Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

My friend Cameron over at If I Do The Right Thing  has, for the past several weeks, made me think about things that I have either not thought about in a while, or I am thinking about differently that I have in the past.


For awhile he had me going about the ethics of gay or bi men cheating on their wives with men.  (You know that is a hot topic for me.)


He also talks a lot about the selfishness of coming out and ruining his family.  A good man (or a responsible) will suck it up or take one for the team.  Today was one of those days.


I am not going to tell him he is wrong.  I completely understand where he is coming from.  If you have a couple of hours to kill you can read over the last year of my life to see just how much I identify with him.


I will preface what is to follow as have no more basis that my personal experience in my personal situation.  It may not work for you.  I also know this is a complex issue (or seems to be) that we fear will negatively  impact the people we love the most.


That said, there are some things that Cameron and others who struggle with their own closet should consider:


When many of us think about leaving out marriages, we think about the picture above.  Imagining it was drawn by that very sad looking child, just looking at this picture brings me to the brink of tears.  But it does not have to be that way.  It is NOT that way for me.


When K and I told the kids we were not going to remain married, we also assured them that we were going to remain a family, always.  We told them that I was going to remain in the house and living with them, even thought K and I would not longer be sharing a bed.  Having a friend with divorces parents who are openly hostile, my 8 year old son cried and spoke about us being a "broken family".  I posted in this blog how that broke my heart.  The next day I came home from work to find him sitting on my bed waiting for me.  Apparently he had been there, reading or playing his Nintendo DS for most of the day.  That was the last time I have seen any strange or concerning behavior from any of my 4 kids.






I am not the father of the year that Cameron makes me sound like, but I think I am pretty good.  Both K and I have worked hard to make sure that the kids feel loved and that their home is nor going to be uprooted.


The next step will be for me to tell them that I am gay and explain the nature of my relationship with T.  My kids know T as my friend and they have not asked me anything else about it. If they do, I will tell the the truth, but if they don't I will wait a while to spill the beans.


I am in a really good place now.  It was a hard road.  There was anguish in my heart that I did not know I could feel, but now that I can pause and look over the road I have traveled, I think it worked out pretty well.  What was most of the anguish?  Coming to terms with who I am.  


I cannot speak for anyone but me, but I DID NOT want to be gay.  I never wanted to be gay.  I wanted to be a normal guy with normal family and normal desires.  Coming to terms with the fact that I AM gay was the hardest thing I had ever done.  If the end it came down to a simple thing.  I am gay and I was PRETENDING to be straight.  No matter how hard I pretended, it did not change the reality.   As much as I love K, I did not love her like she loved me.  I was going through motions.  I was acting. Pretending.  Once I realized that, not only could I no longer pretend, K realized that she no longer wanted me to try.


Another breakthrough.  As much as K wanted me to be straight, I was not.  I could not change, and she knew it.


She is my best friend and gay or straight we still have commitment to each other, and the kids.




I worried incessantly about "destroying my family".  When K was so angry, she told me I was causing "sadness and destruction" but looking back, that did not happen.  My kids are in a good place.  They are in a good place because K and I have made a good place for them.


We have only been able to do that because we are still best friends.  I know that not all gay men can have that when they come out to their wifes.  Many are hostile, and that complicates things a lot.  I get that.  But I strongly believe in the long run, pretending is not sustainable.



Friday, July 30, 2010

Not Meeting the Boyfriend

It looks like I am not going to be meeting with the boyfriend after all.  Apparently he is more uncomfortable with me that I thought.   K is a little annoyed by it because she does not understand what is issue really is.  He did not really say, and she did not want to get into that kind of a conversation with him over the phone.


They are going out tonight and she is going to talk to him about it and see.  She want to make sure that this is something that he will be able to overcome.  Now, he does not have to overcome it now.  I don't have any desire to push him and he can take his time, but he will have to over come it.


The problem for K is that if he cannot become comfortable with me and the relationship that we have, it might be a show stopper for her.  And that is a problem for her since she is really getting attached to him.  She not used the "L" word yet, but I think she is close.  If he were to go away, she would be very hurt.  Not to mention that I credit him with her much improved mood over the past several months.


There is another thing.


AJ's daughter is away for the week.  She comes back on Sunday.  He has been asking her to spend the night with him.  She is still not sure if she is comfortable doing that.  I was thinking about what head means to me.  Well nothing directly, but I would have loved to be spending the night with T.  I was thinking about the amount of crap I would have taken6 months ago if I wanted stay out all night.  It would have been ugly.


I think that now, it would be different.  I think that I could get away with that now if I wanted to. Yes, I want to, I just have not had the opportunity.  



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meeting the Boyfriend


Friday night I might get the chance to meet K's boyfriend AJ. Well, actually we've met briefly of several occasions. Just a "How ya doo-in?" kind of thing followed by some uncomfortable silence, followed by him and K leaving to where every they are going. 

I understand his discomfort.  It's not every day a man meets the husband of the woman he is sleeping with and the husband tells them to have a good time, knowing full well what is going to happen. It's also uncommon for divorcing couple be as good a friends as K and I are. Add the whole gay thing on top of that and there is a whole lot weird we are asking him to deal with. Through it all, he not running away from K. He must really like her to be willing to deal with a situation that is sooooo far outside his experience.

Anyway, K and I think it might be time for he and I to get to know each other. I have no expectation the he and I will be friends, but I hope we can. I will be happy if we are friendly and I will settle for tolerant or  indifferent.  Hostility would be bad and honestly it would probably be a show stopper for K.   If he could not live with me, I think it is unlikely K would continue to see him.  K talks about him a lot and even thought I don't know him, I sort of feel like I do. Because he is important to K, he is important to me.

The next step will be to introduce him to me and T together. I don't think he is ready for that just yet. He has a live and let live attitude toward gay people. As for me, he is not  hostile toward me and T, but I think it will take him little while to get over the "ick" factor a lot of straight people feel when they think of 2 men together. I understand it and most accounts I read indicate that most quickly get over that once they get to know a gay couple.

Why do I care what K's boyfriend thinks?  Oddly enough he is an important part of the dream of how I want my life. I want to have a partner who I can integrate into my family (and integrate into his). I want K to have a husband who loves like a straight man loves his wife. Remember the dream?  I have talked about it before.

Thanksgiving dinner.

Me and T

K and her husband (maybe AJ)

My kids

Maybe other family. T's sister. AJ's daughter & her boyfriend. All sitting around the table. Enjoying each other's company.

* sigh *

Anyway, I know that dream is a ways off, but I'll let you know how laying the ground work goes. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Church Overload





The church where K works is having their Vacation Bible School. Because it would look bad if the Youth Director's kids don't go, our kids have to go. Which means I have to go. Sunday was the first day and it goes every evening thru Thursday. I have to run out to the church right after work and I don't get home until after 10:00. Ugh!!

The church people like me, but only the pastor knows I'm gay. A very few others know K and I are divorcing. I still feel a little out of place. I have made a job for myself. I brought my good camera and I have become the "official" photographer. I enjoy it and it keeps me moving so I don't have to talk to anyone. Kinda sad, huh?

Like a lot of gay people, I'm suspicious of religion. Keeping in mind that religion is not a creation of God but of man. Let's face it, in the news, it is the religious people who want to string up people like me. That said, I think it is nice to see so many people being brought together by their faith. Everyone is friendly. Everyone is loving. Everyone is working together. The positive potential of religion is powerful. It's too bad there are a few that want to beat others over the head with the bible. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Separate Checks


The other day I wrote about T and I going out to eat and the hostess referring to us as a "couple". That was noteworthy because it had not happened before. Then I got to thinking about it a little more.

About once a week I go out to lunch with my former boss. He hired me into the company and I worked for him for 5 years before being promoted into my current role.  In my old job I traveled quite a bit and on about 30% of those trips the boss would come with me. We did not share a hotel room, but we shared rental cars, had meals together and such.  

He is a straight guy about my age and while he is not unattractive, I was never attracted to him at all. I still am not.

Anyway, the point of the story is, no matter where we eat lunch, we are always asked if we want separate checks, if they don't come already separated.

When T and I go out, occasionally we are asked, but generally we get one check without anyone asking. Do we just look like we are in love?  Can even the casual observer tell? 

K told me a long time ago that she could tell I had feelings for T by the way I looked at him. I expect she should be able to see that since she knows me so well.  Apparently I am transparent to everyone as well. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Make Me Feel Good

T and I went out last night.  He said 2 things that made me feel good. 


Since we do not have a place to go to be alone, we sometimes rent a hotel room.  I have gotten good a finding deals online and navigating HotWire.  I got out of work and checked into the room.  I took a shower while waiting for him to arrive.  


When he got there, he looked so good (I took this picture yesterday.).  Since I had just showered and shaved I was partially dressed and do not look quite as good as him, (you don't want to see my picture)   He came in, gave me a hug and kiss and said the first thing that made me feel good.  


"You have lost weight."  


How sweet is that?  I have been walking around all day feeling like a bloated whale and he says that.  And I didn't tell him I felt that way today and I have been trying hard to eat better all week (with varying degrees of success).  Anyway, the point is, it was nice he noticed.


We had some private fun time there in the room and then decided that it was time to go have dinner.  Usually when we go anywhere, I drive but this time he did.  As we drove, we talked about normal stuff and held hands.  Then he said the second thing that made me feel good.


"I like this.  Doing normal things together."  


I think that so much of gay relationships seem to be about sex, other things are seem not to matter as much.  Driving together and just talking was one of the simple things we do that makes us feel good.  Just being together is nice.  Just being in his presence gives me joy. 






There was a third thing that made me feel good, but T did not say it.  When we arrived at the restaurant, I approached the hostess asking for a table, near a window if possible.  There was another couple that walked in just after us.  As the hostess looked to find us a table, the manager noticed the back up and asked if she needed help.  She told him, "I'm just trying to find this couple a table next to the window."


Couple?


T told me before, if you ever see an Asian man and a Caucasian man together, they are gay.  I guess this hostess knew that.  That must have been it.  Based on my behavior, no one would ever guess I am gay unless I wanted them to know.  I don't think that anyone would guess about T either (though he disagrees).


This is the first time that we have been acknowledged as a couple by anyone other than ourselves.  It felt really good to me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Easy To Forget, There Is More To Do.

Sometimes I forget.


I forget that my life is not a together as I like to think.  It's not as horrible as it used to be, but there are still things to do.


I got a reminder last night.  K was talking about health insurance.  Once we are divorced she will not longer be able to be covered under my insurance from work so she in planning for her own coverage.  The church where she works does not provide health insurance, but they will give her money to help her buy her own. 


I guess it was only a matter of time and I am not sure why it effected me the way it did.  I mean really, I am deeply in love with T and he is openly (sort of) my boyfriend. She has a boyfriend that she is deeply in like with, but for some reason I did not think I would have to deal with a divorce.  Stupid, huh?


I really do not have stress K and I separating, but for some reason there in tension in my head about completing the paperwork.  I guess that makes is all final and I after that it will remove the last connection that might allow me to retreat back into my straight life.  (Not that I could.  That ship has sailed.)


I guess I need to call a lawyer to get the process started.


---------------------------------


On an unrelated note, today is the one year anniversary of my blog.  I don't make a big deal about birthdays and I don't think I will be making a big deal about this one.


I did want to say, however, that writing it has been a real joy.  It has been a huge help to me in helping me to get my thoughts in order or help me get some perspective.  I also know there are some people who have been helped by my story and I that makes be feel good too.  


Thanks for the couple of people who ready my blog and comment.  I really appreciate the feedback  that has been a big help to me as well.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Falling Asleep

I went out with T tonight.    The original plan was that he and I would go out to dinner, and then see a movie.  I don't care for movies in the theater that much, but he like it and I like to do thing he likes.


This afternoon he asks if I want to have dinner with him and his family.  For today, that meant, T, his parent, 2 sister, 1 brother, one niece and a nephew.  I agreed.  Then I was thinking that it might be better to just sit by his fire pit.  I would make a fire and we could sit and talk together for the evening.  He agreed.


I arrived at his house just in time.  His family was loading into cars to go out for dinner.  T got in my car and off we went.  Dinner was nice, except I ate too much.  His parents, mostly him mom, seemed to be comfortable with me there.  His mom is OK that T is gay, but is not thrilled about him dating men.  


After dinner we returned to his house, I built a fire and he brought a couple of chairs.  We sat and enjoyed the fire and each others company.  We held hands.  It was cloudy so we could not see the stars, but we could hear crickets and frogs from the small pond his house backs up to.  


We did not talk very much, but it was OK.  I think we both felt so good just being there together, it was nice to just enjoy the sounds of nature and the crackling fire.  It was so nice, and so relaxing, that I fell asleep in my chair, holding his hand.  I think I slept for about 20 minutes, when I was awakened by a text message my phone received.  Actually I did not hear the phone, it was T that poked me and woke me up.


It was part of the dream I have in my head for us.  in my dream though, after the fire goes out, we go up to our bed and I fall asleep holding him.  Tonight, I drove home and wrote a blog. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Do People Do It?




How to people in long distance relationships do it?  How do they not go frakking crazy?


I can understand being single.  You are one your own, you build a circle of friends, you might date but you accept that you are alone and you get used to it.  Even if you want a relationship and don't have one, you can at least work on that, if that is your goal.


What if you are in love with someone?  What if that someone consumes much of your thoughts?  What is your heart aches when you are separated from this someone?  What if that person lives 500 miles away?  Then what?  I am starting to wonder if people experience more loneliness when they are single (not in a relationship) or if they are in a deeply loving one, but are separated from the one they love.  


I know there are people in long distance relationship all the time.  I know that sometimes that long distance thing last a long time too.  But for how long?  I have to believe that a long distance relationship is not sustainable for ever.  I would guess that they end in one of two ways: 1) they just end and the relationship is over, or 2) the relationship continues, but they long distance part of it ends as the two people eventually come together.  


I just can't see it lasting forever if they cannot eventually be together.


Maybe I have a different perspective that most gay men.  I lived with my partner for almost 18 years.  Even now that we are on the path to divorce, we still reside together.




When people pair off, they generally do it to have a partner to build a life together.  Part of that life depends on physical proximity.  I think the heart needs physical nourishment to keep things going.  It needs the soft touch of your lovers hand on your skin.  How long can you say good night to the telephone?  How long can a text message replace a hug?






I don't know for sure, but I suspect that most people in long distance relationship are apart for a reason, a job, school, family obligation, or something like that.  But I have to believe that being in love, even deeply in love, is not enough for ever.  There has to be an end game.  They have to be working toward being together.  They must have a plan.  If they don't, why bother.  Are you more lonely knowing that the person you love most in the world is apart from you than if you have no one?  Why do they continue if there is a high likely hood their love will not or can not be with them.   Does it make a difference if they went into the relationship knowing it would be a very long time before they could be together, if at all?  






For 18 years I walked the same path with K.  Now I have stepped onto my own path.  It is a long path and I think it is a good path.  I pray I do not have to walk this path alone to the end.  








There is only one other I want to walk it with me.  


There is plenty of room for us to walk it side by side.




  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unrealistic Dreams

I do not get to see T as often as I would like.  He lives an hour away.  K does a lot of stuff in the evening so it is almost impossible for me to get away during the week.  When I can get away, it is generally for 5 or 6 hours and if you factor out 2 hours of driving it's really only 3 or 4 hours.


I want to see him more.  I want to see him every day.  I long to be a partner with him all the time. 


But that is not possible for now, and probably not for a long time.  There is his family situation that gets into the way, but there is also mine.  When K and I told the kids we were separating and I moved down stairs, we told them that nothing would change for them.  We told them that I would continue to live there with them.  


Even if an opportunity came for T and I to move in together, I really can't do it now.  I probably won't be able to until my daughter (who is 6) is in her teens.  


The problem is I really want it.


I know I am a lucky guy and I should be glad for what I have.  I know that things are going pretty well for me and I am grateful.  I have a best friend (wife) that still loves me and is no longer angry with me for coming out of the closet.  I have a boyfriend that loves me and that I love.  Some might say I need to count my blessings.  They would be right.


T tells me I should not worry about what may or may not happen in the future.  That may be a healthy attitude, but I am not sure it will work for me.  I can be patient, very patient, if I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  If I have a plan to get where I want to go.  Or at least a clear vision that I can reach the place I want to be.


Right now I am happy  for what I have, but I am hoping that T & I can start to built life together before we get too old.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Under the Bridge

I am getting back in the normal swing of things after vacation.  Of course no one took care of the stuff that piled up on my desk while I was gone.  Grrr.


As T was driving home from work he called me.  I was home alone with the kids, but today they were all occupied with other things.


While we talked about one of the other blogs we read If I Do The Right Thing, and Cameron has been asking a lot of  questions  about if it is OK for a bisexual married man to have a man on the side and not tell his wife.  


I am not going into my feeling on that now, but you can read my comments there if you have nothing better to do with your time.  :-)    There have been several other guys who have also commented with various points of view.


Anyway, T and I talked about it and as we talked he said, "Aren't you glad you don't have to deal with that anymore?  You are so much happier then you were a year ago."


He is right.  I am much happier.  I still have work to do, but, as I approach the one year anniversary of Conflicting Clarity,  the most of the pain is water under the bridge.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beach Clarity


video




This is a video of Sachuest Point beach in Middletown, Rhode Island.  The locals call it "Second Beach".  It is just over a 2 hour drive from where my mother lives, but it was worth the trip.  The waves were better, the sand was softer and you can walk out a long way before it gets too deep to stand.  I could have sat on the beach a listened to the sound of the surf rolling in for hours.  There is something soothing about the rhythmic pounding of the water on the beach.  I think there is something comforting knowing that the water has always been rolling onto that beach and it always will.   


Being there was a mixture of emotions.  I was playing several roles in my head at the same time, each with it's own emotional attachments.  


I was a father taking his family on vacation.  We played.  After the first visit we bought boogie boards, not really good ones, but once they could have fun with for the week.  We spent money on food and snacks, not to mention the gas to get us back and forth.  That's what father's do when they take their families on vacation, and it was worth every penny.  I would not trade the time I spent playing in the surf with all my kids for anything.  I was able to forget all my problems.  There was no work.  There was no gay related confusion.  There was no worrying about the future.  For a little while it was just me, my kids, and the ocean.


I was a best friend.  K and I had a good time together.  We are best friends and we are settling into that role together.  The anger is completely gone and we were able to laugh together.  We laughed together a lot last week.    At one point I, expressed a little sadness that here and I are SO good together, if only I was straight, we would have the perfect life.  She shut me down quickly, saying she believed that God had a plan for all of us and that we were right were we were supposed to be.  She has come to believe that she was put into my life to help me discover who I really am.  (That is a topic for a whole other post.)


I was a boyfriend alone.  Sometimes, when I was playing in the surf or looking out at the ocean I would be thinking about T.  I would be distracted watching 2 people talking along the beach together, and I would think about T.  I really wanted to share this experience with him.  I wanted this to be our experience.  A memory to share that we could tell other people about together.  I would have loved to walk the beach with him.  My kids love him and would have had fun playing in the surf with him.  I would have loved playing with all of us together.

Things I Learned on Vacation

  • My family loves and accepts me for who I am, as I am, regardless of my situation.
  • I can't make everyone happy and I need to stop trying.
  • K's family is just as screwed up as I think they are, maybe more.
  • I miss T when I am separated from him
  • Sunscreen is NOT just for kids and wimps
  • Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your 6 year old daughter ride a wave 50 feet on a boogie board, then stand up, raise both hands over her head and yell, "woo hoo!  I did it!"
  • I like the beach a lot more than I thought I did.
  • A beach facing the open ocean is a lot more fun than a beach in a protected cove.
  • If you try to dig a clam out of the sand with your bare hands, you might get bit.
  • Being K's best friend is a lot more fun than trying to pretend to be her husband
  • Four kids in a minivan is not fun for very long.
  • No matter how much I like visiting my family or being on vacation, it's really good to go home.
  • Getting a divorce from K will not separate me from my crazy in-laws.
  • I am starting to like being gay
  • I enjoyed taking to my brother-in-law about my boyfriend.
  • I enjoyed talking to my parents about my boyfriend.
  • I can eat 4 lobsters in one sitting.
  • Once you accept that you are going to get sand into everything and there is nothing you can do about it, leaving the beach at the end of the day is less stressful.
  • Sometimes a Speedo is unattractive, even on a thin guy
  • Hydro-cortisone cream and baby lotion is a good treatment for sunburn
  • I prefer regular Oreo's over the "double stufft" kind.
  • On land, sea lions can support all their weight on their flippers.  Seals can't.
  • Watching your kids pet sting rays is pretty cool.
  • No matter how much fun vacation is, it is always nice to come home and sleep in your own bed.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Greeting From Vacation!!!


I am 4 days into my vacation and, for the most part, I am having a good time.  I am enjoying the time with my family, and mostly enjoying my time with K’s family.  I am keeping in touch with T, mostly though text messages and a light night phone call, after the kids have gone to bed.  I miss him a lot and I know he misses me.

Yesterday we saw a July 4th parade, allegedly the oldest continuous July 4th parade in the nation.  A claim I will attempt to verify later.  It was very hot and we did not stay until the end, even though we had packed a cooler full of drinks..  At the parade there were lots of guy running around with no shirts, but sadly most of them looked like me.

After we (K, the kids and I), all went to a beach right on the Atlantic ocean.  There were a lot of people there, but not so many that it was hard to find a spot of put down our stuff. There were pretty good waves which was cool because this is the first time that my youngest son and daughter have been in waves that big.  We had a lot of fun.   There was also a lot more eye candy for me.  Plenty of hot guys to look at.  I did not have the courage to try to take any pictures of any of them to share.

K had a good time too.  The ocean and the beach is a place she goes to regenerate herself.  She does not get there nearly enough, but she finds that just being there for a while makes her feel better.  While we were playing in the waves with the kids, I asked her if she was happy.  She said she was, but a few things could have made it better.  The beach less crowded.  It could be sunset. And finally, it would be better for her if AJ was there too.

I have been thinking about T all week, but my thoughts turned to him again.  I thought about how much fun it would be to share this experiences with him.  I think frolicking in the surf with him would be a lot of fun.  He does really well with my kids and they love him.  Like K would like to have AJ with her, I would have really liked T to be there with me.

I also thought about the eye candy walking around the beach.  While they were fun to look at, looking at them, make me think about T.  (No, I am not just saying that because T reads this blog)   They made me remember how lucky I am to have a man who loves me, even if he cannot be with me as much as I would like.

We are planning a short get away over Labor day weekend.  His business will be closed for a few days and we will be able get away.  We don't know what we are going to do yet, but I am sure it will be great to just be with him for a few days. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gone Fishing

I am getting ready to leave work now and as soon as I get home there will be a mad rush to get packed, loaded and on the road.  I expect that I will post one or two thing while I am traveling, but probably not as much as usual.


If I can make it though the 14 hour drive with 4 kids in the minivan, the rest of the week will be easy!!!


Happy 4th of July!!!