There are certain events that seem to pre-sage a mid-life crisis for bi and married or gay and married bloggers. Most of these bloggers:
+ Grew up ignorant of or chose to ignore their same sex attraction in adolescence and early adulthood
+ Married at a young age and did not believe that they might be bi or gay at the time they married.
+ Have been married for about 20 years
+ Have kids
+ Have lived for years with either a weak or non-existent marital sex life
+ Are now in their 40s
+ Struggled for years before finally accepting their sexuality
(They're also almost all white, educated upper-middle class Americans. But those particular demographic similarities aren't relevant to this post.)
I fit the above description in many ways. And I suspect that my many similarities have caused some readers to assume that I'm just like everyone else. I'm not.
Unlike many others I have not lead a life of denial or repression. Nor did I wake up at 40, realize that I'm gay, and feel that I've been living the wrong life for decades.
Here are the fundamentally different ways my life has transpired thus far:
+ I came out to myself at 13 and fully accepted myself as gay at 15. I have never felt sexually repressed.
+ I have been out to my wife for almost 19 years.
+ When I came out in 1992, we split up. We both assumed our marriage was over. I had a boyfriend, she moved out, she told her parents and her sister. End of story. Usually.
My boyfriend was awesome. We clicked, he was supportive, we enjoyed spending time together. I had visions of us eventually moving in together. But despite all of the good stuff that happened between him and me, I never lost the connection to my wife. As the weeks of our separation passed, I found that I missed her more and more.
We got back together when *I* decided I wanted to be with her. My boyfriend remained perfect throughout and when I broke the news to him he was as kind and supportive as always.
+ I had my first gay relationship at 17. I had another at 26 (the boyfriend upon coming out) and I had three long-term friends with benefits situations in my late 20s and early 30s, including one that lasted seven years. I also had my fair share of hook-ups between the ages of 19 and 35. In addition, I've lived near San Francisco for most of my life.
All of my experience with men means that I am no stranger to gay life. I get it. I know what I like and I know what I don't like.
+ Most importantly of all, about nine years ago I realized that the emptiness I had felt my entire life, the emptiness that could only be temporarily sated by spending intimate time with another man, was never going to be permanently filled. This realization gave me the freedom to let go of the need to be with a man. I have no desire to hook-up and I don't daydream very often about what life with a man would be like. I've realized that I don't need a man to complete me. The inner voice that taunted me since puberty has been silent for nearly a decade.
What all of this means is, I see my marriage very differently than most other bi and married or gay and married bloggers do. Essentially I had my mid-life crisis at 26. Just as others are doing now, I had a permanent split and I started a new life. What is different is that I found that my desire to be with my wife trumped my desire to be single and free. That's ironic because it was an ideal time to split up. We were young and we had no kids. I had no reason to stay, other than my sincere desire to be with her.
I have taken a lot of well-intentioned criticism lately because I seem to be endlessly circling. You know, bitchin' but not really going anywhere.
Uncutplus has said he's stopped reading because I'm inept and incapable of making a decision.
Rob says that without a catalyst to leave I'll stay with the status quo.
Jim says that I need to accept the fact that because I'm gay I can "never be successfully married to a straight woman", and, I need to accept the fact that "things are probably never going back to what they were."
Well, my dirty little secret is that my mid-life crisis showed me that I can be genuinely happy as a gay man married to a straight woman.
My wife is a billion miles from perfect. I know all her flaws. But I've never met anyone like her and I can't imagine that I ever will. She fills me up in a way that makes me feel as whole as I've ever felt. No, I'm not complete, but I don't think I ever will be. Our bond is strong and our connection is real. She is a straight woman and I am a gay man. I realize it is possible that such a combination could be doomed to certain failure, but given all that I know and all that I have experienced, I owe it to myself, to her and to our children to do whatever it takes to make our marriage work.
If we are doomed to failure, I can accept it. I'm not afraid of a failed marriage. I have sincerely tried to make it work. Similarly, I'm not afraid of living as a single, gay man. I can be happy no matter what the outcome is. My responsibility is to give her every opportunity to make our marriage work. It's the right thing to do.
The endless circling and the inability to make a decision is not me, it's my wife. She is enough for me, I know that. But this is her mid-life crisis and she has serious doubts as to whether I am enough for her. I understand why. This is an important decision and it's hers to make, not mine.
Gabbie is a decisive person. She will not circle endlessly. She's pretty much made up her mind that she will never be satisfied with me, so I don't think this purgatory will continue much longer. But, however long it takes, that's how long is needed. Until she is certain about what she wants, I can be patient.