Over the past few posts I have talked about some stress and concerns I have felt recently. Now in the past day or two, I have come to realize that there is a calmness in my life. While it is not perfect. There are still things I want, I have taken the time to notice the calmness.
This week K was accepted into a local private college. She will be able to finish the degree that she put on hold when we had kids. The problem is this school is pretty expensive. In order to get the financial we would need to pay for it, she will have to be a single mom making only what you make when you work for a church. With that income, even without the kids, she should qualify for plenty of aid.
The problem is, we need to be divorced. While I have known for two years this was coming, six months ago, it would have caused me a lot of stress. I don't feel that now. I feel calm about it. I need to call a lawyer to help me with the paperwork. I did not get around to that this week, because I had a very busy week at the office.
Once I considered is a failure that I was unable to hold my marriage together. Now I see the happiness that she has with AJ and that her and I will continue to be best friends. While I miss T horribly when we are apart, I know what he loves me and I love him.
So while everything is not perfect, there is still a calmness. As a side note, I have noticed each of the past times I have written about "calmness" something blows up. Let's hope that trend does not hold out.
The past two nights I have been alone with the kids. Why? Because AJ's daughter has been out to state visiting relatives and K have been staying over there. I don't really mind, but today is my turn.
Sadly, I won't be spending the night with T, but I will be going to see him early this afternoon and I will have the whole evening with him. I am very excited.
Tonight I met T and his family for dinner. As usual, they were all nice to me and made be feel welcome, even thought I did not understand much of what they were saying. After dinner we went back to his house.
We settled on his couch. He did his paperwork and I forced him to watch "Deadliest Catch". I was sitting close to him absently rubbing his back (under his shirt). When he was finished with his work he sunk back into the couch. I moved over put my head on his chest. I closed my eyes. I could hear his heart beating. I could hear his breathing. He put his arms around me.
I started to tear up, but just a little. I had what I have always wanted. I had a man who really, truly loves me for me and I loved him too. In that instant, I was home. I was content. I was happy being absorbed in his warm embrace.
In my earlier post I was talking about expanding my circle of friends. I think I gave the impression that in the process, T WANTED me to find a man that I could fall for that would be able to be the partner that I dream about.
That is not the case.
What he has told me he believes that I will eventually be so frustrated with his limitations and my own loneliness, that I will seek out (and find) a replacement. Someone who will be able to live when me when I am ready. He is prepared for that day and thinks it will eventually come.
What I was trying to say about myself, is that my goal for expanding my circle of friends is about doing just that. Expanding my circle of friends. Now I do not have many friends and frequently feel isolated. Actually that has been my situation for years before I met T, but it was always tempered by the knowledge that K would always be there for me. As long as I had her, I was OK. I think if T could be my full time partner, I would so isolated.
So with K moving on with AJ combined with me not having the opportunity to see T as much as I want to, with a sprinkle of a lot of time alone I have a life that is hugely out of balance. Having an active social life will help me bring things back into balance.
It will be better for me.
It will be better for my kids.
I will be better for T and better for K.
Hell, I will probably even perform better at work.
What I am continuing, however, is my devotion to T and the relationship that we have built over the years. I am not stringing him along until something better comes along. I know that at the end of the day, we share the same goal. We just have a different opinion on how to reach it. Or if we can reach it.
I am not quite ready to give up on T and our relationship. There is too much at stake for me, and for him. There is just something about the way I feel when I am with him that I know I will not be able to replace with someone else.
There is also something comforting about having that unconditional love that appears to be so missing in many gay relationships.
So, given his situation (and mine) what do I do? How do I deal with the frequent loneliness? I think that I am already on a path to do that. I am looking for friends.
I think T is expecting that as I meet new people, I will find someone that I really like. Someone who is more available that he is. Someone who will be the partner that I really need, want and deserve. He expect when that day comes, I will leave him for this new Mr. Right.
But I don't think about it that way. I think if I have an active social circle I will be much less lonely. I will have a better balance. Aside from my family (who is 800 miles away) right now I have T, & K and my kids. That's my whole circle. There is Shawn, but I really only see him once every couple of months. Besides, if is "conversion" holds out, he may not be that fun to hang out with anyway.
I think separately, together will work if I can get the right balance in the rest of my life. Right now I am desperately out of balance which is causing me considerable stress.
Down the road, we may yet be together in the way I dream about.
I am alone this weekend. Well, with 4 kids in the house I am almost never actually alone, but it is not just anyone's company that I will make me feel complete. I need not only the love of a man, but I need his physical presence to make me feel complete. We do not need to be in physical contact, for me to feel that completeness, but we do need to be in proximity. For this weekend, I am not going to get that and I feel lonely.
This week, T and I attended a Jimmy Buffet concert, with K and AJ. For the most part I had a good time. T did not, but he was a good sport about it and he was glad to come along because he knew it was important to me.
This is not the first time that T has done things for me. Hell, for the first 2 years that we were seeing each other, he put up with my seemly endless drama, my dumping him to try to "work it out" with K and a host of other shit. But at the end of the day he stood by me.
But there is a "dark" side to all of this. There is one place that I really want him to go, that he may not be able to. I want a real partner. What I really want is a husband. I want a man by my side as much of the time as possible. Even if we are buy with things during the day, I want to snuggle with my man every night as we drift off to sleep.
All fo this sounds simple enough, but it may be a bridge to far for T. It's not that he does not want the same things that I want, it's just he feels he cant due to family obligations. I am not going into them here now, but if you look back you will see where I have written about them before. Suffice it to say that while I understand his reasons, I do not agree with them. That said, at the end of the day, the decision to make.
We have talked about this several times. The bottom line for me is while I want the things I have outlined above, I do not not want them with just any man, I want T.
We talked about this the other night. He told me that he understood the things I want and he things that not only are they reasonable, I deserve them. He knows that I am looking to meet people for friendships, and he knows that I could meet someone there that i would hit it off with with. If I did and that person could be the partner I want, he (T) would understand. He said he would remain my friend.
But there is one catch, why should keep looking when then man of my dreams is already right here. I don't really want anyone else. In fact, what I would REALLY like is for T to come with me at some of these :friend building" events and we could make the new friends together. So my new friends would know us as a couple, not just me, alone with a distant boyfriend. The reality is that will not be happening. T is very busy, with many irons in the fire at the same time. It is unlikely that we will be doing a whole lot of that. Plus he has encouraged me to make friends on my own.
In the end, I hope that we will find a way to make us living together a reality. I hope it will come before I get too old to want to sleep with a man. Before we have to keep a bowl of little blue pills by the bed.
There is also the issue of loyalty. T stuck by me when things were really bad for me, and they could not have been too good for him either. I doubt that many guy would have stuck around. I am not sure I would have. So based on that, how can I not stuck my him? On the other hand, I know I cannot spend most of the next 20 years alone.
So for now, I know we think about each other constantly. I know that out hearts are merged, but we are physically apart.
I went to visit my friend Shawn tonight. Remember him? I wrote about him a while back (here) and tonight he was a changed man. In the past my conversations with him had been pretty superficial. We talked about our kids, his ex, K, my relationship with T, and his exploits. Tonight, was different. When I went over there I intended to stay about an hour, but I ended up staying almost 2 and a half.
Here is some back ground you need to know.
When I met Shawn, he had been married to his second wife for 10 years. His first wife died after the birth of his first child.
When he was married to his second wife he cheated on her with men.
Before his divorce, we (K and I) often invited him over to the house for BBQ and card games. Our kids play with each other.
He is (or claims to be) deeply religious, reading the Bible every day.
About 2 years ago he went to a "men's retreat" and came cback from that deciding he was not going to be gay any more.
He is 36 years old.
His best friends is a gay man, married to a woman (with 2 daughters)
So when I arrived at his house he was watching TV and I sat and watch with him. He was pretty quiet. At the next commercial, he turned to me told me he was not gay any more. He was stopping. He even acknowledged how silly that sounded.
Over the next 2 hours we talked about how he prayed and he things God told him that he could not be gay. He told his kids we was going to stop being gay. He told me how when he met with the all the men he had, he always felt guilty. In fact, the few relationship he was able to make, he also was unable to square his being with men with his religious beliefs. he also talked about wanting the recapture what he had (or thought he had) with his first wife.
I talked about my experience, some of which he already knew and a lot he didn't. Once of the things I shared with him is how when I was meeting men before (with K's permission) I also enjoyed the "act" and the intensity of the release, but as soon at that was over, I felt terrible. Even though I was not cheating (i.e. lying to K) I was unfulfilled and felt cheap & dirty. I felt that way every singly time I was hooked up with a man.
That is until I met T. When I am with him I feel the excitement, intensity and intimacy, in fact is it much stronger than I have ever felt before. What I do not feel with T is shame or guilt of any kind. When the "main event" is over with other men, all I wanted to do was leave as quickly as I could. With T, all I want to do is snuggle in his arms.
I told Shawn that if he located the right man, one whom he really click with and really falls IN LOVE with, he might feel differently.
I sincerely wish him well. I really want him to be happy. I knew I was not going to be able to change his mind. I told him I would be supportive, but in the end, I think that he will not be able to "stop being gay". I think in the end he will end up back in homo-town, but when he does, I suspect he will be more broken than he is now.
I stopped at the bowling alley last night. The gay group was much smaller than I expected. The website seems to indicate there were something like 25 teams. I counted 8.
Anyway, I checked off the things I cared about.
Age? Mostly younger guys but some my age. CHECK!
Friendly? They seemed to be friendly, with some talking between teams. CHECK (I did not talk to anyone. I was just there to briefly observe and then I left.)
I did not see any women, not that, that's a deal breaker for me, but I was kind of surprised. There was one other thing that I checked. I did not think about it before I got there, but once I started looking around, it became important.
How were these guys scoring? It turns out that they bowl well within my scoring range, so I won't be embarrassing myself.
Verdict? I will sign up in August for the next season.
Hi There. Remember me? Last week was a very busy week for me and there is a lot of stuff I want to talk about, but just don't have the time to talk about it right now. I will get back to it ... later... _______________________________
There are 2 gay bowling leagues in the near by city and I have picked one I am interested in. Their season starts in August and ends... well... it ends tonight. I plan to join the league in the fall, but since I am on the shy side, I wanted to go to the bowling alley and check it out first. I am not sure exactly what I am hoping to find. K thinks it's silly that I want to go there tonight. In her mind, I like bowling, I'm gay and it's a gay bowling league. What more is there to know?
Not withstanding, K's skepticism, I feel the need to see what is what. I want to see how people interact. I want to see if people are friendly between teams. Keeping in mind that my goal is to meet different kinds of people, it would not be very productive if I only got to know the 3 other people on my team.
The last thing I am trying to find out is when the sign-ups in August will be. I want to make sure I get on the list. They have a website, but it does not seem to be updated very often.
Anyway, wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes.
Have you heard the joke about the guy who named his dog, "Stay". Then when he was training his dog to come when called, he was heard saying, "Come here, Stay. Come here, Stay."
That is what K said I was doing to her in the two years that a waffled back and forth. In the time that I was "working on my marriage." In the time that I was trying to so the responsible & selfless thing and honor my marriage vows and hold my family together.
The result? Confusion. Hope. False hope. Pain. Sadness. Fear. There were times when I felt good, when we made a new resolution to work together, but it never lasted.
For all the years I was in the closet in my own head, I was able to successfully pretend that I was straight. Well, I think the definition of "successful" depends on your point of view. What is important is, that once I came out to myself, I was out. Once I acknowledged to myself, I was gay, there was no way I could go back to pretending I was straight. When I tried the despair only grew. It grew faster than I could find ways to relieve it.
While I suppose there are some people who are able to make a marriage between a straight woman and a gay man (or the other way around) work, I just don't see how. How is it that any self respecting straight woman will want to devote her love to a man who is not capable of returning the same kind of love? Clearly we love our wives, God knows that I have always loved K and I will continue to love her. But I do not love her in the way that she loves me. More importantly, I was never in love her in the same way I now am in love with T. At the end of the day, there was no way that she would accept that for herself. She deserved that kind of love. She needed that kind of love.
There is no going back into the closet. Even K would take me back, I would not go. I am a gay man. I have tasted the love of a man. I have fallen asleep in his embrace. I have had him fall asleep on my chest. We have made love in an emotionally intimate way that K and I never did. I could never go back.
What's more, she could never go back. In the same way that I have fallen in love with T, she has with AJ. For the first time in almost 20 years, she feels what it is like for a man to not just love her, but be IN LOVE with her. She deserves that. She needs that, and while it was painful place for us to get to, I am glad she does have it. Just as I am glad I have it.
I cannot go back into the closet and I doubt there are many others who could.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This has not really been a good week for T and I. You know what happened on Monday. On Tuesday, I was supposed to go visit him but something came up and we did not connect. Wednesday, I will supposed to call him, but I got distracted and by the time I called, he had gone to bed. Damn.
Tonight was different.
When I missed him on Tuesday, we agreed that we would get together on Thursday. And we did.
He does not work on Thursdays, but he had some things to do at home. I do work, so afterward, I drove to meet him at a local mall. He was running late, so I hung out at the bookstore.
I happened to be looking toward the front of the store when he walked in. I spotted him though the glass door, even before it opened. He looked so good and it was really nice to see him.
We had a nice dinner together, just us. We went to a PF Chang's. I just love the chicken lettuce wraps and as soon as we sat down, the waiter was putting an order on the table in front of us. Apparently the kitchen made extra one and they needed to get rid of it. It was difficult, but T and I were happy to help them out. My day was getting even better.
After dinner, we went to a private place. A quiet place, that did not stay quiet for long. When the main event was over, we both commented to each other that it had been a long time since we were alone in a place where we were really alone.
We watched some TV, together, close, you get the idea.
Before long it was time to say good bye. It was time for him to go home to his family and me to my (ex)wife and kids. While I don't much care for that part of the evening that inevitably come, today I did not feel sad, because I had such a wonderful time.
T and I kid around some, a lot actually. Like all couples do. We frequently lob good natured insults back and forth. In general, I enjoy the playful banter. I know that he is just kidding and he knows I am.
There is one topic that is an exception.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going out for drinks with T and my boss at work, Mike. Mike is not a bad guy, but I don't think he is remotely attractive (not that anyone would think I am eye candy). Ever since that day, every time I bring up his name, T says that Mike likes me or that he is attracted to me. Or something similar. He never says I like Mike back, or that I think Mike is attractive, just that Mike likes me.
Tonight we had ones of those conversations. I got upset, I told him I had to go work on something (which was true) and abruptly I hung up the phone. I sat in my chair and I started to cry. I am not a person who is usually prone to crying and here I was, sobbing like a baby. What the hell is wrong with me?
I think he is kidding, but I am not sure. I have asked him to stop, but he thinks I am too serious. Too sensitive. He might be right.
Sometimes, I feel like he is testing me. As if he expects that one day I will take the bait and attempt to run off with someone who likes me. If that is true, he may have just cause to feel that way. A year ago I did just that. I broke up with him in favor of a man who lives 2000 miles away who might have been able to live with me.
On the other hand, he may just be playing with me. Good natured banter that I am just taking too seriously.
Maybe I was just having a bad day and this kidding pushed me over the edge.
Maybe I am insecure and I worry he thinks I am looking to leave him again.
Maybe I was having a flashback to my getting teased in high school.
Maybe I am a jerk, who can dish out teasing but can't take it.
Either way, I feel crappy for making such a big deal about it and T feels bad for making me feel bad.
At the end of the day, despite these events, I love him more today than I did yesterday. I still want to be his partner and (someday) his husband. None of this changes that. Nothing can change that. My love continues, unconditionally.
As I have said before, there are two parts of my life I need to develop. My relationship with T and my relationship with myself. I need to establish a place for myself in the world. A place where I fit. A place besides my house where I feel comfortable. Where everybody knows my name.
When I talk about a "place" I am not necessarily talking about a physical location, but more of a mental place. Where I can have contact with other people. People who will accept me and where I can truly be myself.
At the moment, I do not have that really anywhere. Even in my own house. I said above I feel comfortable in my house, and that may not be exactly true. I might liken me in my house to a bird in a cage. The bird would much rather fly free, but he also knows that he is safe in there. Sometimes if you let a bird used to a cage out, he will get back inside as fast as he can. I am probably like that.
Of course, I feel accepted with T and I are alone. I also feel that way when I am out with him and his younger sisters. They know the nature of our relationship. They like me and they accept me exactly as I am. What's more, they accept the relationship T and I have. It is not the same when I am at his house. His elderly parents live with him and while they have accepted me, they either do not truly know about my relationship with T or they are in denial about it. While it may change over time, they do not really like the idea of T in a relationship with a man.
I cannot really blame them. They grew up in a different time and place and gay relationships just were not accepted. Add that to traditional Asian culture, mix in a heave dose of Catholic doctrine and I am probably lucky his mom does not chase me out of the house with a broom.
I would like to know more gay people but the more I think about it, I really want to meet other gay people with kids. I don't really care if the kids are the result of a former (or current) straight relationship or if a gay couple adopted kids. I wonder if I will have a lot in common with these people and it will be easier to build friendships.
That said, I don't think I want to limit myself to families. I really want to get to know all kinds of people. Since now I know very few, I don't want to be too choosy.
I have been pre-occupied with the beach lately. I do love the beach but, why can I not get it out of my head these days? The reason is obvious. K is at the beach and I am home with the kids. If she gets to go the the beach, why don't I get to go to the beach too. I'm on the verge of stomping my feet and yelling, "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!" Just like my 6 year old daughter.
Now the grown up in me knows that I am being childish. I know that she does a lot and her getting away for a few days with her sister is something she deserves. I really don't want to take anything away from her. I just want to have some too.
One week from today is her last tournament. Counting the days.
I have a vision that includes sitting by the ocean. Listening to the the surf crashing on the rock. The breeze blowing through our hair.
I love the ocean. I can't really explain why, but I always have. Something about seeing the waves come in, over and over. It's almost like it was a constant in the universe that does not have very many constants.
I also think there is another angle for a gay man hiding deep in the closet. There is something pure and real about the place where the sea meets the land. I don't think it matters if it a sandy place or a rocky place. The sea is what it is. It does not apologize that is ebbs and flows. It does not hide the cycle of the tides. The land does not yield to the water. It also stays constant as the water moves over it, or around it.
On the other hand, maybe it just would be nice to go the the beach with T.
I have less than two week left. In less than two weeks, I will have a lot more freedom to do... well... I don't exactly know what I will do, but if I want to I can.
K's sports season is almost over. The tournaments and all the associated practices will be over and that will free up a lot of time. Not that I will have total freedom. I mean, K will want to have time for herself too and I will want to be spending time with the kids (and her too). What I will have, that I have not had since August, is flexibility.
There are a few things I want to do in the short term:
I want to attend a dinner or two with a MeetUp group.
There are 2 gay bowling leagues in the city and their seasons end at the end of April. I want to to the the bowling ally and check them out before the season is over, so when I go to join at the end of next summer, I will know what to expect.
There is a national group called "Frontrunners" http://www.frontrunners.org/ that has a chapter in the nearby city. They are a running/walking club for GLBT people. They meet on Saturday morning and Monday evenings. I want to go to where they meet and check them out as well, but I think I can join up with them at anytime.
On top of that, I want to see T more. Once a week is not enough. Twice a week is better, but I also want to see if I can to better than that.
I know that I can't do everything, but since I have done nothing for so long, I feel like I just need to get out and do as much as I can.
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
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