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.