Sunday, November 12, 2006

An End and A Beginning

There is an old phrase, Plus ca change, Plus ca meme. This week I have learned that the opposite can also be true. Nothing changed this week. No blowouts, no stated changes in policy – a veritable week of “stay the course.” So how does one explain this week of seismic shifts? How did a post which was to be the third panel of a well planned triptych turn into a war torn Guernica?

Over the last month we have added a refrain at home – well actually Carrie has added a refrain: Not Enough. This is typically in response to my protestations that I love her, that I am attracted to her, that I am still noticing all the women around me. Not Enough. The words stop me every time in their simplicity and truth. One, who is totally in love, totally attracted, does not do the things that I do.

Then last week: the IM’s between SR and Mark. It was a long exchange, much ground covered, but twice SR said something – only two words, and twice I stopped short. Never Enough. I recognize them – a slight variation in words but Carrie’s message indeed.

Carrie and SR have come to realize that they are the Neville Chamberlains of the bi/gay wars. They have compromised, they have bent – one might say they have appeased. Carrie has looked the other way for me and SR has done her part with Mark. Yet the group of us continues to stretch the boundaries. In my post Whispers the escalation is detailed: no need to repeat it here.

In my last post, Bob, my therapist, was front and center. His motives, or lack thereof, aside it did have an effect. It forced me to realize that I will not lie to Carrie and it is probably time to stop lying to myself. It forced me to realize that the central question in my therapy was not how to save my marriage: it was how to find myself.

On May 17th Carrie wrote on this Blog:
It is because I love my husband as much as I do, that I must stand by him in this struggle. However, it is you who have become his friends that he needs to help guide his path on this journey to his soul.

And since then a journey it has been, a journey of stops and starts, not unlike driving in heavy traffic, not unlike looking for the next turn in a foreign land. This form of driving, annoying to the driver, is absolutely nauseating to the passenger. Carrie has been buffeted but Carrie has also grown stronger. Therapy seems to agree with at least one of us and with her strength has come pride.

It has been a few weeks since Carrie came up with her plan – sex with men equals no sex with her: A more than reasonable compromise to hold our marriage – our lives – together. And the rule remains. But this week Carrie spoke the truth. Our marriage as once defined has ended. We will remain together as deepest of friends, as parents to our children, as a family. But what once was is gone. Yes, we may still grow old together. Yes, we may again be lovers someday. No, it will never be exactly the same.

Carrie tells me I have crossed the bridge and while my journey may bring me to another bridge, another bridge back, there is no turning back. The realization – not immediate, but over the course of the week – is that the bridge was crossed a while ago, probably back in May. She knows and those who have read this Blog since then know. I know but I just do not want to admit it.

This week we admitted it. As I said nothing changed on the surface but the acknowledgement of what already has changed, changes everything – tectonic shifts. We will remain together, we will keep talking, we will share a bed and we will share much of a life. But we will no longer share the lie that nothing has occurred. We will no longer share the lie that our marriage is fine. We will no longer share the big lie, the one that says I am just a bi guy who has leaned a little too far in one direction. It is time to accept that by action and by fantasy, I am at this moment gay.

Carrie and I have often discussed what the end of the story will be. One cannot know the end until you arrive, arrive through an honest journey. But life is not one long tale: it is a series of stories and groups of the stories string together to make a book and groups of books string together to make a life.

So it is time to end the first book and start the second. The first book it turns out ends with Nate accepting that the journey will truly begin. It seems book two will be the journey. I do not need a new URL, a new name for my Blog. This is my writing home, this is still my story and the books are seamless. But make no mistake: this is for better or worse a new book.

Every year Jews read the Torah – the first five books of the Bible. And then we start again. On Simchat Torah we finish the cycle, complete the fifth book. But then, immediately, we rewind the scroll and read “In the beginning…” the start of Genesis; the cycle is never broken.

So in a perverse way while time for book one to end, it also time for book two to begin, to begin without breaking the cycle..

Book Two
I am writing an e-mail to a friend and Sam comes up. How do I describe him? Fuckbuddy; Friend with Benefits; Playpal? None work for me. Carrie suggests “Lover”: no, there is an implication of an emotional bond that is not of that level, not yet. I know the answer, but it sounds strange to my ears, strange to my sensibilities, hard to say and hard to write: Sam is my boyfriend…


Anonymous said...


I am thinking of you and Carrie. And of you and Sam.

Here is hoping that there is peace and something approaching joy in your future.

God has granted odder requests in the past.

Hang in there.


Spider said...

I wish I had your honesty and insight...

Paul said...

I read this post. And I read it again. I then went back to the spring and read the journey. Through the summer and fall.

I want to understand. To affirm. To validate. To challenge. But, I don’t think I know what to say.

The marriage (as it had been) is over. I bet you're as conflicted as ever.

I have no idea what you're to do now. Or next.

"Boyfriend" also has an implication of an emotional bond.

Ian said...


Welcome home! I've...I don't want to say enjoyed...but benefited...from the first book. I look forward to walking this journey with you as you start this next book.

On the subject of the Torah, if memory serves, the Torah is not a book (at least not in the conventional sense), but a song, penned by the hand of G-d and given as a gift to the children of Yisrael. It may be a subtle distinction, but it's an important one.

On the subject of songs, I'll close with the line from a song from one of my favorite gay artists, Josh Zuckerman:

Sometimes its hard to tell if I will find
The time to sleep with peace of mind
Do I belong where I am now?
I'm searching for a place to call home.

Nate said...

Thank you all.

Spider - I would settle for your compassion and generousity of spirit - Too bad we can't mate:)

I cannot say as I thought of it as a "Welcome home!" but strangely enough it feels okay.

And yes book 2 is, at least in my head, off to a roaring start.

Flip said...

Hi Nate,

I don't really know what to say other than I look forward to continuing to learn from you and to be inspired by yours and Carrie's honesty with each other.

Maybe someday my wife and I will be able to accomplish that. I know it would be a good thing, but it just hasn't happened yet.

Thanks for being there and thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Your integrity and insites are inspirational.

Carrie too, is someone special. I can only but admire her.

Anonymous said...

You have been MIA for a few days. Just checking on you.