Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rain On The Parade

I do not usually offer advice to others on this blog and I am not sure I should now, but I am going to anyway.  

One of the things that I have learned in my journey, that sometimes things that look good are fraught with peril.  I have also found that many times, the people we meet out here in the blogoshpere will pat us on the back and be cheerleaders when we might need some tough love.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, I really don't, but I am a black hat thinker by nature.  I am cautious and I want things to go well.  If I see an obstacle on the path and even if no one else seems to notice it, I will stop and point it out so it can be avoided.  (more info on six thinking hats here)

So I have this friend.  He is a fellow blogger, a little older than me, who has recently come out to his wife.  He was scared before he came out to her and now that he has, he has found a woman that is totally accepting of him.  He writes that their conversations about their marriage are better and deeper than they have been in a long time, if not better than they have ever been.  He talks about their, formerly non-existent sex life, taking off and reaching new heights of passion and intimacy.  

He still has challenges, to work through.  She is not happy all the time, and even angry about some things.  He is feeling better, mostly because he is no longer carrying around this secret (at least not form her) and she has accepted him enough to still want to work on the marriage.

I read his most recent entry and I think I may have written one like that myself.  I'll have to go back and check.

There was a time when K and I thought it was best to work on our marriage.  To re-commit ourselves in spite of the fact that I am a gay man and she is a straight woman.  In the long run (and in hind sight) I think that attempt was a bad idea.  Here's why:

  1. I was pushing myself back in the closet.   Back to being un-genuine.  While I was out to K, I was not going to be allowed to come out to anyone else.  I was going to have to keep up the straight appearances.  My dream of falling in love with a man and having he partner relationship that I wanted was suddenly crushed again.
  2. He (my friend) feels so much relief that his secret is out and he feels so much gratitude that she is accepting, in this moment of euphoria he feels deeper in love.  This feeling will likely be temporary.  
  3. In holding on the the straight marriage, it precluded the chance that I would fall in love with someone in the way that K was in love with me.  Because I am gay, I did not have the ability to love her in the same way she loved me.  Keeping in mind that I did, and continue to love her very, very much.
  4. Every time we (K and I) were together and I was "working" on the marriage, and especially the times when we had sex, I was giving her hope that this gay thing would just go away.  False hope as it turns out.  K was smart enough to know that you cannot wish away the gay.  It does not work like that.  By the time the reality of our situation dawned on us, she came to think it was almost cruel the way I kept her hanging on.
  5. It is possible that she (my friend's wife) is so desperate to keep her relationship as intact as she can, she will agree to almost anything and say it is OK.  It may be OK for a while, but it may not last.
I am not staying that any of these things apply precisely to my blogger friend.  I hope I am wrong.  I hope that things are exactly as they seem on the surface.  I think, however, it is wise to put on the black hat and proceed with caution.


TwoLives said...

Your blog was the very first one I started following. I remember January 2010 quite clearly. You were still wanting to hold on to K and she was getting very frustrated with you. Whether I should have done it or not, or whether it was at all helpful, I made some "black hat" comments. I agree that readers can be too supportive in the sense that many are reluctant to tell you what they really think.

I agree with just about everything that you said. I particularly agree that this man's wife appears unusually anxious to hold on to him. I see that as unhealthy. In time she is likely to become resentful.

Mixed orientation marriages can work but they require a great deal of compromise, on the part of both partners, although one person (often the straight spouse) usually shoulders a far greater share of the burden. Mostly I would discourage couples from trying MOMs. Too often they are a long, slow, painful road toward inevitable divorce. A sharp, painful but quick break up really is better than the drip-drip-drip of trying to make an mixed-matched situation work.

That said, it's really hard to toss away 25 or 30 or 35 years of history together. I can understand wanting to try to make things work.

Buddy Bear said...

Jim, I agree completely with every point you've made. I had the same grave concerns about our mutual blogger friend and his future happiness.

My wife and I are now fully separated and never in a million years would I ever attempt to "fix" our marriage and live together again. (I'm sure she would agree.)

It is far better to separate ourselves emotionally, physically and financially and move on to new lives and perhaps new partners. This has freed us to start to develop a good relationship as co-parents, perhaps neighbours one day and maybe even sort-of-friends.

WillBeBi said...

I could not agree more. Been there done that just like you. Great at first, then slow decay. I commented back to the other blogger these same observations and cautions from my own experience. It's been 10 long "drip-drip" years for me. In may case, I made the sacrifice and went back in the closet. Not fun, but since I was the problem, I took the burden. At least the kids had a stable home for many more years...But now the game is up. For my wife's sake, I wish I had cut the cord and moved on while she was younger. She could have had 10 more years with a man that really wanted her. I feel her desperation now as I pull away. It's not fun fr either of us. I was told all this a long time ago and thought I was better and that it would not happen to me. Like so many others, I was wrong. The Genie will NOT go back in the darn bottle.

Jason_M said...

This is well said. The most significant thing I think is your very clear, simple statement that you did not have the ability to love your wife in the same way she loved you. This is at the heart of the matter for many gay men; with bi, I donno. But I'd also like to say to guilt-ridden married gay men that the certain questions should be asked: does the wife in fact love the husband in that way? Was she in fact clueless about the nature of his love? Did his form of love provide her with something she needed? Is it really All Your Fault.

A gratuitous rantlet....