Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Mask

It's coming on two months since I came out to my wife. Generally we are coping fine. It's stressful, but we're falling back into our normal routines. I guess part of that is good, but perhaps not what we are looking for. My wife wants me to be more open, and I want her to be more accepting. I don't quite feel safe sharing everything with her, like the fact that I've been feeling particulary lonely for a guy's company lately. There's no particular reason for it. I'm just not sure what kind of help she can give me if I told her other than her feeling bad and/or inadequate. So I hide behind my mask.

I also feel like I haven't done much to take off my "straight" mask around others. I've become more reserved over the years. I do enjoy being more affectionate, dancing, and singing out loud. I've observed from others' stories that many guys who are attracted to men also tend to have a higher tendency to be artistically or musically talented. That's not me, but I did like acting a lot in high school and some in college. I just didn't pursue it hard. I wish I had that opportunity now. If I was back home, I'd go to auditions with local community theater productions that my friend usually directs.

I'm trying to reach out to some other friends and develop those relationships. I've been focused on just one friend pretty much for the past few years. It's a good relationship with him, but variety is good. I keep hoping one day to have a close friend who's a bit more affectionate and freer with compliments. I've never read the book, "Love Languages," but the basic concept has been explained to me. With my wife and other women I care about, what speaks to me is their actions and touch. My wife can tell me a thousand times that she loves me or thinks I look good, but it's like telling an anorexic she's not fat. It just doesn't sink in. On the very rare occasion that a guy has given me a compliment, it's awesome. I need to hear affection from other guys. Of course, touch speaks to me too. Obviously, I can't go so far in that department as I'd like to, but touching is okay. I just wish I had friends that were that way too.

Tonight I'm going to my third session with LDS Family Services. My therapist is really nice. She's very intuitive. I'm still not sure it's helping me cope, but definitely it's been nice to have a non-judgmental environment to get my thoughts out. Usually my sessions are with my wife. That's definitely forcing me to be more open with her. Hopefully she'll get used to these things, and then I can feel more open about checking this blog or the list serves at home. Right now, I usually check them at work. My wife knows about them, but she's not too keen on them. I haven't shared the content of this blog with her, just that it exists. Also, she's not keen on the idea of me meeting other gay LDS guys. My therapist is suggesting a group session next year with others. I think it would be good to finally meet someone face to face with the same struggles and religious background and see understanding in his eyes. My wife loves me and those handful of friends whom I've told, but there's no understanding.

I still haven't told many people, but perhaps that will change. Nothing bad has happened yet in sharing this part of me. It's awkward and emotionally charged, but somewhat healing. I'm still wearing that mask though.

5 comments:

Public Loneliness said...

Glad to hear you're taking small steps to know/understands what all this means and how it affects everyone. I also know that sometimes you need someone to just talk. I've been able to find people here in the mohosphere that have provided me that outlet and I'll offer the same to you if you ever need to--not the same as talking in person, but better than nothing, so shoot me an email (address on my profile) if you'd like.
hugs,Miguel

Abelard Enigma said...

It's only been 2 months - deep down, your wife may still be waiting for the other shoe to drop ("honey, guess what, I have a boyfriend"). Assuming there is no other shoe waiting to drop, it'll just take time for her to get comfortable.

But, she may never be as accepting as you would like her to be - and you may never be as open as she would like you to be. It sounds counter intuitive; but, for those of us in a MOM, some things are just better left unsaid.

When a spouse "comes out" to the other - the rules change. It's like you were playing chess and then someone pulled the chessboard out and replaced it with a parcheesi board. It takes a while for both of you to adapt - and you may not adapt at the same rate.

Invictus Pilgrim said...

Crisco,

What a great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences. There were so many things you wrote that resonated with me. A few thoughts:

First, I have found from my own experience that it is best not to share one’s thoughts with one’s wife until you are completely sure you are ready to share them. I realize every couple is different, so my comments are obviously based on my own experience. But I have found that very personal thoughts can easily be (willfully) misunderstood and turned around and used against you.

I know there are people who feel differently about this, but I am very much a believer in maintaining a space in one’s head that is one’s own and not shared with your spouse – unless of course your spouse is just about ready to be translated and whose love for you knows no bounds.

I could relate to your comment about becoming more reserved. That’s one of the really crappy things about living behind a fa├žade – one is afraid to let anything out for fear of accidentally letting something really “gay” out.

It’s great that you have a nonjudgmental therapist. I personally think it is so very helpful to have someone that knows about the real you who can offer support, won’t be judgmental, and doesn’t have a “stake” in who, what and how you are, i.e., won’t become hurt or defensive when you are just trying to be yourself.

As to masks, many of us – including myself – are still wearing masks and probably will be, to some degree or another, for some time. I think we have to allow ourselves that. But there is one mask that I think should not exist – and that is the mask we have put on to hide ourselves from ourselves. That mask has to go.

~ Invictus

recover and thrive said...

it can be very hard to be open and know when and about what to be open about with the wife- its a balancing test of time, and trial and error.....if your wife and you ever want to meet up, I'm always in LA or San Diego if thats at all near you guys...

Crisco said...

Thanks for all the support. It's been more rough than I thought it would be coming out. It's nice to have support and know there's good vibes coming from all of you.