Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Relationship Status: It's Complicated.

Whoa boy. What a pickle. Which is to say I am in a pickle. And indeed, this is one of the toughest challenges I've come across. I think what I need for someone to say to me is, "it's not as bad as you think it is", but then again, I would probably dismiss such a statement.
Again, I'm using my SL blog to discuss my RL issues. If this somehow annoys you, well, here's the warning. Also the reasoning. I know I have a difficult time facing my RL issues in a RL theatre. I don't talk about it on facebook, and my RL journal (LiveJournal) has only one entry from way back a year ago or so, I haven't even logged in to that. One attraction of SL is its anonymity. I can express myself fully without having to explain to personal close friends what's going on.
Which, after writing that sentence down, seems kind of cowardly. (sad face) But it's where I am, and it's in the hand that I've been dealt, and so deal with it I must.
Anyone following my blog might know some of the background. So some of this might be redundant, but I believe in a tight, self-referential journal, so I'll probably repeat some information.
I am married. I am gay. When I got married, I told my self that having my feelings was a phase, and that it would pass, and I could have "a normal life". Those feelings did not pass. The woman I am married to is truly a wonderful person. Any straight guy should be so lucky. We have kids. Beautiful, intelligent, bright, funny kids. I held in my orientation for eight strong years, during which we as a family prospered. I personally, however, was not prospering, and towards the end of the lie, I was having great emotional and spiritual problems, because I was lying. I thought that finally saying something out loud would fix that. It proves again how much I was naive. Some personal, internal problems did fix themselves, yes. Complications arose, though, and complications grew like fractals. It was very confusing at times, and I found I was forced to make decisions within these confusing times. And now, here I am, in this pickle.
Rather than try to roadmap the turns I have made, with backtracking and trying alternate routes, I think the best way for me to approach this is by concentrating on the present, and to try to clear some of the psychological obstacles that hinder good decision-making.
Fact: While on SL I explored what it was like to be fully out of the closet. I attended virtual gay clubs, and had virtual relationships. I had been partnered twice, both to beautiful, good men. Both were dissolved. I am in another relationship now which has bridged the SL/RL separation, (we've grown to know each other better on facebook and via phone calls before SL). I want to proceed with our relationship and continue it.
Fact: My wife was devastated. We were good friends before we even started dating, and I truly want her to find happiness and fulfillment in her life. But because of this shock, she went through some terrible anguish, and still to this day is trying to cope. This is not a good place for her.
Fact: I love her and I want her to be happy, wherever it may take her. I also adore my children and want to play an active role in their growth and lives.
Fact: We, my wife and I, moved to another part of the country soon after our daughter was born for financial reasons. It was part of the country neither of us ever intended to settle down, but in hard times sometimes one must choose from what is available rather than what is ideal. It had always been our intention that Oklahoma was a steppingstone to our ideal settlement, and we made the best of it. It has proven to be a good place to live and to raise our kids, for the most part, and I discovered how judgmental I could be on a place that I knew very little about. Still, it was always intended to be a steppingstone home, and that's how we looked at it.
Fact: I am getting older. She is getting older. Our kids are getting older. My son turned 12 last month, he's almost a teenager. My sweet baby girl is now 9. They are fully legitimate people now. I feel like I'm running out of time.
Fact: I am mule-headed. When I get an idea in my head that I feel is the right thing to do, by gum, that's what I am going to do. I've done it in the past, and my family tapestry is rich with stubborn threads. In this case, I pushed a quantum leap, and that may have been a terrible mistake. And now I have to deal with the consequences.
To elaborate: Both my wife and I wanted to move on with our lives. I quit my job and spent a good month fixing up the house to ready it for sale. We put it on the market, and I moved to where we thought we would be moving, to Minnesota, our home state. The intention was that when the house sold, my wife and kids would come. I would have secured a job and built a foundation for that move. Neither has the house sold or I gotten a job. These are not good indications of things to come. I am in Minnesota, they are still in Oklahoma, and it's been 5 months. I worry that this long an absence will have devastating effect on our kids, and in my phone calls with them, I sense it is.
New Fact: My wife has an job opportunity that would take her to Pennsylvania and she is pretty much a shoe-in for the job. This one is new, I just found out about it over the weekend. We've talked about it. It would be a good opportunity for her. If it was just her, that'd be fine. but it's not just her, it would be the kids as well. And if they are in PA and I'm in MN, that's like 17 hours drive away, and that's too far for me to have that close active role in the kids' lives. I've already gone through this one in my head, before she got the opportunity. The guy that I'm interested in lives in Oregon. Both he and I want to pursue the relationship, but both of us are tied to our respective locations. I had entertained the possibility of moving out there before, but had always balked at it, because it was too far from where the kids would be. If my kids were in PA and I in MN, it wouldn't be any different if they were in OK or MN and I in OR.
Honestly, I have no objections to moving to PA, except minor, kinda whiny sounding ones. One being, "I just moved to Minnesota, I haven't even given this place a chance". Another being "I don't know anyone in PA, and I'll have to start life from scratch again." Yet the biggest concern I have is this: I feel that this will come between me and Steve (the guy in OR) and that we might not make it work because of the distance. I want to be with him, and a move to PA it seems would make it even more difficult for that to happen.
My resources are drying up. I'm not having success finding the happiness that I sought. I have a tangle of emotional problems including separation anxiety, self-depreciation (part of why I can't get a job), motivational problems, and on top of it all, I can't seem to convince my higher self that being gay is ok, no matter how accepting society is becoming towards it. I feel pressure from all sides to act now ("Strike while the iron's hot"), and unlike video games, I only have one life. There is no do-over.
So there you have it. That's my blog entry. These are the things that I'm thinking about and dealing with. I'm hoping that getting these things written down helps me figure some of it out. I'm travelling today to Oklahoma for a long weekend, and I hope to talk with my wife about how to make everything work out so that she can be happy, and that I can be happy, and that we can provide emotional and financial support for our children.


Rammy said...

Hello Leigh!

I am not a know-it-all so fear not - no words of wisdom to appear here.

It is very hard to be responsible. But it is very hard if a voice in your head tells you you need to be responsible.

Maybe the answer is to have a conversation with the "voice" and ask it why and to come to some understanding of why the voice says this.

Well I read your post a few times and PA is not bad by the way. At least as far as I know.

Take care - your friend Rammy

Leigh Eel said...

Thank you Rammy, for your reply. For some reason its easier to post on this journal rather than my RL one.

I'm feeling ok about PA right now. At first it was sorta a shock because I hadn't considered it, but looking around, I think that it's do-able. Seems like a decent place.
I tangle with the "responsibility" voice in my head all the time. Sometimes its very helpful, and sometimes it's dang oppressive.
When you coming back to SL? Haven't seen you in ages. (also, using SL viewer 2.0, which isn't so communication-friendly, so if you come online, sometimes I don't see it if I'm doing other stuff, please do give me a buzz)

Jordyn Carnell said...

Eel.. Hi

I'd like to recommend a couple books that lately I seem to recommending to people.. (and I'm rarely one to recommend stuff)

"The Happiness Trap" by Russ Harris. Provides a theraputic model for living a values centered life and dealing with the "trap" we have of feeling like we always need to be "happy".


"Uncoupling" by Diane Vaughn. Details the turning points in relationships as people go from being a couple back to being single.

Using your SL blog as a place to think through RL issues is not cowardly.. it's actually quite healthy. Unfortunately I have too people in my RL that also know my SL identity and also read Midcourt. Sooooo... I ended up creating yet another blog to think things through in. (a private one)

I wish you well