Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Mourning After

I wrote a post yesterday that covered a lot of ground. It was a nice post, a newspaper report: dateline New York, KA and Nate…. The thing is that while it was accurate, it did not reflect the emotions involved and did not anticipate the emotions to follow.

In last weeks New Yorker there is an article on Gene Robinson, the gay Episcopalian Bishop in which he is quoted “The hardest coming out is to oneself.” After months of blogging, talking with my wife, self examination I finally accept reality. I am bi-sexual and as part of being bi-sexual I am gay. In addition I think of my bi-sexuality as a pendulum held to the hetero side so long that it has arced way over. Kinsey and Klein can create any numbers they like: at this point I have swung to the gay. Will it swing back; will it find a reasonable resting point? The only honest answer here is I do not know. We live in a world measured by days; this is not the time for global predictions.

So that night I came out: to myself and therefore also to KA (in a Freudian moment, I typed her real name – she is so real to me). I know that I have come out many times over the last four months at different levels, in different ways, but always with a modifier, a hedge, a safety net. And while this final acceptance was not “news” to my wife, it was, it is, a fundamental shift.

I thought I was okay, got up, posted, did things with the kids. A nice spring day in the ‘burbs. Then I sat having lunch with KA. We sat on our screen porch looking at the backyard and the kids playing. The pool’s looking good – not the usual early season murk which I am legendary for, the landscaping needs some work. And as I sat there I was fighting back tears. Now I can cry watching a good Cold Case, but for this, there have been no real tears. I hold it together, KA knows I am holding it together and I leave the table. Instead of going to do more chores I go to our bedroom and spend a few minutes weeping. I have written of so many emotions over the last four months. I seem to have forgotten pain.

Later on I explain to KA that once again my narcissism has taken over. I am shedding tears, I am in pain. What about her? If my self exploration leads me home, well no harm no foul for me. If my self exploration – hell call it what it is – if my gayness destroys our marriage it’s probably because I found a man. Seems to me my “win-win” is her “lose – lose”. I did not need to tell her this. As I have often said, KA is smarter than me in these things.

We have a mega dinner that night – firm wide blowout – 400 people, all top shelf. We go, mingle and find our table. Four hundred people and the table from hell – no one that we really know and a few we wish we didn’t. The day catches up with KA – even when expected, nukes do a little damage. Before the main course she quietly tells me we need to leave. Realizing the gravity, without another word or backward glance we go home. KA takes off of her dress and goes into the bathroom, I assume teeth brushing time. But there she is retching and I realize she did not drink that much, we never made it beyond the cocktail hour – this is not food poisoning. She is sick to her core over what is happening – what I have done – to our lives. There is so much pain to go around.

Bear comments on yesterday’s post can be summarized very succinctly: elaborate please, so elaborate I will. The core question is my relationship with men. The thing is that I have only defined this in sexual terms. I am making life decisions in a vacuum. I know there are bloggers out there who value their marriages to a degree that they self identify as Gay but have never been with a man. I do not pass judgment, lord knows, but that is not for me. So I have explored the sexual side, I readily admit to enjoying it and having gone back for more. I also readily confess to loving the sight of some nice cleavage on a lady. This bi business is complicated.

The thing is that I have no idea of the emotional connection to men which Bear questions. I leave for my forty-eight hours in Chicago on Thursday. I have posted on CL and hopefully found some wheat among much chaff. Thursday I am having dinner with 44 year old divorced bi-guy. After arranging Thursday, I got an e-mail from a 50 year old gay guy. We both feel a strange level of connection; we are having dinner Friday. In both cases the hope is that dinner will go well and it will turn into a night – a night of sex, a night of touching, and yes, a night of sleeping.

I will come home Saturday and I will be in a sense safe – these guys live in Chicago after all. But I will sit on the airplane and I will have feelings. Maybe they will be this was not so special, maybe they will be the attraction is beyond sexual – guys are different. I just do not know and how in Gods name can I be discussing the future without this knowledge. On some level I am hoping for a disastrous trip – it will make life much simpler. Yet that is disingenious:I do look forward to it – particularly Friday night. I have shared with him where I am at including finally coming out to myself and he tells me he is good with hugs. I can use some.

So when Bear asks where do KA and I go after Chicago, the answer is both simple and immense. We are best friends, soul mates if you would. We have nine year old twins who we are committed to raising in an intact home. These are issues that do not play out overnight. Bear asks if my wife is okay with these encounters. The answer is no but what choice is there. We both know that while I can go back to suppression, it will over time gnaw at both our souls.

So our new arrangement will continue but the real answer is neither of us really knows. That is the thing about journeys of the heart and soul – they can never be mapped in advance.


bear said...

"The thing is that I have no idea of the emotional connection to men which Bear questions."
It's not too difficult for me to clarify the question, it's perhaps the same connection you have with your wife, the feeling of understanding and love. Sometimes it's not their physical makeup, it can be personality that gets you interested in them. A feeling that you want to spend the rest of your life with that man...or how about having a just a crush on them? Where you feel light headed and tongue tied, smitten.
Do you feel (or have you felt this) towards another man? I'd be interested if you said "no" to understand if this is the same feeling I get towards my past "one night stands" which is not really love I think?

Nate said...

I actually understood the question - What I don't understand is to what level I have experienced that emotional connection. It is a critical area of my exploration - both in my memories and any future experiences.

The answers as I wrestle with them will be posts in themselves.
Thanks for getting to the heart of it Bear because this minefield is the heart of my current struggle.

The only thing that I would add in a concrete sense is that I can no longer claim that because my desires are more physical than emotional that I am not gay. I am at work now - If I said at lunch today I enjoy sex with men, give a good bj, etc. but I have not loved any of them, does anyone think for a nanosecond people would say -"Oh he's not gay - he doesn't love them." Right...

Restored Vows said...

I guess the question remains are you looking for anonymous, uncommitted sex; a potential relationship with another man; or fidelity with your wife?

The issue should be first and foremost trust and personal safety. In today's indifferent and transient society, casual sex with someone that you don't really know has a risk of contracting an STD or worse -- HIV. If you do hookup, just be safe.....PSA for today!

I tend to agree with the therapist that regardless of the gender that it is still infidelity. I am guilty of this too and not proud of violating my marriage vows that I said in front of friends, family and God.

I tend to agree with Bear about the "one-night stands". Most of those guys are just wanting to get off and don't really care about you as an individual. Currently, I am involved with another bi-married man from out of town. I admit that what I am doing is morally wrong. However, my preference is to find someone who is in a similar situation and that cares about me more than just to get their rocks off....a friend/lover that genuinely cares about you and your situation.

However, all of this flies in the face to my own conservative Christian faith. The struggle between the flesh and faith is definitely real. The proverbial angel and devil on your shoulders. We sometimes need to think through our actions before they happen. It sounds like you are conflicted of what you want to do in Chicago. Dinner is one thing, sex another. We all have the need for male companionship and closeness. The question to you is that have you sexualized your need for male companionship/closeness? Only you can answer that question...

My comments are kind of a "point//counter-point" for you to consider all of your options...and to think through your actions before they happen so you won't have any regrets later.

Hope this helps....

Nate said...

Hi RV,
The thing is I am not conflicted at all about Chicago. I have evenings planned for both of my two evenings in town. I have had e-mails back and forth (more with one than the other). We will have dinner and talk. And yes I hope that the evenings end in sex and physical companionship but if the dinners and tank, I am okay with that too.