Monday, January 05, 2009

The Greek Tragedy continues...


By now if you can't guess, the first week of the new year continues to be a difficult one for our marriage as all of our emotions of the "coming out" event of four years ago, reboils to the surface and we stir the pot one more time.

On Saturday we went for a hike in the mountains above our house. The snow was fresh and clinging to every branch of every tree and the sky was crystal clear and brilliant blue. We took pictures and enjoyed each other's company and felt at ease with life for a brief moment.

When we returned, I noted that she left her journal open on the bed. I do not make a habit of reading it (how hypocritical is that when thinking of this blog being kept from her?), but emotions were high and the air was thick with tension and it seemed almost like she was leaving it more casually than usual for me to "stumble across". I did read just a few words that sliced my heart in two:

"...feeling sad about my marriage, but I love him... he's my best friend and dearest companion - he's just not my lover."

Ever since my "coming out", she has desired to "change me" in order to make me more attracted and in love with her. For a time, we were better (in fact better than we had ever been before in our two decades of marriage prior), but we've fallen off the charts of late... I feel I'm still "in love" with her, that I'm her "lover" in the way that I can be, but it obviously is not enough to give her the assurance she needs.

With this on my mind, I tried to be more intimate on Sunday morning and she said things like "you don't have to do this for your heart really isn't in it" which just frustrated me even more... this led to a lot of tears (thank heaven we had late church) and some serious discussion about her saying things like:

* I'm terribly in love with you but I feel it unreciprocated...

* This is all a tragedy...

* Don't you see the hurt you've caused me?

* I've realized you aren't going to ever change in this life...

* You are hanging on because it's your obligation and duty...

* We have to endure for the sake of the kids...

* There is no solution...

* I have to have faith that the next life will be better...

* It still hurts knowing that you'd rather by with a good looking young man... You really don't desire me, and I can't do anything about it...

* I should have realized you were the way you are. I watch your eyes and see you light up around your boys...

* I don't want the kids to know - this is our burden and we need to keep it between us... Do you realize how hurt they would be if they knew?!?

* Why did I ever fall in love with you? Why can I not stop loving you? It would be so much easier if I didn't love you...


I said thing like:

* I'm tired of lying or telling you that it's going to change. It isn't going to change...

* You have done nothing. This isn't your fault... Nothing you have done has "caused" this. It just is.

* Yes, I am attracted to men - always have and always will...

* Yes, I know I've caused you hurt and pain... But, don't you see the hurt and angst and pain this has caused me?

* That doesn't mean that I don't love you!

* I don't know how to show you or convince you that I love you more than I already am... obviously it isn't enough...

* I have made my choice and it is to stay with you. I want to be with you. I am here and not going anywhere...

* I'm willing to be more honest about it. I'm ready and prepared to talk to the kids if you want me to...

* This is like a great Greek tragedy...


We ended it with this exchange:

ME: So, knowing the way things are, had you known completely what you know now, would you have still married me?

SHE: (long pause)... I don't know. I guess I would have anyway because I love you so much. I just wish you loved me as much...

ME: I want you to know that I wanted to marry you. Even with these attractions (that I didn't fully understand at the time), I miraculously fell in love with one amazing woman. I fell in love with you! You turned my head around! You filled my heart! I wanted to marry you - not out of obligation or duty. I still want to be married to YOU.


We hugged as we cried together...

All day we brooded about our annual discussion... We put on the good facade for the kids and the ward and fulfilled our callings (though I felt no spirit in the meetings and my lesson didn't go well as I was so internally conflicted and distracted with other thoughts - there really is something to the saying: "without the spirit, ye shall not teach"). I sat in Sacrament Meeting dreading the testimonies of gushiness. I started to cry and I did all I could to not make a spectacle of myself, but to no avail as my daughter noticed "something is wrong with Dad". I darted out of the meetings at the end and unlike my typical gregarious self, I didn't talk, hug, touch or reach out to anyone. Will and his wife were still there and I didn't care. I didn't want to see anyone, especially him at this time. I just headed to the car to try to gain some control.

All day I was trying to figure out how to tell her about the MOHOs and I see it coming soon in our next "discussion", but when she said that this needed to remain "our burden" exclusively between us, it shut down my motivation to tell her otherwise that I had sought out and found a resource of help with similar minded folks like us... but it didn't happen, at least not yet.

So, the Greek tragedy plays on... There is no happy ending... It's just a recycling of the same broken record... We just endure and carry our burdens.

28 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

My dear, sweet Beck. I think your wife's still very much grieving. Continue to pour your love out to her and help her through.

Maybe approach the subject by saying that you've researched MOM's, and found that there are other couples out there.

Maybe you and Bravone could work something out that you out him to your wife, and offer to let her and Bravone's wife visit? I figure anything you can do to help her, and show her that you're committed to her will definitely help.

Remember, too, that what she's writing in her journal is unfiltered, and is her perception of things. It's not to be taken as the reality of things, just a guide to you that you can use to be of more support to her.

Ezra said...

I will try to keep you in my prayers... though I'm not sure God hears my prayers anymore.

You're a stronger person than I...

Sean said...

I'm sorry bud! I hope things will work out. You might want to try what Kengo said. That seems like a good idea. Keep on trudging! Love you man! :)

Philip said...

Beck,

First, let me apologize in advance if anything I say in this post is offensive. I am trying to be as diplomatic as possible.

Several things went through my mind as I read your post.

Does his wife know Beck better than he knows himself?

What does Beck mean when he says that he is "in love" with his wife?

Has Beck ever been "in love" with another man and therefore been able to compare?

I may be wrong but...

I think your wife is saying that she loves you more than you love her.

While you can't deny that you are not sexually attracted to your wife, I think you are saying that your love for your wife is as great as her love for you.

From experience I have learned that a lot of straight wives figure out long before their gay/bi husbands that the same word ("love") means a different thing for each party.

In other words, the straight wife knows she is "in love" with her husband while her husband truly loves but is not "in love" with her.

There is a difference between "in love" and "love" but if a person has never been "in love" then they might not know that.

However, if the person has been "in love" then they know it because it is not like anything else in the world.

In other words, if you have to think about whether you are "in love" or not then you are not in love.

Leastwise, that is my experience.

There is a simple way to figure out if the two of you are using the same word to mean the same thing (i.e., both are "in love") or the same word to mean two totally different things (i.e., one is "in love" while the other truly loves but is not "in love").

All that is needed is to give details of what that love entails.

However, be forewarned, giving details can be painful for the parties involved.

But, on the other hand, it can go a long way to clarifying things.

You may want to spell it out in detail alone or blog on it first.

Of course, I could be totally off base and you are as in love with your wife as she is in love with you. If that is the case then I would love to talk more about it with you because I have always equated being "in love" with sexual chemistry. I would like to know what it is like to be "in love" with someone that you are not sexually attracted to.

Regards,
Philip

Bravone said...

Beck, the good news, she sees it as your common burden and didn't use the D word. She obviously loves you and is committed to you. It will work out over time. It is a process and will take its course at the speed that both with which both both of your comfort levels allow.

I see the silver lining.

Public Loneliness said...

Dearest Beck:

I have no real advise to give you (like I could sorting through my own life) but I'll keep you in my thoughts/prayers and I'm sending you a big hug from way over here!

((( )))

Beck said...

KENGO: Thanks for the reminder that her written thoughts are as unfiltered as mine are here on this blog. I need to keep it in proper perspective.

As for bringing Bravone and his wife into the picture - funny you should suggest such a thing. With our common MTC and Italian connections, the Brave One and I have discussed this possibility and I hope to be able to work a way to make it happen.

EZRA: I don't know how strong I am. Do you think I'm strong because I am hanging in this marriage? Do you think I'm strong for enduring well? Do you think I'm strong for loving a woman? Help me to understand what you mean... and thank you for your prayers. Heaven knows we need them.

Beck said...

SEAN: You are sweet to endure these sagas of the mixed up MOMs in this community. I feel sorry for you wading through this broken record, but appreciate your encouragement and advice.

PHILIP: You bring up a good point. She made the same point, even saying that she felt like I loved her like I love the dog, meaning, I really love our dog and she loves me, but I'm not "in love" with the dog.

Her point is that we don't love each other in the same way and it is tearing us apart. I claim to be "in love" with her because I feel like to not say so would be mean and hurtful. Yet, you make a good point that when I use those words, they may not mean the same thing as when she uses those words. And so, it hurts her to know that I am not equal in my love back to her no matter how hard I try or say otherwise.

I would like to believe that I was madly "in love" with her when we first met, courted and married. Maybe I was infatuated with the situation of a woman loving me that I had to be "in love" with her, right?

In the end, I don't know if I am "in love" with her. She is my best friend. She is my dearest companion. She is my partner in all senses of this life. We live together and share everything equally. We are a team. We are united. But does that mean I'm "in love" with her in the same way that she is with me? Honestly? I would hope so. I mean, I would defend her and support her and provide for her and worship her with all that I can physically, mentally, emotionally do... is that not being "in love". But when it comes to sexuality, I've come to the point that it just isn't working for me anymore and she knows that I'm pretending and it eats her up inside and it tears me apart because I can't fake it. So does that mean I'm not "in love" with her? Is that the answer you want?

I don't know... I'm taking no offense, but I am discouraged by all of this.

We really are happy together. We have created a wonderful life together. We have a wonderful family... Is that not love? What do you want me to say?

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Thanks for seeing the silver lining in all this. I see it! I mean, I was wondering if anyone was going to see our "annual discussion" as a good step and a step of encouragement instead of discouragement. Right? I mean, we had a frank and tough talk. And we actually talked about my attractions, my boys, my wants not being centered on her in very open and honest terms. Yes, there was hurt and it is a common burden, but we ended with it being something we carry together, not separately and that this burden is realized to NOT be changing and is what it is and so we face it and move forward or we don't...

And yes, there was NEVER any mention of the "D" word in any of this frank conversation. She doesn't want out of this marriage any more than I do. We are committed to each other. It's just hard and we're still slowly stepping through and realizing just how hard it really is.

But, in all of that, there is a lot of SILVER LININGS!

PL: My prayers are with you, too. Hang in there. If anything, find courage in the fact that she and I are still hanging in there and committed to each other to find a way to make this MOM work.

Philip said...

Beck,

How you feel about your wife pretty much sums up how I feel about my wife except I would say something about being eternally grateful that she gave me two beautiful, wonderful children.

When I asked her a long time ago what she felt, here is what she said:

If the house was burning down and you were trapped inside, I would risk my life to save yours.

I cannot imagine a life without you.

Our relationship is the most important thing in my life and the children are the icing on the cake.

Do you see the difference?

My focus is primarily on the family with our relationship being secondary.

Her focus is primarily on our relationship with our family being secondary.

For years there was friction between us because of this difference. It wasn't until I feel in love with another man that I finally understood what my wife was going through.

After years of thinking our love was equal, I realized that I truly loved but was not "in love" with my wife while she was "in love" with me.

I no longer dismissed my wife's behavior as overreaction because I now realized I was underreacting.

I realized that the discrepancies in our marriage were greater than I had imagined. It was not sexual attraction alone. It also had to do with how we related to one another.

The one thing I want is that you be honest with yourself. I can't recommend that you be honest with your wife. The truth may help validate what she feels. It might also clear the air. It might even be a positive thing in the long run. But I can't recommend it because I am not the one that will have to deal with the fallout afterwards.

Regards,
Philip

Scott said...

"Her point is that we don't love each other in the same way and it is tearing us apart."

Does it have to be this way? That is, do a man and a woman have to love each other in the same way to prevent the disintegration of a marriage? I don't think so. I think even a straight-straight couple is going to have some differences in the way each loves the other. It's not the differences in love that harm the marriage, but rather the expectations (or failure to meet them) that does the damage.

I've wondered over the last several months how to define my feelings for Sarah. I can emphatically state without hesitation that I love her. I have feelings for her that I don't feel for any other woman. I have feelings for her that I don't feel for any other person. Am I in love with her? I don't know. I'm not sure I really know what that phrase means, and I'm not sure that it means the same thing to me that it does to her.

There are feelings that I associate with the emotion of "love" that I don't feel for Sarah, or at least that I don't feel all the time. These are feelings of physical or sexual attraction. I should clarify that I differentiate between recognizing beauty and feeling physical attraction--I can and do consider her beautiful even if I'm not always physically attracted to her. While the physical "chemistry" between Sarah and I is sporadic, with any other woman it is totally non-existent.

Most of the time, Sarah understands this, and that (I think) is one of the keys to our happiness together. I am not failing to meet an expectation of being "in love" with her by a particular definition because she has learned to temper her expectations. There is no comparison (except occasionally in jest) between my love for her and hers for me. My love for her is deep, as is hers for me, and we are content to enjoy each other's love without worrying about what form or flavor it takes.

Please note that I did start that last paragraph with "most of the time". I regret that I can't always give her what she wants when at times her expectations exceed my ability to meet them. Our relationship isn't perfect. But we understand each other, and she rarely doubts the truth or the depth of my love even if she occasionally grieves that it can't be the perfect mirror of hers.

Your wife knows that you love her, and obviously she loves you. Apparently it is difficult for her to see past the differences in how you love each other to appreciate how much you love each other. Don't worry about convincing her that you are "in love" with her in exactly the same way that she is "in love" with you (because you almost certainly are not). Instead, help her to see that you love her as deeply as she loves you, even if that love takes a different form.

One of the definitions of "quality" is "an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute". By that definition, when speaking of love, quantity trumps quality. You might love her "like [you] love the dog" (i.e. with the same quality or attribute of love with which you love the dog) but I hope that she doesn't really believe that your feelings for her and your feelings for the dog are of equal depth or quantity.

Philip said...

Beck,

I would feel remiss if I didn't the following...

I stay with my wife because I think that what I have with her is what people that fall in love have after a few years.

I just missed out in the intense first few months/years.

Because after a few years the fireworks are gone and what is left is a strong, abiding love.

And I believe that is where we are at.

I have no way of knowing if this is true or not but this is what I tell myself.

And I am at peace with that. And she is, too.

Regards,
Philip

D. Lurk said...

Beck, Your post has prompted me to de-lurk for a moment. In three decades of marriage, I've been blessed with sons, daughters and great respect and admiration for my wife. But ten years ago when I fell in love with a friend at work, I soon found out there was a huge difference between the feelings I have for my wife and the feelings I have for him.

I want them both to be happy. I want to keep my commitments to my wife, but the person I miss after a three day weekend is him.

My wife and I work at our relationship. It's been filled with great challenges and rewards. My friendship is not work. It is easy going, supportive, and I'm smiling now just thinking about him.

Fortunately he is a straight, married father and sees me that way too. I am his "good friend" as he puts it. But to me his presence in my life and our enduring friendship are incredible gifts from a kind and wise Father in Heaven who has trusted me to bridle my passions and love him in a chaste way.

Ten years into this friendship, I can only tell you that my wife, children, family and this amazing friendship are the among the greatest blessings in my life.

Public Loneliness said...

Wow, lots of food for thought on these comments. I was in therapy a few years ago and in trying to work through this same conundrum the therapist who is a very active LDS man said in no uncertain terms:

"If you love your wife because you want to protect her, provide for her and don't want anything bad to happen to her this is good, but it isn't the love she may want from you---if you, on top of all these things wish to rip her clothes off and want to make sweet love to her all day and night then you're in love with her."

He pointed out that generally speaking, for women sex is about them feeling wanted, desired and loved, whereas men often see it as a biological need. I never dared ask how could I as a gay man ever hope to find a happy medium...

Beck said...

PHILIP: I'm trying to be honest. I'm feeling for the first time that I am not "in love" with her as she is with me. This, though obvious to everyone else, is finally ringing true to me... and it's sad.

So, is being "in love" what it is all about, or is deeply "loving" someone enough? That's the next step to work through... it may be enough for me, but maybe not enough for her.

If the intense few months/years evolve into a different love for straight couples anyway, then haven't we arrived at the same inevitable result? Why then does it remain so important to my wife to have me feel for her what she feels for me? And remember we've been married 27 years! We aren't newlyweds here...

And if I never feel the way she wants me to feel, is it over? Should we throw in the towel? Or is it just a matter of endurance? I would hope that it would be more than all of these.

As for children, yes, I am eternally grateful for the icing on the cake of our children. They are our joy, our purpose, our uniting force of hope. Without them what do we have?

Beck said...

SCOTT said: "Don't worry about convincing her that you are "in love" with her in exactly the same way that she is "in love" with you (because you almost certainly are not). Instead, help her to see that you love her as deeply as she loves you, even if that love takes a different form..."

Okay, I agree and that is what I am trying to do - but what if that isn't enough? Then what? I've been trying to do all that I can to assure her that I'm here for her, but I can't be for her what she wants me to be sexually... and as we move through the years, as most relationships subside (as Philip notes) they settle into another phase of peace because they lived through that intense period with some kind of satisfaction. Obviously, she never got from me what she wanted and needed back in the early days and here we are decades later with her still left tormented and left wanted and never satisfied and thus, not willing to settle in for the long haul.

I knew it was a big deal, but never realized that it was a deal that wouldn't go away with time as I'm satisfied to let it subside...

I also thought I would get from you an "attaboy" for at least carrying on the conversation. And yes, I'm setting a goal to keep it going through this year instead of just at this annual discussion.

Beck said...

D-LURK: Thank you for delurking and commenting! You shouldn't be so quiet.

I can SOOO relate with your longings for your friendship with a straight guy where you "miss" him or your heart jumps at just "thinking" about him. This has been my story and continues to be in many ways.

There is a difference in my feelings for these men in my life verses my wife - yet, though my heart doesn't skip a beat when she walks in the room, I still love her and will always love her.

Just because it's different doesn't make it bad, right?

Beck said...

PL said: "If you love your wife because you want to protect her, provide for her and don't want anything bad to happen to her this is good, but it isn't the love she may want from you---if you, on top of all these things wish to rip her clothes off and want to make sweet love to her all day and night then you're in love with her."

If that is the clinical definition of being "in love" then I guess I'm facing the reality that I am not "in love" with my wife. And if that is the case, is there any room for hope?

And I wonder if, that is the case, then how can any gay man really be "in love" per that definition?

So, I can't and I don't see that changing - so now what?

Kengo Biddles said...

Does it have to be this way? That is, do a man and a woman have to love each other in the same way to prevent the disintegration of a marriage? I don't think so.

Scott hit it right on the head. I've seen this same sort of problem with my friends Hyrum and Eva. They're very much divergent in that respect. I think that finding ways to help her understand your love for her will help.

Scott said...

Obviously, she never got from me what she wanted and needed back in the early days and here we are decades later with her still left tormented and left wanted and never satisfied and thus, not willing to settle in for the long haul.

This is the crux of the issue, I think, and unfortunately there is no easy resolution.

You've indicated that you're barely realizing or admitting that you're not "in love" with your wife according to a common definition of that phrase. She has sensed that on some level for a long time, but has hoped that it would change.

You both love each other deeply. You both need to decide if that's enough. You need to decide if it's enough to never be able to be fully "in love" with someone. She needs to decide if she's willing to accept never having someone be fully "in love" with her. If one or the other (or both) of you is absolutely unwilling to make that sacrifice, there is little reason to stay together.

(I used the word "never" in the last paragraph with reluctance. It's possible--even certain, if we believe what Church leaders have said about homosexuality being a mortal issue--that you will be capable of being fully "in love" with your wife at some point in the eternal future).

You can't change who you are, and for the two of you to be happy together your wife needs to realize that. At the same time, coming to that realization requires that she change, and it's not right of you to demand that of her. The best that both of you can hope to do is lay your cards on the table and each hope that the other is both able and willing to make whatever compromises are necessary for you to meet somewhere in the middle.

If this comment is more pessimistic than normal for me, I apologize. I do sincerely hope and pray that you and your wife can find some stable happy ground on which to build.

Philip said...

Beck,

Discovering I loved but was not in love with my wife was not the kind of discovery I wanted to make after many years of marriage.

However, that discovery help me work on my relationship with my wife.

For one thing that discovery explained a lot about our relationship. Afterwards, I think I was a better husband because I finally understood my wife a lot more than I had before.

For another thing I had always thought that I had never successfully repressed my gay feelings. This discovery made me realize that I hadn't been able to repress my physical attraction to other men but I had so successfully repressed other gay feelings that I hadn't even known I was capable of having such feelings.

So I learned that there was a lot more to being gay than just sex. Afterwards I made a greater effort to get comfortable with my sexuality by coming out more and in more areas of my life. The discovery also made me realize that I could express my sexuality in non-sexual ways.

What I am trying to say is that understanding my wife, being more comfortable with my sexuality, finding non-sexual ways to express my sexuality all helped my relationship with my wife.

Of course, I also had to ask myself whether or not what I had in my marriage was enough for me and it took me a while to decide.

One thing I have heard others say that makes a lot of sense to me is that each spouse should make the decision for themselves. In other words, a gay spouse should not decide to leave because he or she thinks it's too difficult for the straight spouse and the straight spouse should not decide to leave because he or she thinks it's too dificult for the gay/bi spouse. Respect the other spouse enough to let them decide for themselves.

Regards,
Philip

Beck said...

KENGO: This is all coming at me like some new revelation. I've always thought I was "in love" as she was, but it finally makes sense that we aren't on the same page, and yet, for the most part, we move forward happily and work through it... It's just hard to finally realize that maybe I've never really truly been "in love" with my wife. That's a hard reality... and yet, I think we can survive this... but still, to say that I'm not "in love" makes it sound like why should I even be married in the first place? Of course, that's what she asks as well?

Beck said...

SCOTT: Just as I'm coming to terms with really "never being in love" with my wife as she is with me - after all these years of thinking that I was "in love" with her, she, now, is coming to terms with the reality that I am who I am and it isn't going to change and I'm not going to ever be "in love" with her as she is with me.

So, we both have (what other people might think is down right obvious) major reality checks going on in our respective thinkings.

Is it enough to hold us still together? I think so. I'm not seeing either of us wanting to run from this relationship - it's just another step along the path that takes us further apart in some ways, and closer in others.

In the last couple of days she's been very tender to my feelings and my needs in general, and I think she's trying to show that she loves me for me even though this whole "gay thing" may still be hard for her to accept. Heck... it's been hard for me to accept, so how do I expect her to accept it without any shame or guilt or hesitancy?

Beck said...

PHILIP: I'm certainly glad that you've gone through all these stages of realizations that I'm going through so that I can learn from you.

I know that I can't change and I'm not going to make her change and we both need to bring to the relationship what we can and see if that works for the both of us. I'm just amazed that it's taken me this long to realize I'm not "in love" with my wife! That just blows me away, even as obvious as it may appear to you or others. This is a hard thing.

As for "gay" meaning more than sex, I am trying to find and discover all those other ways that this is who I am and a good thing and something that I should treasure and not hide from or be ashamed of. The more I can be who I am, hopefully, the more she can be accepting of all that is ME and not be ashamed of who I am either... those steps are still to come.

Thanks for your wisdom!

D. Lurk said...

Beck, my peer, my unseen brother who has been married 27 of the 31 years I have been married...

You said, "Just because it's different doesn't make it bad, right?" I say RIGHT!

Your love (whether it is "in love" love or "long-term" love or maybe even "long-suffering love" or most likely some mixture of all of the above) is nonetheless love, no doubt about that.

It and your commitment, your friendship have bonded you together, enabled you to learn and grow together, blessed you with wonderful children, nurturing together a garden full of so much that is so dear.

These are all very right things that have come from an authentic union of two unique individuals. I sense that you treasure these things, but that it's also easy to get caught up in a "grass is greener" mentality. I know I do. (What if my friend loved me the way I love him? What if my wife felt about me the way she did when we were newlyweds? All those enticing coulda, woulda, shoulda what ifs.)

But in my wiser, saner thinking, when I glimpse "things as they really are and really will be" I know that I am blessed with a unique and diverse pallet of colors of love, as are my each of my loved ones. Like our fingerprints they are similar but also unlike anyone else's.

Yes, Beck, I do agree that just because it's different doesn't make it bad!

p.s. Thanks for encouraging me to keep writing.

Pieces of Me said...

Beck:

I really appreciated this post along with all the comments. It has helped me to understand what my husband is feeling and what I am feeling too.

We are at a cross roads, the very one discussed here, where we needed to decide individually if we want to be apart or together. Currently we are physically apart, so that we each have time to process.

I love him, and I am "in love" with him, but like was pointed out, I don't feel he is "in love" with me. I also struggle with sexuality. It seems after so many years of marriage that it really should not be a big deal, because yes nature does take its course, and most "straight" couples I know sex is the last thing the women is currently interested in, and tollerats it for the sake of her husband and marriage. But for me I feel differently, I am very interested in sex. I think for my straight friends they know their husband desires them sexually, and the need to be desired is almost more important than the act its self. I don't feel desired, and the biggest debate I have is do I give up ever feeling desired for a relationship that has a very strong foundation as friends.

I know intellectually that friendship is the most important thing, and what will endure through the years. I have also thought how different is this from if my husband were somehow physically injuried, limiting his ability to well you know... I would not leave him for a physical injury just because I could no longer have sex with him, so why is an emotional injury different?

Why do I look at couples holding hands, snuggling, being affectionate and have this deep longing for that? Can I see that for the rest of my life, knowing that my relationship will never have that and still be happy? Am I just trading one set of problems for another?

These are the questions that ramble through my head on a daily basis as I try to come to terms with my marraige and relationship with my husband.

I know the answers are not going to come quickly for either one of us. I know that people are going to come into my life and people are going to come into his life and affect the choices we make.

I can't speak for him, only for me, and I know that part of my journey to discover if I stay or go will involve falling in love with someone else. I know I can't make this decision without the perspective of another relationship. Where that will leave us. who knows.....

Silver said...

"I'm just amazed that it's taken me this long to realize I'm not "in love" with my wife! That just blows me away, even as obvious as it may appear to you or others. This is a hard thing."

Me too brother. After reading these comments, I am on the verge of tears with the realization that I most likely have never been and will never be "in love" with my wife.

I have been "in love" with a short list of men who have entered my life at various times and with whom I have formed deeply bonding and meaningful friendships where my heart lept at the thought of being with "him" again and hurt at the prospect of being apart.

I outed myself to a straight friend about ten years ago. His homophobia won out. He dropped me out of fear and disgust. He moved across the country and I grieved for two years. I was broken at the loss of that friendship.

I love my wife dearly. I hate the comparrison to the dog, because it hurts me at the core. I do, in fact, love her like the dog, ie. emotionally, but not sexually. I function sexually in my marriage, but in reality it is not my principle drive. If she were trapped in a burning building I would risk my life and all to save her. I have no doubt of that.

It hurts to realize that I will never be "in love" with her. I will never really feel that overwhelming passion to rip her clothes off and ravish her like I want to do with a man. It is a painfully, deeply distressing realization. It reduces me to the base reality that above all else, sexually, I really would prefer a man. I have a dear friend now with whom I am "in love". How shallow, how selfish, how dispicable that makes me feel. What have I become? How is this just? Is this not just a very sick joke? How can God allow this? Why, why, why am I wounded in this way? Why couldn't I just desire her in that way. How is it that I cannot feel this level of love for the woman who has been with me through all for twenty years? It aches at my core. Where is the justice in this. Why this burden?

I don't think I'll know the answers in this life. It is just my reality. It just is.

Beck, you are not alone. I feel the pain, like so many others have expressed here as well. It just sucks!

Silver

Philip said...

Silver: What have I become? How is this just? Is this not just a very sick joke? How can God allow this? Why, why, why am I wounded in this way? Why couldn't I just desire her in that way. How is it that I cannot feel this level of love for the woman who has been with me through all for twenty years?

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughter when she was a little girl. She was the only dark haired, dark skinned child in her class and despite my best efforts had become convinced she was ugly.

One day, with tears running down her beautiful face, she confessed to me that she was ugly because she was not like all the other kids. What she meant, of course, was that she wasn't blonde, thin and white. That she was different.

I asked her if I was ugly. She said no.

I asked her if her brother was ugly. She said no.

I asked her if her grandma and uncles and aunts were ugly. She said no.

Then I asked her if I was not ugly and her brother was not ugly and her grandma and aunts and uncles were not ugly then why did she think she was ugly. She said she didn't know.

So I saw that I still had my work cut out for me so I told her that if she was ugly then I was ugly and her brother was ugly and her grandma and aunts and uncles were all ugly because we all looked alike. And then I asked her if she really thought we were ugly. And she said no.

So I told her if we were not ugly then she was not ugly, too.

That seemed to work for a while but it was really just the start of a long process to help my daughter build up her self-esteem.

It is difficult to be different especially if you buy in to the belief that there is only way to be.

I understand how you can see yourself as wounded; as damaged goods. I was raised to believe all men like me are wounded; damaged goods. But if you are wounded then I am wounded and Beck is wounded and Scott is wounded and we are all wounded. And we are all damage goods.

And I have to tell you that I am not wounded or damaged goods; I can fall in love just like everyone else. I am just different.

And when it comes to how to relate to others there is more than one way to be.

Regards,
Philip