Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weighted and Down

About a month ago my wife told me that she had decided not to leave me and our three kids.

I was a little surprised by her announcement; for the prior two years she had frequently threatened to leave. She often complained that she wanted to 'simplify her life' and only be responsible for herself.

The decision to stay, she said, is because the kids still need her. Also, it wouldn't be fair to dump sole responsibility for raising them on me.

I'm glad Gabbie decided to stay. But her reasons for doing so have not made me happy. Isn't she supposed to want to be with me?

I had hopes for much better news...

When Gabbie and I got married 20 years ago I knew I was gay. If I had not been pressured by her to marry so quickly I would have taken the time necessary to work through my very mixed feelings. Yes, I was sexually attracted to men but I also felt a very strong emotional connection to her.

Because I felt very pressured by her to get married, I eventually became resentful that I wasn't able to make the decision on my own. Two years into the marriage my resentfulness and too much time alone caused me to became preoccupied with finding a romantic relationship with a man. I found one very quickly. Within only a few hours of first meeting him, I left Gabbie to be with him and assumed my marriage was over.

But it wasn't. My boyfriend Jim was a great guy, a perfect guy, but after two months with him I realized that my emotional connection to Gabbie was far stronger than I originally thought. Entirely of my own free will, I decided to go back to Gabbie. It was a pivotal decision; ever since then I have been 100% committed to staying with her.

And that has been quite a commitment because the last year has been hell.

The quiet battle for Gabbie's heart that has been going on between me and unemployed, alcoholic Charlie is not something that I ever expected to end with a draw. I was always confident that she would either reject him and thereby become more committed than ever to me, or, she would leave me for him.

But Gabbie's decision to stay has really fucked with my head. What I want is a partner who wants to be with me. Normally that would be a man but my love for Gabbie has remained strong and true. She is the person I most want to spend my life with. To be told by her, in essence, that she wants to 'play house' and have a celibate marriage AND keep Charlie, well, it sucks. It makes me feel trapped and used and stupid.

Meanwhile, Gabbie feels much better about herself than she has in years. She barely drinks any more - in support of Charlie who is has been in AA for the first time ever - and she seldom goes out. From her point of view, she is now the dedicated working mother everyone expects her to be.

It's ironic that her return to normalcy has caused great despair to me. She likes the current status quo and I am tortured by it.

Clearly, we need to come to an agreement that works for both of us. And just as clearly, the need to make that happen is mine because she is content and I am not.

I have decided to wait until the first days of January to talk to her and to get her to recognize WHY I'm not happy and WHY she has given me no choice but to look for a new relationship.

About my potential relationship with a man, I need to explain a few things, as Gabbie understands them.

Gabbie knows that I label myself as gay. However, it's a very, very sensitive topic.

Dumping her at 2:30AM on a Friday night two years into our marriage created permanent scars. When we got back together I assumed that I could be open and honest. But I quickly learned that talking about anything gay was like sticking a sharp knife in her back. So, I stopped doing it. When she repeatedly asked if Jim and I had 'done anything' I lied. I would have preferred to be honest but clearly she could not handle the truth.

What all this means is that Gabbie believes I'm gay in thought but not in action. She thinks that my attraction to men is so weak that I'm too afraid to actually do anything about it. Um, wrong. I've had plenty of sex with men.

What is true is that in recent years I have realized that I don't 'need' sex with men. It's been nearly eight years since I've done anything sexual with a guy; hook-ups became empty and unsatisfying, 'friends with benefits' became more trouble than they were worth. I DO crave sex with a man, but only as part of a long-term, romantic relationship.

I've been pretty down for the last two weeks, in part because of the whole situation, but also because I haven't felt like the 'big' January conversation will not go well.

I feel like she will perceive my request to date men as undercutting our entire marriage JUST as she has recommitted herself to being a proper parent and partner. And as hypocritical as it might seem, I don't think she's going to think that my sexual relationship with a man is the same thing as her 'friendship' with Charlie.

I do not relish starting a conversation that I expect will go poorly, but I also feel that it cannot be avoided. I can't dedicate myself to a relationship when I know I am not genuinely wanted.

What I find most difficult is knowing what I want to say when (if) she reacts poorly. Do I back track or back down? Do I stand my ground or give her a Charlie-ultimatum?

It's all a mess in my head that I can't stop thinking about. And it's really, really weighing on me.

5 comments:

  1. I don't know if this is true or not, but have you considered that the reason Gabbie may not be a committed to you is because you are gay. Maybe she knows that you don't love her like a straight man would, you love her in a different way.

    Maybe she knows that you are craving sex with men and she wonders if when you are with her, you are thinking about the guys working out at the gym.

    Once I let go of my wife, not only did I get happier, she did too. If I had stayed in the closet, I know we would have stayed married forever. The truth is, while we loved (and still love) each other, she would not have been happy with me.

    No matter how it plays out, I really hope you both find happiness.

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  2. Cameron, you are too confused and mixed up to make any decision. First you lean one way and then another. You love Gabbie. You hate Gabbie. You hate Charlie, but then he is on the wagon and Gabbie is better. You have NO IDEA what you want or what course to take.

    I think it is finally time for counseling, not marriage counseling, but private psychological counseling for just you. Maybe a professional can help you get your head screwed on straight. Despite all the advice you have received on this blog, you are back to square one. The "January discussion" will end the same way as all the other discussions, and you will again just be confused. Get real, man; find out from a professional what you need, man, and then go about getting it.

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  3. Hi Cameron...you probably don't want to hear what I am saying to you, but please take it that I care enough to tell you the truth.

    Some have mentioned about how goodlooking you are, how good a catch you are, this and that...I don't do that because it's not relevant, not because I am insensitive to you and your situation.

    There is a song that goes: "Please release me, let me go...for I don't love you anymore..." That is how Gabbie and you feel, but you both still love each other (not in a romantic way) and wish for the other one to do the dirty work of breaking up.

    If you're able to find a good man that you are head over heel with, you will leave her in a minute because you have found all the reasons to leave her this time. So, the problem is not Gabbie or Charlie. You can pretend to be satisfied marrying to a woman, but, obviously, Gabbie can't. And, she deserves not to. How can she be satisfied with a husband who thinks about men all the time, and you do.

    You don't want to leave the marriage because you think you can't find a good man. So, having a safety net of a family is better. That is very selfish. You are not being selfless. You are not sacrificing for the marriage, for Gabbie.

    You are in no shape to start a relationship with anyone at this point, even if you could find a good man. You will destroy the relationship.

    Close the chapter with Gabbie first. Work on a separation. She will still care for you and probably will love you even more. Then, work on yourself. Give yourself some time to relax, reflect, rebuild your life, your self-worth. Then, you can work on having a relationship with another man, if that's what you want.

    Finding another person to love and get a long with is very difficult, but that should not be a reason for you not to fix your life now to make it better for you and your loved ones. Start dating when you are ready. You will meet a lot of not nice people, a lot of nice people, but not many people you want to have a relationship with. But you will meet them if you put yourself out there, if you be realistic and recognize that dating is a two-way street. Don't listen to other people when they advise you just to let people chase you. People do make up stories. It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it once you find that person.

    So, man-up, take responsibility and clean up the mess. Don't wait for Gabbie to do it. Let her go. If she won't, that's her problem. You go. It's a big step, but you have to do it.

    Good luck, Cameron

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  4. I think you're very clearly bisexual, not gay. You seem to prefer sex with men but also have indicated you want sex with the wife sometimes. Maybe it would help if you thought of yourself as a bisexual?

    FWIW, I consider myself homosexual, but I still get turned on by women and have no desire to leave my wife (at least most of the time).

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  5. I completely agree with T. You need to go, yes you love her, we know that. But the 1 million dollar question is, are you IN love with her? Its really not the same thing at all.

    Things come to an end, even if we don't want to to. Your marriage has ran out of energy, and is now a lifeless zombie, just lurching down life's highway.

    Pack up, move out, see a therapist and mourn your marriage, your lost love Gabbie, and for the first time face the man in the mirror. A gay man who loves his children, but needs to have a life he is happy in.

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