Friday, March 29, 2013

Activism

My post tonight is coming from a very different place for me. For the first time I feel calm and centered. I have been thinking a great deal about the current debate centered on gay marriage. I am very much in support of gay marriage but this is not what has been humming around in my mind. I made a major realization for myself.

I have mentioned before that had my parents and the world in general been more understanding of gay people I probably would have chosen a different life path. As I have been following the political discourse surrounding gay marriage I realized that by staying married I am in fact continuing the cycle that I have felt kept me from accepting myself fully. It dawned on me that this could be the main reason I have struggled to commit to stay married. I feel that by continuing my marriage I am continuing a lie that was told to me when I was young and impressionable. I was told that marriage was the answer to everything, that if I prayed hard enough, served diligently enough, and had self-control, I would marry and life would be wonderful. I can guarantee you that this was not the case for me.

I have come to understand that for me personally I want to be an advocate for change, a force for equality and freedom. I want to stand on top of the rooftops and shout that being gay is acceptable and for me preferable. I want to be politically involved, I don't want to silently rejoice when gay rights are moved forward, I want to be part of the process. I want to reduce the pain for teens and young adults unsure of what their sexuality means for them. I want to provide help for the suffering teens in Utah forsaken by their families and abandoned by their government. I have discussed these desires with my wife and she says she understands why I feel this way but anytime she sees me watching news reports centered on gay marriage she quickly suggests I change the channel. I think, based on some things she has said, she thinks if I avoid all things gay I will be able to "overcome" my gayness and we can be a normal couple. I don't want to hide who I am any more and I don't want to be a mute observer of the changes happening within our society. So what do I do?

As I see it I have two legitimate options: 1- I stay married and become more vocal about who I am and what I stand for, convincing my wife to be more open and to help her understand that being an advocate doesn't have to mean that I embrace a different life path. 2- I end my marriage, move forward in a new life as a gay man, and pursue my dreams to be a gay rights activist/advocate. I have to be honest, I think I prefer #2 because it allows me the freedom to truly live and advocate what I believe in, I don't have to justify a hetero appearance with the homosexual within. I would get to be what I feel would be authentic.

I can't shake the passion I feel about standing up for equality. I want to be a source of goodness in this world and feel like a fake as a married gay Mormon. I still have not decided about my marriage but with these strong desires to be a gay rights advocate I don't see how I can justify/sustain a mixed orientation marriage. Anyone got any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inner Peace

It seems that any time I have massive amounts of homework all I can think of is writing my next post. I have been in a very introspective mood today and have had a few thoughts that I have to explore.

First, there has been a major shift in my personal sense of self over the last week. I realized today that what used to be a sense of emptiness and darkness within myself has lifted, it happened without my noticing and I realized as I was working out this morning that I have found a sense of peace and comfort that I never knew was possible. My entire life my being gay was an obstacle standing in the way of personal acceptance and peace. I cannot remember a time in my life where I didn't feel this emptiness/darkness, because of my hidden secret, but today as I sit and think about who I am I feel a strong sense of peace and acceptance. I haven't figured out everything for myself but I finally feel like I matter and I deserve peace and happiness.

A single thought has begun to simmer in my mind during this same time. If I have found peace in accepting myself as a gay man could I find happiness through living the lifestyle I am drawn to. By "lifestyle" I mean a committed gay relationship where I am married to a man and creating a life for ourselves. I used to think that my being gay just meant that I was attracted to men. But I have come to realize that it is much more than that. By analyzing my marriage with my wife we have come to realize that my being gay has affected every aspect of our interactions together. My attraction to men is deeply ingrained in all aspects of my personality. I have come to realize that for me, in every aspect of my relationship with my wife I have some sort of emotional block because of my attraction to men. I consider my wife to be a friend but don't feel she is my partner. Even she has acknowledged that our interactions as a couple seem more like friends who share a bed rather than a couple in love. We sometimes joke that we are really good roommates but an awkward couple.

I have begun to assess what is keeping me from fully committing myself to divorce since I have been analyzing what has been keeping me from committing fully to my marriage I decided I need to turn the coin over and do some analyses. If I am honest with myself I have to admit that the idea of getting a divorce and moving on with my life gives me a sense of peace in many ways. Yet there are a few things that keep me from accepting divorce as the answer. 1- I will miss he daily contact with my son as my wife would move back to Idaho and I would be in New York. I love my son completely and him being absent from my life makes me extremely sorrowful. 2- I am very concerned with how my family and friends would react to our divorcing, especially when they find out that I am gay. 3- I am afraid of being single and alone. I do not consider myself very outgoing so I am afraid that I would forever be alone which would be far worse than my current situation. These three things are what keep me from requesting a divorce. What makes me feel horrible about this list of concerns is that losing my wife isn't on the list. I would be sad if our relationship went south and we were unable to be friends, but I would not miss our marriage (at least I feel this way standing in the middle of the situation). I feel like our marriage is so much work. It doesn't feel motivated by the type of love that should sustain a marriage. I worry about what would happen to her if we divorced, though I know she would find someone and move on.

The initial thought is that of all these concerns #1 is the crucial concern because it concerns my son. The other two have to do with personal insecurity and should not be reasons for stopping yourself from pursuing a course of action. But I have said before that I will not stay in a rough marriage just for my son because my parents marriage was horrible and they stayed in it just for me and my sister. My experience dictates that this isn't something I can recommend for myself now.

Funny how you can have a sense of peace with a whirlwind of concerns swimming around in your head. I am growing accustomed to the juxtaposition of peace and concern though because it seems to be the center of my daily experience.

So what do I do? Have I considered all that I should? Maybe tomorrow I'll have some more ideas.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why me?

In the course of coming to terms with my being gay I have wondered many times.... why me? So it came as no surprise to me when my wife turned to me the other day and said "why us? What are we supposed to learn from all of this (referencing my being gay)?" My quick response was: I don't know and I don't know if I will ever know why. Her question brought the "why me" front and center for me again and I have been trying to construct my ideas around this question for several days.

Today I have finally had a little time to reflect on the why behind my being gay. Not that I have reached a definitive answer as to why I am gay, but I did get an affirmation that has put my mind at ease. I was sitting in a classroom waiting for my next student and it hit me that personal "why me" could have two answers. It may mean that I have the strength to endure and find peace and joy in my marriage or it may mean that I have the strength to acknowledge who I am and choose to live in complete honesty. Both options have value to me and as I sat there thinking about this I realized that it would be ok if I chose either option. I no longer feel trapped or as if I must choice one or the other. I now feel that I get to decide how my life will unfold. This quiet affirmation has brought me an even deeper sense of unity with my inner self. I don't feel as though I am being ripped apart but rather I feel as though I now get to choose how to sustain and nurture who I am by choosing the path of life I will find most fulfilling. I think before this realization I spent too much to cursing God and trying to define why I was gay when in fact I do not need to have a why but rather a how should I move forward.

My focus is no longer on the why me and I realize it doesn't have to be. The fact of the matter is that I am alive and have the opportunity to choose for myself the paths that will enhance my personal journey through life. This does not mean that I will not struggle but it means that I have control. I do not have to be a passive drone marching through life to the beat of someone else's drum. I set my own beat and can march as I please. For too long I have contorted myself to do as others have planned for me, and now I have decided that I am no longer beholden to anyone's idea of life other than my own. This means I have to reconcile any differences with my wife and determine how we should proceed, but by acknowledging that I am the master of my destiny I no longer feel the strong need to understand the "why me".  I get to live and enjoy the journey, I am trying to figure out how my life will unfold. I can now enjoy the "what next" rather than the "why."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Answers....in a way.

Well, I am happy to report that my wife and I had a thorough conversation last night about many things including the questions I discussed in my previous post. I have to commend my wife for being such a wonderful person. We are feeling many of the same things about our marriage right now and she is so patient and understanding about my feelings. I feel like this conversation has deepened our respect for one another and given us a solid foundation to either save our marriage or end it.

The core of our discussion centered on what I now believe and what I struggle with in regards to the church. I don't need to go into the details but needless to say I basically told her that I am no longer a 100% committed member because of my personal experience. I asked her is she could accept that and she said that it worries her but she understands why I feel the way that I do. She also admitted that the things we discussed are things she needs to process to determine where she stands as well.

The hardest question to ask her was if she thought I was being selfish in considering divorce as an option. She quickly responded no and said that through the course of the last few months she has never felt I have been selfish in how I have approached our marriage. She also admitted that there are many days where she considers divorce. I asked her if the thought of divorce gave her peace, and she said that in many ways it does. She says that divorce scares her because of all of the logistics and how it will change our son's life but most of all she says she worries about what would happen to me if we got divorced. I was touched by this and don't feel the need to share all that we discussed around this comment but needless to say it gave me great insight into my wife's soul and hope for our continued relationship (married or not).

We talked about our relationship and compared it to her brothers relationship with his wife (we just got back from visiting them). She acknowledged that she feels our relationship is forced and sometimes awkward while theirs seemed so natural and effortless. We both acknowledged how this made us feel jealous. She asked a hard hitting question: "How do you love me?" I didn't want to go first so I asked her a dodging question that reflected back on her. She stated that she doesn't think she is in love with me but that she does love me and cares for me. I said that I felt exactly the same way. She seemed relieved to at my answer.

She cried a little through out conversation mostly when she talked about how worried she would be for me if we got divorced and when she admitted she wasn't in love with me, but on the whole I felt like we had probably the best conversation we have ever had in almost 8 years of marriage. (We both learned a lot about each other through this conversation).

The final portion of our conversation centered on what we wanted to do about our marriage. I told her that I felt I was unsure because, to me, if I stay in our marriage I feel like I am furthering the denial of my homosexuality and becoming a "poster child" for the mixed-orientation marriage approach too common in the church (this is my opinion and in no way means that I think it should never happen this is just what staying in our marriage makes me feel). I told her I felt like I could be a source for change and a voice/example for gay rights if we gt divorced. She acknowledged that she could see me in that way as well. I told her that I cannot commit anymore than I have at this point because I have too many years of repression, anger, resentment, and confusion to sort through. She said she understood why I feel that way and that she is willing to work through it all with me. We determined that perhaps in praying to strengthen our efforts to save our marriage we are preventing ourselves from understanding if we should stay married. We decided to pray to find out if we should stay married or if we should divorce.

In true fashion of our conversations this left us with little sleep for the next day but I think both of us found a new sense of peace by exploring these questions. This conversation did not yield any definitive answers but it has helped us to get on the same page as one another so that neither of us feel like the "bad" one exploring the possibility of divorce and what life would mean for us as friends rather than as a couple.

This conversation has truly brightened my day and has put me in a good place for my upcoming audition this Saturday. I am excited to sing for people and I am excited that my wife and son are going with me so we can have another vacation to become more familiar with one another. Life is good even though it is a bit messy right now.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Questions

My personal journey out of the closet has been very emotional and has made me question many things in my life. The most recent questions that I haven't been able to escape are: Am I going to stay in my marriage and perpetuate the fallacy that mixed orientation is acceptable or am I going to acknowledge that I have been misled and stand up for what I now believe? Am I going to perpetuate a cycle that leads to suffering? Am I selfish for considering ending my marriage?

They hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday and I haven't been able to shake them. These questions helped me realize what has been holding me back from fully committing to my marriage. I think I feel that by continuing my marriage I am only serving to further an agenda forced upon me by a belief system that I no longer hold. I feel that by furthering the fallacy that mixed orientation is a requirement of salvation I only aid in perpetuating the cycle of suppressing people from identifying their true selves.

If I had known all that I know now I would never have chosen to marry a woman. I would have stood tall and announced I am gay and moved on with my life. And I feel that this is perhaps how I should proceed now. I feel like there has been so much deception about the nature of being homosexual in the church (at least in my experience) that I cannot allow myself to be used to further that deception. If I could sit down with my sixteen year old self I would have a very frank conversation about my sexuality. But this only gives me another "what if" to dwell on so enough with that idea.

I thought that the idea of ending my marriage would make me feel unsettled, but instead I feel more at peace with myself. I feel I am beginning to grasp why I have struggled to forge ahead with my marriage, to really commit. I struggle because deep down I do not want it to continue because it feels like a continuation of the lies that I have been feed throughout my life about being gay.

I believe that I can find happiness as a gay man. I could choose to stay in my marriage and endure ( and probably find some joy) or I could choose to move forward with my life and find a man I can share it with. I mean a strong and committed relationship, I have never been interested in non-committal relationships. The joy I feel at the prospect of sharing my life completely with someone who understands me is overwhelming to the point of tears. These tears are tears of joy, joy at the thought of me being free to choose how I will proceed with my life. Over the last two months since coming out to my wife this is the happiest I have felt. I think the bonds that bound me to just endure are finally breaking and I feel as though I get to be the one that chooses rather than the one who merely follows the dictates of others. Perhaps I will choose to stay and improve my marriage but now it feels like it will be my choice rather than just keeping up the status quo.

I don't even know what to say about the selfish aspect of all of this. All I feel in this area is guilt. Guilt because I feel selfish even considering ending my marriage. I feel this way because my wife is fully committed to our marriage and I feel like the bad guy who is just looking out for himself. I obviously need to spend more time analyzing my guilt and if in fact I am selfish for considering divorce so no more comments on this area (perhaps more later when I figure it out a little more).

So, what now? What do I do with this realization? How do I explain this all to my wife. There are some major happenings right now in our family and I don't know if now is the time. I am not afraid to tell her but I do want to be mindful of how much she can process in such a short time after all it took me my lifetime to reach this point I can't expect her to grasp it in a few months.  I feel strongly that I need to bring this up with her tonight so strongly in fact that I am pretty sure tonight is the night to at least open the door and shine some light on these questions that have been my constant companions for the last few days. Hopefully all will go well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

Where do I begin.....

Since coming out to my wife I have spent a great deal of time thinking about being gay and the possibilities should we decide to end our marriage. I have been very excited by the idea of meeting a fantastic guy and starting a family with him. But my dwelling on this "dream" or what I have decided to call my "what if" has kept me from being able to truly analyze what is worth saving about my marriage. I am still in the process of determining what the specifics are that make our marriage worth salvaging but wanted to write what I had realized while it was still fresh in my mind.

My "what if" obsession has been great for me in many ways because it helped me realize who I am. I am beginning to accept my gay self as part of who I am rather than as a "temptation." I have a long way to go but I do feel a stronger sense of hope. I understand now that I have to continue to process who I am as a gay man and I must assess how this works with my marriage.

A friend and I were talking last night and he helped me realize that there are good things about my marriage and good reasons for my deciding to marry my wife. Even if I didn't realize I was gay when I married her I still had reasons for choosing her. My responsibility now is to detail what those reasons were and see if they still hold true as reasons to save my marriage. My fascination with the "what if" have stood as an obstacle for me to recognize and validate the reasons to save my marriage. I still find it difficult to say that I am committed to my marriage but I can commit to explore the potential reasons as to why my marriage should/could be saved.

The hardest part of all of this process has been keeping an open line of communication with my wife. I have shut myself down emotionally for so long that it is easy for me to shut down and go on auto-pilot. My wife told me that she now recognizes the signs when I am beginning to shut down emotionally (it seems to catch me by surprise, most of the time I have already shut down before I realize it). We had a good conversation about this and she promised to verbally acknowledge when I am shutting down emotionally so that I can either share what is upsetting me or let her know that I am still working through my thoughts and all I need to do is explain that I will talk when I am ready. This has taken a lot of stress off of me knowing that she is willing to extend patience as I work through my feelings and has opened my heart again.  Knowing she is willing to be patient with me gives me a greater sense of hope. As I have watched my wife deal with my coming out and my emotional ups and downs I have been amazed at how strong she is and feel lucky to have her in my life.

For the first time I can share my burden with her rather than carrying it in silence. We can now acknowledge and explore the challenges of our mixed-orientation marriage, rather than me burying everything inside. I feel that if I am honest with myself and truly assess the reasons for saving my marriage I will be able to move forward and stop dwelling on my gay "what if" giving room for a "what if"  with my wife, the person I chose to marry. We may  choose to stay married or we may choose to separate but at least this way I will have truly given each option a fair chance.

I have spent a great deal of time daydreaming about what leaving my wife and beginning a new chapter as an openly gay man could be like and now I need to spend time assessing what my life could be like should I stay married and committed to my wife.

Friday, March 15, 2013

This I believe

I woke up this morning at 5 AM (not so great when you can sleep in until 9), I was wide awake and had an immediate thought that I needed to blog about what I believe. I guess you could call it a testimony but it breaks from the traditional subject matter of the Mormon variety.

I have shared my testimony too many times to count but today as I sit here thinking about what I truly believe I am struggling to articulate what I feel/know.

From the time I was very young I have never questioned the truthfulness of the gospel. Over the last few years I have started questioning everything. After I realized that I am gay I started to wonder about many of the things I held to be "true." These  questions have haunted me continually for the last three years and I realized today that I have slowly been formulating my own belief system. I have serious issues with the plan of salvation, which stems from my being gay. I believe that my sexuality was not a choice but is an inherent part of who I am. I did not decide at the age of 9 that I was attracted to boys, though that's how old I was when I had my first crush, though I didn't realize what it was. I believe that had my parents been more open and understanding about homosexuality I would have come out much sooner and been true to who I now know myself to be. I believe that sexuality is not something which is rigid but I do not believe that I can change my inherent attraction to men. I believe that God made me the way that I am and that he accepts me completely. I believe that there is a place for hetero and homo-sexual people in the life to come and in the plan of salvation. (Otherwise why would God have created me this way?) These are just a few of the core beliefs that I hold but what does that mean for my marriage.

I married my wife because I thought I loved her, and in fact I do love her but not the way that a husband should. I realize now that I married her out of requirement, I thought I had to be married to a woman and have children in order to be fulfilled and follow the plan of salvation. After coming out to my wife I explained this to her and I stated that obedience to the plan is one of the core reasons I wanted to save our marriage. I realized today that I may no longer feel this way. I realized that what I chose to do nearly 8 years ago by getting married was the biggest deception I have ever committed. I entered into a marriage with an unknowing woman, lied to myself and her about my sexuality, and thought that this deception would insure my salvation. I now realize why my wife has said a few times that she felt "manipulated and used," because she has been. I was not strong enough to stand up and recognize who I am and face the reality of my situation. Instead of stepping away from the dogma I chose to submit and now I have landed us into a very difficult and painful situation. I accept full responsibility for my actions and apologize to her for them.

Now the resulting question is: What now? How do we proceed? It has been a crazy and busy day so I haven't had a chance to speak with my wife about all of the things I have realized today, but I want more than anything to share all of this with her. I am fearful of what her reaction may be, but I feel she has the right to know. After all, we entered into a marriage under false pretenses and now I have to let her know where I really stand so we can decide how to proceed. I do not feel that I can stay in a marriage that has been built around a lie. I feel horrible that I did not tell her before we got married but in all fairness I did not even fully realize at that point.

I guess this is why I have been brutally honest since coming out to her. My honesty has shocked her several times but I can't stand the constant cover up that is happening in relation to the church, my beliefs, and our marriage. I only wish I knew how to approach the subject with her. I am pretty sure this will scare her to death since she still views that church as the ultimate authority and does not question at all (at least that is how I perceive her feelings). I worry my honesty will be the final straw for our marriage and I don't know if I am truly ready to face the consequences.

I have told her several times that I do not believe that my sexuality can change and I told her that I don't know that I want it to be changed anyway. This was unsettling for her but I think she has accepted now because she no longer asks me if I want it to change/go away. I think she is still holding to the idea that with enough prayer, fasting, etc. my "gay" will go away and we can have a normal marriage.

Maybe I am totally wrong in these things that I believe and maybe our marriage is the path to salvation, but I don't see how I can reconcile who I am inside with the gospel at this point and time. I feel lost but not in a bad way but rather in a way that will help me grow and strengthen me as an individual. My journey through life has not felt easy but now it is beginning to feel worth living.

Hopefully everything I have shared here makes sense, I have found all of this very difficult to articulate. I guess all that matters is that I have articulated these thoughts/beliefs and I have gotten a lot out of this post. All I can say is that I believe these things and that is all that matters.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Long Night: Disney World Edition

Well, we are no longer in Florida. Our trip to Disney world was a success in my eyes. There were a few rough moments and one feud but my wife and I survived a vacation with her family. We have now driven to Georgia to visit my wife's brother and his family. This is my favorite part of this vacation because I get to sit back and relax while I work on music for an important audition later this month.

In my previous post I had shared about my experience seeing a gay couple for the first time while I was on vacation at Disney World. This time I saw another gay couple but it was more than that, they were a family, there were two dads and a 9 or 10 year old boy. My heart melted when I saw the interactions of this family. I saw them several times in multiple parks, each time that I saw them it made me smile but at the same time it made me very jealous for the life that they have.

Don't get me wrong I love my family but I am jealous that they get to experience love in a way that I haven't been able to, a deep and complete love that I just can't seem to make happen in my relationship with my wife. There are times when loving her is easy but than there are other times when it feels like too much effort. Anyway.....

This little family brightened my Disney experience and warmed my soul not really anything else to say other than it deeply touched me.

This trip also had another good development. My wife and I had a three hour conversation to address some things that we both felt needed thorough attention. The only area I will share here is our discussion about the D word....divorce.

I have begun to feel that the only reason my wife wants to stay married is because she is worried about what people will think.  So in the course of our conversation, which again took place late at night - making for a long first day at Hollywood Studios, I asked her what her main concerns were about divorce. She said that the her only concern was how she would take care of herself. She has relied heavily on me and she felt that she wouldn't be able to manage without me. I said I would address that but I had another question first. I felt she was holding back so I asked her why she wanted to stay married to me? Specifically, if it was because she was worried about what people would think if we got divorced? She admitted that a large part of her desire to stay married was because she was concerned about what people would think. I reassured her that her feelings in this regard are valid and that I was not offended.

I wasn't offended because for many years I have done exactly that and perhaps this is the reason I am married to a woman now. I find it fascinating how calm I am through all of our discussions. I don't get offended and believe me there have been many things said that could offend but the peace I have found through admitting who I am has far exceeded any possible offense from someone expressing their feelings.

We continued our conversation by discussing the logistics of a divorce, specifically, what it would mean for us. I explained to her that if we decided to get divorced I wouldn't just abandon her and leave her to fend for herself. I got us into this mess and I want to make sure that she doesn't suffer anymore than she already has. I know that sounds a little na├»ve but it is the truth, I know there is more pain and suffering for both of us if we decide to divorce. But no matter what I will not abandon her or our family I will always help them and make sure that they have what they need. She found that reassuring but the prospect of being alone still scares her.

I explained that should we get divorced I wanted us to be friends. I would want to get to know her future husband and maintain a friendship with them. I don't want her to feel that I am pushing her away so much as letting her go.

She expressed concern about my lifestyle choice and what that would mean for our son. She said she doesn't like the idea of our son being in a home with a gay couple and she worried what this would mean for our sons relationship with the church. She cried when she said this and as she apologized because she was worried this would hurt my feelings. I explained I wasn't offended and that I was glad she shared how she really feels. I skated around this a little because I don't know what the future holds. I know I have mentioned several times that I want a husband and family but I couldn't go into detail with her about this at that moment, it didn't feel right. Needless to say there will be some details to work out but throughout the course of our relationship I come to realize that my wife is quite liberal and empathetic as long as you allow her to process and deduce her own opinion. She used to be against gay marriage but now she fully supports it (a conclusion she reached well before she knew she was in a semi-gay marriage). So I know that with time and communication she  could come to accept this and embrace our new dynamic if necessary.

As I stare at my monitor I realize that I am in such a state of peace after this conversation that I cannot even express my feelings in words. This conversation did a lot for both of us. In a sense it freed us from feeling trapped in our marriage (something we both acknowledge feeling since my coming out). It feels that we are starting to gain control over our relationship for the first time since we got married. For far too long we have gone through the motions of marriage and now we are deciding how our marriage will work or if it will continue.

Well, I need to get back to relaxing since we will be leaving in a few days to return home to work, school, and all the other fun things of life. Maybe someday I will have a husband and more children but then again maybe I will stay the course and come to enjoy my marriage, either way I feel that I am in a much better place now than I was a month ago.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Search for Hope

First off, sorry for two posts in a single day but Tuesdays are my days to sit in on orchestra rehearsals and hear some very beautiful music, which of course gets me thinking. My thoughts today have weighed heavily on my heart.

I have been considering how I can have hope in my marriage as I am still unsure about my marriage. Let me explain this a little.

I keep saying I want to save my marriage but as I have thought about this today I don't feel that I have really reached that conclusion. Rather I have been saying it out of obligation, my wife found out something "horrible" about me and I am obligated to acknowledge this and do my husbandly duty and fix the problem, i.e. make things go back to "normal". Which I can never do, my coming out will never be undone and my attraction to men will never go away. Today I feel I need to have a definite conclusion that I want to save my marriage in order to save my marriage, otherwise I feel like I am slipping into my past method of suppressing who I am.

Is this really necessary, do I need a definitive conclusion or should I try to rely on faith....faith in what? Because of my status as a gay man I have many doubts and in some ways have lost hope and faith in various aspects of the church.  I continue to be active more out of respect for my wife and her desires/goals than out of anything that I desire. I don't know if I can re-grow my faith nor if I want to right now. In many ways it feels like turning around to find my faith is stepping back into the closet and hiding who I am, but is that the case? Does saving my marriage mean I have to have faith in the church? I don't know right now.

My coming out to my wife means that for the first time I have been able to acknowledge my sexual desires and truly think about what it would mean if I was to pursue a relationship with a man. Right now if feel like I am standing at a fork in the road, there are two paths and the question is which do I choose? Do I choose my marriage or a new path that allows my full expression of my sexuality, a path that allows my needs to be met. Will this really mean that my needs will be met or is this just another "grass is greener" idea.

I find hope in the idea of this new path but not in my current path. The current path of staying the course in my marriage feels like ten cement blocks sitting where my heart should be, it feels as though my marriage is a never ending chore that is slowly choking me. The idea of ending my marriage and moving on brings me hope and happiness, in my mind both for my wife and for myself, but why is it so hard to move in that direction. I feel a great deal of love for my wife but I can't help but feel that this is a platonic love not the love of a husband and that by ending our marriage she could meet someone who could really love her fully. Then again she may not and I would be the cause of that pain as well. There are also no guarantees that I will find anyone who will meet my needs, I could be just as miserable in a gay marriage as I am in a mixed marriage. But is that a reason not to attempt to find complete happiness...if there is such a thing?

The hardest part of moving down the new path are the many unknowns. I don't know if I could ever find a man as wonderful as my wife (I don't know if that makes sense but that is how I feel). The next hardest part is breaking my wife's heart. I don't want  to cause her pain. It causes my heart a lot of sorrow to think of how hurt she is, and could be should we separate. I have seen her buried in sorrow over the last few days as the full realization of what my sexuality means for us as a couple has set in for her. This has scared me significantly but is that enough to continue onward, should I allow my fear of how sad she will be stop me from moving towards what I am perceiving as a possible means of happiness? She aches because of the marriage we will never have and so do I, but for very different reasons. I guess not for very different reasons, what we both want is a husband who is 100% our own. How do I find the hope that I can actually be her 100% husband. Is that even possible for a straight man? Let alone a gay man? The reasonable person inside of me says that each of us must compromise and sacrifice and then we can find a balance and happiness, but in many ways I feel like that this sacrifice is what will burden us for the rest of our lives, it doesn't give me hope...a hope I must have in order to move forward with her.

How do I find hope in my marriage when my sexuality will not change and my desire to express my sexuality is strong? This makes me feel very selfish and makes life seem long and miserable. I certainly do not feel like I am here to find joy, at least not in my current situation. However, I do have faith in God and I know he can help. I guess my gaining hope in my marriage will rely on my continued search for hope and perhaps I will eventually find it, but in this moment it doesn't feel very attainable.

Disney World

I am very excited because this week we are going to Disney World (one of my favorite places on the planet). This will be my four year olds first time and he can hardly wait for this adventure. School, work, and my fragile relationship with my wife have made this vacation seem like one of the greatest vacations of all time. The break will be a great time to reconnect with my wife and her family and give me time away from the grind of life.

Anyway, while making preparations for our trip I had a sudden flashback. The last two summers of my high school career I was lucky enough to be selected as a member of the Idaho Quiz Bowl team which meant that I got to attend the national competition which was held at Disney World. For a week we got to stay at the Contemporary Resort and have park passes. I was lucky enough to have team mates and an advisor who thought that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously so she made sure we had more than ample play time to have fun in the parks. While most of the other teams were buried in study materials in their rooms, we were allowed to run free through Disney World.

These trips were two of the greatest most exciting trips of my life up to that point. I remember how much fun I had hanging out with my friends and exploring the parks on our own (our advisor was very hands off). The first year was very uneventful but fun. The second year however is the setting for the flashback that I just recently remembered.





We had decided to go to Epcot (which is a pretty fun place though not my favorite). Eventually we made it to the "Honey I shrunk the Audience" ride/movie/whatever it is. I remember standing in line and seeing two guys, in front of us,  holding hands as we were waiting to enter the building. I had never seen two guys do this before and at the time it seemed a little odd to me.  After standing in line for a while with me staring at this couple, we finally went inside and found a seat. We were situated a few rows behind these guys so I was able to watch them the entire time, I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I guess that's why I don't remember what this attraction entailed.  At one point one of them leaned over and kissed the other on the cheek, I was shocked, my naive little Idaho boy eyes could not understand what I had seen. I don't even remember anything about this "ride" because I was so fixated on these guys. Once everything was over we headed outside and I saw them yet again, only this time they kissed full on the mouth. I had no words to describe what I had just witnessed, I didn't know what to think, I only knew I was interested in this gay couple. I finally had put two and two together and realized I had spotted my first in the live gay couple (let's just say for being on the quiz bowl team representing an entire state, I am not proud of how naive and dimwitted I was at this moment).

We moved on to the next attraction and I never thought about this experience again until two days ago as I was getting things ready for our trip, suddenly a wall of sounds, colors, and then these images came to the forefront of my mind. I was so happy for that couple. They seemed so much more brave to me now with the knowledge that I have about the struggles of being gay, let alone an openly gay couple in one of the most family centric locations on the planet. This trip took place in 2000, there are still far too many places where the affection between these two men would be mocked or scorned and possibly result in physical harm. I never realized that two men could love each other and be in a relationship like theirs when I was a stupid 17 year old kid.  I may not have understood their relationship and I definitely didn't realize that I was gay, but I knew I was ok with their expressing their love, and I didn't know why.

Well, today I know why, I am gay and their relationship is the one that I desire. I however am a married mormon man so this presents a predicament that still requires some sorting out.

This Disney trip will be a very different experience from that wonderful trip nearly thirteen years ago. I will not be shocked if I see a gay couple holding hands or kissing (though I may be a little jealous), this time I will have my wife standing next to me probably questioning silently if that's what her husband wants and wondering if our marriage will last. I don't know what the future holds but the past is giving me some insights. All I can do is go forward each day being honest with my wife and try to insure that we continually communicate so that we make sure we are in agreement where we want our relationship to go.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another Long NIght

After Wednesday night's long conversation with my wife I finally felt like I had shared everything but that changed on Friday night.

Friday night after an eventful day for our family, my wife and I were sitting on the couch when she turned to me and started asking questions. I thought after our last conversation that she understood that I had not entered into our marriage to deceive her but she wanted to know why I got married and threw questions out like daggers. She was angry and I was surprised. But today I realize she needed to be angry and that it was ok. I stayed patient that night and addressed all of her questions as best I could.

Her main question was why I had gotten married in the first place. I explained that I got married to do what is right. NOT the right answer. She demanded an explanation. I began by explaining to her that I didn't understand my feelings until after we were married and that throughout my life all I had heard was that if you had those feelings you prayed, served, fasted, and got married and it would all be ok. Well that was the biggest lie of my life. A lie that I explained to her had ben perpetuated by the church so she has to realize that me getting married was not just my fault. This upset her a little but I could tell she saw my side on this. Had the church been more open and understanding than I probably would not have gotten married because I could have explored my sexuality without fear and thus not forced a marriage in order to fit in. I explained that I loved her and loved the idea of marriage everyone made it sound like this was the answer for me to find peace and happiness.

My wife broke down after this she would not speak to me just sat and sobbed. I only got a few more words out of her. She was exhausted I could tell this had been weighing on her for the last few days.

We made our way to bed and talked a bit more. She felt so broken, ugly, trapped, and deceived (her words) I told her I can't change what has happened all I can do is support her as she figures out if she wants to continue our marriage. She cried herself to sleep in my arms that night as my heart broke. I wish I could say I don't blame the church but in some ways I do.

Saturday night she shut down. she would not talk to me at all. On Wednesday I convinced her we needed to reach out to others who are going through the same thing, she agreed, but she is having a hard time bringing up her courage to open up to someone she doesn't know. I know that if she will reach out to other wives she will start to be able to process her emotions and figure out what she wants. She seems to be where I was a month ago, filled with a mix of emotions and feeling like no one could possibly understand.

Needless to say I had a single day of joy on Thursday and now here I am on Sunday feeling like our marriage is doomed and I can't do anything about it.

Well, my 4 year old is sick and my wife is staying home so I can go to church and play the piano for primary (the best calling in the church by the way). I would rather stay home but I think she needs the time at home without me. Welcome, welcome Sabbath day, not really.

Anyway my emotions are still jumbled in my head so expect another post soon since this blog helps me sort everything out.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Long Night

Well Wednesday night was an extremely long night. My wife and I had a significant conversation that lasted  almost four hours and, leaving me with only three hours of sleep to face the day. This conversation did a lot in helping us understand one another. My goal, when I could tell that we were headed to a deep conversation, was to openly express all of my feelings.Which I actually followed thorugh and did just that. I shared everything, my fears, my desires, my struggle with the church, and how I have hated who I have become.

The core of our discussion centered on my indecision about our marriage. I explained that my mind has not been made up yet about whether to continue with our marriage or to pursue another path because I felt so emotionally broken that I just couldn't decide. I have hidden who I am for so long and now emotions are running rampant and I can't make heads or tails of them so I just can't commit to anything right now. I don't feel I have the ability to declare anything emotionally in any of my realtionships.

What we decided together was that we needed to work on our friendship first and foremost. I told her that we needed to strengthen our friendship so that should we decided to split up at least that way we would be able to work with one another and hopefully maintain our friendship. And if we decide to stay married then the foundation is in place to continue, she agreed and we are working on our relationship from the ground up.

This conversation had many other components but needless to say I sobbed so hard that there were times I couldn't speak. But the result of this conversation has been an overwhleming sense of peace within my heart. There are still unresolved questions in my mind but I know now that no matter what I will still have my wife's friendship and my son. My biggest fear has been that my wife would leave me and I would never see my son again so this reassurance has given me a deep sense of peace.

This late night conversation left me exausted all day Thursday, but today I was happy, for the first time in years I felt a deep sense of joy. I was excited to go to work and be around people, I haven't felt that way since my mission. I enjoyed talking with people and feel an overwhelming desire to build relationships with new people. For the first time in my life I feel like I have a life worth living, rather than a never ending "responsibilty" to uphold.

No definitive decisions have been made but I feel like I am headed in the right direction for now.