Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Cat is Out of the Bag

Before my wife and I were really dating (but after I had come to terms with "struggling with same-sex attraction" - gay was just too much for me too handle at the time) I had an undesirable encounter with someone she had known growing up.  I do not remember the circumstances surrounding the meeting except that he was attending school out of town and happened to be in town and wanted to visit some friends.  I did not like him from the moment I met him.  He was very cocky and full of himself and just overall seemed like a real douche bag.  Then for some reason I needed to get on my computer and as soon as I pulled it out he felt the need to tell a joke:  "Do you know what the worst thing about buying a Mac is? . . . Telling your parents that you're gay!"  I was not amused!  His little joke really irritated me.  I probably did my best to laugh it off but I was not laughing inside.  I did not like that term and certainly did not identify with it.  I was flabbergasted - am I that flamboyant or effeminate?  I thought I was doing a good job of hiding in my closet.  And even though I am not that partial to Macintosh computers I was offended on my computer's behalf as well!  My family was not very technologically involved growing up so when it came time to go to college I knew I would need a computer but I don't know that I had ever even used a laptop despite growing up in a time when they were very common.  My dad had asked our bishop, who did a lot of multimedia stuff for work, and he suggested getting a Mac so that's what we did.

My wife is much more of a night owl than I am.  Well, maybe that is not exactly true.  I would like to stay up later as well but often end up going to bed before her.  I need my sleep.  I struggled with severe insomnia for years and years.  Right now I take medication to help me sleep (which I hate) and I am convinced that I would be certifiably insane if it was not for this little pill.  I have had two sleep studies done and the doctors are not really sure what to tell me.  It is obvious that I have a hard time falling asleep, but on top of that, even when I am asleep, my brain wave activity goes into a wakeful state about once every two and a half minutes without me being consciously aware of it.  So needless to say, I do not get deep sleep and wake up feeling exhausted basically every day.  All of that to say that when it is bed time I now go to bed with the help of my medication no matter what else is going on in my life!  My wife on the other hand, does not use the convenience of a sleep aid.  When things are tense between us her sleep suffers which I lament greatly.  And as luck would have it, her sleep has been suffering lately.

When she has a lot on her mind she often goes into the front room (and does stuff on her computer - which I have tried to tell her is adding to her not being able to sleep!) as I get ready for bed.  She has been doing this nearly every night for a week or two so I know she has been worrying and thinking a lot.  This morning before church I could tell something was up.  I knew she was tired and likely had not slept much, but there was something more.  I asked her if she was mad at me, which she denied.  We got ready, went to church, taught our lesson, and on the way home, she said that the lesson, which she had read but I primarily taught, was difficult for her today.  It was on telling the truth.  She said that she needed to talk to me but was not ready just yet.  We did not say much else to each other in the car or once we got home.  She went into the bedroom and I stayed in the front room.  About a half hour later she called me into the bedroom requesting that we talk.  I thought I knew what she was going to say.  I thought she would confess that she had read my blog.  And I was pretty anxious about what she would have to say about it.

As I have mentioned before, we recently started using our apartment complex's free wi-fi to save money and it is painfully SLOW.  For some reason my Mac is able to grab on to the band width that is available (there must be some term for this - I am pretty computer illiterate) much better than her PC.  I have the habit, as it seems most Mac users do, of leaving lots of things open on my computer.  I almost always have my browser open with about a dozen tabs loaded.  Lately those tabs have been my blog, my anonymous email account, Beck's blog, a couple of other blogs that I have recently come across, etc.  Last night she was having trouble loading some stuff that she wanted to pull up on her computer and asked if she could use mine for a minute.  I pulled up a new window for her to use.  She looked up what she needed to and then as I got up to get some water she said that she needed to check her email.  I became worried at this point because she uses gmail and my anonymous email, which was open in another window, was already logged on to gmail.  But, not wanting to look like I was trying to hide anything, I decided not to intervene.  I knew that as soon as she pulled up gmail my account would appear.  I also knew that seeing that account would make my blog title very obvious since they are both titled the same and I get updates when people post on my blog.

I was surprised, however, that this is not what she confessed when I joined her in the bedroom.   The first thing out of her mouth was that she had been up very late the last couple of nights thinking and that maybe it is best if we get a divorce.  I was not expecting that!  We have mentioned it in the past so it is not like it came out of nowhere, but caught me by surprise none the less.  I did not know what to say and did not end up saying anything.  She said that she knows that I am still in love with Greg, that she is feeling like she is at the end of the rope, that she thinks I would be happier if she did not hold me back any more, and lots of other things that my brain is now failing to recall.  I was laying on the bed trying to face her, but decided to turn the other way.  She began to cry and I started to cry as well.  I wasn't sad, I wasn't happy, I just felt dead.  This is not a new feeling to me.  I do not feel regular emotions very often right now.  I just feel dead.

Then there was silence.  For several minutes there was silence.  Then she started saying, verbatim, the words that so many straight wives married to gay men have said over the years.  She talked about the hurt, the uncertainty, the dreams that were slipping away.  And then her tone changed.  She said, "but I love you and I want to be married to you.  I just can't stand to see you so down any more."  She asked me if I still want to be married, which I answered in the affirmative.  She asked me if I thought I could let go of Greg, to which I said I was still trying to figure out how.  She asked if I believed the church was true, to which I said I was trying to believe.

I just laid there contemplating the words I would use in a letter to say goodbye to the few people who are still important in my life right now.  She left the room and I just laid there.  For hours.  She came back in much later and said she had more she needed to say.  It was then that she confessed to having read my blog last night.   She rehearsed how it happened exactly as I had imagined it.  She said she was so sorry and that she would never, ever read it again.  She said that she knows that I need an outlet for my feelings but she was so tired of not knowing what is going on in my head.  I was most surprised that at the end she said that she did not learn anything new from my blog.  What does this mean?  Well, I guess it could mean a couple of things:  I am being pretty open and honest with her or I am not being too overtly open even in my anonymity.

Well, there you have it.  My secret blog is not so secret anymore.  She has repeatedly told me that she will never look at my blog again.  Do I believe her?  I do not know.  Should I still keep blogging?  Haven't decided.  What does one do in this situation?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My First Communication With Someone Who is Openly Gay

I made an anonymous email account when I decided to start blogging.  It is amazing how much more brave I became under the guise of anonymity.  I decided to write to the author of the first (I think it was the first) gay Mormon blog that I ever read using this new email account.  His blog is one of four blogs that I have felt a need to read in full.  I read his blog many months ago so I do not remember everything that I read but I do remember really wanting to ask him some questions.  It is evident from the content contained herein, but he is a former Mormon who has decided to live his life as an openly gay man.  This post is color-coded as follows (also probably self-explanatory):

My comments from today today
Content from my email to him
His responses to me

I am a little puzzled, looking back, about why I chose these questions and why they were worded this way.

1.   What doctrinal issues do you have with the church (besides their stance on homosexuality?  I know that the big ones are usually blacks not holding the priesthood and polygamy.  If these are the ones that really convinced you, why?  (I would really appreciate as much detail as you are willing to give)  I think I posed this question because it is my belief in the church that really keeps me from acting on my orientation.
I questioned many of those things before I even came to terms with my sexuality. Although it was hard to deal with, I feel like I would have been able to manage to survive all those issues and stay a member had I not also had to deal with the gay issue. The most convincing factors for me were these: 

First, I knew what my life was like in the church. I knew what it was like trying to do everything I had been taught to do. To repress my sexuality, to not act on it in any way, to do all the right things and hope that it would fade. I knew what the church and living by the church's teachings had to offer me as a gay guy. What that led me to was a life of deep sorrow and crippling depression (I have definitely been there) that engulfed my life to the point of no return. I also know what living an authentic life feels like. I know what it is like to be gay, to accept that, and to not present myself as anyone other than who I am. I know from experience that living my life this way has brought me undeniable joy and a whole array of new and amazing thoughts and feelings and emotions. I know that it has made me a better person and that it has enabled me to do MORE good than i was ever able to do before. This in itself is very convincing to me. Living my life according to the church = death, Living my life according to my own conscious= life.  I think the life and death comparison here is a little strong, but I can certainly relate to feeling depressed trying to live in the church knowing that I have a desperate need for male companionship.

Second, while each of the points you mentioned (blacks, polygamy, etc.) on their own weren't enough to convince me... looking at church history it is very easy to start seeing a pattern. If the leaders are inspired, why are they always so slow to change for good? Shouldn't they be on the forefront of social reform and change rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into a world of greater equality, respect, and dignity? This is an interesting point.  It does not really convince me that the church is not true in any way but why would God's church slower than "Babylon" in extending equality to people of all ethnicities?  And why is there never an apology? I guess you can get around apologizing if it really is God's will that things be a certain way for a period of time and then change later.  Even if a person believes in prophets, it is clear in the scriptures that prophets made grave errors. Why can't a prophet admit he was wrong?  I guess it could be argued that some prophets have apologized.  They are human and fallible.

Third, if the church was true (and therefore the leaders had nothing to fear because God is at the head), why does it spend so much time hiding the shady parts of it's past? Why does it employ a PR department of professionals whose job it is to make the church look good? Can't God handle that? If it was true, shouldn't it already look good and appealing? Why, for example, do most Mormons not know that not only was Joseph Smith a big practicer of Polygamy, but that he also married women in secret who were already married to living men... many of these women were teenagers. Why don't members know that the temple ceremony they hold so dear is pretty much replicated in fraternities and sororities in colleges throughout the US due to their same Masonic rituals? Why does the general membership not know about all the different accounts of the first vision- if something that miraculous happened to you, would you forget if there was one or two beings or if the being introduced himself as an angel rather than God? The list goes on and on and on and these are well-documented, well-known facts. If the church was true, why are leaders so keen on brushing these things under the carpet? The church would be far more credible if it was honest and upfront.  I honestly have not made any effort to verify the validity of these claims, but even if they are all true, I told him in my response that these arguments among others that I have come across do not really convince me that the church is untrue.  I just don't know.  I have been unable to convince myself that the church is true for certain so it somehow seems like it would be easier to try to prove that it is not true, but I am not swayed strongly enough in either direction to know for sure what kinds of decisions I should be making in my life.
2.   Do you ever wonder if the church might possibly be true?  If so, how often does that thought cross your mind?  Does it get less and less often with time?
At first, this was a huge fear. What if I am wrong? This would come to mind pretty much anytime I made a mistake or had a not so good day. It took awhile before I learned to reprogram my mind so that I wouldn't equate feeling down with sinning. People have bad days. Good people have bad days, bad people have bad days. Good and bad people make mistakes... but guess what, only good people feel remorse. When I made a mistake while I was navigating my new world, I knew to make a correction. One mistake didn't mean that the church was true all along and I shouldn't have accepted my sexuality as OK. When I realized this, it gave me confidence because I knew that I was making corrections in my life where I felt I had made an error. At the beginning, it was also hard because I had already had years of practice at being repulsed by anything gay. I had spent so many years trying desperately to NOT be gay that it was hard to then go out and feel comfortable around a bunch of gays. I used to think, "this is NOT me!" I had to get over my own self-induced homophobia. It definitely did get less often with time. It got less often the more I learned about the church, and about people and their stories. I met so many wonderful people who have been so horribly scared by the church. It isn't bad for everyone... but it sure is bad for some people.
3.   I do not doubt that two men in a committed relationship can be perfectly happy together, but do you absolutely believe that you are happier with a man than you ever could have been with a woman?
Yes, but not always. My initial fear was based on the fact that in our society and culture, happiness equals boy and girl who meet, get married and have babies. Think about all the stories you were told growing up. The movies you watched. The songs you heard. The pictures, the celebrations, the talks in church. The prince and princess meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. This is the story of happiness. So, you see, we have been programmed to think that this is the only way happiness can look. Imagine a world where all those stories included all different people meeting and marrying and living happily ever after. There would be no bias. Happiness would be presented as love... not simply boy meets girl. In the end happiness comes down to this- having someone to love and someone to love you back. Having someone to be a witness to your life- to validate your human existence.  I really like the idea of this.  I love my wife but I must admit that it is not quite the same way and does not make me nearly as happy as when I had Greg as a close male friend.

Keep in mind that we are products of our upbringing. Our culture, our religion, our family. Because of our limited experience, we have biases that have been ingrained in us. If you want to one day find yourself and REALLY accept yourself and know yourself and love yourself for who you are, you have to be willing to accept that perhaps everything we have ever been taught about life, love, and existence may not be true. Wow. I can't think of anything scarier than that. Ask yourself, in a world where any two people who loved each other were celebrated and respected- where these two people were supported by all families and churches and communities- where every opportunity and experience was equal- where there was no shame, but only pure praise, would you choose to be with a man or woman? Man, no questions asked.  I had to accept that the only reason I considered being with a woman was for my own social comfort. I would blend in. My family would accept it. My religion would accept it. I would be supported and encouraged. Our union would be respected and upheld by religion, society, and government. I would be "normal." That is so tempting in a world where being gay is so full of shame and disgrace. But would I ever want my sister to marry someone like me? Someone who longs to be with a man. Someone who has little or no desire to be intimate with a woman? Someone who is naturally attracted to men and who longs for the companionship and love of another man? Someone who views her as the choice everyone else wants for him but for him, it is settling? :(  I am that man . . . he did not know that I was married when writing this . . .

I have been in a committed relationship for a year and 4 months. It has been an amazing experience. I am lucky enough to have a family who loves and supports me and to be accepted and loved by my boyfriends family. Our private life is normal. We go to dinner with our families. We go on family outings and vacations. My sister and her boyfriend are on one couch cuddling while watching a movie and my boyfriend and I are on the other couch. :)  This made me smile, partly because it seems so unbelievable to me that it makes me want to laugh it off and partly because I would love to experience that. There is NO difference. The only time I feel like I am different is in public when people point or laugh or stare or yell things at us. But that isn't a problem with me, it is a problem with them. All they can see is that we are two males. They don't consider that that is the ONLY difference between our relationship and theirs. It takes awhile to be comfortable when people are so rude. It makes you feel ashamed when you have no reason to be. I have no doubt that this happens and I am sad that people have to deal with such treatment. But once you gain that confidence, I guarantee that you will be a more confident person than most people out there. You will have a better sense of self worth than any of those people who mock you.

One day... maybe when we are old and we have grandchildren- this will all be a thing of the past. You know how I asked you to imagine a world where happily-ever-after stories were all-inclusive? Well that day is coming. We are the ones that are ensuring that our grandchildren will grow up in a world where gays don't feel any less of a person or any weirder than anyone else. 
4.   Do you think it is possible for gay, Mormon men to have their same-sex needs met through close, non-sexual male bonding (I should have ended this question here - I know as well as anyone that my attractions are not based on sex alone) or is sex a necessary ingredient in filling the hole that many MoHos carry inside?
No. I know people who have tried this. The fact that you need the emotional support from another man should be enough to convince you that being with a man is the only real option you have. (I have felt this support once in my life and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life) The most important part of any relationship is that emotional support. That trust and love. Relationships don't equal sex. This idea is so offensive because people sexualize gays to an extreme. Sure, sex can just be sex. But straight people have sex just for sex too. When you talk about relationships though, sex only one method of many to bond and share love. It isn't what MAKES the relationship. So if you are looking for a man to fulfill all your needs except sex... well, big deal. All those things that make a relationship are still there. You are just cutting off one significant way that helps two people in a relationship bond which is sad... but it is your choice.

I don't expect you to take my word for it. When I was coming to terms with all this I talked to many many people and tried to gather what I could from lots of different experiences and viewpoints.  I suspect that is what you are doing. I am. It isn't easy to go through this process. It is long and grueling. For some it is longer than others. Some people never fully heal- usually the ones who continue trying to play both sides of the coin. I feel sorry for these people. Some of them are dear friends. They might never have what I have. They go on from boy to boy trying to find love but always afraid they are doing something wrong. They hide a part of themselves from the people that mean most to them. All the while they put barriers between them and anyone willing to love them. They try to live two lives hoping to stay busy enough between the two so that they never have to stop and realize how empty they feel. 

I guess my advice would be- don't do what they do. Obviously I would say, embrace your sexuality... but it would be better for you to pick one side and fully commit even if the side you pick is a celibate LDS life than to try to be somewhere in the middle. So take that for what it is worth. I hope my responses are helpful. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

I really appreciate his response.  But in the end, I am more undecided than ever.  Can anyone else out there validate or discredit any of this from personal experience.  I am trying to get as much input as possible.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Someone Pinch Me

I am not sure if I am experiencing reality or some sort of bizarre mental construct, but my communications with my wife continue to take some interesting twists.

My wife knows that I read a lot of gay Mormon blog posts right now (mostly from Beck because I am trying to get through his entire blog before really focusing on others as a result of some undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder combined with a genuine feeling of connection with his writing).  I have also been typing a lot on my computer creating blog posts and responses, but I do not want her to know that I have my own blog.  This is completely ridiculous for the following reasons: (1) she reads me very well and I am sure she knows that I have blog, (2) I have thinly veiled my typing as "journalling" when questioned about it, which she knows I never do, and (3) I am signed up with Covenant Eyes (software program that reports to her about every web page I access and rates those web pages based on an algorithm for how mature each site is) so she can see exactly what sites I visit the most and can investigate.  However, I trust that she has not yet invaded my secret blogging world for the following reasons: (1) I definitely would have heard about it by now because I am more frank in my anonymous writing than I am in my verbal communication with her, (2) we have a little agreement right now, partly at the recommendation of my psychiatrist, that she will not invade my privacy unnecessarily by doing things like reading my text messages, and (3) to save money, we recently switched to using our apartment community's free wi-fi which is painfully slow and would make figuring this all out tedious and difficult.  All things considered, I must be really stupid to be blogging under these circumstances.

After posting yesterday, my wife and I continued to discuss little things randomly throughout the day.  One of those things almost made my head explode.

[insert link to a video that I have been trying to find for nearly an hour but cannot because our internet connection is so ridiculously slow!]

She asked me if I thought our communication would ever be as open as that of [insert name] and his wife (I think it is either Ty Mansfield or Josh Weed) who, in above-mentioned video link, alluded in an interview to being so open as to "compare notes" about which men both husband and wife thought were attractive!  AAAHHHHH!!!!  How do you respond to that?  My innards were writhing with awkwardness at the mere mention of this type of openness!  I have finally realized that I want, desperately, to pretend like my gay reality does not exist when it comes to our marriage/communication.  It seems that having things so out in the open makes for such a weird universe that my little brain will explode trying to comprehend it.

Well, with that little oddity on the table, it seemed that anything was fair game for conversation.  After letting the air clear for an hour or so I decided to press my luck by bringing up an issue that I would soon regret.  My wife really enjoys romantic movies (I like some but certainly not all) so I asked her if she enjoyed the kissing scenes from such movies.  I then asked her to watch this youtube clip and tell me what she thought:

[note: no, I do not watch As the World Turns, but yes, these two make me very happy]

I did not make her endure very much of it at all before I stopped it.  She said it made her very uncomfortable.  I asked her how this is different from her being able to enjoy heterosexual kiss scenes.  She said that in her case those scenes make her want to be closer to me but gay kiss scenes make me want to get further away from her.  I gently contended that I do not fantasize about some male I want to run away with when seeing such, but rather it just stirs within me a desire for closeness, intimacy, thus bringing me closer to her as well.  Maybe I am lying to myself, but I generally don't fantasize about anyone in such settings.  She said that it is just different and that she is not entirely sure why.  What do my blog readers think?

I am an idiot for ever bringing this up, and deep down I agree that it is different somehow.  I even admitted to her that when I first saw a gay kiss scene after realizing that I was attracted to men it made me a little uncomfortable for some reason.  Notwithstanding, I was still hurt to hear her say that seeing such was offensive.  Alas, maybe it is wrong for me to watch gay romance, but that does not change my conviction that for those who love persons of their own gender who may not have the same religious convictions, it is a glorious thing to be celebrated.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Perfect Husband . . .

Seeking male between 5' 10" and 6' 2", blonde hair, blue eyes, muscular build . . .

Oops, I got a little sidetracked there . . . This post is supposed to be about me, not the imaginary man of my dreams.

I distinctly remember imagining to myself as a teenager that I would be the PERFECT husband and father for my wife and kids.  While I am admittedly pretty great :), this was not really a narcissistic dream, but rather a goal for how I would treat the woman of my dreams and the children we would bear.  I get the feeling that straight, male teenagers don't think ahead about stuff like this, so maybe this should have been a sign for me.  I thought ahead about a lot of things growing up and was generally really mature for my age.

I remember a wise priesthood leader giving a lesson, probably about how to treat women, during which he told of knights and chivalry.  He even gave us a little bookmark with the rules of chivalry listed on it.  It had a big impact on me and added to my dreams of being the perfect, chivalrous man.  Boy did I miss the boat somewhere along the way . . . Somehow I have turned out to be the worst possible husband and am avoiding fatherhood like the plague.

Knights are supposed to . . .

  • Be brave and protect women, children, the weak and defenseless . . . Sadly, I am not brave.  The mechanic is my arch nemesis and he can soundly defeat me and my pocketbook with a few big words that send me into a complete panic.
  • Fear God and maintain His Church . . . Sadly, I have been far more faithless since being married than I have ever been before.  I vainly hope that the church's doctrine will change so I don't have to.
  • At all times speak the truth . . . Sadly, I have had to stretch the truth on more than one occasion.  I walk a fine line between telling my wife what I really think and feel and protecting her from truths that would be too painful to hear.
Oops, I got a little sidetracked again.  This post was not supposed to be about knights either.

Last night we had a very open heart-to-heart conversation and I could not help but think about what a terrible husband I am.

Anonymous left a comment on my last post that included some links to audio/video of Dr. William Bradshaw that I was reviewing yesterday.  I was listening far enough away from my wife so she would not be able to make out the content of the audio.  At one point she came in to be near me and I did not want to act like I was hiding something (which I am at times accused of) so I let it keep playing.  She spoke approvingly of his admonition for members of the church to be more considerate towards our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and other things that she listened to.  Later that evening she asked if she could pose a few difficult questions.  Let me interject here that I often do not give my wife nearly as much credit as she deserves.  I do not think that a gay man could ask for a more supportive straight wife.  She has come to realize that I have an unfortunate, repeated habit of turning off completely (mentally, emotionally, socially) if I am abruptly asked to talk about heated topics.  Consequently, she frequently asks if I am in a state of mind to field some of her questions that might cause a little friction.  I obliged.

She started out by asking me how someone could not realize that he is gay for decades.  At first I gave a very vague, jumbled response about how, especially for members of the church, we are raised to not even have that option enter into our consciousness.  We are told that such "choices" are sinful, so as faithful, believing latter-day saints we often cannot even imagine that such a thing could even possibly be the source of things not lining up in our lives.  I then decided that I would give her a little glimpse into my own life, but I preceded it by asking if she was ready to hear things that are difficult to hear.  In telling my own story I mentioned that I had watched man on man  porn many, many times before coming to the realization that I was attracted men.  In fact, it was about two years after becoming heavily involved in gay porn that I was forced to realize that my primary attraction is towards members of my own gender.

She later asked me why pornography is enticing/tempting.  How do you answer a question like that!?!? I quickly realized that her asking this was very innocent in nature.  She literally had no idea why seeing naked people would have such an appeal.  I don't think I did a very good job of explaining except in saying that males are much more likely to be aroused by visual stimuli while she is much more partial to things like cuddling and hearing kind words.  I HATE talking about this subject with her because the first time I admitted to having looked at such online after being married she was so heartbroken and her crying and wailing was so soul-wrenching I thought my soul would break in half and disintegrate into the dust of eternal damnation at any second.  Yet somehow, she has calmed down quite a bit since then and was very receptive and did her best to understand what I was saying.

We talked for hours about a great many things and throughout the conversation she expressed such an unparalleled outpouring of love for me.  She told me that she knows that I am still in love with Greg (my straight friend that I fell for so hard that I was finally forced to realize that I am crazy for men) and that it is often difficult for her to know where she fits in within that mess but that she cannot deny that she loves me and feels like we are supposed to be together.

She said that she really wants to make things work but cannot stand to see me as depressed as I have been.    She said that she is in this marriage for the long haul, but if I need for us to just be friends for me to be happy she is willing to make that work too.  In the past such a statement would have scared me to death, but I felt so much sincerity in her words that I had to take them at face value - she really wants to do whatever will make me happy.

I told her that I have to wonder, especially after reading some statements from the straight spouses of failed mixed-orientation marriages, if she would be happier and better off finding someone else who can love her in every way.  I was really surprised by her response.  She said that I should not make decisions about our relationship based on my perception of her needs, but rather on my own needs and that she would do the likewise.  She said it better than that.  It was so empowering ( is that the right word?) to hear that.  She also said something about preferring our love that we have to work for than love that comes easily from someone else (also said much more eloquently by her).

So now what?  I guess we'll get a divorce and still be friends and  I will run off with some man of my dreams and live happily ever after.

Or not.

Our conversation did not really solidify anything in either direction for me.  But I am so grateful for my wonderful wife.  In the past I would have described, and perhaps even now I would describe, her as an emotionally fragile girl.  She had some emotionally domineering people in her life growing up that have really left her scarred and vulnerable to the emotional abuse that I unintentionally release on her as I sort through my baggage.  I love her.  I really hope that we both end up living happily ever after, whether together or apart.  She really is the PERFECT WIFE for me.