I have given much thought to the concept of respecting one’s spouse and what that really means. The conventional thinking, which I do agree with, is not engaging in sexual activities with others – men or women. This point of view has been well represented by Kitty and her “kid sister” Kinky – maybe it’s something about the “Ki’s”. (Kitty and Kinky – don’t take it wrong – I do value and appreciate your comments.)
In response to Kitty’s comments, SD wrote:
The utmost important thing, in my opinion, is that when a promise you've made is broken, you treat your partner with the love and respect that they deserve, as long as you're honest and open about what you've done and how you feel, you'll be able to start working together to get to a place that's comfortable for the both of you. And that place may not be "ideal", it may not be what you want, it may hurt like hell once you get there, but as long as you maintain love, respect and honesty, you will get there.
In my desire not to hurt KA further, to try to “save” my marriage, and in my desire to always write bi/gay – not gay/bi, not gay – I had lost sight of the fact that love is not enough. Honesty and respect are the bedrock on which love can then exist. The honesty – well, I have that down pat. I was not caught - no Nate sightings; just an old fashioned spilling of the guts. The Respect – that is where the problem has arisen.
As we prepare for vacation – two weeks in our favorite place (our ancestral home I tease) – I look forward to a repeat of years past: calm times, conjugal bliss, and an escape from the day-to-day troubles of life. KA tells me that I am living in Disneyland, we can have a nice vacation, but make no mistake, our lives have changed.
I consider what she says and realize that I have, in my desire to respect her, shown her the greatest disrespect. I have ignored reality, shortchanged her feelings, dismissed her emotions and denied myself for good measure. KA keeps trying to mourn what has been lost – our place. As SD writes we may find a new place, not necessarily ideal and with much hurt along the way, but it will be a new place.
Every time KA tries to mourn the old place I stop her: “I am really bi – ignore the gay” or “I will give up my blog, I will give up the bj’s.” You get the picture. And of course this is also indicative of my own inability to mourn. KA points out that Jews have mourning down – a week of shiva, support of all you know. But here she has been left to mourn in a closet with someone who is still afraid to admit to possibly being more gay than hetero at this moment in his bi existence.
So I am ready for a new phase: respect based on true honesty – intellectual honesty. Respect by accepting that having sex with men may limit her having sex with me. Respect of her feeling hurt, of her wanting to mourn. Respect by trying not to lie to both of us – particularly me. Respect by not continuing to use the term bi as a way of denying that at this point in time my gayness is in the driver’s seat. Respect for her willing to put her love of me, and more so her love of our children above all. To sum all of it together, respect by not insulting her intelligence and emotions.
A strange post – easy to write, easy to understand but in many ways, the hardest to live because it is based on a level of self acceptance that I have yet to master.