Monday, February 5, 2007

Out of the closet, day 8

I think my house must have been then only home in Texas without a TV tuned to the Superbowl yesterday. Before Saturday I couldn't have even told you what teams were in the Superbowl. However, I heard enough people talking about it on Saturday, at church on Sunday, and on the radio this morning that I know what teams were playing, I even knew who won at some point. But, I think I forgot because I don't care.

Instead, my wife and I watched a movie I had recorded on our DVR last week: "Jeffery". Yes, I know it is "R" rated; but, the channel I recorded it on does a good job of bleeping out all of the bad words and inappropriate scenes (is that a rationalization or what?). Anyway, I didn't like the movie; so, I turned it off about 1/3 into the movie and deleted it from our DVR. Smutty is the word I would use to describe that movie. I think the only reason I wanted to watch "Jeffery" is because it has Patrick Stewart in it (Patrick, I'm disappointed in you).

Anyway, after I stopped the movie, my wife and I had another discussion. Referring to the movie, she asked if the gay culture appealed to me in any way. I answered honestly that it does not. She then asked why I wanted to watch movies like this (meaning gay themed movies). I asked her to envision herself in another country, like Japan, where it was obvious she was different from everyone else (physical characteristics, culture, language, etc.). Then imagine that she saw another American. Wouldn't she feel some affinity towards them? I then explained that is how I feel towards other gay people, even fictitious people in a movie. I feel a connection with them even though I don't really know them and may disagree with their lifestyle. She said that she understood, although it bothered her that I felt that way. I responded that I was just being honest in how I feel.

So, that's where we are. Often we are both doing OK. But, sometimes she cries. Then I feel like a jerk for making her cry which brings me down. But, we are continuing to talk.

Although, I'm beginning to think that telling my wife isn't going to have the outcome that I wanted. I was hoping that I would have someone I could talk to. But, if she is always bothered by what I tell her and starts crying then I don't think I will want to talk to her; I'll just continue to hold it in as I've always done. I'm already finding myself not volunteering much information. I answer her questions as honestly as I can. But, I stopped initiating any conversations. I haven't even ask her how she is doing today as I've done all other days since coming out. I just hate seeing her cry, especially when I'm the source of it.

Maybe we should go in for some marriage counseling. She did some research on the web and found an LDS counselor in our area who spoke at an Evergreen conference a couple of years ago. I don't know if I would be comfortable going to a counselor who advocates the Evergreen approach. I don't want to be 'cured' of my homosexuality, mainly because I don't believe it is possible. I just want to figure out how we can make this relationship work now that my wife knows she married a queer. She found another LDS counselor who happens to have an office within our our Stake boundaries (in the ward next to ours) and presumably lives in the area. I don't think I could do that either. It would be awkward running into them at Stake meetings.


Beck said...

The important thing is that you two are still talking (even with tears) and trying to be open to each other. To think that she would sit down to watch a gay-themed movie is HUGE in my book.

I know what you mean by shutting down and not volunteering information anymore - just to avoid the pain of the tears. It takes a lot of time.

Keep hangin' tough...

Anonymous said...

Please don't be surprised that it is taking your wife time to digest all of this. In my opinion and based on my experiences being a wife of someone with SSA, seeing a counselor can be very helpful for both of you, but especially for you. It is unrealistic of you to expect her to be able to talk about these things open-mindedly so soon. You can not expect your wife to carry this burden alone by being your counselor; very few women I know could fill that role.

I have found in my experience that I can offer my husband support and unconditional love, but there are limits as to how much I can digest (and this is after more than just one week of 'knowing!'). It has taken us years to get where we can discuss SSA in a forthright and non-threatening manner, but even now, we respect that there comes a time when some things are just 'too much information.' The spirit of the conversation changes, and we can sense when the talk is having less than a productive effect. That is when my husband talks with his counselor.

You may wish to see someone who deals with SSA, but you may derive just as much benefit from seeing any counselor who feels comfortable talking through these issues with you.

I hope you will forgive my being so blunt. I am not trying to tell you what to do, but only to share with you what I have found as the wife of someone with SSA. The communication part does get easier ... over time ... at least for us it has. Kindness and sensitivity can go a long way right now.

Loyalist (with defects) said...

I cann't tell you how much this is reflective what is happening my marriage right now.

it just all too painful.

-L- said...

I'm now going to leave my third comment defending counseling in the last half hour.


If your wife feels betrayed (and maybe realizes she shouldn't and feels guilty for it), then she's not going to be able to open up and process this all with you right now. But she needs to talk it out with someone. And considering your anonymity and reluctance to share with the bishop (which I completely understand), she needs counseling.

You seem to be taking this all pretty well, but I think counseling would probably help you too. In a fit of vanity, I'm linking an old post of mine.

FoxyJ said...

I've been reading your blog for a while but haven't commented yet. It will probably take your wife a long time to process things, and her reaction to your SSA will change over time. My husband told me before we were married, and it's now been over 5 years of marriage. My ability to talk about it changes and our relationship changes. I like what anonymous said about how you can't expect your wife to be your counselor. There's nothing wrong with getting some counseling--it's a good way to involve a neutral person who can help guide you both through this major change in your relationship. If you don't like the LDS guy, find someone else. More than anything, just give each other time to figure things our and adjust. It might be kind of yucky for a while, but you will find a place of peace. You've got eternity, right?

Mormon Enigma said...

I really appreciate the comments I receive. For me, this is the best part about blogging. I write about my thoughts. Then other people offer up their opinions and ideas that challenge me and force me to reconsider my thoughts. Hopefully, in the end, we all end up better off.

The words from anonymous where it was stated "You can not expect your wife to carry this burden alone by being your counselor" pierced my very soul. I realized that is exactly what I was wanting - my own live-in counselor who I could run to every time I was having a bad day. Yes, you were blunt, but I needed to see those words.

As for counseling, I'm leaving that decision up to my wife. She vacillates back and forth on the idea. When she talks about going to counseling, I tell her that I will do whatever she wants me to do. When she says that she thinks she is going to be OK and doesn't need counseling, I remind her that it is always an option open to her should she change her mind. She is a good woman, but she also has a stubborn streak. I know that if I push the idea then it will never happen. (I have learned a couple of things over the last 27 years). She knows that I read blogs and have my own blog (and am blogging about this experience). I have told her that there are those in the blogosphere who have gone through what we are going through and strongly recommend counseling.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you were able to take my comments in the spirit in which they were intended: no one can strictly counsel you what to do you in your situation, but you can hear the experiences of others and then decide for yourself what will help you.

Your wife may decide counseling is not for her right now. My comments were more directed at the decision you may need to make -- is counseling right for YOU at this time??? All the best.

Mormon Enigma said...

Is counseling right for me? Good question. Truth is, I have been to counseling before when I was first diagnosed with clinical depression. We didn't discuss the 'gay thing'; but, we talked about lots of other stuff. We talked about my dreams, my youth, etc. And, at the end of our sessions, I was still depressed. I now have the depression under control now via medication. I really don't think the counseling sessions did anything for me.

Anonymous said...

Having passed this way I would strongly suggest you not make your wife into your counselor. It isn't all about you's about her more than you right now...if you really want to preserve your marriage...a counselor in my stake presidency and my former Bishop told me that the truth isn't always good if it hurts. He taught me to question my motive and my reasons for telling her the truth..was it to help her or to manipulate her? Was I telling her for her or for me? I'm sorry to be so blunt but, you have got to think of her first now. Try to see things from her perspective, not yours. We've all thought of ourselves for years. We are often very self centered. Speaking for myself, I have been so self focused on my issues that I almost lost my companion of eighteen years.

You can't even comprehend how this hurts her. She is barely beginning to take it in. If you want to make it through this you have to focus on her and get out of yourself.

You can't fix her. She can't fix you. You can't fix you and she can't fix herself. Where these delicate issues are involved, only the atonement and the healing power of the Savior has the power to heal the hearts involved. I feel this very strongly.

I am sorry for my harsh and direct tone, but I know what I post here to be true. Enigma, understanding this comes only from forgetting yourself and thinking of others. We don't even realize how selfish we are after obsessing for so many years and living in our secret worlds. If we are truly honest we should admit our selfishness, that we are still behaving like the children who originally suffered these hurts. If we are to truly deal with and understand our needs and to heal we need to focus not so much on ourselves but, to reach out to and serve others.

It is fine to make peace with being gay or SSA or SSG. I actually thank God that I struggle but, I have learned the hard way it isn't just about me. It has been for years but, it is time that I gave her the time she has been missing from me. It is time that I turn my thoughts, prayers and efforts outward. I have found much more healing by doing that than hours of counseling, therapy, groups or enless talk can produce.

If you truly love her and want to preserve the marriage then you need to truly give yourself: first to God and then to her. When I do this it brings healing to my marriage and a closeness that is real and honest.

Sorry if this is preachy and abrasive. I can't help it, I see too much of myself in you and I can't remain silent on this one. A real man cares more about his spouse than himself. A real man gets past his own hurts and does what is right. Healing for all of us is in doing God's will, not our own. Real men aren't the pretty boys we've looked at for years in the media and on the internet. Real men take care of their own family and stand up for what is right and true. They put their own needs aside for the benifit that comes from truly serving others.

Mormon Enigma said...

I'm starting to think that, maybe, I'm making our relationship appear to be in more dire straits than it really is. We are having a struggle right now, but we've been through worse and made it through. And, I'm confident that we'll make it through this too. This gay thing has thrown us both off balance, and we just need to reestablish our equilibrium.

Of course, it doesn't help that we have other stresses in our life right now. My wife is starting a new job which she is excited about, but nervous at the same time. My oldest son is getting married in 12 weeks - and wants to have the reception at our home and back yard. And, I guess we didn't think we had enough stress because we've decided that we need to rip out our deck and rebuild it before the wedding. At least we nixed the plan to remodel the kitchen before April.