Just over three years ago, I told my wife that I had a same sex attraction and that whilst I had never been unfaithful to her, my feelings had wreaked havoc on my emotional state of mind. [Earlier posts explain this in more detail].
We came to an agreement, and Here is the Deal!.
- We love each other and we both want to stay married.
- I will not pursue a gay lifestyle.
- I will seek help to enable me to accept my feelings.
- I will be more open with her about my feelings and I will be more responsive to her feelings too.
- We will move forward from past troubles and we will have a calmer relationship, less arguments, less shouting, less sulking, less control.
In the intervening years. I have made a huge effort and progress in my acceptance of self. and my focus on self. as a means of presenting differently to my family and to the world.
I still carry the emotional scars of the past, in fact we both do, and occasionally old issues re-surface and have the potential to cause us both pain.
Last week, I sensed that my daughter was unhappy and in discussing my concerns, my wife began to relate the effect that my past behaviour had had on them – it hurt me to hear it.
It hurt, because I have acknowledged the past, and what I needed was someone to bring some balance, not a judgement, and in that moment the whole “Here’s the Deal” felt hopeless and unworkable.
After a difficult couple of days, we were able to talk again and I addressed directly the accusation that my focus on my own development is self obsession.
I addressed this by explaining clearly why I believe my development is not a self obsession:-
- I am calmer
- I am less controlling
- I am more self disciplined
- I have very many resources to support me when I am feeling low
- I accept my sexuality
- I accept that my adult children want to make their own decisions/choices which may differ from my own.
- I am less dogmatic in my faith, but still faithful
- I have withdrawn from been news-centric
- I watch less TV
- I exercise and I have lost weight
- I have reached out to my siblings for a network of support and broke down the barriers I had erected between us.
- I have separated my work from home to establish a good work-life balance
- I have given up my voluntary work to make me more accessible to the family and to my wife.
- I paint, I read, I write my blog, I keep a journal, I write a diary.
- I drink less alcohol.
- I take my development and guidance very seriously and I make strenuous efforts to apply the learning to my life
- I try to live in the present, being mindful of the past and aware that future anxieties are mirrors of the past not reality of what will happen.
- I spend more time with my elderly parents
But I did something else on Sunday which moved us forward in a big way:-
- I made it clear that I had failed in the past in some respects as a husband and a father and that this failure has had an effect on my wife and children which I cannot deny.
- I could not cope with aspects of my parental responsibilities.
- I could not cope with pressures of work and family and financial responsibilities.
- I could not cope with life choices that my teenage children made which were different to my own.
- I was driven for my children them to succeed where I had not and this put undue pressure on them and stressed them out.
- I could not cope in relationships with my parents and siblings.
- I had a tendency to dislike people.
- It was my fault – not yours – I am conscious of my past failings but not so good in remembering the good things I did.
I can’t change the past, but I can change the future and that is what I am investing my development in doing just that.
I asked for something else:
- Love and understanding and recognition for my efforts to change
- A narrative of the present and the future not a crushing judgement on the past.
- A balanced view of the past when aspects need discussion – it was bad here, but look how good it was there.
It looks like I might have got myself a new deal!
My next blog will be: Yellow Boat