Monday, March 31, 2014

On Being a Gay Man...

I have been keeping this blog for eight years now. It's amazing that I am closing in on 1,000 articles here. Over that time I have taken some long periods away while I grappled with a number of different issues that I just did not have the energy to sit and to write about. But the neat thing is that during these past 8 years I have done quite a bit of growing. Looking back at some of my earlier posts, I can see just how juvenile some of those postings were. I appreciate those of you who have stood by me as I have evolved. I've appreciated the kind words of encouragement. I've also been touched by some of the stories that you have shared with me about your own journeys.

My growth has shown itself in a number of different ways. Most notably, I realize that I truly like me. I like the gay man I have become. I'm more settled. I'm not focused on acquiring a mate as I had been. The sex drive is more under control. It feels like things are evening out for me…in all facets.

One of the things that triggered this is a wedding that I attended back in late August. The bride and groom had known each other for 3 years….had lived together for two years. They decided to make it legal.

As I watched them exchange rings…and I observed just how happy they were at the reception, something about it all rang a bit hollow. It didn't feel right. It felt empty. I tried to shake it off. But the feeling stayed with me. During these past 6 months I've checked in with them from time to time.

Well, as of this writing, they are separated. A divorce is going to happen. The groom has already found another woman. The bride, my relative, is heartbroken. But she feels they have such strong issues, a reconciliation is next to impossible.

I believe that it is best to not marry at all and be alone than to align yourself with the wrong person. In their case, I've heard rumblings of violence, alcoholism, verbal abuse, etc. So, for me, I'm so glad that I have me. That my life is full with good friends, a wonderful family. A grand child. Lots of other good things.

So it is just great to not have to worry about a bad relationship….or as Lady Gaga puts it, "A Bad Romance."

Not long ago I discussed the whole idea of relationships with a gay minister. It is his belief that when a straight couple is having troubles, they decide to have a child. In their mind this helps to cement the relationship together. But in all actuality, it does not help the relationship. It adds additional stress. A breakup finally happens.

He said that in gay couples, when there are problems, they decide to get married. Make it legal. But if they were miserable before they got married, the actual marriage just compounds the problem.

I know many committed couples who are in such relationships. They have been committed for decades. But for one reason or another, they have lost the love they once had. They decide to get married. Now many of these relationships are going down the hurtful path of divorce.

Being gay is hard enough. But being gay and involved in a loveless relationship -- even to the extent of getting married, is just unfathomable.

Yup I am a single gay man. Or I should say I am a happy, single gay man. Oh, I'm not giving up on finding love one day. But it's better to wander around a little bit lonely now and then than to be saddled with a train wreck of a relationship.

I'm blessed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Families of Choice VS Families of Origins

Early in my journey of self discovery as a gay man, my identity and vision of the world, as taught by my parents was tossed on its head.  Back then I wanted to be Ward Cleaver of the old LEAVE IT TO BEAVER TV series.  I'd have the nice house.  The picket fence.  I'd be married to June who was always perfectly coiffed.  Perfect makeup with a string of simple pearls tastefully appointed around her neck.

I think all kids in that era assumed that was how life had always been, how life was at the time, and it was how life would be in the future -- until we take that next adventure beyond the veil of death.

Down deep I knew that I was very different.  I couldn't understand what that difference was.  But I knew early on that my view of the world was not what a lot of my other friends thought.  For example, one day in car pool, one of the boys in my Jr. High produced a pornographic magazine.  We sat in the back seat looking at the adults in all kinds of sexual positions.  It was the first time I had seen a naked woman with her legs spread.  My friend was going nuts at the view.  I found myself more arouse by the well built man who was with her.  His penis was magnificent.

It confirmed that I indeed, was a different sort of teen.

All my life I fought it.  I was told that marriage would fix me.  I threw myself into ihe relationship with Lovey wholeheartedly.  But, as I have written before….things have a way of catching up with you.   My gayness began to rebel.  My hormones began raging.  So I began acting on my long held desires.

Not only did I beome swept up in the things that closeted gay men do, I found myself drawn to reading materials that provided insight into my identity.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I learned that I was not alone and that there were quite a number of other men just like me.

I also came to the point at wondering if being gay was only about hookups and getting off -- anonymously, furtively.  Over and over again.  I was frightened.  But at that time, things like I was experiencing were not things one discussed with anyone.  For the longest time, I worried.  The feelings of self loathing brought me to the brink of suicede a number of times.  It was an awful time.

Then, in the midst of my angst, the TV series, QUEER AS FOLK showed up on pay tv.  I was mesmerized.  I could not believe that there could be a group of 5 gay men…who were friends….who were loyal….and they didn't sleep together.  From my vantage point, I assumed that all gay men slept with each other.  I didn't understand how this worked.  I also watched SEX AND THE CITY.  Here was a group of straight women who were very close, who were friends, who were loyal…and they hadn't slept together.  I could not relate.  It made no sense to me.

Not until I finally began dealing with my issues in a more healthy way and that I began to develop healthy friendships did I finally "get it."  In my case, I had to become so broken and feel so useless, I realized that there were people who loved and cared about me.  The most amazing thing is that they didn't have to get naked to prove it.

Lovey was on staff at a very large church not far from our home in Suburban Virginia.  It had 1500 families who attended regularly.  I had been a member of that church for quite sometime.  I held many positions.  But she decided to tar and feather me.  As a result, the church turned its back on me…and I found that I only had the support of two straight men.  They let it be known that they cared about my well being and that they were there to watch my back.  They checked on me.  They helped me to get settled as a newly out, newly separated, gay man.

They taught me what the meaning of care and compassion really is.

So, after 9 long years of being separated/divorced.  I've experienced a lot of healing.  But I've learned that it is due to my family of choice --- the people I choose to have in my life.  The ones that know all about me and love me anyway.  The ones who do not sit on the sidelines and criticize.  These are the ones who have stood by me.  They have walked beside me.  The''ve checked on me.  They've taught me all about unconditional love.

I now work to me del this behavior to others.  I'm just sorry that it took such a colossal upheaval in my life to get me to this place.

But I'm soldiering on.

Yes, I finally understand the Queer As Folk guys and the Sex and the City girls.

Gosh I've come along way in the eight years I've been writing this blog.

Thanks for reading….

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Working on me...

So, I haven't written in a while.  Rather than writing about the same old tired theme of not having love in my life.  Having tons of mangled dates.  Meeting a host of game players and users.  I thought it would be best to remain silent, until I had something more substantive to write about.  

Today, I have several things to write.  

Here goes….

As I have spilled my guts in writing for this blog, you know my ups and my downs.  Rather than trying to come off as wonderful airbrushed gay guy, who has finally come to terms with the loss of his marriage, who is now living a perfect and happy life, and life is all peachy keen deluxe, it has been filled with lots of twists and turns.  

And I have not hid any of my feelings and I have worked to be honest and to be real, and let you see my life and all the rough edges.  

In taking this approach, I've received feedback from some of you -- mostly affirming and encouraging.  But, then there were others of you who accused me of lying or writing a "bunch of crock" -- probably because my life has not made sense to you…or it doesn't match your view of how a life such as mine should be.  

I'm far from perfect.  I hope that you see that in all my writings here. I'm still a work in progress.

Here goes my latest installment.

I had a boyfriend once.  I've written about him in this blog.  We met at a gay married men's support group in 1997.  He was married.  I was married.  His wife knew.  My wife knew.  My wife supported me in this relationship…  It lasted for 12 years -- until the day he spoke the words "Frank, you're now a single gay man.  We're out of synch.  You deserve someone in your life full time.  I can't be that someone because I can't leave my family and wife for you.  So, this needs to end."  

I hadn't made any demands.  In fact, I remember saying, "Well Gee….can't we keep this going the way it has been going.  I'm not ready and I don't want to have another relationship right away."  He refused. He would not be with a single gay man.

So it ended.  Much to my sadness.  l fell into a 3 month fling with another much younger and single man from my church.  It was a fling -- plain and simple.  He and I were only together 3 months and he ran off with my then best friend -- also from church.  

So, I have spent the last 5 years trying to fill the void.  It hasn't happened.

My former BF took up with an older and a single gay man.  He's still married.    When this relationship began, I have to admit that I was deeply troubled.  He had made such a big deal of the fact that I was single and he was married…and that we were out synch….when he began dating this other single guy….it hit me wrong….and I immediately ran to the place:  "What's wrong with me?"  

Still I soldiered on.  I put on a happy face.  I never let him see how much this has bothered me.  As time has progressed, I have healed very nicely.

But today was an unusually bad day.  You see, since I'm on the board of directors of my church, I here from the Pastor frequently.  He keeps the board posted on news affecting the church.  He sent an email this morning announcing that my former BF's mom passed away.

She had and I had a fairly decent relationship.  I visited her at the nursing home several times.  Her mind was going..but she was always happy to have me come by.  In fact, my ex-BF does not know all the times I dropped by her room.  It broke my heart to see her fading.

Today, when I got the news, I can't describe how I felt.  It tore open all the wounds of the loss of my parents.  It hurt that I had not heard the news directly from him.  I sent messages of my condolences to him.  My kids also sent theirs.  

But it left me feeling so empty.

And so profoundly sad.  

It wrecked me today.  But I was successful in going on about my day and not allowing my feelings affect my work.  

I know what it's like to have love.  I know what it's like to have a relationship that grows and grows….

I also know what it's like to be alone.

A single gay man.

Send positive thoughts and prayers in my direction.  While I could be selfish and request that you pray I find a new bf, I realize that I'm older.  Because I'm no longer in the youthful generation, my pool of datable men gets smaller each passing day.  I'm happy being me.  So, I won't ask for you to pray that I'll find a mate.