Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Response to an email

I've been wondering what to post about for awhile. I have thoughts during the day but don't often get a chance to put them down in writing before I've forgotten what it was. I received an email from someone asking for advice about dating and what I experienced while dating. This was my response:

Thanks for the email.

I fell in love with a good friend who I'd known for a long time. That's probably the best path that life could have taken for me. I never really had any real "spark" with other girls. I've never had that feeling where I have to spend every second with a girl, even my wife now. I always loved being with her, but I still wanted guy time, or had no problem leaving for work or school or whatever when I had something planned. It's good, comfortable love--not the instant attraction from seeing someone across the room for the first time.

Looking back would I do things the same? I don't know. I didn't understand that I was sexually attracted to other men. For me, I thought I was a bit insecure and had never had that great friendship that other guys seem to have. The weird thing was I never thought to analyze why I always wanted to see my friends without their shirts on. It took my a few years into my marriage to realize I might be gay or bi.

Anyway, life is tricky. I love my wife and kids. I also find this need inside to be intimate emotionally and physically with other men. I don't know why. It definitely makes life difficult. I don't regret having a wife and kids. In fact, one of my deepest desires from very young has been to be a father.

It's a tough bind we are in. Marriage is a very serious commitment, especially in the church where we are encouraged to commit for eternity. At the same time, a wife isn't necessarily going to satisfy every physical and emotional need. The alternative, at least if you want to stay true to the Church, is to remain celibate. That's hardly something to look forward to.

I can't say that I have any great pearls of wisdom for you. Friendship for me was everything when dating. I do wish I understood my SSA earlier and so could have talked about it before marriage. Now, it's like a blockage in my ability to communicate to my wife. I've chosen not to tell her about it. I don't think it would do any good at this point. I'm committed to her and don't want to hurt her. I'm always willing to reevaluate that choice.

My best to you.


Forester said...

Very interesting post. I share some similarities with your experiences of growing up and dating, but I also have some others. I had close friends growing up, and still have some of them to this day, but always had problems with sports and connecting with guys who were more sport-centric. This was hard for me growing up, but it didn't need to be. I was internalizing something that I wasn't good at and making it out to be bigger than it was.

As for dating, I too never had that strong immediate physical connection like I do with guys. I knew I was gay since I was little. College years were tough in that I always wanted to date guys but also enjoyed dating girls. In high school I always had a steady girlfriend, probably because this was easier than trying to date a ton of girls. I was never physically attracted to any of them, but I was very attracted to who they were and their personalities. I fell in love with my high school sweatheart but she didn't wait for me while on my mission. I thought for sure I was going to marry her, and in fact, still love her in some ways. I met my wife in college, we were on university committees together. She was dating a close friend of mine and when things didn't really work out for them, I asked her out. We quickly fell in love over a couple of months of dating. I was, and am, actually physically attracted to her. I had never kissed a girl before her, so when I did and enjoyed making out with her, I realized that marriage was a strong possibility, especially since I loved her and she me. It just came naturally. Looking back, I was actively seeking out a wife. Marriage is what I wanted. I took an institute marriage class in college and just new that it felt right. We dated for a little less than a year and then got married. It was the best day of my life. The first few years of marriage were practically blissful. I was still attracted to men, but it didn't seem to matter. Things have been tough over the years, especially over the past five years, but mostly, it has been incredible. I couldn't live without my wife and I can't wait until the kids grow up so that I can spend all my time with her. She is the "apple of my eye" as they say.

It's really amazing that any of this was and is possible for a gay man, and believe me, I'm very attracted to guys and have been since puberty. There was never any question in my mind that I was gay, but there was also very few times when I questioned my desire to marry and have a family.

GeckoMan said...

I realize you and Forester are in the same camp, choosing not to divulge your gay orientation to your spouses, at least for the time being. I guess I was in the same camp for a while, according to my wife. I thought we had talked about the issue prior to marriage, but she doesn't think so!

Needless to say, it has been a difficult transition for her, for us, but after 28 years, we're both much more out in the open about how we feel in the MOM we share, and what the implications are for our family. Having had the years to process these feelings and realities together has been good for us. I'm not certain we'll have an 'eternal' marriage, but that's not entirely up to me. I know I still have more to learn and I'm not making any decisions just yet. We all go through an evolutionary process in understanding and behavior. How we both change during the course of a marriage is individual, yet very connected.

So, at what point, or under what conditions do you intend to share your hidden identity with your spouse? Or are you waiting for the resurrection and hope all will be resolved, that the Lord will honor your grand secret?!

Crisco said...

Gecko- thanks for your input. I wish I had the answers to the questions you put forward. I just don't know. All I know is that is that I can't imagine burdening my wife with this one right now. All I can do is pray for inspiration that God will help if He wants me to share this with her.