Saturday, November 04, 2006

Carrie - In Her Own Words

Carrie has read the IM's between Mark and SR, she has shared the struggle, and she has rarely spoken. Today is her turn, this is her post. It is a letter to me but it also a letter to us all.

Nate,

I can certainly understand Mark’s wife’s frustration. All along your journey, I have asked you not to share, but to no avail. At this point there is no going back to silence. I do understand that in some way sharing makes it seem more honest to you and there is a certain closeness that develops. However, I wonder what underlying issues lead you and the others to need our approval.

As you know I have carefully avoided the blog world and tried to compartmentalize the situation. I realize you and all your fellow bloggers have internal conflicts and a past that brings you to this point. I think it is great that you have each other for support. However, for all your claims of loving your wives, you still continue to push and hurt. You consciously or unconsciously play on our love and the “uniqueness” of the situation to justify your infidelities. While I do not approve of Sam’s actions anymore than yours, I believe in many ways he is more honest. He accepts that he needs sex with men, and that he wants his family. He does what he must with hurting the fewest number of people around him.

Perhaps that is too simple. I cannot really know his struggles. What scares me is that from what I have read among your blogs is a group who really don’t know what they need. Or if they do, that they do not know how to have everything they want. Life is by definition a series of challenges most of which we work through and celebrate. Some such as what you are now facing are life defining. But very few people, if any, get everything they want. If we did, nothing in life would be precious.

I think you and your fellow bloggers are lucky to have wives who love you so much that they are trying to work through this time with you, usually at the expense of their own emotional existence. With few exceptions, most did not know the men they were marrying are bisexual. Most did not sign on for a life of accepting that their husbands NEED to be with other men. Most of us thought we were the other half of a soul team. You can intellectualize the pain this must cause us, but I doubt you can fully comprehend the loss. Still, we stick with you and convince ourselves that if we really love you we will understand and by understanding this too shall pass and we will be one again. I am no different from all the others who believe in Santa Claus. I only wonder what I did to deserve coal in my stocking this year. I guess I wasn’t good enough.

To be fair, we should tell you what we want and need. We should be equal in this partnership. But of course we all choose life partners because of our needs at that time. Perhaps the caregiver aspects are what drew you to us in the first place. What we thought was sexual openness or kinky in our bedroom played into your fantasies. You cannot help us to be worthy in our own right because that threatens the foundation.

Perhaps the question I pose to you and your group of friends is this: If you knew your daughter was facing what we, your wives, are facing, what would you advise her to do?

You describe your soul as conflicted. Conflict implies a struggle of choices. If, as you say, you cannot change your desires, then the conflict is whether or not you need your spouse as a sexual partner more than a friend. Whether you can sacrifice your personal needs for your children’s well being. Health issues not withstanding. Can you make a choice? I suggest that while you intellectually know the right answer, emotionally you would choose your needs.

I have faced the same crossroads this year. By my being here, I have made my choice. My limit: you can’t expect sex with both of us. I can be your soul mate, but not your lover. That is all I can handle for now. Will that change? Things are always changing, but it is easier and healthier to understand the rules of the current game. You will choose to play or look for another game. The game will become a staple or it will evolve. Only the history books know the answer.

You talk about your Gods of music. I just opened up The Passion to conclude with a quote, but instead the first line I read was this:

She had made him possible. In a sense she was his God. Like God, she was neglected.

To that I would add: in my belief, God can never stop loving his flock. I can never stop loving you.

Carrie

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Carrie. Thank you so very much.

marsmsu said...

In response to you, Carrie, on the question of daughters, I would tell mine that the only gay man she can really love is her dad.

Paul said...

Nate, thanks for posting Carrie's letter. I think she's pretty clear in her attitudes, feelings and impications for you. However, she's also very conscious of the fact that things, and attitudes, change over time.

I feel somewhat funny commenting on it as I see it is a letter to you, not really to the world.

Adding to marsmsu's comment to his daughter, I'd add (something I've already told others):

What would I tell my daughters if I knew of their boyfriend's personal lives/desires/issues? First I guess I would hope that I don't know any details if it relates to something that I have no influence over. But assuming that I do, I hope that I could communicate that what's most important is how he treats/supports/affirms her, their kids and other friends.

Nate, also, your meme with your children (previous post) was insightful, and wise. It shows a real understanding that you must plan for the future (with the seeds and the axe), and shows a real appreciation for family heritage (something UNIQUE to any individual).

Flip said...

Hi Carrie,

I am one of Nate's friends whose wife knew of my bisexuality long before we married. This does not excuse any of my infidelities or other misdeeds...I only bring it up because I don't think she understood the deep implications of that when we got married any more than I did.

As one of Nate's "friends" my first reaction to your letter is a combination of confirmation and defensiveness. Whether it's true or not I am receiving confirmation of my suspicion that my wife would rather I work out my conflict without her input since any further solicitation of her input is more about seeking my own comfort than hers.

When our relationship was at its worst her most overwhelming fear was that I was having an emotional relationship with another person and it was possible I would leave her - which it was. Perhaps this is a way of rationalizing my current behavior - but I am no longer looking for Mr. Right to sweep me off my feet and drag me away to Key West to live in gay domestic harmony. I just sometimes need to interact up close and personal with another guy's bits, and I limit it to that.

This confirms for me my understanding that to a certain extent we are all victims of biology which encourages men to spread their seed frequently and far and wide and encourages women to settle down with the best protector they can find. Instincts which certainly perpetuate the species but which cause misery in many places besides the confused households of queer men married to straight women. (Let me emphasize that I think we should try to supress the activities these instincts motivate when they are harmful to ourselves or other human beings).

Regarding the defensiveness...this feeling always indicates to me that I've got a problem and I believe the problem here is guilt. Yes, I want it all. Even though I have intellectualized the fact that I can't have it all and even that having it all would be a mistake, King Baby shows up quite frequently in my life demanding some immediate gratification. I continue to participate in anonymous sexual encounters. I try to stay safe. And I "wish" to discontinue that activity although my actions indicate I don't yet "want" to...ie I am not yet willing.

This queers in straight marriage issue seems to be a lightning rod for conflicts played out within individuals (my mind is a battlefield) and between individuals. It reminds me of wars that appear to be over one issue - religious beliefs for instance - which really attract all manner of other resentments.

Not long ago in my blog I questioned how I would feel if someone treated one of my daughters the way I am treating my wife. I believe I indicated I would tell her to dump the loser, and that is true if all I knew about him was that he cheated on her by having anonymous sex with other men. But I'm not sure I could really muster the same quality of loathing for another human being that I reserve for myself. Pardon that near-miss with self-pity. That's my signal that it is time to stop writing.

I apologize for the lengthy, rambling, unedited comment...it's another sign that I'VE got a problem.

As always, I wish you and Nate the very best.

Thanks,

Flip

bear said...

This is a very important and interesting insight to the story. I've been thinking about this for a while...I did think of Flip when this was asked and I'm also glad he commented here with his thoughts. Thanks Carrie.
I could only think of the expected answer for my daughter, the emotional one that Flip touches on, that is..."get out and dump the loser", though it reminded me that there is an expectation there that might be part of the cause for the feeling of being betrayed or angry at him. I don't see people changing in their thinking that it's okay to have such an "expectation" that some guys are not 100% straight and are able to live up to their "vow" for fidelity as much as they thought...though I know that is what we expect of him and for the people we love like our daughters (sisters, mothers etc.) There is something about this expectation (imposed perhaps by society or just out of our very nature) that is the root of this feeling of betrayal or wrongdoing I see.
I worry that the answer we like to jump to is out of conditioning or traditions that may not be based on any true understanding of our real sexuality, though, I admit, I don't see any simple alternatives other than what we've presented and entertained here in these blogs... this is all really very new territory and I think the real answer has more to do with the actual details of the relationship in question, than some stock answer to be applied generally to everyone's daughters.