If recent anonymous comments are any indication, a number of you don't believe that I'm transitioning to dating men. You think I'm dragging my feet.
Well, I'm not. My wife has made her feelings clear. I understand. There's no reason to hide from the inevitable. I get it.
What's slowing me down is that my wife is very unhappy right now. Bitterly unhappy. Yes, I'm one of her problems, but I'm pretty far down the list. Her job, Charlie, our living situation, her mother, the kids - each and every one of these things is "a disaster."
Yes, my wife can be dramatic. But this time I agree with her. She really could be laid off soon; Charlie really could kill her in a fit of jealous rage; the house really could be sold at auction within three weeks; her mother really is an erratic, smothering pain in the ass whose unsolicited "help" is a thinly veiled effort to control every waking moment of our lives; and the kids really are selfish, cruel and hyper-critical.
Is it wrong for me to show some consideration and wait for a few of these things to sort themselves out before I start dating men? I don't think so. I was gay on the day we met, I'll be gay next week and I'll still be gay when my wife's life is more normal. For now, the right thing to do is be supportive and patient.
The good news is that I expect the biggest issues to be resolved soon. We're in the final stages of high anxiety on several fronts. All that's left to do is to wait for them to play out.
Meanwhile, there are a few modest things I need to do to finish the current chapter of my life before I can begin another.
First on my list is to stop wearing my wedding ring.
Whether it should or not, the ring means a lot to me. And it's not just because it's my wedding band. It's because of what Gabbie had engraved inside before we married. Our initials are bound together by the words "until the end of time."
For the last 21 years, whenever I've touched the ring I've thought about those words. I didn't take them seriously enough when I took my vows but I have taken them quite seriously in recent years. Because of the way the words link us I've felt like wearing the ring keeps our commitment alive. It's not just a ring, it's a living embodiment of our relationship. For this reason (and whether I'd like to admit it or not) the ring has been my security blanket. Until the end of time. Just thinking about those words makes me pine for the 23 year old girl who desperately wanted to be married forever.
Oops. I'd better be careful. I don't want to sound like I'm dragging my feet.
Four days ago I took off the ring. As near as I can tell, no one has noticed. At least no one has said anything. The only weird thing was, just minutes after I took it off, my daughter held my hand and caressed it in a way she's never done before. My heart was pounding as I waited for her to say something. But she didn't. I'm not even sure if she noticed.
I can't deny that the absence of the ring wears on me. I feel it missing, always.
But the situation is what it is. I can't be delusional.
The kids have known for more than eight months that my wife and I are 'separated' and Gabbie has reminded them of that fact several times over the last few months, but I have done almost nothing to acknowledge our split. Because they already know, I wonder if removing the ring will be 'old' news to them? But I also wonder if my capitulation will suddenly make our separation feel real? I'm afraid of hurting them.
I don't really know what to expect but I do know that the ring had to come off - and it had to be done in a no-fuss, matter-of-fact way.
Once the kids notice the ring is gone, I'll wait a week or so before I proceed to the next necessary change, which is to move to my own bedroom.
While it's possible that not wearing the ring will be greeted with a collective shrug, I'd be very surprised if moving to my own bedroom gets the same reaction. I worry about hurting and disappointing the kids but what else can I do? My wife and I can't share the same bed forever.
Given my wife's precarious mental state, the last thing I need to do is add to the mountain of worries she already has. So it's a little ironic that making these changes, which are stressful for me, will be seen as big positives by her. She's been wanting us to be more independent for a while now.
My fingers are crossed in hopes that the kids will have adjusted to a "new normal" around the same time that Gabbie's dark clouds disburse. That will make for a relatively peaceful home life - creating the perfect opportunity for me to start thinking more about the next chapter of my life.
Oh - one other pre-dating thing I did was to get tested for HIV. Big surprise, I'm negative.