Thursday, June 03, 2010

There is always room for hope!


I am doing well. Really, I am! My wife and I have been going through the process of preparing our son for his mission service, and then helping him through that process (shopping, packing, temple, VISAs, farewell, shipping off to the MTC, etc.)to where he is now gone and on his way! The emotions of stress, joy, obligation, excitement, fear, adventure have all been jumbled together in abundance.

It's quite something to go through as a young missionary. It is quite something else to go through it as a parent. How much helicoptering should one do? When to step in and assist? When to step back and watch? It's certainly been a particular time that will not soon be forgotten. I can't help but want him to be happy and well and excited for this new journey. Watching him be scared, stressed, fearful, unsure, makes me ache inside. We are all different, and I'm trying to let him be who he is and make this his experience and not mine. I was a bit fearful, but really loved the experience from beginning to end. But, he's not me... and it's been hard to step back and let it be what it needs to be for him to learn and grow in the ways that he needs to and not in the ways I needed to.

... heavy sigh...

I am doing well. Really I am! My wife and I are still connecting and working together and making our marriage work in ways of love and support - and we're really making it work. I'm sure some will say that I am delusional to even say those words. How can any gay guy say those words and not be delusional? Well, this particular gay boy is saying those words. I feel hope. I sense a confidence and assurance in the path I'm on. It may not be the path that others think I should take or be on, but I don't care. It feels hopeful and right for me, and I'm fine in being labeled as "delusional" and be dismissed as fooling myself into some sense of denial... So be it.

I am doing well. Really I am! I am going through a personal experiment of what total isolation from fellow MOHOs and total abstinence from electronic eye-candy will do to affect my sense of well-being. Will it bring back the incredible building of angst and uneasiness, or will it bring strength and confidence. Don't get me wrong... I am doing this knowing that I am a gay man and always have been and at least for now, will always be a man that is attracted to other men. I am not in any way, shape or form trying to deny this fact or be delusional enough to believe that I can wish it away, or even think that such a thing is possible. I've been there and done that and know that doesn't work. Giving in to what some may say is natural and honest and inevitable (go with the flow of nature - it never makes sense to fight it) and have that desired relationship with another man - is something I am not able to do, and I choose not to. What I am trying to do is accept my true nature as fact, but choose to live my life otherwise. It is my choice and it feels right for me. Whether I can do so and make it work and do so now with less angst, remains to be seen.

Does denying oneself of natural stimuli and physical connection lead to nothing but grief, angst and frustration and ultimate eruption of seismic proportions? Or does this path lead to anything positive, strengthening, reassuring, hopeful?

I know this post sounds like I'm trying to convince myself, and maybe I am... (after all, I'm delusional)... but...

Is there any room in this world for someone like me who admits he's gay, but denies himself of a gay relationship and instead chooses to grow old and happy and content with the wife he loves?

Is there any room in this MOHO blogging community anymore for a voice like mine or has the evolution of the last four plus years made that impossible?

Is there any room for hope? Hope to make this marriage relationship work? Hope to make this family eternal? Hope to remain sane in the process?

Whether you dismiss me here and now, I am still here and though I keep thinking that I should simply go away, I'm still here... giving validity and voice to those like me who say emphatically: There is always room for hope!


Romulus said...

Of course there is room for you and your optimism :D

The Wife said...

Reading your blog and blogs of other MOMs trying to make it work gives me hope for my marriage, so thank you!

Joe Conflict said...

Plenty of room. You still have the motivation to make it work. It is probably the only way it will work, but it sure won't do so without replacing things with other things.

I'm not saying you'll reach a higher level of fulfillment, or anything of that sort. But if you can be content, comfortable, and happy, you have all you probably need in this world.

Had my wife not left, I would have been happy to grow old with her. I think your experiment is worthy of trial.

Scott said...

Is there any room in this world for someone like me who admits he's gay, but denies himself of a gay relationship and instead chooses to grow old and happy and content with the wife he loves?

If you are "happy" and "content", then of course there's room for you. Anyone who cares about you will want you to find happiness and contentment wherever you can find it. Even if I find myself making different choices than you, I can still hope that you'll be happy in the choices you are making.

... And you'll always have something to contribute, whether you remain with your wife or find a partner or choose some entirely different option. Every voice and every experience gives others who are looking for answers an additional point of reference--another star by which they can plot their own course.

Best of luck, and [[HUGS]]!

Sean said...

Love you! I hope things continue to go well for you and your wife.

Abelard Enigma said...

Is there any room in this MOHO blogging community anymore for a voice like mine or has the evolution of the last four plus years made that impossible?

I like to believe that the Mormon queerosphere is a melting pot of differing ideas, lifestyles, philosophies, etc. Yours is an important voice contributing to that melting pot.

Carlo said...
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Beck said...

ROM: Thanks for making room for me and my optimism. Sometimes it feels pretty lonely out here.

WIFE: I am glad you find hope through my blog. It's easy to get in the frame of mind that we are the only ones working at these MOMs and that all odds are against us and we might as well give up...but there is always room for hope - that's the message of the day!

JOE: You're right. Because I am still motivated to make it work and because she is still motivated to make it work, it works. Sure, it may not be ideal, but it is sufficient for a significant amount of happiness and contentment. Maybe I'm settling for less. I don't know. I hope I'm settling for more.

Beck said...

SCOTT: Your recent revelations and Sarah's recent posts have given me great pause (to say the least). Your questioning has led me to questioning. Your changes in attitudes and beliefs have made me reflect on my own.

This is all good and I can't help but feel grateful to you for being able to reflect and learn through you as you journey on your new quests, paths, and choices.

But, I can't help but feel something along the lines of: "well, there goes another one..." meaning I feel an increased sense of isolation in my choices and wonder how much longer can I resist what Wyatt refers to as the "inevitable".

Is it inevitable? Will I be at the point you are at in time (granted I'm moving much slower than you)and I'm just procrastinating the day of reckoning?

To watch your change in view has been hard for me to comprehend yet amazing to read and watch. I certainly desire only the best for you and Sarah and assert that there is always room for hope.

Thanks for expressing the need for all voices, including mine, in seeking answers.

Beck said...

SEAN: Thanks and love back to you, my friend.

ABE: Yes, it is a melting pot, but I have a sense that voices like mine are diminishing, changing to a different path, or becoming smaller and quieter... nothing wrong with that - just an observation that makes me wonder why I'm still here.

Scott said...

I don't believe in "inevitable".

I concluded that I was not going to be entirely "happy" and "content" on the path that I was on, and I concluded that my own happiness and fulfillment are important enough that a change in direction was indicated.

You might conclude the same someday.

Or you might conclude that your understanding of what is "right" and the happiness of your wife and family are more important than your own happiness and fulfillment and worth sacrificing for.

Or you might continue to feel happiness and contentment in your current situation and never have any need to look for more--and never feel that any "sacrifice" involved in staying where you are is all that onerous.

I've been acutely aware of the fact that some have seen me (for better or worse) as something of an example, and that my change in attitude and direction could spark feelings of disappointment (and perhaps some envy?) and contribute to the feelings of "inevitability" that you describe. I regret any difficulty my own choices give you (or anyone else) and hope that my experiences will never be anything other than a point of interest as you determine what is right for you.

this blog author said...
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MoHoHawaii said...

If I were in your shoes (duration of the marriage, kids, etc.), I'd probably be making the same choices as you minus the church part, which for me would be an additional stressor on top of an already stressful situation.

robert said...

I am curious to know how you might advise a gay child on the issue of sexual orientation. Since I do not have any belief in eternal families, I wonder the extent of this belief on your own commitments and journey...and whether it might extend to your children if they recognized themselves to be gay. Would they feel that it would be something to "overcome" in order to live in the larger LDS culture? Would you advise them to 'overcome" and join?

GeckoMan said...

Beck, I'm glad you're still here, and even more glad that you still have such fervent hope! Even though my voice has diminished over the past couple years, I love all of this melting pot and find true insight and solace here.

I used to think that hope was synonymous with wishful thinking, but since reflecting on Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on hope (Oct 2008) and studying the topic, I now act on a deeper meaning: it is that we may have confidence and trust in God's promised blessings, that events and truth will occur in our lives as we faithfully do our part in pursuing such. This goes beyond a wish or a want, is tied to covenants and takes into account that our loving Father wants to grant us the blessings we seek in due time. We don't always get what we want when we want it, but from a larger perspective, we grow and make progress, if this is our desire. And, I think this definition can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and is not solely the hope of the hetero.

Beck said...

TBA: My son is not the focus of this blog, but let's just say he is being sent literally to the other side of the world.

SCOTT: Your choices, and those of others who have been in similar situations, by default make me question my path and wonder about the "inevitability" of it all. Certainly I don't believe that either - I am convinced we are able to make our own choices and choose what is ultimately best for us and our families. Your recent posts and explanations of your choices don't give me "difficulty" as much as they make me think about the "what if that were I?" scenarios. You make me re-evaluate my choices and that is a good thing. I am happy for you and Sarah as you work out your own paths. It just makes me wonder if there is this huge vacuum of natural attraction somewhere that is suck, suck, sucking us into the inevitable sooner or later.

I do see my choices differently than you, and that is okay. I do see a strength and contentment and joy and completeness in giving up one kind of possible relationship for another kind that I deem to be better for me and my loved ones and more fulfilling in the long run.

That, at least, is my "hope", a hope that is more than a wish, a hope that is grounded in an assurance that I feel is a part of me as much as any other aspect of my being.

MOHOH: I have always admired and appreciated and yes, even counted on your support for my choices and your understanding of them as you put yourself in my situation. It is always refreshing to read your words of encouragement yet again. Thank you.

Beck said...

ROBERT: Interesting questions. Probably need to be addressed in a separate post for a more complete response... In a nutshell, the concept and belief of "eternal family" does weigh heavily in the choices I make and that would greatly influence my advice to a gay child. However, if said child were aware of his attractions at a much earlier age than I, I would see myself being able to advise him to embrace all the good that he can in a committed relationship that would bring him the greatest joy - yes, a gay relationship. I have given this advice to other "young men" of mine.

You may ask, well... so why don't you take your own advice and do the same? My response is embedded in MOHO-Hawaii's comment... my commitments and decades-long attachments to wife and kids is where I find the greatest joy. Will this lead me to a life full of regret and "what-ifs"? Maybe, but the "what-if" game goes both ways... what if I were to remain faithful to my wife and family? What then?

But, yes, had I known thirty years ago what I know now about myself, I would probably have given myself the advice to seek a different path. Yet, this isn't that story. I am not that boy. I am here and now and my hope and belief is in this path I'm taking now being the best for me.

GECKO: I used that talk in a priesthood lesson recently. It is quite powerful and addresses the opposite of hope being "despair". I guess what I'm saying is that I don't sense the despair in my choices. Instead, I find an assuring hope in the promises.

Does that make my life half-lived, incomplete, dishonest? Maybe in the eyes of some, but for me, my accepting that I am a gay man with attractions that I find fascinating and beautiful, not revolting or appalling, and desires that make me feel alive and complete while keeping them in check with respect to my wife and kids, is still an honest, hope-filled life worth living.

Beck said...

ROBERT: As a follow-up to your question, see my response to my friend who has a gay son and this friend is feeling a bit of "despair" because he can't see past the eternal consequences of the choices his son is making. I don't see that same despair and see, instead a broader hope. I posted it just a couple of posts ago with the title "conviction".

Bravone said...

Beck, I think I could have written this post. Our paths are so very similar. I am truly happy with the choice I have made to remain with my wife and family. It becomes especially obvious at times like we are experiencing now with a son graduating and another coming home from his mission in a month. If I had chosen to leave the family, I am confident they would still love me, but the respect would likely be lacking because of their own convictions.

I want to be intimately involved in their lives and the lives of my grandchildren, not an inconvenient, awkward guest. In addition, and most important, I love my wife and want to grow old with her.

I acknowledge that my choice might not work for others, and I respect their choices. Whether or not they respect me or my choices doesn't matter to me. It is my life, our life, and only we have the right and obligation to live it as we feel is best for us.

Would I have made a different choice if I had truly understood myself better as a single young man? I don't know. With hindsight, do I wish I would have chosen a different path, absolutely not.

I feel so blessed to have the life I do. I wish the same for others. I hope, no matter the path they choose, they find the same peace.

So glad you are still blogging. I don't need to tell you the influence for good you have been in my life.

Ti voglio molto bene. Lo sai.

Scott said...

I want to be intimately involved in their lives and the lives of my grandchildren, not an inconvenient, awkward guest.

@Bravone, I realize that this is not the main motivation behind your choice to remain with your wife--or even, perhaps, a very important one at all. I believe that it's your love for your family and your understanding of what God wants of you that matter most to you.

But in my opinion, concern for how family might (or might not) accept my choices should not be a consideration at all. That's giving other people the reins, and ceding control of my life to the reactions (and prejudices) of other people.

I know that my own choices are going to result in some rejection, or disappointment at least, from my family. But while I certainly can consider the wishes of my family (and not blatantly disregard their feelings) I can't let fear of their reactions keep me from doing what's right for me.

Bravone said...

Scott, I assume you realize that my post wasn't in response to your post, but to Beck's.

I do respect your right to choose based on your own best interest. I suppose in some way most of our decisions are made that way. However, I also believe that sometimes looking beyond our own self interest is appropriate, especially when we have made commitments to others.

If my wife and I were miserable together, and/or it had such a negative effect on our children that it would be in the best interest of all to separate, I may feel otherwise.

I also realize that all our circumstances are different in so many ways that a 'one size fits all' answer simply doesn't work.

I think I know you well enough to know that your decisions have not been made lightly. I wish you and your family the very best.

Rex said...

Beck, I think there's room for hope and for you too. :)

I like your new boundaries. I was glad when you talked about cutting out the eye candy. I'd lose some weight if I could just do that for real candy.

I often set boundaries that seem to others like I'm becoming totally inflexible. For example, I found myself hounding a friend to spend time with me to the point of really annoying him. I set a boundary for myself that I would not initiate any ideas for spending time with him. If we spent any time together, it would be his idea. It wasn't a permanent boundary, but it really saved a friendship. It gave me a chance to look at my life and behavior from a totally different perspective.

Eventually, when I got myself under control, I was able to initiate hanging out without all the craziness. It's a great thing to step back and reorder the way things are for awhile.

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Thanks for your continued voice as well and the encouragement and HOPE your relationship with your wife and family brings to mine.

As I look at the events of this week with my son, I can't imagine not being a "full participant" and witnessing all that went into this week... to not be a part of that, or to somehow remove myself from it, in and of itself, makes me quiver inside.

SCOTT: I agree that decisions of this magnitude should not be made based on who might feel uneasy in our presense in knowing the truth. I know Bravone well enough to know that he has not made his choices based on the comfort or uncomfort level of others. He has been very upfront and honest in his relationships and has taken steps to be open and out to his family.

I think I can see the point, though, where removing ourselves from our families for whatever valid reasons will separate us from the intimacy that is in a family relationship. And right now I don't want that.

Again, as long as my wife and I are finding contentment together and are trying to focus on each other and make it work, knowing all that we know, then it is still worth trying to make it work. Until one of us is "miserable" with being with the other, there's got to be an effort to make it work.

REX: I like your thoughts about "boundaries". I've done the same with a couple of my friends that I was "smothering" with attention. It has been interesting to see the evolution of the friendships strengthening as I step back and let them come to me instead of me hanging all over them... It's an interesting concept. But, then, the gospel is full of the dychotomy of "denying oneself" and "losing oneself" and in the process "finding oneself"... I have hope that establishing such boundaries in appropriate ways that work for me in keeping things in proper perspective will have positive results.

Bror said...

Beck, don't ever go away. I will always need you here.

ControllerOne said...

Late to the party, I am - as usual. Two comments: Everyone is welcome here. That's the best part of our little community. The different viewpoints.

Second, only you can decide what makes you happy. Many have chosen a similar path, many have chosen a totally different path, but no one has chosen your EXACT path. Which is as it should be.

Beck said...

BROR: I'm still here. I sometimes debate with myself why I'm still here, but if some, like you, find my being here still helpful, that encourages me to keep going, to keep staying, to keep being... Thanks.

CO: Never too late! I appreciate your kind words and reassurance that we all are welcome and needed in "our little community".

Brad C. Baynes said...

My personal choice (arrived at after years of internal struggle) is to remain in the Church and, hopefully, marry a woman and start a family. It's gratifying to hear the voices of others who have made that choice.

Scott said...


There's a difference between you and Beck (and many other married gay Mormons). Many of us married women unaware of our true attractions (or unwilling to admit them), or on the advice of priesthood leaders who promised that marriage to a woman would "cure" us of our homosexuality.

When men in that situation become aware of their orientation, or finally admit to themselves that they are gay, they face a choice: remain in the marriage or leave and try to find love in the manner that is most natural to them.

Some (like Bravone, Beck, etc.) decide that the family they have created and the feelings of love (maybe not romantic love, but no less real) that they've developed for their wives are worth the sacrifice involved in giving up hope of a real loving, romantic relationship with a man.

But even those who have decided to remain married will often recommend against marriage for a young man who is already aware of his attractions and yet hopes to marry a woman.

I am personally not committed to maintaining the same marital relationship that I've had with my wife--we are taking things one day at a time, and neither of us knows where we will end up in relation to each other, but I hope to find a man to love and whether or not that means actually divorcing my wife, our relationship will certainly be changed dramatically.

But coming to this decision has been agonizingly painful, both for me and for her, and I know that there is a great deal of pain yet to come for both of us.

For that reason I am sometimes quite vocal in recommending against marriage for someone in your situation. You are too young and inexperienced to understand the challenges you would face, but those of us who have been there understand them all too well, and I, at least, would go to great lengths to spare you (and any future wife) unnecessary pain.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to talk--and my wife is also more than happy to share her views as well.

Beck said...

BRAD: I don't want to give advice to you as to what you should be seeking in your life. I don't know you and have no way of understanding your situation.

Scott has given sound advice. I guess I would suggest that if you are feeling the desire to pursue a relationship with a woman that you hope you can marry, I would only suggest that you do it with your eyes wide open and with honesty and up-front discussions with her instead of hiding or denying.

I am grateful for my choices. I am grateful and consider my marriage and family my hugest assets and blessings. I do remain faithful to them and to the church. I have chosen this path. This post was supposed to be one where such a chosen path may be considered just as valid as any other.

That said, recognize that I didn't come to terms with my attractions or gayness until five years ago (almost 24 years into my marriage). The pain of the denial was incredible and the revelation to my wife was horrific. Yet, we are getting through it and are able to move on with good prospects.

All I suggest is that as you contemplate a similar choice, with the honest knowledge that you have about yourself, please be forthright and honest in sharing those openly with her prior to any decisions on HER part to go forward. Do not drag her into this path because of denial or dishonesty.

And best wishes on your journey. as you choose to be faithful to your convictions.