A Softening of Intensity

In recent months, I have felt strongly the intensity of my emotions. These feelings have been compounded by the social isolation of the Covid lockdown; the cold weather; the dark evenings and my long working hours at home alone.

Layered on top of all this bleakness, has been an overwhelming period of anguish over the dilemma of my trapped self in a life that cannot find sufficient space to articulate my truth of being a gay man in a heterosexual marriage.

This week, I sensed a shift in the intensity of my emotions, as if the strength in the anguish has started to soften, started to melt, started to release me from the prison of self-pity.

The better weather, the lighter evenings, the easing of lock-down, being physically and sexually active and having an exchange of feelings with my boss about the stress I have been under at work have all helped, but more importantly I have enjoyed a period of connection with my wife.

Despite our difficulties, I do have the capacity to make her laugh, sometimes uncontrollably. I like it when she laughs. it makes our joint suffering over our dilemma seem somehow manageable and gives me hope for our future that I often seem to lack.

She was talking about her need to buy some summer clothes. I said that I was not in need of anything particularly, but if I was a woman I would make sure that I dressed to impress. She ponders on me as a woman and she has to admit I’d have made a good one. We giggle and I feel safe, I feel less frightened and my burden is eased.

We talk in the car, as we drive to see some friends two hours away about sexuality. She wonders if I am bi-sexual, but I am emphatic that I am gay. I tell her that my primary and only attraction is to men, not women. Her features darken for a moment at the intensity of my truth. Does this mean I am not attracted to her, she asks. Again I tell her that I am only attracted to men, but I love her.

These interactions are a liberation from the intensity, because they allow me to convey who I am to perhaps the most important person in the world.

I have tried so hard to keep my life with her in our marriage intact and it has been, and still will be a very very difficult journey, eased by our ability to be honest with each other, eased by our ability to comfort each other, and eased by our ability to laugh and love.

William Defoe

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