Friday, August 27, 2010

"Sorry about the divorce, maybe it's for the better."

I have received numerous, very kind public and private messages related to my perhaps-impending divorce. I cannot adequately express how wonderful it feels to have that support and to not be facing this turmoil completely alone. Truly, if it was not for blogging, I would not be sharing any of this with anyone.

It's always musical to hear others say, "you deserve better" and "you deserve to be happy." I can't emphasize my gratitude enough to those who have said that to me... BUT, I don't understand why everyone is so unanimous in celebrating the potential end to a 20 year marriage and a 24 year relationship.

Am I the only person who expects long relationships to have ups and downs that require the couple to work through them? Am I the only one who feels like when a person makes a commitment to another person that commitment should be honored until there is NO other option but to dishonor it? What's the point of making a commitment if it is honored only so long as it is not too difficult or too inconvenient?

I don't know...maybe I'm so involved in the situation that I only see what I want to see. But just giving up...I don't get it. And I certainly do not find it easy to do.

You'd think most people would applaud, or at least see the value of genuine loyalty, but everyone seems to feel the same way - "maybe it's best in the long run."

When everyone seems to disagree with me I have to seriously wonder if I'm the idiot. How could so many others be wrong?

***

I can't imagine that it is enjoyable for anyone to listen to me whine about myself for any length of time. I'd prefer to write about issues that affect all of us. Therefore, it is my intention to make the paragraphs below my last personal update for more than a month. In September I will write about gay and bisexual topics that I hope others will find interesting.

***

Gabbie loves to go on cruises; I'm happy to go anywhere.

Because it was our 20th anniversary this year Gabbie has long had it in her head that we'd take a cruise some where. At the time of our anniversary in April Gabbie made preliminary reservations for a week-long cruise that will be one of the most expensive vacations we've ever taken. She has been expecting me to figure out the flight schedule and to make the payments for both the cruise and the airplane tickets. I've been dragging my feet. Spending so much money unnerves me and there's also that small issue of her wanting to permanently run away from me and the kids...

The cruise is the last week of September. The payment for the cruise was due the first week in July. Last Wednesday Gabbie got after me again, insisting that I "hurry up and buy the tickets." I was kind of hoping we'd lose the reservation because the payment was so late, but, no. We're going.

On August 22, 1992 I told Gabbie I was gay and we separated. Just a week before that day I booked a trip for the two of us to Florida. A friend had offered us a great deal for a week in her timeshare. Even after my coming out and Gabbie's discovery of my young male friend, she and I agreed to take that already-booked-trip together to Florida.

That week alone with Gabbie was so good that I decided I wanted to be with her more than I wanted to be single and gay. A week after we returned, I broke up with my boyfriend and Gabbie and I got back together. A few months later she was pregnant with kid number one.

So here we are eighteen years later: a divorce requested and a romantic vacation together already booked.

I literally feel like anything could happen on this vacation. It could be a crucial week where she discovers that she can't live without me, or it could be an awkward week of walking on eggshells. Or it could just be casual fun. Regardless, until we return from the cruise neither of us is going to be making any permanent decisions about our future.

Gabbie's New Attitude

Apparently Gabbie needed a good drunken cry and some words of support from me.

Ever since the night she asked for a divorce she has morphed into her old self of about 10 years ago. Actually, she's gone further than that and suddenly taken on June Cleaver's enthusiasm for cooking, cleaning and looking after the kids. She's been home every night, she kissed me on the lips(!), she refused to let Charlie join us for dinner when he tried to invite himself (that was a big step for her), she's taken the kids for ice cream and she's baked cookies, all within the last several days. Without a doubt she is making a sincere effort to transition into the wife and mother her critics think she should be.

It's an open question as to whether she can truly find happiness in those roles.

Looking at her recent history, I have my doubts. However, one thing I will say about Gabbie is to never count her out. She can be fiercely determined, focused and motivated when she wants to accomplish something.

While I am on the subject of good things and Gabbie, I should explicitly state that Gabbie has many positive qualities. I've only written about them twice before so that probably makes me a self-righteous ass, but the fact is that anyone who knows Gabbie and I as a couple knows that I adore her. Her mother and sister, who know us best, have regularly chastised me for letting Gabbie do whatever she wants. I don't try to manipulate and control her the way they do simply because I love her. To me, love includes letting a person be free to be themselves. As an essentially closeted gay man, I know what it feels like to be caged all too well.

I should also explicitly state that I am deeply bonded to Gabbie. It really is love, not fear or laziness, that has made our odd marriage last as long as it has.

So that's it for the updates, barring any unexpected events, until early October.

A final note. By all appearances Gabbie is making her best effort in years to enjoy being a traditional wife and mother. If she again becomes resentful of those roles and finds that all she can think about is escaping, I will have no choice but to support her should she want to leave.

At this time, that is the only scenario I can imagine where letting her go will feel like I might actually be doing the right thing.

8 comments:

  1. Your commitment and loyalty are admirable. Whether they are practical and "the right thing" is something only you can judge, in the end. I, for one, will be waiting with anticipation your next installment. Don't keep us in suspense for too long! Bon voyage!

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  2. Cameron, my friend, You are where I was. You really are. I have a few comments and please remember they are all meant with love and with the hope of a positive outcome for everyone.

    ** There is a difference between ending your marriage and ending your relationship. I suspect when this is all over you will divorce, but you will maintain your relationship with Gabbie. Keep in mind that she is a straight woman married to a not straight man. Maybe you owe it to her to let her find her happiness with a straight man. You do not have to end your deeply emotional friendship.

    ** I agree with your stand on commitment, but I think your view may be distorted. I will admit I might be projecting some of myself on to you, but have you considered that your marriage is a lie? You are a gay man with a straight woman. You are not attracted to her the same way a straight man would be. This is not to say you do not love her deeply, I am sure that you do, but it is a different kind of love.

    The best way I can describe the deep love I have for K is to think about identical twins who are so close they are almost the same person. You know the ones that do everything together and are almost never separated from each other. That's the closest I can come to explaining that love. As deep and powerful as that love is, it is not the passionate love that she would expect from her husband. For YEARS she wanted the passion and romance that I just could not provide for her. Now that she has found a straight boyfriend, she is starting the find what she is looking for.

    That does not mean my commitment or loyalty to her is changed. It has not, but now that she has found the passion she was missing for so long, she is much happier.

    While our commitment remains, our marriage was based on a lie. The lie that I am not gay. It did not matter if I was having sex with men or not. What mattered to her was I did not have the passion for her I should have because she is a woman.

    Now that I am no longer hiding who I am. Now that she no longer has to live with my secret, she is much happier. We get along better (mostly) and we like each other more.

    I really want everything to work out for you. It is clear that you will never abandon Gabbie, but in the end, you will not be able to remain married to her and be true to who you are. If you are not true to who you are, you cannot be true to your marriage.

    ** Something else to consider. Is it possible that the sudden change in her behavior is a result of relief? Maybe having asked for a divorce, she now sees light at the end of her tunnel. Being married to a gay man, even if you are physically faithful to her must be difficult. I know it was for K. Maybe now she knows that you will each be able to find you'r own happiness. If you are very lucky you can stay close enough to share your happiness with her (when you find it) and she can share hers with you.

    Good luck my friend. And for what it's worth. I would much rather share your journey through this part of your life than hypothetical gay discussion topics. For me, it was extremely helpful to write out my thoughts. It helped me sort through them. As a bonus, people commented and helped me to sometimes think about things differently.

    Don't stop writing about you. I would like to walk with you on your journey. I'll bet others do too.

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  3. I agree with you about the importance, the rightness, of keeping commitments until it becomes realistically impossible to do so. So here's hoping that whether it's the cruise or something else that does it, Gabbie will decide that she wants to be with you and the kids, just as you realized so long ago that you want to be with her.

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  4. Cameron... you NEVER need to answer to others about the nature of a relationship with the mother of your children. You of all people have shown the power of commitment... something most marriages could learn from.

    If anything I have learned... when crisis comes, change happens. You just never know what is around the corner!

    Regardless of the outcome, your commitment, loyalty, and respect for Gabby will come back to you!

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  5. Some of the worst things that have happened to me have turned out to be good things in the end. I think people are just trying orient you to that perspective. I don't think people are trying to minimize how big a deal this is to you.

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  6. I find that in this day and age, it's really easy to call it quits and move on. It's easy to divorce when half the country is doing it and it's easy to run away from tough times. I find that those who easily quit tend to be simple-minded, and those who don't tend to be more complex in nature. You're the latter.

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  7. @stlkaper Thanks for the good wishes. I have been contemplating your previous comment. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    @naturgesetz and Bi_Gentleman Thanks for your support. Really. I'm so glad to know two such smart guys share my enthusiasm for loyalty and fidelity.

    @RB Your point is a good one. Thank you.

    @Blurred Thanks for your support, it means a lot.

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  8. It seems to be history repeating itself..

    Your description of you and your wife is similar to me and mine. I can't image life without her and enjoy being with her more than she probably even knows..and I could never just give up on our relationship.

    Although..she does seem to have this sense the kicks in sometimes. She sees when I become distant..which in reality is me trying to cope with my attraction to men. She has that attitude on occasion that she wants to run but doesn't know why. I know why she does though. She knows I am not 100% there..

    I hope things work out for you..know matter what happens.

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