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.


Ned said...

First, Congratulations!

Second, I would say that no man can truly be happy if he feels stuck in any kind of marriage. Choice is a such an important factor in happiness-- "I'm not married because I am stuck with this person, rather I'm happy because we've both chosen each other." But there are so many other factors: commitment of the partners, careers, compatibility, children, extended family, neighbors, community, spirituality, independence, mental physical financial spiritual intellectual health and well being, and supportive friendships to name a few.

Third, congrats again!

Mister Curie said...

Congratulations on 29 years together. That is amazing!

Beck said...

NED: In so many ways I do not feel "stuck". I feel blessed and amazed to be so fortunate to have this wonderful eternal partner at my side. There are "so many other factors" and those add layers upon layers of connections that keep a relationship going.

This blog post wasn't to have a downer aspect to it as much as to reiterate that as "good" as it is, it is still "complicated".

It is my choice. Yet, I can't help but ask myself why there is a twinge of "stuckness".

MR. CURIE: Thanks to you and Ned for your congrats. I don't know if I should be praised or amazed for the tenacity. But, I am still making it work on many levels and I'm here to say that despite it all (all that goes with a MOM) it can be done.

Best wishes for you and Madame Curie.

Longtime Lurker said...


Who knew that such an intimate post would be the one to bring me out of lurkdom? To my ear, your narrative speaks sweetly and clearly, and it's not even close to my anniversary.

We wonder because we're human, and we choose because we're human. Mortality is messy for everbody. In other words, it's always complicated whether we're male or female, black or white, gay or straight, Mormon or Muslim, married or single, young or old, comely or plain. As Ned suggests, joy is something we choose, and joy comes at unexpected moments after our choosing and after we realize that because we get to choose we're not really "stuck with" the choice and we move on.

Beck, many days, you've helped me move on, and I appreciate it. I agree that "you still wonder" and that's what makes life not only complicated but also wonderful. Cheers!

Bravone said...

Congratulations my friend! I totally agree with Ned and Longtime Lurker.

Here's to 29 more!

Public Loneliness said...

Congratulations, when you've managed to do something so outstanding for 29 years, it doesn't matter how it has happened. A (non-alcoholic) toast to you Beck!!

Beck said...

LONGTIME LURKER: What did I say that drew you out into the light? I appreciate so much your kind and sensitive response. I would hope that you would be drawn out even more and comment more.

It is incredible thinking that there are some who actually still read the drivel that I type about this saga I call my life, now over four years. And it's even more incredible that they find value or help from what I've written.

So, I'm curious - how I have helped you to "move on"?

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Cari auguri anche a te e a tua moglie!

PL: With the average age of this community being LESS than these 29 years of marriage, it makes it seem like quite the feat for "managing" it this long. How "outstanding" I've done it remains to be seen. I've made my share of mistake along the way, but thanks for the "toast". I appreciate the encouragement.

MoHoHawaii said...

I read this post several times across several days. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it.

It sounds as if there is a slight tug of war going on between her and your allowance for your gay identity. Generalizing grossly, we could say that she wants restoration of the relationship she thought she had all those years, which was taken from her when you came out. She wants to roll back the clock. You, on the other hand, want to be a gay man married to a woman. That is, you want to keep your existing marriage, but you want a certain amount of freedom within that marriage to be a less filtered, gayer version of yourself in your intimate conversations with your spouse and potentially in some other ways (none of which would be law of chastity issues-- we're talking about OGTs not sex).

You probably need to tell her this. Going back into the closet within your marriage will just bring back all the angst you've spent so much effort getting rid of.

Just my $0.02.

Anonymous said...

A lovely post, and one that initially gave me some hope. I sense that you and your wife have come a long, long way. That is amazing and wonderful, and yes, congratulations.

However, I wonder why you included the picture you did at the end? I am the wife of a man who struggles with SSA. I don't expect his SSA to ever go away entirely in this life, but I do expect him to work through it (with me) in such a way that it retreats into the background of our relationship. When I saw the picture, I felt the way I imagine my husband would feel if I had had an affair with another man and then kept the love letters, you know?

Your post honors so much of the many layers that strengthen your relationship, and I think it's important that we acknowledge all of the positive factors in our marriages (this is true for all marriages, is it not?). So, why the picture?

Yet, I am not saying we should not be forthright in articulating how we got from point A to point B, even when that journey involves great struggle. I am not saying it is healthy to bury our emotions. I appreciate your acknowledging the 'stuckness.' Of course you feel this. Anyone with challenges does. Remember, we are in a mortal world. Mortal temptations shouldn't feel natural to us. I often think of the quote: "We are not mortal beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a mortal experience."

Yet those temptations that so easily beset us seem to never completely go away. This does not mean we aren't being faithful, because we experience feelings of temptation. Even Jesus suffered those feelings, yet, he paid them no heed.

The great blessing in all this is that because of these mortal experiences, acknowledging our weakness and our dependence on Him, we have the opportunity to draw near to our Heavenly Father and His truths in ways that would not be possible otherwise. Heavenly Father knew this mortal experience would allow for this.

I applaud your honesty and your showing others what is possible when we apply these truths. It is almost mind-boggling to think that a mixed-orientation marriage is even possible. You show others that with commitment, great challenges can be overcome. I wish you continued success in your marriage.

PS -- I apologize for the length of this comment, and I pray it does not offend. I have not read your entire blog, so I am sure you probably addressed these very issues, with greater eloquence and meaning, then I have. If my words seem redundant to what you have previously written, then please consider them a simple affirmation of faith.

Mister Curie said...

From Gochros' book, "When Husbands Come Out of the Closet" on why some MOMs succeed:

"Happier wives tended to have husbands who were either less active homosexually or who had impersonal encounters rather than love relationships. . .Rather than the degree of a husband's homosexuality, it seemed to be his degree of heterosexuality - or at least his ability to find hetersexual satisfaction, his love for his wife, and his ability to show empathy and regard for a wife's needs, rights, and feelings that were crucial factors. . . . The husband retained a primary committment to the wife both emotionally and sexually, no matter how homosexually active he might be. The wife felt listened to, heard, understood, loved, and treated fairly. Communication was increased. . . The sexual relationship was maintained and usually good. . . Contracts were kept, and when minor problems arose, the husband was able to both assert his own needs and compromise to meet the wife's." (pages 131-133).

Sounds like you are doing much of this right in your relationship. Keep up the good work! BTW, I highly recommend this book for everyone in a MOM to read. I recognize so much of my own marriage in this book and find it helpful in knowing what issues to anticipate and how to better respond to continue strengthening my own MOM.

Longtime Lurker said...

This post brought me out (at least to comment) because I sensed such happiness in it.

I should have said "move forward" rather than "move on." "Move on" sometimes connotes dismiss, and I don't mean we ever dismiss the complications. Instead, I think we embrace them and move forward.

And now it's time for me to move backward to my lurking.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I concur completely with your concern. It is one of my major concerns as well. I think she would like me to retreat. I have retreated quite a bit lately in attempts to restore trust and give her a basis upon which we can go forward. I am not retreating back to the angst-driven denial state. I can never, nor do I ever want to go back to that.

However, my scheming and meeting up with guys behind her back really destroyed a lot of trust in our relationship, and retreating from that, honoring her wishes in that regard, in efforts to restore trust and move forward, is where we are. It is a slow process...

Beck said...

ANON: I'm sorry the post disturbed you. My blog is not a perfect picture of life. It is still a compilation of emotions and feelings that I express here and nowhere else, where I am still conflicted in many ways.

I have always used photos and images to portray the meaning that words oft times do not. They are for me. They are an expression of me.

This particular photo for me demonstrates the conflict inside me where I see a male-male relationship as still a possibility, a desire, a want. As much as I have progressed, that desire is still there. And as much as I have chosen not to pursue it, the photo shows the conflict and the beauty, the forbidden and the longing all in one.

I am not over this longing. I'm still dealing with it and "struggling" (as much as we all hate that word) to move on and accept my choices.

I do feel I am making progress. If you go back four years in my blog I hope you will see the progress that I feel I have made.

But I'm not the poster child of the perfect MOM relationship. I'm not the poster child of a perfect church-going, card-carrying active and testimony-bearing member (though I am all of those). I still have not arrived, and I guess subconsciously, the photo shows that I'm not there yet, I haven't left it behind, and I've got more rows to hoe before the day is done.

Again, I'm sorry for the offense, but in reality, I am still holding on to those "love letter thoughts" of a "thought-affair" and someday maybe I'll be able to completely move on and be happy without looking back...

But, this day, isn't that day, just yet.

Thanks for your encouragement and willingness to step up and comment. It gives me reason to keep blogging.

Beck said...

MC: Great quote. I need to find the book and read more. I'm trying to find that magical balance of my needs verses her needs, without going completely backward (as MOHOH has warned) and yet not abandoning the idea of going forward. It will take more time and dialog... It ain't easy!

LURKER: Thanks. I like "moving forward" better than "moving on". I appreciate your response. Go back to lurking, but don't hesitate to emerge from the darkness every now and then when the urge strikes.

robert said...

I am intrigued that you wrote this post not in the first or third person, but in the second person.

It is an interesting choice...

I fathom the words "its complicated" to describe most every deep and careful relationship.

Why we would desire anything less seems somehow kind of shallow and depressing.

Beck said...

ROBERT: I don't exactly know why I wrote this in 2nd person. It just came out that way, wanting it to be an "everyman" situation where the "you" could be the reader being in this situation, I guess.

"Why we would desire anything less seems somehow shallow and depressing" .... I couldn't agree. And "it's complicated" does not necessarily mean it's bad... it just isn't black and white and that makes life interesting, intriguing and worth getting up each day to go at it again.

Anonymous said...

I applaud your wonderful journey, your perseverance, your testimony. Moving forward is a wonderful phrase. I acknowledge the feeling of "I'm not there yet." Such honesty. I have found it difficult not to hang onto worldly desire, too. And, that the righteous desires of your heart can triumph over this ... thank you, and thank you for your wonderful post regarding the Sabbath.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

SARAH: I am so glad that you posted and are reading blogs again after your "leave of absense". Speaking, I'm sure, for all of us, we as a community are hoping and praying that you and Scott are well and that Sebastian is a miracle and joy to your lives.

As for your comment here, yes, there is still conflict. And that conflict is (and most likely always will be) here. But that conflict does not mean that I am miserable and unhappy. I am not. There was supposed to be great joy and satisfaction in this post as well, and maybe that didn't come through as much as I wanted it to.

When I knelt across the altar from my wife and said those words and looked into those mirrors and contemplated those promises and realized I saw joy and hope and understanding and love in HER eyes for me, it made it all worth it. I don't say this to make you jealous. But it was a wonderful experience and I don't know why we hadn't done that before on our anniversary. It really did bond us to each other, despite my "conflict" and maybe BECAUSE OF my "conflict".

I know that MOHOH would like me to have more freedom to explore and be able to fulfill some of my desires of attraction, and frankly, I wish I could, too. But, I am convinced that in the long run, that will not be the best for me and my family. It may be best for some aspects of me, but not for the whole of me. My wife's concerns are real. She knows me. She, more than anyone else, knows how I get attached to people and I can get way out of balance with my priorities very easily. She is truly trying to understand, but her feelings of wanting me close to her and concentrating on her are wise and prudent and good for me, for us, for our family.

Your post has given me lots to think about. I may post more later.

Right now my thoughts are with you as you and Scott adjust to the new situations you are in and the journey you are on together.

Sarah said...

I'm not sure that I am back. I just peek in here and there once in a while.

Beck, you have such a great way with words. Thank you for your encouragement. Our new little one is a miracle in so many ways. I will try to focus on that, and have faith in the prayers of so many that we will figure this all out.

Meanwhile, I wish you well. That your happiness and contentment will increase and your conflict continue to lessen. I'm happy that things are going so well for you and your wife.

Thanks again.