Her: So, how are you doing?
Me: I'm doing OK
Her: What about your other life?
Me: (caught off guard) Huh? what other life?
Her: You know, your secret life
Her: How are your blogging friends doing?
I'll have to admit, this conversation took me by surprise and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So, I muttered
Me: They're doing OK, for the most part
I took a couple more bites of my food while I pondered this turn of events. I then decided to open up with her. So, I started to explain how some of my MoHo friends are doing (although, I didn't say "MoHo friends" to her). Without mentioning names (using terms like "this one guy" and "this other guy"), I talked about Gay BYU Student (an update really, since I had talked about him on a couple of other occasions). I talked about drex and salad. I talked about Elbow, and how worried I was about him. I talked about how it felt kind of weird to care so much about these people whom I've never even met (and likely never will) and who I only know through a pseudonym.
She then talked about how, for the first time in our marriage, she is having feelings of insecurity. That kind of floored me, so I started apologizing profusely. But, she stopped me. She said she doesn't want me to be sorry because that makes her feel bad. She just wanted me to understand how she is feeling. I thanked her for sharing that with me.
I've been talking the last couple of weeks about going to the Saint Patrick's Day parade this weekend to take pictures. So, she told me that she was concerned about me doing that because of the kind of people who will be there. That took me by surprise too. Having gone last year, I tried to assure her that it wasn't like that. It wasn't a Gay Pride parade, it was more like a college frat boy thing with lots of beer drinking (although, I'm not sure that made it sound any better). She repeated that she was concerned, but it didn't mean I shouldn't go. She just wanted me to know of her concerns.
Lately, I've been recording some shows on Logo TV (a GLBT cable station) as well as other gay themed shows on our DVR. We talked about those. She had reviewed the shows I had recorded and/or scheduled and talked about a couple that she was interested in watching with me (such as the Montel Williams show that aired Thursday discussing Reparative Therapy). She expressed concern about having these shows on the DVR. I explained that I wasn't concerned about our daughter seeing them since she is never home anyway (spending all of her free time with her boyfriend), but that I was going to be much more cautious when our son comes home from BYU-Idaho.
So, what's the problem? We're talking, we're opening up to each other. She is even watching gay themed shows with me (so far, she has watched "Latter Days", "Beautiful Thing", and "The Hard Pill"). Everything should be hunky doorey, right?
The truth of the matter is, while I have been opening up to her, I haven't told her everything. I still have secrets. For example
Other things I haven't told her:
- She knows that I joined a Photography club in the area (a small club with about 6 people) and have gone to a couple of meetings.
- What I haven't told her is: Most of the people in this club are gay. (I figured it out at the first meeting I went to when one of the club members was showing me some of his pictures, which included pictures of his boyfriend)
- We've talked about how my photography club has started making plans to get together to take pictures, and how the first such meeting was to go to a Rodeo to take pictures the same weekend that we were in California. I talked about how I wished the Rodeo were on a different weekend so that I could have gone
- What I haven't told her is: The rodeo they were going to was sponsored by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.
- She knows that I have an online blog and read blogs by other gay Mormons
- What I haven't told her is: How much I really share on my blog (my MoHo friends know more about my gay side than she does)
- She has expressed concern that I may be sharing too much in my blog and someone might be able to piece together the puzzle and figure out my real identity. I've tried to assure her that I'm careful
- What I haven't told her is: I'm not sure I really care (in fact, I think there may even be a tiny part of me that would sort of like that to happen)
- I'm starting to question some of my long held views on gay issues, such as same sex unions.
- When I read of someone in a committed gay relationship, a part of me feels pangs of jealousy.
- While I don't consider myself as having a problem with pornography, I do like to look at PG rated pictures of cute guys.
- I would like to go to the next Gay Pride parade (in the fall) to take pictures.
- I've purchased, but have not yet read, a couple of gay Mormon books at the half price book store, namely "Out of the Bishop's Closet" and "Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example".
- Someday, I might want to purchase a gay news magazine (such as "Advocate") to read.
- How lonely and isolated I feel sometimes. That I don't feel like I really connect with anyone in our ward.
- I know of at least two other gay Mormons in the greater metropolitan area that I live in (from discussion groups) and even have their email addresses. I've considered contacting them to see if they would be interested in getting together for lunch some time. Not to hook up, but just to have someone to talk to face to face.
- Intellectually, I know that pursuing a, so called, gay lifestyle would be foolhardy at best. The most likely outcome would be me ending up as a lonely old man living in a dingy apartment (especially at my age). But, I can't deny that there is a small part of me that is drawn to that lifestyle.
- Not only do I fully accept that I'm gay. But, in some ways, I think it's kind of cool to be gay. I'm Mormon, I'm gay, and I'm proud.
- A part of me is starting to feel like I want to come completely out of the closet and damn the consequences
Please don't misunderstand. I'm still committed to her and the church, and I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize my marriage or my standing in the church. I feel my testimony is as strong as ever and I'm doing the stuff I'm supposed to be doing (magnifying my calling, reading the scriptures, going to the Temple, yada, yada, yada).
But, I've been thinking about some of Beck's recent posts where he discusses living duplicitously., and I'm starting to feel like I too am living a dual life. And, now I'm feeling confused. Should I open up and tell her everything? Or would doing so hurt her more than help her? Is it OK for a husband and wife to have secrets from each other? I'm exploring my gay side (mostly with her knowledge). But, by doing so, am I walking on the edge of the precipice?
And, are her feelings of insecurity valid? Right now, it is easy to feel smug and think that I will never do anything to hurt her. But, what if I were to meet some guy and we're mutually attracted to each other? What would I do then? I don't anticipate this ever happening (especially since I'm now an old fart); but, after reading similar experiences by other MoHo's, I'm not so confident when I consider the possibility. I don't think I'm inherently any stronger than my MoHo friends.
Before I sat myself down last fall and said "self, you're gay, accept it", I was starting to have anxiety attacks. It was getting bad enough that I was seriously considering scheduling a visit with a psychiatrist to have my anti-depressants re-evaluated. I was also seriously considering going to see a therapist and had done some searching on my insurance companies web site for one that had experience in gay issues. But, since I've accepted I'm gay and have discussed it with others (via discussion groups, email, and blogs), I've calmed down considerably and have, generally, been feeling pretty good about myself lately.
In fact, my wife has observed on a couple of occasions that, for the last few months (since I accepted that I'm gay), I've been happier than she has seen me in a long long time. And it's true. Although I'm still messed up in a lot of ways, I am happier than I've been in a long time. Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't God want us to be happy? Or would it be better for me to give all of this up? (my MoHo friends, my blog, looking at pictures of cute guys, my exploration of my gay side, etc.) and go back to my old lonely and unhappy, yet fully in harmony with church teachings, life? Would it even be possible for me to go back to my old life? Or have I embarked on a one-way road where God only knows where I'll ultimately end up?
And, the really sad thing is, when I read other blogs, I realize that I'm not alone in some of these thoughts and feelings. Are there any MoHo's out there that are truly happy? Please stand up and tell us how you did it. Impart unto us your sage wisdom. Or is this our lot in this mortal life: To be a bunch of messed up guys (and gals) trying to figure out where we fit in this life, this church, etc.?
I'm so confused!