Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Once upon a time...


Once upon a time...




There were two guys that met on line through a blogging community. Both were middle-aged, greying and balding, and nothing particularly spectacular about either. Both felt unique and different, somehow apart from others in their lives. Both were confused and isolated from the world around them, disconnected in similar ways from their religion, from their families, from friends, from associates. You see, both were faithful members of the LDS church, both were faithfully married to their respective wives for nearly three decades, and both were faithful fathers of young adult children... Oh, and both were gay!




These two guys met and found that they had a lot in common, and where one was weak in a certain area, the other was strong, and where one was strong, the other was not as strong and they found their similar circumstances, backgrounds, ages, strengths and weaknesses drew them together as they found their unique uniquenesses a source of joy and a foundation of a unique friendship.




Over time, this friendship developed into a sense of brotherhood. They were bonding and the connection with another person who accepted them for who they were, not the facade they had grown accustomed to living, made them feel more whole and complete, if not for the first time in their lives, at least for the first time in a long time.




This bonding brought forth a discussion of "boundaries" and what is appropriate for a friendship between two gay guys that are faithfully married, faithful to their children, and faithful to their religious covenants and belief systems. Just the fact that such discussions of "boundaries" were being discussed showed a level of maturity in their relationship. They were, after all, adults.




One day, circumstances being what they were, these two married MOHOs went off into the woods for a hike - not just any hike, but a life-changing hike. They were treading on sacred ground, and both knew it. The air was crisp and clean from a morning rain; the sun brilliant and invigorating. They opened up their hearts to each other, shared experiences, and commented on the uniqueness of events that brought them together. They embraced and snuggled together on a rock overlooking the valley below. There was touch, and a few simple kisses on the cheek that wouldn't be seen as abnormal or even unusual between two close friends in any other culture but the one they found themselves in.




As they descended the mountain, they wondered where this friendship was going? Was this just a bromance between two guys? What was the next step? Had boundaries been crossed? Should such a friendship exist and could it be maintained, nurtured and strengthened within the boundaries they had set between themselves? And could such a friendship become something that their wives could embrace and see as necessary and good and essential?




One might judge and say this is wrong, or this is playing with fire, or this is fooling oneself - that nothing good will come of it. Another might see it as a step of self-validation, a path toward authenticity and freedom from life-long held guilt. Still another might determine that such a relationship cannot or should not exist without explicit approval and authorization from the spouses. And still another might see a path less taken that may be of great value and significance. And each would possibly be right...




One might see this as just a silly, adolescent fairy tale of a wishful, dreamy-eyed but pathetically confused MOHO.




I wish it were a silly, adolescent fairy tale...




but it isn't...




It's true...

9 comments:

Sean said...

So I'm just catching up on your blog. I've been busy and I haven't had much time. From my personal experience, I know where this can lead. It has led me to relationships and trouble with the Church. My recommendation would be to stop if you want your marriage to remain intact, especially since it has been pretty volatile for awhile now. I don't think that your wife will take this well if you tell (maybe you've told her, idk).

Bror said...

I believe these relationships can exist. Nothing silly about it at all.

Ned said...

I have had a relationship somewhat like this for many years now. I almost always see this friend once a week often more than that. Our friendship is based on activities, usually athletic things, but not always. Our wives know of our friendship and approve. I say my relationship is somewhat like this. It is not the same. You say that you and your freind are gay. I would say that my friend is straight and that I am a bi-sexual man who is increasingly comfortable with his heterosexuality and is very slowly opening the closet door a bit in terms of my same sex attraction. So this is a long way of saying, I think these kinds of relationships can exist, particularly if both wives approve and there are agreed upon boundaries in place.

Beck said...

SEAN: I hear you! I know that this can lead to trouble with my marriage and with the church. Though, I'd like to think that I know myself and boundaries that I've kept for all of my 50 years... But, most adulterers end up saying the same thing before succumbing to their humanity.

In the end, I know this relationship is great and positive and helpful to me and to my friend - we mutually benefit from our association, but I also know that boundaries and rules and regulations need to be established, and that my wife needs to be part of that mix - not an easy thing to do right now...

so, for now... I've pulled back - reluctantly, but necessarily - to take a well-advised breather and rethink where I'm going with this.

Thanks for being so wise, my friend!

Beck said...

BROR: Okay... I believe that these relationships can exist as well, in fact, I've craved such encounters, such friendships, such relationships ALL MY LIFE! Ever since my mission experiences, I've constantly craved for that which I want - a friendship where I can be whole, without fear, and able to express myself openly without judgment and without fear of being "discovered"... in essence, being able to be me.

No, there is nothing silly about it at all!

Beck said...

NED: I am envious of the friendship you have with your athletic friend where you do activities together openly and honestly with your wife knowing and supporting you...

Oh that I could have the same. Is it possible? Of course. But it ain't easy in this current storm's climate w/ my wife. Maybe in time, and with professional help, I can form the relationship in a way that can be seen as acceptable and healthy and necessary for me and for my marriage - in the eyes of my wife.

I want these kinds of experiences because I finally feel myself - I find myself breaking down facades and barriers and just being me. The problem is - when I am "just me", I also tend to forget the propriety of boundaries... and then what?

Ned said...

Beck: I am glad that society is more open about bromances. My wife used to say that I was the only guy she knew that had any desire to develop male friendships. Most married men, she told me, were plenty busy with jobs, yards, families and church callings. Of course most married men are also straight, although in Utah you never know. ;)

Whereas women call women just to talk, men (well straight men that I know anyway) rarely make contact unless it is to do some specific thing: lunch, racketball, ride the pipeline trail, etc. If your wife hasn't seen you do this, then even if it doesn't involve a gay man, it's going to be something that seems strange at first.

Over time my wife has gotten used to the idea that I do spend many a lunch hour, and sometimes a weeknight or part of Saturday with with male companions out doing "guy things". May you be similarly blessed as you and your wife establish what can work for you both as a couple.

Beck said...

NED: Doing things with guys is important to me and she knows that, but we've been more centered on family - meaning, she doesn't have deep relationships beyond family and doesn't see why I should... and particularly, she doesn't think it's right to have gay friendships. So, going on a hike or a bike ride would be fine if it were a gang of straight guys - maybe - but one on one with either a straight guy or a gay guy will be difficult for her to understand and accept.

So, as much as society becomes more accepting of the bromance idea, and as much as I love and crave the bromance idea, I don't think she's got the idea that the bromance is good at all!

Suggestions of how to get her to be comfortable with a bromance, even with straight guys doing straight guy things - like swimming or hiking?

Sean said...

Just one more quick comment... Boundaries are easily broken. I know that I have made so many boundaries in the past and promised that they would never be crossed with my friends and with myself. The boundaries, however, rarely stayed and got broken and changed really quickly.

That's just my personal experience and it might be different for you though, but don't trick yourself into thinking that you are special.