Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chosen acceptance...

I would guess that today's blogs in the community will be centered on the court decision of Prop 8 in California - and rightly so! Yet my thoughts go elsewhere this morning.

On Sunday, "Will" was back in town and at church. I wish I could say otherwise, but I can't look at him and not melt inside. After the meetings he sought me out and we affectionately hugged in that way that we've become accustomed - in front of everyone, including my wife and kids and his wife. My wife rolled with the punches and engaged them in warm conversation and true interests in their futures. It was rewarding to see her not be threatened by our affection for each other. It was rewarding to note no jabs or hurt feelings or expressions of doubt regarding our marriage, knowing I still have particular attraction and affection issues with him after all these years, but also knowing that I'm not seeking to go off in the sunset with him. It was just natural and good - a spirit of acceptance without feelings of threat or invasion.

And then yesterday morning was spectacularly beautiful. The rain of the previous day had washed the world clean leaving it sparkling and refreshed. The birds were chirping vigorously. The wild flowers on the foothills were bursting with new life, new color, new enthusiasm. The renewal joys of spring were surrounding us everywhere.

We hiked a couple of miles on our mountain and ended at my special rocky overlook where I go to get away from it all and be alone and meditate. I love this particular place.

Along the way, an argument broke out. The gist of the discussion centered around not having enough "romance" or "spontaneity" in our marriage. I stopped hiking, and in my normal over-reaction standard mode of operation, took offense and countered:

"Well, this is who I am. You need to accept that this is me," holding my arms out dramatically as if to say: "take it or leave it, baby!"

She stared at me and calmly stated: "But, don't you get it? I do accept you for who you are. That is why I have chosen to stay with you!"

And it really did hit me. I did not choose to be this way. It is not a choice to have strong attractions for other men, in combination with less attraction for women, and as such, less tendency to meet the romantic needs of my wife. I thought I was doing a romantic and spontaneous gesture by going on a morning hike with her, choosing to be with her instead of anyone else. And as she doesn't meet my needs, I, in turn, don't meet her needs. And as I have accepted this as our reality, she, too, has accepted me. She has not left me, as some would suggest she should have. Instead, she has chosen to stay with me.

We sat on the rock and held each other. We were alone in the beauty of the spot. As frustrated as I get with this situation I face (and concentrating so much on me and my issues and my hardships and my struggles and my reality), I realize she faces it, too. As much as I didn't choose this situation, I have chosen to stay in it. And as much as she didn't choose this situation, she has chosen to stay in it. We are in this together.

Her acceptance of Tim and Will occasionally popping into my life fulfilling some man-to-man affection quotient, and now her point-blank statement of acceptance of me for who I am, and choosing to stay with me... give me pause. What do you make of her comments? What do you think? Do you think she might accept a fellow MOHO as a friend? Will that stretch the situation beyond its point of elasticity?

Maybe it's finally time... time to let her know that we are not alone... that there are others... that maybe there is the possibility to open the window of our closet and peak out into the light - even the knowledge that this MOHO community exists. She is all alone. I am not.

Yet, selfishly, I don't want to reveal this blog to her. If I do, it will change its purpose or even lose it all together. "Beck" will be lost forever - maybe that will be a good thing (not just for her and for me, but for all who read this drivel). Is the blog becoming a hindrance and is too important?


Scott said...

Yet, selfishly, I don't want to reveal this blog to her. If I do, it will change its purpose or even lose it all together....

What is it's purpose?

Is it a place to express your feelings and your hopes and your fears--to clarify your thoughts by putting them into words and solicit feedback from others who have some common background and might have some glimmer of understanding of what you're experiencing?

Or is it your "fantasy island"--a place to go when you want to dabble in bromances and talk of long-distance romantic encounters and forfeited opportunities to have the type of relationship that you've chosen to deny yourself?

If the former, I don't see any reason why telling your wife about your blog should change anything. In fact, it's possible that her participation could enhance the benefit you receive from it.

If it's the latter, then I can understand how her direct involvement in the blog would put a damper on things. But it's also possible that, just as she's willing to allow you to embrace Will, she might be willing to allow you your virtual escape without interference. (When I came out to Sarah, she agreed to stay away from my blog for as long as I needed her to. I found that I didn't really need her to, but I appreciated her willingness, and wonder if your wife might be willing to do the same?)

Regardless of how you approach disclosure of your blog, it sounds like you might be ready to be a bit more open in other ways. I think that this is fantastic, and I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure I don't need to remind you that Sarah and I are here for you (and for her) to help in any way we can.


Beck said...

SCOTT: It is always scary and with trepidation that I read your comments because you see right through me and have this uncanny ability to state the obvious that I refuse to see. It is only when I see your words that I see how transparent I am.

As for this blog, I see it as more the expression of feelings than of the fantasy island, though it really serves both purposes.

Either way, I express things here in ways and methods (appropriate or otherwise, ruthless yet truthful)that can't be done in person or maybe shouldn't be done in person, and receive benefit by being this blunt.

I don't want to lose that, but I want to have MOHO friends and not do so under false pretenses.

Maybe she's learned that I have "chosen her" and my actions over the last four years have proven this, even with feelings for Tim and Will. And maybe she can accept the MOHOs as a good thing for me? Is that too much to hope for? or even ask for?

Kengo Biddles said...

Yet, selfishly, I don't want to reveal this blog to her. If I do, it will change its purpose or even lose it all together....That's part of why I don't post as much anymore, because my sisters-in-law read my blog and then talk to my wife about it -- and because I used it as a forum to vent, I don't feel like I have it anymore.

Tough decisions.

Beck said...

KENGO: I've seen your evolution. So, is it for the better? Is it for the best? Do you have regrets? Do you wish you had your forum back again? Are you glad you've moved on?

Bravone said...

Amen to Scott's thoughts on the blog. To me the more important issue is what she said! It is beautiful. You too are a lucky man. You have both accepted and chosen each other. It is only going to get better!

Ned said...

Beck: To misquote Forest Gump, love is as love does...

Although she doesn't meet your every need, you don't meet her every need, your mutual acceptance of a shared situation and of each other shows great love and commitment in my book.

Your inviting her to climb with you shows your love. Her joining you shows her love. Your candid conversation and embrace show the love that you both have for each other.

Of course you both care about others. You love your children, your family and friends, but before you take her hand and plead, "Let's climb even higher," I hope you'll take a moment to pause and enjoy the view.

And I hope that my wife and I will someday recognize and appreciate that we are on a similar journey.

Philip said...


This is a tough question.

You often use this blog to vent and say things that I am sure you would never say in front of your wife.

And everyone needs a place to vent or say what's bothering them without worrying about hurting a spouse's feelings.

So that's an argument against revealing this blog to your wife.

The longer you wait, the tougher it's going to be to reveal this blog to your wife.

So that's an argument that could go either way depending on how long you've had this blog.

Your wife reading your blog might make you so uncomfortable that you censor what you write.

So that's an argument against revealing the blog to your wife.

This blog might give your wife a better understanding of what it is like for you.

So that's an argument for revealing this blog to her.

Reading your blog might encourage your wife to open up about her feelings maybe even create a blog of her own.

So that's an argument for revealing this blog to her.

And I could go on...

So much depends on the wife.

How does your wife typically react to finding out you are keeping a secret from her -or- to you bringing up a gay subject or talking about your gay feelings?

I would think that would give you the best clue as to what to expect.

Just a thought...maybe you could first try introducing your wife to one of your Moho friends and see how that goes?


Beck said...

BRAVONE said: "...the more important issue is what she said! It is beautiful."

I'm glad you feel so. I feel so, too. I am extremely grateful for her, and though it's been a slow road, we are still doing this gig together and she's accepting me as I accept myself, one step at a time - That's a good thing and is the "more important issue" here.

"You too are a lucky man".

Yes I am. And you are most certainly lucky as well!

NED: In the same spirit, thank you for helping me to solidify that these are good things, that though we do have disconnects and don't meet each other's needs, we are still committed to and love each other. I need to keep reminding myself of that, and not take for granted the miracle that she is in my life.

I hope and pray that you and your wife feel the miracle of your life together on this journey as well.

Beck said...

PHILIP: Your pros and cons are interesting to contemplate.

I have seen her progress with Will. I see her becoming less threathened by him and that leads me to believe that she will be less threatened by others, even fellow MOHOs.

As for the blog, though, it is mainly a place to vent, a place to express feelings and fears and doubts and confusions and angsts, most of which I wouldn't express in the way that I do if I knew she were reading my every thought.

Isn't it strange that I will share my most intimate thoughts with the blogosphere universe, and yet somehow feel that I can't say and share those same things with my wife? I don't think that feeling is so uncommon or unfounded. I think there is great value to having a place to let loose, and maybe to "fantasy island" a bit, and to express fears and struggles and feelings that cannot be vented in any other way - and then be a better husband and spouse and father after the fact. I don't think that is that crazy. And I feel like the past 3+ years have proven me right on this.

So, though there are pros and cons, I am still me and not anyone else here. This is my story, my journey, my choices, my commitments, my thoughts, my feelings. Who really tells "everything" to their spouse or significant other in a relationship that they feel? If they do, I guess they have a different marital relationship - I won't say "better" and I won't say "worse" - just different.

Beck said...

A friend who emailed me said this in response to this post:

"... You perhaps recognize that she really doesn't enjoy certain parts of who you are, nor will it make her more happy to be included. Many women have a girl/lady friend who fills such a spot in their life. They can discuss things with her they could never talk about with the husband. I see your blog as being like a close friend who you use as a confidant. I suspect your wife may have someone like this in her life. Many women do.

"I personally happen to think you would lose part of your outlet for intimacy if you bring her into the blogging world. Many men have a club or a bar or someplace they can go to share part of themselves they cannot share at home.

"I think your unique contribution to the MOHO blogging would largely be lost if you change your relationship with your wife and she starts seeing the blog.

"If I were you, I'd try to think of a way to share a bit about your other world, like she sees a bit of what happens with Will. But if you show her too much, the nature of it will change. In the same way, if she were part of every visit with Will, simply there listening and watching the whole time, the nature of what you have with Will would change and perhaps largely be lost..."

I don't know what value my blog truly has to this community to witness my tireless struggles to hold a marriage and family together while I sort out my attraction and affection issues with and about men, and whether they really help anyone else - I don't pretend to believe that this has that much meaning to anyone but me - and I hope I am not violating confidentiality in sharing these thoughts, but I wanted to post them here because there is a lot about these comments that rings very true and applicable to me and my situation and I wanted them to be found in context in this comment trail.

Any comments on these or other suggestions would be (and are) appreciated...

robert said...

From what you have posted in the past, I predict that your wife is not quite ready for this and may see it as a betrayal of some kind...sharing information about your second most intimate relationship in the world with others.

cj said...

This is a really nice post and full of hope for your relationship with your wife. What your wife said is really wonderful. It echoes where my wife and I stand right now.

As for meeting other MoHos--well, it could be helpful for her to meet other wives in MOM's and know that she is not alone. It has helped my wife out a lot. If she'd be up to it, we'd be happy to visit anytime. But it's best to talk openly with her and how she'd feel about meeting others like us first.

As for sharing the blog--I wouldn't until you are absolutely sure she is comfortable with the ideas/yearnings you've thrown around. I have learned first hand having my family read the blog that it can be more than upsetting when they just don't understand the anxieties and yearnings of being gay and married.

Good luck!


Bror said...

I vote for not sharing it. :)

Philip said...

This question is still on my mind...

I think the purpose of this blog is to figure out your feelings and vent your feelings and try on new ideas to see how they fit in a safe environment where you can concentrate on your issues and get support/validation without having to worry about hurting your wife's feelings or risking your marriage.

It would be ideal if you could do all of the above with your wife's support but if you can't whether it's because she can't handle it or you are unnwilling or unable to share this process then it is better if you do all of the above without her then not at all.

Because we all need a place to be ourselves without worrying about feeling guilty about what that will do to others.

What I am trying to say is don't sell your wife short, make an honest attempt to share what you can with her but don't feel you have to share everything and right away.


Beck said...

ROBERT: Though I've noted progress, I've come to the conclusion that more steps need to be taken, and as the occasions present themselves, I am committing to test the waters, but I'm not ready or willing to throw her to the sharks...

CJ: I see the hope as well. It does encourage me to keep going, to remain together, to work through this, to not quit, but to finish.

I'd love to get to the point where she could meet other couples like yourselves. Thank you for making yourselves available to us.

As for the blog, you said something that I take for granted in this community: "the anxieties and yearnings of being gay and married." These anxieties and yearnings can be upsetting and unsettling to those that don't even have the mindset to think this way and yet so natural and normal for one like me. Just because I have such angsts and longings does not mean I'm not embracing my marriage. In a certain extent, I just need these things to be expressed and find voice. Bridging that gap of mindset and bringing understanding may not ever happen, yet that is the continual journey with this blog.

I appreciate your lessons learned as you've tried to bring that understanding to your family, even if with mixed results.

Beck said...

BROR: Okay, you say I shouldn't share... but why? What causes you to say this? What is the reason behind keeping this from her? What do I gain or lose by doing so?

PHILIP: I don't mean to keep you thinking about this post, but your words are validating and comforting as I've come to the same conclusion of not selling her short, but not having to tell everything and right away.

This blog is for expression of feelings and "trying them on" in ways that are safe and validating without hurting my wife, helping me to not go crazy and self-loathing as I once was. To that end, I continue to blog, and my desires are to one day bring her into this world with her acceptance, seeing that I am better with accepting myself and who and what I am, while still being devoted to her (yes, I see how this is possible and not contradictory) while not losing that valuable service and reward the blog brings.

Philip said...


I post this because my mind went there...

Do you realize that at some point your wife might end up doing what you are doing (if she hasn't already)? That is find a safe forum where she can vent, express unspoken feelings and try out new ideas without having to worry about hurting your feelings.

If that happens the group she will seek will most likely be other straight wives with gay/bi husbands and chances are many of these wives will be going through a divorce or struggling with their own marriages.

Chances are that, while this group will be totally in her corner, their situations might color how they see gay/bi people in general and gay/bi husbands specifically in a negative way.

I wonder if you would feel threatened or betrayed by her seeking help from such a group even though the group gives her a tremendous amount of support and validation.

I wonder if you would feel insecure not being privy to what is said; wondering if this group is anti-mixed orientation marriage and trying to influence your wife to leave you.

How do you think you would feel?


Beck said...


I would hope that she would see this blog as a help for our marriage, to strengthen it and keep it together instead of tearing it down and encouraging it to be destroyed. I don't feel any pressure here to move on and leave her behind, to stop lying to myself that this marriage gig is going to work, to be true to myself and get a divorce.

In the same spirit, I would hope that if she were to find a support group of fellow women in mixed oriented marriages, she would experience the same support and validation of our marriage and encouragement to keep going what is working for her and to not see it as a facade or charade.

Does it have to be all or nothing? I think there is still room for another path to be taken. I've gained from this community the understanding and validation I seek without judgmental influence. I would think she could experience the same.

If she did seek out and find pressure to abandon our marriage, I would feel threatened and hurt, and I see where my courting MOHOs can appear to be to her a threatened and hurtful thing. But so far, my courting MOHOs has always been nothing but strengthening and supportive. I guess when it changes to something more, I would have to see it as hurtful in her eyes. But until then...

Thanks for helping me to envision the other side of this.