Monday, January 01, 2007

Batting For The Pink Team

Much of my blog thus far has really been a debate over what I really want out of life in the long run. Do I want to pursue a long term same-sex relationship or would I be better off trying to make a heterosexual relationship work? I mean, ultimately which relationship will work better for me? The fact of the matter is that regardless of which relationship I choose to pursue, I will have to make some sacrifice.

A homosexual relationship would deny me my own natural born children, remove any possibility of making peace with the Church, intense social pressure (in the 'coming out' process) , and bring on a whole world of politics that I am not sure I want to get into. Furthermore, I identify with traditional family roles. I have a hard time picturing myself with a man and kissing him good bye as I leave for work while he hands me my sack lunch. Envisioning myself with that kind of a life is foreign to me, and perhaps my resistance to a homosexual plot is because I was raised in a heterosexual home, grew up with heterosexual friends, and the reality that nearly half of my friends in my current peer group are married. In truth, it is possible that my hesitation to such is less nature than nurture. Not that a homosexual relationship can't work for me or that my paradigm can't change (though sometimes I have doubts about my ability to have a healthy productive love relationship with anyone on account of my previous unsuccessful relationships), but more that I just can't picture myself in a same sex relationship, and it would seem unnatural to force such a scenario.

Conversely, what if I were to pursue a heterosexual life? Certainly there are many men in my shoes that have chosen to live in a heterosexual marriage. Many of them have been successful in proving that a marriage can survive despite their intense homosexual feelings. Many of them have also chosen to abandon their marriages to try batting for the pink team. Would I be able to romance a woman to the point of considering marriage? Am I expected to lead her on until I have her sufficiently wooed and then break the news to her? I can't lie about my feelings and I won't pretend to be somebody else from the get-go. Not that I feel the need to wear my emotions on my sleeve and announce to the world everything about myself, but I am not going to lie about my feelings. Additionally, I think it is safe to assume that the great majority of women aren't interested in getting romantically involved with gay men much less married to them.

I hear and read about many men who have not told their wives about their homosexual feelings. I couldn't keep that reality away from my wife. Furthermore, were I to share my feelings with my wife, how could I expect to be completely honest and open with her about how "un attracted" I am to her, how much I "want" to be living a homosexual life, and expect her to remain objective and supportive? It's not fair to do that to her.

And then, WOAH! Throw some offspring into the mix and I have created quite the tangle. Children need completely devoted and committed parents. Anything less is unsatisfactory. I've said it before, I'd be willing to give marriage a shot, but you can't go into marriage with a sampler's attitude. There are no test-drives for marriage.

How did the married homosexual men out there ever convince a woman to marry them? How were they able to search out a woman, date her exclusively, and then finally decide that marriage was the road to take? How does one come to that place? I ask because, from where I see it, finding the woman who matches the criteria for me to date is virtually impossible. Like I said, what woman wants to date a gay man who is basically not sexually attracted to her?

On the opposing side, I think it would be incredibly difficult to find a gay man that would be able to meet my criteria for dating AND for me to feel comfortable in the relationship. Again, not that it's impossible, but it's difficult for me to see myself with a boyfriend. I think it would be hard for me to find a gay man that could emotionally "complete" me. Additionally, how do you put yourself "out there" trying to meet gay men and yet remain "in the closet" so as to keep yourself from getting kicked out of BYU? Maybe I need to transfer schools...

Finally, my greatest concern with coming out. It's not that I am afraid of the social responsibility associated with making such an announcement (not that I would write it on my forehead or anything). It is indeed worrisome and deserves deliberation, but it is within my personal emotional capability to cope with coming out. I have a great family with incredible support. My primary concern would be this, what if a few years down the road I want to switch teams? What if I realize that living a gay life isn't fulfilling and decide that I want to try the straight thing again? Am I allowed to do that? I mean the truth is, I don't think anyone is interested in dating someone who apparently is insecure with what he wants relationship wise. Too much instability and lack of commitment. I wouldn't want to date someone like that. So maybe celibacy is the answer. That stinks. Who wants that?

The frustrating thing is, (not to sound overly egotistical) I really think I am a damn fine catch -for a woman or a man. I have goals, I am balanced, I am confident in most everything I do, I like me, and I don't feel like I settle for less in life. I am willing to give new things a try. I thrive on experience and I allow my experience to become part of who I am. I have a vivid personality, a great sense of humor, and I can get along with nearly anyone. I can be charismatic when I want to be and I'm generally well liked. And while I recognize that physical appearance is of little significance, I like the way I look too. I mean, looks only last as long as youth does anyway right? I can be the life of the party or I can be a wall flower. I succeed in most things I pursue as long as it doesn’t require more than basic arithmetic. :-) I am a thinker and a leader. I feel passionately about a lot of things and I enjoy life. I am a problem solver. Instead of shrugging my shoulders I will work to find a solution and make the impossible, possible even when I have few or limited variables to work with. I am not afraid to tell someone I love them. I am honest with myself, my friends and my associates even when honesty can hurt, but benefit in the long run. I don't play with other people's feelings and expect the same in return. I want to love and to be loved.

I hope that doesn’t sound like a vain monologue because I know that I am no better or more valued than anyone else. I am an equal with everyone. I believe that and I live my life accordingly. It's just that I know who I am, I like the man that God created and I wouldn't want to change a thing about me.

So which path do I take? Which team do I play for? If I bat for the pink team, and I start to strike out in life, can I ever go back to my home team, or would it be far too late for making such life-changing decisions after having played in the prime of my life? It is a question that no one can answer for me but Father Time and Professor Experience.


Gay BYU Student said...

Caspian you seem very thorough in your writing. Its obvious you've given this a lot of thought. And I'm sure we all have.

I don't have the answer for you. But if it makes you feel any better - I can sympathize with you 100%. Marriage sounds tough and unfair, a gay relationship seems equally difficult, and celibacy is just plain undesirable.

But you raise an interesting question - can you switch hit? I think you can. You would probably have to move, so as to have different people around you that don't know your past, but I think it is possible. Then you could date "normally" until you know someone enough to tell them about your past. If it were the right person she would stick with you. I think there are plenty of women out there willing to look past almost any defect, difficult or not as it would be for both of you.

But since I have not tried and have not even decided which way I want to go in life, maybe I'm not the best person to ask.

Samantha said...

"...can you switch hit?

Ummm...I did...

Samantha said...

Oh, and not that I'm recommending that course of action to anyone--just stating the facts.

Scot said...

I’m sure you can go from dating one sex to the other and back as many times as you like. There is an asymmetry though in that I’d imagine the average gay man is more forgiving of past heterosexual relationships than the average straight woman would be of past homosexual relationships.

Either way though, you’re right. You’ll have to give something up and take on burdens. Like most here, I think my burdens are more than worth it and that I gave up the right perks, but that certainly may not be what’s right for you.

I mean the truth is, I don't think anyone is interested in dating someone who apparently is insecure with what he wants relationship wise. Too much instability and lack of commitment. I wouldn't want to date someone like that. So maybe celibacy is the answer. That stinks. Who wants that?

I think this is your biggest hurdle here. Both the Straight City Wolverines and the Gayland Poodles want players on their teams who are going to be good batters, not merely more batters. The instability threatens that and suggests more time is needed before the season starts ;-).

robb said...

You mention sacrifice. And yet you only briefly consider the no-dating option. That's a real sacrifice and, yeah, it's not exactly desirable. But maybe you ought to give it more thought.

Rather than bounce around trying to get a feel for what feels good, maybe you can take a break away from it all. Figure out what life means for you regardless of a relationship. Then, in time, you may have a better idea what you really want and how to make/let it happen.

"One team or the other" isn't the only meaningful question to consider. And maybe by seeking out those other answers you'll gain insight to your life-long motivations.

el veneno said...

Robb is amazing. Listen to his advice.

Here's my slightly less valuable, and lenghtier input...
On the question of when to tell a girl you're dating, I'm convinced the best time is when you are reasonably assured yourself that you love her and are willing to make the commitment to love her forever (which means a lot of sacrifice). When I reach that point (if I reach that point) I'll tell the girl. After that conversation, I'll give her some time to take it all in. We'll step the relationship up from there and, if we're both still feeling good about it, we'll get engaged and live happily ever after.

Forcing straight dating is a losing battle. The key is to learn to be ok with yourself and keep becoming the type of guy you want to be while at least keeping your mind and heart open to the possibility of marrying a woman. Eventually you may meet a girl and things will just feel right. That's what I've seen at least from my friends who are gay and married or getting married. Part of it though, is like Robb said, accepting the fact that you may never meet that special girl and learning to be ok with that too.

As far as dating guys, I have very little experience. I can tell you that it is possible to do it while at BYU without getting kicked out. There are a surprising number of people who do it. In my opinion, the whole "honor code police" thing is kind of folklore.
The gay people I've known who have left BYU have either left because they get tired of having to hide things, realize they don't believe in the church, or are especially vocal about trying to get the church in line with their personal morality. Most people who feel guilty and confess to a priesthood leader have been able to stay at BYU on probation if they are comitted to not repeating the same behavior. If they do get kicked out it's because they're unrepentant and may only want to stay at BYU to avoid the shame or something.
As far as how to meet guys and stay in the closet, there are all kinds of websites which I can suggest if you're interested, or you can just go to the gay night clubs in SLC and I'm sure you'll recognize a couple fellas from your ward or from your classes. You could probably also use the blog network you have right now to ask for some suggestions. I'm sure many of your readers would either go out with you or could refer you to someone who would.
One thing I can tell you from personal experience about getting to know other gay guys is that it is a lot more comfortable and less awkward than I imagined it would be and it's amazing how easy it is to let yourself feel romantic feelings if you even kind of want it to happen.

As far as your "vain monologue," it's right on. I'm sure you're an amazing person. I hope you can feel for yourself just how amazing you are. Luckily, you don't need to be a lover to share your brilliance with the world. You can be a great friend, brother, employee... you get the picture. It's a sacrifice. Forgoing a powerfully fulfilling romantic relationship may allow you more time to improve your relationships in other areas.
For me, my desire to love somebody on an intimate level is very connected to my desire and need to feel loved. Some respite from the agony of loneliness has come from learning to like myself, recognizing and appreciating the successful (even if unromantic) relationships I already have, and feeling the love and acceptance of God.

I hope what I wrote here doesn't sound too preachy one way or another. I'm basically just trying to let you see something that has changed everything for me--that your life is full of real possibilities. Some of the barriers we fear are real and others are farce but all barriers are small compared to the power of our will. My brother, for example, who is distanced from the church often tells us how easy it was to forget the church once he decided to leave and how much happier he his now without it in his life. I think in our situation, the easier path is to forget the church (at least in some degree) and love a man. I know there are obstacles you see with that, but from what I've seen, you get over them. Your family and real friends will come around and the stupid people in society would be more funny than annoying. Marrying a woman is a lot more difficult. I don't know if I could ever really forget that I like men. But there are benefits to that path that make the sacrifice worth it. You may also chose to live your life "alone." I'm doing that now and I've been very pleasantly surprised to find that I really don't feel too alone. I'm surrounded by great friends and a contintually supportive family. There are perks like having lots of extra money, free time, and the fact that I don't feel like my stupidity is messing up anybody else too badly. There are even more choices, like marrying a woman but having affairs with men, living alone but having affairs with women, marrying a man and adopting children... we live in the most free country on earth. The possibilities, really, are endless.
Reading your post is like reading my own journal. I completely understand everything you said. I'm equally confused about lots of the same stuff. I've made decisions about some of it. I'm not going to tell you what decisions to make for yourself. I can tell you what I think, or what the church thinks, or what MTV thinks, but you're never going to be happy until you're living your life based on what you really believe. Be careful with your life but don't paralyze yourself with fear of failure. The path to who you eventually become will be made of many right and wrong turns. Good luck on the journey!

Tronchik said...

I want to give a little perspective from someone who has been... well, practically in love with someone who struggles with SSA. I would marry him. In a second. But we decided together that I couldn't wait for him or wait for something that might never occur and he needed to continue progressing in his life without the pressure of trying to change for someone. I couldn't expect that and I know that isn't how it works. Anyhow,
I read something in the book In Quiet Desperation that made me think a lot about the decision for someone who has SSA to date and get married to someone of the opposite sex when it feels so impossible. The struggle of trying to find romantic feelings for someone when you don't feel them must be agonizing and in a lot of cases, not feasible. But as I have observed, there are many situations in which it is possible. I think this is something that must be put completely in God's hands. I heard from someone who has given me much wisdom about this challenge that it isn't a question of "if" you'll get married, it is when. Perhaps not in this lifetime, but the Lord does fulfill his promises. You've probably heard something similar a thousand times and it might not be entirely comforting, but do know that there are women who would fall in love with you (if you are blessed with that desire) and you are never alone in this life.