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!


Andy said...

I can't believe it. Your story is so similar to mine. Likewise it has been a year for my wife and I. It is extremely difficult to be open and honest when someone spends a lifetime learning how to put this part of their life into a safe little box that very few are allowed to see. Opening that box up for inspection by those close to you is extremely painful. Once open you never have this place you can go to when life gets too much and where you have learned to restore your sanity. You can't rebuild yourself a box because you realize that no matter how hard life seems at the moment, it was much worse before when you were hiding and denying anything was amiss.

Conflicted? I'm not sure that part can ever go away. You're gay, your married to a woman, there will be emotional issues in dealing with that. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying it's reality. I choose to deal with that reality rather than with the reality of living separate from my kids and my wife. Either road will have it's rough spots, so I choose to have them with my family. Fortunately, my wife feels the same way so much of the battle is already won. I can't go back and undo what's done, so the only decision is which course do I want to take at the present.
I feel bad my wife has to deal with this now also. She is the strong one. She has to learn to live in a situation that is totally foreign to her. I honor her for that.

Church. That's where I feel conflicted. I'm a good guy. I love my wife and kids. I'm not flawed as am. I'm not going to get over who I am, ever. And I mean forever and ever. Where does this leave my wife and kids? If god is good, then all will work out in an end that I cannot yet see.

Have faith in yourself and in your efforts. It is hard. But it is also an honorable path to take. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

Ned said...

My dear friend and brother Beck,

I relate to so many of the things you've written about. I've also been blessed and have remained conflicted as I have tried be supportive of those I love--my wife, my immediate and extended families, my friends.

I have been rewarded in many ways but it is nonetheless a mixed bag of undeniable blessings, emergent blessings and stuff you spread in your garden to make it grow.

Thank you for continuing to write. Thank you for seeking that illusive balance of being true to your loved ones and yourself, upholding the values of your heritage (most of them anyway) and honoring your own experience and what you have found to be true as you have lived your life.

Thank you for your friendship, your honesty, your good heart, your strength in making difficult choices, seeking, striving and succeeding to honor promises made, difficulties faced, and promises re-affirmed. I'm looking forward to your next post.

[[[[[big Beck-like hug]]]]]

Wyatt said...

Sending you my love and support and wellness.

Allow yourself to feel the worthiness of who you are in this moment. You are complete and whole and you should bask in that knowledge everyday.


Rex said...

Beck, I think that being conflicted is wonderful. It means I'm still alive and breathing. I think that's what life is all about. I'm impressed with how you are dealing with it. No matter which way you turn, if you are always this honest with yourself, you'll be a healthy guy. I like it.

I've been through all of this. Just had my 33rd anniversary. I'm still with her. I still struggle. I still write about it.

I still am in personal conflict about a great many things, but I've finally learned that it's the tension between conflicting desires that makes my life so interesting to me. I'd be deadly bored without it. In fact, through many years of living it just within my head, I felt my mind dying. I've come alive in the past sixteen years that I've been willing to be honest with myself about it. It has awakened my mind, First few years were hard, but now I like who I am. I hope that no matter which way you go in life, you'll end up liking who you are.

J G-W said...

What do you mean by conflicted?

It seems like, in some ways, you've found some real stability in your relationship with your wife.

Samantha said...

You know this--I'm saying it anyway :-).

Hymn 129

Beck said...

ANDY: Thank you for your encouragement and sense of hope. I do have faith and do feel confident that I can see this to the end, and be well and sane for doing so.

NED: You've been part of this last year in more ways than you'd like to admit, I'm sure, and I'm grateful for your continued friendship through the roller coaster of ups and downs of emotions. But, is this ride worth it? Big Beck hugs in return!

WYATT: You use of "wellness" and "worthiness" jump out at me. I feel them at times, but not always, not completely, and I appreciate the thoughts of embracing the joy of life and the confirming affirmation that I am whole and complete as I am.

Beck said...

REX: If you can do it 33 years, so can I! I'm at 29, with 5 years out, and 1 year more fully out. One day at a time. One day at a time trying to like who I am... and the path I'm on.

JGW: I am on a good path. I have received answers and confirmations that what is happening is good. I feel blessings and affirmations of my choices (more on that to come), and for the most part, life is good and wonderful and miraculous. I am partnered with a loving, compassionate, understanding and supportive companion that is a constant source of goodness and blessing in my life. So where's the conflict? The conflict remains... I still have longings, desires to have real male relationships that go beyond friendships, I long for intimacy. I still feel confused about why this part of me, despite the increase in good and wholeness and calm that governs my life, hasn't diminished. Thus, where is the peace? Where is the solace? Where is the lessening of angst?

It is good. I am trying to point out that this past year has been better than before, that my experiments on restraint and being patient, and enduring well, have brought fruits of the spirit, strength beyond measure, ability to be calm, but never to completeness.

And I realize that is just life. That is the challenge of living. And I wouldn't want it any other way!

Beck said...

SAM: Thanks for the reminder. I particularly like the second verse:

Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know,
Where can I run?

Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

I know I tire of the aching, of the languish, of needing to know the never-ending quest of that eternal "why me", and I seek to run away.

But, in the quiet and calm, I do know that He knows me, and He is there, and peace comes for a moment before I return again.

Constant he is and kind,
Love without end!

J G-W said...

I guess there's conflict and there's conflict... To feel you've made your choice, and are sticking with it, but still experiencing certain longings is different from not knowing whether you will stick with your choice or not. It seems like you've definitely moved into the former and away from the latter... And are finding peace in it. That's not what I would call "conflict" so much any more... Though I'm sure it still feels like conflict..!

J G-W said...

I'm grateful you're finding more peace, by the way... Truly, truly grateful. I have been praying for you for this for a long time.

Beck said...

JGW: No, it isn't the "conflict" of before, and really, it isn't a conflict of choice. But, it is still there, and it doesn't go away. But, there is peace in choice, and I've made it... Thank you so very much for your sensitivity and for your prayers on my behalf. I have felt strength this past year that gives me courage and encouragement to continue on.