Sunday, November 05, 2006

Missing Piece

I’m feeling a bit melancholy today. The last week has been one of much reflection. I am kind of a blur of emotions right now. I want so much to live the life I was born to live. What I am about to say I recognize is very controversial and I am not trying to stir up the dust or offend anyone. These are merely some of my thoughts.
The causes of homosexuality have been debated time and time again. Ultimately, I believe it is a combination of both environment and genetics. But I guess it is relatively unimportant, because I am who I am. And, in my case, I think it is may be a bit more environmental than genetic but who knows. I’m not about to pour out the story of my childhood and parents and so forth. Rather it will suffice to say that I had a relatively happy childhood with loving parents who did the best they could despite their own significant shortcomings.

I have been in and out of counseling for nearly ten years and I am only 24. I was to my recollection neither abused or unloved nor severely psychologically disturbed in any part of my life. Why such a need for counseling? I certainly have had some deep buried issues that have needed resolution. Counseling has been good. I don’t think I am inherently crazy or overly emotional. I don’t suffer from serious clinical depression or any other diagnosable psychological disorder. I have certainly been through bouts of serious depression and anxiety and even taken medications for brief periods, but this is not characteristic of me or my life.

In any case, I know I am not unique in my struggles and that the struggles I face have similar roots with other men who struggle with same gender attraction issues. I do however recognize that each case is unique yet shares similarities on one or many levels.

Now that I have thrown out my preface and disclaimer, I will cut to the chase. If there are obviously serious psychological issues that many if not most gay/homosexual/SSA/SGA/bisexual (whatever you want to call it) persons struggle with, and a portion of their attraction is caused by their psychology, can they ever have a truly meaningful and completely fulfilling relationship with someone of the same gender? If both partners are wading through heavy emotional/psychological difficulties, doesn’t that set them up for a not-so solid relationship? Isn’t that one of the reasons why the gay community is seen as so promiscuous? And likewise, can they have a fulfilling relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Can this psychology be overcome?

I hear those of us with SSA (for lack of better terminology) that are married talk of the intense struggle they bring into marriage and then the subsequent pain –that many of their sexual relations are forced, and unnatural. I am not questioning their choice or saying it is or was right or wrong for them to get married, but it’s something I must consider if I am to deem heterosexual marriage as an option for me.

Then on the other hand I look at my gay friends and my perception of the gay community. I don’t see many true fulfilling relationships there. There is much pain and many fleeting relationships. I can’t force a relationship there either. And if I was to pursue a same-sex relationship, I can’t help but see it as me giving up on getting to the bottom of my psychology, and really figuring out why I am the way I am, and more importantly who I am. I love self discovery. I see a same-sex relationship as suddenly confining myself to a lifestyle that doesn’t necessarily represent me.

I’ll admit, I have tired the gay scene; albeit only briefly. I found that the fantasy is much better than the reality. Many gay men speak of having a “need to be held in the arms of another man” and that close personal affection is what brings a feeling of resolution. I don’t feel so much “need to be held” however, I understand that “need” as I have felt it in the past, but I have changed and really have confidently grown into myself. I have very mutually satisfying relationships with regular straight guys. I am confident in those relationships.
I think in order to have a truly satisfying sexual experience there must be a level of emotional satisfaction. My experiment upon the gay scene brought sexual satisfaction only to a degree because I received much emotional disappointment.

So I guess the best way to describe how I feel is that I am not emotionally attracted to men, but only physically. I don’t think I feel the need to receive intimate masculine affection emotionally in a homosexual way. I receive the affirmation I that need from my heterosexual male friendships.
Yet somewhere inside, emotionally, I still seek a same-sex relationship. Why?

Consequently, I must ask myself how I feel about women. First, it’s hard to find a woman that really catches my heart. However, when I do find a woman that does, I immediately take on the role of “provider.” I very well can fit into the role of being the leader in a relationship, and that’s what I prefer. I am strong, opinionated, and aggressive with decision making. My relationships with women are fewer than that with men. This didn’t always used to be, but it is now. Maybe I am emotionally attracted to women, if I can find the right kind of woman. It is difficult to say.
And then in response to marriage, what if I was to find the “right” kind of girl, settle down and marry? Would things go great for the first little while and then, because suddenly she is my “everything” would my male relationships suffer and I find myself desiring male intimacy?

I feel as if my life is suddenly put on hold until I can figure out what I really want. I feel like I have to guess and take risks to find these answers. I don’t know how I identify myself sexually. I am a man through and through. I love being a man. I love being masculine. More importantly I love me. I want to have someone else who loves me, intimately.

Yesterday, as I was waiting in a line I watched a couple interact. I watched as they exchanged words of affection. He pulled her close and kissed. I was jealous. His need for love and affection in a monogamous fulfilling relationship was being nurtured. Looking at my options as I have stated above, I don’t know that I will ever have something like that. It saddens, frustrates, and worries me to no end. It’s natural to feel the need to love and be loved. I just wonder if I will spend my entire life with this piece of my heart


Scot said...

If there are obviously serious psychological issues… can they ever have a truly meaningful and completely fulfilling relationship with someone of the same gender?

By my observations, it sure makes it difficult. But this is not anything specific to same-sex couples. Keep in mind about 20% of the US population has a mental disorder, the typical college students fool around a lot, and about 50% of all marriages end in divorce. These are struggles for everyone.

I’ve gone over it in great detail in my blog (if you care to read, in the “Main Stops” at the top), but, suffice it to say many gay couples have no problem making a terrific relationship, and serious psychological issues are nothing we’ve experienced. I mean, before we could become parents we had more than one in-depth psychological evaluation, and we’re clean :-).

But, you’re right to worry; people should get to the bottom of their psychology first. With the stigma placed on gays and the typical lack of encouragement to keep their relationships strong by their families and their cultures (not to mention those who think they are being immoral by their religion but will do it anyway), there are great emotional problems for many gays. I’d advise anyone to be very careful, patient, and chaste for a long while in any gay relationship, to be sure they have what they think they have.

Still, I guarantee there are quality, stable gay men out there, looking to build something lasting, but looking only for another stable gay man with the same priorities. You’ll not find them around others in the “gay lifestyle”.

Also, I get the impression you’re near the sort of gay guy I am, more masculine in personality and always having had many strong male friendships. But it’s certainly no barrier to a gay relationship. I enjoy my role as “provider”, and am thankful everyday I found a great guy who likes to cook, and is yet still masculine himself :-).

I just wonder if I will spend my entire life with this piece of my heart missing.

There’s absolutely no reason you should, with whichever attraction you hold. Keep hope; it’s not unreasonable.
(apologies for the dissertation)

Kengo Biddles said...

I'm not going to contradict Scot, as he's quite the living proof. It's also a possibility to be largely happy in a conventional marriage. Miki and I have our ups and downs, and I tend to post when I'm at my worst. I'm happy 9 days out of 10, but that's normal in _any_ relationship. Every relationship has its ups and downs. Every relationship has their moment of strife or crisis.

Last night in UT TV Fox 13 they did a report on being gay and married and LDS. They closed out the whole segment saying that you should get counseling as you work through this issue, period. And I agree 100%. Counseling and much thought and prayer if you so choose. It's a _life_ decision, in a lot of ways, and should be made with care.

May your decision making be fruitful.

John Galt said...

I read your blog for the first time today. Wow. It feels like reading myself 5 years ago. Life changes - you change as you meet different people and experiences. And you discover yourself step by step. I'm still finding pieces I never knew I had. Like you, I never felt an emotional need to be with a man. In fact, it disgusted me to be frank. I saw myself as a man with a woman. I identified with the hetero couples around me and on the screen. I had not fell in love though and wondered if it was for me, considering my attractions. And then, I met my wife.. She's a star. Wonderful, fun, beautiful, intelligent, open-minded and makes life interesting. Like you, I protected her. And physically, it wasn't all fireworks but it wasn't bad and it was the life I wanted. I was the ME I wanted to be. Yes, I WAS missing things. I'm sure every couple is, straight or otherwise. I longed to be with a man, physically. But not emotionally. I also found that the closer I lived to the Spirit, the less I needed a man. The physical aspect was mostly in my mind anyway... the idea of gay sex and the spark that beautiful men ignited inside me. I buried it. But still let myself play on the fence. Dangerous. And stupid. I began to live a life that was not condusive to the Spirit... at parties, late nights with celebrities and clubs, traveling away from home for far too long, believing I was strong enough. Stupid. My job became my life...part of the world. I would meet a guy who would try to start something and I would think to him "do you even think you're worth my soul, my family, my beautiful marriage?" I thought I was stronger than Satan for a while. That I was "worth too much." Ouch. Not a smart move. And slowly, I opened my heart to it. To him. I was looking for him actually... for the perfect guy who was worth it. Of course this was subconsiously, but looking back I can now recognize it. That was my weakness. I did not shut it down. And then, as the great stars collide for my destruction, I met him. And suddenly everything changed. I needed him, emotionally, physically, everything. I was in one week more gay than I had ever been in my life. Not physically or personality but in my DESIRE. I think it's a path that we choose, and each choice has a consequence, one step at a time. I dove in, head first, and am now paying the price to rewind myself.

Like Scot said, every relationship has flaws. But I do believe that you have a choice inside, now. And ultimately you have to put your stake in what you believe and who you want to become. That is more powerful than who you are. Otherwise it will become you.

In the end, my belief is that this battle requires a 100% bet in God and His mercy and His gospel. Anything else will fail you.

Well, I've written my own post as a comment. Sorry Cas. I just haven't read you before. You're writing introspective and honest stuff. Thanks.

Scot said...


I call the right shoulder. (is that too vague?)

Let me kind of jump shoulders and agree with John and Kengo’s position. I’d not do anything significant until after the ethics and religious aspects are cleared up sufficiently. If, after that, a prohibition against gay relationships remains part of your faith, I’d think it best to remain celibate or try to follow some of the other married LDS blogger’s paths, if it’s feasibility becomes reasonably certain.

You’re sure to look familiar to many here and opinions abound. But I think we can all agree, we hope to help and no one wants another self-destructive gay man in a gay or straight relationship. I’d much rather have another gay man in a monogamous life-long heterosexual relationship than another sad, ruined, and ethically foundationless gay man in “my community”.