Thursday, April 30, 2009

An unsolicited encounter...

A couple of thoughts were swimming around and around in my head yesterday and I was finding it hard to concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing.

One was a thought that Moho Hawaii shared with me at the party on Saturday, that he "knew the type of guy I was interested in" ; i.e. the mentoring type with me playing the "professorial" role of mentor / advisor / teacher. And as I thought about it, I knew he was right.

The other thought was triggered by the recent dialogue on Forester's blog, particularly the discussion of his desire to kiss another man and not necessarily tell his wife about it, and the subsequent flow of advice that poured out, particularly from a NancyB who kind of slapped us married gay guys in the face - waking us up out of our selfish dreams of kissing men while remaining "faithful" to our wives, while not seeing the inappropriateness of such behavior (at least with regards to being married and kissing guys, not that kissing guys or desiring to kiss guys is inappropriate).

As these thoughts were swimming yesterday afternoon, who should walk into my office but Tim, my young married bromance friend who I haven't seen in months and sparingly have communicated with via email.

As I caught glimpse of him, my heart skipped and my breath escaped me, signals that though I'm "old", I'm still very much alive and the reaction of joy and excitement and twitterpation and infatuation are all still there for him. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was finished with the semester and had some time off and drove 90 minutes to come and see me, not his folks, but to see me!

After I caught my breath and started my heart beating more regularly, we settled down into a 2-1/2 hour heart-to-heart-getting-caught-up conversation. It was the good ol' days... and I so easily slipped into the mentor role and he into the mentee. I was the wise and wonderful. He was the taut and teachable. A couple of times during the visit, my wife walked through the office and at first was startled to see Tim here, but was cordial and nice (and afterward only asked if I knew he was coming, which I didn't).

At the end of the visit, we embraced affectionately for a good long time, he holding me and me him, and we whispered to each other how much we still loved one another. He told me that he didn't want to be that typical guy who, once married and gone forward in life, settled for the occasional "we got to get together sometime" chat on the street where both parties know that it will never happen. He wanted me to know that he was not that guy, that he could not forget me, that he loved me, and that we need to keep these close and intimate dialogues going.

In the end, I was going to kiss his neck, (which I really and truly wanted to do!) as has been my pattern, but the thoughts of NancyB and Sarah and my wife swimming in my head, kept me from doing so and I held back. As he turned to leave, I slapped his head more in a brotherly way than a romantic way. He laughed and snuggled me again and I hugged him from behind, and then slapped his butt and he was gone.

Later, I told my wife about our conversation and his desire to still keep in touch. She didn't press and was cool about it and non-defensive, which is a good step on her part. In the past, just seeing Tim with me made her uneasy, uptight and jealous. Maybe she's trusting me more? Maybe I'm trusting myself more? Maybe there is progress in this?

I didn't freak out and go into a tizzy over his visit afterward. It was good. It was warm. It was bromancy but not romancy. And I'm not freaked out. I love Tim. Had I not been married and he was more than just touchy-feely and something happened between us, it would have been an amazing cross-generational love story. But, the sequence of life didn't work that way, and so we have a different love story - one that still is very meaningful and profound to this old geezer that such a gorgeous, statuesque and genuine young man can still feel love and devotion and even some passion for someone like me.

So, is there anything inappropriate with this unsolicited encounter? Is there something inherently wrong with our continued relationship? Should I expect some "special compensation" for being a gay man in a marriage for having such relationships, or is this asking for some kind of unfair or selfish favor? Can this mentor/mentee bromance serve to help me to be okay inside? By not telling him that I'm all twitterpated just looking at his studliness, but yet not desiring anything more but a close friendship, am I being disingenuous with him? Or is this whole thing so innocuous and innocent that it's not even worth a blog post?


playasinmar said...

He. Is. Straight.

MoHoHawaii said...

I think it's fine to have an ongoing friendship with Tim. Why? It gives you a safe way to express your gay side, and this takes the pressure off making it less likely that you will stray from your wife in ways that would put your marriage in peril.

I certainly don't think it necessary for you to confess your crush to Tim. Restraint is a good thing whenever you are not in a position to act on your feelings. In any case, I agree with Playa that Tim is probably straight. The romantic side of this is very unlikely to be reciprocated, so that naturally puts a brake on temptation for you.

You can make it easier on yourself by having more than one Tim at a time. If you don't focus all of this (b)romantic attention on just one guy, it's easier for it to stay within the bounds you have set.

MoHoHawaii said...

Also, I don't know if it would be possible to use your relationship with Tim as a springboard for discussion with your wife. Could she understand and buy into the "safe way to be gay" theory? If you talked about it, would it be possible for her to see this as something that might ultimately help your keep your marriage together by taking some of the pressure out of the situation? The big question to me is how receptive she might be to something like this.

Beck said...

PLAYA: Know you, I can't tell whether your comment implies sarcasm and you're trying to tell me that there is no way that Tim is straight. Or you're trying to tell me to get over him because he is straight.

Either way, point well taken.

MOHOH: No, Tim isn't the only one, but the other two are so far away that he tends to be the relatively more prevalent victim of my passions.

Yes, he is more into the bromance than the romance and so there are natural brakes that come with the relationship where this isn't going any further - which is a positive, though sometimes frustrating on my part, but less so now than a year ago. Time and distance do mellow a friendship.

And yes, it can be a springboard for more discussions with my wife, and as long as she's brought into it more and more and sees our encounters as positive and uneventful and non-stressful to her well being and good for my morale, then her comfort level should go up and we can add more guys to the mix, right? At least, so the theory goes...

Ezra said...

I do not envy your position... but at least you know you have the ability to love...

Anonymous said...

if nothing else you have vindicated blogging; NancyB helped keep you within bounds. i do wonder about tim though; is there something he is not telling you?

Alan said...

Tim is a blessing in your life. Be grateful. I don't worry about either one of you.

Beck said...

EZRA: I know I have the ability to love! The point is being able to LOVE in the right way, given the situation I'm in.

As for envy, I think it's pretty incredible that he and I are still as close as we are. After all, how many other young guys after high school and missions,college and marriage, still keep this kind of relationship with their YM leader / mentor / friend? With the pressures and time and distance that all affect a guy that goes through those years of change into adulthood(high school graduation was nearly seven years ago), I think it's pretty envious that I still have him in my life.

As for not being envious of being me, let's just say that it isn't all that bad being me. I'm grateful for a great wife AND great guy friends. I just wish I had more great guy friends!

SANTORIO: You're right! I did think: "What would Sarah say?" or "What would NancyB feel?" and of course "What am I doing to my wife?" But, I wasn't doing anything.

I think I've progressed with Tim. A year or so ago before he was married, when I saw him, I wanted to kiss him on the lips and have a romanantic encounter (I've blogged about this). Now, I'm not all wiggly inside and I'm pretty grateful for a great guy who still loves me and me not kissing him and keeping that brotherly love in perspective and still feeling good about it and my marriage. I think that's all good - and I think the blogging community has contributed to that evolution of the last year.

Beck said...

ALAN: A year ago, I would have been in a complete shut-down over the fact that I couldn't have Tim the way I wanted him.

Today, I'm just grateful for him and his visit and one-on-one time with him has shown me that he is still feeling things for me, but all in a good way and he is grateful for me, too.

Santorio wonders if there is something Tim isn't telling me (just as I'm not telling him). I really don't think so. I think we just have a relationship that bonds us together without crossing into romance (even though - rest assured - I've been in the position in the past to go there if he were willing!) and that is something precious that I continue to be grateful for, counting my blessings and seeing him as nothing but a blessing.

Sure, I've speculated the "what ifs", but they aren't real, and until they are, it's useless to speculate... I'm grateful for the "here and now" of what we have. I only long for more Tims in my life.

playasinmar said...

He. Is. Obviously. Straight.

Pick. a. Better. Boyfriend.

Beck said...

PLAYA: You don't get it. If he were gay, it would be all wrong. Because he's not, it's okay. I'm married... I'm not looking for a gay boyfriend.

I don't know... I mean, I do fantasize, but I... I can't allow myself to have a gay boyfriend... gay friends, yes, and guy friends definitely, but I can't have a gay boyfriend... not now. I just can't.

If I allow myself to think that way, everything would be over... and as much as I desire to "know", I can't.

So let me enjoy the guy friend that he is and the guy love we have and call it a blessing and help me to realize that it's good enough.

Is that pathetic enough for you? Does that sound too desperate?

playasinmar said...

If he was gay it would be wrong?

How 'bout trying to have a boyfriend is wrong PERIOD.

In for a penny in for a pound, as they say.

The longer you straddle that fence the more likely you are to snag a painful butt-splinter.

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

PLAYA: A "gay boyfriend" would be wrong. Any kind of "boyfriend" would be wrong. Believe me, I get it! But a guy who is a friend (gay or straight) is not wrong.

I might be splitting hairs here, but there is a difference. And yes, sitting on the fence does no one any good and my butt may snag a pain-inflicting splinter the longer I sit, but maybe I'm not speaking clearly - I'm trying to say that this butt-sitter sees a bit of progress toward getting off the fence and moving on.

MoHoHawaii said...

Playa-- Beck is just a guy who finds himself in a mixed-orientation marriage. I don't see this as a fence sitting. The question is how to best make the existing situation workable for everyone involved.

I'm an out-n-proud cohabitatin' 'mo waving the rainbow flag in the parade, but from where I sit Beck getting a boyfriend right now would not serve anyone's best interests.

playasinmar said...

Okay, so Tim is not your boyfriend but you'll experiment with treating him like one.

This is the much better, no-one-could-possibly-get-hurt, bishop-approved option.

Clearly I've misinterpreted your intention to be happier.

Beck said...

PLAYA: If Tim were my boyfriend, I'd be taking him out on the town, going to dinner, walks, clubs, movies, etc.

I didn't seek this. I didn't search him out. I didn't encourage him at all. I didn't ask him to come. He just came to my office. We talked after over a 4 month gap. We hugged a bit. We slapped each other. We said we "loved" each other. I didn't kiss him. My wife was cool. I didn't freak out inside with angst, nor did I beat myself up.

Does that make him my boyfriend? What's your definition of a boyfriend, verses a good friend who comes to town for a visit and then is gone again?

Again, with him being straight, there is a safe and convenient assurance that it isn't going anywhere, even if I wanted it to a year ago. But you're right - that doesn't make it right to have a boyfriend.

In the end, I think the Bishop would have whole-heartedly approved!

TO THE WOMEN THAT ARE READING THIS: What do you think? For the sake of my marriage, should I tell Tim that he should never come to my house again? Or am I trying to straddle some kind of fence by entertaining his company for a couple of hours in my office?

Beck said...

BTW FOR THE RECORD: I am "happier" because I'm not freaking out as much, I'm getting over my attachment to him, I'm trying to focus more on my marriage. I'm seeking balance between my gay-self and my married-self. Those are things that, though moving in a glacial pace, make me "happier".

Being "happier" with my new boyfriend, kissing him passionately, and going off into the sunset with him hand-in-hand may still be a fantasy that I don't deny having, something that I even still desire (something I've even dreamed of doing with my Italian friend Thomas), but don't be fooled - it isn't what I'm ultimately seeking in the end game of it all.

Eventually, I hope to not have to wrestle with the fence-sitting propositions of life. I'll get off the fence and move on once and for all.

I hope that clarifies the situation.

Bravone said...

I agree with Alan.

Sarah said...

TO THE WOMEN THAT ARE READING THIS: What do you think? For the sake of my marriage, should I tell Tim that he should never come to my house again? Or am I trying to straddle some kind of fence by entertaining his company for a couple of hours in my office?Trust yourself. I'm pretty sure you already know the answer.

(But just for the record: I believe you are just fine. :)

I know Scott would love to have a friend like that, and because I want him to be happy, I would be happy if he were in your shoes with this one. Enjoy it for what it is.

HappyOrganist said...

Well I'm in a mood. I think I'm just jealous. My Em was never that entertaining. I'm just jealous.