Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The beginning of the end?



I was going to stay away longer, but certain events have put me over the top and I need to get it out... As I remind myself, this blog is for my own personal use to write things down and get them out there so that I can move on, and hopefully make progress...


Well, as it turns out, I'm not progressing nearly as much as I thought.


My marriage is on the rocks...


It's been in the works for a long time.


Things have started to unravel, though, after events on Sunday.


I've been feeling very anxious and angsty lately and really wanting to do stupid things and explode from inside... I keep thinking of myself as a volcano. I'm not the Krakatoa that has been slowly building, but letting loose and growing slowly and surely into an amazing island. I'm not Mt. Etna in Sicily that slowly and surely releases its steam in a steady and constant fashion. No, I feel like I'm Mt. St. Helens... completely dormant and quiet and then BOOM - blow my top and destroy everything and anything in my way!




So what happened?


It's simple enough... a proverbial straw on a camel's back. I guess I was so into my gay pon farr that I just couldn't resist. Will was in my Sunday School class. It was all I could do to resist gazing at him while I taught the lesson. At the end of the lesson, he lingered behind and I fell into an embrace... not just any embrace, but a full body romantic melting of two bodies. And whether he knew it or not, he reciprocated, right there in the open. We held each other for quite a while... a long while. If he would have let me, I would have...


And did I mention that my wife saw us together? I didn't even notice her there. I guess that hurt her the most. I was so oblivious to her that I would do such a thing, not just doing it, but doing it in front of her with careless abandon.


That was it. That did it...


Since then, we've had a few serious conversations.


And lots of tears...


Lots of pain... It's as if everything from the past is brought up again. The rot of the past never stops stinking...


I didn't realize she was there. I didn't mean to hurt her. I didn't do it on purpose or out of spite. I was just caught up in the moment. A moment that has been building inside me for a long time. (BTW, we did it in front of his wife as well...)


My marital relationship has been quite chilly since then. And rightfully so. I have hurt her deeply. She has trusted me for decades with this, and I don't seem to be progressing.


I'm not going to argue the fine line of what is "infidelity" and what is not. Is giving a hug being unfaithful? Is longing for a bromance being unfaithful? The bottom line is, I've been unfaithful and dishonest in this thing long enough. I have hurt her long enough. I know I have to decide whether I want her and my kids or if I want "them".


But...


Some good things have resulted:


1. We are talking about hard subjects again.


2. We are concluding that not enough progress has been made in the last five years since "coming out" to myself, and that I need to decide how I'm going to go forward from here to either progress toward her or get out.


3. We have used this incident to realize that I need more assistance than I am getting, and that this has opened up the opportunity to lead into a real purpose for counseling - professional therapy - a place where I was heading even before this weekend as evidenced by the previous posts. And she is in agreement with my doing that.


In the end, she gave me a non-negotiable ultimatum:




"I don't want you to "change", but I must have you faithful. If you can't be faithful, including abandoning your emotional longings for your "boys", then this marriage is over."




From this I was happy to hear that she doesn't want or even desire me to "change" or be "cured" as she's come to realize that I am who I am, and that she loves me for who I am...


But, she can't live with my infidelity - even if it is on the level of emotional, bromancing longings for guys.


Now if that isn't fodder for a professional intervention, then I don't know what is...


She wants to know where I stand... Until I demonstrate that I'm prepared to live with her ultimatum, the temperature is getting colder around here in the middle of July!


I have an appointment set up with a therapist at the end of this month. I wish it were sooner, but that was the soonest I could get in. I may pursue two therapists, to "try them on and see how they fit" so that I make sure this time it will work and be a good fit. This has been a very hard step to make, but now I have no choice - and I want to do it.


Any thoughts? Is there a way to navigate through this storm?


The noose around my neck is of my own making... I will probably disappear for a while...




28 comments:

A.J. said...

I am sorry. If it helps I will pray for you and your family. I hope both you and your wife can find peace whatever happens.

Scott said...

One concern jumped out at me as I read:

I hope that the "ultimatum" was given in a moment of passion and that, given time to think (and perhaps some advice or counsel as well) your wife might reconsider the "or else" part.

Even if the two of you come to an agreement that more or less mirrors her declaration (no "emotional infidelity"), you need to reach that position together, with consensus and mutual understanding and not with one partner dictating terms to the other.

I'm glad that the two of you are talking. That's a positive step. My prayers are with you and your family, and of course you know that Sarah and I are here for you to help in any way we can.

Ezra said...

Best of luck to you, Beck. I wish I could help or offer some advice, but I cannot. :(

I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Samantha said...

I've suggested it before, and I'll suggest it once more: your wife needs support. There's a spouses support group on Northstar, Kim has one on Disciples (family and friends), there are blog groups available. And if you're going to counseling, I strongly suggest you find a therapist who will counsel both you and your wife individually, and together.

I hope things work out so you both can be happy.

The Wife said...

We hope the best for you and your wife. If she needs someone to talk to, I'm here and understand somewhat what she's going through.

playasinmar said...

Just a few thoughts here:

You will not be straight.

Doesn't she deserve someone who will be faithful and fulfill her?

You will not be straight.

playasinmar said...

Wait, I have more to say:

Move out.

Get a therapist to help you establish a healthy identity.

Get a boyfriend (not your therapist).

Bror said...

This post really strikes me to the bone. I just feel all emotional reading it. It seems that being in a MOM marriage is only a one way street. It's ok that you are gay but that is as far as it goes. Don't befriend, hug, touch, look, go out to lunch with a gay guy because you will just get into trouble. I disagree. What about what you need to stay in a MOM marriage. So what if it is a emotional hug. I say what's wrong with that. It can do wonders for the soul. I know, I have had some myself.

Public Loneliness said...

Beck,

My heart goes out to you. Lots of things to think about and consider. I won't even attempt to give you any sound advise, but deep down you know that at the very least bringing things to the open and talking about them is a sign of progress. Take your time, don't be rushed into anything you don't want to do and use your blog for any kind of venting or at least to keep us all in the loop. Always praying/hoping that things will turn for the better.
Hugs,pl

MoHoHawaii said...

You've already said that the status quo is not working. That's not new. Therefore, I see this crisis as a positive oppportunity. To me, the only path forward is to have the hard discussions. If you both go into these with a commitment to each other, these difficult negotiations will not be the beginning of the end. Instead, they will the be work necessary to achieve an understanding that you both can live with.

I agree that your wife will need support and counseling during this process as well. Be sure you both pick your therapists carefully-- the wrong therapist can really mess things up.

Anyway, have courage. This is an opportunity for growth.

Abelard Enigma said...

I agree with Scott - her ultimatum just isn't going to work. There needs to be a mutually agreed upon definition of what is and is not acceptable.

But, there is a silver lining in this cloud. She realizes that you are who you are and will not be changing. Perhaps her shock isn't that you haven't progressed - but that you haven't changed, and never will. Maybe, deep down, she's been hoping that this will all just go away - and now she realizes that it won't.

Has she expressed any willingness to go to therapy sessions with you? As Sam points out, she needs some sort of support network. She may not be ready to join a straight spouse network or to talk to other women who love men who love men. But, talking to a therapist may be a first step for her in that direction.

Maybe now is a good time for you to complete the "What is it you want" exercise that you and I have talked about in preparation for your appointment with a therapist.

Chester said...

I too, am sorry for you. It's hard to think of a worse situation; every choice seems to hurt someone (you, your wife, your children).

It's obvious that something has to change. Ask yourself which of your choices are the most likely to be long lasting and the most beneficial for everyone involved?
- become straight? (probably not an option)
- learn to deal with being gay so completely and successfully that your wife never has to worry about your commitment to her ever again? (unlikely)
- end the marriage, move out, move on so you and her and your children can start healing and finding your respective happiness? (my pick)

I'm a big believer in therapy. I my opinion the best type of therapist will not force any of these options on you but instead will help you come to your own conclusions. Mostly they just listen to you; unlike bloggers who have opinions a-plenty.

One more opinion, and I don't want to be insensitive to what you're going through (but we don't know each other so I'll say it): Perhaps you're drawn to the drama - the tortured existence of being gay and mormon. I can't help but think every time I read your posts, "I seen this episode before."

What would a supremely happy and guilt-free Beck post look like?

Philip said...

I think several people have said something similar but the best approach I have heard from others is for each party to identify one's core needs then determine the discrepancies in the marriage by comparing core needs to the actuality. The next step is to decide if the marriage has enough going for it to keep working on it or if it is better to end it.

Sometimes the core needs are easily identifiable and the end result obvious but often further time and effort (such as counseling) is required to sort things out.

Of course, the most important thing is to communicate, communicate, communicate.

Hope you well.

Beck said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I am too spent to give individual responses right now.

I do want to say that I am seeking professional help for both myself and my wife. I know she needs support, too. She's all alone. I have several friends, sources, and this community. That isn't fair to her.

I do want to comment on one thing: As for whether this is "drama for drama's sake", it isn't (unless a therapist can help me to understand that I am doing this to myself because I like this rollercoaster ride for the thrill of it - who knows, maybe that's why I'm doing this to myself, my wife, my family). I know I repeat my mistakes and yes, these cycles don't seem to get any better. I'm sorry for that. I'm not here for the "drama factor". This is what is happening. Sometimes it takes these kinds of "dramas" to make some of us move forward.

I don't mean to repeat these cycles for the fun of it. I hope you understand.

As for leaving everything behind and moving on - it isn't that easy, nor is it something that I truly want. There is a lot going on that I don't discuss here.

It's not just me.

Anonymous said...

The ultimatum: "I don't want you to 'change', but I must have you faithful. If you can't be faithful, including abandoning your emotional longings for your 'boys', then this marriage is over."
Your reaction: "But, she can't live with my infidelity - even if it is on the level of emotional, bromancing longings for guys."

Is this really that unreasonable? Whether or not your needs for "bromance" are being met, she deserves to have a faithful spouse. In my eyes--and probably your wife's as well--it would be the same if you were straight and you were romantically hugging other women and "emotionally longing" for them. Forget your issues for a minute, and look at this from purely your wife's perspective: She has a husband. The husband is "longing" for other people--forget whether they're men or women--and has carried these out to a physical point that is decidedly and admittedly *not* platonic.

Also, some of the other comments have said that your wife's ultimatum won't work because it's not mutually agreed upon. But I would say that you DID mutually agree on faithfulness...when you got married!
My advice: Choose to either be completely faithful to your family or pursue a boyfriend. Maybe you are trying to have your cake and eat it too, and it's destroying you emotionally, it's unfair to your wife, and it's corroding your marriage. I would choose one path and let the other die. Mourn what could have been, grieve the death of that part of you, and then move on. It seems to me that these two parts of yourself are killing each other, and one of them needs to be sacrificed.
I don't mean to come off as cold or unsympathetic, but we all need some tough love at some point. And as you mention, we don't know all the particulars of the situation from your blog, so maybe this advice is completely irrelevant when all the circumstances are known--I don't know. Just hang in there, and know that things will look up!

playasinmar said...

You're seeking Church therapy and you'll get a Church answer and you'll continue to be church unhappy.

Sarah said...

Last summer when I found out that your wife had no support system, it really concerned me. I had just barely found out about Scott, and I could not imagine being without family, friends at work, or even online strangers to talk to about it. I know we are all different, but I honestly cannot even imagine what your wife has been going through for the last 5 years. Without a support system, she is probably even much more a volcano ready to explode than you are.

I agree with Samantha--it is essential to your marriage at this point that she find a support system. I am on the North Star spouse list, and although it is not as helpful as other MOM blogs or actually meeting MOMs in person, it is still a good thing. I don't feel like I quite fit in with the North Star crowd, so I don't comment much, and I don't feel like I get a lot out of it, but it is just interesting to read the emails and realize that Scott and I are not alone in the things that are unique to our marriage, and it also helps me to realize how blessed I am! I think it could probably be a good thing for her.

I disagree with anonymous, but only because I have truly come to understand that the best way to keep Scott by my side as my best friend, husband, and lover that I must cut him a bit of slack, and allow him to explore ways of dealing with his sexuality while still being faithful to me. Again, I guess we are all different, and "infidelity" means different things to different people, but my impression is that my acceptance and trust of Scott, that he is who he is, and that he is not going to do anything to hurt our marriage, actually helps us to be closer, helps him deal with his "longings" more easily. I have to admit that his desire to "cuddle" (see his latest blog post) makes me a bit nervous, but all I have to do is remember that I have no reason not to trust him when he tells me that he will not let this get in the way of "us". And so I trust and pray that I am allowing him to explore and figure out what things are going to be best for both of us. Does that make sense?

Again, I would love to be able to talk with your wife and share this point of view with her. Figure out a way that we can meet her. There has to be a way to make it work without telling her about your blog, yet, if needed.

Let us know.

Bravone said...

I read this and wanted to cry. I thought about just calling, still might.

From my vantage point of having known you 27 years ago, and very recently seeing the two of you together, combined with what I have read over the past 8 or 9 months, I think in your heart of hearts, you want this marriage to survive. I think your love for her and your children, coupled with your underlying faith in God and his eternal plan will give you the strength to do WHATEVER it takes to work through this difficult trial.

I believe her love for you is obvious. I agree with Samantha that she needs help as well. The difference between my situation and yours is that, although I offended more deeply than you have, my life is now an open book to my wife. I cannot tell you how liberating and wonderful it is to be able to share my life with my wife.

I think what is eating you up is the deception (continuous hiding of feelings, your blog, secret meetings, etc.) that you feel you have to maintain. I once felt the same way and rationalized it that I had to be the strong one, that she couldn't handle the truth, that it wasn't fair to her to have to bear my burden, etc. What a lie that was!

SHE is the strong one. All the other crap was just my justification for continuing to live a double life. IT WAS NOT WORTH IT.

I agree that not all are suited for mixed orientation marriages, but come on Beck! You have been married for over 30 years! Some have suggested that you throw in the towel and let the healing begin. That may work for some, may even be the best option for all involved, but it was not the case for me, and I don't believe it would be for you either.

GET HELP. Both of you. Tu sai che ti voglio bene. Non posso esprimere i miei sentimenti in modo che voglio. Mi hai salvato 27 anni fa. Mi hai salvato di nuovo un anno fa. Tu sei incredibile. Sei un benamato figliuolo di Dio. Hai benedetto tante vite come Jones t'hai detto l'altra sera. Voglio che tu sappia che so che la chiesa e vera. Dio ha un piano per te. So che il sacerdozio che hai e da Dio. So che tua famiglia ne ha bisogno di te, e che tu possa essere il padre che loro pensano che sia. Ce lo farai. Ce lo farai!

Philip said...

Anonymous: In my eyes--and probably your wife's as well--it would be the same if you were straight and you were romantically hugging other women and "emotionally longing" for them.

I agree most wives would be terribly hurt by their spouse "emotionally longing" for someone else -but- I don't agree it is the same as if the husband was straight.

This discussion comes up all the time. If a person, gay or straight, sees things only from a straight perspective then yeah it makes sense that it would be the same -but- if the person can try to see it from a gay perspective then they can see that the dynamics are quite different - that it's like comparing apples to oranges.

I think it's unrealistic for a gay husband to be expected to pretend that his reality is no different than that of a straight man.

Beck, I concur with a lot of the others. It's good your wife understands you cannot change. Hopefully, she will come to understand that it is unrealistic to expect you to stop having emotional feelings for other men. If you could do that then you would have done that long ago, right? I know I would have done that long ago.

Regards,
Philip

Troy said...

i wish i knew what to say :(

Ned said...

I'm identifying with you, Beck. I was in a similar situation some time ago. I remember thinking it was like someone took a sledge hammer to the foundation of our marriage (and that perhaps that someone was me.) Fortunately through counseling and answered prayers we have survived and in someways thrived. Something that brings me comfort is the reality that underneath Temple Square much remodeling has been done over the decades. The foundation of our marriage was shaken, but fortunately we've been able to add new structure to the foundation and to the space we inhabit. Maybe it's like driving pilings from the unstable surface deep down into bedrock to stabilize and anchor a valuable building that could otherwise shift and crumble. I hope this imagery helps in some way. Please know that I and many others are praying for you, your wife and your loved ones.

Good to be Free said...

I'm with Troy, I wish I knew what words to say, but I don't, so I'll just pray and hope for you.

Damon In CO said...

Oh Beck...

Sorry I've been absent from this world for a while.

In my short life I have realized that out of the worst moments and most difficult times in my life comes the best growth, the best decisions and if I am open to it, I've learned the most.

I think counseling for you (and your wife) will be great. I suggested that, as I am sure others have, a long time ago. However, it needs to happen when it's right for you.

Beck, whatever happens will be hard. Whatever may come is going to be very difficult.

The part that sucks about this plight of ours is that no matter which decision you make there will be suffering and nothing will prevent it...but which decision makes the suffering worth it?

Of course, I hope and pray for the best for you...for the right thing for you and your family and your wide...whatever that is. I hope that you find your path through this rocky and extremely difficult situation.

Just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you! Hang in there. When you make a decision just make sure it's the one you want because you're going to have to fight for it.

I Love You, Beck.

~Damon

Anonymous said...

Beck,

I read regularly but never comment. I am not the same anonymous who has posted before. My thoughts: 1) I wonder how much of this has to do with the developmental stages of marriage and if the two of you are at different stages. 2) As a person attracted to both sexes I have the same issues with physical intimacies, only doubled so to speak. So I have to be on guard frequently that I don't overstep. 3) I have found that friendships and marriages do continue even after awkwardly lingering hugs, but that I have to be very, very conscious of what I'm doing. 4) I cherish the emotional intimacy of both my male and female friendships outside of my marriage and fortunately my spouse gives me the freedom to have these relationships without guilt. 5) There are a lot of problems in marriage that create the same types of chasms in marital intimacy your wife is experiencing-mental illness, physical illness, loss of a testimony, fatigue, overwork, physical separation. The others who have suggested that she find a support group are wise. 6) to be frank, I've wondered how you would view your own blog if it were authored by your wife and perhaps that is the source of some of your turmoil-perhaps some pulling back from the edge is in order.

Please, do know however, that this little bit of sharpness is not intended to be hurtful and I've said more than the occasional brief prayer for you. Thirty years is a long time and its worth looking strongly at the positive aspects of the relationship and letting some of the never to be solved ambiguities go.

Beck said...

I will attempt to briefly respond to comments - it has always been my attempt to personally comment to each posted comment. I've been too spent recently to do so, but here goes an attempt:

AJ: Of course your prayers will help. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and the power of community prayer. There is strength there. I have felt it. I know it.

SCOTT: The ultimatum was given in a moment of extreme hurt and feelings of betrayal. Since Sunday, things have softened, and steps are being taken - and yes, the two of us are walking together and I am trying to take the steps to be more honest in the process - and yes, this is a choice that I choose to make, that I need to make, not one that is being forced on me.

EZRA: Don't worry about not knowing what to say. Just being there is very significant and meaningful to me. Thanks.

SAM: You've suggested a lot of things before, but I wasn't listening or I wasn't ready to listen. I am now... I really feel that my wife needs to be brought into the "light" and I've been holding her back in the "darkness". I will attempt to get her connected with you. Thanks for reaching out.

WIFE: Thanks for following our drama. You are in a better place, and I hope to have my wife be comfortable enought to reach out to your offer of assistance for her.

PLAYA: You're always good for the one-line zingers! I don't know whether to slap you or hug you! :)

Beck said...

BROR: I understand the one-way street feeling you express, and believe me, I feel it, too. In fact, I've felt it my whole life. But, I realize now that the reason she isn't as understanding about my longings and hugs and need for friendships, etc. is because I haven't invited her into my world to see it from where I am, so that she can learn from me on what my needs are and what is going on inside me. So it seems "one-sided" because I allow only her one-side to be heard - I keep this other side hidden (except when carelessly being "caught" on Sunday) and so the hurt is there because the deception is there. I can see this now, and I'm going to try to bring her along to see that such relationships, though seemingly threatening to her, can be positive for our continuing marriage. At least, I hope... and with counseling, I hope to get there. For now, I can see a plan forward. And with help, we'll get there and it can become something that isn't

PL: Now that I know how I want to go forward, I want to do this fast, I want to get it over, and I want to move on... but I'm finding in the last few days that it isn't going to happen over night. It is going to be a slow process. It has taken me five years of being out and almost 3-1/2 years of blogging to get to this point. Because she isn't jumping up and down with glee to discover immediately all that I'm feeling and discovering, doesn't mean it still won't happen. For some of us, it's just a slow process, indeed.

MOHOH: Thanks for your encouragement. You have always been one to see the bigger picture and to be patient as you wait for me to focus and see it too. I do see these hard times as progress and growth. And commitment and communication will lead to something we both "can live with".

Beck said...

ABE: She has said she'd go to therapy with me when I feel it is appropriate. She is open to the idea of me seeking professional help and establishing a path forward. I've told her I will investigate a couple of approaches and see which "fits" best, and the go from there.

The silver lining is that she wants me to be me - yes. But, in some ways, I can't help but think that she would love this whole thing to just go away - like it's a bad nightmare, maybe even thought provoking, stirring feelings and impressions and understandings - but still a nightmare, that once the morning breaks, it's over and we move on. Until I can get her to understand that it isn't ever going to be over, the silver lining will be nearly invisible. But, I've got to help her see the good in all this.

CHESTER: I've answered the drama part previously, but you've given me pause with your questions. All I can say is with 28 years behind me, it isn't so simple as to just walk away, or seperate or divorce or move on. The dynamics are greater than what you see here. I don't share these things for the thrill of the drama. The blog, I agree, tends to dramatize this one certain aspect of my life, and as it is magnified, it may feel like I'm constantly needing the attention of the next dramatic turning point of my life. Maybe I am this way... Maybe because I have been afraid to face my fears, and my reality, I've become addicted to the drama. Maybe. At least your comments have made me reflect a bit on that. I apologize for being dramatic, but I hope you see that "Beck" is used as a foil for that very purpose so that the real me can function more calmly in the real world. Does any of this make sense?

PHILIP: I need time to sort it out and I am seeking professional help to do so. And this time I'm trying to be more communicative. Thanks.

ANON1: I have visited and revisited the "have your cake and eat it too" scenario, but I've come to realize that, at least for me, it doesn't have to be seen that way. The all-or-nothing approach sounds nice, but it isn't real for me. I know it is hurtful to say so, but I need some outlet, some balance, that can be understood as being needful and good without being distrustful or unfaithful. At least, I'm trying to find that middle ground of survival, not to have cake and eat it, too.

PLAYA: I'm considering therapy outside the realms of the standard answers of the church. If you see my previous post, you'll understand.

SARAH: Thanks for your warm heart and outreaching hand. We'll be in touch as the situations develop.

BRAVONE: Sai perfettamente bene come amo mia moglie e che questa situazione non e' il fine. Cerco l'aiuto professionale, e cerco di trovare un modo in cui lei possa crescere con me, e non senza me. Grazie tantissimo per tutto cio che hai fatto and farai per noi.

Beck said...

PHILIP: If I could get her to the point where she understands that my longings and needs for emotional connections with men are not going away and won't go away, but are less threatening to her because I can reinforce her in other ways, then I think we're making progress...

TROY: You don't have to say anything. Just thanks for being out there.

NED: The foundation of our marriage is still sound... cracked maybe, but not beyond repair. Thanks for the analogy. Thank you for your prayers and support.

GOODTOBEFREE: Again, don't say anything. Just make yourself known and be there. I find strength knowing you are there.

DAMON: I love you too. Someday we will finally meet and share that hug and feel each others pains and joys in person. You have always been there and I know you will continue to be. Don't be so scarce, man! :)

ANON2:

1) I think most of it has to do with the fact that we are not playing on the same sheet of music. Until we are on the same page, there will be this continuing cycle of hurtful drama.

2)I do have to be on guard, and I let my guard down.

3) So far we are seeing a rebound of commitment from this bump. It will continue, but I don't want it to cycle back to where we were before. I want to go forward and feel like progress is being made.

4)Relationships without guilt would be a nice place to end. To get there I need to recultivate trust. Any suggestions of how you were able to get to this place of relationships without guilt?

5) I will encourage her to seek help as well, and if I can find help and succeed with counseling, I think it will be easier for her to follow.

6) I am pulling back a bit. See my latest post.

Thanks for your concern and I would appreciate more feedback. Don't be so reluctant to comment.