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.
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.