I think you need to just accept that at this point Thomas may be open to you, but you need to not consider it. If you value your marriage and your family, this isn't a road you can consider.

If you're willing to end your marriage and leave your wife and kids to pursue this relationship, then this is something you should push for.

You need to decide what's important and then move forward.

Beck said...

KENGO: First of all, did you really read all that stuff I wrote? I can't believe you made it through it. I'm thinking of pulling this post. It's just too unreal. It's "spiraling" quickly and I don't know where it is going.

I haven't been taking it too seriously (due to the distance between us) but I can see where it can get serious if I don't stop it.

But why do I not want to stop it? Why is this feeling so wonderful to know that he is willing to write such things about me?

I'm not running off to his awaiting arms as it may seem... but I have been guilty of fantasizing of doing so.

What do you do with Davros? How do you keep things going, but at bay at the same time?

Anonymous said...

I kept a relationship going for almost 2 decades where they lived in Europe and I lived in the western United States. Anything is possible these days with e-mail, web cams, airline flights, etc. What is it you want? Him or your wife? Really, you cannot have it both ways. Is he the more "attractive" choice as he is far away and you can build the fantasy around him? And, your wife is here and she is the reality? I have been where you are right now. Not an easy place to be. A lady at church had it right- she said, "The gospel and church are easy to live- until we want to do something different." We all chuckled, but there is great wisdom in what she said. Are you giving up something good with your wife for the hope of something better with Thomas? Or are you giving up something good with Thomas and hoping for something better with your wife and family? My mission president (from Southern Europe) once made a statement: "If love is not forever, it is not love." Can you have forever love with Thomas? Your wife? Both? Neither? You have some tough choices to makes. Especially where you are so attracted and so in love with Thomas. And, according to this post, you love him like ouhave never loved anyone else? What to do?

Scott said...

Hurry and get your "what do I want" list finished so you can answer your own question here. Kengo and Anonymous have got it right: you need to make a choice.

Actually, it's not a binary choice. You can:

1) Forget about any kind of relationship with Thomas and rededicate yourself to your wife and kids.

2) Leave your wife and kids and hope that you find what you're looking for with Thomas.

3) Stay with your wife and kids, and keep up with a long-distance relationship with Thomas (walking the razor's edge) and continue to try to keep your wife in the dark.

4) Number 3, but tell your wife about your pen-pal and hope for the best.

5) Not a very likely option, but some people have made an open relationship work... This would be an extension of Number 4--Tell your wife about Thomas, stay with your wife and kids, but build on your relationship with Thomas as well. But from what you've said of your wife, somehow I'm not sure she'd go for this.

6) Or I suppose you could do Number 5 and try to keep your wife in the dark, but illicit affairs don't often end well.

Have I missed anything?

Notice that all but option one entail some sort of disruption of your family, ranging from secret betrayal (#3, #6) to a restructuring of your relationship (#4, #5) to complete abandonment (#2). Do you want Thomas badly enough to accept the consequences of any of those options? If so, go for it.

If not, I would only consider #1 and possibly #3, and in either case (whether you continue communicating with Thomas or not) I would recommend (you know what's coming, don't you?) discussing things with your wife and letting her know what's been going on.

If this post is meant as a "tell me what to do", then here's my advice: Tell your wife (ideally everything, but at least that you've been communicating with Thomas and that things have gone a little further than they ought to have gone). Stop with the mushy stuff with Thomas and back off to friends-only communication with him. Or stop writing entirely if that's what your wife wants--Thomas seems like the kind of guy who will understand. Take all of your passion and energy and put it into reconfiguring your relationship with your wife into something that works better than what you've got going right now.

If this post wasn't a "tell me what to do", ignore the previous paragraph, and let me just give you a [[hug]].

Anonymous said...

Beck,

I know what you are going through. I don't want to post my reply in the public response section. I know that you do not list an e-mail address. Is there another member of the MOHO community whom you trust and who has your e-mail address, and I could send a message through them?

Abelard Enigma said...

I'm not sure I understand what you are asking - you already know that your wife and family come first.

Are you asking if it's possible to maintain a relationship with Thomas that is acceptable in light of your family obligations?

Regarding your fantasies - we all want to feel loved and wanted. Thomas has awakened feelings in you and is reminding you of the forbidden love that you yearn for. Most, if not all, of us in MOM's have similar yearnings - it's just that yours seem more real right now. But, no matter how intense the feelings - it's still a fantasy. When you go to bed at night, you will still be sharing it with your wife - not Thomas.

Reading through your translations from Thomas - it seems to me that he is testing the water to see where you stand. He obviously has strong feelings for you - and he wants to know if you have similar feelings for him - and if those feelings are strong enough for you to leave your current life and make a new life with him. I'm sure you do have feelings for him - who among us wouldn't under similar circumstances? You just need to let him know, in no uncertain terms, how you feel - but your feelings for your wife and family are stronger.

Draw a line in the sand and then put the ball back in his court! He may want to pursue a platonic relationship that doesn't cross the line - or he may want to cut off all contact - or anything in between. You can't control his actions - you can only control your own. So, the only thing you can do is to make sure you communicate your boundaries and let him decide if he can live within those boundaries.

Beck said...

ANON #1: How did you maintain the relationship for two decades? Be it clear that I'm not "giving up anything" - I never said I was going to get on a plane and leave all that I have behind for him, including the Gospel. What I did say, or what I am asking is why I'm wondering about it in the first place and why it is so intriguing to me, and why it is hitting me at this exact decision-making time in my life after nearly three decades. These are the questions I'm asking. Yes, I am still attracted to him and "in love" with the idea of being in love with him. He was my first real love with another man. What we have is special - for now it has remained in the realm of a bromance and will most likely remain there.

As for eternal love, I believe there are loves in our lives that are eternal that are not marital. To have an abiding and eternal love for a friend that is more than a friend is a very precious thing - and in the spirit with which we have shared this love - I feel it is sacred and holy and "eternal". This relationship has been a key turning point in my life - one that shaped my decisions of teaching in the MTC, which led directly to my wife. This relationship has been nothing but positive for me - and of a nature that I have kept from this blog for the sacredness of it. I bring it up at this time only because it's intensity has magnified tenfold in the last two weeks - weeks when I am intensely trying to figure out "what I want". Don't you find that intriguing? That is what I'm asking - the irony and timing and intensity of it all?

Bravone said...

Beck, tu sai che penso io. I emailed you my thoughts earlier. Those damn Italians! They have a way of working their way into our hearts don't they? I agree with Scott about Tomaso. If he truly cares for you, as it appears he does, he will let you go. Scott also mentioned channeling your energies into your relationship with your wife. She deserves it and so do you.

I am not you and so cannot judge your true feelings and what would truly make you happy, but I think that as romantic as the idea of sharing your life with Tomaso may be, your ultimate happiness in this life as well as the next would be sacrificed.

I do believe in "falling in love" again. The very things you did to win your wife's heart are the things you need to do to keep it. The more you give her, the more you will receive in return.

The quality of my marriage and the trust between us grew leaps and bounds when I opened up to her. The open communication must be followed up with reassurance of your devotion to your wife or the revelations will only cause her to feel more insecure and her defense mechanisms will kick in. If you demonstrate your love and devotion to her, she will be more accepting of you and hopefully become the first one you turn to for support.

Ti voglio un sacco di bene,
Bravone

Beck said...

SCOTT: You don't know how I appreciate your analytical way of thinking - you always give me choices to consider, some obvious, but many I haven't thought of and I find that so endearing. You are right that these are choices to be made, but I'm really not asking about these choices.

In the spirit of "what do I want", I find the timing of this increased intensity, particularly on his part, and his curiosity about my feelings for him when I was a missionary and now and whether I was ever "in love" with him is curious and mind-boggling indeed.

I know that I will stay with my wife. Thomas is stable and mature enough to see to that. I trust him and he has implied nothing but respect and honor for my marital relationship. He wants me to be closer. Yes, he wants our relationship to be physical, only because he sees that I desire it as a gay man.

You already know my choice would be choice no. 3 or maybe no. 4. She knows all about Thomas and our past. She knows him personally as we've been to his house many times and visited and correspond with his family. She knows that I've confided in him about me being gay. So, in a sense, she is not in the dark about him. What she doesn't know is this escalated, intensified communication - one that if I don't pursue physically, may die back down through the inevitability of email limitations.

Does that ease your mind at all? Again, as I told ANON #1, I am not seeking advice on how to run off to Italy. I know already how to do that. What I'm wondering is why I'm even entertaining the thoughts, the debate, and enjoying the cascading love that is coming from another man at this particular time? I'm wondering why I even consider it and am so intrigued by it, and the dialog of how we both feel, had we been completely honest (and with different more mature eyes) some twenty-something years ago, maybe neither one of us would have ended up marrying who we married, and the possibility of pursuing that love we have for each other down a different path would of insued. We find that mutually odd and fascinating and amazing that here we are entertaining such thoughts of the "what ifs" of so long ago, and the strange and interesting paths our lives have taken to get together, come apart, suffer in our own unique and dramatic ways, and now come back together with our paths intertwined again. It's like the script of a movie - we both know it isn't reality - but it has a portion of reality as we both are real and our feelings are real and we both can't help to contemplate the amazing "what ifs".

That's all. Really. Do you trust me?

Beck said...

ANON #2: No, I do not publish my email for my own reasons. That said, you can contact Kengo or Abe or Scott or Bravone here and they can send me the message and we can go from there. I do want to hear from you and learn from you. Thanks for your interest and caring.

ABE: You know me well. You understand completely the questions I'm asking - it's the chase, the mystery, the magic, the fantasy, the intrigue that is getting me all stirred up at this unusual and intense time in my marriage. I find it amazing to be attractive to a guy for all these years. I find that as he discovers my desires for him from the beginning (seen in hindsight 20-20 vision of who I am) he finds me more intriguing, mysterious, exciting, and magical and is amazed that after all these years I can make him feel these feelings for another man that he hasn't had in a long time, and that he's not afraid of these feelings or embarrassed about them, even in expressing his "what if" scenario of being physical with me. This is stirring emotions in both of us and that is the miracle of it all.

We're not going to destroy our families and lives - but isn't it an incredible thing to still feel these feelings? We all desire to be loved. We all want to be wanted.

He is testing the waters, but more than anything he's discovering feelings that he hasn't felt before, or in a long time and they are testing his own resolve and his own sexuality. And it's exciting on his part to comtemplate such a relationship - even if in a fantasy form.

Don't worry - you know me, better than most! I'm still who I am.

Scott said...

That's all. Really. Do you trust me?

I do trust you. I just can't see you running off to Italy.

What I do see as a likely future is that you choose #3 and continue to walk along the edge of the cliff, relying on your love for your family and your religion to keep you from falling off while drinking in all you can of the beautiful vistas below, while at the same time nursing a dreadful fear of heights that keeps you anxious and edgy and generally conflicted. All while trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy for your wife (pretending that you're focused on her, and not on the view of the valley, so to speak) so that she can continue to pretend that everything is the same as it was when she first married you.

I'm just worried that the tension is going to eventually pull you apart.

The ideal scenario, I think, would be to gently bring your wife into your world so that you can share with her what you love so much about the scenery, thus removing the pretense. At the same time, take one step back from the edge--you can still see a lot, but when you're not flirting with temptation you're a lot less likely to fall.

I've really overused that metaphor, haven't I? :)

Bravone said...

Beck, It is interesting (coincidental) that his intensity peaked at a time when you are trying to decide what you really want. Could it be that Someone who knows you best felt that rekindling the relationship would help you decide what you want because you have a real, viable option? Now you don't have to wonder if such a relationship with a man is possible. You know it is and you are placed in a position to make the choice or reaffirm the choice you have already made. Making or reaffirming your choice should give you confidence and a determination to fully invest your love, emotions, thoughts and attention to your wife.

Bravone

Beck said...

BRAVONE: You also know me better than myself. You know of this story. You may even know Thomas and the thought of that scares me. I've shared some pretty private stuff here and it's at a risk, but one that I may yet regret.

That said, as much as I want to fly off to be with him tomorrow, I'm not going to. We've tested the waters and it's been fun to see the openness and willingness of friendship after so many years and such a huge distance between us. What a strangle-hold these Italians have on us! I've told you that before and you know it to be true.

What you've said about focusing back on my marriage is my next step... I'm getting to that, slowly. I just had to interject this on-going soap opera as it is fascinating to me, the timing of it, as I contemplate eternity, and my relationship with my wife and family. And the openness will come - it is part of my "want" list that I'm eventually going to get around to share with you. I'm hesitating, because if I do share my "want" list with this blogging corner of the queerosphere, I'll be bound to it and I'm wanting to have convictions to do so, and this may be the only way I'll do it.

So, allow me this diversion, this interesting dramatic irony of Beck's play, and let me play it out a bit as I come to terms with myself and my past.... Okay?

Rimango chi sono e non ti preoccupare. Come ti ho insegnato, l'amore puo essere fortissimo fra noi uomini, un amore che durera' piu' che questa vita!

MoHoHawaii said...

Wow, Beck. You're always full of surprises.

My thoughts:

I don't think Thomas is teasing you. He has strong feelings for you and they are not platonic.

Savor this relationship, even though you can't be together and even though you may need to turn down the intensity knob a bit.

If your wife gets wind of this, then it will really hit the fan. From her point of view, what you say would be a confession of an extramarital affair. Yes, I know you have never been physically intimate with Thomas. That won't relieve her sense of betrayal. Such a confession has the potential of being very destabilizing to your marriage.

Thanks for sharing this situation with us. It's a poignant story. I hope you keep writing.

And, of course, best of luck. We're rooting for you.

UTMOHO said...

Ok, I am not married but I have been considering the idea of a heterosexual marriage. After what I have read here it makes me wonder, Why? It seems that dealing with SSA just makes the marriage, even more difficult than they already are. I have a friend who I have really strong feelings towards, I told him this last week and he said "I am going to get married and I can not be with you." This crushed me. I know he deals with SSA he has told me. After reading your post it makes me think what if he didn't make it through the marriage. I am not hoping it doesn't work out. I am hoping that if it doesn't I will be there. Maybe I am just being stupid and this is rude of me to think. But I wish you the best of luck. I really enjoy reading your posts. I hope one day we can meet.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I don't think he's teasing either. With my confession of being "in love" with him as a missionary and coming to find out later that that love was also sexual, has stirred in him thoughts of his bisexuality and facing his fear / or lack-thereof of a male-to-male physical relationship and not be scared or afraid or embarrassed about it, but being intrigued and fascinated by it. This is genuine and sincere and earth-shattering in a way for him. For he has felt these desires and my interest in him in this new light of me being gay has changed something in him and seen me in a new way. Isn't it all so interesting?

You can't make this up! I keep saying it sounds like I'm writing a screenplay, but I'm not.

Thanks for your encouragement. I'll turn down the knob, but with these revelations, I doubt we will ever be able to "go back the way we saw each other" or at least the way he saw me. We look upon each other with different eyes in different ways... something that will always be present from now on.

Whether I continue the unfolding events or not depends, but I appreciate you and your opinions and your concern for me. Thank you.

As for surprises, we never know what's around the next corner at Beck's house, do we?

Abelard Enigma said...

I have been considering the idea of a heterosexual marriage. After what I have read here it makes me wonder, Why?

UTMOHO, don't let these soap opera's that us old drama queens live in have any impact on what you do with your life. You have a big advantage over us - you accept your SSA while still young; and, you would be entering into a MOM with your eyes wide open. Beck and I (and many others from our generation) were in deep denial and didn't acknowledge our sexuality until much later in life. We come from a different era and things were different back then. We're still struggling through our gay adolescence. You have a big head start over where we were at your age.

Beck said...

UTMOHO: I do not want to discourage anyone from being married. I am not an example for anyone here. What I share is my life and my crazy and twisted experiences and they should not be looked upon by anyone as an example to follow.

Should I have said something before he went to the temple when I went back to be with him at the Swiss Temple? Was it my place to tell him that I loved him and to run away with me and leave his bride-to-be, who he did not love, at the altar? Would our lives have been full of bliss and happiness as we ran off together and formed the perfect union somewhere in Europe together? What would have happened to my relationship with my parents? with the Church? with my testimony? I don't know. All I know is I couldn't put it in those terms at that time in my life and so I had to encourage him to do what he was doing for "righteousness's sake".

But,I would say that I should have told him that he shouldn't marry her out of obligation and without true feelings of love. That was a mistake. I wish I was brave and bold enough to have done that. He wished I had done that.

He told me that he feels like that day in the temple, he remembers me being there more than her. He feels like we were "married" at that time. As crazy as those words sound, don't enterpret them as being something you should do or not do. I still say that I married the woman I did because I fell in love with her. I truly love her today. My commitment to her has wandered a bit lately, but I do not regret marrying her for a minute. I am not so caught up in the "what ifs" to add that I wish I never had married. My wife is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thomas was a major turning point in my life, but that doesn't mean that the most important decision I ever made was marrying my bride!

Thanks for your comment... it got me to say something that I haven't said in some time. I needed to say that.

Bravone said...

Yeah! You said it! Ho rah for Israel!

Sean said...

Beck,

You are a good man and I've always loved reading your stuff. I don't think that I've ever commented, but I believe that you will make the right choice, the one that is best for you. I think that if you stay close to God that you will find what you truly want.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Since you've been reading gospel and have been a missionary on the church. You already know what to do. You are just confused and being drawn by the emotions and the intensity of it and by the what ifs, wishful thinking that both of you aren't married so you could freely do some things. It is "TEMPTATION" the words, the actions and if you give in, you know the consequences. Things happen for a reason, everything has it's own time even love and hate. I don't think you have to go for this type of relationship even if both or one of you aren't married.

Romans 1:26-27 "For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,and the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution."

From reading your posts, I can tell that you are responsible enough and you already know what's on and beneath the surface, and from every angle of it. Be fair w/ your wife and especially w/ your kids. If you really want to be fair with your wife and if you really love her, you would stop this bromance w/ Tomas. It might be hard at first but you can gradually lessen your time communicating with this man and know your boundaries when you talk with him, things that both of you shouldn't talk about. You might have found the right love (but from a wrong person). This could be His way (God's way) to test you. You were given freedom, should you give in or not. Should you let yourself get tempted and be totally consumed by what you're feeling. Are you ready to face any consequences once you did any physical or sexual act with him. Would you feel ashamed, happy, satisfied, contented or nothing but fear? It's your choice.

1 John 4:18 "There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love."

The Faithful Dissident said...

Beck, I wouldn't want to be in your position -- or your wife's. It must be incredibly difficult and so I have much empathy for you.

I think that MoHoHawaii brought up an interesting point when he said, "From her point of view, what you say would be a confession of an extramarital affair." Remember that there is such a thing as an emotional affair and I think that in many ways, they're harder to heal from than an affair based on sex. Emotions can be just as satisfying -- even addictive -- as sex, if not more. I think it's much easier for people to control their body than their thoughts and emotions.

Whatever you decide to do in regards to whether you should tell your wife any of this, if you decide to rededicate yourself to your wife and family and cool it with Thomas and limit your contact with him to platonic friendship, then it might be best to not tell your wife at all. Some may argue that that's being dishonest, which it perhaps is, but I think you may be able to spare her a whole lot of hurt and heartache as long as you cool it down with Thomas here and now.

On the other hand, if you're not yet ready to do that, then I think you're going to have to be honest with her. I would make only one suggestion, and that is to wait until after the holidays to break it to her. I don't think anyone wants to hear such a bombshell around Christmas time, especially when there are children involved. As well, the holidays provide a special opportunity for family and self-reflection that may help you get the clarity that you need on your dilemma.

Abelard Enigma said...

I just want to go on record saying that I have utmost faith in Beck. When it comes to home and family - he is a rock! While he does have his drama queen moments (who in the queerosphere doesn't?) - when the dust settles, he will always be at home with his wife and children.

Is there another member of the MOHO community whom you trust and who has your e-mail address, and I could send a message through them?

Anonymous, Beck has given me permission to serve as a go-between. You can send your private email to me and I'll forward it to Beck - my email id is in my profile.

Public Loneliness said...

Hi Beck,

Nice to see you back and around. I really don't have any sound or wise advise for you, but one thought comes to mind, when the prospect of something new and exciting comes into our lives we tend to focus all our attention and because of that euphoria it is hard to think rationally and that is when we can possibly miss steps--your friendship with Thomas sounds wonderful and obviously it sounds great to know that finally you and he can look at it in a new light and potentially move forward--it looks and sounds wonderful, but often times things like that hardly ever turn out to be the case.

Of course I could be completely wrong but hey, you know in the end we're all here for you regardless of any outcome. I believe everyone else has pretty much expressed other pros and cons but in the end, you are the one who makes the choices and that's that...hugs to you!

Alan said...

I have learned from experience that it is never wise to do anything in haste. Ponder, reflect, consider for as long as it takes to reach a decision that has considered all implications, effects, and potential results of all the alternatives.

Not the one for you said...

Beck, I read your blog often. You are really an amazing person with a heart of gold. Your struggles are all of our struggles. Everyones choice in the matter is scared and is their choice.

While a huge part of me wants to scream "Run to your man!" I know that your place is different than mine. I came out when I was 26 (30 now) after a failed engagement with a perfect girl. Life has been spectacular for me since and I have been able to embrace the emotions and feelings that God has given us, the capacity to love others. It has been an amazing experience for me and I couldn't imagine my life differently now.

It sounds like you have something very special with Thomas, I hope you can see the depth and possibility there.

-Jeremy

Beck said...

SEAN: Thanks for breaking the silence and commenting. I follow you as well and appreciate your comments and confidence in me. I am interested in the "younger" perspective of the follies of us older late-bloomers. We must seem pretty silly to you to be at our age and still be going through these games and infatuations and flirtations. Thanks for not laughing out loud at us older buggers.

Beck said...

ANON #3: I do NOT consider this relationship with Thomas as TEMPTATION. I see only good and comfort and warmth and love in it. Love is of God and you can quote the lustfulness of scriptures all you want, and yes, I'm caught in the euphoria of romance and I can be checked and double checked to stay on the right course here, and I appreciate the slap in the face, but don't associate what I have with Thomas with Romans 1:26-27. You may think of what we are describing here as "vile affections", but I do not. I see this as an amazing and beautiful thing, an incredibly revealing thing that two people after all we've gone through over decades and continents can feel love for each other. That is not vile, evil or wrong. I don't care what anyone else says - what I'm describing is not vile!

Beck said...

FAITHFUL: Thanks for your female perspective! I appreciate the other side's point of view and it helps to give me pause. I often get caught up in the moment and let my emotions carry me away. If you couldn't tell, I'm a passionate person, an idealist, and I let those characteristics at times get the better part of me - which sometimes isn't a bad thing. Sometimes I wish others would have more passion in their lives and be excited about more things.

But you're right. I know that my wife is jealous of my feelings for Thomas. I've not fully appreciated or understood why she would be jealous when he has done nothing to advance toward interfering with our marriage and yet, my heart does wander and that is hurtful to her. As it wanders, it always comes back. So, I appreciate the advice to not stir up the hornet's nest right now as long as I am not heading off to Europe anytime soon, to cause more pain than it is worth.

Beck said...

ABE: Thanks for believing in me.

PL: I know that when we both really sit down and evaluate our lives, our obligations, our commitments and my covenants, the reality will win out over the fantasy. But, isn't it fun to contemplate that someone out there really loves you BECAUSE you are who you are and is not afraid of the GAY word? I think that's pretty amazing stuff!

ALAN: I am going cautiously. The heat has been raised pretty quickly here but we aren't at a boil just yet. Turning down the knob a bit is the best advice I can do. I don't want to cut him off, nor abandon him as he's finally opening up to me. But, nothing in haste either way - I agree.

NOT THE ONE: Your kind words are needed right now. My "heart of gold" feels overflowing with emotions. I'm struggling with my wife and now I'm struggling with a dear man who confesses to me that he loves me. It is a wild and crazy ride. I don't want to lose him in my life. I nearly lost him once when he went bitter against the church and felt all bad things that have happened to him were because of following what the Church told him to do. I don't want to lose him again. If I can be of a positive influence in his life and bring him joy and peace and comfort and love, why wouldn't I? Again, I see all good in this and no bad. Some may see me as a blind and silly fool. I see this as a miracle and feel nothing but good from it.

So as one who has embraced the potential and possibility that this friendship might have with deepness beyond its current level, what would you advise? I'm very interested in your perspective.

Not the one for you said...

Beck, I would love to talk to you more privately. My email is jwcoker@Gmail.com

Thanks
Jeremy

Peter said...

Get your wife involved in this process. NOW. She needs to be having this conversation with you, not other bloggers.

I have lots of opinions on what you've said here, but none of it matters. Please, get your wife's opinion. Decide together what you are going to do. I hate to be a drama queen about it, but I just look at the secrecy this blog provides you, and it is a bright shiny red flag.

As others have said, an emotional affair will hurt your family just as much as you going to Europe and having a physical one. Two weeks of communication like that is really pushing things. I would hate to see your relationship in trouble because you didn't do anything about it.

I don't want you to feel stuck in your marriage. I would support you if you got divorced and pursued a relationship with Thomas or any other man. But do that after a conscious decision made with you wife, not after secretly pining for two conflicting desires. Inaction will lead to the choice being made for you. You deserve to make this decision intentionally. Get your wife involved in this conversation.

playasinmar said...

FIRST: Anonymous is John Galt

SECOND: He's worried you'll replace him as our favorite Greek Tragedy Blogger

THIRD: You will always be my favorite Greek Tragedy Blogger

FOURTH: Are you going to see Milk this weekend?

Beck said...

PETER said" "I hate to be a drama queen about it, but I just look at the secrecy this blog provides you, and it is a bright shiny red flag..."

First of all, there is no bigger romantic wanna-be drama queen than myself. That said, you make a point that smacks me in the head and why I stopped blogging for a while. This secrecy of my blog gives me "freedom" to vent things that I can't do in any other way. Maybe I SHOULDN'T vent in any other way and just pull the plug, as this is feeding on my euphoric feelings and making them even more attractive than they already are. Good idea... I should stop blogging all together.

Beck said...

PLAYA: First of all: if ANON is John Galt than I would love to talk with him as soon as possible!! Do you know how to get hold of him? I have recently been remembering his story (for obvious reasons) and have restored his in the link column on my blog. If you are just being your normal self and pulling my leg and you don't really know who ANON is then I'm overreacting as usual and I should just say "ha..ha..ha..."

Second of all: I tend to fall into these Greek tragedies moreso than I should, don't I? Next thing you know I'll be plucking my own eyes out...

Third of all: Don't be such a stranger and tell me what you really think of my pathetic life.

Fourth of all: I want to see Milk. The reviews look good. And kissing James Franco(?) can't be bad!

Abelard Enigma said...

Fourth of all: I want to see Milk. The reviews look good.

I'd like to see it too; but, good luck finding it - as I understand, it is currently only playing in 36 theaters across the nation - although I suppose that will change this weekend.

And kissing James Franco(?) can't be bad!

That alone is worth the price of a ticket :)

But, the $1,000,000 question is: Will you see it in a Cinemark theater?

Scot said...

Wow. 30-something comments... what could I add? I wish you the best Beck, and I'd typically say something about being in a tough spot, but you know that :-).

Eh, I'll try. For what it's worth, I can understand tragedies better when the hero agonizes before the tough decision. Whatever you do, I hope you can do it without guilt. I feel if guilt sticks to any action, it'll be or become the wrong action, even if it's the right action ;-).

(and where in the heck do you get so many homoerotic and yet PG-13 images?)

Beck said...

ABE: Cinemark has a 20-gillion plex just down the street - they aren't just in Texas! :)

SCOT: I know you wish me the best and I know you know I'm in a tough spot. But knowing that you know and that you're there means a lot to me.

As for guilt, the revealing factor is that I don't feel guilty. I feel good and at peace. I feel that as long as I feel good and at peace, my motives will remain pure and guilt won't cloud my judgment.

As for the images, well... that's a different matter - that's my GUILTY secret as to where I find them and it remains with me... :)

Abelard Enigma said...

Cinemark has a 20-gillion plex just down the street - they aren't just in Texas!

I think you may have missed the point of my comment - the CEO of Cinemark donated $10,000 to the YesOn8 campaign - so Cinemark is being blacklisted by the GLBT community.

Beck said...

ABE: I'm so out of touch... Thanks for informing the ill-informed.

robert said...

Beck: I really think you should dispense with telling others that they "know you better than you know yourself". Its disingenuous and gives an inaccurate picture that you may be too messed up to see the obvious contradictions in yourself.

You are indulging your adolescence, and that is all. If you choose to cross over into adulthood with your gay identity, it should be done without the complexity of some distant romance. It should be done, because you have come to know the truth about yourself and admit that you learn slowly and that being shackled by the culture of Mormonism did not assist you in self-realization.

I can only imagine what your wife would do if she knew about all of this. Perhaps, it would be the impetus she needs to eliminate denial in her own life, because you aren't doing it in your own.

Beck said...

ROBERT: Ouch!

Yes, I'm disingenuous. Yes, I'm playing games. Yes, I'm acting like a school boy. Yes, I'm in denial. Yes, my Mormon culture has not served me well. Yes, it would be a severe wake-up call for my wife.

Yes, you are right. And yes, I know myself better than you or any of you out there.

Mike said...

I feel like I am too late in the comments to say anything that is different from the many people that have written you.

I strongly believed that before I got married that I would be faced with a situation that would make me choose between SSA and my marriage, like being confronted with a blarring ssa relationship where it would have been far too easy to choose the wrong.

It wasn't the case. Looking back I could have had something like that, but I was far to careful to allow anything like that to blossom, as I would always nip anything like that in the bud from engaging in a relationship with another man.

What I have found is that the real dilemma is in the every day life after the marriage in choosing to remain emotionally connected with my wife.

Many of us can say that our wives are, for the most part, our best friends. In some cases, friends with few benefits. Though I have challenging times with my wife, she is my best friend. We did fall in love, and we still love each other, but that doesn't take away these 'other' feelings [surprise!].

I know what it is like to expend my emotion on someone else than my wife, though the other man doesn't have a clue. The emotional connection all resides in my imagination on how I wish my life were really like, and I realized that I cannot serve God and mammon. I can't have an imaginary relationship with another man and not have it affect my marriage.

I decided that our 'relationship' couldn't go on. LOL So I broke it off and left the imaginations.

Since then I have tried to focus more energy on my wife and family and I have tried to go back somewhat to the days of our courtship and win her over again and again, to show her that I choose her.

I am sorry that this is happening to you, I know the 'drama' that it creates. If we really were to follow the straight and narrow I feel that it should be easier, right?

The answer is no, it shouldnt be easy, it should be hard. Sometimes it is too hard and I wish it were not so.

I hope that you will have clarity of thought to make good on your gift of free agency and I hope that you will choose what is best for your situation.

I am happy to hear from you once again. :)

Peter said...

Don't pull he plug, just take away the part that is bugging you- the secret. Tell your wife.

If she is going to have a problem with the blog, then you should take it down. But you should still tell her. Maybe as an apology. She needs to know you blog though. She has a right to know.

I don't shell have a problem with your blog. One email exchange with Abelard and she'll know that there are good supportive people helping you here. What I think she will have a problem with is the fact that she wasn't involved. That she didn't know. That she couldn't visit the site and help you implement the awesome advice you've received. That she couldn't hold you accountable.

Just as important as telling her about the blog is telling her about Thomas's emails. She has an even bigger right to know that. Imagine what she'd think if she accidently found them? If a google search accidently took her here, or she saw the email on your computer, or any number of accidents showed her what Thomas said. She might be confused and think you already had an affair, or that you want to. She needs to know, and she needs to hear it from you on your own free will.

Mark said...

Beck,

Thank you for the story of you and Thomas and the more recent correspondence you've had with each other.

While reading it, I noticed my eyes tearing up and my heart racing - hoping for the best outcome for you and wishing you could turn back the clock and say everything you needed to say! But I know that's not how it works.

We have to live with our choices, change them or make accommodations, don't we? We have to do it in a way that satisfies us, but does the least amount of harm to those in our lives. We have to try to reconcile the irreconcilable, at times, too.

So what is the answer to your situation? Does duty to your wife and the love you have for her override your genuine need for total, honest love with another man?

I've found in my own marriage (to a woman) that the more honest I've become with myself, that the "new reality" we face is pushing us apart. She fears the inevitable. I see it as my road to happiness and true satisfaction. Maybe that's happening to you, too.

Regardless, I hope you can find a place where your heart is peaceful, you feel satisfied and loved and you no longer dream of being somewhere else.

Wishing you well,

Mark

Beck said...

MIKE said: "What I have found is that the real dilemma is in the every day life after the marriage in choosing to remain emotionally connected with my wife."

How true this is. I've been able to resist gay relationships, but I haven't been able to remain emotionally connected with my wife. I think you've hit on a common thread among most of us MOMs.

PETER: I am preparing myself to tell her about my blog, but I'm not ready for her to read it. Nor am I wanting to hurt her with Thomas's email correspondence. If I can tune it down and refocus on her, what good would it do to hurt her with my immature overreaction of puppy love?

MARK: I'm saddened to hear that your "new reality" is pushing you away from your wife as well. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to refocus? Please don't use my poor example as one to follow... I'm praying for you.

Bravone said...

"MIKE said: "What I have found is that the real dilemma is in the every day life after the marriage in choosing to remain emotionally connected with my wife."

How true this is. I've been able to resist gay relationships, but I haven't been able to remain emotionally connected with my wife. I think you've hit on a common thread among most of us MOMs."

I can't relate with this. I would be curious if truly most MOMs feel they have a hard time connecting emotionally with their wives. I have always connected very well with my wife emotionally. It has been the constant holding us together. Sexually at times it has been more difficult, but emotionally we do very well. It is what brought us together and holds us together in tough times.

Scot said...

"I can't relate with this."

I hope you don't mind if I take a stab at this Bravone.

My feeling is that, as I've looked at the variety of gay people, it seems the difference may be because sexual orientation has many dimensions from attraction to repulsion, from the physical to emotional. It seems to not be the same for every gay or straight person, and, really, it would be odd if it were.

Some people are only sexually attracted to men and are not repulsed by the idea of a relationship with a woman, but others feel it in their cores that a relationship with a woman is just wrong on every level. If you're a woman married to a man, that's an easy orientation to hold; but if you're a man with that same sort of orientation, married to a women, then it seems you have it more difficult than the gay guy who doesn't have a strong emotional or moral component to their attraction or aversion in their orientation.

Amanda said...

Beck, I'm not part of the Mormon community so I'm sort of an outsider on this, but reading your blog, from an outsider's point of view, is heartbreaking. It seems to me that you really feel something for Thomas, and that has been there since way before you were in a family. I don't advocate families breaking up, but my question is - if you have been in love with someone who isn't your wife since before you even got married, how "not broken" is the family to start with? There is always that underlying sense of wrongness - if I was married to a gay man, I would feel that wrongness, and it would hurt me. Breaking apart a family, especially for a fling, is not acceptable in my eyes, but at the same time, when it gets that point, you have to consider 1) is it really a fling, or is it real love? and 2) if you'd even be willing to consider being with someone other than your wife, what's wrong with that relationship to begin with? Please don't think I'm trying to pass any judgments on you, I'm truly not. I'm just a firm believer in absolute honesty, both with others and with ourselves. If you're gay, then you're gay, and living in a straight marriage doesn't change that. All it does is hurt both parties of the marriage. Perhaps not always, but I know I would be hurt, and it certainly sounds like YOU are suffering, and I imagine when you tell your wife, she will probably suffer, too. It's such a complicated situation... I guess my opinion is that it would be best to be who you are, instead of keeping it hidden. I guess to me that's just part of absolute honesty. Yeah, it'll hurt people, but in the long run, I think it's better for everyone. I know not everyone shares my opinion though. That's just my outsider's two cents.

Beck said...

BRAVONE / SCOT: My take is this. I love my wife. I am emotionally and romantically connected to her. She is my eternal companion. She brings me joy, happiness, peace, comfort, security, companionship, love, support.

But, for me, when I am with a man that I know loves me, I feel electrically charged and sparks fly. I feel invigorated and excited. I feel invincible and super human. I feel ecstatic and elated. I feel alive!

At least, that is the difference for me.

Beck said...

AMANDA: Outsiders are welcome!

I am who I am for both parties. I just have allowed myself to be segmented into different selves. I still am me in either case.

As I described to Bravone above, there is a difference and I crave both. I'm not prepared to give one up for the sake of the other.

Amanda said...

I suppose in some ways we all are different people for different people, aren't we? Good luck. This sounds like an extremely difficult situation.

Bravone said...

Beck, I cannot deny feeling exactly the same way you described above. It summarizes what makes us (me) gay. It does not diminish our feelings for our wives. It simply describes the affinity for men that we feel, much like most men feel for women. It saddens me sometimes that my wife doesn't have someone who runs in the door, sweeps her off her feet and carries her to the bedroom for hours of passionate love making. (maybe over dramatized a little bit) It is also hard to deny myself the electrifying passion of being romantically involved with another man. Overall, however, what we do share is much larger, more grounded in genuine love and compatibility, and more than compensates for the moments of passion.