Eighteen comments plus several more emails about my last post...and each one very thoughtful.
I wish I had some interesting news to report (Wouldn't "I'm having my second gay adolescence!" be great?), but I don't. Inertia and I are still holding hands. Maybe in a few weeks we'll work our way up to making out, but given who we are, a few weeks might be too optimistic.
I'm hit or miss when it comes to replying to comments. Often I feel a bit overwhelmed. Good answers to difficult questions require thought and space. The comment box often feels too limited. So this post is mostly about the issues and comments from the last post.
I like to be challenged and several of you were nice enough to challenge me. But one reader, "D" challenged other readers:
Gabbie, while not entirely blameless in this relationship, is not the villain some of you are inclined to paint her.
Lest you forget, Cameron KNEW he was gay when he married her. Was she given a choice? Cameron left her shortly after their marriage and before they had kids only to return to her because he missed and loved her. But that didn't stop him from taking a series of male lovers. Did he ask her permission? But you would condemn her for taking a lover now. As a middle aged woman who's never had sex with a straight man.... Gabbie was a virgin when she married. She remained a technical virgin years into her marriage.With all the excuses I've heard you men use to justify your behavior, your sappy need to be "fulfilled" and every other romantic and self absorbed drivel, have you ever considered what life must have been like for Gabbie? How she reconciled HER needs with her desire to remain with a man she loved? You have a hell of a lot of nerve castigating her for "flaunting" her affair. I guess deceit and blogging about your sexcapades is preferable to being honest.
She's not perfect but neither was her husband. He's a good man, don't get me wrong, but he is not a perfect man and to a large extent the bed he finds himself in is of his own making. Is Gabbie blameless? No, but she is entitled to a small measure of the compassion you are so willing to show for each others "weaknesses".
I believe that "D" felt compelled to wrote this comment in response to what Jayson said, specifically: "Isn't your current marriage totally awkward and unfulfilling and on top of that totally disrespectful and one sided? If you met your wife right now and went on a date, wouldn't she be about the worst date you could imagine compared to all the other prospects?"
To be clear, D is 100% correct. My wife is not the villain. No, she's not perfect, but I don't blame her for her affair, nor am I angry about it. After being rejected by her I could be very bitter and blame her for failing me and the kids, but I don't feel that way. She hasn't failed in any way. My sexuality is the fundamental flaw. I chose to lie to her when she asked me if I was gay. She married me believing that I was straight. Therefore I am 100% responsible for where we are today. Period.
As to the quality of our relationship, I undoubtedly have not been clear. Last year was rough. She was out 5 or 6 nights a week and she was usually drunk when she was out. But this year hasn't been like that. She goes out most Fridays and she'll plan something with various friends on another night of the week, but other than that, she's home. Our marriage is not, nor has it ever been, awkward. And it has been quite fulfilling. So fulfilling in fact that the most difficult times for me are when she's out. I miss her.
On the other hand, yes, the marriage is very one-sided. It would be better if it wasn't, but I don't mind so much. I understand her and her needs and the things that bother her don't bother me nearly as much so I don't mind being a doormat.
As for my wife being the worst date I could have right now...most definitely not. She'd probably be the best date. She's fun and engaging - always the center of every party. You'd think she was awesome, Jayson, if you saw her in action. She's full of life with a strong, outgoing, charismatic personality.
It's my fault that she seems so awful. I know all her good points, I don't need to write about them. The stuff that's fresh to me is the bad stuff, so I tend to write about that. This has undoubtedly created an unfairly negative image of her. Given Jayson and D's comments I thought I should try to clear up MY one-sided characterization of her. Hopefully I've done that.
A related point of clarification I should make is about my happiness. Austin, Will, Jayson, New Leaf, Biki and BuddyBear essentially had the same opinion: my happiness is essential to my kids' happiness. If I want to do the best by them then I need to do the best by me. "Kink" completely disagreed. He said, "Your kids are not supposed to know that you are miserable. You are not supposed to lean on your kids emotionally. They are not supposed to be 'there for you', but you are supposed to 'be there for them'." Kink's point is really interesting.
If I thought the question of my happiness applied to the kids, I'd spend a lot more time writing about it. But the fact is, I'm not unhappy. I'm disappointed that the person I would most like to be with doesn't want to be with me. Still, I can't blame her for feeling that way, even if that leaves me very unmotivated. If I was unhappy or mad or hurt or greatly unfulfilled, I'd have powerful reasons to make changes. But on a daily basis I'm content. It's my long-term future that I know I need to address. My age really weighs on me. My parents, who are only 20 years older than me, have aged very poorly. I feel that if I wait until my youngest kid graduates from high school in 7 years, my prospects will be poor. Too bad that it's turning out that beating that clock is not much of an incentive to come out of the closet now.
Multiple readers gave some strong advice on another issue: divorce. Austin, Will and Biki all feel that it would be wise to move quickly. Biki said, "Often when we're not looking for love, it seems to pop out at us. And if you find someone, I think the divorce could quickly become WW3. Divorce while everyone is still talking to each other." And Austin said almost exactly the same thing but added, "Since she seems to have a bit of a temper, there's a non-zero chance she'll snap and rake you over the coals in a divorce suit, especially since most of the laws favor women even without infidelity coming into the picture. If you think a friendly divorce is bad, you really don't want to see a hostile one."
Biki and Austin's divorce advice seems sound. But I (perhaps foolishly) don't think it applies to my situation. Why? First - because money doesn't matter much to me. It probably should matter more. And second - when I came out to my wife 18 years ago I had financial control in our relationship. When we got back together, it was very important for her to feel in control of her own financial future; she was afraid I might leave again at any moment. As proof of my trustworthiness, I ceded all control of my finances to her. Subsequently, and in a sincere effort to make a 'nice home' for me and the kids, Gabbie lost every penny we've ever earned in real estate. There are no assets to be divided. And although my income is significantly higher than hers, I don't worry about child or spousal support. Why? Because right now I have no money AND I take of the kids. I'd be perfectly willing to trade the money I don't have for more independence, but I don't think Gabbie will take that deal.
The majority of comments pertained to dating. That's especially helpful because that's the area where I have serious concerns. Anonymous essentially said, "If you're negative, all you'll see is the negative." Will, Jayson and RB said, "Be proactive." Hmmmph. Easier said than done, on both counts.
Maggie's dating advice might be the easiest to follow. She suggested that I not date for a year. I'm not sure when the clock starts ticking for that year, but by one measure it's already been 7 months. We told the kids we were separated in early January. But that's turned into such a non-event it probably doesn't count.
Mike D. and Ron were nicely inspirational. They found love - I will too.
Mike, Cecil and New Leaf all said that dating requires patience. I know this to be true...and that's one of the reasons for my bad attitude. I know I will be impatient because I lack the motivation to keep trying. Patience requires motivation and my motivation is lacking.
Jack, fortunately, might have the cure. He says I still haven't accepted that my marriage is over. I think he's mostly right. Intellectually, I have accepted that fact. But on the other hand, absolutely nothing in my life has changed to make it "feel" over. One of my biggest hopes is that WHEN something tangible changes, it'll feel like a big kick in the ass and my attitude will change for the better. So Jack, I hope you're right.
Are there any tangible changes coming? No big ones, that's certain. I won't be filing for divorce nor will I be getting my own place any time soon. One possible change is that maybe, possibly, sooner rather than later, I'll start sleeping in a bed of my own.
The other change, and this is the ONLY ACTION I can muster any enthusiasm about taking, has to do with advice from D, Kink and two other readers who emailed me directly. They all suggested that I meet new people by exploring my own interests. Some of them also emphasized taking dating out of the equation - to focus on friendships and to let things develop naturally from there.
Well, yee-ha, finally something Mr. Cameron Do-Nothing can get excited about: find platonic gay friends. That will work for me.
The big question is...how to do that? I feel like my schedule and suburban location are oppressive. I've looked extensively on-line for all sorts of gay-related activities. But nothing 'clicks' and works with my schedule.
My failure to find something suitable is very frustrating - I have a solution but I can't implement it!!
I'm not really sure what to do at this point. I know I have to keep looking. But I'm wondering if there are any friends-first gay social networking sites out there. Probably not.
Regardless, I'll keeping looking for opportunities. If ya'll have any ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.