Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Connecting the Dots...

So, the saga continues... and maybe it continues more than it should...

I was struggling with my conscience regarding what happened in the previous post. It happened and it was just that. But that said, it was something that I was uncomfortable with and something that I didn't feel good about with regards to my marriage.

After a great weekend and amazing closeness with my wife, I was feeling guilty (as I usually do) of having my encounter that I had and keeping it, and those like that, from her. Maybe due to the fact that my therapist is making me track my "guilt" and "hiding", such feelings were easily at the surface and I struggled with how to tell her without her getting all freaked out about it.

Come to find out as I woke up this morning, she suddenly confronted me with the question: "so are you meeting these MOHOs?" She woke up last night in a panic. Obviously, she had "connected the dots" and came to the realization that I wasn't just "chatting" and discussing things with fellow MOHOs, but that I was meeting up with MOHOs for lunch, etc. and she confronted me on this "connect the dot" process going through her mind.

So I told her the truth...well, at least mostly the truth... I told her that I had met up with a few MOHOs at various times for lunch. I didn't tell her about the hike. I didn't tell her about Scott and Sarah's party. I guess I'm scared to bear it all, even though that would probably be easier. I told her that these encounters were positive and family-affirming and faith-affirming.

Her reaction was as expected. I could have predicted it. She was shocked and hurt - not so much that I actually was doing such encounters, but because I would keep such information from her. I told her that I didn't want to hurt her and that I wanted to avoid such confrontations just as we were having.

She broke into tears and became very upset. I don't blame her. I was expecting it. She said I was being insensitive to her feelings and that I was being self-centered and selfish. As much as I tried to explain that these encounters were good and uplifting and supportive of my decisions to stay married and to stay with the family and to stay with the church, she couldn't see that position... otherwise, why would I be hiding these things from her.

I guess I was hiding these things from her because deep down I know that there is something fundamentally wrong about a gay guy meeting another gay guy with the potential of attractions becoming the issue or at least the focal point of our meeting, even though there is no intent to "hook up" with one another.

She did the quick reversal of "what if I were having lunch with a guy that was just a friend, how would you feel about that?" As much as I wanted to justify that it wasn't the same, I couldn't and admitted that she was right. There are limits to what one can and cannot do when one is married and the other spouse doesn't know or doesn't approve. I didn't know what to say.

She asked: "So what else are you hiding from me?" Though I mentioned blogs and commenting on MOHO blogs and chatting etc. I didn't mention that I had a specific blog - until now... and now she wonders why I need to blog about our private life. I'm wondering that, too. Why do I do this?

She hasn't asked to read it yet, and I haven't volunteered, describing it as a private journal and being on a private "invitation only" readership. Still, the thought has now arisen that I just click the "delete key" and end Beck once and for all.

I asked her what she wants from me... For now (and who knows if this evening will be different) she has set down the ground rules that :

1. I don't meet anyone of you for any reason anymore unless she knows and approves.

2. I only blog or chat if it is supportive and strengthening and focusing on our lives and marriage in a way that is not self-centered or selfish.

3. That I start being more honest and trustworthy.
4. That I continue therapy, only if such therapy will support the above. (NOTE: I suggested that maybe we go to couple's therapy together to work through these things - she wasn't eager but didn't reject it outright).

It's hard to argue with any of that... but I feel like I'm on trial. I've blown it in the fact that I've kept this community from her... Then I blew it when I told her about this community but didn't reveal that I had been meeting with some of you. And now she has her faith in me destroyed. She doesn't trust me. She feels I have been unfaithful. She thinks I am too self-centered and I am focusing way too much on this one aspect of who I am and I am allowing it to consume my every thought and action. She likes that I am more confident, but now everything is suspect, including losing weight, working out, getting a sun tan, etc... if it isn't for her, then it must be for my fellow MOHOs... I can't win. I can't even argue that these things are all making me feel better about me and that I am accepting my body image and my persona for the first time in my life... none of that matters. I'm not attracted to her and so I'm not focused on her and so everything else is focusing away from her... AARRGGHHH!!!

So now what do I do?


Sean said...

If you want your marriage to stay together, you must follow her rules. You have to gain her trust back because you were the one who lost it by hiding everything. It may be awhile, but it will be worth it if you want things to get better. Good luck!

Beck said...

Yes, I need to follow "her rules", but I need to follow "our rules", too. Meaning, we need to come to a conclusion of understanding that we both agree upon, and not mandates from one side or the other. It's got to be a mutual agreement, with a mutual commitment.

Right now it feels like I've screwed up by not being completely honest (okay, I've hidded a ton of things from her), and I feel the need to be obedient to her list and work on restoring trust, which takes time, but I just wish she'd try to understand my side as well.


Sean said...

She will understand eventually. You hid a lot of major things from her that caused her not to trust you. As soon as you gain that back, you both will be able to make rules together. Trust will come as you show her you care about her and want to be honest with her. It will probably be hard for awhile and she will probably question your motives, BUT it will all be helpful in the end.

Sarah said...

Hi. Long time no read, sorry. Don't feel bad--I haven't been reading any blogs, not even the ones in my feed reader.

Anyway, I knew that when you began to tell her everything that there would be a feeling of betrayal. But I also knew that the longer you waited, the worse it would be. I have no doubt that you are in for a roller coaster ride. But either it will be meant to work out, in which case you have begun the opportunity for complete honesty, healing, and re-building trust. Or it will...I'm not sure how to be realistic without being pessimistic, so forget this one.

Anyway, it is late and it has already been a long 2 days of school on not much sleep, so I doubt I will make any sense at all. Just remember that even if this is all confusing and worrisome and hurts, if you are keeping God in the mix, it will all work out for the best. I truly believe that.

Are you sure there is no way that you could talk her into a friendly double-date with us? I know you want to wait until she wants such a thing, but maybe she does want it but doesn't want to admit that she does. We women are weird like that sometimes. We don't have to have any deep conversations. Just a casual meal or game-night that would allow casual conversation, getting to know each other, and realizing that SHE IS NOT ALONE in all of this.

Hang in there. It will all be worth it, no matter how hard it gets.

Beck said...

Thanks, Sarah for being there, even at this busy time of your life with school starting.

I promise that I am working on getting her to the point of wanting to meet you. We are making progress on this front - but it is something I want her to want. At least, we are talking about it, which a few weeks ago, we weren't even doing that.

Thanks again for your willingness to reach out...

Scott said...

I'm just catching up, because I have a hard time remembering to check the "private" blogs that don't make it to my feed reader every day...

For the record, I would have no problem whatsoever with Sarah going to lunch with a straight male friend.

Even when I thought I was straight I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with it.

I recognize that there's this "appearance" thing that some people worry about, and that some people have an idea of "propriety" or whatever that says that friends can't go to lunch together if they're sexually compatible and one of them's married...

But I know that Sarah loves me, and I trust that love, and I trust her.

You've bruised that trust with your wife, but bruises heal, as long as you don't keep hammering on them. Be honest with her, completely and totally, from this point forward. Over time, it's fairly certain that she will learn to trust again, and she will learn to believe in your love for her.

I'm not sure that I agree that you need to follow all of her rules, without having any say in them at all, in order to regain that trust. Good behavior while on a leash doesn't demonstrate anything other than that you won't do anything outside the restrictions she's put on you. Good behavior when you're free to behave badly is much more effective at demonstrating your commitment to her and to your marriage.

So I do think that you need to work out together a set of rules or guidelines that you can both live with, and that will provide some happy medium between her feeling constantly anxious and you feeling constantly henpecked.