There has been so many thoughts running through my mind of late – each day has a sense of adventure – will Nate be happy, sad, depressed or just be? There are themes to it all: questions of going forward that keep colliding. On Tuesday I had my married gay group – round three of a scheduled six rounder. This week was Jay’s turn. Jay is around sixty five, has had his own bedroom for a decade, and is not interested in living with anyone because of the compromise inherent in relationships. And yes, Jay is suffering depression. Shocker. Jay’s wife was kind enough to suggest he renew his relationship with his therapist.
His story deeply affected me because as I listened to the compromises he forged, compromises I truly understood, I realized that the definitions he has chosen to live under could have no possible outcome but the depression and loneliness with which he constantly struggles. He is friends with his wife, but it sounds strained. He has children he loves, but as any of us with adult children know they have their own day to day existences.
I had met Jay before, we had dinner, a date if you would. And I like Jay, we talked, we held hands, we kissed. And I looked up to Jay as a possible role model, a man finding that compromise of what was, what is and what could be. But as I watch him more and as I sat there Tuesday night I saw the “was” and the “is” but also realized the utter lack of “could be.”
Another night last week I was reading blogs, something I am embarrassed to say that I do not do often enough. In one of the blogs was a comment from another blogger, one who used to occasionally comment on my posts, one who I had some e-mails with and one I greatly respect. I thought he dropped out so to speak, but there he was kindly encouraging another. I was hurt at first – the old fears of rejection, of not being good enough. Then I was strong – who really cares, I write for me. But driving home today I thought about it some more and I am neither hurt nor am I strong.
I am sad because I understand what happened. This person who had been so supportive of me as I struggled to move forward had thrown in the towel. How many times can you give the same advice before it gets old? He has been where I am and he has moved forward, with great pain I am sure and at great sacrifice in many ways, but he has moved forward.
Tomorrow night is an occasion of sorts, an anniversary – seventeen years. I asked Carrie earlier what is the etiquette? It is a real day, an anniversary of a marriage that is still technically on the books, but not the day we once would have anticipated. We acknowledge it, but there will be no exchange of gifts, no quickie (duh) before dinner with some friends. And after Friday night comes Saturday night and I will not be home. Life is changed.
The word that came to mind on Tuesday sitting with my fellow married men was “resolve”: the resolve that if I do not force myself to move forward, there will be no chance for either Carrie or me. We will unwittingly fall into lives of quiet desperation, good nights and bad. Sure it is okay to watch TV on occasion as any friends might do, but once lovers, I am not sure one can ever be just friends in the same way that might have been otherwise.
I am not looking for an apartment this weekend and I am savoring tucking my kids in every night. But I am also cognizant that I will probably need to make some choices much earlier than I ever anticipated. My friend who used to leave me comments once told me he lived seven months in the spare bedroom before lighting out on his own. He shared this as I was contemplating the basement and I could not understand why the hurry. I understand now.
I took a break as I contemplated how to bring this post to a graceful conclusion – tucked in the kids, let the dogs out and visited Carrie. And as usual she brings more grace to the table than I could ever imagine. She correctly points out that she is okay with my being here, okay with my Saturday night out, okay with herself.
She also correctly points out that I am the one who is not okay, who is conflicted and tormented. And it is clear to me that I will need to emotionally move on and if that can be done with the basement as central command, fine. But if I need to create a new outpost I will, hopefully with a dignity that those around me deserve. Either way it is time to continue taking the baby steps that will move me forward.
Time again for some ambient induced slumber. I do appreciate all of you, on line and in person, who are patient with me. It must not be easy.