Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Importance of Friendship

During my teenage years I would have considered myself a very outgoing and friendly person. I had many friends from multiple high schools and I was always doing things with my friends. I had four extremely close friends and I loved each of them. I had a lot of fun with them and miss those days, it still fun to catch up with them every so often but distance and life have caused us to grow apart. But the older I got the more I began to realize that I was different. I liked guys.

My first year of college was a time of transition and change for me. I began to shut myself off from those around me. I had great roommates for my freshman year and they did a lot to try and include me but I hide behind my homework and classes so that I wouldn't have to do much with them. At the time I didn't realize that I was doing this because I was attracted to one of my roommates. It was easier to avoid him and thus the group than face what I was feeling. My freshman year began the "new" non-emotional me. This pattern of social avoidance started that year and continued until I finally came out to my wife earlier this year. I had begun to hide who I was because I felt ashamed that I was attracted to guys. It wasn't until the second year of my masters, and nearly 10 years after my freshman year that everything fell into place and I realized I had done all of this because I was gay.

I didn't really form any lasting friendships while I was in undergrad and getting married made this much worse for me. I had three part-time jobs and was a full time student giving ample excuse not to venture out socially. I hide behind the piano and organ at church so I wouldn't have to interact with people until eventually I no longer sought to establish friendships or even simply talk with people anywhere I went. I came across to people as being very stern and "business" focused. I thought I was ok with this, I thought I would be able to keep up this façade for the rest of my life so that I would never have to face the fact that I am gay. Boy was I wrong!!!

Since January, when I came out to my wife, I have had no choice but to explore my emotions and assess how I have cheated myself out of truly living. Establishing quality friendships is one of the biggest areas I have cut myself short. I was/am emotionally stunted but I feel this changing each and every day. I have begun to force myself to not only respond to people when they speak to me but I seek people out to establish better relationships.

I have never been one to have a guys night out nor have I been one to go out to lunch with a group of school mates. But this week I took a big first step and went out for drinks and lunch with a couple of the TAs I teach with. I had a fantastic time we spent two and half hours talking, laughing, and having fun. I can't believe that in all of the years of my education this is the first time I have done this. This experience was the catalyst for me to realize how cut off I have been in terms of friendships. This is changing and I am excited for this part of my journey. Besides working to cultivate deeper friendships with those around me I have begun to reach out to all of my past friends and I am working to build lasting friendships with new people.

I just cannot believe how stunted I have become emotionally because of my suppression of who I am. The next step for me in my journey is to continue to cultivate the friendships I have with other gay men and expand that circle to include many more people who will be a support system for the difficult times ahead.  I now feel ready to begin coming out to some of my friends who are gay and are probably unaware of my orientation. The thought of coming out to them is exciting and encouraging, quite the opposite of how I thought I would feel.

My growing friendships have given me new hope for life. Getting in touch with my emotions has made me cherish each day and I am excited for each new day because each day is a chance for me to engage in living rather than just pretending to live. I now understand the importance of friendship and I am excited for life!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stuck in a Cycle

It feels as though I haven't posted in forever, but I finally have some time and something to share. Things with my wife have settled into what I have deemed the "cycle of tolerance." It feels as though we each are living separate lives and we meet at night to say prayers and sleep. So basically we just tolerate life with one another and go about our own business. I go about my school stuff and work all day, she is busy with church stuff and friends and then around 8 in the evening we see each other at home hardly say a word and then go to bed only to begin again the next day.

I have to say that this  cycle makes things much easier for me, though I realize it is not very healthy. I can just go about my day without having to worry about my being gay or even acknowledging it. We both just tolerate the elephant in the room and move around it as if there isn't anything bothering us. Our home life is quite and peaceful but it is void of anything that resembles a real relationship to me. I can't say that I want that to change. Emotionally I am ready to divorce and move on, but the reality of what is happening in our lives will not allow us to do that just yet. She has admitted that she isn't in love with me anymore and I have said the same to her, but I think we are both just too afraid to move in the direction that we know we should because our lives are just too messy right now. I think that as the dust settles from all that we have been dealing with (not related to my coming out/being gay) that we will be able to truly evaluate our relationship and see how we should proceed. The cycle we are in will not last forever and I know I don't want it to.

Despite the lack of connect between my wife and I, I still feel at peace. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I wouldn't change that for anything.

In other news we get to speak in church on Sunday, I'm not sure how I will approach this talk now that my dedication to the church is waning. But I do have a testimony of Christ which luckily my topic is Christ as our Savior, so I should be able to pull this off. Part of me wants to lay my being gay on our ward, which is way too stuffy and closed minded,  but I guess that probably would not be a very wise move. I let you know if there is anything to report.

I guess for now I'll just keep treading water and maneuver through life in the cycle my wife and I have fallen into. I know I titled this stuck in a cycle but I'm choosing to stay in the cycle so I guess I'm not really stuck.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Plan of Happiness????

When I finally admitted to my wife that I was gay our initial approach to our situation was that we could "overcome" this "temptation." I remember my first meeting with our bishop. I told him that I loved my family more than some "temptation" I realize now that I was so naïve about what my being gay was going to mean for me personally.

My beliefs have changed drastically since I initially came out to my wife. I now believe that my being gay is a part of my personal plan of happiness. This is a part of who I am and it is not something that will change or go away. I do not believe that this part of myself will disappear when I die, I do not hold out for some magical transformation. I believe that God made me how I am and that he accepts every part of me, including the gay part. When the reassuring confirmation came letting me know that I was accepted by God I struggled to accept the answer I was receiving. But eventually peace settled within me and I accepted what I was being told. I just kept wondering how I could be receiving this answer? This had to be wrong. No one was supposed to be gay. I have never felt such overwhelming peace in my life and I finally realized that this part of myself was meant to be and was natural. Many point to the rest of the animal kingdom to support this notion citing the more than 1500 species that have homosexual interactions/pairings to support their claims. While I find this fact reassuring the peace I felt gave me more in terms of support than science can right now.

My personal acceptance of being gay has made me take a long hard look at where I fit within the plan of salvation ( and for that matter the church as a whole). The reality of my personal experience with being gay does not mesh with what I heard growing up within the church. This is what happens when dogma collides with personal experience. I am trying to decide how I should proceed. Do I pretend that my personal inspiration and experience do not matter and are false or do I assess what the church has said and reject that which conflicts with my reality. Recently the plan of "happiness" has weighed heavily on my mind. I have had to assess where I fit within this plan. Initially I feel like there is no place for me within the plan as I understand it. I cannot accept an eternity married to a woman. I am struggling to survive the here and now being married to a woman. I do not feel like being married to a woman would be  a source of happiness for me. Right now I do not see my marriage as a source of happiness and my wife agrees with me. We have fallen into a cycle, we have a huge fight, a solid discussion, and then a few days of relative happiness; which in my mind only seems like happiness because there is an absence of frustration and anxiety.

I truly believe that there is happiness to be found. My situation and personal feelings make me feel that it will be best found outside of my marriage. I haven't shared this with my wife yet but in an effort to continue to be honest will bring this up when the time is right. I am still assessing where I stand and deciding if this is truly what I want. In our last conversation I explained my feelings about the plan of salvation, the church, and my personal stance. She was far more understanding than I expected. I agreed not to act hastily but that I would continue with our routine while continuing to discuss my change in beliefs. Today in church the speaker made a comment about how wonderful it is to have a solid testimony of the church and my wife leaned over to me and said "don't you want that again" I looked her in the eye and said that I don't think it will ever be the same for me. She smiled and went back to listening to the speaker I on the other hand began to ponder on the things I am sharing here.

I don't know what the future holds but I am moving forward. I am feeling peace more consistently as I continue to accept myself and formulate what I believe. I am excited to learn more about myself and accept what I find. Maybe some day soon I will understand more clearly where I fit within God's plan of happiness, but for now I am happy creating a plan for my own happiness.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What do I do now?

I have been relatively silent compared to my typical blogging  behavior and feel I need to explain. Since coming out to my wife I promised myself that I would be completely honest with her about everything. I have lived up to that promise but it has made saving our marriage much more difficult in some ways. Over the last week my wife and I have been in a very difficult place, fortunately everything came to a head on Saturday night (true to form we had a long and emotionally charged discussion in the middle of the night).

This semester has been hectic and has demanded that I miss a lot of class and cancel my students lessons. A few weeks ago I decided that I would schedule lessons on Saturday April 6, I did this on purpose. I had no desire to listen to conference and was glad I had a reason to miss two of the three sessions that day. I got home from teaching and didn't want to go to the Priesthood session but out of respect for my wife I went. Since my mission I have struggled with believing in the church. I had some bad experiences on my mission that left my testimony weakened to say the least. My coming to terms with being gay pushed me over the edge and I have decided I no longer believe in the church. A few weeks ago I expressed some concern about my testimony when I was having a conversation with my wife. She said she need time to process this and that we would talk again. Well two weeks later and I am ready to walk away from the church. My reasons are personal so they will not be shared here but I did share them with my wife.

She has been very depressed all day today and says she doesn't know what to do with this information. I told her I understand why she feels this way and that I would allow her time to figure out what she wants to do.

In the course of our conversation it became clear to me that the main reason we thought we wanted to save our marriage was because of our testimonies about the plan of salvation. For me this is no longer a consideration as I do not feel that I personally fit in that plan as I am gay and feel that this is not a temporary condition but one that will continue. She said she understand why I feel this way....I think she is starting to grasp that this is not a condition that will be removed through "faithful" living, at least not from where I stand.

Sunday I slept the majority of the conference sessions but was amazed when my wife said she would understand if I didn't want to listen to conference with her. I said I would just to spend time with her and to maintain a sense of consistency for our son.

On Sunday night we continued our conversation after finding out that the parents of my wife's good friend are getting divorced. This got us discussing where we stand and how we were going to proceed. I detailed my feelings for her about how being gay meant that I would always be gay and that I did not see an end to this part of myself. I told her my fear is that I will become more bitter and angry if I try and suppress this part of myself, like I did prior to coming out to her. I admitted that I had very little hope that saving our marriage would bring us happiness because I can't see myself happy continuing on the path we are on. I asked her if she would even consider me husband material after all of my confessions, (some of which I just mentioned). She stated that no, I would not make the cut because I am a very different person now than the man she married. I agreed with her.

In the course of our conversation it came out that she doesn't trust me. I feel I must explain this. I have been involved in pornography and masturbation, which I have confessed to her and our bishop three almost four months ago after I came out to her. I have gained self control and have been honest with her about all of it. I have NEVER had another relationship with anyone since I got married. Besides my viewing pornography I have never cheated on my wife, I realize this is still horrible but I have never sought relationships with men. Sure I am attracted to a lot of guys but I have never reached out to anyone. In order to keep myself clear of temptation I have even kept myself from developing friendships with anyone other than those couples my wife chooses. My response to her lack of trust surprised her. I was discouraged and let her know that I don't see a reason for us to try to save our marriage if there is no trust. She said she would work on gaining trust in me again. I feel so frustrated. I just want this all to end. I feel like I have a gaping wound and every time it starts to heal the wound tears open even bigger. By the end of our conversation I basically had told her that I just don't see a happy way to continue our marriage and that I felt maybe we should consider other options (hinting at divorce). I couldn't bring myself to say the words I know I need to: "I want a divorce." I can't say them because I know it will deeply hurt my wife, but then I keep thinking if I feel like I have a wound that keeps growing wouldn't she be feeling the same way????

I usually try to make my posts flow and feel organized but tonight I am just to emotionally and physically exhausted to edit and refine this post (maybe later). I don't know how much more I can take of this emotional rollercoaster. I just had to get some of these thoughts off my mind so that I can focus on all of the final projects I need to do tonight.

The only question resounding in my head now is: What do I do now? Hopefully a good nights rest will bring come clarity and further insight.