Ya'll can celebrate: I've given up trying to woo my wife.
More than two weeks ago, when my wife was in a very bad mood and brooding about a fight with her "friend" Charlie, she took aim at me. She told me that under no circumstances would she EVER want to "be" with me.
Yes, she was angry at him and I took the hit, but I knew the truth when I heard it. I realized then that I have been tilting at windmills.
I took the news badly. It was like a punch in the face, a stab in the gut and a kick to the nuts all at once. I've been working to scrape myself off the pavement ever since.
All-in-all, I'm doing OK. I'm glad to know the truth and to have some closure on the question of our romantic future together. Still, I hate the answer.
But it is what it is.
I've been trying to comfort myself with positive thoughts about the future. It's not going well.
About six months ago I tried to get excited about dating men. My attitude was positive for about two weeks, then I started feeling very unmotivated. There were several issues that contributed to my malaise. At the top of the list was that it felt wrong for me to date. The relationship with my wife seemed so normal, it felt like I'd be betraying her, even if I met someone for coffee.
I had big hopes that getting bluntly rejected by her would change my attitude. It hasn't. Unfortunately, the same four hang-ups from before continue to haunt me:
1. Everyday life with my wife continues to be normal and therefore the idea of looking for someone to potentially replace her feels...wrong. Yes, the idea of snuggling up with a great guy to watch The Closer together on Monday nights is very appealing. But that's something my wife and I have done for years. How can I just toss her aside?
Logically I know I should think about the future and not cling to the past but it's just not that easy. The thought of looking for a guy feels like I'm abandoning her and that's not what I want to do. Yet...I know I'm not being fair to myself if I continue to settle for a woman who only wants to be friends.
I don't know if it will work, but I hope the "cure" for this problem can come from my wife. I'm hoping that I'll feel comfortable looking for a guy if she gives me some sort of blessing. She hasn't done that yet but she has dropped some encouraging hints, including recently when she asked me why I haven't been to any Gay Scrabble Nights lately. (There haven't been any. Lack of interest probably - no sex involved.)
2. After reading about the gay dating experiences of many others, the idea of trying to meet a quality guy on the Internet seems like an exercise in futility. At best, it seems like Chinese water torture, a drip-drip-drip of endless bullshit. I don't want or expect an instant relationship but I don't want to play games either. And I don't want to fuck around for "fun" while I wait for the right guy. What I want is to spend quality time getting to know potentially compatible guys. Just spare me the games and the headaches, please.
My antipathy for playing the Gay On-line Dating Game is so acute that no matter what dating site I log in to, I spend about ten minutes reading profiles then I get tired of the Salesmanship and The Checklist and log out. For someone who hasn't been out on a guy-date in 19 years, I am astoundingly jaded. It really sucks to be so negative but I can't help it. And worst of all, I have absolutely no idea how to fix my bad attitude.
3. Why do I even bother thinking about dating? I have a dull life but it is consumed with taking care of the kids. They resent my wife because they think she's never home. If I start dating, I won't be home as much either. How will they feel then? Resentful and abandoned. Why have kids if I'm not going to spend the required time with them? The truth is, full-time parenting and dating do not mix. If I had any common sense at all I'd focus on the kids for now and completely forget about men.
4. No guy worth committing to wants to date an already-committed man. Hook-ups are fun for as long as they last but the minute they're over (or, far too often, the minute one of you cums) the regret begins. Yes I'm jaded about gay Internet dating, but I'm positively radioactive about hook-ups. "Fine," you say, "Lots of guys are looking for more than a hook up." I believe that. But the same guys who want more than a hook-up are exactly the same guys who have enough sense to stay away from already 'committed' men. "Easy enough," you say, "get divorced." Well guess what? I don't WANT to get divorced. I don't want to eat my words at some future date so I'm not going to say that I will never get divorced, but honestly, that's how I feel. And my wife feels the same. Hurray for gay marriage and all but I personally have absolutely, positively no desire to get married again. And divorce locks us both into a legal framework with custody and alimony that neither of us wants to get into. I want a peaceful life and getting into a pissing match about the terms of divorce is the very last thing I want to do. The kids will be grown soon enough so why bother with getting divorced if you're never going to marry again?
The other issue related to commitment is that neither my wife nor I can see a situation right now where splitting into two households would be better for either of us or the kids. We get along well and we can have separate bedrooms. So, other than the potential to PERHAPS please a guy I like, there's no reason to live apart.
When you put together the fact that we have no intention to file for divorce AND that we intend to continue living in the same house, what self-respecting looking-for-a-relationship-not-a-hook-up homo is going to want to have anything to do with me? They won't!
really bad attitude about gay dating - check
schedule like a single parent leaves little flexibility for dating - check
living with my wife with no plans to either move out or divorce any time soon - check.
The conclusion is obvious. I should not torture myself or others by even THINKING of dating until my youngest, who is nearing 12, is essentially independent.
The thing is...after putting up with all the Gabbie-Charlie BS for the last several years, it's really, really, really difficult to imagine letting another 5 or 6 years pass me by.
So, I don't know what to do... It looks to me like this all comes down to a kids-or-me decision and there's no question that the kids come first.
If anyone can suggest some miracle solutions I'd love to hear them.