Friday, February 11, 2011

Reality Check: Where I'm At

I thought it was time that I prepare a more personal post, to write about where I’m “at.”  After all, this blog is supposed to be about my journey out of the closet to my brave new world, somewhere over the horizon, as an openly gay man.  So I guess I should get a little more up close and personal from time to time.

Right now, I remain very much a pilgrim on a journey.  I am learning a lot about myself, about the gay world and about life.  I have had many new experiences in this gay world, a number of which I have written about, and some of which I have not and likely will not write about; not any time soon, at any rate.  (Sorry to disappoint the more curious among the readers of this blog.)  Let's just say, as I was telling an out-of-state friend last night, that I'm happy - very happy even - and this morning as I was lying in bed, drifting somewhere between dreams and wakefulness, I realized I am that most blessed of persons right now - someone who is happy and realizes it.

I have made many new friends since beginning my journey four months ago (has it been only that long?).  Up until less than two months ago, most of these friends existed only in cyber-space.  Now, most of my new friends are “real world” friends, and this is increasingly the case.  However, I still value those friendships that have not yet been “consummated” by meeting in person: several men I have yet to meet have played key roles in my life over the past few months, and I’m grateful for the association I have had with them.  All of these people have influenced me for good, sharing wisdom, insight, experience and knowledge – not to mention friendship, of course.  They've also been the source of a lot of fun!

At home, I remain in a holding pattern.  I hope to be able to move out in a couple of months.  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, my wife and I remain on fairly amicable terms, despite an undercurrent of tension which is unavoidable.  As to my children, the four older ones know about the impending separation as well as about me being gay.  All things considered, we maintain a good relationship which I hope will hold during the months ahead.  I worry at times about the effects that our separation will have on the younger kids, but I know that there is really nothing I can do about it except work on my individual relationship with each of them:  our marriage is over, and separation and divorce are inevitable.

I certainly have no regrets whatsoever for the steps that have led me to where I am today.  As I have written before, I could not go on “the way I wasn’t.”  I simply was mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically incapable of pretending any more, and my wife made things a lot easier by stating categorically that she had no desire to continue the marriage.  She has commented since that she does not understand how wives of self-acknowledged gay men can continue in their marriages.  For her, she simply cannot do that, just like I couldn’t continue to pretend.  We are both being true to ourselves, and that has made our path clear.

As to the church, well, I continue to attend as many meetings in our ward as I feel I can handle.  I go for the sake of our children at home, to provide an “example” and to not give fodder to the gossips.  My wife and I both want to maintain appearances for as long as possible for the sake of the children.  Nevertheless, it is extremely difficult for me to sit through meetings and to greet people, pretending that all is well and everything is as it always has been. 

I’ve got to be more careful, though:  my bishop asked me to come in to see him this past Sunday and asked if everything is ok.  He is well aware of the difficulties my wife and I have had for the past several years, but he knows nothing of current circumstances.  He is a friend, and I have a great deal of respect for him, but my wife and I are in agreement that it is best to just keep things to ourselves for now.

Beyond this, I don’t plan to continue my association with the Church as an organization once I move out.  I need a break, which may turn into something permanent; only time will tell.  Meanwhile, I will likely continue to investigate other options regarding a relationship to a “community of faith,” partly because I am finding that this relationship – outside of the LDS Church - can be very nourishing (as opposed to draining) and fulfilling (as opposed to frustrating) and become an important part of validating who I am.  (I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will:  my journey is different from anyone else’s; what is meaningful or important to me will not necessarily be so to someone else, and visa versa.  We are each on our own journey.)

Meanwhile, the road beckons ... I have tarried long enough.  New discoveries, new experiences, new lessons await over the crest of the next hill, around the next bend in the road ...


  1. Yes, each of our journeys is different from everyone else's. We shouldn't have to say that, but it's true. When you and your wife can't imagine anyone staying together after a pronouncement of this nature, it is good to remember that others can and do.

    We all are doing what we feel is best. I, for one, think you're doing an incredible job at it, and am constantly amazed at the relative "speed" to which you've taken on this task. It is mind-numbing to say the least, and I am in awe of your sensitivity to your family, your kids in particular, and that says a lot about your true character of integrity.

  2. @Beck - Thanks for stopping by. I thought you had abandoned me.:)

    Just to clarify, I wrote that my wife said she couldn't imagine staying together. I deliberately said this because this was her attitude.

    When I first came out to her, I hadn't envisioned all of this happening. The point I want to make is that she chose this, unlike the case with other MOMs I know of where the wife has decided to stay with her husband because she is somehow able to get past the same-sex attraction. My wife is not one of these women. That was my point.

    Having said that, I'm glad that she initiated what subsequently transpired.

    I am very aware of situations like yours, and I have not and do not pass judgment of any type on such situations. As to your other comments, I appreciate your kind words. The thing all of us need to remember is that we are all at different places, and what works for one person and one speed does not work for someone else. As I have written before, I did not choose the trajectory and speed of my journey, but having been so launched, I am engaging in what life has brought to me.

  3. I enjoy watching your journey from afar: reading about the steps you take, your hurdles, your highs and lows, your wisdom and observations on such a variety of topics.

    I think that the differences of peoples journeys are learning opportunities for everyone. Just because one affirms one's identity doesn't mean that others are not ok or are being judged. If this were the case, life would be pretty problematic! Affirming one's uniqueness, one's route while observing and respecting others' journeys and differences is what Life is all about.

    It would be great if we could appreciate another's journey and space for what that is: another's journey rather than seeing another's affirmation as a critique of another! No one is trying to claim the rights to a new gospel. This is Life: sharing, learning, growing, experimenting, loving, giving, sharing and growing again. We are ALL pilgrims, supporting each other and seeking love and light.

  4. Invictus,
    I'm been following your blog for the last few weeks, and it's fascinating for me to see your journey, to realize like myself all of this is so recently (although no kids and I'm sure I'm quite a bit younger). I recently came to terms with being gay. It's taken me a long time.
    I recently "came out" to my wife (month and a half ago). I had told her I struggled with SSA while we were dating, but I think it's taken years for me (and her) to actually know what that means.
    Honestly, it's not easy. But she didn't choose to divorce me. And I didn't choose to divorce her. Sometimes I do think it would have been easier if she did want that. I spent about a month just wondering how she really felt, and then the other day it all came out. It was rough, but I think things are looking better.
    MOM's aren't easy. I'm glad to be able to share a little about my journey with you and hear about yours. I guess it's easy for me to imagine being right where you are. We all make different choices, and have different circumstances, but it's good to know that people out there can relate to what we're going through. I don't know how I'd do this otherwise.

  5. @Alex - Thanks for commenting and for sharing a bit of your story. If you haven't already read them, I would suggest you go back into the archives of my blog to a series of posts in late December about MOMs. You might find them interesting.

    You're absolutely right: every situation is different, although there are recurring themes. One of the biggest variations is the attitude of the wife; this can make a huge different in how things play out in a MOM - as you can see from my own situation.

    I wish you well as you continue on your own journey. Should you ever desire to do so, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

  6. After reading through the December posts on MOM’s (you should find a way to bookmark or highlight them, they are extremely interesting and useful) I have to say that it echoes a lot of the things I’ve been thinking the last few weeks and helped to clarify a lot of my reasons for thinking and feeling the way I do.
    I came out to myself about 2 months ago now. Then I came out to my wife.
    It's been a process, coming to understand what that means. I too feel like you that everything is changing so fast.
    Valentine’s day the illusions were finally shattered. A month ago I told my wife I was gay, and even though we talked about my “SSA” before getting engaged, it’s not the same as saying, “I’m gay. I can’t change that. Can you accept that?”
    She said she didn’t know.
    See at first everything seemed to be alright. But then I found out after a month how she really felt.
    Then, Just like many of your commenters said, I saw what was happening not only me but to her in our marriage. My wife told me she felt like she was living in half a marriage1) She deserved to be in a marriage where she felt loved. 2) She deserved to be in a marriage where she felt respected.
    This isn’t a result of me telling her I was gay. It was a result of living for years pretending that nothing was wrong.
    I’m totally willing to question if there are ways I can get over that. I sincerely believe there are ways to change without forcing myself to “change.” (which isn’t possible). I can’t blame being gay for everything wrong in my marriage. But what I realized is, I had thought for a long time that I was the only one unhappy in my marriage. That if I were to divorce my wife I’d be the bad guy.
    Well you’d think I’d be so enlightened. So what did I do? Today I was miserable. I slept for hours. This is tough, as I’m in graduate school and trying to deal with this. I was contemplating giving up all of the new confidence I found in accepting me for me (including being gay) to make my marriage work. I know I can’t “push” this me away, but could I, you know, make him a little less vocal, a little less present? Did I really have to bring it up to my wife?
    I think I do. I can’t live in my marriage not being who I am. I need for her to love me and “accept” (I’ll work on defining that later) me on those terms.
    In regards to other comments, I don’t disagree we need to be less selfish. But I echo your words that being selfless in our situation is mutual suicide. If I just bury myself again, I’m not doing me or my wife any favors.
    So what do I do? My wife doesn’t particularly want to have sex with me, I don’t feel (strongly) the desire to have sex with her. But there is a something there. And because of that something I try to sort of be physical intimate. Right now I feel extremely awkward trying to be physical with her, trying to reassure her and me that it’s all ok. It’s possible that I’m just trying to force it too quickly, like many men in successful MOM’s that this time will fade and things will get better.
    I have my doubts. I’m willing to put some work into this marriage. But I will never be able to fully give up my desire to be with a man, and not just for sexual reasons. I know that one way to deal with this is to create other ways to meet those needs. I don’t disagree, and I don’t want to be too harsh, but I think that we have to be careful and not kid ourselves into thinking that we aren’t being emotionally unfaithful to our wives. On the other hand, this seems to be, and may be the only way to make our marriages work.
    I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Mine has been extremely painful. But I can honestly say that my depression is gone. I can also say that I’m dealing with a lot of pain, frustration and sadness as I watch the relationship with a woman I love but have hurt deeply go through some difficult times. But that there’s a peace that comes from God in being real to myself and really acknowledging my emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.