Saturday, January 23, 2010

Comments on Ian's Comment

When I started doing this blogging thing I did not think anyone would read it. If they did, I was not sure if anyone would comment.  If they did, I had mostly decided that I would not comment on comments, but it appears that rule is out the window.

First there was Lion Queen and, this morning, Ian posted a comment on my post from Thursday.  These 2 have urged me to stay in my marriage, to keep what I have.

Ian says a lot of things that I have been thinking myself, which part of why I am paralyzed in my situation, continuing to run in circles.  Please remember I appreciate his comment even though there is some parts I strongly disagree with.

He said, first, that I have a life that a lot of men would kill for.  I believe, in some respects, that is true.  I have a wife who is my best friend and she loves me.  I have 4 great kids and aside from the normal craziness that comes with a house full of kids, we all get a long pretty well.  I know I have this.  I know that it has and will suffer.  I have said many times before I am blessed beyond measure.  Ian thinks the price of leaving my marriage is simply too high.  He might be right.

He goes on to talk about how just because I have "capacity to love a man in a sexual way" does not mean that I should.  He goes on to compare that capacity to every man's ability the lie, cheat, steal and murder and just because we can do these things does not mean we should.  Of course this comparison is total bullshit and offensive.  I really wish he had not said that.  My first reaction was to ignore the entire comment because he pissed me off.  He does, however, bring up a point I want to explore.

When I was young I believed "gay" was simply a set to sexual behaviors, nothing more.  When I was in my late teens I made a decision not to engage in these behaviors and that would make be straight.  Back then I was wrong.  I was not straight, only "straight acting".  

This is important.  

"Straight Acting"  

In fact, I am straight acting.  My sister tells me I am the straightest gay guy she knows.  That part of my personality is genuine.  But the fact that I thought that was enough, led me to make other decisions, all based on a false assumption that straight acting and straight are the same thing.

I met a woman who quickly became my best friend.  I married her because I thought the feelings I was feeling was "in love".  There is no question it was love, but looking back I am not sure if it was "in love".  So I lived my straight acting live and at some point I realized that straight acting is not straight.  I am gay and pretending to be straight is just that, pretending.

This brings me back to Ian and his comment.  He says I have "done tremendous damage to (my) marriage" that may be unrepairable.  He is right, but not in the way he thinks.  I suspect he thinks I did the damage when I finally told my wife that I am not bi, but gay and through all the conflict and commotion of the past 21 months.  He is wrong.  I did the damage the day I asked K to marry me.  On that day, without realizing it, I planted a seed that would eventually lead me to this day.

So what do I do about it?  Well, I have been asking that question since I started the blog back in July.  What do I do?

Ian clearly thinks I should stay put. be grateful for my blessing and not be tempted by the "magical world over the gay rainbow".  I have always said that I know there is no utopia over there, but lets put that to the side for now.

What happens if I stay with my K in our marriage.  If we follow the "capacity" train of thought, I have the capacity to love a man, do I have the capacity to love a women in the same way?  This is important too.

Let's stay I stay and K agrees to let me. Let's go on to say that I am able to control my gay urges and I never cheat or stray from the marriage.  What about me?  How do I deal with the emptiness and loneliness in my heart?  And there is another question that neither Lion Queen nor Ian have asked.  What about K?  Well?  What about her?  What about her feelings?  What about her needs?  Let's talk about that.

Even now I am good to K.  I take good care of her, I am respectful of her feelings, I look out for her and she depends on me.  But she feels lonely because she knows I do not love her the way a straight husband should love his wife.  I know that's not what she wants out of her life.  She wants what a lot of women want, a man so in madly in love with her and only her that he never thinks about other women (or men).  As strong as my love is for her, I do not feel the way she wants me to.

So now what?  How will she feel living her life with a husband that is gay but straight acting.  Essentially pretending. Going though the motions of a happy couple.  How is that a good thing?  Is it a good thing for her?  It is good for me?  

Here is a question no one has asked, what have I just taught my kids about relationships.  I'll save that for another day.

Despite the way this post sounds I am glad that Ian posted his comment and I invite him to post more.  In a lot of ways he has given another voice to things that have held me in limbo for all this time.  And me might have pushed me a little more in the direction I need to go.


Jeff said...

I am 48, married 18+ years to a wonderful woman who has been my soulmate/friend and the best mother to our 5 great kids that a man could ask for. I am out to my wife and we are struggling with all the questions that you write about in your blog. I have been appreciative of the ability to reflect on my situation through the prism of your blog.

The ability in gaydom to find a long term emotionally committed relationship that we have grown accustomed to, although possible,is statistically slim.

I struggle every day with the choice as you do and know that your inaction is just a sign of the incredible love you have for the 5 other people in your life.

The concept of being whole and being true to who we are seems to be the overriding theme of the blogs I read of married gay men who are coming out in mid-life, but it seems that most of the bloggers disappear after they have come out, left/divorced their wives, and entered life as an open gay man. I suspect it is because they find that this new life can be no less challenging and certainly no utopia.

I think Ian and Lion Queen make good points that are seldom stated on these blogs even though I hate hearing them because it just makes my decisions just that much harder.

So Jim stay on that fence until you feel in your heart without question what is best for you and your family. I pray for all of us in this difficult situation. Thanks again for your blog; it has been tremendous comfort to me at times. Best to you and your family.

RB said...

There's no question...this is a difficult situation and your decision about what to do is agonizing, and that's probably putting it mildly.

Being gay is not going away. The urges for sex with men are not going away. There's no cure. That said, I really think a look at the bigger picture is warranted.

You decided to get married. You decided to bring four kids into this world. Your wife will probably get over this and move on with her life. What about the impact on the kids? Divorce is often emotionally and financially devastating. Delinquency, alcoholism, drug abuse, psychological scarring...these are all often symptoms of divorce.

I think you need to put the kids first. If this change is going to upend their lives, then maybe a sacrifice on your part is necessary...until they're 18 and better able to handle it.

I would never want my kids to look back on a childhood that became broken.....and think it's all because "my dad just had to be gay."

Java said...

I must comment on what RB said about children and divorce. He says delinquency, alcoholism, etc. are symptoms of divorce, which is confusing. Does he mean that they are often seen in children as a result of divorce? I'm going to assume that's what he means and comment on that.

Sometimes children of divorce have problems with substance abuse and mental illness, but not always. Many young people with these problems are from stable, loving, not divorced families. I suspect that most children whose parents are divorced do NOT suffer these emotional problems. Jim, if your children are basically healthy, happy, normal kids, they will probably be fine after the divorce. It will upset them, they may take a year or two to adjust, but they will be fine.

On the other hand, if you stay in the marriage for the sake of the children and you are unhappy, dissatisfied, not honest about your true (gay) self, that will not be good for the children. It might teach them that it's OK to not be true to themselves.

You are right when you say that you did the damage to your marriage by asking K to marry you. What lessons do you want your children to learn? How would you feel if any of them found themselves trying to be something they are not?

It is completely your decision, of course. I have an opinion, but it is just an "armchair quarterback" opinion and is worth as much as you're paying for it. Maybe less. So is Ian's, so is Lion Queen's. The truth is that I don't know everything about your situation, and I don't know the other people involved, and your life is not my life.

Parts of Ian's comment bothers me, too. I get the sense that he thinks being gay is a choice. It isn't. You know. You've tried to chose not to be gay, and it isn't working. Being gay is SO much more than just wanting to have sex with men. It isn't really about the sex.

I like what you're saying about K and her needs. If you stay married to her, you might be denying her the opportunity to be with someone who loves her the way she wants and deserves to be loved.

jim said...

Java, I just love you...



Brent said...

I have been struggling with this too lately... but I keep coming back to the same point. The wife and I will divorce and remain friends. It may appear we are putting our kids second, but I believe we are also teaching them what I was never taught... It's ok to be who you are and you have to do what's right to make you happy. Even if my wife agreed to "take me back" what would she have. We both agree this is best for both of us... she's even trying to hook my up... now that's weird.

Java said...

Jim, I saw a quote today and I thought of you. It applies to some aspects of my life now, but in different ways from how I think you might benefit from it.

"Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, 'This is the real me,' and when you have found that attitude, follow it."

-- James Truslow Adams