Friday, August 27, 2010

Googling clueless Beck!

It is rare that I do this, but the other day, I googled my “blog-self” wondering what others might find if they searched for “Beck”. Initially, most links take you back to the MOHO community. What was interesting, however, is I found a discussion about ME on a site called that intrigued me. Typically I don’t find myself fascinating and so to find complete strangers discussing me and my blog among themselves, one using my mixed-oriented marriage to make her point, was creepy, and introspective, to say the least.

A person identified as “Holly” said this about me:
“While it’s by no means a hard and fast rule that “a man who lacks the ability to emotionally connect with his wife must therefore be gay,” I don’t think it’s an unreasonable inference in certain situations. As many people can (unfortunately) attest, being forced or expected to engage in sexual intimacy with a person for whom you feel little desire can cause resentment, anger and emotional isolation…. (It) reminds me somewhat of something described in this blog entry about a mixed orientation marriage”… (which she then quotes my blog from about a year ago where I spoke of my struggles in meeting my wife’s sexual needs).

She continues: “The biggest difference is that this guy (Beck) at least CARES that he can’t bond with his wife in the ways she needs… This to me is AN EVIL. Beck, the guy who wrote the entry, might not be an evil man. But the whole situation is WRONG, destructive, and the result of a society which is, in and of itself, contemptuous of women and misogynist.
“And there are obviously things he doesn’t understand about being in love, due to the fact that he’s never been in a relationship with someone he’s in love with. Some of the questions he poses amaze me, and I think, “If you’d ever really been in love yourself, YOU WOULD GET WHAT THIS FEELS LIKE.”

Then, another person comments to her comment:
“I don’t think marriage or love is always the same – or that all couples experience it the same way. What it sounds to me like you are saying is that in a specific situation where a man knows he is gay but still marries a woman (because of his religious beliefs) – that it is not being fair to either partner but especially the woman in that relationship? That it discounts the feelings of the woman in that relationship? That such a relationship is inherently misogynist?
“I would argue that it discounts both partners’ feelings, and may make them both miserable. I think relationships and marriages are complicated, and that people change.
“But I do think it’s disingenuous for a religion to tell a gay man that he has to marry a woman for exaltation, or a gay woman that she needs to marry a man.”

And then Holly response:
“My point was more along the lines of what you discuss in the second half of your comment–that MOM’s (mixed orientation marriages), particularly in Mormon culture, at least when the spouse with the non-complimentary orientation is a gay man, are rooted in misogyny and a sense of male entitlement.

“Keep in mind that in most of the gay-man/straight women MOMs, it is the gay man who courts and proposes to the straight woman, who often doesn’t find out until AFTER the ceremony that she didn’t get what she thought (or at least hoped) she was getting, namely, a husband with whom she could establish a rewarding sex life–in other words, I’m saying she’s been deceived, typically by a guy who thinks that it’s his right to deceive her, because what really matters is that he uphold his own priesthood, not that he treat a woman honorably or well. I include the post from Beck as proof that, because these gay men are typically very young, inexperienced virgins when they get married and thus have never been in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with someone they’re in love with, they have NO CLUE the extent of the cruelty they’re inflicting on their wives.”

So, from this I gather:

1. I am not necessarily EVIL, though I could be, but since they don't know me personally they wouldn't say so, but...

2. What I am doing (being in a mixed-oriented marriage and making my wife stuck with half-a-man husband) is EVIL!

3. I really don't know what romance or true love is...

4. I am using my priesthood position of authority and personal beliefs over my wife...

5. What I am doing is cruel...

6. I really don't have a clue...

So, as a clueless, evil and cruel priesthood authoritarian doing my duty and keeping my wife in a loveless marriage because I was told to do so by some evil belief system that put me in this lie of a situation in the first place, and now I can't get out, and neither can she, and I remain unable to love for I don't know how... I'm wondering to myself... what have I done? Have I done all this to my wife? Am I keeping her imprisoned in this loveless, clueless marriage?

I talk in my past couple of posts about "what I want" and about the "needs" I have that can't be fulfilled in my marriage with my wife, and yet getting what I want may not be possible within the current framework of our marriage. So, what does she want? What does she need?

I've asked her that. She wants me to want her. And she needs me to need her, all of her. I've tried to do that to the best of my ability. I say I love her and that I am doing this because of the love I have for her.

But maybe, just maybe, Holly is right... Maybe I have never, ever found or felt or experienced true love (for otherwise why would I be questioning if I had?) and so how could I ever put myself (half-a-man that I am) to satisfy her wants and her needs?

I really don't know love at all.
I talk about "love" when it comes to bromantic relationships. I talk about "love" when I describe my relationship with Thomas or Fabrizio, my Italian "friends". I talk about "love" with even some of you MOHOs out there. But what do I really know of love? Infatuation, maybe? Crushes, for sure! Adolescent flirting, most definitely. Devotion, I would hope. But real and true passionate love?

I must be a liar. Or I'm clueless. Or worse, I am both. And I really, truly don't understand love. Or if I had experienced it, I'd know what it was by now.

That's good to know. Because right now, that hits home!

And I wonder... who do you see of this "Beck"? Why are you here wallowing in my decrepit, lie-strewn life with a loveless relationship where I've created the hopelessness and cluelessness because of those lies?

And where can I find real love so that I'll stop longing and asking - instead, I'll just simply know!


Daniel said...

When I google clueless Beck, all I get are articles about Glenn.

I have to confess that when I was coming to terms with my sexuality and began reading moho blogs, yours was one that helped me decide I never wanted to marry a woman. For me, you described a certain hell I could understand and didn't want.

Having said that, I don't believe that the people having this conversation about mixed orientation marriages have the same emotional insight into them that you or another moho might have. I don't think mixed orientation marriages are evil, maliciously intended, or without real love. I simply believe they are challenging and painful in ways I want to avoid.

I think this is actually a case where they weren't having a discussion about YOU, they were having a discussion about a type of relationship they were generalizing, and they used a portion of something you said to back up their generalizations. I wouldn't take their conclusions as insights into yourself as a person.

Wyatt said...

All I'm saying is that you know that I know what it's like. I was married to a woman. I was raised Mormon and I went on a mission and was dedicated to making my wife happy at all costs and to sacrificing my own happiness for the rituals of Mormon theology.

I've been there.

I know what it's like.

And now, from this perspective: gay, out, open, loving, trusting, living in love with another man and happy - I have no regrets, only that I didn't come out sooner.

"Come on in the water's fine." Well, not 'fine' more like sensational and a consistent thread of joy and elation.


Anonymous said...

It really pisses me off when other people, even those in similar circumstances, believe their situations and experiences apply to everyone else. People are different, marriages are different, relationships are different, experiences are different.

I'm married to a woman and I might not know what it feels like to be enraptured by a wild and passionate love... but I do know what it feels like to enveloped in a pure, simple, sweet, caring, devoted, divine love built on mutual understanding and respect. I am truly happy and as every day progresses, I am more sure of marriage than I've ever been. But of course, this is is just me, in my situation, with my experience and expectations, with my wife and her experience and expectations, which are different than those of people in other mixed-orientation marriages.

Beck said...

DANIEL: I'm glad that I'm a good example for something - even if it is a good example in what NOT to do! :)

I'm aware that they were not discussing me directly, but more the concept of MOMs. And yet, being the source of an example to make their point of what "not" to do did hit home and I can't help but think about the terms used applying directly to me.

It was more just a side-note, but it was interesting to see my blog being used as a discussion point.

Hopefully, I can be a "good example" of what TO DO as well, especially for those who are already in a MOM, who came out way late in life, and who are trying to do the best they can with their current situations.

WYATT: I'm seldom the guy who just dives in the lake without testing the water a bit. It takes some of us longer than others. Everything I've done on this front is slow - painfully slow like that proverbial paint drying I'm sure.

I know you've done the drill, the church, the mission, the marriage, the good Mormon boy, etc. And I'm happy for you in your current path. Can I ask, though, how's your x-wife doing? And what would you have done had you had teenage children?

Beck said...

LJM: Welcome to my blog. I think this is the first time I've seen you. I appreciate your story and look forward to knowing more about your MOM situation and how you are doing great and improving with your marriage.

I don't mean to say that they were wrong to use me as an example. I just found it interesting to see me in that situation with complete strangers.

But it did make me thing that others do feel in most cases that MOMs are evil, that men in the Church use their priesthood authority to justify their actions, that they are cruel and insensitive to the women involved in these marriages. It is something I didn't know about myself. :)

In reality, the experience I've seen of my own MOM and those of others in this community is not like that at all. In all cases, I've seen men who are very caring, sensitive and trying to make a difficult situation better for their spouse.

I've been trying to do that. And I feel the devotion, and sweet, caring, divine love that comes with companions that are committed to each other! I don't always emphasize this in my blog (as I use the blog to get out the angstyness) but the divine, sweet, caring, devotion is real and cannot be disputed, even if it may not be as fully "passionate" and "romantic" as true love may be.

But then, who am I to judge. I am a gay man in a MOM, and so most certainly I am clueless when it comes to knowing what true love is!

Bror said...

I love the first pic. It's interesting to see how Holly and the gang see your blog. You're anything but EVIL.

Beck said...

BROR: I don't feel evil. I don't feel like I've intentionally done anything to create a hell for my wife or to hold her hostage. We are better now than we were before I came out to her. As painful as that was, the living the unknown was "hell". This known existence of a MOM is better. We just need to work better at it.

But it's still funny to see how others view this chosed coexistence of codependence and devotion to each other as cruel, clueless, and evil.

Best wishes as you work through your next steps in your own MOM. You have been blessed with a cherished and sensitive wife! Cherish her!

Mister Curie said...

Beck, is a site for disaffected Mormons, many of whom have an angsty relationship with the church now (my wife and I regularly read and comment over there). I find that most of them think the church system perpetuates evils, rather than that individual members are evil. They no longer believe in the church, and thus have a very different view of the church. I doubt they would characterize you as evil, and rather say that the church system causes people to do evil acts (from their perspective) fully believing they are doing good things. The more of a believer you are, the worse it is. I suspect I know who "Holly" is and I would be happy to put you in contact with her if you'd like a discussion with her.

Beck said...

MC: Thanks for the clarification. I don't know that Holly would like to talk to me, but it would be interested to have an exchange of ideas.

Maybe she'd say that my not coming out to myself until I was 45 is, in and of itself, an evil that the church has done to me. I assume she would say that my naivety and ignorance of my sexuality was directly proportional to my belief in the church. In many ways, I would agree. I was ignorant and refused to believe what really was going on inside me for decades. I did make decisions that were consistent with my beliefs at the time. And that led me to marry a woman that I fell "in love" with. Sure, I married her because I was "supposed to" and that a good RM Mormon boy "does" those things.

But I did it because it felt good and right and wonderful, and I felt I was "in love" with her. I was not trying to hurt her. Yet, I was in denial and remained in denial for several decades... it was a different time and place. I was a different person then.

I was pretty innocent. But I wasn't cruel, or evil, and I don't blame the church for who I was then. I do believe the church culture did cultivate a naive boy who remained confused and struggling with himself for a very long time... I guess I can see where that could be viewed as "evil" for a religion to do that to me. But I choose not to be viewed as a victim.

I do choose to be more realistic and open about who I am today and I'm hoping that will help me to start making up for lost time, and start catching up for all those lost years of stunted development.

Adon said...

I know I have spent way too much time looking for answers and support in places that are unsupportive. I know I have spent way to much emotional energy on "worrying", "what ifs" and "whys". I agree with Lucky Jacob except he probably has experienced "wild and passionate love" in his marriage, at least as much as anyone has. Maybe our definition of love has been effected by what we see and hear in movies and read in books and yes, on the internet.

Mister Curie said...

I definitely identify with your response to me, Beck. I couldn't really accept that I am gay until I began to doubt the church. I also got married because I fell in love and it was the thing I was supposed to do according to the church. But its not belief in the church that keeps me married now or working to make my MOM succeed, its love that comes from combining one's life with another's life, facing challenges together, overcoming obstacles together, sharing in the joys and challenges of life, etc.

Bravone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bravone said...

Caro Beck,
I told you I would eventually catch up on blogs. It will take me a while. I totally relate to your comment to MC. I am of the same vintage!

I've thought a lot about 'falling in love,' 'being in love,' 'loving someone,' 'being loved by someone,' and the many variations of the word 'love.' I know what they mean to me, but think the English language is wholly inadequate in differentiating the various 'loves' we are capable of feeling.

Based on my own experiences, and reading many other blogs, I seriously question when you write,
"But then, who am I to judge. I am a gay man in a MOM, and so most certainly I am clueless when it comes to knowing what true love is!"

I don't buy it. I simply don't buy it.

It may be true that some of us in MOMs don't enjoy what we believe may be physically intoxicating. However, while sexual intimacy is critical to a successful marriage, I don't think it needs to be intoxicating to be wonderful, enough, satisfying, unifying, and holy. I don't think we need that experience to know 'what true love is.'

I think, and correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth, Daniel would agree that his relationship is much more than sexual. For me, being homosexual involves a deeper emotional and even spiritual need to bond with other men. I absolutely need that bond, and have had to find ways to fill that need in my life. As my MTC teacher, I saw you, at least partially, filling that need in your life

I also need and cherish the bond I have with my wife. I am fortunate enough to have a wife with whom I can now fully share my life, and who understands my need to have strong, healthy male relationships. I cannot live a balanced and happy life without her love anymore than I can without my close male relationships. The sexual intimacy is reserved for her.

I don't think I am superior to Daniel, Wyatt or anyone who finds love in a same sex relationship. I don't question their love and commitment for each other. If I hadn't been married for 25 years, been raised in the era I was, raised a family, and experienced what I have with my wife, I can see how I might have made some of the same choices.

I nearly lost my true love, thinking that I didn't know what 'love' was. Don't make the same mistake. Don't lose the tangible, real love you KNOW by searching for an allusive 'love' that you admit you don't understand.

Sai che ti voglio un sacco di bene. Prego ogni giorno per te e tua moglie. Prego che tu possa sentire lo spirito nella tua vita, e che possa sapere senza dubbio che la vita che vivi e la vita che Dio voglia per te.

Beck said...

ADON: Maybe I do want that passion that is a fabrication of my mind for whatever reason. That said, I'm still clueless. I will try to not worry about what I can't control, and concentrate on what I can.

MC: I am not necessarily at the point you are with the church, but, my continuing in my marriage is as much, if not more, a part of my desire for her companionship, overcoming obstacles together, working to create great things together, becoming better together, than simply doing so because the church and its promises say to do so. These are all real reasons that bring me joy and fulfillment in my marriage. The church has brought me joy and fulfillment as well.

I would be lying if I said that the church and its role in my life and the way it affects my beliefs, does not have an influence in what I do, including holding on to my marriage. But, that isn't the whole story... my marriage is one that I keep because we work on many levels as a great team, and it is that commitment to each other that keeps us going. If that ain't love, then again, I'm clueless../

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Know that when I said I was "clueless when it comes to knowing what true love is", I was being sarcastic, echoing their words, not mine.

Of course I think I know what love is... and that love has much to do with devotion, caring for the other more than yourself, common goals, cherishing and wanting the best for each other, sharing life's experiences and challenges together, parenting and raising children, building together a home and family, becoming one.

But this post is about how others view us in our MOMs. It is about how we are fooling ourselves to think that we know what true love is, if we are not passionately, sexually, emotionally connected completely and fully as only same-attraction can generate. Anything else is folly, no?

Of course relationships even of Daniel and Wyatt extend without a doubt into these other dimensions of "love". But, I would think their point, and all those outside a MOM would believe that we are missing something fundamental just because we are in a mixed-attraction relationship. And as such, we are clueless in what is "true love".

Your MTC teacher did what he did because he needed bonding with other males who understood him for who he was, the real "him". Your MTC teacher developed a habit of seeking out those male bonding experiences because he couldn't find that same thing in his marriage. Your MTC teacher finds himself still in that mode of operation... and can't move beyond that role-playing I was doing of surrogate connections 30 years ago.

I haven't grown up. I haven't improved... and maybe Holly is right here in her comments - maybe it has a lot to do with my church-based beliefs - that they have molded me into this mode of operation because I have no where else to go within those belief structures I've built up around me... I am boxed in a corner, and there is no way out! And so, I seek for that survival line of holding on to hope, holding on to any thread of a chance to pull this all together and survive the insanity of it all.

I'm sorry, but I am clueless as to what to do. I have allowed so much of who I say I am (and who I think I should be by what my beliefs instruct me to be) to dictate my behavior, and I see no way of getting out of the corner I'm in, other than to repeat the vicious cycle of it all...

Ti voglio bene assai.

Bravone said...


In my opinion, most of your 'angst' is due to your inability to fulfill your need for healthy male relationships because your wife is not comfortable acknowledging that you are gay, nor allowing you to fill the emotional and appropriate male intimacy you need. I think you know this, and realize that you partially blame yourself for possibly doing things in the past that might have caused her to question your loyalty.

I don't want to sound harsh, but she needs to get over it, forgive, and trust you again. She needs to become part of your healing process, and not just expect you to be part of her healing process.

I was unfaithful to my wife. You have not been. My wife not only forgave me, she offered her love, trust and support. We are on this journey together, and it is wonderful.

At one point, I promised her that I would never lie to her again. I then asked her what that would mean if I slipped up again, because the likelihood was high, as an addict to pornography and alcohol. She took me in her arms, hugged me, and said, "I guess we'll just start over again." How could I possibly fail with that kind of unconditional love and support?

I apologize if speaking of my marriage causes you more angst in yours. That was not the intent. I simply offer to you what works for us, what makes us both happy.

Beck said...

BRAVONE: I don't dispute that I need to get over certain things, and my wife needs to get over a lot of things regarding my attractions. I agree that I haven't done all that you've done, and so she has less to get over than your wife did.

All this attests to the fact that you are truly blessed with a wonderful, eternal, devoted companion. What a blessed strength this has been for you, and I honor you and your marriage as an example to all fellow MOHO MOMs.

That said, no offense, but, my wife is not your wife, and I am not you. As we tell everyone here, we are truly on our own paths and it requires experiences to bring us to different plateaus along the way. In this regard, I am the one holding back. I am the one not bringing us forward to that next level. I am the one that is angsting over what I want but not willing to take the steps upward to achieve it. And if I don't do it, what is the insentive or desire on her part to do so as well if she doesn't realize that it needs to be done for my sake?

And, in the spirit of this post, of the cluelessness and evil of my situation, I think much of my slowness to do anything, much of my lack of will to be "free" is due to the cultural and social and emotional and religious baggage that affects every aspect of our lives...

Adon said...

Don't feel like you are alone then. I'm clueless too.

Scott said...

In this regard, I am the one holding back. I am the one not bringing us forward to that next level. I am the one that is angsting over what I want but not willing to take the steps upward to achieve it.


Bravone is right. Your wife needs to be more understanding, and more aware of your needs. She needs to trust you more.

You can't continue to deprive yourself of the emotional and physical male connections that you yearn for. And yet you fear that taking steps to satisfy those desires will offend your wife and damage your relationship with her. This concern is based on things that she has said and done--by ultimatums she has issued.

You are caught between your inherent, inalterable orientation and your intractable, inflexible wife, who won't (notice I don't say "can't") accept that you are gay. The pressure from both sides is crushing you. Something has to give. Your desires will not go away. The only hope for relief is a change on her part.

Help her see that. Offer ultimatums of your own, if necessary.

As for the original topic of the post... I agree that "Holly" is speaking without a real understanding of the situation. But I also agree that the church promotes marriages like ours--overtly and directly, in the past, and indirectly at present (with an unrelenting emphasis on the importance of marriage, and little more than lip service given to the unwisdom of a mixed-orientation marriage).

I suspect that you, and Bravone, and Bror, and even to some extent Mister Curie, are bowing to this pressure from the church (both as an organization and as a culture). So am I, for that matter--I might have left Sarah quite a while ago if I hadn't felt so keenly that my religious and cultural upbringing forbade it, and even now that influence is affecting how we proceed with the separation.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as we acknowledge the influence and give it only as much weight as it deserves.

Beck said...

SCOTT: You're misunderstanding me. I have no disagreement with what you are saying here, and that there is a burden to be carried by my wife as she needs to come to terms with these things.

But what I was referencing in the quote you quoted was that why should she feel so inclined if I don't make it an issue, if I am portraying to her that I'm content, and if I don't say something and bring it forward?

I was stating that if I don't do anything to bring this discussion to a resolution, then how can she know that it needs to be resolved? If I bite my tongue or hold back or play like nothing is wrong (which I'm very good at having had decades of practice), then why should she do anything if she thinks I'm doing fine.

Her lack or curiosity to understand me better is squarely on her shoulders, and I see her lack of wanting to face such understanding as a source of making this process so difficult.

But, you and Bravone, and Bror, and MC, brought these things forward with your wives and I have not. I've gone backward in time... and probably, I am noting with new appreciation in this post, I have done so because of the religious confines with which we (my wife and I) have structured our lives.

Bravone said...

Sorry I came across the way I did. You are right. I am not you and my wife is not your wife. I apologize for seeming so judgmental and probably condescending.

I think part of the happiness Daniel, Wyatt, I, and others have expressed is because, although our individual paths may differ, we have each made a definite decision and then pursued it. We left the mirky, middle ground, and have found peace and a sense of liberation openly living lives consistent with the decisions we have made. I need to be more patient and allow others the time they need to reach these decisions. It only took me 45 years!

To help you understand why I feel the way I do, I'll try a brief, and admittedly flawed analogy. I feel like I'm on a boat watching you and your wife unnecessarily drown because you aren't willing to grab ahold of the life preservers within your reach.

I see so many resources (life preservers) available to both you and your wife, and I ache for you to reach out and grab them!

Love you my friend,

Beck said...

BRAVONE: No offense taken. I know you too well, and I don't mean to portray that I felt you were judgmental - only to point out that these things take time, sometimes painstaking time! And that we are all on our own timetables.

It's like when you try to teach someone a math principle. You may really get it and it is so obvious to you, but until the student puts all the pieces together from the past principles learned, that math "bell" ringing ding-ding-ding in their heads doesn't happen until all the pieces come together.

Or it's like the jigsaw puzzle that is on our dining room table that our daughter wanted to do - nearly 1,000 pieces. For her, the task is overwhelming and even for us, it is a struggle and it takes time. You find a few that fit, and many that don't, so you have to leave it for a while and then come back later and take a fresh look at it. You know that all the pieces go together eventually, but until they fit one-by-one, you have to wait, even though on the box cover you see the bigger picture and know the end result.

I can see the rescuers like yourself out there on the boat, and I see those lifelines thrown to us. But I also see my wife not realizing we are swimming, let alone drowning... in her mind, we're on the safe shoreline noticing your boat and saying "isn't that nice,there's a boat out there". But that boat has nothing to do with her personally. I see the boat, but one of my points in this post is to say that I don't see myself reaching out for it and so how can I blame her if she doesn't either?

I know you love me! I do! I have felt that and know you are there for me. I feel your compassion.

I really am not as bad off as I make it sound. Treading water is a life-preservation technique that I'm very good at. And I can float on my back and swim on my back for days. I'm still treading...

But when the bell goes off and I finally understand calculus, or when the final pieces of the puzzle come together, or if I start to cramp up and can't swim any longer - then what?

Do I need to do something that pushes us over the edge?

(note: I think there are too many analogies in this response... sorry for that!)

mandi said...

There is a talk by Sheri Dew that makes reference to a wound that she received that was healing quite nicely- so she thought. When she went back to the Dr. to have it checked out, he realized that there was some infection deep down inside and that he would have to re-open the wound, and dig out a lot of the healed tissue to get to the infection. This caused her great pain and prolonged her healing, but if he hadn't done it, it would have never completely healed.
I think you can draw your own comparisons to your own life. Husband and I just went through almost two years of utter hell- digging and re-digging out an infected wound that I just wanted to stitch up and leave alone. Every single hour of every single day was complete and utter harrowing pain for many, many months.
However, we are still here. We are very much devoted to one another- even though it is still quite difficult and at times we both question our sanity in sticking it out.
One of the biggest problems I had when I found out about Husband's secret life was that he never gave me a chance to know the real him. Yes, I knew he was gay, yes, I knew he got picked up on a lot, but I didn't really know the pain and confusion he dealt with regularly. I didn't really know HIM.
As I said before, sometimes I would like to go back to knowing the other him- with him keeping his secrets to himself, but not really. It is so much better for both of us this way. At least we both have a chance to have our say in where the relationship is going.
If your wife refuses to look at you as you are, that is her choice. You obviously are starving here, and something is going to happen one way or the other. I think she would much rather you explode all over her in the safety of your home than you exploding all over town in some rather unsafe places.
Any way you go is going to be hard. But you're going to have to go somewhere- so why not choose the hard but healthy way?

Beck said...

MANDI: I truly respect your opinion and know from where you speak. You've been in my wife's position and I can see the wound analogy is true.

I have a friend who has gangrene in his foot. It isn't healing and the doctors have had to call him back to the office to carve out a piece of his foot, otherwise he may lose his entire foot. Lots of pain now for hopefully a full recovery later.

So isn't there a way to confront the gangrene that is in our marriage without major surgery? Maybe scraping a bit of the poison off at a time? Or is the full-and-out cut-it-off approach is the only way to go?

Maybe it's better to just lose the foot...

Anonymous said...

Only you know the answer to that. But I would hate for you to cut off the foot if it was only a toenail fungus that was causing the discomfort.

Mister Curie said...

Beck - I confirmed that I know the Holly commenting on the latterdaymainstreet blog. She recommended an essay on MOMs that she wrote for Sunstone to further clarify her views (starting on page 3 of the pdf):

She's willing to talk to you more, if you are still interested after reading her Sunstone essay.

Another great Sunstone essay was written by Emily Pearson, daughter of Carol Lynn Pearson. Here's the link to it:

Anonymous said...

Beck: Love your blog. I recently came out to my wife. I was frankly floored by her love and support of me and her willingness to make it work.

I'm near your age and we have kids to raise and I feel the best plan for us is to make it work for their behalf. When I married, I honestly thought I could bury the feelings I had towards guys and that there was enough attraction to my wife that I could make it work. I wanted what the church promotes; a happy eternal family.

My wife and I are participating in group therapy and my hope is I will at least be able to not feel so overwhelmed by my attraction towards men. I don't expect the attraction to ever go completely away, but hopefully by understanding why I have them will make living the straight life easier.

I knelt at an altar and pledged my life and love to her. She deserves a happy and fulfilling marriage, and with support from you and others like you (trying to stick it out and make it work), I feel it is possible for both my wife and I to have such.

Scott said...

@Justin: "She deserves a happy and fulfilling marriage..."

I read about Beck's wife, and Mandi, and others in the blogosphere. I hear stories from gay married friends of their wives' struggles. I look at my own wife...

... And I'm not sure how much I believe that a woman married to a gay man can have "a happy and fulfilling marriage". Not in the way those words are usually used, at least.

A woman married to a gay man can be happy, for the most part. She can be fulfilled in some areas of her life. But I haven't met one yet who didn't, in at least some part of herself, hate her situation and want nothing more than for things to be different.

There's always going to be an emptiness, and a disconnect. It's simply inherent in who we are. It doesn't matter that I love Sarah more than I love anyone else in the entire world--she wants to be loved in ways that I simply can't love her.

A couple who understands that each partner is incapable of providing a completely "fulfilling marriage" might commit to staying together (for various reasons: for appearances, for the sake of the children, even just for the love that they do have for each other). In making this decision they might find a measure of happiness and fulfillment. But I don't believe they'll ever totally "complete" each other.

If they accept this and are willing to live incomplete together, that's wonderful. I have no argument with Bravone and Beck and you and you and any others who are committed to "sticking it out".

But I (and many others I know) have come to believe that Sarah and I will make better friends than spouses, and that she does in fact "deserve a happy and fulfilling marriage"--enough to justify dissolving our marriage so that she has a chance to find what she deserves.

Beck said...

MJ: I totally agree that letting things fester until amputation is required when a simple cleaning would have done the job is letting things get out of hand. That's why I'm self-evaluating this annual time of standing back and assessing where I am with her. I hope that any amputation can be avoided.

MC: I will look into the references that you have quoted. Thank you for investigating these things for me. I hope that Holly and Emily see that those of us in MOMs can be given the space and support to make our marriages work as two willing partners, instead of being dismissed as selfish and delusional, with nothing good to come from our efforts but wasted time and delayed pain and suffering.

Beck said...

JUSTIN: Welcome to my blog. And welcome to the MOHO blogging community. I hope you can find support and fellowship here as I have. This informal community of bloggers with gay and Mormon foundations in common involves a willing spirit of sustaining influence from all perspectives of the spectrum. I hope you can see the good that I see in giving voice to our various situations and seeking common wisdom from those who really do understand from where we write.

As for whether you and your wife can find the fulfillment and happiness in your marriage depends. I would like to hope, though others will advise otherwise, that there is room for you and your wife to make a go of it. Obviously, she has been loving and supportive as you have come out to her. That's great. And seeking support from group counseling sounds positive as well, as long as it is supportive of who you are instead of wanting to change the fundamental characteristics of who you are.

Whether you are able to give her the fulfilling marriage she desires and deserves remains to be seen. I've found that to be hard, at best. This path of keeping those covenants and commitments may be one thing, but fully satsifying and meeting your wife's needs and her meeting yours is a totally different thing...

That is something I deal with daily. I would like to say it is getting better, but it reality it feels like one step forward and two steps backward at times. Thus, I blog to keep questioning my motives, my weaknesses, and re-evaluate the progress and stive to be better.

Best of luck to you and please visit often and consider giving voice to your story as well.

Beck said...

SCOTT: I hope you find it in yourself to accept that what works or doesn't work for you may or may not work for others. I know you well enough to feel that you do believe this.

As for being able to have a fulfilling and happy marriage, may I suggest that the level of fulfillment and happiness may vary from couple to couple, and from situation to situation.

I may portray the negative more than I should (though that is the point of my blogging), but as I re-evaluate these last five years of marriage comparied to the 24 previous years, I would say that we are more "fulfilled" and "happy" now than we were before I came out to her. That doesn't mean that life is perfect or that my needs are being met to "fulfillment", as there is obviously a lot of painful work ahead, and who knows if after that work we choose, as you, to not be married anymore and that friendship may be where we end. But for now, she is choosing to be more than friends with me, and I am meeting more and more successfully her needs (especially in this last year), and things are getting better as husband and wife, as partners, physically, sexually, emotionally. I just need to work through how to be more open to her about my needs and the simple desire for emotional connections - and that may test the progress we've made and depending on how hard I push to have those "needs" met will determine how fulfilled and happy we will be.

I feel your sustaining friendship. I need your constant pushing me to be more assertive and aggressive. I need your encouragement to be more authentic and honest. But I also need your support as I choose a slightly different path in hopes of maybe a different result than yours.

Bravone said...

"She deserves a happy and fulfilling marriage..."

I realize that every individual and marriage is unique, and thus gaging the potential success or failure of ANY marriage based on another's experience is at best not very productive. However, we would be stupid to not listen and glean what we can from others.

This discussion has been really good for me. I asked my wife to weigh in on the topic, and, rather than hijack this thread, I'll post our thoughts on my blog in the next few days.

Thanks all!

Beck said...

BRAVONE: I look forward to your next post and am anxious to learn from your experience of fulfillment and happiness in your marriage.