Saturday, March 5, 2011

Unanswered questions

So two nights ago I told my wife that I think we should get a divorce. I didn't really plan on it, but I was just so down that night, and when she asked me what was wrong, it was time to spill it. My wife just kind of calmly listened, and then I went to bed.
I woke up pretty shaken. The next day things were a bit tense as we started to try to make plans, even in the little things. But when we got in the car to head up to see my parents (planned trip) we started talking more about it. Much different than the night before, we actually started communicating openly.
I started to (and rightly so) question some of the assumptions on which I made my decision. There's no reason for me to rush into it.
I don't think I have time to get into all the details of that (it was a 4 hour car ride) but what it comes down to is, do the problems in our marriage come because I'm gay or because I haven't put enough into our marriage? Is my lack of commitment a result of a lack of commitment or an inability to be committed because of my sexual orientation?
And here's where it gets dicey. I think it's both. I think there are some things I can change, and while I'm not able to "change" my sexual orientation (or willing to go through conversion therapy which (I've been there before, it doesn't work), there are a lot of other things I am willing to change.
But then, and maybe you can relate, but if not, that's alright. For me I have a hard time knowing that it might not work out, knowing about the trouble of the road, not knowing if and when we'd have kids if we stay married. It's hard for me to commit not knowing it will work. But then again, isnt' faith something like that?
Lately, I've been learning to embrace ambiguity. In some ways, the black and white, cut and dry world view was great. I appreciated Scrum central's post on Fowlers stages of faith (I should probably get that book). But embracing the uncertainty is so much more rich. I think I want to make this, my marriage, my sexual orientation, cut and dry. It just isn't. It's not as simple as saying, "you're gay, get divorced." There's so much more intricacy and complexity to it, which is exciting and terrifying. I think though that I've tried to make it cut and dry, and now I'm in the process of undoing that.

We didn't exactly resolve anything, but I'd say I backed down from my "we need to get divorced" position. Where I'm at now is a list of unanswered questions.
At the same time it's so frustrating to be reminded constantly in every day things, holding hands, etc. that I don't have feelings for my wife. Or at the least that they changed, or aren't as strong, or whatever. I guess the unanswered question is, they were there, weren't they? It's not possible that it was just part of pretending to be a straight person of trying to conform. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't have done or felt the way I did it it was all an act. I guess what I'm saying is that maybe the "false persona" I created maybe wasn't so all the way false after all.
It kind of feels sometimes like there's two parts of me, duking it out. Sometimes I listen a lot more to one, and sometimes the other. I think it comes from me shoving a way part of myself, out of fear of being "found out" or because of guilt and shame. I think trying to squash it, it came back with a vengeance.
But was everything about my old self a lie? I doubt it. There's no need, as bravone said to "throw out the baby with the bathwater."
Is it any better to quash that part of me, only to have it come back with a vengeance so to speak later?
It makes for what my wife calls "A roller coaster." I think others have felt that. I think I'm ok with that, but my wife has told me that even though she loves me, that she won't just be there for me to treat however I want. I can't expect her (nor do I want her) to put up with that.
I originally decided to get a divorce in part because I just couldn't take the lack of decision anymore. But now I feel a peace in the uncertainty, in the not knowing, in taking this journey even without knowing.
My favorite hymn is "Lead Kindly Light." I especially like the line
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see.
The distant scene, one step enough for me.

I do now know exactly where things will head. I do not that things, whichever way the go, will get better. Sometimes it feels like I have to walk this "lonesome road, all by myself (James Taylor song, fyi)" I actually know though that I'm not alone. That means a lot to me. I think I can't but take the road a step at a time, and see where I go. It's going to be quite the journey.


  1. But where do you want to be at the end? That should determine your decisions now.

  2. Alex, you know exactly how I feel about all of this (not that it matters). I'm glad you're okay with stepping away from divorce. Take care, friend.

  3. My 2 cents - based on experience - is: be patient, thoughtful, and prayerful, and your direction and your resolve will emerge from the mist.

    ("Lead Kindly Light" is may favorite also because it is not rah, rah, it is real, and human, like me. And, it is an example of nearly perfect poetry.)