Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sexy Pictures and Me

Sex sells.  Everyone knows that.

If the point of blogging is to be read (or viewed) by the most people, then the most successful blogs are the ones that skip words entirely and instead share lots of sexy pictures, like this one:

Tumblr's relatively quick success compared to Blogger is proof of this, as are other popular websites, like Instagram and Snapchat, which focus entirely on pictures - many of them x-rated.

I like sexy pictures as much as the next guy, and I know if I posted loads of them here every day, I'd get a lot more attention.  But attention isn't really what motivates me to blog.

I did take it as a compliment, however, when several readers asked me earlier this year to please stop writing so frequently about bi men and straight wives and start writing more about myself.  "I want to hear about YOU!" they said.

In response to that feedback, from the end of August until now, nearly every post has been about me.

Well, guess what?  Visits to the blog have plummeted.  They've consecutively dropped every month since August and are now down 62% from that month.  December will have the fewest pageviews since my third month of blogging, which was more than three years ago.  Clearly, not many people are interested in reading about my life, at least in its present state.

That's ok.  The truth is, I don't have a lot going on.

My plan for 2014, therefore, is to return to writing about bi men and their wives.  If something eventful happens in my personal life, I may share that, but for the most part I'll be posting other people's stories.  I'm sorry if that offends or bores anyone, but I think it's a very worthy endeavor.  Almost no one writes about mixed orientation couples on the Internet, yet there are hundreds of thousands of people in exactly that kind of relationship. Unquestionably the subject deserves a great deal more discussion and introspection.  I'd like to do what I can to help make that happen.

With that said, and because this is my last post for 2013, it's an ideal time for me to tie up a few loose ends in my story...

My Big News

Charlie, my former wife's dangerous ex-boyfriend, had an immigration hearing on December 18th.  Prior to the hearing he got a friend to post a bond for him.  Because of the bond, and other promises made with it, the friend had been bragging to his fellow alcoholics that Charlie was going to be released. Well, since the hearing, that same friend has changed his story.  He now says Charlie will definitely be deported.

Yee ha!!!

What the friend says is only hearsay, so until Charlie is confirmed to be out of the country, I won't be able to relax or celebrate.  But just imagining that I'll never see him again is an awesome feeling.  I can't wait until he's officially out of my life forever.

Gabbie & Me

As I described in the post Gabbie Gets a Restraining Order, my failure to get Charlie deported three years ago was what prompted me to come out to my wife (for the second time) and ask for a separation.  I did that because she went back on her promise to be done with him.  After tolerating their outrageous behavior for four years, I'd had enough.

But now that Gabbie really is done with Charlie I've found myself wanting to reunite with her. There are a lot of good, practical reasons to keep a 23 year marriage together, and more than that, I still feel deeply connected to her in a way I've never felt about anyone else.  She's not perfect and neither am I, so maybe the best thing to do is to focus on our good connection and forget about the bad stuff?  What's wrong with spending the rest of your life partnered to your best friend?

I've been seriously wrestling with these thoughts for the past three months but I haven't acted on them.  I have, however, noticed that Gabbie's very platonic attitude toward me has not changed in Charlie's absence.  This in turn has reminded me that NOT ONCE, EVER, has Gabbie expressed a desire for us to reunite.  Also, the fact that she so easily fell into a relationship with such a loser, and so easily forsook me, is very telling about how she felt (and clearly still feels) about our less-than-stellar sexual connection. It takes two motivated people to make a marriage work and nothing Gabbie has said or done suggests that she's interested in patching things up.

I wish I could achieve some inner peace or closure with respect to the end of our marriage, but I'm starting to accept that that may never happen.  Real life is often vague and messy, unlike movies or books or TV shows.  "Shit happens" might seem like a stupid way to describe the end of a long-term marriage, but at this point, that's the best answer I have.  "Shit" exemplifies the bad, painful stuff and "happens" explains that there was no carefully thought out plan.

Anyway, regardless of how mixed my feelings are about her, the bottom line is that Gabbie and I will not be reuniting.  My heart may not like that outcome but my brain says, in the long-run, that's almost certainly what's best for both of us.

The Future

I stopped trying to date men more than six months ago.  I wasn't enjoying the process so my motivation to keep going faded.  At this point, I have to admit that I'm enjoying NOT dating a lot more than trying to date.

This realization has made me wonder if I'm destined to be single forever.

If so, so be it.

My theory on motivation is that people take action when they're ready.  Until then, we lie around or make excuses or philosophize or pretend we're too busy to make changes.  Sometimes we live in fear of change, which is sort of where I've been. 

I was mostly motivated to date because I was afraid of being single and over 50 ('cuz we all know it's downhill from there).  I haven't overcome that fear, but I've realized that being a full-time, responsible, "present" parent is more important to me.  I used to feel horribly guilty about going out on leap-of-faith dates and leaving my kids home alone.  Now I'm happier not having that conflict.

Because my youngest kid is currently in 8th grade I have several more years to go before she's independent.  It's therefore possible that I won't have many (or any) dates to blog about for a long time to come.  The good news is that fewer readers means there's less pressure on me to write about myself.  Knowing that makes me happier too.

I hope I don't sound sad or negative about my future because I actually don't feel that way.  The right stuff will happen when I'm ready for it. In the meantime, I have plenty of unblog-worthy things to do that will keep me busy.

Let's all have an awesome 2014.  That's certainly what I intend to do.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Men, Mixers and Everlasting Commitment

Paris, France...the city everyone loves, the city everyone wants to visit.

Except me.

I never had much of an interest in going there.  Too much hype, too much attitude.

Or so I thought.

Back in 2005, Gabbie and I took our kids to Europe to see some friends who moved to Belgium.  The kids were 12, 8 and 6 at the time.  Our friends had three boys, 8, 5 and 3.  Late into our visit, our friends shocked us by offering to watch all six kids for a day so Gabbie and I could visit Paris.  What an offer!

For $120 each, Gabbie and I took a two hour train from Brussels to Paris and enjoyed a Sunday there.  We raced through the essentials in just a few hours...the Eiffel Tower, Norte Dame, the Louve and the Champs de Elysee...all the classic tourist sights.

What did I enjoy most?

The sights on the river Seine...

...specifically, an amazing number of handsome, petite men who looked like this:

(Or at least they did after I mentally undressed them.)

Many of them worked on tourist river boats which meant they were dressed in naval uniforms - an added bonus.

Prior to my visit to Paris I hadn't particularly noticed how sexy many petite men are, especially when they have lean, muscular builds.  Now I'm crazy about them.

One of the reasons I'm so attracted to short, well-proportioned men is because I'm smaller-than-average myself.  And while size doesn't necessarily dictate relationship dynamics, I'd love to be the physically dominant man in a partnership.  That's important because I'd like to break free of my submissive relationship tendencies.  After 25 years of being Gabbie's "yes" man, I'd like to have the mental, emotional and physical stature to be the Alpha Male, not the Beta Wimp.

***

Every so often I'll see a guy who reminds me of the sexy, short men in Paris.  One such guy is a regular at a monthly mixer I've been attending for bi and gay men.  I've never spoken to him, never even heard his voice, and I know absolutely nothing about him, but...wow...just looking at him makes my heart beat about three times faster.

I should describe the mixers.  They're very casual, afternoon potlucks held at different homes in the suburbs.  They're big - easily more than 100 guys attend.  Most attendees are single and well over the age of 40.

At the most recent mixer I was hanging out with my friend Kerry from my men's group.  And, as usual, my eyes kept gravitating toward the short, cute guy I've been watching for months.
Mathieu, a French sailor

While trying not to stare too much, I said to Kerry, "I'm really attracted to that guy's looks."

"You are?" (Pause)   "Huh."  (Another pause.  Kerry obviously doesn't understand my attraction.)  "What is it that you like about him?"

"Well...It's weird.  It makes no sense, actually.  I don't know anything about him, not even his name.  But there's something about short, well-proportioned men like him that really turns me on."

"Oh, in that case..." and Kerry ducked down.

We both laughed loudly.

Then suddenly...

I wasn't thinking about the sexy short guy anymore...

I was thinking about Kerry.

***

Kerry is two years older.  He's an authentic, smart, REALLY nice guy.

Of all the guys I've met through the men's group or the mixers, Kerry is probably the most like me.

I "get" him.
I like him.
I'm really glad I met him.

I just wish I wanted to rip his clothes off.

He's not unattractive.  In fact, now that I've found myself suddenly thinking about him, he's gotten more attractive.  But I don't lust for him.

Is lust essential to begin a relationship?  I'm not sure.  What if we were to try dating but genuine passion didn't eventually develop?  Then I'd feel stuck in a bad relationship with a good person.

On the other hand, what if things went well?

Kerry is a good, quality man without a selfish bone in his body.  He's 100% trustworthy and loyal. There's nothing to dislike about him.  All someone has to do is treat him right and he'll be happily devoted to that person for the rest of his life.

That's all terrific, appealing stuff, but it also freaks me out.

***

Being in a happy, committed relationship with a good man is supposed to be my ideal.  Yet I fear how that would change my life.

By nature, I'm a very private person.  I think 30+ years in the closet has helped make me that way.  Whereas my 14yo daughter dreams about being famous, that would be hell for me.  On those rare occasions when I draw attention to myself, I do it in a very controlled, focused way.  I try to direct the spotlight, not be in it.

Separating from Gabbie has been difficult for many reasons, one of which is that it opens me up to personal questions that I don't really want to answer.  It's for that reason that I've only told one "old life" person that we've split up, and she's never met Gabbie.  The only reason I told her was because her own long-term marriage fell apart and I wanted her to know that I totally understood her situation.  Had she not shared her pain, I would not have shared mine.

No one in my family knows Gabbie and I have split up.  Not my parents, not my sister.  I have no desire to tell them, mostly because I don't want to talk about it.  There's nothing they could say or do that would be helpful or supportive.  In fact, it's far more likely that both my parents would say something that really pisses me off.  They already do that for small things, this would only be 100,000x more aggravating.

Telling them about the gay thing will be even worse.  That will be another highly irritating conversation.  Here again, there's nothing they could say that would make me happy.  Even if they said, "We totally support you," I'd never believe them.  They're not capable of being supportive - of anything.  That's a given.

Dragging someone like Kerry into my life would be cruel.  Do I subject him to my family or do I hide him?  Either choice would be a bad one.

But what if we were totally committed?  Then there'd be no reason to hide.  Or, more accurately, no excuse to keep hiding.

Now that I've realized this, I've become a full-fledged commitment-phobe.  The easiest way to avoid the scrutiny I dread is to stay away from able-to-commit men like Kerry, and from dating in general.

It's not just dealing with my parents that makes me relationship-phobic.  I also fear that I won't be able to balance a full-time, committed relationship with being a full-time, devoted parent.  One way or another, I'd have to compromise how I spend my time and that's not something I'm eager to do. I'm pretty confident it would turn into a no-win situation where I'd mostly end up feeling bad about being an uncaring boyfriend AND an absentee father.

Lastly, I fear how having a serious boyfriend would affect my relationship with Gabbie.  She's been my best friend for my entire adult life - 27 years.  My connection with her has been the longest, best and most fulfilling of my life.  It's scary to imagine that changing.

A new partner would have to be a higher priority than her, I know that, but I don't know how to smoothly make that adjustment. Here again, the easiest solution (in the short-run, at least) is to avoid the problem entirely, by not get involved with anyone.

Although I am currently commitment-phobic, I don't think I'll remain this way forever.  In theory, I could change my mind tomorrow.  All it would take would be meeting someone I'm so crazy about that my fears simply wouldn't matter any more.

My gut feeling is Kerry isn't that guy, but, I'm definitely keeping all my options open.