Monday, March 23, 2009

You know when...

Comments from my previous post gave me many analogies to think about as I contemplate my progress / or lack thereof, and I want to think about that some more as I come to grips with a perspective of where I am, but…

In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck when” one-liners…

1. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you still keep thinking about the hot landscape guy all weekend… Yeah, my wife hires a sprinkler guy to repair our irrigation system and you meet him in a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago and he’s wearing a coat and hoodie and I think he’s kind of cute but don’t give it a lot more thought, and then Friday he comes with a tight tee-shirt covering a fit and ripped body and a smile and blue eyes to die for and it’s all you can do to stop staring and try to carry on a conversation without becoming weak in the knees. Thank goodness it snowed today and he didn’t show up again, or I’d be getting even less done than I am.

2. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you are trying to stay interested in your client’s conversation at a business lunch, but instead you get caught staring at the eye candy at the neighboring booth at a local sports bar… Yeah, I had a client take me to lunch and offer me a couple of great leads for future projects, and he catches me staring at the 20-something eye candy guys who seemed pretty open and friendly and touchy-feely with each other who were sitting behind his back. Fortunately, there were plenty of flat screens with the NCAA tournament on and I just changed his noticing my stares to the game at hand, acting like I care about basketball, and successfully dodged a gay-bullet.

3. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you go to an art exhibit and spend more time spying the artists on display verses their artwork… We were invited on Friday to the Conference Center to see the opening of the new LDS art exhibit and there were some beautiful pieces there (and I don’t mean those made of canvas or clay).

4. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you attend the musical production at the local high school with your family and you instantly spot the obvious gay guys in the play and spend the rest of the time wondering what it would have been like to be open and honest so many years ago when you were in high school, and break out in tears, but not because of the sad, emotional scene being portrayed on stage… My wife leans over and asks if I’m okay and I just shrug it off.

5. You know you’re progressing in this coming-to-terms with your married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibacy when you no longer freak out about any of the above... Yeah, the landscape guy is way hot and I certainly am alive and well in still noticing. Yeah, the other situations are what they are. But I wish I could be more engaging and upfront and honest with these feelings, and with guys I meet or see or notice… but, I’m not. It’s still a bit of torture inside my fear-laden closet. But, I’m okay with it… who knows; maybe the landscape guy can be my new crush…

As always... these are real, not made up views into my weekend. Do any of you have others - maybe more clever and funny one-liners about when you "know"?...


Philip said...


This is kind of brave of you...I want you to know I can relate to every example you gave.

You know you are married and gay when...

you take your wife out for dinner then spend all your time trying not to notice how cute the waiter is.

down to your last gay friend, you do a google search on the names of old gay friends you've lost touch with hoping you will come across a phone number you can call.

you find yourself crying for no apparent reason except you got to let the emotion out.

(my apologies for the next one)

You know you have been gay celibate too long when...

you are in the men's restroom taking a leak, minding your own business and you freak out because a man positions himself in front of the urinal next to yours (when bathroom etiquette dictates taking one further away) and you realize there are no modesty panels.


Scott said... take your wife out for dinner then spend all your time trying not to notice how cute the waiter is.

... It's so much more fun to compare notes with your wife on how cute the waiter is. :)

Beck said...

PHILIP: Been there / done that with the wife and waiter scenario!

Been there / done that with the letting the emotions out, as well.

SCOTT: I know you push for openness between couples, but I can't help but wonder what Sarah thinks deep down when you do the "comparison" game. I mean, if I were to do that with my wife, it would just profoundly inforce her conviction that I am NOT attracted to her in the way that I am attracted to the cute & hot waiter and wound her deeply. As we struggle to keep our love for each other up, despite the attraction difficulties, playing such games, though open and honest and light-hearted and good-intentioned for laughs and bonding, really just point to how I'm NOT attracted to her and the hopelessness of it all.

How do you and Sarah get beyond that? How do you help Sarah to not feel second best, or also-ran? It seems a bit unfair and ultimately insensitive to her by playing such games. What if the tables were turned?

I know of a sister and gay brother who play "who's the cutest waiter" game, but somehow it comes off as innocent play with a brother and sister than it does with a husband and wife - no matter how open and honest the relationship.

Maybe I'm just feeding my fears here, and I congratulate you on your honest relationship.

Scott said...

@Beck, I think I would need to let Sarah answer as well, because I can only tell you what I think she's thinking and feeling...

Here's my take on the whole issue of attraction, in a nutshell (and maybe this is a topic for a blog post of my own sometime soon, because it could be examined a lot more closely than a comment allows):

When I came out to myself and (a couple weeks later) to Sarah it was a revelation to both of us, and it was a relief to finally understand the underlying reason behind some of the issues that had been causing turbulence in our relationship for the last few years. It was as if we could finally say "Oh! I'm gay! That explains why I don't respond to you the way a typical guy would"--and then we could move on, forget about trying to "fix" that part of our relationship that we finally realized we had no control over, and instead focus on all of the aspects of our relationship that we do have control over.

As a result, we are closer than we have ever been. We communicate better. We are more connected emotionally. We care more deeply for each other, and we feel each other's joys and sorrows more keenly. What we have is wonderful, and if we have to give up a little bit of physical attraction in order to obtain what we have, then I at least consider it worth the cost, and I'm fairly certain Sarah feels the same way.

She understands, too (though she didn't at first--it's taken some time to get to this point) that even though I'm gay I can still appreciate feminine beauty and I can still think she's beautiful--and I do.

So, your question is "how do I keep Sarah from feeling 'second best' when I admire a good looking guy?" and the answer is simple--she doesn't feel "second best" because she isn't second best. Because she understands that she means more to me than any piece of eye candy ever could. Because she knows that my appreciation of a beautiful face is really not much different than my appreciation of a beautiful flower or a stunning work of art--it's pleasing to look at, and it may even evoke an emotional response, but at the end of the day it means very little when compared to my feelings for her.

The casual nature of an encounter (in a restaurant, etc.) makes a difference. She would have a harder time dealing with more personal interactions with someone I know and might be in contact with on a regular basis. But the banter in a restaurant means nothing to me, so it means nothing to her.

(Sarah, if you read this, please feel free to correct anything I've gotten wrong about how you feel--even if it means stating that you actually don't enjoy or approve of me mentioning a cute waiter, etc.)

Beck said...

SCOTT: You point out a key difference between the "casual nature of an encounter" and a more personal one and the difference these play in a marital relationship. As you know, I've been guilty of both and as such tend to blend my brain between the two instead of distinguishing between them.

Not treating my wife as "second best" is something, believe it or not, I sincerely try to do. I try to respect her and show her my love, but I often don't measure up enough to fully succeed and satisfy her doubts she has about my feelings for her...

So, since my post has been derailed from where it was going (and that is totally fine with me), I guess I would like to know how you help Sarah to not feel second best, or how you keep your attractions in perspective enough to not allow her to doubt your devotion to her?

You really don't have to answer... these are just ponderings I'm musing over as I have these "you know when" experiences (casual as they may be).

robert said...

It sounds like your wife would like to know what it would "mean" for "her" if you were to be more honest and open about your sexual orientation. Its not an even playing field when your wife has feelings for you that are not reciprocated. Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you feel if your wife was a really hot guy who you loved deeply, but he wasn't interested in you sexually? I think it would be very frustrating and ultimately unfair to both. I think its called unrequited love?

Kengo Biddles said...

One of the funnest times I've had with another MOM is when Miki and I went to dinner with Drex and Salad. We went to Red Robin, and we sat boy-girl around a square table, so that Drex and I were facing one another.

Miki and Salad got into a deep conversation, but Drex and I were periodically distracted by this really cute waiter that was obviously serving people off to our right, and so he'd pass behind Drex, then pass behind me on his way back to the kitchen.

I noticed Drex noticing a couple of times, I don't know if he noticed me--but then we got back to our house and Salad or Miki asked us what we thought of the dinner conversation that they had thought we were a part of, and Drex said, "I don't know -- I was too distracted by the cute waiter!" -- and we both laughed when I said, "Me too!"

It was a good time.

I wish that you could get to the point with your wife, Beck, that it could be easy like this.

Beck said...

ROBERT: That's the point... when I do think of it in the reverse, of course it is hurtful and is interpreted as unrequited love - the worst kind of love - one-sided. That's why I don't know how to get past this and turn it into a joke with my wife, or a game or fancy. I can't get there from here.

KENGO: I envy your experience at that dinner setting, and I see the level of understanding you and Drex have been able to reach with your wives, but as noted to Robert above, I don't see how I can get there from here.

And so, I conclude: I'm stuck!

Scott said...

I guess I would like to know how you help Sarah to not feel second best...

I've suggested to Sarah that she might want to chime in on this comment thread, but it's the end of the quarter and she's behind in her grading, so she might not be able to get to it for a few days. Really she's probably better qualified to answer this question than I am, but I'll do my best...

To be honest, I don't very often make a conscious effort to treat Sarah in a certain way. Most of the time, I simply act toward her the way I am naturally inclined to. Fortunately, because she is so important to me, this means that I often do treat her accordingly without having to think about it. Maybe that's part of it? Maybe pampering wouldn't mean so much if it was obviously being done with conscious and noticeable effort? I don't know.

As I've thought about your question since you posted it yesterday, though, I've realized that my part in this whole thing is just that--only a part of the story. To a large extent, the reason Sarah doesn't feel "second best" is because she doesn't choose to feel that way.

No matter what I do, and no matter how much effort I put into making her feel like a queen, she could easily choose to focus on the fact that I'm attracted to guys more than I'm attracted to her and make that the defining element of our relationship. If she chose to do so, she would never feel better than "second best" and would always feel insecure in our relationship.

Does that mean your cause is hopeless? That your wife has chosen to see herself as "second best" so there's nothing you can do about it? I don't think so.

Sarah managed to realize mostly on her own that my attractions to men don't reflect upon her worth as a woman or as an individual. In fact (and I think I've already mentioned this) in some ways it was a relief to finally have discovered a reason behind the lack of a "spark" in our physical relationship that we had struggled with for several years, and my coming out to her actually boosted her sense of self-worth.

It appears that your wife hasn't discovered that truth on her own yet. I don't doubt that you've tried to help her discover it, but it appears that your efforts haven't been as effective as you might hope either. Perhaps it's time to bring in some outside help? I know you think I'm a one-note band and that you get tired of hearing this, but if we can find some way that you can be comfortable with of introducing your wife to Sarah and/or Bravone's wife and/or some other MOM MoHo's wife who has found a way to deal with everything in a healthy manner, I think she could benefit greatly from the woman's perspective, and hopefully she could come to realize that your love for her and your attraction to men don't need to be placed on opposite ends of the same scale, where an increase in one necessarily means a decrease in the other.

To sum up: I'm not sure you need to change how you treat your wife. Instead, focus on how you can help her change her point of view and gain a better understanding and acceptance of the situation the two of you are in.

Next question... :)

...or how you keep your attractions in perspective enough to not allow her to doubt your devotion to her?

You and I are very different in this regard, I think. You are much more passionate than I am, and much more... experiential? For the most part, I am content to look, while you seem to have a greater need to experience. In light of that difference, I'm not sure how helpful my experience or advice can be, but here's what I've got...

Acknowledging my orientation was in and of itself of great value in finding "perspective" in my attractions. When I was certain I couldn't be gay, the sight of a hot guy inevitably led to flashes of erotic fantasy (I know--how did I deny it for so long?) whereas now I can look and admire and enjoy the beauty and aesthetics of a nice face or body without the arousal that used to follow.

Sarah and I have discussed that fact, and she understands it and believes it, and that alone, I think, gives her comfort and security. She knows, when I comment on how cute the waiter is, that I'm not saying "that waiter is hot and I'd like to go to bed with him"--I'm simply saying "that waiter is cute".

We've also discussed what is and isn't appropriate beyond looking, and she has let me know what she is comfortable with (hugs, etc.) and what she is not. I stay within the boundaries she has defined, and I share with her the times when there have been opportunities or temptations to step outside of those boundaries. She appreciates that I am honest and open with her, and she trusts me.

I guess that's really all it is (and surely you could have seen this coming, knowing who you were talking to) :). Honesty and open communication allow her to understand my attractions and to trust my actions, and so she is secure and confident in our relationship.

Please know that you (and your wife) are in my prayers and thoughts. I'm sure that, as much as the two of you love each other, you will find a way to reaffirm that love and find new strength in your relationship.

Philip said...


Maybe you can talk to this better than I can...

After disclosure, my wife wanted guarantees that I would never leave her.

I wouldn't do it because I was so full of doubt and insecure about what the future had to hold. I also didn't want to lie to her.

But at some point I realized that straight couples make full commitments to each other and every marriage has problems and no one knows what the future holds.

By then enough time had gone by that I decided to looked at my history with my wife and decide that my past was the best indication of what my future would be. I was then able to fully commit to our marriage without doubt and hesistation.

I think this commitment in spirit made a huge difference in her feeling more secure. I also think that she had changed. I think she had long given up on looking for guarantees and just wanted to know that I would do everything within my power to stay married.

I guess what I am saying is that disclosure changed our marriage forever but over time we also changed so that a full commitment could be made to both our satisfactions.

I think though she needed to hear it from me.


Philip said...

My brain got ahead of my typing.

I meant..

By then I knew there were no guarantees in life but that my past was the best indication of what our future would hold so I looked at my history with my wife and based on our past was able to fully honestly commit to our marriage despite the doubt and hesistation.


Sarah said...

I am finally reading all of this from start to finish (now that the drama of the week in my own life has calmed a bit) so I can chime in that I agree with everything Scott has written. He talked to me a bit about it the other night, and I agreed that it does not bother me even a teeny, tiny bit when we are able to enjoy eye-candy together. In fact, I am usually the one who starts it because it is a fun activity that we share together and I look forward to it.

I don't think it was quite that easy from the beginning. The first month or so, when Scott and I were watching TV or a movie, I would ask him if a guy was cute (partly because I was curious and partly because I was trying to be interested and supportive of Scott's new-found self) but honestly, even though I was the one who brought it up, it bothered me a bit to get an answer. Sometimes it bothered me because I was realizing for the first time that he really is attracted to men and it was just so new to me. Other times it bothered me because he and I don't have the same tastes in men. :)

Anyway, I started reading your blog in August I think, right before you blogged about looking forward to watching the Olympic eye candy. I think your blog and other blogs helped because it made me realize that Scott is not alone in this; that he can be a married, church going, worthy Mormon and still enjoy looking. (This was after you and I had communicated back and forth in email about my anonymous letter to people in the ward, and I had already gained great respect for you.)

So I began to relax a bit about the whole thing, and just allow myself to enjoy watching the Olympics with him. Pretty soon even our children were in on teasing him once in a while, and it was the kids' idea that we should go to the Mayan for his birthday so that he could enjoy the eye-candy there as well.

So, I guess you, Beck, are part of the reason that I am the way I am. :)Thank you for showing this part of yourself on your blog.

Last week Scott shared with me honestly about some compliments he received from a guy and how great they made him feel. Thinking about that bothered me a bit, because I began to see this guy as a potential threat to our marriage. Scott asked me if it was right for him to be honest with me about that, and I decided it was. Even though it bothered me, it allowed me to work through some feelings and fears that I had buried, and we were able to set some ground-rules on a few things regarding him and guy friends.

Phillip, I look forward to a day when Scott can say without a doubt that he is completely committed to me for eternity. In the meantime, I understand why he hasn't and I try not to let it bother me, and instead am grateful for his honesty. I know I can trust him about anything.

Just a couple of other observations. A month or so ago I went to a support group for straight Mormon wives. There were only 6 of us there, so it was a very personal discussion. I shared how Scott and I enjoy checking out guys together, and another wife (younger than me and knew what she was getting into when they married) agreed that she and her husband do the same thing. The other 4 wives were older, and were amazed at how the other 2 of us deal with it. They didn't criticize us for being that way, but from their reactions, I think they had a hard time seeing themselves doing the same thing. I'm not sure why that is. I just think everyone is different and handles things differently. And everyone's experience is different. Some of them were dealing with breaches of trust, dealing with husbands who had messed up at times.

As I ponder on that discussion, it seems that both me and the younger lady have relationships that are more open and honest with our husbands.

I have found the same thing with Kengo & Miki and Chris & Becky. In fact, Kengo recently blogged about such a moment that happened Saturday night.

I think I have just learned to enjoy the good things about being in a MOM, and I try not to worry or focus on the frustrating things, and now it really doesn't bother me much at all.

Scott said...

... and to re-inject some of the lightheartedness that was the original intent of this post...

...and it was the kids' idea that we should go to the Mayan for his birthday so that he could enjoy the eye-candy there as well.

Unfortunately, there were only two divers that night. One was a girl, and the other had a bit of a pot belly.


Better luck next time, I hope?

Philip said...

You know you are married and gay when...

you, your wife, daughter and son are watching T.V. together and your then thirteen year old son turns around and says "I just realized I'm the only one turned on by that woman" and the whole family burst out laughing.


Beck said...

SCOTT said: "To a large extent, the reason Sarah doesn't feel "second best" is because she doesn't choose to feel that way."

I feel this is a large reason why you and she have the relationship you have. She has been open and accepting of the situation and chooses not to look at herself as a "second choice" option for you.

"Perhaps it's time to bring in some outside help? I know you think I'm a one-note band..."

Obviously I enjoy hearing the one-note band play their one note, otherwise I wouldn't keep coming for more torture, right? I am working toward this "meeting" of other wives and am totally open to it when it feels right for her and for us as a couple. So stick with my one-note response, knowing I'm still receptive. But, yes, the real problem is getting her to an understanding level of seeing this not as a threat, and I don't know that I'm there with her yet... and it needs to be the right time and circumstance.

"You are much more passionate than I am, and much more... experiential?"

I need to think about this one. Yes, I am hungering for the passion and the experiential experience verses just the eye-candy appreciation level and this triggers many complications for she knows and I know of my attachments to guys, as my record has shown. Something to blog about on another post...

So, this difference between us (both you and me and your wife and my wife) and how we view things, points out that standard answers cannot work - this is an individual approval with changing dynamics. But, I still like gaining insights from your own personal dynamic.

"Please know that you (and your wife) are in my prayers and thoughts. I'm sure that, as much as the two of you love each other, you will find a way to reaffirm that love and find new strength in your relationship."

Thanks. I needed that.

Beck said...

PHILIP said: "By then I knew there were no guarantees in life but that my past was the best indication of what our future would hold so I looked at my history with my wife and based on our past was able to fully honestly commit to our marriage despite the doubt and hesistation."

Nicely stated. I would hope that with nearly 28 years of track record I would have her full confidence in the stability and commitment to our marriage, and even with 4 years of track record of coming out to myself and to her and showing constant devotion, though still a wandering heart and eye, there would be so understanding, but it is still a constant battle of proving myself that my desires, appetites and passions are in control for her.

Beck said...

SARAH: You are a rare and remarkable woman. I think your viewpoint and outlook on your MOM is commendable and I thank you for taking the time to respond to me, knowing how busy this time of year and your other school-job issues are consuming you right now.

Know that we are okay. My wife and are are happy and content for the most part and again, when I point things out in this blog, know that they are tidbits of our lives together that concentrate on this one aspect of our relationship and do not reflect adequately the entire scope of our marriage.

That said, I do feel there may be a generational thing going on (which you alluded to with your observations of the wives focus group) and that my wife and I (though I hate to admit it - with kicking and screaming in the background) are older and from a mindset that is harder to get past than yours (including those of Kengo/Miki and Chris/Becky and Drex/Salad). There has been a rapid growth of acceptance with each generation, to the point that I would wager the next generation barely perceives of our concerns as concerns at all (outside especially, but inside the LDS community as well). But, my wife is not at your place of comfort-level and so these things are still hard to contemplate as openly as you do.

If I were to play the eye-candy game with her, it would trigger thoughts of her questioning my devotion to her, and her self-worth and she, who knows, may determine that it is hopeless between us and start looking for eye-candy of her own that may lead to our marital distruction. Without setting some real basis for this new reality, it would be harmful to just jump to the place where you are and assume the same reaction.

None of this negates the positives of good honest conversation and communication, but I hope you understand my point as well.

AND, I look forward to the day when you and my wife can meet.

Beck said...

SCOTT and PHILIP: Thanks for your examples and added to the "original" intent of the post before it so aptly got side-tracked into a much more interesting discussion... :)

Philip said...


Regarding why you handle this all so well...

I can't remember how he worded it exactly but someone once told me that it made a huge difference if the wife saw it as a US or a YOUR problem. If the wife's attitude was that it was her husband's problem; that he brought it into the marriage then she had a tough time. If her attitude was that it a joint issue that both spouses needed to work on then she had a less difficult time.

I related to what he said because I had a much more difficult time dealing with my sexuality when I saw it as something that invaded my life but when my attitude changed to it was part of who I was, instead of some external force, I started having less difficulty dealing with it.

I guess because as a behavior I condemned it but as an orientation then I couldn't condemn what I could not change.

I don't know if what this gentleman says applies to my own marriage because my wife is not one to divulge her feelings but I was wondering if you relate to what he said.


Sarah said...

PHILIP, yes, I agree with his statement and your further analysis of it. Thank you for sharing that.

Are you saying that the reason I see it as an US problem is that Scott has been able to accept it as a part of himself? Or is it all a matter of the attitude I have adopted myself? If so, I have no idea why my attitude is what it is. All I can say is that God has blessed me to understand.

Philip said...


I was just wondering if you saw Scott's sexuality as being part of who he is.

In other words, you saw it as sexual orientation instead of sexual behavior.

I think making that distinction is very important.

Unfortunately, I think most people are very ignorant of homosexuality and still think everyone is heterosexual but for some reason some people are weak and act out in a homosexual way.


Sarah said...


Yes, I definitely just see it as a part of who he is, not something that needs to be fixed.

Thank you for clarifying your question.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robert said...

I guess that I am haunted by something you said about your wife many months ago on the blog. Something to the effect that she was "ready to move on" and "are you coming?" I think it was before a trip you had planned to take together.
Something about the way she asked the question seemed like she really wanted to put this "sexual orientation issue into a box and forget about it". My heart was broken for her.

Beck said...

ROBERT said: "...seemed like she really wanted to put this "sexual orientation issue into a box and forget about it".

Yes, you do remember well... and yes, that is what she'd love me to do - just box it up with heavy strapping tape and put it all in cold storage.

That's why this isn't as easy as just saying "I'm gay and let's move on together embracing my new reality". It ain't goin' to happen!!!