The other day in the newspaper there was a little Charlie Brown Cartoon in which Charlie is asked where he is going, his response was "I am going to the dentist to have my teeth criticised".
For me over the last few months being in front of a mirror all to often felt like Charlie Brown's visit to the dentist, whilst I have softened to those around me, on myself I have remained extremely hard, often unable to forgive myself not only for hurting the people that I love so much, but mostly because of feeling that I have not been true and honest to myself for so much of my life.
A curfew and period of time was given to me to resolve this within myself (being the 5 weeks of opening my marriage) but the ticking of the stopwatch created a sense of panic and insecurity, it is not an easy decision to consider leaving a partner of 12 years, my family as I know it, my home and the life that I have put so much energy into building. As I have written before, I do not fear the change itself as much as I fear regretting what I would be leaving behind. In the impending need to decide I have reached a point where i have become overwhelmed and my mind has entered a state of "analysis paralysis" and a feeling that my thoughts are locked in an eternal loop. With the inability to shut of my mind, it has resulted in me reaching the point of sheer exhaustion and throwing me into a state of depression.
Throughout my pressures, pain and confusion I have always remained reluctant to have to resort to any form of medication, I never wanted to loose my ability to feel, but with the stakes being so high and those feelings over consuming me I have had no alternative, but to now take the advice of my shrink and doctor and allow myself some assistance medically in finding the relief and answers I have been searching for.
Although the medication has created a slight feeling of numbness, and a sense of withdrawal from reality, it has also seemed to bring a certain amount of clarity as well. I never truly believed that I would find the answer within my curfew period, however part of me always hoped that the right path would reveal itself. I feel now that with a slightly greater sense of clarity, I have been able to find just such a path, a path along which i hope to ensure that I make a decision to be happy within a construct of living a life that is of my making. So much of my life I have found myself consumed with making those around me proud often to my own detriment, where now I want that I rather live to make myself proud first. It is in this vain that going forward instead of picking the path others have desired for me, I will continue to walk along a path that i am comfortable travelling, and one with which I can set an example to my children as to how to live a fuller and whole life.
As important a part of my life as my children are, I found it was my wife who was restricting me by holding onto my leg so tightly, scared of the prospect of letting me go, somehow despite everything that I have thrown at her, it was me that she remained wanting. Watching her fighting for our marriage distracted me from the fact that as much as I pushed her, I too was not ready to actually ask her to let go of me and what we have built together.
My greatest obstacle through my entire journey whilst pursuing who it is that i really am, was doubt. The fact that I was not truly ready to let my wife go, inhibited me from ever being able to pursue a full life beyond that of my marriage. After the support that my wife has given me, I find myself unable to give up on a marriage that i am now able to be both vulnerable and honest in, but most of all, one that i would doubt leaving.
So in order to allow myself the ability to now move forward I have committed to pursue staying home, and whilst this might not mean "happily ever after", I can but only try. I will not allow that I once again reach a point of denying my true self or ending my pursuit to be happy, but rather try to resolve without any doubt, that the life i have with my wife is not a life that is able to be fulfilling, not only for me, but her as well. I am confident that this is the correct decision for us, however I am cautious to not allow myself to reach a stage where I once again deny myself an honest identity or one in which I find myself preventing my wife from having a deserving relationship. Before I can continue to fully pursue a life as either a single man, a single gay man or a relationship with my boyfriend, it is my role as husband that i need to resolve first, so that should I choose a path that leads me in a direction away from my wife, it is done knowing that we tried and secure in the fact that it is a decision that was made cautiously and conscious of not only ourselves, but our children as well.
To properly achieve this resolution I have had to say goodbye to my boyfriend and whilst i hoped that the medication would make this decision that much easier to bear, I find myself reaching all new lows with my mind constantly consumed with the many memories of the most extraordinary 7 months with him.
The greatest pain and difficulty is having cut off communication with him, such making it unable for me to remind him of how special, loved and missed he is. It is hard to let go of him without creating doubt in his mind as to how much he means to me, but I know now with absolute certainty that in order for me to properly resolve my future with anyone, I have to be given the opportunity to still further evolve, explore within myself and to give my family the chance not only for their sakes, but for my mine as well. I am no longer able to do this living two lives or with the constant echo of a ticking clock constantly haunting me.
Within the agreement to be honest with my wife going forward and the acknowledgement that I will no longer repress my emotions, but rather be true to myself, I am not going to try and hide the pain of having had to let my boyfriend go, he is not a switch that I will easily be able to turn off, but maybe in that will lie an answer within itself.
So my journey now has changed from the imminent need to answer questions within myself, to one of patience and allowing myself time to evolve to a place of certainty and stability so that I can try and live as still and doubt free life as possible, certain that the life that I eventually choose to live is one of my construct and choice and in which everyone can be happy.
If I have achieved anything over the last few months, it is that I can proudly say that for the first time in my life I am honest with the the people that matter most to me. My goal now is to ensure that I am honest with myself so as to enable me the ability to look in the mirror without any critique.
"An example is often a deceptive mirror, and the order of destiny, so troubling to our thoughts, is not always found written in things past." Pierre Corneille