During the period of time in 2012, since I told my wife that I have a same sex attraction, I have benefited from a period of coaching in which I have been able to come to terms with how I feel.
I have been surprised by my growing capacity to hold within me, conflicting ideals in respect of my gay sexuality and heterosexual marriage.
It seemed to me for many years, that it had to be a choice of one over the other, and I could not imagine a time when the seemingly incompatible complexity of my feelings would ever enable me to feel safe.
A few weeks ago my wife became upset after reading my post on “Infatuation” and it took me a few days to be able to create a space in which we were able to talk and listen.
I picked my moment to start a conversation as we sat together overlooking the sea.
Her fears had been heightened, by reading how my feelings for my own sex manifest themselves in my life and she said it made her feel unsafe.
Gradually, and with much care, I was able to explain that the audience for my posts is not her, it is primarily addressed to those who experience conflict in their lives for which they feel a sense of hopelessness.
I was able to explain with conviction, that to say to me that she accepts that I am gay, and then to say she does not like it when she sees it, or reads it, or thinks about it, is to somehow wish it away, when the fact is, that it will never go away.
My infatuations for me, are not something new, they have been a feature of my life for over thirty years and perhaps even longer.
They are infatuations, not lovers, there is no physical contact and nor will there be, because as far as I can tell, these men are not accessible to me and even if they were, I love her.
My wife explained to me that she needed to feel safe, and when she comes into direct contact with my sexual feelings for men, she does not feel safe.
I then told her that it was not my responsibility to make her feel safe, it was our responsibility together to make sure that we are happy and fulfilled within our marriage.
I pointed to the fact that we have been married for thirty years, we have been married five of those years in the full knowledge that I am gay, I have undertaken intense coaching to manage my anger and to embrace my sexuality as an integral part of my self, I have been faithful to her since our first meeting as teenagers, and we have three children whom we both love with all our hearts.
I explained to her that I craved for years to feel safe, but now I do not do so.
If safety means suppression of the truth, hiding the facts, glossing over the reality of it all, this is not safety, it is the very opposite, because it will lead to the very thing we fear losing.
I explained to her, that the best thing is to shift the focus from wanting to feel safe, to an acceptance of it, which is much more than saying “I accept it”, it is living “I accept it” because ultimately we have a choice over events which follow in the future, over which neither of us has full control.
This reality of individual choice, is at the basis of any marriage.
I choose you, you choose me, and it is a joint enterprise to keep saying “I do” throughout the highs and lows of married life and that never can be a constant bed of flowers without constant tenderness, pruning, cutting back and re-growth.
“Do you feel any better”, I asked
“I do” she says
“I do too” Do you fancy an ice-cream?
My next blog will be: Hiking