Friday, July 30, 2010

A year of restraint...

This blog has become a measuring stick of sorts, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad... whether any progress is being made... noting the passage of time... re-evaluating this situation called "my life".

This is one of those measuring stick moments. A year ago this month, several things happened regarding my relationship with my wife:

1) I opened up to my wife about this MOHO community, what a "MOHO" was, that I had friends within this community, and that I had met many of them, and some on a frequent basis, all behind her back, and that a closeness was developing with some - this became a huge threat to her, not so much that she didn't trust my behavior or morals, or even faithfulness to her, but that I was lying and deceitful and dishonest about it all, and as such, she lost trust in me.

2) I opened up about blogging, tired of lying about it.

3) I opened up about my feelings and needing to seek counseling to help me sort through these feelings of confusion I found myself in.

4) I opened up about my feelings for other men, and the conflicting emotions of how to have good, positive and supporting non-threatening relationships with men and still want and desire a sound and firm and complete marital relationship with my wife.

5) I started therapy with a local psychologist with the hope of sorting out "what I want" type questions in my wandering path of being gay and married, and wanting to understand what both of those mean.

6) I closed down my public blog and went private for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I wasn't ready for my wife to read the inner thoughts I was expressing about this certain aspect of who I was. NOTE: This seems contradictory to all the other "openings" I was going through at the time, but I guess I wasn't ready to be that open yet. I wanted her to know that it was out there, and I used it as a form of self-therapy and that somehow it was okay to share vulnerable personal things to the universe, but not to those I love the most... at least not yet. All things in good time... (the funny thing was - she never showed the desire to find my blog or read it. She said that she respected my privacy and felt it would be an intrusion into that privacy and thus, didn't feel compelled to spy or pry into my blogging world or community).

7) I closed myself off to others and self-imposed a moratorium of sorts and went into a restraint mode of operation.

Now a year has passed and I look back and wonder where I've been, where I thought I was going, and what lessons I'm learning (or have learned) on the course I'm on, and whether the choices I've made have been good ones... choices of honoring my wife's feelings and wishes regarding relationships outside our marriage and putting her feelings above mine; choices of no longer hiding such friendships of fellow MOHOs from her even though the knowledge of such friendships was painful to her; choices of not meeting someone behind her back and without her knowledge and being secretive and dishonest in that hiding process; choices of removing myself emotionally from my "boys" in the ward, particularly as both have come back to live in the neighborhood again and all the feelings of the past being rekindled for good and bad with those now adult men; choices of attempting to regain her trust that was lost or at least severely damaged by hiding and being dishonest and outright lying; choices of putting my marriage first above all else, including my personal needs, for the benefit of "us".

I would like to say that I have confidence that my choices have been good for me and for her and for our relationship and our family. I would like to say that I have learned that there is no better path than the one I'm on. I would like to say that I have all the answers for any married card-carrying Mormon man who also is gay. I would like to be able to bear my testimony about these things. Yet, I can't say any of those things confidently. I'm still trying to figure it out.

After a year of trying to do what I felt was the "right thing to do" for me, why do I still feel so conflicted? Is there no assurance? Can there ever be peace? When does this battle cease?


NOTE to me: The next post will try to spell out the lessons I've learned, the good that has come, the reason for continuing on this path or not. I hope to then analyze the bad that has come as well, and maybe try to come to terms with where I'm going from here, maybe with some adjustments and re-evaluate "what I want". Warning to myself: this may get ugly!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reap a habit...

"Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

So, when does one's action (or inaction) become a habit that can affect one's character and maybe one's destiny? Is it a month? two months? three months? A year? I remember hearing something about being committed to something for three months and getting through that period will establish the "habit".

Well, it's been three months now since I went cold turkey on my journey into the world of Internet eye-candy (note: if you're not up to speed - I'm talking the PG-13 hot guys on non-adult sites). Three months without a hiccup. Three months without those guys staring back at me. Three months of temptation, but not succumbing to those temptations. This is a goal that I have set and I still feel good about this goal. I set it in April thinking that I'd try the cyber-celibacy for three months.

And I made it!

So now what?

So is it a habit? Am I there? Did I make it? If I made it this long, can I keep it going?

And how has this changed me? Some changes I've noticed:

1. I feel more confident in myself, more in control.

2. I don't need the "hot guy fix" (hgf) to make it through the day. I can do it without the morning and afternoon HGF.

3. I have much more time to be more productive in my day. I'm actually getting more work done in a quicker amount of time. I haven't worked late into the evening for some time now.

4. I'm feeling less guilt, adjusting my "habits" to better match my goals for my life as a whole. Thus, I'm more at peace (as peaceful as an angsty guy can be).

5. I'm becoming more comfortable in liking the beauty of real guys instead of the super-beautiful cyber-images. I will always like the view!

6. I'm spending more time with the family instead of lurking in the basement (not sure if it's quality time, but at least it's "more" time).

All that said, I know the HGF is still out there to be had. It's ready within a click to come back into my life. And I still want it. The desire is still there to "enjoy the view" and "partake" more freely. I really want it! After all, I'm still a frustrated gay active-and-believing Mormon guy in a MOM with all the associated complications. I would be lying if I said the desire wasn't still there. Yes, it's there, and most likely always will be.

But just as a long time ago I committed to be faithful to my wife and not have a sexual relationship with another man, I've now chosen to be HGF-clean. And if I've made it three months, why not another three, and yet another three?

The other "habit" I've made now 10 months is no longer having meetings with fellow MOHOs behind my wife's back (more on that in the next post).

Is this crazy? Or should I just cave to the cravings and justify it by saying that it's no big deal, that I'm a gay guy with needs, and this is a pretty innocent, adolescent, non-damaging way to deal with those needs?

It's probably crazy... but hey, I'm okay with that. I'm doing good. I'm happy. I'm not shaking with sweaty hands and suffering from headaches and anxiety attacks. And I'm not going to beat myself up if I fall off the HGF wagon.

It's all cool.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -- Aristotle

So then, why do I feel so delusional?

Friday, July 16, 2010

A rare concert!

I went to a simply amazing concert last night. I rarely ever go to concerts, but when two of my favorite folk/pop artists came to town in a reunion tour, I just had to go!

And I was not disappointed. It was an unforgettable experience. To have Carole King and James Taylor together on the same stage with the same original band playing a mix of their oldies and goodies with a new twist with the magical blend of their silky voices was a joy. Super fantastic!

And to go and be there enjoying each mesmerizing note with my sweetheart just made it all that more special.

Yes, we are lost in the 70s and can't get out of that decade. Give me some slack. This was my coming-of-age decade... and in many ways, I haven't moved past it. But to see the energy and genuineness of two 60-somethings performing like 20-somethings was quite an inspiration to longevity and genius. They did not embarrass themselves for staying past their prime! They were in their prime!

Enough exclamation points... just wanted to share how happy this event has made me feel on an otherwise difficult week, and how grateful I am to share it with my wife at my side... more on that later.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The "Gods Must Be Crazy" Phenomenon...

If you knew me, really knew me, you would probably define me as being quite shy and introverted. My whole life I have been content to work alone and do my own thing. Social settings, particularly new ones, are very awkward for me (as they probably are for most) and I don't thrive on being the center of attention.

At the same time, I am able to rise above this natural tendency and be extroverted on an "as needed basis". For example, when my profession demands me to step up and do an oral presentation or interview and sell myself and my business, I am able to do so with confidence and passion and for the most part have been able to do so quite successfully. Or, when my church calling requires the same for me to be friendly and outgoing and loving of strangers and the lonely, I am able to put myself out there and overcome my shyness and lose myself in the "work".

Some see only the professional me at an interview confidently presenting my ideas, while others see only the church-calling me teaching gospel principles with ease and reaching out to the "one" effortlessly, and they think that this must be the "real me". In reality, it is hard for me to do it. But I can, and I enjoy when just for a moment I can be better than the natural shy me by extending myself beyond my comfort zones.

Why is it, then, that I can't do this to great looking, strong and beautiful men? Case in point: My sprinkler guy (the one who has triggered my current "gay pon farr"). My sprinkler guy (MSG) is one of the extremely beautiful, confident, strong men that we all love to just look at and adore. I met him a year ago last spring when he was recommended to work on some irrigation problems on our hillside.
To use a tired phrase that suits him completely - he is "drop dead gorgeous". It was all I could do last year to keep from staring at him and admiring him... his smile, his perfect rock-solid build, his sparkling eyes, his humility. I think the most beautiful thing about him is that he doesn't seem to know that he is so beautiful. His confidence and manner of carrying himself is strong, yet very polite, while his attitude is kind and sensitive. There is no arrogance or "better than you so don't even try to get to know the likes of me" aura about him. And maybe that's what I find so endearing.

Needless to say, last spring was a joy to behold his beauty... but he made me feel so introverted. He made me tongue-tied as I stumbled and stuttered when I spoke to him. I became nervous and uncomfortable and embarrassingly shy as I stood near him. He made me feel so awe-struck that it was difficult to function. I couldn't switch on my extroverted personality that I usually can "as needed". I was a total bumbling fool...

It's like the scene from "The Gods Must Be Crazy" where the field research zoologist becomes a bumbling idiot when he is in the presence of the new school teacher, and his whole world turns to disaster just seeing her. That's what it felt like.

Fast forward to last week... I had been digging in the garden and dug too deeply and broke a sprinkler pipe. So, I hesitated, but at my wife's insistence, I called MSG and to my surprise, he came that same day. When he knocked on my door, I answered and immediately began to babble and bumble my way through the description of the broken pipe, pointing awkwardly with my shaking and sweaty index finger to the garden on the hillside. MSG was ever more beautiful than before. His white smile, his sparkling eyes, his strong, golden-tanned toned body in a perfectly tight white tee-shirt... and he sported a little bit of a new, cute, small, golden-blond soul patch on his chin. It was de ja vue all over again. I became a complete idiot. He was so polite and kind and helpful, and maybe he felt something this time about me being so shy as he attempted to finish my incomplete sentences.

As I think about it, I get this way on a construction site, too. All my confidence and authority goes out the window when a great-looking guy walks into the construction trailer and I lose it.

So, is it just me, or is it common for you to become a complete idiot and introvert when you are talking with a really drop-dead gorgeous guy? Why do I do this? How come I can't turn on my extrovert-button and extend myself with more confidence when I'm around such guys? Why do I feel so stupid and bumbling? What's wrong with me? Is this still adolescent stuff that I can't get past? When in the world am I going to grow up and move on into adulthood and control my own destiny of my emotions?

Monday, July 05, 2010

A weekly ritual of renewal...

I was going to blog about the trigger that went off in my head for my current gay pon farr, but have decided to delay that post a few days...

Instead, I want to point out, at least to myself, how grateful I am for the Sabbath, how healing and soothing and refreshing the Sabbath is to the soul. The nine hours of service, and offering encouragement, genuine kindness, warm smiles, affectionate hugs, fellowship, blessings, settings-apart, brotherhood hitting and sisterhood embracing, confidence-building, widow-assisting, etc., the opportunity to fast with a purpose and to end the fast with a kneeling prayer and confirmation of the Lord watching over my family and kids. It's such an amazing and simple thing.

So, how do I post one day about running around in a speedo, or even less, and feeling so conflicted, and then the next day I post something like this? Well, it's complicated, and it remains so!

In a real sense, I'm just as much the one boy as I am the other. I get caught up in my attractions and become wigged out over so many things, and then I have a day each week where it all comes back into perspective. This weekly ritual of leaving the worries behind, coming to the altar and renewing the spirit, and reconnecting with what is important - the basics of service, kindness, selflessness - they all come together in a merciful and grace-filled way.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy 4th!!!




p.s. No offense intended for posting these photos. It's just the mood I'm in. I think a gay pon farr is coming on! :) I thought I was beyond this... but I'm not... I want to sport a patriotic speedo and run through the streets screaming - or better yet, maybe sporting nothing at all! AARRRGGHHH!!! Now that would make for some unforgettable fireworks in the neighborhood...

heavy sigh...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

You still wonder...

So it's your anniversary? What's a guy supposed to do?

You linger in bed a little longer. She wakes you with a kiss and anniversary wish. And one thing leads to another... ending with a huge smile, a happy, heavy sigh, a bit of exhaustion, and a great follow-up cuddle. All is well with the universe and the gods smile down upon you. (This wasn't always the case - far from it. Most suggestions were met with frustration, non-interest, even out-right rejection. But, fortunately, it's different now).

You get off work early and pick up the special flowers at your favorite shop around the corner. You surprise her with your thoughtfulness and she greets you with a warm embrace and affectionate kiss and you dance a little in the kitchen, her arms draped around you.

You decide to "recommit your wedding vows", and you both dress up and find yourselves kneeling at the altar of the temple repeating the words "yes" at the appropriate time, again and again, yes in proxy for others, but more importantly recommitting for each other, staring into her eyes seeing her stare into yours - both seeing eternity.

You end the evening at a quiet restaurant, a romantic corner for two, with favorite foods and fond memories of the decades spent together cascading through the evening's conversation.

On the ride home, you hold hands in the car. You are quiet. All is well... She then says softly:

"I feel things are becoming right between us. Don't you?"

"Yes, I do," you respond, not sure of all of the meanings behind her words.

There is another silent pause of contemplation.

Then she adds: "I think you are coming back to me again. Am I right?"

"I am here!" you reply a bit emphatically.

"It's like we are learning all over again, and reconnecting. I'm not so afraid of the "boys" anymore. And that's a good thing."

"The boys?" you ask hesitantly.

"Yes, you know, your boyfriends from your past. I'm feeling okay. You're okay with it?"

"I haven't done anything more with them."

"I understand that. I'm just saying that I'm feeling okay with things as they are between us."

"I'm glad."

Nothing more is said. You wonder if you should have said something about still desiring "boyfriends" in your life, but you decide that now is not the time to discuss such a topic - not on this day, not at the end of a nice romantic evening (and morning) together.

You keep thinking about her intended unspoken message. Was it one of restoring trust and telling you that she's okay with you being who you are, and that she loves you all the more? Or was it saying that she felt you were moving beyond the need for "boyfriends" and that is why she's okay with them now?

You don't know. You wonder.

Yet, you are grateful for a wonderful day, and a celebration of a wonderful thing - 29 years of marriage. Not many MOMs can say that. You're an anomaly for sure, a rare breed, the exception to the rule, the "miracle". You don't feel that way, but statistics reveal the truth. And you shake your head and wonder - is there hope for the future, even eternity? Can you make it? Is it worth it? Will it last?

Funny thing is, you can't keep a vision of the same events celebrating the same day with the pronoun of "she" changing to "he" playing out the same play in your head.

You sigh... Despite it all, you still can't help but wonder. Some may tell you that you continue to fool yourself. Others try to convince you that you can't be truly happy - no gay man can truly be happy stuck in a mixed-oriented marriage. It just isn't possible! That said, you end the day grateful for the "she" in your life and the miracle that is your beating-the-odds of 29 years together.