Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hot August Blues

August has been a month.  It has been on of the busiest at work in ways that are utterly beyond my control.  I haven't had the time to read other blogs much let alone post here.  But the work is over and is done reasonably well.

On the personal side things are sort of plugging along.  No real tension.  C notices that I am "doing
better."  And I am.  The depression is substantially gone.  Attitude about life and myself is better.  There is hope for the future, but at the same time new fears are cropping up.

They are I think related to the couples therapy. 

I had an appointment set up for mid-September.  I was working up the gumption to chat with C about it.  I avoid talking with her about us in large part because I know where we're heading or at least I think we do.  Even here it's almost too much to say separation or divorce.  Before I did tell her I got a text from the therapist (not the best means of communication in my opinion) asking that we move the appointment up.  I don't answer.  The next day she calls and I honestly say I haven't said anything largely because I am avoiding it.

Yesterday I got all the ducks in a row.  I told C about the appointment.  I got coverage at work since the appointment is at 5pm. 

The appointment is next week.

I spent a bit of the morning worrying about the kids' reactions.  In particular, if they would have anything to do with me.  No, it's not a fear that is likely to come to pass.  And if it does there is not a lot I can do about it except being the best father I can.

That is some of the rub - this sort of thing kicks up old stuff.  I remember the day my parents sat us down to say they were divorcing.  I placed 100% of the blame on my father.  A good part was indeed on him as an active alcoholic who was  never home and was not a good provider.  I don't think he ever paid much if any of his child support.  But I digress.

My reaction was to walk out of the house.  I'd walked maybe 3/4 of a mile when my father caught up.  My response when he tried to talk to me was a quick, "Fuck you."  I'm sure he went off to get drunk.  I went off to get high.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

That is my fear with my kids - that their response will be rejection.  And it may be.  And it will likely be hurt and pain.  But I will continue to show up as I have.  And that is the difference that makes a difference.  It is what I did not experience.

And I remember the alternative - it has almost become a mantra.  For the past 6 years to the extent I have tried to suppress, repress, sublimate, divert . . . being a gay man and living in honesty as a gay man I become depressed and suicidal.  It's then that I won't show up for the kids.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Couples Therapy

I knew when I started down the road towards therapy a few months back that I wasn't going to like a lot of the work that would result.  I was afraid of the work.  I don't like it when people are upset with me - typical child of an alcoholic stuff.  Ah, yet another tale of woe - not really or at least not anymore.
At any rate this morning I got a call back from one of the couples therapists I had contacted.  We set up an appointment.  Now I have to bring C into that loop.  As I was thinking about this quick blog post I googled "Couples Therapy" for images.  One of the images that came up was the one here.  It made me laugh out loud literally. 

Laughing is good.  Thought I would share.

The road for the next little bit will be a tough one.  Laughing at the unexpected and the difficult will help.  Laughing at myself will be essential.


1. Keep breathing (still).
2. Keep moving forward - the only way through is forward.

The Joy of Text

I don't like texting all that much.  I find the little snippets to be not all that helpful.  The conversations I've had while texting have never been that enlightening.  It is great for a grocery list, however. But so is a sheet of paper. 

So yesterday I get a text out of the blue from a guy I'd been chatting with - he'd been sort of mentoring me further out of the closet until he moved with his partner out of state.  To be fair I knew this was likely too happen.  He wanted to know how I was.  We texted a bit - he gave me a recommendation for a couples therapist that I've already called.  That alone shows great progress - I no longer feel caught in the middle of a quagmire - the edges perhaps, but not the middle.

Then I got into an briefer texting context with another gay guy I know.  He was reaching out for himself, but then checked up on me.

It felt wonderfully hopeful to be the object of care and concern.  

Then it dawned on me.  Here I am carrying on two simultaneous conversations via text.  Perhaps my problem isn't the medium for the conversation, but the conversation.  Or rather that this was an out conversation.  Both men know I am gay.  I was not hiding; I was not letting someone assume I'm straight. 

I just was.

I just was happy.

Or as Geoffrey wrote yesterday - I gave myself permission - to be happy, to just be.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


At the suggestion of my therapist I took the Myers Briggs today.  I am an INFP - I assume this test will confirm that.  I also hate these tests - probably because of my p-ness.  Yes pun intended.  The goal is try to get more insight into me.

But perhaps some of the insight came with question 75 asking how in fact I behave:

When making a decision, is it more important to you to

weigh the facts, or
consider people’s feelings and opinions?

 The answer for me is crystal clear - I do consider people's feelings over weighing the facts.  And that dear friends might explain why I've been stuck so long.   Not only do I consider other people's feelings, I can get in there, feel them for other people and then modify what I do based on what I think someone else might feel.  Talk about prior restraint!!   I bind myself up in a knot over that one.

That insight is helpful.  I can't change the valences, but I can recognize the weakness, the foibles to which I am prone.  And then to work to overcome them.  For me here considering other's feelings is still a good thing, part of who I am.  But when I do so to the detriment of myself, there is no benefit to either me or the people who I am trying to protect - it becomes a lose-lose situation. 

Today that's not okay.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The End - The Doors

So, I am trying to figure out what to blog at this point and The Doors song "The End" comes to mind.

It's interesting how much of this journey I've related to music over the years. 

In therapy today I talked about getting a couple's therapist.  My object, my chief object, my only real object for doing that is to unwind slowly (but not too slowly), safely and respectfully from C.  As she said the other day - our relationship has changed a lot in the past little bit - last few months.

As I said a while back before restarting therapy here, I was trepidatious about beginning thinking I knew that once I got on the road this is where the road would lead.  

Well I have arrived - one arm swung high and the other on my hip.

Goals for the week:

Call the various therapists we spoke about in therapy today.
Determine which ones have significant LGBT experience - preferably experience with mixed orientation marriages.
Find out about their fee structures
Next Thursday talk with S (therapist) about what I've found out - ask how/if I should let this new therapist know my intention
Present C with 2-3 to chat with.

Keep breathing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Slow Movement is better than No Movement?

It is obvious, to me at least, that I've done a great job a moving intentionally and slowly.  So good a job that at times there seems to be no movement whatsoever.   For me at least the last post was freeing.  It explained to myself some of the reason.  I do find it interesting and amazing the lengths we go to not be who we are/feel what we feel.  Or rather I should say I am amazed at my capacity.  All those terms that were so hard to understand when I first encountered them (projection, transference) now make sense.

But anyway C and I went out to dinner today once I got home from work.  On the way we talk about therapy.  I tell her S is looking to get a therapist who will do couples.  C tells me she does not need one for her stuff - true for the most part - but that couples is needed since our "relationship has changed so much recently."   C then recounts that our oldest has asked her to stop making jokes about divorce.  You may recall I think the oldest has an inkling.  It seems C has been making jokes of that sort at least around the kiddos.  I'm not sure whether the oldest is protecting the oldest or the siblings. 

So it seems there is some passive sort of movement.  I will have to keep a push on in therapy to move towards couples.  I want to avoid that, but know it's time to forge ahead.

Friday, August 9, 2013


So this is a combination post - one that I worked on a ways back and a reaction to today's therapy.

Faith is a funny thing.  The quote at least some have heard is that "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  More to the point here though is that - "fear is the absence of faith."

On its face that doesn't make a lot of sense.  I want assurance of things that I can't see - that are unseeable?   Really? And there are some things, many things of which it is rational to be afraid where faith just doesn't play in.

That is indeed a tall order.  I'm not so sure about faith as we usually use the term, but I know that I am on the left side of the pictured cliff.  I cannot see/predict/know the road ahead.  I do not know if it is a good road, the right road or the best road.  I'm sounding like Thomas Merton or Robert Frost with my road talk.  

But I do know that I am at the cliff where I have been before.  I know that I don't want to leap.  I know that I am shutting down again - sex of any sort is not attractive which is never a good sign. I know I don't want to go forward and that there is no healthy alternative.  There is a darker steeper cliff on the other side.   

So I've hemmed and hawed for years.  I've procrastinated.  I've avoided.  But I keep coming back to the same cliff.  

The choices are always the same.   Stay where I am - married, gay, monogamous.  Or make the fucking jump.  

If I jump I might fall. 

If I don't I will just continue to shut down.  

But then there is the fear. That's where today's therapy session comes in.  Much of my hesitancy has been about not wanting to harm (not just hurt, but harm) C.  I have blown up the amount of pain and suffering I will cause.  I've known this for a bit.  I don't think that this will be easy, but I've made it like Climbing Mt. Everest while dribbling a basketball.  I've set the bar so high that the pain I will cause to C - interestingly not to the kids is so much that it has cause me to freeze.

This fear, exaggerated fear of harming C seemed to be at the crux of things.

Then the words - "Could you be projecting this onto C?"  That did hit home, as did a number of things today.  The fear is my fear that I will be harmed in this.  That two or three years from now I'll go WTF did I do.  That feels like the source.  I know this won't be a cake walk for either of us, but my leaving will not shatter C's very existence.  In some ways I worry it will mine.  And indeed it will - it will shatter the perception that I am straight.

A side note - I know things hit me in therapy when I want to just plain cry.  That happened here.

But today I realized something else - that I can learn as much from the joy.  The therapist, S I'll call her, asked  how would it feel if C just said, "I want out; I want a divorce"  after I discussed some difficulties between C and myself over last weekend.  My response, the feeling I got caught me off guard.  

I was elated at the thought. 

Perhaps it's time to have faith. 

Faith that the elation is real. 
Faith that I am projecting this feeling of potential harm onto C.  

Faith that I can trust my feelings and who I am.

Faith that I will grieve.  Grieve the loss of what I thought I was and the relationship I had.  And that I will survive that grief.  That I will thrive after that grief.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

But you're depressed . . .

Ah the words everyone wants to hear in therapy.

Depression sucks.  It robs a lot of life, makes every decision, every interaction that much more difficult.  It's like clamming - walking through the water at low tide through the mud that sucks at your feet trying to steal
your shoes.  Or even your legs.

So, recently in the Neverending Story of my angst over what to do, what to be, how to integrate being gay and married I mention in therapy that there is at least a part of me that wants to be able to just integrate the fact that I'm gay and leave it there.  Then the bomb, the realization again.  The response I hear reflected back is "but you're depressed."

Again, realizing that just integrating the knowledge, even though I have done it to a large extent, is not sufficient.  If all I do is integrate the knowledge I inevitably return to deep depression.

Later in the week I had someone give me advice I do not like - I should write about it.  Write down what I believe to be true and what I think I know about my relationship with C and what I think I need or want.

So I've been avoiding that for most of the week.  I am afraid of what I will find out - both afraid that it will be clear that I should stay and afraid that I should not!!  Self-centered fear is indeed at the root of a lot of the issue - realizing this makes me realize that I really need to do that writing.  I'll do that in a moment, but first today.

So work is blowing up - nothing to do with this or me, just a bunch of middle school behavior from the people we serve.  We - did I mention before that C works with me.  Actually, in the hierarchy that's there I'm above her.  Anyway, today is a tough one and C is out of joint because she is the target of some of the middle school behavior.  I have to talk her down a couple of times.  The stress of all this gets to her too.  The odd thing is that after a 12 hour day that included a lot of direct support and interaction with C I feel better than I have in a while.

So the list:

What I (think I) know
  • I love C and the kids.
  • I am a better person for having met her almost 30 years ago now
  • I cannot envision myself her in the medium term (2-3 years)
  • Every time I decide that I can stay for the long term I get dangerously depressed.
  • My life feels like a lie.  I do not feel authentic.  Some, but not all of this might be relieved if I came out to more people.  
  • I am suppressing sexuality altogether as a coping mechanism
  • When I am hanging out in a gay friendly atmosphere where the majority or totality of people are gay I feel at home in a way I never have before.
  • I don't trust the veracity to my feelings
What I believe
  •  That I cannot make the marriage work
  • That I should be able to make the marriage work
  • That an open marriage would not work for C
  • That an open marriage would not work for me
  • All to often that just dying would make it all better (hence the - "but you're depressed")
  • That various people have an agenda - e.g., the guy who suggested this list is married and gay and seems to be able to do both
  • That there are some people who can be married and gay both in open and closed marriages.
I will edit the list as I go on.  Time for bed - August is an insanely busy month; I need my beauty sleep.