Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

 Now I've been known to be a bit dramatic on occasion.  Netflix is a wonderful thing now that one can stream so many movies.  One that you can stream is Olivier's Hamlet is one of them.  There's a good number of LGBT themed movies as well available steaming or on disk - no I do not work for Netflix :-)

So, I put Hamlet on the other day - the description states that Hamlet's tragic flaw is his indecision.  Not being a Lit major I hadn't really given it a lot of thought.  But in thinking about it Hamlet's torturous indecision about what to do with an intolerable situation leads to more grief, pain and death, including his own.

Now at the risk appearing overly dramatic - all of this sounds all too familiar.  One of my fears is that my indecision/procrastination will have deleterious effects on C and the kids.  In reality I think it already has.  It also has had such effects on me as well.   And, frankly, I have said with Hamlet:

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!"

(I am not, today, in a space where I say that.)

Hamlet, through no fault of his own, is faced with an unbearable situation.  Hamlet's father, the king, is killed at the hands of the father's brother, Hamlet's uncle.  The uncle then ascends to the throne and marries Hamlet's mother - so quickly that the meat served at the funerary meal is available for the wedding meal, albeit cold.  And I thought I came from a dysfunctional family!!

So too those of us who are married and gay are in an intolerable or at least difficult situation.  I know that I did not say one day - "Hey, I'm gay so let's marry some unsuspecting woman"  Even those of us who knew we were gay when we married often did so out of a genuine and misguided belief that marriage would make things right - would straighten things out so to speak.

The tragedy only comes in if there is a tragic flaw in the person who finds themself in this situation.  The flaw leads a series of decisions and actions that are tragic - that cause harm that is unintended and unwanted by the tragic character.

So, the question I have to ask myself is - "If I cannot commit to C, what should I do?"  "Is it better to stay or leave until there is a decision?"  I don't know if I can commit to C for the long term - I'm not sure what that would look like.  This is especially the case since any sex/intimacy outside of marriage is off the table - far off the table as far as C is concerned.  This is part of what I want and probably what I need.  Therefore, there is a radical incompatibility in being married and gay in my case.

Honestly, I am not sure how great the incompatibility is.  But I do know that right now I cannot commit and therefore will not.  Moreover, I am not sure what commitment would look like in our current circumstances.

At this point I am prioritizing.  First is finding a new job.  I have a meeting soon that will likely show me that the search needs to be sped up or can be at the current pace (or even slowed down or a real long shot halted).  It is possible that this could involve a move - if so I will have to make some sort of decision out of fairness to C.  If it does not involve a move then I have some time.  A new job would be a distraction in a good way. 

But underneath I want to avoid the sin of the Prince of Denmark.  I don't want to wait until a tragic ending is unavoidable.  But I am not sure what has to be in place to make a decision.  That is the crux; that is what I have to figure out.


  1. A thoughtful, even slightly upbeat post. This is good. Staying out of the mire is half the battle.

  2. Some really touch choices lie ahead, that's for sure. My wife, family and I have made such incredible progress by proceeding one step and a time; I would never have imagined it seven months ago.

    Best wish to you all!

  3. Jim
    In my case I have told my wife I can not go back suppressing wanting and acting on seeing guys. She has slowly accepted this - saying she is trying to change her thinking. And it seems to be working. We are getting along better now than we have in a very long time - we really now understand each others needs. And I have more love for her too! I even went out this weekend to the beach with the guys with her knowledge and permission. So if your wife and you still have affection towards each other and want to maintain as close to 'normal' a family life together maybe she needs to be a little more flexible and let you go off the grid some - i.e. have it both ways. So how rigid is your wife and how hard have you tried to convince her to let you have these other relationships that would complete and enrich your life and really your marriage. It may not seem the best solution for either of you but it is the only compromise possible that would maintain normalcy for your kids. So some sort of openness with your wife, with some sort of rules might work. Giving it a try myself.
    Take care
    Tom from Cleveland