Friday, August 27, 2010
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 latterdaymainstreet.com 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!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I am intrigued and I must admit that I’m a bit surprised and I don’t understand it.
I tried to put together a list of really positive things that are happening in my life with my “lessons learned” series trying to demonstrate how a mixed-oriented marriage could survive and even thrive, and I get three comments from the community.
I then proceed to articulate about one item that isn’t working as well as the others and I end up receiving (gratefully I might enthusiastically add!!) tons upon tons of comments offering advice and support (the second most amount of comments in my 4+ years of blogging with only my introducing “Thomas” , my Italian more-than-friend , receiving more input and postings). Why is this? Is it the rubber-necking philosophy of life where we much prefer witnessing a train wreck about to happen than a train zipping by in normal monotony?
That noted, I’ve tried to group the advice I’ve received about my desires to still need male connection and freedom to express myself naturally and “normally” with other men, while still abiding by some sense of decorum within my marriage, and not being able to do so. I am at a point of blockage… I can’t seem to go forward or backward. I sense a stagnation of immense proportion. I am stalemated. I am stymied. I am stuck!
The combined wisdom of this MOHO blogosphere has produced the following. I have grouped them into broader categories:
NOT YOUR FAULT / OUT OF YOUR CONTROL:
1. Your wife’s insecurity is the bigger issue that you can’t control, not her lack of trust in you.
2. Stop feeling guilty about the past. It is what it is. Move on and stop dwelling on who did what or didn’t do what in the past.
3. Stop blaming yourself for the way she feels.
CONTENTMENT WITH HERE AND NOW:
1. Be content with where you are.
2. Enjoy what you have.
3. You need to have her “put up with” you verses you “sucking it up” and enduring and being okay with where you are.
HONESTY / ILLUSIONS:
1. Tell her how you really feel.
2. You are hiding your true feelings. Be honest!
3. Stop lying to her – she doesn’t get what it means to be “gay” because you hold back and don’t let her know what’s going on.
4. Stop protecting her. It’s cheap and unforgiving.
5. You’re living an illusion. The status quo isn’t good enough – it’s dishonest.
THINGS SHE NEEDS TO DO:
1. Your wife needs to try more to understand what it means to be gay.
2. She needs to accept ALL of me.
3. She needs to deal with her low self-esteem and self-worth and insecurity.
4. She needs to meet other gay guys to become more comfortable and less afraid of the situation.
5. Your wife needs to understand, even though it’s hard, that there is a place and need for you to have male companionship.
6. She needs to be willing to talk to another wife who is going through this.
7. She is jealous. This jealousy has led to her wanting “all of me” and not being willing to share. She needs to be willing to share.
THINGS I NEED TO DO:
1. Live life! Get on with it!
2. Stop feeling guilty.
3. Negotiate a compromise of some freedom and privacy that can lead to good things.
4. Seek a healthy balance.
5. Stop being “all or nothing” in your approach.
6. Need to find social connections of bonding – bonding with other men is essential and nurturing to the soul.
7. Get to the point where you can have healthy guy time verses seeking dating.
8. You need connections that are positive for both of you.
9. Take her away for the weekend and share this series of posts with her helping her to know how you feel.
10. Blog about it! Write! What do you really want?
11. Learn to have more trust in yourself. Build trust in yourself.
SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE:
1. Be alive without hurting the ones we love the most.
2. If you love, be willing to let go and set free and let fly. If it is real love, it will come back.
3. Find something between satiation and deprivation.
4. Don’t be so all-or-nothing.
5. We both need to worth for a common solution, not just one side giving and the other not.
6. Seek a healthy balance.
So… where does that leave me? What do I want?
What I want has not really changed much, but it has softened in the last year. I am happy, believe it or not, with much that is good in my life. I just want ALL of me to be happy, including the part of me that I feel I am holding back, hesitating to give expression, or denying the possibility of connection with others.
1. To be able to have a discussion about how I feel about my “needs” without it destroying her self-esteem or threatening her sense of where our marriage is going, or if I even still want to be married to her. This, I recognize, will require me to be more honest and having to face the fear of causing her stress and pain.
2. To be able to have her comfortable enough to be in a position where she sees good in my having these male non-romantic relationships. And I recognize that it is my duty to put these friendships in a way that they stay non-romantic (which will require me trusting in my own sense of propriety and boundaries).
3. To be able to have male friendships outside the stable ward family, even young guy friends, and gay friends and fellow MOHOs, which are positive, uplifting and mutually edifying.
4. To be able to have the freedom to explore these friendships without fear.
5. To do so with sensitivity to her and with honesty (not behind her back), but without a sense of guilt or mistrust.
6. To be able to express my emotions, affection, and need-for-touchness with other men without repercussion or interrogation. To be able to do so in front of her (not behind her back, or me looking constantly over my shoulder), but with sensitivity to her.
7. To be able to meet with these “friends” and not have it be considered a “date”.
8. To do all these things in a reasonable and semi-regular manner, but still placing priority to family and marriage.
9. To keep doing all the good things that I mentioned in the previous post about what is strengthening and sincerely improving our marriage.
10. To be able to do all this and find in me a deeper love for her in the process.
Is this possible?
I don’t think so.
The other night we were at a garden poolside wedding reception of one of my young men. He was a bit older and so, it was obvious that we would run into several of my other young men who were now married and moving on with their lives. And we did. At first it was a bit uncomfortable as three or four of them that I hadn’t seen for quite a few years now, came up to me one by one, and manhandled me into fierce and strong bromancy hugs! And all while my wife anxiously looked on as an uncomfortable observer. One of my young men (a tall and very strong one) grabbed me from behind and lifted me up off the ground and held me over the pool teasing me that he was going to drop me, all while I squirmed to be free of his grasp). It got to the point that my wife had had enough of this and left me to their horseplay and continued in the line, signed in the registry and moved on to the wedding party without me.
Once I got free of the man-vice body grip, and finished with the hellos and head slaps and special brotherhood handshakes, I caught her out of the corner of my eye way ahead, and I knew I was in “trouble”. I abruptly excused myself and worked my way through the line to where she was standing. Nothing was said, but it was obvious that she wasn’t feeling good about what was going on.
When we got to the bride and groom, I gave the bride a gentle hug and then slapped the groom in the head and then we warmly embraced. Afterward, I reach for my wife’s hand. Surprisingly, it was still there. "What?" I asked. We clasped but she said nothing. I could sense tenseness in her grasp.
"What was she thinking? Was I wanting to run away with the groom, or one of my young men and leave her and the bride behind?"
As we rounded the pool, she and I both spotted “Tim” and “Will” up ahead on the other side of the patio area. Tim and Will are well… I’ve blogged about them incessantly in the past, as they are the ones that helped me to see inside me for the first time, and opened me up to myself five years ago and needless to say; they continue to be a source of difficulty for my wife.
As we passed them from across the patio, I nodded slightly and winked at them in recognizing their presence. My wife asked me poignantly: “So are you going to go over there and start hugging them, too?”
“No,” I curtly responded, and I kept walking holding her hand and faking a smile. It was the way she said it, implying that I needed to be hugging everyone in the party, like that was something horrible to do.
“Do you want to have any refreshments?” she asked as we passed the patio of tables and food.
“No,” I again relied, “Let’s just go!”
So we got in the car and left. Nothing was said for a long time on the ride home. There was silence. I was feeling so upset that I find myself in this predicament. I did not seek any of this attention, hugging, or man-vice wrestling over the pool, etc. But, I really, really wanted to go hug Tim and Will, and their wives, and be social and free to do so without repercussions. And instead, all I could safely get out by way of communication was a wink and a nod. And that felt wrong.
“It isn’t fair!” I kept telling myself. “What have I done to get into this predicament?” I wondered as I drove impatiently down the canyon. “How can I get beyond this and back to a world of natural expression of affection and connection with my fellow men without feeling guilty or ashamed or embarrassed or worried about what she might be feeling or thinking?” And yet, I do worry about what she is feeling and thinking and I don’t want to cause any grief or pain for my actions… such an innocent thing, and yet, so poignant to me that I’m dying inside, unable to be who I am, who I want to be, who I know I am happier being than how I am now.
Thus, I am unable to connect the dots. I know what I want, but I don’t know how to get there from here. I can go back the way I was doing it in the past and do it behind her back, but then I become dishonest and mistrusting and I’ve gone down that road and it is a road to nowhere very quickly. I can be honest with her, but then all the feelings of hurt and anger and pain and insecurity and frustration and worry and guilt bubble to the surface and it’s too much to deal with and it adds so much unnecessary drama to our lives that it’s easier to just back off and say “forget the whole thing”, and then I go into the all-or-nothing mode of living – and in this case it is the “nothing” of having any contact with anyone in an open male friendship that isn’t with balding, fat and nearly dead high priests that are of no threat to anyone.
Where does that leave me? I’m like the hummingbird that was trapped in the vaulted ceiling of our bedroom yesterday morning. As much as we tried to help it escape out the balcony door swung wide open to freedom and survival, it resisted our encouragement, and kept flying in vain around the ceiling ridge with no way out, trapped and panicking. It could see the open door below and feel the air movement through it, but common sense was telling it that no way could there be success in flying down and out – the only way to freedom was to fly up! Yet there was no “up” - only the ceiling that held no trap door.
I’m that trapped hummingbird. I see and feel the breeze of what I want, but I can’t stop flapping my wings and beating my head against the ceiling.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I’ve had second thoughts about whether or not to post this entry. I’m trying to be positive and dwell on the good (maybe to convince myself that things are getting better), and really they are (there I go again with the positive convincing!), but there is one lingering aspect of my current relationship agreement that is not going well and it’s eating at my core...
At my recommendation, I agreed, and in respect for her feelings and in trying to re-establish a sense of trust, to not meet with any gay friends in secret encounters of hikes, lunches, MOHO parties, apartment discussions, etc. without her knowledge – meaning, she didn’t want me sneaking around and going behind her back having “dates” and relationships that she didn’t approve of. She viewed such encounters as “inappropriate” for a married couple, and very hurtful to her. The hurt comes in the underlying feelings of mistrust that she has in my ability to lock away my heart just for her, and to not find such encounters leading me to attachments beyond our covenanted marital relationship rules of engagement.
This mistrust comes from several sources of pain that I feel responsible for, including:
1. Years of neglect, both physically and emotionally not bonding with her, and seeking to have any kind of physical connection with her. I shot down her attempts to connect, and shunned her for decades and this has left emotional scars for the both of us.
2. Those years of neglect (and neither of us fully understanding why I was pulling away from her physically) led to years of her self-esteem and self-worth being destroyed in the process. Was she not pretty enough for me? Was she too fat? Too old? Too ugly? Too needy? In reality, she was none of these things - it was me being so unsure of what was going on inside of me as to why I was not interested in her.
3. Years of turning my attention to other things (mostly work and career development, and church service… good things, but not necessarily great things when considering what she was feeling)and not on her.
4. And those years tended to focus my attention on connecting with other men, and particularly of men from my missionary past, and even more so with certain young men of the ward. I was seeking physical and emotional attachment outside the marriage (again not truly understanding why I was doing this – it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to hurt her or inflict pain – but it was a need, a driving force within, an unquenchable appetite for belonging and connecting with other men).
To add the MOHO connection to this mix, and to see two of my young men return to the ward and try to connect with me as we did in the past, all have accumulated into a package that she cannot accept no matter how hard she tries to understand. The past decades of neglect and damage and mistrusting and disconnection have led her to feel this way.
Thus, in response to her feelings, and with love for her and demonstrating to her that she means more to me than anything else, and in an attempt to restore trust and heal our relationship of decades of neglect and pain, I have offered to keep away from such connections with other men, to limit my time away from her, and even to avoid extensive hugging and talking and “bromancing” with my male friends. She never has insisted that I do so, nor has she required it of our marriage to go forward. She has been trying to put it in perspective and see the “needs” I have, but can’t get her brain around any kind of relationship that she feels draws me away from her.
So, I’ve pulled back. I haven’t had any “dating” at all for a year now!!!. I have pulled back from my “bromantic” encounters with Tim and Will. I have pulled back even from lengthy hugging, snuggling or other emotional encounters. I’ve tried to be a good boy and be happy and positive in the process.
For some in this community, this has been puzzling to them. And I apologize for any confusion or pain I’ve caused you. For Tim and Will, it has been puzzling as well. Each of them has noticed me pulling back from them, resisting their one-on-one conversations and being alone with them, or in simply hugging them or touching them or caressing them at all. It’s hard to explain why I’m doing this when they don’t know and I can’t tell them the reasons why…
The point being…
Despite all the good of the past post, I am feeling like there is a certain part of me that is dying inside. I am not feeling as spontaneous and open and gregarious as I once was. I am feeling parts of my personality being stifled and snuffed out and I feel like I am wilting away to a former self. And I don’t want to go there.
Therefore, how do I find a better way? How do I keep the confidence and trust and assurance and goodness in our relationship sound and building as it has been in so many ways, while still expressing myself and having an outlet of connectivity, animation, and bromance? How do I show myself trustworthy of her devotion and mine for her, while still reaching out in friendship and free expression that can keep me alive inside? I know I’ve asked similar questions before, but simply telling her this is a real “need” of mine doesn’t work. And after a year of “bromantic celibacy”, I still don’t feel she feels I’m a changed man.
I’m blossoming in so many ways, but in this one particular way I’m a withered malnourished vine on a hot parched summer's day.
Any composting nurishing words of advice?
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
In the spirit of continuing my assessment of the last year, and as promised to myself that I would write a list of “lessons learned” from my “year of restraint”, I offer the following summary. NOTE: I would probably be more accurate in calling these “lessons in the process of learning” as it is definitely an on-going evolutionary process, and not a point of arrival.
1. THE POWER OF TOUCH: I am learning that the little, spontaneous moments of touch with my wife mean so much to her. Holding hands when we walk together, a quick dance around the kitchen floor, a squeeze from behind when she’s doing dishes, a surprise slap on the bottom as I follow her up the stairs. These bits of interplay during the day may seem insignificant, but I’m noticing that if I concentrate on doing them more and making them a focus of my day in paying some kind of spontaneous attention to her, then her day goes better and my day in turn goes better. Maybe in a normal heterosexual relationship, such interplays of casual touch are so natural that there is no need to “focus”. But in a mixed-oriented relationship, there is an added need to be “focused” and train oneself to be aware of such little things that mean so much to the spouse. I’ve tried to do this more and more and I’ve seen the fruits of just working at making her aware that I’m aware. Isn’t that silly that I have to even say this? But it isn’t. For a MOM most definitely has to focus and make what may seem natural to everyone else BE natural to us.
2. CUDDLING EVERY DAY: This one may seem similar, but it’s different. In the past, I would work late into the evening and come to bed after she was asleep. In the morning, I would either sleep after she got up, or get up quickly as well. There was no cuddle time. I didn’t crave it. I didn’t want it. I was afraid where it might lead and I would not be able to live up to her expectations. This relationship went on for nearly two decades. I don’t know how she ever tolerated me. Sure, I was nice and kind and sensitive, but certainly not cuddly – which is odd seeing that I’m a very “touchy-feely” kind of guy… Anyway, in the last year as we’ve set a goal to focus on each other, I have changed my schedule and have made a point of going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time with her, and allowing natural expressions of cuddles to be expressed each evening and morning. With our “expectations” more clearly understood from where I was coming from in being not so attracted to the opposite sex as she once thought, and in not having higher expectations but seizing the good in the moments along the way, cuddling time has become a positive experience, a daily sought-after ritual of connection between us. This simple act of “wanting” to be together and hold each other in the quiet of the day’s end and day’s beginning has become an amazing blessing and restored much peace to our relationship.
3. BEING A WILLING PARTICIPANT: How many times, years, decades, did I roll over and turn away and not take notice of her advances or her needs? How many times did her loneliness and pain and fear of rejection and destruction of self-worth come from my not desiring her or being willing to participate with her? I am learning (and yes, this one is a work-in-progress) that I must make myself available to her, respond to her advances, and be a willing participant in this partnership. Just attempting to do so, but honestly doing so, has made all the difference.
4. SEX IS WORK, BUT WORKABLE: Okay, I promise to not be graphic here, but just to say that we’ve worked out a workable solution to our physical sexual relationship. It has taken nearly three decades to get to this point of compatibility (I know you are laughing at me and I feel very vulnerable and at risk of ridicule here – but I’m writing this for me, trying to be honest here – so please don’t laugh – at least not out loud), but by relaxing and being more open about what works and doesn’t work, (dare I say actually talking about it???) and how to make it work better, has been a great breakthrough for us… and need I add: “Good grief! It’s about time!” Though it’s somewhat infrequent, it’s still regular and desirable as we come to find a place that isn’t perfect or ideal (as we accept that that won’t happen) but it “works”.
5. THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING AWAY: We’ve learned the great power of “getting away” just the two of us, away from kids, and home-stress, and work-stress, and cell phones and computers and church and yard work and projects and business, etc. and just get away together. We used to travel with the kids everywhere we went. But now that they are older, it is a natural development to be able to get away ALONE and be with each other and develop a “courtship” type attitude in our marriage again. Our courtship was quick and because I was so much more interested in the missionaries I was teaching than my fiancé, it was awkward at best as well – but that’s another story. Needless to say, this one is obvious – if life overwhelms the relationship just because life is what it is, then in a MOM relationship, it is nearly impossible to make it work because the dynamics of attraction aren’t there to glue the broken pieces together. We’ve planned and succeeded in escaping away in some simple places around the corner, and others on the other side of the globe. Both have served the same purpose… we’ve got to create these opportunities of focus for our relationship for they don’t naturally happen otherwise. Maybe that’s true for all relationships, but I think in a MOM it is absolutely essential to overcome the otherwise missing connection points.
6. BEING OPEN AND WILLING TO TALK: This is still a hard one. There are often subjects of the “pink elephant in the room” that we avoid simply because at times it is too painful to talk about. But, we are getting better, slooooowly. It is not so much that we have a scheduled “gay-topic” night, as we are willing to have the occasional discussion as the situation arises. I think, by sharing that I blog, that there are MOHOs out there, that we are not alone, that there are others who are trying to make it work, that the joys and pains of our relationship are not unique, and that I’m trying and she’s trying to be more understanding of the other (even though this is still a sore subject on many points and the “understanding” part is painfully slow in coming), the key learning point here is in being “willing” to discuss calmly and more rationally than in the past.
7. HONORING PARTNER’S FEELINGS / WISHES: This is another hard one. This is where I’ve done things that have been dishonest and secretive and they have hurt our relationship because she has felt that she cannot trust me, that I am not trustworthy. Hiding my relationships with other MOHOs was probably the most hurtful thing I’ve done, besides expressing to her of my feelings for certain young married men in the ward. Seeing how hurtful it makes her feel (even though such relationships have been platonic for the most part, bromantic at the worst) and mostly innocent to me, has been an eye-opener to me. And because I love her and respect her feelings and wishes, I do not desire to “hurt” her with my bromantic relationships, and so I’ve tried (and succeeded for the most part) to curtail these bromantic encounters. It has done wonders in restoring “trust” back into our relationship… but I can’t help but wonder if I’m better off for doing so in curtailing my bromances. This one is still out for the jury to decide, and one that needs more study and understanding on both our parts (more on this in the next post).
8. THE POWER OF RESTRAINT: In association with curtailing bromantic encounters, I am trying to be more restrained in my other focuses (such as not viewing “eye-candy” as noted in the previous post). I’ve kind of addressed this before, but I’m doing this not because I think that it is inherently bad or evil, but because it is hurtful to our relationship as husband and wife. If a normal heterosexual relationship can deal with such innocence, I don’t think a MOM can deal with it so easily. Everything is a sensitive subject when it comes to attractions and where they are focused. It’s all about respect and focus. And though I’m learning that the moderation-in-all-things principle may most definitely be the best policy here, I am also learning that there is power in restraint regarding a MOM relationship.
9. AUTHENTICITY IS BEING HONEST WITH ONESELF, NOT WITH ANYONE ELSE’S CONCEPT OF WHAT ONE SHOULD BE: This is still another lesson-in-progress. I am attempting to live my life more honestly with her and allowing myself to express my “gayness” in ways that are appropriate and authentic as I feel them. In the manner of my personal expressions, mode of dress, inter-relationships with others, appropriate touchy-feely-ness, I am finding myself being more comfortable with myself as she is more comfortable, tolerant, and accepting of me as being me. This includes subtle changes in dress (tighter shirts and low-rise jeans for example), wearing skimpy swimsuits in foreign and not-so-foreign countries, shaving in places down-under, etc. These may be a continued adolescent phase of discovering who I am, or what feels “good” and “natural” to me, but a little shocking to a heterosexual man, but the lesson learned here is that I’m not hiding it from her and she is accepting of these “non-threatening” aspects of my behavior and personal expression of who I am.
10. AUTHENTICITY IS KNOWINGLY CHOOSING TO STAY: In the end, it comes down to commitment and knowingly choosing to stay with the person that I have covenanted to be with forever. My honesty of myself and acceptance of being a gay man attracted most definitely and exclusively to other men, does not preclude me from being authentic in choosing to be with my wife in the end…
As for the negative lessons learned, well, more to come…
Any comments or feedback? What do you think? Is there progress here or just slow stagnation and the avoidance of the inevitable? Is it possible to make a MOM work or delusional to think it possible?