#20 My wife and I organized an SSA conference for ourselves after midnight, as vampires awake

babyThere is no such thing as same-sex attraction conference on faith – like the one organized by AMCAP in Salt Lake City couple of weeks ago – within a parameter of about six thousand miles from where I live. So, I had to organize one by myself, which I did yesterday, at and around midnight. My wife and I are typically not in a mood to discuss issues of life until vampires wake up, and then it takes us greater part of the night to make some meaningful conclusions.

The conference attendance was meager, there was only two of us and our newborn who found it so boring that she overslept the entire event. It was obvious that the conference was necessary, since some tensions in our relationship have been building up in the past couple of weeks, nothing seemingly serious, but inconvenient enough not pass it by.

The main issue was whether I have started to close myself – again – towards my wife in an attempt to process my same-sex attraction all by myself. The theme of our little conference was very proper, I thought, because it was pretty much exactly what I was doing.

Double Edged Sword

My wife is not among those wives in mixed-orientation marriages who likes to be left out of the loop. She had some bad experience during the first ten years of our relationship. It is not that I cheated her or attempted to abandon her or anything like that. It is just that because of being emotionally close(te)d and because I fought all my battles only within the perimeter of my soul, she also suffered emotionally. I was somewhat distanced, and somewhat detached, and somewhat impersonal, and that was killing her, like should each and every decent wife out there.

Ever since I came out to her, things have changed dramatically. We are closer than we have ever been, and she likes it. And I like it. But again, in the past couple of weeks, I have been buttoning myself again.

Now, before I continue, let me tell you what was the final conclusion of our little conference. After all was said and done, we were in complete agreement that our marriage is the best one we know of. After you read this my blog post, I hope you won’t come to a conclusion that marriages of other people that we know of are entirely horrific.

Anyway, probably the only reason why I would button myself on any issue before my wife is that I do not want to hurt her emotionally. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I do to her in the first place when I start to button up. By the very fact of turning my emotional back to her I hurt her. She doesn’t like it. It feels as if I do not have confidence in her. On the other hand, by discussing some difficult issues of my same-sex attraction, I might hurt her as well. She may become aware, as it sometimes happens, that some emotional bonds that she thought existed and took it for granted actually aren’t there. So it is a double edged sword, with which there is no good solution except getting out by getting through.

In the past couple of weeks I actively participate in the North Star community. By doing that, I process my same-sex attraction by continuously finding and hoarding additional good reasons for remaining faithful to my wife as well as good reasons for staying away from any kind of homosexual make up, in thoughts and deeds. However, for the sake of honesty, I do not shun any reasons to the contrary, if I ever encounter them. I sometimes do feel as if a homosexual relationship could be just right and proper thing for me. Those moments are, thank God, few and far between, but yes, they do exist.

Utterly stunned wife

Earlier, when my wife and I had not discussed my issue of same-sex attraction whatsoever, the issue simply wouldn’t have been on my mind. The positive side to that was that my same-sex attraction was pushed into my sub-consciousness, and thus I did not bother to think about “good sides” of it.  But my close(te)dness also had some very bad unintended emotional consequences to both my wife and myself, which I explained in my blog post on the North Star.

As I became open with everything that happens with my emotional body, and as I read more about the subject of same-sex attraction and interact with people at North Star who have similar struggles, the moments of “feeling the homosexual relationship being a good thing” started to pop up more often in my consciousness.

One can reasonably think that, if that indeed happens, I should rather stop thinking about it and stop interacting with people who cause such feelings. But I don’t believe so. I think if I did that, it wouldn’t resolve my feelings, I would only push them back into the outer darkness of my sub-consciousness where they would continue to be a threat for my well being. Instead, I reckon, I need to face them head-on and deal with them with my eyes wide open.

And so I did. Yesterday, during the SSA conference with my wife. We were laying in bed facing each other. I closed my eyes and started to talk. I unbuttoned myself as I should have. I told her pretty much everything I shared with you in this blog post thus far. When I was about to finish my monologue, I opened my eyes and I saw my wife’s face utterly stunned.

My emotions, no matter how awkward

She couldn’t believe what she was hearing from me. “Are you really counting good reasons for being in a homosexual relationship?”, she asked me on a brink of tears.

I immediately realized that our little conference isn’t going in a right direction, but it was probably too late.

“No, those reasons just pop up before me as I strive to understand my feelings and interact with the people at North Star. I do not ask for those feelings, and I do not consider them particularly relevant for my situation. I’m just acknowledging them.”, I explained.

I also tried to convey to my wife that I’m very comfortable in our relationship, and that I do not look for an escape. I was just trying to unearth and process my emotions, which were unusual, perhaps strange or even awkward, but they were mine. I reminded her that we agreed to be totally open and honest about our feelings, and so I was. And then, I complained, she obviously took it personally.

But she wasn’t consoled by my words. When it boils down to the basics, there was only one single reason why she felt upset. By making my homosexual behavior a theoretical possibility, I actually made her very insecure. She didn’t realize that I only wanted to discuss the issue in terms of possibilities, not in terms of probabilities.

The first day of our little SSA conference on faith, obviously, did not end entirely well. So, we gathered again today, at about the same, “vampire” time. The emotions from the previous night subsided, but were not entirely gone.

Two rather simple things

We tried to assess our situation. I assured my wife that I made rather firm decision to find a girlfriend and, if possible marry her, even before I joined the church. And if we ever got separated, I pointed out, that wouldn’t be because of another man.

As we were discussing the events in the previous turbulent 24 hours, it has become increasingly obvious to both of us that the issue of putting my same-sex attraction in a proper place within the framework of our marriage has everything to do with only two rather simple things:

(1) How deeply we are connected on the emotional and spiritual level.

(2) How incredibly awesome is our sexual intimacy.

That’s it.

We also realized that the more we have of the first, the second reinforces itself naturally. And the only way how to develop and deepen the first is to be brutally honest about everything, our feelings, our attractions and our emotions. And that was exactly what I was doing the day before.

Being brutally honest, however, doesn’t mean that we give up even a particle of our commitment to each other. Quite to the contrary. Only by continuous reinforcement of our marital vows, we are capable of discussing the most excruciating issues, including “good reasons to get involved into a relationship with another man”.

Hmmm, hmmm. What was the outcome of all these realizations? I’ve already mentioned it earlier. We concluded that, by brutal frankness that we practice for quite some time, we are building a strong relationship. Our marriage turned out to be better than any other that we know of. And the direct manifestation of that conclusion immediately followed at the end of our little conference, as we successfully tested incredible awesomeness of our sexual intimacy.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 18:56:08

    I have a friend whose husband was fired for looking at porn at work. He then proceeded to tell her that he had a sex addiction. This was the first of her hearing about it in the 12 years they were married. He went on to explain how often throughout his life he used it as a coping mechanism. Of course she was hurt that he hadn’t confided in her and it was a huge deal because he lost his job over it. Sharing with her helped them both and brought them closer together. Over the course of the next several months he found skills to help him cope differently with stressful situations but he never shared with her his moments of struggle. This did more harm than good. She felt that if he was honest with her on his struggles she felt more confident that he wasn’t deceiving her again. Though sharing those struggles may have hurt them both a bit the wondering in her head was much worse. Open communication is SO much better.

    But, in sharing your struggles you have to be just as supportive of her reaction as she is with your struggle. She will never know what it is like to be a gay man married to a straight woman, but you will never know what it is like to be a straight woman married to a gay man. You need to allow her to feel offended, hurt, take things personally, etc and work through those without making her feel guilty for having those emotions. Complete acceptance and understanding is a two way street. Sometimes your feelings will take priority in that moment and sometimes hers will.

    Whenever Joanne and I faced a situation together that was emotionally stressful for us both, we would assess who was impacted the most in that moment and then deal with that persons emotion well-being first. Usually, addressing that would help the other as well.

    You have an amazing wife. Bravo to you both for recognizing the pattern of shutting down and re-opening the lines of communication. That is key to success in my opinion.

    For what it’s worth, I think it is normal and very healthy to examine all of the “what if” and/or “pros and cons” scenarios. That helps solidify your decision.

    Reply

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