Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buon Natale!

As with many, this has been a slower year economically speaking. And as such, there is less hustle and less bustle as I approach Christmas. In one sense, it shakes my core and I hear voices that tell me that I'm not measuring up or being the provider that I once was, and that I'm not able to do and offer and give as I did before.

But, in another way, it has been good to step back away from the clutter and trappings of this time of year, and step away a bit and re-evaluate things. As I re-evaluate my level of honesty and authenticity in my life, as I re-evaluate my marriage and relationship (including intimacy) with my wife, as I re-evaluate my health and fitness levels as I move into a new decade (yes, Bror, I'm a fit 50 and not an "old fart"), I also am re-evaluating other things, including my place in this community, my future as a gay man living in a non-gay world, and of my spirituality and where I stand with my God. More on that later...

For now, let me just say this:

I know that God is real and I feel his acceptance in my current path. I am more and more convinced that what I need to do is be the best Beck that I can be. Sure, that's simple, but it has become the essence of the Gospel for me. Like the parable of the talents, I need not worry about what you have been given verses what I have been given, or why I have certain challenges and situations to deal with that you don't. All I need to do is do the best with what I've been given. I've mentioned this in posts before, but it really has new meaning in the sense of being "acceptable" and "authentic" and "honest". I am who I am (gay and all) and it isn't so much the why I'm this way or how I got to where I am now, or why it took me so long to get here, but much more, it is what I do with what I am, and doing the best I can and letting, allowing, permitting the atonement to make me even better.

That is the message of Christmas. It is a message of hope. May you feel and KNOW this hope this season. May you feel my love for you (you few readers that still follow along here). May you know how much you mean to me.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The gay gazelle...

Having met our deductible this year, having entered that new decade of the 50-somethings and with encouragement (read "nagging") from my wife, I actually went to the family doctor for a full physical (which ended up including a follow-up colonoscopy exam - JOY!) Thank goodness that everything has checked out well.

It's been a couple of years ago that I last went to have a check-up. My doctor noted that I have lost 25 lbs since then! I didn't believe him, and so he got out my records and showed me that I weighed 190 lbs and now I weigh 165 lbs. At 6'-3" I was never overweight, but at 190 I felt fat and out of shape and uncomfortable with my body. He didn't tell me to lose weight, but as I've come to accept my body for what it is (meaning I'm never going to be athletic, muscular, or a stud that I dream to be in hopes of being viewed by other guys as "attractive" and being able to "fit in" with the masculine guys where I never have felt comfortable - in fact I've been down right shy and backward when finding myself in a masculine locker room world) I've set goals and have been working on my self-image, which includes my body-image, including:

1. eating more healthy foods (more fruits and vegetables, less meats, more water, no soda-pop, little candy),

2. exercising more (hiking on the mountain, walking, taking the stairs, etc.)

3. toning up what meager muscles I have (weightlifting, some swimming, stretching, exercise ball)

and as a result, I've lost 25 lbs and have toned up, and I've lost a few inches around my waist (where there was an abundance to lose - my 34" waist jeans are clown pants, swamping me and I'm having a hard time keeping my 32" low-risers on my hips without them falling down... I may need to go buy some 30 inchers here quickly!) and built some modest gain in my arms and chest (where there was none previously). The doctor asked me what was up? I wasn't sure if he was worried or just noted the weight loss. I just said that I was taking better care of myself and whether or not he was kidding with me or not, he said that I looked like a man younger than 40 not a typical man of 50. I smiled.

As family have come to visit this holiday season, many have noted that I've "lost weight" and that I am "looking good". I just shrug it off, but I do feel good. I like weighing less. I like feeling more toned. I like not having a belly. I like having to buy smaller jeans. I like being a gazelle!

MOHOH once mentioned a while back that I was "gay as a gazelle". Well, maybe I've taken on that as a personal goal to be a "gazelle". I've always dreamed of being more masculine, more muscular, more athletic, fit and strong. And my body would never cooperate. I have always had a hard time gaining muscle-weight and with my metabolism, bone structure, coordination, genetics and lack of discipline, I most likely never will.

So, as I've taken on a new role as a "lover" to my wife, I have also taken on a new persona as a "gazelle". 6'-3" and 165 lbs is skinny, but now I look at it as a healthy goal to be toned and better in shape and if it helps me to want to be touched by her (as she loves the "new me") and be more intimate with her and unafraid and unintimidated of our physicality together, and if it helps me to finally accept myself for who I am (not only as a gazelle, but a gay gazelle) then maybe I'm finally stepping into my own skin and becoming comfortable with who I am, both inside and out.

This is a big turn-around for me. This is so much more than being physically lean. I have a goal for 2010 to continue down this path, to work hard at being the best gazelle I can be and stop wishing to be the gorilla that I will never be. I have a goal to be confident in myself physically for the first time and no longer fear the ridicule of the past and the self-doubting and self-loathing that came with that ridicule. Being skinny was a detriment and embarrassment in junior high and high school. Being toned and lean at 50 is healthy and self-assuring and self-accepting.

Now, if I can just get through the next couple of weeks of parties with holiday fudge and goodies everywhere...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Still other revelations...

As a follow-up to the previous post, though obvious to some, there are also the recent revelations that...

1. Just because intimacy and openness in a marriage has brought us closer than we've been in years, I still am hopelessly attracted to men.

2. A cute guy standing in front of me in line to enter the Conference Center over the weekend at the Christmas Concert still makes my heart beat faster as I admire his beauty, strength, magnetic manliness.

3. Seeing a fellow MOHO at the Conference Center and embracing him with gusto still warms that beating heart like none other.

4. Desiring a relationship with another man has not diminished as much as I thought it would with the recent developments in my marriage.

5. The angst level, however, has diminished (at least a little bit)...

I guess these still reveal in me that assurance that though I'm closer to who I should be as a married man, and though I have made great progress in that regard, I am still as gay and as attracted to men as ever.

And you know what?

That's a good thing... I don't think I'd want it any other way.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Other recent revelations...

Other recent revelations...

1. With the proportional increase of sexual intimacy with your spouse, comes the logarithmic increase of contentment and joy index from same said spouse.

2. With the same proportional increase of intimacy with your spouse, comes the reverse proportional decrease of sexual arousal with yourself.

3. Both of the above statements can be true and fulfilled by a gay man married to a straight woman.

Though these truths should be self-evident to most, they aren't, especially in a MOM relationship such as ours. But, it is through this renewed effort that such truths are manifesting themselves afresh.

Just thought you'd like to know... :)

How long can the honeymoon last?

Buona Santa Lucia Day to everyone. St. Lucy's day is Sunday the 13th! Light a candle!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some things have changed...

Some things that over the last couple of months have changed in my marriage:

1. Spontaneous hugs and kisses...

2. Being more affectionate in front of the kids, to the point that they groan with gagginess that we are "worse than newlyweds"... or my young daughter bemoaning: "not kissing again!"

3. Taking time out of a busy life to escape together to refind the lost magic... and find it... (now can we keep it from being lost again?) Sometimes it really does take the effort to "get away from it all" and leave kids, family, work, life behind, to find it.

4. Lingering in bed longer... enjoying the cuddles and closeness that comes when one doesn't just get up and go about the business of the day...

5. Talking more and being more open - still working on the honesty thing, (for example, she doesn't know about the beach thing in the previous post), but it's better than it has been, as the elephant-in-the-room is at least acknowledged instead of ignored or not even seen...

6. Doing more around the house, cooking meals, doing dishes, helping with the kids, being more available and sensitive to her needs - really goes a long way to improve a relationship...

7. Being there at a recent special event (that took a lot of personal commitment and time away from work and priorities) means a lot - something that rekindles affection and commitment to the courtship...

8. Dancing in the kitchen...

9. Dating again and do it because we really want to be together...

10. Anticipating future dates and get-aways (the joy is in the planning)...

11. Discovering each other anew with openness in intimacy (enough said)...

12. Rediscovering that she is beautiful (no she's not that young stud that turns my head, but she is still very beautiful in her own way) and becomes so with the mix of all of the above...

13. Running to the hot tub together...

14. Holding hands in the car...

15. Finding common interests beyond the kids (this has been a worry of ours, particularly as we approach the inevitable empty-nesterhood)...

16. Blogging less and not obsessing with this blog and community as before (not to say that I don't stick around and am not appreciative of what this community has done for me in coming to terms with who I am and what I am - I will be eternally grateful for that!!!! - but the obsession is gone - even though I'm still trying to get used to the fact that I don't receive the attention, accolades and lengthy comments as I used to, to posts since going private - oh the price one pays!)...

17. Falling in love again...

No, this doesn't mean that I'm cured of my angst. Just the opposite! The funny thing is... I still feel angsty and I still have my moments (almost all the time) of "Pon Farr" where all I want is to touch and be touched by a guy, or to just be around other men like me on a beach, or to feel a connection with a cyber boyfriend or lost Italian bromance. No, they are all still there and will be, I am convinced, for the rest of my life's journey...

But, it's funny that as things improve in my relationship with my wife, the homosexual feelings, attractions and desires for connections with men don't diminish - but proportionally seem not as severely out of balance. Does that make sense?

Some days, even with all the good that is happening in my marriage, I want nothing more than to be held by a guy and nothing else will suffice. Yet, THINGS HAVE CHANGED! Being held by my wife and feeling that renewed connection in so many ways, slaps me around a bit inside to realize:


Now, can I keep it? Can I hold on to it? Is this a facade? Is this a false hope? Or have I rekindled a romance and found a hope that I thought was lost?


Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's complicated...

Have you ever found yourself with a day free from commitments, free from ties to families and friends, free to do whatever you want to do?

If you knew that no one that really knew you was watching, that you were completely anonymous, and you had that freedom to do what you really wished you could do, or be what and who you really are, what would you do or be?

For example:

Let's say you find yourself with family, work and other commitments for several days in the greater San Diego area a couple of weeks ago. And, let's say that on one particular day, you find yourself alone, available to do what you want...

And let's say you love the ocean, and you feel your soul drawn to the sound and rhythm of the waves and the endless vistas from sea cliffs...

And let's say you researched on the Internet for great beaches in the area with towering sea cliffs with endless vistas and you stumble across a certain beach that happens to have an association with the word "gay"...

You click on that link out of curiosity and discover that this particular stretch of beach is close by your hotel, just a few minutes drive, and you see the directions to a very particular parking lot that leads to a particularly isolated path down a particularly secluded beach... a beach that is known for its particular beauty and privacy, frequented mostly by nudists of a particularly gay persuasion... You read how this beach has patrols that tolerate the nudity present as long as it is respectful of others, admitting that technically nudity is illegal...

You are intrigued, to the point that you Google Map the directions to this particular trail head and find it is merely 3.2 miles away. You think about going. You want to go. But there is a debate going on in your head. You wonder why this is so tempting. Is it because:

a) you see the sun and beautiful day and want to feel alive and part of it?

b) you know the way and it is conveniently close and exactly the type of landscape that speaks to your soul?

c) you are naturally curious about what other gay guys do and you want to somehow be connected and feel a sense of inclusion to their club?

d) you have tasted the sense of connection with nature, with sunlight and wind and waves, with body and spirit that comes with nudity in nature and you want to taste and know that sensation again?

e) you hunger for and desire more than anything to be accepted, to be included, to feel a part of something that is inherently part of you, hidden deeply down in your soul, and you desire to feel just for a moment an acceptance for who you are completely - nothing hidden?

f) you desire to identify with a brotherhood that says: "I get you - it's okay."?

You wonder if you should... the day is wasting... and so, against your better judgment, in the spirit of irrational thought, you go... you find the parking lot... you embrace the incredible view... you breathe in the clean salty air as it blows through your hair... you notice the trail head... you see a guy heading down... you follow... it's steep and dangerous with switchbacks down the cliff face... but then you've made it... you're there... you can't believe it! You notice the private but long stretch of white sand before you. It is low tide. The ocean is relatively calm. There is a peace about this place. There is a hush. All is still and quiet. The wind is overhead up on the sea cliff, not down on the sand. There's a sense of reverence. You notice the "clothing optional" nature of fellow citizens, well bronzed and nicely proportioned - obviously they aren't first timers like yourself. One calmly notices you and quietly whispers "hello" and smiles and you nervously nod and acknowledge the greeting with a nervous smile back. You walk for a ways along the beach and note that there are several gay couples lounging together, and you smile and feel warm and grateful that they are able to be themselves in the open in this special place...

You find your place, your peace of sand... not too close, but still somehow a part of the whole experience... you settle in, you look around and you decide to do it. Your clothes are now beside you as you take in the whole experience of sun and ocean and sand, of community and connection and acceptance, of participation and belonging.

Joggers jog by and don't seem to care that you are there. You are as natural as the seaweed spread upon the sand around you. A patrol jeep drives by and doesn't blink in your direction. You feel even more a "part" of this space and experience. You have been accepted...

And then, a fog bank begins to roll in and embrace the cliffs behind you. It envelopes you and "clothes" you with nature's blanket. You find yourself a part of a misty dream world and you ask yourself: "Is this really happening? Is this real? Am I really here on a beach, completely naked, surrounded by gay couples?"

Soon the fog builds and the sun disappears. You pack up and ascend the cliff. At the top you reach sunlight again, the beach below you is covered in a low cloud bank. You sigh that it couldn't last longer... You realize that a different reality, a different connection, a responsibility to family and commitments and another life calls you back... You don't want to go... You feel a longing for what is down below you on that beach...

You sigh...

But, it is not a sigh of sorrow or regret. No, instead, it is a sigh of gratitude, a prayer of thankfulness, associated with an overwhelming peace and tranquility that something significant just happened. A connection was made... a connection with a part of you that lies deep inside you... You feel safe and secure, protected and reassured of who you are... You aren't angsty or upset at the tugs that pull you in different directions.

Instead, you feel blessed for having one special moment on one special beach at that one special time... and you smile as you settle back into your car... grateful to be who you are...

Have you ever felt that way or experienced such a thing?

I did. And it was wonderful!
So what do you think? Was I stupid? Was it dangerous? Was I naive enough to believe that there was no danger?
And why did I do it? And why can I not stop thinking about it? Why is there still a longing within my heart, a yearning for connection, understanding and acceptance? Why, when right now I feel more connection, more understanding and more acceptance from the person that means the most to me - my wife!
Life is not black and white.
Life is complicated. And remains so...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Still holding out hope...

I am really trying to be in a good place right now and stay positive (even though little things still slip me up and I start beating myself up as is my habit) and I want to blog about the positive things that are happening as well as my little slip ups in hopes of finding a good balance.

But, this is one last post that continues the theme of the previous post, regarding the Church's stance taken last week. And I promise myself this is it on this subject and I'm going to move on and back to my angst as usual...

I really thought, naively for sure, that there would be an "increased understanding" and an "abundance of love and acceptance" from the membership at large following the Church's public stance. I really thought, maybe it was more of a wish, that the bigotry and ugliness would "soften" a bit toward topics of discussion in the priesthood quorum that dipped into the current events.

Alas, I was wrong...

Yesterday there were two zingers. Neither comment was totally on the subject of "how Joseph Smith felt about his prophetic mission" but somehow these two particular quorum brothers are able to twist the subject to the current events of the week. One said that it was "sad to see the Church needing to bend to the beliefs and immoral practices of others". And the other commented on those who feel that they are outside the kingdom and are knocking at the door in hopes of being rescued by the Prophet (referring to the recent handcart march to Church Headquarters) and then added that the Prophet is leading the church by revelation not democracy, and frankly "good riddance" to them that are outside.

I couldn't believe it. I guess I really am naive that people with change. But I see it as another generation needs to pass and die off before we can triumphantly enter the "promised land". I sat there feeling very hurt and frustrated but decided not to call him on it in the public setting, but pulled him aside afterward and stated that I didn't appreciate his "good riddance" attitude and found it inappropriate in a quorum setting of brotherly love. And I left not seeking any rebuttal.

I probably should have done more, but the situation was so ironic. This same brother was stating that the saints weren't ready to receive the further light and knowledge Joseph was prepared to give them because they were too concerned with their worldly or day-to-day needs to see and accept the truths of eternity. And he thinks that he's ready to receive further light and knowledge with the attitude of hatred and disgust for his gay brothers and sisters?? I'm sure he doesn't even see any conflict.

I noted after church that I had received a fax like 80,000 others stating: "Do not be fooled! Apparently the LDS church had no way out except to endorse the gay rights ordinances..." encouraging one to not be swayed, to not accept homosexuality as a civil right. Continuing it states: "Shame on Utah gays for persecuting, harassing, using intimidation tactics, and staging scenarios to corner the LDS Church into endorsing their movement and to use the LDS Church as a backbone to sway the LDS voters and legislators to vote for their laws!"

Despite all of this, I am still optimistic and positive and find good in the steps the Church took, steps that cannot be taken back, and I still hold out hope that the majority can see through such comments as those I heard at church, or see the hate spilling out of that fax.

Is such hope ill-advised? Must we wait for this generation to die off? Did I do too little? Should I have done more?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Over on Abelard's blog there is a comment-trail going on regarding the reaction to the Church's recent statement of supporting nondiscrimination ordinances in SLC.

I have taken the position that this is a positive step, that the timing was good and appropriate and that the reiteration of Church statements in the past in standing up for nondiscrimination legislation is a "good thing". I feel it was a swaying influence and it did have an affect on the outcome of the vote. But, more than anything, it gives substance to those like me who are arguing with neighbors about anti-discrimination measures and having the Church on my side and not on the side of the ilk of the Sutherland Institute supporters, including some of my fellow quorum members who see any step as a step onto that proverbial slippery slope.

(Note: Just seeing the Sutherland Institute's reaction has been hilarious! It just shows how out of step they are, even with the Brethren! And that makes me happy! I can't help but feel that as SI continues down their path of hate, they will move more and more out of step with the Brethren (need I say apostasy?) instead of lock-step with them - and this is a "good thing"!!!)

Sure, I was disappointed that the Church remained silent in last year's legislative session not putting their muscle behind the equality measures being considered. And yes, I will be disappointed again if the Church does not follow up this stance with one on Capitol Hill next year.

But, what really gets me is the underlying spirit of bitterness, cynicism and anger that has enveloped the MOHO community at large. I could be wrong, but am I the only one in this community who sees this action as a "positive step" without having to throw out a zinger about "motives" or "just a PR move", or "too little and too late". Can't it be seen as just a step in the right direction without the cynicism and bitterness?

Am I viewed as "settling for too little" and not being "gay enough" to not feel the hurt and pain and bitterness? Am I not homosexual enough?

It feels like I'm alone out here. I've moved myself from the general MOHO community for other reasons, but maybe, unbeknownst to me, I've moved myself from the general community in more ways than one. No one is really going to read this anyway, but I saddened. I'm sad that because things are going better for me and I don't feel the bitterness as much that I'm not "gay enough". I'm saddened that any view that looks at the Church in a positive light is considered as "giving in to the enemy" or at best, being an "apologist".

I'm also saddened because I do feel the pain and hurt and anger - personally. My personal homosexual battle with the Church has placed me in destructive places. But, now that things are going a bit better, and because I choose to see silver linings in the dark clouds above me, does that make me a Pollyanna?

Bitterness is poison. I have been bitter. It isn't the way I choose to live.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Paying off!

Good things are going on and they come with lessons learned that are really helping out. Most of these things are where I'm focusing more on my wife and giving her the attention that she desires and being more open with her about the attention and desires that I need from her. In the past, we'd imply things but not really say anything and as would be expected, there would be misconceptions and miscommunications. Now, we are more direct and it is paying off.

And concentrating on things with her, working together with her around the house and in the garden; simple things like taking dancing lessons as a couple and then going dancing together - something we've never done, and then following up with spontaneous dancing in the living room or kitchen - is paying off. And it's a lot of fun. I didn't think that dancing would be so much fun and it is something that we've discovered after all these years of marriage that we enjoy doing together. She breaks into laughs and smiles warmly and affectionately when I take her in my arms and start dancing around the house. Wow, why didn't I do that two decades ago?

Being open to touch. Reaching out instead of pulling way. Talking about touch. Willingness to be open to each other. Wow, little things have huge pay offs!

And getting away together. This one is never over-rated. The job stress (and lack of meaningful work and economic concerns) and the kids and the everyday stresses of life get in the way of each other. We've learned that planning and anticipating, working on a goal of getting away and then doing it - you know what? It really pays off! Even in these difficult times, it is worth every penny. We recently got away from everything for a week and it was an incredible blessing. We bonded and connected like never before. It was like the honeymoon that we never had. Sure I was distracted by the beautiful eye-candy of gorgeous guys around me (that will never go away and frankly it is a blessing to enjoy beautiful guys) but the focus never not so out of whack to keep me from remembering that I'm with my bride and I'm here to make her happy and she's doing the same for me. Wow, I wish we could do this every month... but alas, take it for what it's worth - it really has paid off!

All of this was triggered by my willingness to be more open and honest with her. We are still a long way from her being completely comfortable with where I am, but we are also not in the stalemate and stagnation of where we were.

For now, I am willing to hold off and the take a step back and to bring her along as she is ready to be brought, particularly in my arms, together, in a union of love and devotion and focus on each other.

In the process, I don't feel a huge need to blog a lot, and like Bravone, may take another step back from this community for a while, moreso than I already have in the last few months. I am not going away, but I want to learn from these lessons and enjoy the "pay off".

So, what do you think? Sorry that this isn't full of angst as usual (I'll work on that!) I am still very eager to receive your comments as always!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


She listened to my words. She tried to internalize them. She sympathized. She accepted the premise that my having gay friends and "connections" would be a good thing for our marriage.

I promised to be honest about such gay friends and "connections", no longer hiding and living in secret double-life encounters, and receive her permission-of-sorts to do those things which we both deemed acceptable and comfortable.

A "connection" with a gay friend was arranged with mutual acceptance and comfort, restricted a bit by what kind of activity was tolerable and reasonably accommodated by both parties...

But, when I ACTUALLY DID go forward with the said pre-approved "connection", the end result was nothing but hurt and pain.

"I know you were upfront about it and honest with me, but I didn't think you'd actually do it!"

"I'm confused," I stood there baffled and dumbfounded at the grief and pain I had unintentionally or obliviously inflicted on her, "I thought we talked about this and you were okay with it - otherwise I wouldn't have gone."

"I know... I know, but I didn't think you'd actually do it. Don't you realize the pain this is causing me watching you DATE other men? Do you want me to start DATING other men?"

"Of course not. But having good friends is a good thing, right? And, by the way, this isn't "dating"! I stated emphatically, trying to put my foot down on a huge misconception.

"Well, it feels like you're dating to me!"

"It was just lunch - it was like a business lunch."

"But what business do you have together? What is driving you to meet together? Isn't that you want to satisfy your attraction needs with another man?"

And so... there you have it.

As much as she wants to understand, as much as she wants to bend and compromise and allow my freedom to "connect", she can't get past the idea of my "dating" other men.

AARRGGHHH! It's not dating (am I?). I'm not courting him (am I?). I'm not courting anyone. I'm not trying to be romantic with him (am I?). I'm not seeking romance (am I?)... maybe bromance... but it's not the same, right? Am I right? Come on... tell me what you think!

Because right now, I'm feeling like one-on-one "connections" with two gay men on a semi-regular basis, from a wife's perspective, does sound a lot like "dating". And though dating behind the back seems immoral and full of infidelity, dating honestly in front of her, though not immoral, does seem a bit hurtful. Role reversals are great here, and yes, I'd say she would be "dating" if she had done the same.

But at the time, it didn't feel immoral or wrong or unfocused on my marriage. In fact, we ended up talking about our marriages and families and our desires to be better fathers and husbands. It felt good... nothing but good!


And then I go to Priesthood Leadership Meeting on Sunday early morning and endure all three members of the Stake Presidency speaking on "Fidelity in Marriage!" They wanted our suggestions for future discussions in quorums regarding this subject and I wanted to jump up and shout "What does a gay guy have to do gain trust in his wife such that having friendship connections with other gay guys won't be perceived as infidelity?" but, (heavy sigh) I didn't...


So, two steps forward and 1-3/4 steps back. I guess that is still 1/4 step forward, right? And at least now we are talking about it instead of hiding it. The dishonest behavior is gone, but if what is left is just hurt and pain - where's the progress in that?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The pleaser made me NOT do it...

My therapist tells me that I'm a "pleaser", that I want to make others happy and pleased with me and that I want to be responsible and diligent and do what others expect of me. (I still haven't decided if this is a bad thing or not, for this characteristic has inherent good qualities in it - I guess as long as it's not taken to the extreme and I no longer "stand up" for who I am in the spirit of "pleasing" others).

Anyway, in that spirit, I feel guilt for not responding to Abelard's request to blog about the "M" word, and so in order to fulfill my "pleaser" personality characteristic, I am obliging... with the hope that since this blog is still private, few, if any, will actually read what I have to say, and if it gets too uncomfortable, I can always delete it...

So, here goes...

I know for some this is impossible to believe, but I NEVER masturbated as a teen. I NEVER masturbated on my mission. I NEVER masturbated before I married. It was only after marriage, MANY years after my marriage (as I contemplated the meaning of it all and accepted that maybe I could be gay) that I finally masturbated.

Now, if you are laughing out loud, or pointing your finger at me and telling me that I'm nothing but a liar, than go ahead. I don't care. I know I don't fit the mold. I never did. I'm not like you. In this aspect, I feel extremely odd and different even from my fellow Moho brothers.

I was a pleaser. I was a "good boy". I was a "good scout". I was a "morally chaste teen" in every meaning of those words. That is what I was supposed to be. I wasn't supposed to do it, and so I didn't. Is it that hard to accept that this scenario was possible? When others of my piers were doing it in the tent at scout camp, I left and didn't participate.

As a teen, because of this sheltered and "good boy" upbringing, I gave my parents no grief. They didn't talk about it and I didn't ask. I had wet dreams, and morning erections, but I never did "the act". That was off limits. After all, I was supposed to be chaste. I was supposed to not look at girls in that way. And so, I didn't. It was easy. I did look at guys and did get excited, but I chalked it up as envy and never allowed myself to be sexually aroused to "that point".

When it was mission worthiness interview time, I had no problem in stating that I was CHASTE. I had not touched myself like others had. Wasn't that supposed to be what I was supposed to do? Wasn't I a good boy?

Okay... so you're still laughing at me, right? You still don't believe me. I know... I find it hard to believe as well. But, it's the truth.

So, on that fateful wedding night, as much as I wanted to, and as much as we tried, it didn't come off without a hitch. I was stunted. And I blame the church. I blame my parents. I blame the culture and society I was raised in.

This stunting has haunted me and caused incredible pain and suffering and has added to the confusion and frustration of intimacy with my wife and has scarred my relationship with her and with my own personal development.

We finally did figure it out, but by then it was already a "chore" instead of a "joy" and the difficulties from there only magnified. Only when I was able to finally explore my own personal sexuality years later did I come to find out the joy and satisfaction of what everyone else knew so much earlier. And this step aided me in finally allowing myself to retry again with my wife and come to some point of "joy" in our relationship. It has been a very long road, but one where we finally arrived so many years later.

She still feels that any form of masturbation is wrong and evil. She feels it takes to focus away from her and centers it on me. I don't need her and can fulfill my needs without her, and so, per her point of view, it is "wrong" as it isn't focused on our relationship. I can understand this, and so, in the spirit of being a "pleaser", I try to abide by her wishes.

That doesn't mean that I can say that I don't indulge. I do... particularly when that "volcano" inside me, that "pon farr" is about to drive me nuts. And I no longer feel guilt or evil, or even that this is wrong in and of itself. I'm not going to go to "hell" for it. I'm not a "bad boy". It is normal and healthy - particularly for someone as sexually stunted as I have been (there's a lot to make up for lost time :)) .

When all is said and done, and as I look back, I am still quite bitter for being raised the way I was. I am mad that such a distorted image of shame and guilt and ickiness was leveled at the subject of masturbation. I lay this directly at the steps of the church that so lectured a "pleaser" boy such as myself to the horrors of masturbation. It was a different generation and a different environment. But I feel stupid and duped and so wronged in the process. I didn't feel pure on my wedding night - I felt embarrassed and so frustrated.

I do not wish my life on anyone. I guess I am grateful that the more open environment of our culture today, even within the church, has lifted some of the taboo off of sex. Of course I've raised my kids to be sexually pure in every way, but I can't help but ask: have I done them the same disservice that I feel was done to me?

The other day my daughter walked out of her sociology college class when the subject of the day dealing with sex got too graphic for her delicate sensitivities. Is there a line of propriety? Is it really healthy to discuss it in a crass and crude way and mock or make fun of those who are uncomfortable with this open approach? Is there a point where it is never discussed and thus sheltered to the point of being unhealthy?

I can't help but wonder - if I were more sexually aware of myself, and had not shunned personal enjoyment, if I had been more open to personal sexual needs and desires and aware of my sexual fantasies and where they were leading me with my attractions to men (ever so obvious in hindsight-enlightened eyes as I look back on my adolescent years), would I have been more willing to accept my homosexuality then instead of decades later? And where would that personal and sexual honesty put me as I approached marriage? Would I have proceeded to marry?

Hindsight is never fair. I wasn't the person I am now. Don't get me wrong... I am grateful for the decisions I made that led me to my mission, my marriage, my family. I am grateful for these blessings. But, the road has been full of confusion and frustration, pain and struggle, bringing an innocent daughter of God into this suffering with me - and for what price? because I was supposed to be a "good boy".

I'm so tired of being the pleaser.

P.S. Abelard... I can't believe I wrote this. I hope you read it before I take it down. I'm still ashamed and embarrassed by this confession of stupidity and I still feel ashmed and guilty about this whole aspect of my life. I don't know if this is what you wanted, nor did it turn out to be what I had anticipated, but there you go... are you "pleased" with me?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grapefruit and oranges...

I was supposed to have another session with my therapist...

I didn't go.

Instead, I was faced with my wife wanting to discuss the "issues" at hand. She was concerned that I was not "trying hard enough" that I was "giving up". So, that became the priority and we talked... and cried... and misunderstood... and struggled... and cried some more...

Finally, I had to go to a meeting. So, our communication transitioned to email. Part of the discussion centered on fruit. Citrus fruit to be exact!

She wrote:

Believe it or not -- I just ate my very first grapefruit (I've never had more than two bites before, except when I was in Calcutta, and then it didn't taste like grapefruit -- it tasted like an orange). Wow! Are you impressed? I even squoze out the juice onto my spoon the way you do. And I enjoyed it.

This is how I did it:

I thought about it (grapefruit) a lot . I decided I am now an adult and can put aside my juvenile tastes and prejudices. I can't expect a grapefruit to taste like a sweet orange. It is, after all, a grapefruit. I need to appreciate its very grapefruit-y qualities. The very acidity needs to be savored and enjoyed.

It's kind of like learning to like dark chocolate -- which is funny, because I love dark chocolate now, and a few years ago, I couldn't choke it down.

And I WANT to like grapefruit!

Anyway, when I came in I took the grapefruit out of the refrigerator and sliced it open and sectioned it with a serrated knife, just like I do for you.

Then I sat down with it. Just before I ate it, I prayed for a miracle. -- and I got it. I actually liked even the very first bite! I was expecting it to be a grapefruit, and it was really a good grapefruit!

I ate every single bite, and even the juice at the end! I will definitely be eating more grapefruit from now on.

At first I took this analogy as accepting me as a grapefruit and being grateful for accepting me for who I am and not trying to make me be who I am not... but the more I thought about it, the more the message was... "see, I can change my tastes and desires if I just try hard enough". The subtle meaning of wishing that I would try harder to "change my tastes" came through and I became angry and frustrated that she, after all this time, and after all our struggles together, would still think that my "issues" would "change" if I would just "try hard enough".

So... if you are still with me at this point, here is my response:

This is great! I really appreciate your analogy here and your spirit of trying to change your tastes and choosing to overcome past prejudices and moving into new experiences. This is fantastic. Grapefruit is good. It may be an acquired taste for you, but it is still good. You were expecting it to be what it was, a grapefruit, and not to be an orange or a lemon. And with this perspective, you were able to enjoy the grapefruit for what it was.

You were not naturally "attracted" to grapefruit. You were okay with that because grapefruit didn't do anything for you and you didn't like its taste and you were fine in not choosing to eat grapefruit or associate with it and it was totally fine with you that grapefruit never would enter your life because you had no natural interest in grapefruit. But in the right mindset, you could change your mind and CHOOSE to be "attracted" to grapefruit. At the same time, you were able to accept the grapefruit for what it is.

My experience with you is very much the same. As hard as it is to say ( I am trying to be brutally honest here, so bear with me) I have not always been naturally "attracted" to you in a physical sense (I have been attracted to you in every other sense, from day one, including physically) and this has nothing to do with you. You are you. You are beautiful, just as the grapefruit is beautiful. And though I had the tendency not to physically be naturally attracted to all of your physical beauty and eroticness that makes you so appealing and wonderful sexually, I still loved you and CHOSE you and have become "attracted" to you in seeing and experiencing and desiring your beauty in so many ways. Though my natural likes and desires were elsewhere, though I didn't recognize this at the time, I CHOSE to be with you, to bond with you, to find joy with you.

Now, whether you will continue to like grapefruit or not remains to be seen. As for me, I have CHOSEN to be with you and want to desire you and don't want to go anywhere else.

But, to compare sexuality with natural likes and dislikes of food is somehow not a true comparison. Some professionals have argued that women don't really have a 'sexual orientation" as men do. I think it would be difficult for you to put yourself in an equivalent position as I am in. It isn't as simple as that. It isn't like just flipping a switch. If it were, then why is it such a big deal - anyone could change on a dime if they wanted to enough, right? But they don't. And why don't they? Do they just not desire to change their attractions hard enough? Do they just not sit down at the table and eat in the right frame of mind? Can they not get over that a grapefruit doesn't taste like an orange and so forget it?

I have tried. Many have tried. I hope you are not insinuating that I haven't tried hard enough, and that if I just would try hard enough all of this "natural attraction" stuff would just magically go away and disappear... I had a sour look on my face when I came home today because I felt you really thought that it really was as easy as wishing or desiring or trying and things would change if I'd just do it hard enough... I believe you know better.

This isn't something that I have chosen. Did you choose to be attracted to men? I know you say that I'm the only man you are attracted to, but I don't believe it. That would put you as an extreme oddity in all humankind - to be attracted to only one person. I don't mean that you want to be sexual with another man, but do you find men attractive, sexy, interesting? I can't be the only man that you are attracted to. But, say that I AM the only man you have ever been attracted to... so, why are you attracted to me? Did you choose to be attracted to me? Or was it just something natural that happened? You often answer my question of why you love me with "just because". Just because! And why did it happen? As repulsive as it may sound to you, why were you not attracted to another woman? You see, you didn't just sit down and choose to be attracted to me. It just naturally happened.

I can honestly say that I was instantly "attracted" to you from the first moment I saw you. You sparked something inside me that no other woman ever had done before or ever since. I can't explain it other than it was a miracle. And I have held onto that magical miracle of fireworks that went off inside me when I first met you. I have never forgotten those feelings or desires. This is a true "tender mercy" that I hold dear and sacred in my life.

As you are my grapefruit, some men are oranges to me. I am naturally attracted to oranges. I didn't choose to be, I just am. I like oranges. I like being around and interacting with oranges that are like me. That doesn't mean that I don't desire my grapefruit. You aren't an acquired taste, but instead a different taste, a beautiful taste, a wonderful pleasure.

I think this analogy isn't going anywhere successfully...

What I'm trying to say is that choosing who you are attracted to isn't as easy as choosing what to like or dislike at the dinner table. And explaining why you like or dislike something isn't really logical or explainable. It just is something that is part of you, and desiring it to be otherwise is not enough. I don't' care about the reasons why there are these natural dislikes or likes (be they environmentally caused, or caused by my father, or any other outside source or influence), they just are.

Now, what I can CHOOSE is what I do with this. I can CHOOSE to manage this, live with it, and I can CHOOSE to not accept it as a viable alternative for the way I WANT to live my life. I can CHOOSE something better. I can CHOOSE you. And that choice, though easily dismissed as "convenient", is so much more than convenient. I desire eternity. I desire a family. I desire a partner to share things with forever. I desire and CHOOSE to do these things with you. I desire YOU!

That said, I can lay out different scenarios of how to cope / live / deal with this situation of natural attraction and my CHOOSING you. I can:

1) stay away from all men at all times who I'm attracted to, and isolate myself from all friends of any kind where some kind of attraction can possibly develop, and try to focus and concentrate solely on you.

2) opt to cheat and lie and go behind your back and have rendezvous and encounters that lead to who knows what and hope that you won't be aware and try to get away with a double life.

3) choose to throw in the towel, give up, and move on - admitting we tried, but it just didn't work.

or 4) try to find a balance between what is a "natural attraction" and a beautiful relationship of desires and attractions with you.

I am not suggesting that I desire emotional or romantic connections with other men, and I'm certainly not desiring sexual connections with other men (I hope you consider me moral and committed enough to my values and core beliefs to know that I would never do that), but I am suggesting that I am happiest inside myself when I am able to express who I am, who I naturally am, and connect with other men, even in a bonding or brotherly-affectionate way. Though they are painful times for you to recall, I can say that my time in the MTC (as well as with the Young Men) were happy times for me because I was feeling natural and truly myself. And, if I do say so myself, you were "attracted" to me in the MTC because you saw how at ease and comfortable I was with myself being myself and you found those very qualities and values and attitudes and aura of my persona as being "endearing" and "attractive", even someone that you would consider marrying. I could say that you were and are attracted to me because of who I am, who the real me is, which includes these qualities and characteristics about myself. And in that environment, I was attracted to you and I did desire to marry you and I felt that we were happy and good for each other - and we bonded even more because I was myself, gregarious, free-spirited, engaging and involved.

I want to be that person again. Not because I want to have encounters or affairs, but because it will make me a better person with you as well. If I am more comfortable with myself, I can be more comfortable with eating the grapefruit and enjoying and desiring it for what it is - a beautiful grapefruit.

Since our discussion of a month ago, I have not had any physical, emotional, or any other kind of relationship with anyone. I have removed myself from all hugs at church (including priesthood hugs). I have not touched or even shaken hands with Will. I have not met or connected physically or in person with any of my MOHO chat friends. I have removed myself from all of these. I have done this because I told you that I would and that I did not desire to hurt you or deceive you or be dishonest. The hope was in so doing, I would be more focused on you. I have done it to restore your trust in me. And you are grateful for this step of honesty and devotion and intent that I have shown and you've said so even today.

But, the funny thing is, the more I isolate myself and remove myself from bonding with others, in friendship and brotherly affection and connections that are more natural yet platonic, the more I become uncomfortable with myself and this discomfort translates into indifference to you, to everyone, to life. I become disconnected and lose any desires I might have to eat the grapefruit at all. And I become irritable and disinterested in reaching out to everyone, especially you. I become assexual. As I've tried to counter this trend, it has proven true time and time again.

So, is there another option? Can there be a way where I can still enjoy being with oranges that can increase my desires for the grapefruit? Can I have connections in my life that are non-threatening to you and honest, that make me happier and more content with myself so that I can be more desirous of the physical nature of our marital relationship? I think so. It seems counter-intuitive, but is it really? If we are happy and content with who we are, then aren't we naturally more inclined to make those around us happy as well? It's the opposite of "misery loves company".

You want me to desire you more. You want me to try harder. You want me to not give up.

I want to desire you more! I want to try harder! I want to not give up!

But, the path we are on isn't working. I can't just flip the switch and the light comes on, or the taste buds change.

I am not seeking relationships that will tear down or destroy our marriage. I want relationships that will build up and make our marriage even stronger. I just need to figure out how to balance it all and make it work and have you understand me better and trust me.

You asked me what these other married guys do with their wives. I know that they work on it a lot. They are thinking of small thoughts of kindness, and focusing on how to be better husbands and fathers all the time. But they all struggle with the physical aspect of the relationship. It isn't easy. It takes work. And all of the other wives deal with the same feelings of rejection, of not being wanted, of being ugly, of not being good enough. It is the same. The ones who are making it work the most are those that are connected with others in an honest, non-secretive environment and the marital relationships seem to improve as the threat is removed.

I do not want you to suffer anymore. I don't want to blame yourself for any of this. And there is nothing that you can do to change it. It wasn't your fault. But it isn't mine either. I did not choose this. But I can choose how to live with it. And what I have tried (hiding it from you) doesn't work. What I have tried (ignoring it and hoping it goes away) doesn't work. What I have tried (praying and pleading with the Lord to remove it from me) does not work. What I have tried (isolating myself from all contact with other men) also really doesn't work. All that leads to is me bottling up inside myself, and then threatening to explode!

So what is left? I've got to think that finding a way to connect and be "myself" and do so honestly with you, can work to make my happiness with myself and comfort level with myself spill over to my happiness and comfort and attractions and desires for you. If this doesn't work, then I guess I'm open to other suggestions. But I'm not going to stop trying to make it work.

What I don't want is to keep going as we are, and making you suffer and constantly doubt yourself and inflict pain and suffering on you, or make you worry about me and doubt me and question my every desire. Instead, I want to enjoy and appreciate and desire grapefruit as much as you did today, even more... I want to totally embrace grapefruit and envelope myself in its sweetness and juiciness and goodness and savory delight. (But, I also want and need and crave oranges in my life)... bottom line, I LOVE YOU. And I am still here CHOOSING to be here with you. I want to be IN LOVE with you again because I LOVE YOU.

So what do you suggest? Where do we go from here?

That left me in fear of her response...

We didn't say much to each other in the evening. I was on pins and needles. I was reading in bed and she came in and didn't say anything. Finally, she joined me in bed and snuggled into me and whispered:

"I read your email."

"Uh huh... and?" I mumbled.

"I think I get it."

"Get what?" I asked hesitantly.

"Um... I know you have to hug, but do you really have to hug everyone?" she asked with a genuine and sweet smile.

And then she added... "Um... and do you really need to go to lunch with your MOHO friends every day?"

I smiled back and we turned off the lights... :)

So, how did I do? Was it a good thing to call off the therapy session?

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I've spent the majority of my life fighting the notion that I am gay. I've spent my entire life living within the heterosexual community, and the majority of that as a married man, sporting the facade of being a heterosexual.

When I finally accepted myself for who I have always been, I started to take upon me the concept that I am a homosexual, a gay man. Though I have used those terms to describe myself in the last five years, even then, it has been a battle and a slow process to truly come to the realization that I am gay - in the sense that I am attracted physically, emotionally, romantically, and sexually almost exclusively to men - and that this has always been who I have been.

One of the first exercises I did when "coming out" to myself was writing my SSA / SGA life history, stitching together scenes, events, thoughts, emotions, occasions where there was no doubt as to where my attractions focused. It was very revealing and healing to do so. I recommend that exercise to anyone who may read this.

I had a gay friend instruct me to stand in front of a mirror and look at my reflection and say "I am a gay man!" That was very hard to do, but it got easier as time went on and took upon me this "identity".

Now, I find myself five years later going to therapy and as I'm accounting certain recent events and struggles, I happen to naturally describe myself to my therapist as a "gay man" and he abruptly corrects me and pronounces that I am a "bisexual man". This perplexed me and even put me off. It was as if my entire identity was wrong and I had to do another mental exercise to shift to the "bisexual" label. I confronted him on this and he led me on a discussion of where most of us are really bisexual and very few are exclusively heterosexual or homosexual.

But, I'm now struggling with this concept of "bisexuality". I don't know whether I feel I have earned the reward of being a "gay man" and now someone of authority is telling me it isn't true, or whether I'm not "worthy" to be a gay man because I have not had a sexual relationship with another man, or because I have been able to stay "happily and faithfully" married to a woman for 28 years. Either way, as funny as it sounds, particularly with years of denial and avoidance of the very subject, and refusing to even entertain the thought of seeing myself as a "gay man", I feel betrayed, hurt, unwanted, undefined, and lost.

I feel lost.

This bisexual thing sounds so iffy, so uncertain, so undefined. If almost everyone is mostly bisexual, I guess I should look at myself as being quite normal. And, one could look upon this, I assume, as being a blessing to "go either way".

But I don't "go either way". I have never been attracted to another woman but my wife. And as difficult as it is to admit it, our relationship takes a sincere amount of work, and the intimacy elements are often extremely difficult and never spontaneous. It doesn't come naturally, and has been a huge source of pain for my wife, even to wonder out loud numerous times why I even married her in the first place. Upon which I answer that I was and am attracted to her in many, many ways, but sexually being attracted to her has been difficult at best.

So, am I really bisexual? Should I worry so much about these labels? Why am I somewhat offended that my therapist corrects me and strips me of my hard earned, life-long struggled and acclaimed self-proclaimed identity as a "gay man"? Where do I belong? Where is home? Who is like me?

If I have one woman who I am attracted to does that make me bisexual? To really be a gay man, one must be exclusively attracted to men? And even one drop of attraction for one woman disqualifies one of being gay?

I am not attracted to women. I do not often even notice women in movies, in media, in real life walking down the street, particularly when a good looking man is in view. I love women, don't get me wrong... I hug and adore the widows in the ward, I am friendly and open to women at work, in the community and as neighbors... but attractions just aren't there... never have been, and at this point after five decades, I think it is safe that in this life they never will be. I am romantically involved with my wife. I have never desired a romance with another woman. I have, however, desired, sought and found bromances all through my life.

I don't see myself "going either way"... this sounds foreign and not a "good fit" for me.

Haven't I earned my merit badge yet? What else do I have to do? Do I have to go sleep around to find out for sure? Why do I now WANT to be considered by others as a "gay man"? It's like my whole life is continuing to be a lie... I mean, why is this bothering me so much?

Any thoughts?

I know the answer should be to just live my life and not worry about such things, but why does this bother me?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Touch celibacy...

I've been trying to focus on my wife and make her part of my daily thought process. Of course she is, but instead of just coexisting, I'm trying to make her "in" my thoughts and do things for her, little things that help her to know that I'm thinking of her, wanting her in my life, needing her with me.

I don't want this to sound mean, but it's work. It isn't as spontaneous as I want it to be. I have to actually work at it instead of just do it. Is that bad? Shouldn't this be more natural? Why is this so hard? Not in a bad way - just not as natural as I would want it to be.

For the most part, it is good...

But, this swearing off meeting / visiting / lunching w/ fellow MOHOs is driving me nuts. (NOTE: Do you realize how hard this has been to give these up? I've really found these connections worthwhile, helpful, life-changing in my attitudes about my inhibitions and insecurities - becoming more confident in myself, in who I am, even in my body image and in doing things that I wouldn't have dreamed of doing prior to these meetings - more on that later....)

I've told her that I will not meet anyone without her knowing and without her approval. As I'm trying to develop trust, and re-earn her faith in me (that I'm really not going anywhere, nor do I desire to leave her), I've decided that I will be a "good boy" and not venture out... and this includes no meetings / talks / hang out with straight guys, too, particularly those I'm attracted to... and this even counts no body-hugging or cuddling at church. (NOTE: Do you realize how hard it is to see Will in church and not stare at him, not touch him? And then to talk to him, even briefly in passing, and try to act normal like nothing is wrong, and still not stare at him, not touch him? not even rub his arm or his back? ARRRGGGHHH... I'm not sure that he even has noticed any change in my behavior - he was always so willing to hug me (even our infamous body hugs that started this whole touch celibacy thing I'm doing) - but like a typical straight guy, he's probably totally oblivious to anything going on at all, or the tension I'm feeling for not being able to touch him - and since I'm no longer initiating the physical contact and hugs, he's not initiating them either. I was always the initiator and he was the willing receiver. Alas, he's just a stupid straight guy - totally oblivious!!!).

None... nothing... niente...

It's been nearly three weeks since I've hugged another man... (not counting the three-tap-on-the-back priesthood hugs that my high priest group leader gives me) and so far so bad. I really want a hug today! I mean, I really, really need one! I really want to feel a man in my arms, just to connect, to breathe in the other person, to feel alive.

And yet, it's been good to realize how hard it has been for her to see this, to know this has been going on, and to be deceived by it... how hard it has been for her to know that her husband is attracted to men and now realize that he always will be... and how hard that is to know that her husband has been emotionally unfaithful and has been deceptive about it... yes, it has been very hard on her, too.

It's good that I'm working at this, but how long can someone like me hold on? Is this right? Is this fair? Some have suggested that this is wrong of her to ask this of me. Some have even said that she is not attempting even to understand my "needs" by requesting this cutting off all physical contact with guys. I ask you to hold judgment, to give her some slack, and to let me try to reconfirm our relationship and her trust in me... after all, it was I who lied / held back the full truth (while still telling the truth) and yet allowing omissions to make her think other than what really was going on. It is something I am trying to correct... and that takes some time.

But for how long?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More questions...

NOTE: This is my 300th post! I'm not as prolific as some. It took me 40 months to get to this post... that's 7.5 posts per month on the average or not quite two posts per week or one post every four days (consistent enough to remain constant, but not too excessive to be annoying - don't you think? (not to imply that one may be inconsistent or annoying) - or am I not frequent enough? Or too annoying?)... for what it's worth.

Anyway, we've continued the dialog. I've been taking it at the speed with which she is most comfortable, and Sunday night she opened up with several questions and we were able to open up to each other and discuss calmly and rationally without getting emotional or defensive. It was good. In fact, for the first time in a long time, we were able to put emotions and defensiveness aside and really try to listen and learn from each other on "this" subject.

NOTE: I want to correct something from the recent posts. I want it to be clear that my wife is sincerely and earnestly trying to understand what is going on inside me. I don't want to portray that she doesn't want to try. She does! The problem is: she can't understand why I feel the way I do, why I need guy-to-guy friendships for bonding and strength and acceptance and understanding. She does see that it is a terrible lot to go through life completely alone, or feeling alone in thinking that "I'm the only one who feels this way and has to go down this untrodden trail". But, she feels alone as well. So she gets that part and the importance of connection with others.

But, she doesn't understand why I can't focus more on my marriage and on her than on these relationships. She has no desires for any such relationships in her life. Sure, she has friendships and associations with groups and activities with which she's involved, and they support and give her "purpose" and "fulfillment", but none of these relationships are sharing emotional and intimate discussions about feelings and longings and wants and desires and hopes and aspirations and understandings and connections. She doesn't seek, desire or want such relationships with either another guy or another woman. She just wants and desires ME!

So, she asks: why can't I just desire her?

It's hard to explain it. At least I explained that my desires are not necessarily "sexual" in nature, which was a huge relief to her. She finds the thought of gay sex repulsive, which is to be expected, I guess.

It's also hard to explain why a gay guy like me needs to have these connections and bondings and relationships "outside" my marriage bonding in order to be better "inside" my marriage. I know it to be true (from personal experience - particularly when I shut myself off of all bonding outside of marriage and all it did was shut me off inside my marriage as well - for two decades I might add!). It's hard to explain that someone like me in a mixed-oriented marriage needs these friendships and relationships and one-on-ones with others that understand me.

When I say such things, she immediately does the reversal and says that wouldn't I think that if she had such encounters with another man, wouldn't I feel them to be inappropriate? unfaithful? wrong? And, of course, I would...

So why the difference? Why does the reversal not work? Why do I feel that it isn't the same? How do I articulate and explain the difference so that she understands and is not threatened by or scared of this need of mine? Is a gay guy supposed to never have connections with another guy, ever, if he is married? Is that his lot in life? Why should a gay guy in a MOM be treated differently? Is that fair? Is that right? Or is there really a difference? Or is it just asking for special compensation where none should be granted?

Does it all come down to sex? Is the close relationship with a guy wrong for my wife because of the sexual attraction possibilities? Is the close relationship with a guy wrong for me simply because of the sexual attraction possibilities? Or is it in that marriage is supposed to be only:

"Thou shalt love thy wife with ALL thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and NONE ELSE."

-- D&C 42:22

Can there be a marriage if one shares his heart with another in understanding, compassion, bonding? When does this cross into "spiritual infidelity"?


Coincidentally, there is an interesting article in the September 2009 Ensign entitled: "Fidelity in Marriage: It's more than you think." Though it addressed emotional and romantic infidelity of a heterosexual marriage, it is intriguing for me to view it in terms of a mixed-oriented marriage.

Toward the end of the article, there is a series of questions that one is asked to answer honestly about assessing relationships we might have "outside" our marriage. In the spirit of my "relationships" with my guy friends, including MOHO friendships mentioned recently in this blog, my answers are as follows:

1. Are you turning to your friend for comfort rather than turning to your spouse? Yes, to a certain extent I am, as my "friend" gives me comfort and understanding that she can't. But, it doesn't mean that I'm not turning to her as well in those areas that she can, particularly as we work on discussing these things more honestly, as hard as that has been in the last few weeks.

2. Do you find yourself thinking about your friend even when you're at home? Yes, most definitely.

3. Do you seek opportunities to be with your friend even when work doesn't require you to be together? Yes, most definitely.

4. Do you email and text your friend when you're not together? Yes, nearly every day.

5. Have you told your spouse about these messages? Yes, I have. It was hurtful to her that I would hide such things from her, and it continues to make her feel uneasy and uncomfortable, even "sick" to think that I chat with my "friends", but she is becoming more accepting of it.

6. Does the relationship with your friend take more of your time and energy than your relationship with your spouse? At times, but for the most part, no... most of my energy is spent in my relationship with my spouse.

7. Do you compare your spouse to your friend? No. There is no comparison. It is totally different.

8. Would you be uncomfortable introducing your spouse to your friend? Absolutely not. In fact, I've encouraged her to meet my "friend" but so far she's not ready to do that.

Depending on how you answer these questions, you may need to make some changes in your life. Consider an open and honest conversation with your spouse - being sure to focus on yourself and not the other person. If you find you have some real challenges to overcome, you may want to talk with your bishop. Well, I am not going to talk to my bishop. Some may think I'm robbing us of the priesthood inspiration we deserve and should demand in our lives. But for me and my house, this discussion will remain between us, and as we discuss my need for "friendship" outside the marriage, with increased openness and honesty, I think it will remain between us.

But, back to the question at hand: How do I explain the "need" I feel for these friendships, connections, bondings? How do I explain that they are necessary in order to stay married, not as a reason for infidelity? And is there a difference for a gay guy to have these things where a straight guy shouldn't, simply because the straight guy should be attracted to his wife? Is this a double standard? Is it wrong? Is this asking for a special exceptions? Can it not be equated with a straight relationship of infidelity? Or is there no difference? And if there is a difference, should it be required of my wife to accept the difference and accept such friendships within the bounds of marriage? And if so, can it be done without suffering "spiritual infidelity"?

Help me! I need help in answering these questions for myself so that I can explain it to her...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I lie...

I don't know if anyone is even tuning in and reading this tiresome stuff the comments have dwindled to nothing... and that is okay... I'm tired of it, too.

But, I'm blogging because my original intent was to use this to help me through some difficult decisions - life altering decisions - and I find myself still needing this tool to work through things because I'm a slow learner.

The lesson for the day: When you lie, you've always got to cover up your backside.

I have been caught in several lies lately. My wife remembers things that "just don't add up" or "just don't sound right" and now the connect-the-dots exercise is coming to fruition and the picture is forming and she sees the string of deceit, deception, dishonesty, and disloyalty.

I lie to avoid conflict. I lie to avoid hurt. I lie to avoid confrontation. I lie to avoid pain... In the end, the truth slowly comes out and there still remains the conflict, the hurt, the confrontation, the pain.

Having been caught, I fessed up to numerous encounters with gay men of this community, and even to having attended once the Scott-and-Sarah monthly party full of gay men. Again, it wasn't so much the thought of doing those things that bothered and hurt her, but it was the string of lies and the lack of trust shown on my part - particularly not trusting her with the truth, or giving her the chance to handle the truth. By telling lies, I excluded her from these choices I was making, even if those choices were good choices, reaffirming choices, choices that focused me back to her instead of away from her.

Some may view her list of expectations (as noted in my previous post) as a "lock-and-chain" attitude, where no real agency can exist.

One anonymous commenter emailed me and said:

Here is one response (to her):
If marriage is going to be a lock and chain and I have no freedom to meet friends that I choose or write in the privacy of my own diary, then I can't live with that.
I promise you I will not break the vows of sexual fidelity, but I don't promise not to hug someone or be friends with someone. You have the same freedom I do. I am committed to our family and to you. And you simply will have to trust me. I am not going to be locked and chained around your ankle so you can watch me constantly.
You can tell me what you want me to do as you have, but I can't live with that kind of loss of my personal agency.

I see this viewpoint. I really do, and I understand it and the wisdom behind it. To make such a statement I would have to be trustworthy to expect trust in my choices, but so far my way about accomplishing these things has been anything but trustworthy. Thus, I also see her viewpoint that my shutting her out by not being honest has focused my choices on what is best for myself and not what is best for us.

So, how can I have both? How can I restore trust once it is lost? How can I have a free exercise of agency and freedom while not being self-centered and selfish? Is one exclusive of the other? Can I place my needs above hers? above what is best for us?

I'm tired of the facade. I'm tired of telling lies and covering my backside. I'm tired of hurting her as step-by-step she finds out more about my deception.

Is there any way that this downhill slide can turn around?