Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Choices

Flip left a comment on my last post. He quoted me: "I have torn our marriage vows asunder. I accept it was not malicious and I accept it was ultimately not a choice." Then he asked what I meant by choice: an easy question - a softball lob. Of course that was until I really thought about it.

The obvious answer, at least to me, is that my gayness is not a choice and that once the gayness is accepted, there is no longer deniability. Some have said being gay may not be a choice but acting on it sure is. The keep it zipped contingent. There is a surface truth to this - we are humans of free will. The thing is in my short sojourn in this bi/gay blog land, I have seen many permutations. Men like me - open to the point of insult. Others who hide it better. Some put up the good fight - they try much harder than I ultimately did. Some choose semi-anonymous - safer emotionally, easier to walk away on a moments notice. Oh yes, I left out a group - gay celibate. I have heard of it and accept it exists, but we all know that it is a minority. There is another group that deserves mention, my original tribe: those of us who have sealed the door so tight that the light does not leak in or out.

So choice - when I look at the permutations I ultimately see men who have acceded to their desires or are fighting them. Fighting who I am does not feel much like a choice for me.

There is another aspect of choice - fantasies. We do not choose our fantasies, not when lying in bed, alone or with our partners. A few nights ago I was spooning Carrie - no sex, but still a spoon here or there (I know - not really healthy) and she pointed out that I get excited by men, I like spreading my legs. And then she took note of the obvious: we were spooning and I was hardening. It was not a matter of choice.


Of course Carrie has choices too. This may have once been all about me, but those days are receding in the rearview. She can choose to live with a man knowing he is gay. She can choose to have a greater sense of herself than that. Funny how the more she rejects being a stand in, the more I love her. And I realize that loving her means accepting the path of separation.

As I thought about Flip's question I had the seeds of a realization. A few minutes later I was speaking with Carrie about my imminent coming out to our daughter and our concerns with the boyfriend you have come to know and love. Would Bill maintain our confidence once Anna told him? Carrie thought for a moment, and said let him tell.

And in that instance I realized this no longer had anything to do with my choices. Carrie had made her choice.



An Addendum:
I have made my choices. Those choices have put me where I am today. I accept them, will live with them, and believe I will come to embrace them.

My reference to Carrie relates to the fact that she has now also made a choice: if in a moment of denial and weakness I would ask to come back, she would have the honesty and strength to say no. And I am proud of her for that.

But make no mistake, this was my "game" from the start.

9 comments:

Spider said...

Nice try Nate... it STILL has to do with YOUR choices - everything you have done and will do has to do with YOUR choices - don't try to pass the responsibility/blame/guilt/action off on Carrie...

A begets B begets C begets D - all choices...

Paul said...

I feel like this conversation's going to be a circle jerk ... gayness, honesty, decisions, choices ...

We -- your readers -- represent a complete assortment of "choices made." Yes, your choices are not my choices. But I still support you.

Yet, I also second Spider's observation -- Carrie did not "out" you.

marlan said...

When it comes down to it, does it really matter to you that he might know?

And I don't agree with the previous two posts assessments; I don't think you're blaming her. I think you both have made some big decisions, and will both be dealing with the fallout for a while. You'll survive.

Nate said...

Okay guys-
I have added an addendum to the post.

Your comments are correct Spider in the bottom line - MY choices. However it was not my intention to palm anything off on Carrie.

Her only "choice" is to have grown to a place where she can stand up for herself.

But this all has to do with me.

Paul said...

Hey, Nate ... I guess we're just helping keep you honest. No offense intended.

Jenika said...

Your "game" from the start?? You have been honest with Carrie and have spent many nights communicating with her. In my book COMMUNICATION and HONESTY are the key to a relationship. I don't see any "game" being played. You both have made wise and mature choices which will hopefully help you both feel some sort of peace.

Flip said...

Nate,

Like Paul, I completely support your right to make your own choices. And while I feel you are somewhat taking a beating here (and justified or not, with some guilt I place myself near the forefront of the "beaters") probably to assuage my own feelings of guilt I remind myself that you have made a choice to bare all on your blog and invite honest, challenging comments.

Nate, I believe I differ from you in that according to my interpretation of this most recent post you equate your desires with who you are, therefore concluding that not acting on your desires is denying who you are. Rightly or wrongly, I don't believe that about me and my desires. I don't deny that my desire for sex with men stems from the core of my being, a core of which I am not consciously ashamed. But I don't have to act on that desire to confirm for myself my ok-ness with being that way - especially if acting on that desire is inconsistent with my overall definition of myself.

My mistake in the past was trying to justify my adulterous behavior by equating it with my sacred search for self. As I've mentioned in my blog, when my wife and I were seeing a joint counselor during our darkest time, I declared (and believed at the time) that "this" was about "anything but sex"...implying it was about something much deeper, something like my tragic search for self. I now know I was deluding myself. It was actually mostly about sex (the fun sex with men that I had denied myself for so long), and the part that was not about sex was about a lot more than my repressed sexual attraction to men.

I suspect I'm babbling but shall continue nevertheless. My current belief is that my desires are part of me but they do not define me. Perhaps I could use them to define me if I were smart enough to understand the conscious and unconscious motivations behind my desires, but I'm not.

I've concluded that the best I can do is try to define me the way I would like to be and then try my best to behave in a way that is consistent with that definition. History has proved that's a lot safer approach for me than behaving as though my desires are a roadmap to get to "me." But that's just my conclusion about me, for today.

Nate, you, Carrie and your kids continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Flip

Spider said...

Nate:

I guess I need to say an "I'm sorry" too - I did not nor do I intend on beating you up. I just know how hard it is to see things when you are where you are now - and how hard it is to own emotions and decisions when you haven't in the past - and the continued passing of the responsibility does no one any good...

Believe it or not, you are right where you need to be - and really in a good place to make some positive growth...

My suggestion, take the weekend off from thinking - enjoy the family, enjoy the holidays, don't think or talk about it - just relax and let your mind sort through things on its own...

And give the puppy a squeeze for me - I have puppy fever SO BAD...

Nate said...

I normally do not access my blog from work, but you guys have forced my hand.

Do NOT apologize for your comments. I will take a critical comment over a positive one any day of the week. It IS how I grow.

We have a president who likes yes men and see where that has gotten us.

Happy holidays to all of you.
Love,
Nate