It's not always easy to open up to your loved ones.
Personal blog #4
Personal blog #3: Finitely Infinite
Personal blog #2: Meeting the Beast
Personal blog #1: A World Outside the Picture:
Sometimes I look at all of this, all the changes in our life, and I wonder at how I was able to make the leaps and bounds in creating that momentum of change. How did this stubborn as fuck girl that stayed so steadfast on a sinking ship finally decide to grab a life jacket, to learn to swim and protect the relationship that is the most important thing in her life?
Cause, let’s be honest, both my husband and I had consigned ourselves to our lives. While not entirely unhappy, we were unfulfilled and full of untapped potential. Toxic in ways we hadn’t realized, we loved each other far too much to let go. I smile—if a bit sadly—thinking back on it. We both have our own special kind of stubbornness and I am happy for it. There were so many arguments, so many unhealthy ways of trying to resolve conflicts…so many things left unsaid that should have been spoken.
Neither of us handled things in the best of manners, but I lashed out in spectacular ways. I don’t say that in any manner of blame or to garner pity. I look back at this girl and I understand and empathize with her. She was so terribly frightened of losing the other half of her soul. And fear can do terrible things to the person. So, when her husband—depressed and confused and scared—reached out for help, she withdrew into her own depression and confusion. Instead, she researched and sought advice in places that she never should have.
During this time, my husband was struggling with his sexuality—trying to quantify it in a way that didn’t make him feel guilty and failing spectacularly. Was he gay? Was he bi? One thing for sure, he was not straight. I had been his first real relationship, and I honestly believe (despite his assurances both presently and in the past otherwise) that he would be healthier had he been able to explore himself and his sexuality before getting saddled with me. For the longest time, he hid these feelings away in his mind, locked in his deep lies that he preferred male physiques.
But, that wasn’t just it. There were desires, harder and harder for him to quash, and they were causing such horrid guilt to weigh on his soul. I remember each time he tried to breach the subject with me, and I remember each time how I would rebuke it or dismiss it or accuse him. There are things I still feel guilty for that girl doing, things I still atone for despite him never feeling like I should.
But, there was a day when the levee broke. I listened. I saw that pain and that hurt. I wish that was the end of the story. I wish I could say that I took him in my arms, that I told him I loved him unconditionally and in every manner that came with taking the oaths that bound us.
I did not.
I took that pain and that hurt. I braided it with my confusion (have you been lying to me all these years??), my insecurities (wasn’t I enough? Are you even attracted to me at all? Are you going to leave me to find a man?), my anger (you took my idea of a white picket fence and normal marriage and you squashed it! How dare you be anything other than heteronormative?), and I lashed out with it. I ignored his anguish and purely focused on what his sexuality meant to me, and to my life.
I’m not proud of it.
I’m not proud of those thoughts in italics. That girl, crumpled on a bed—confused, crying and seemingly alone—is not me anymore.
That was a part of our history. His hurt, his confusion, and self loathing. My anger, pain, and insecurity. A lattice of toxicity that blanketed our home for weeks.
And during this time, I scoured the internet (the one place I should not have looked for for hope. Let’s be honest), looking for anything, anything, that could save us. All I found was confirmation bias. Stories of broken hearted men who ‘had’ to leave their women because of their realization of being gay, broken hearted women that lived a lonely life where they looked back and wondered. I read relationship therapists that denounced it, that shamed the men for what happened. That said that the men often used the women as scapegoats (even if only subconsciously) to live a normal life until the pressure became too much.
As strange as this is going to sound, that thought was the turning point: that horrid, horrid viewpoint. There is no person that knows my husband better than I (I’m going to ignore the more pessimistic in the crowd that would like to believe that I’m deluding myself right now). In the past or now. Even in some deep recess of my mind, I always knew he was pansexual (spoiler alert, that is our very loose label we use right now)—that he even leaned more to men than women. Hell, there are funny, awkward moments that made it so painfully obvious that I ignored it then…but we tease each other about now.
There is no one more caring, more attuned to me…more in love with me than this person. In all of this, his love and devotion was never a question, never a wonder. If it had been, honestly…it would have almost been easier, because then we could have walked away from each other, consciences clear. It made one thing so crystal clear in all the murky unsureness. I was not this man’s scapegoat. He did not stay up comforting me while I wept for his own sexuality and my own perceived losses while his insides tore himself up just so he could use me as some normalcy front. That was beneath him, beneath us. I would not entertain that idea and belittle our relationship.
And, honestly, reading through the viewpoints of those that lived it—none of those men used those women as scapegoats either. There was true love there, a different sort of relationship that was not able to survive the truth of the orientation, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t make what they felt at that given time any less. Shame on those therapists for invalidating and belittling fellow human beings for that.
But, I needed that perspective, that extreme, to understand where I actually stood. Next step was to understand what I wanted to do. I changed what I searched the internet rabbit hole for. Also not promising. Some part of me was still stuck on what life is supposed to look like when it’s successful and happy. Heteronormative. I was fixated on this grandiose idea of idealized ‘old people love’ (for lack of better phrasing). Where my husband and I would be these doddering 90 year olds married for sixty odd years and people would look on in awe and ask us: “How do you do it?” and we would just give that little smile and die in the sunset together, holding hands.
Anything else than this exaggerated glimpse into my old psyche was abhorrent to even contemplate to that girl I once was. I felt cheated of my perfect world—and there seemed no way out. Because my perfect world had my husband in it, no matter what. And every story I read I read online seemed bleaker and bleaker. And more tired. He’d tried to reach out, to tell me that he could bury these emotions down, deep, again. If he’d done it for over half a decade (hell, his entire life), he could do it longer.
Pandora’s box had opened, and I knew better.
I remember the article that I read that finally made me wake up. It was a Cracked article, one of their lifestyle pieces written in a POV of a gay man that had married his best friend. Their situation was entirely different than ours, but his turn of phrasing, his emotions hit such a raw nerve and left me breathless. I saw my husband’s pain in him, and I saw the future of our relationship if we traveled this well worn path. It was nearly certainly fate driven for me to read it—released during a time that I struggled with a deep and bottomless pit of depression and ugly thoughts, the article offered me a rope I hadn’t initially thought I would get.
I know it sounds funny. Not real. Fake. But I swear that it was simply reading that Cracked article. Reading it at work and weeping at my desk, that made me realize what we needed to do. As trite as it sounds, it’s the truth.
I realized I loved my husband more than I loved my idealized view of what my life should be. And, who had decided that vision? I honestly didn’t remember ever personally waking up and going “golly gee, I want 2.5 kids and a completely normal 1950’s sorta style life!”. It was something just…expected…. of me. And of course, I still even now work on separating what I personally wanted and what others wanted for me. Those two worlds became so seamlessly garbled up together that it’ll take a long time working through it. I’m lucky that during this time, this trying and harsh time, was when I was also making my closest friend who really helped wade all of this.
I still remember the night I started the new dialogue. When I told him we couldn’t keep going like this, that things had to change, and that I was willing to try in very very very slow steps introducing the idea of polyamory. (No, it wasn’t that graceful of a conversation. It was messy, flawed and beautifully, painfully human) It’s been a defining point of our relationship, of our lives, and so much had to happen to fully make me realize that neither of us were conventional people and that a conventional relationship isn’t necessarily for us.
In Greek mythology, Pandora’s box was the introduction of chaos and hardship. I won’t lie. Opening our own box, our emotions, has been a painful, painful process. And all these changes even now remain chaotic (though, I do not think of chaos as a negative or a positive, but simply an agent of change). But, like the box of myth, hope rests at the bottom of our chests and we share it with everyone that makes our lives a little bit better.