Tuesday, November 27, 2012

People Are Funny

I guess one reason I write this blog is because people are so interesting to me. That's probably one of the reasons my wife's and my marriage has been so successful, she also has a real interest in observing and helping people.

I considered following her lead and becoming a Psychotherapist myself; but the truth is I don't have the patience for it. I don't have the patience to put in the long years of education and internship to get a license, and I don't have the patience to slowly lead people into recognizing for themselves why their lives are a mess. I'd rather just tell them why their lives are a mess and kick them in the ass to get them started in a new direction that will put their lives in order.

A Psychotherapist can't do that. He/she has to gently guide patients to identify and choose the right path for themselves. As a blogger, I don't have such limitations. I can and do get pretty blunt in telling people who are unhappy with their lives what they can do to put things right.

I've known my friend Bill Woods for 6 - 7 years. When we met, Bill was a very unhappy man; and unfortunately, he was resigned to being unhappy. He actually planned to spend the rest of his life as an unhappily married homosexual man.

Last August, my wife and I attended his marriage ceremony to his partner John. It was a wonderful ceremony. John is a great guy. He and Bill complement each other's personalities well. John is one of those guys who no one would ever identify as gay. He lives in a small European village where everyone knows he's gay because he chooses for them to know, and the force of his personality makes it a non-issue. Everyone sees him as a friend and neighbor.

Bill is more reserved, but just being with John brings out his wonderful personality and allows him to contribute his own valuable attributes and personality to interactions with John's friends. John's friends are a friendly, rowdy bunch; and they get a lot of fun out of teasing the American. Bill enjoys the hazing.

However, he is quick to say that even now, in the midst of the happiness he never expected, he is still trying to dig my Texas boot out of his ass. I planted it there over and over again throughout the time I've known him. I never tried to take the easy route with Bill. He needed to be pushed and he responded well to being pushed. Now,  he's enjoying the rewards that come from being willing to respond to the push and work for a new life.

Bill is one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, the majority of people I meet will admit they are not happy. They say they want to start a new life. But the reality is they are not willing to do the work, and they are not willing to make the necessary changes from what has become the norm for them. The reality is, they, like most Americans these days, are risk averse. It is a National epidemic! It is so deeply intrenched in our National psyche that one of the recent presidential candidates actually said in his campaign speeches that people had to vote for him because if they didn't, who was going to take care of them? I was utterly appalled at that line; and I know that my father was spinning in his grave, for he spent a good 18 years of his life pounding into me the understanding that no one was going to take care of me. I had to take care of myself. My father was a Texan who wore boots too. Figuratively speaking, that boot was inserted up my ass many times. His belt across my butt was not figurative at all. It was sometimes a reality.

I didn't much care for my Dad as a kid. Now, I know it is because of him that I am who I am. Most of what I have accomplished in life, I owe to him and my Mom. They made me the realist I am. It is not often easy being a realist in an idealistic world. And part of being an enlightened realist is understanding that the world needs idealists. It is the idealists who dream of how things could be better. But it is always the realists who filter through those idealistic dreams and decide which ones can and should become reality. Trouble comes when we have a deficit of realists and a glut of idealists. Anyone can dream dreams. It takes some real talents to change dreams into reality. In today's America, we definitely have a glut of idealists and idealism and a huge shortage of realists and real solutions to our many problems. The PC (politically correct) Americans hold the reigns of power currently and the country and the world is the worse for that.

I'm a big fan of Country Music. I like it because Country Music is all about the philosophy of life and human relationships. The men and women who write Country Music are adept at shining light on the realities of life. The following song is currently playing on Country stations. It really illustrates a facet of what I'm talking about.

Drinking beer can be lots of fun; but as a lifestyle or a career choice, it's not likely to benefit ones self or anyone else. Yet, people make equivical choices all the time. They take the easy way out. They avoid the more difficult options even though the more difficult options are much more apt to bring greater rewards. People are so funny in that way.

And its the same for bisexual guys and gay guys who are unhappy in their marriages. Even though they are unhappy, the easiest route for them is to stick with the devil they know rather than risk the devil they don't know. People are just funny that way. My best friend is one of the worst I've ever seen. We've been friends half our lives; but where I'm always ready to embrace change for a possible pay-off, he'll do anything possible to avoid change, no matter how great the odds are for a pay-off.

I think a lot of married guys fail to realize that if they are unhappy in their marriage the reality is that their wives are unhappy too. In reality he would more than likely be doing her a favor to allow her the chance to start over again. More than likely she is sticking it out because she is risk averse too.

I look back on my life and wonder that I ever grew up. Risk was a part of my daily life. The country side around me was dotted with pump jacks and rod lines as well as the generator stations which made them all work. Riding pump jacks, walking rod lines and sneaking into the generator stations was an almost daily thing for us. If we couldn't get into anything close to home we'd jump on our horses and ride down to the river or some other inviting nuisance (dangerous but appealing thing) that is always so magmetic to young boys.

We didn't wear seat belts in the car. We didn't wear bike helmets. We didn't wear knee pads or any other protective gear. Did we get hurt? Of course! I almost cut off my left hand in one escapade. My brother did manage to scalp himself in another. Broken arms and legs and noses were common place, but that was expected from active boys. Most of us survived.

I feel sorry for my grandson. He's not allowed off his street at an age when I was roaming for miles and miles when I was a kid. Yes there is great risk, but there is also often great reward for a boy in taking risks. True, sometimes the risk wins out and he faces the consequences. But I'm afraid we are teaching many of our young kids that risk is to be avoided at all costs. These risk averse kids grow up to risk averse adults. It is changing what it means to be an American. American exists because our forefathers risked everything they had including their lives and their fortunes for the betterment of the country.

Many of the things which have made my life so successful came to me at great risk. Without the risk, I would not be who I am or where I am today. Even now, years later, looking back some of the risks I took scares the shit out of me. Truth be told they scare me now more than they did at the time because I'm older and wiser and better appreciate the potential loss in the risk.

However, as an older man in the final chapter of life, I also know that we only have this one life and to live it unhappily when happiness could be won is tragic. Happiness is such a grand thing. Happiness is something every person should know in his or her life, but happiness will never come without risk. In fact few good things come without risk.

Increasingly, we live in a country divided into two classes, the haves and the have nots. The have nots increasingly resent those who have. They often feel life is cheating them out of the good things of life which should be theirs. They fail to recognize that the people who "have it all or a great part of it" faced great risk to gain what they have. They fail to realize that success can never be granted. It always has to be achieved and the achieving comes with risk.

So it is for those  of us who are gay or bisexual and married. There is no easy road for us. There is only a risky road. I would never flat out tell a guy that he had to out himself to his family and start over. That has to be a very personal decision. What I do tell guys all the time is that happiness will never come without risk. Each guy has to carefully calculate the risk for himself and know when to take on the risk. And risk does not usually demand only one course of action. I know guys who came to realize they needed out of their marriages. I know more guys like myself who felt they just needed some time for themselves within their successful marriages. I know of several other paths involving risk that have worked for other guys. I know of no one who has found fulfillment in their lives without risk.

But people are funny. Sometimes they miscalculate the risk on purpose as an excuse to stand still. I talk to guys all the time who are not particularly religious. They smoke, get drunk, lie, cheat on their taxes, break the speed limit when they drive and get into other vices which are are sins in the eyes of the church. Yet when it comes to acting on their bisexuality, they suddenly are staunchly religious. That makes no sense from a practical standpoint and it is  a perversion of Protestant Christian religious dogma which holds that all sin is equal, not some great and some small.

The funny thing is that society is funny too. A great American recently admitted to an affair. He put himself out before the people for judgement. The funny thing is, most of the people judging him have more than likely had their own unadmitted affairs. In many parts of the world mistresses and affairs are a part of life, always have been, always will be.

In America, realists like myself know the same is true here. The idealist know it too, they just don't admit it. It's such a funny thing.

The only thing I'm saying here is that life is too short for chronic misery. Figure out what will make you happy and go for it. You'll face some risk. You may even face a bit of added misery, but in the end you at least have a chance at grabbing the brass ring. Many who have tried have succeeded. Not a single one who hasn't tried has ever succeeded in grabbing that brass ring.

Jack Scott

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Whether we are Christian, a member of the many other religious sects that are now represented in America or have no religious faith at all; Thanksgiving is a holiday that should be celebrated and venerated by all.

We live in a country facing many difficulties and hardships within a world that is dealing with chaos, war, economic breakdown, hunger and even human slavery. But this one day of the year is set aside to be thankful for the good things that are also a part of our lives.

We are fortunate here in America because no matter what our status may be, the good things always outnumber the bad things in an American's life. If one does not believe that, then he has not dispassionately counted his blessings.

On this Thanksgiving day, I urge each and everyone to concentrate on his blessings. As a Christian, I'll be giving thanks to God from whom I believe all blessing flow. But even non religious Americans should be thankful they live in a country which, in spite of its faults, provides unmeasured blessings to all its citizens.

As gay and bisexual married men, we have challenges in our lives that others do not have. We should all keep in mind that others have challenges we don't have, so it evens out in the end. If nothing else we should be thankful that we do not live in one of the countries where being gay would mean a death sentence.

Take a moment on this day to count your blessings. Name them or write them down one by one. You may be surprised how many there are.

The Holiday Season which begins today is the season of thankfulness, peace and renewal. Amidst all the commercialism that is now apart of the Holiday Season, don't forget to be thankful. Let peace in the world begin with you. Take advantage of the coming New Year to renew your hope and affirm you willingness to start anew in tackling the issues in your life that you would like to change.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jack Scott

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Word of Appreciation

I really appreciate all of you who are helping to make this blog a success. When I decided a couple of years ago to write this blog I saw it largely as a technique to help myself to more clearly put my own thoughts in order.

I'm one of those people who think better with a pen in my hand or a keyboard at hand. I guess that is where the flow of consciousness style of my writing comes from. I know the style annoys some of you. I expected that in a "soundbite world" like the one we all live in where everything is supposed to be short and concise and cold. Frankly, what I didn't expect was that so many of  you would find my style of writing so inviting. I really appreciate those of you who have taken the time to reassure me, and I understand those of you who have told me to cut out the wordiness. I tried but it just doesn't work for me.

But which ever side you fall on, so  many of you have pushed this blog to heights I never dreamed could happen. For the last several months the blog has been attracting over 1000 readers a day. I love that. The only thing that could make it better still is if more of you would take the time to make your own thoughts known to me concerning what you think about the opinions, ideas and ideals I write about. You wouldn't believe how interested I am in your feedback good or bad. In fact blogging itself is really a plea for feedback and connection of thoughts.

In addition to writing more, I'd hope that more and more of you would choose to write to me on the record using your on line ID rather than writing anonymously. So often someone will write a great comment that I would like to explore more deeply, but can't since it was written anonymously. Step out a little and write using your ID. If not your real one create one on Yahoo, Gmail or Google.

The early Fall has been busy for me. I often wonder how I ever had time to work. Since my retirement, I seem to have less and less time. I hate to admit it, but one of the things I have sacrificed because of time is regular contributions to this blog. It's not that I'm loosing interest by any means. I have a lot of ideas rolling around in my head about things to write. Part of the problem is that I've now written about all the easy topics. The things rolling around in my head are a little more difficult. But I'll get to them sooner or later.

In the mean time there are numerous back posts for those of you who are new to the blog to read about. Unlike many other blogs, I never close the comment period for my posts. You are free to and encouraged to comment on past posts. The post "Frot and Frottage" is still the most read post I've ever written. It consistently is read by 200 - 300 people every day.

A lot of the things I write about now are from ideas that are brought to my attention by my friends. I extend an invitation to all of you to tell me about ideas you have that you might like me to address in this blog. If they are within the scope of the blog, I'd be happy to consider them. In fact if you would like to write something on your own, I'd be happy to sponsor you as a guest blogger on this blog.

One of the things I did not expect when I started this blog was hearing from wives of men struggling with their bisexuality or homosexuality. Those of you who have taken the time to write to me about your own experiences have helped to educate me and enlighten me concerning the wife's side of a mixed orientation marriage. The wife's side is every bit the struggle of the man's side if not more. I lived the man's side. Until some of you started writing to be about the wife's side I was pretty much ignorant of that side of the struggle though I knew it had to exist. Much to my surprise, I've found that even wives who wish to save their marriages struggle greatly. It is not just as simple as deciding to make that decision. But some of you have worked it out and I know some of you are still trying to work it out in spite of the emotional toll it takes on you. I'd like to hear more of your personal experience as a wife.

The Holiday Season is upon us. I wish you all peace, happiness and fulfillment, not just for the Holidays but for every day. Life is so short. Make every day of your life count! I sincerely believe that all our struggles are opportunities.

Let me hear from you please.

Jack Scott

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Other Side of Our Lives

I received a letter this week. Of course I receive a lot of letters, but this one was a particularly poignant  one. It was one I wish I'd never received, but one I needed to receive because it reminded me (though I never really forget) that there is another side to the lives we married bisexual men lead.

The other side of our lives is the life the woman we love leads as our wife.

One of the biggest things we as married bisexual men have to adjust to is what our bisexuality is doing to our wives. Whether they know or don't know, our bisexuality affects them greatly. This is a great weight on the shoulders and the conscience of every bisexual man and it should be.

In most situations, our wives are innocent and unknowing participants in a relationship with us and the other men we think about or spend time with. We can put the best light possible on that reality in our own minds, but we can never shed the responsibility for the unintended consequences that accrue to our wives. Most of us actually come to some internal accommodation with this situation and that is good. But we should never get to the point that we forget that we have an innocent and unknowing passenger along for the ride with us when we act on our bisexual needs and desires. We have an absolute moral obligation to do everything in our power to act in a safe and constrained manner and to balance our own needs and desires with those of our wives.

We will draw that line in different places as individuals, but the line must be carefully drawn so that it protects us and those we love.

The letter I received this week from a wife of a "bisexual" man was difficult to read. There is no doubt it was even more difficult for her to write, and I thank her for having the courage to do it.

She began by saying: "My husband has been leaving hints for years."

She goes on to talk about the fact that because she didn't want to face the facts she deluded herself for years. But all pretense ended recently when she discovered she had contracted an STD from her husband.

The shock of learning about her STD made her feel ruined. She had only wanted to be a good wife, the beautiful ONE in his life. To satisfy his desires she had gone beyond her own comfort and performed the "kinky" sex acts he enjoyed. She put up with his "taking" and never "giving" in sex because it excited him; and because it excited him, it made her feel special.

She sees herself as open and honest, passionate and loving; but she has come to see him now as secretive and selfish. However, she still thinks he loves her and their daughter. At the same time she feels he must hate her. He won't explain. He blames her for repressing him and tells her she is selfish. She feels like nothing more than an object. In spite of all of this, she describes herself as still in love with him. It hurts her that HE is suffering. She wants to understand, but he won't talk except to criticize her. She feels desperate and alone.

I have offered to talk with this woman and answer as many questions as I can for her. At this time I have not heard back from her. Obviously, both she and her husband also need professional help. Absent such help they have no chance at all of a future together or even separately.

I have only heard her side of the story, but the passion and the hurt in her letter convinces me she is telling the truth as she knows it to be. One of the things I say to people all the time is that marriages are never an equal arrangement. One partner always gives more and one partner always takes more. Actually that is not a bad thing in and of itself. It can be the prescription for a very happy and solid marriage because the fact is some people are happy to give and some are happy to take. But as in all things in life, this "give and take" must be in moderation. Even the taker must give some of the time.

In this woman's marriage, it seems her husband has long sense stopped giving. It is also clear that he knows he's stopped giving. He understands he takes and takes and demands more while blaming her for not giving. It is a classic male reaction to his own guilt; and though he keeps it hidden from her, he is consumed by his own guilt.

Obviously, this is not a situation any married bisexual man wants to create for  himself and his wife and child. This man will never be nominated for father and husband of the year; but at the same time, I doubt that he ever intended to get into this situation himself. It just simply crept upon him as he made one bad decision after the other until finally he was in such a deep hole, he could not get out.

I say all the time to guys I am trying to help that our lives are simply the sum of our choices and decisions. When we make good choices and sound decisions are lives are enhanced and broadened. When we make poor choices and bad decisions, our lives are eroded and narrowed. To the extent that we are happy and fulfilled in our lives is simply a high ratio of good choices to bad choices. To the extent that we are unhappy, unfulfilled and miserable is nothing more than a high ratio of bad choices to good choices.

Both this bisexual married man and his wife have made a number of poor decisions and choices over the years. I have said many times in this blog that my wife and I married when we were teen agers. I was 18. That meant that we started adult life with 2 strikes against us. There was really no reason for us to expect to succeed, but we did succeed even beyond our wildest dreams.

Add to the strikes against us my bisexuality of which she was not aware and our chances of a successful marriage and successful shared lives were zero! Yet, almost 50 years later, we are still married, happy beyond measure, blessed unendingly and hopeful for yet more years together.

All this did not just happen. We worked so hard in the early years. Looking back I don't see how we had the energy to work so hard. Between us we achieved four degrees after we were married and while we were raising kids. Working, raising kids and going to college is not a recipe for lack of stress. It was damn hard, but we simply did it. These were but 3 of the choices we made. Along the road there were thousands of other choices and decisions. Did we make wrong decision? You bet we did. But in the end, the ratio of good decisions to bad decisions exhibited an extremely high number of good decisions to a very low number of bad decisions.

As a professional psychotherapist and counselor, my wife cannot talk to me or anyone else about her clients. But after a day of listening to other people's problems, some of them heart rending and emotionally draining, she sometimes needs to talk in general terms about her stress which comes from hearing all about these miseries. People do not seek out psychotherapists to tell them about how good their lives are.

Recently, my wife found herself sad and concerned about a married couple who are very unhappy. They love each other. They don't fight about money. They don't fight about the kids. They don't even fight about sex. They just fight. They are always battling each other.

Surrounded and blessed by all the good things in life that many would kill for they just fight. They didn't start out this way. They are simply another example of people who just drifted into a deep hole and now can't get out. It's sad, very sad; and to my wife who sees so many couples in real trouble it was  upsetting to see this couple throwing their relationship away over petty little things. They have simply made a very bad choice.

Like my wife and I, any couple in which one partner is bisexual and one straight starts off with at least one strike against them. There are thousands of chances to screw up and make the wrong decision. One of the wrong decisions the husband of my letter writer made was to have promiscuous sex with other men. By doing so he increased his chances of contracting an STD many fold.

The sad thing about it is he more than likely made that decision for what he thought was a good reason. Most men think of love as love. By that I mean they think love is a severely limited commodity. If they love their wife, they can love no other, and they do love their wife. So, strapped with a desire they cannot shake for sexual play with another man, they opt to have sex with strangers they know nothing about. In their mind, if the sex is just anonymous and without strings, there is no chance of them falling in love with a guy and falling out of love with their wife.

It's a bad choice. In all of the thousands of men I have talked to over the last 20 years, I have never ever talked to a single bisexual man who left his wife and family for another man. Not one.

On the other hand, I've talked at length (years) with many married gay men who ultimately leave their wives for another man. In most of these cases, both the man and his wife end up happier after the divorce.

One of the complexities of life is that we can make poor decisions by refusing to make a decision at all. This is exactly one of the poor decisions that the husband of my letter writer has made. He has purposely chosen not to make a decision as to whether he is bisexual or homosexual because he is scared to find he is homosexual. By failing to know himself and recognize himself, he is ruining his life, his wife's life and more than likely his child's life.

One has to remember that very rarely is a man absolutely straight or absolutely gay. He is somewhere along a continuum between these two extremes. The middle of these two extremes is bisexuality, but not many men are there either. Most are to the left of the middle along the long continuum or to the right of it along the continuum. It is probably clearer to me than to this man that he is left of the middle very close to the homosexual extreme. He is straight enough to have sex with a woman, but not straight enough to be fulfilled by a woman or enjoy having sex with her. She is just an object, a substitute, for the male/male sex he is compelled towards. His wife feels like an object because that is exactly what she is to him.

That does not mean he doesn't love her. It simply means that he cannot love her, is not capable of loving her, as she needs to be loved.

I was able to finally tell my wife about my bisexuality because I knew beyond a doubt that our marriage, our relationship, our love for each other was strong enough to withstand it. I was also absolutely sure after many years of self analysis and study that I was a bisexual man - not a gay man.
I was right and the marriage did survive and remain strong. But that wasn't all it took. It took me opening up and talking with my wife for hours and hours about things I didn't particularly want to talk about. But I had to keep in mind that she was dealing with something new and shocking. She was now dealing with something difficult to understand that I had been dealing with for years and did deal with for years before I understood it.

I had no right at all to think that I just could tell her, "Oh, by the way, I'm bisexual." and expect to leave it there. It would take her a long time to understand and I had to be willing to talk to her about the core of my being and help her to understand. Keep in mind that she is highly educated and a professional psychotherapist. She knows that homosexuality and bisexuality are part of the natural order of human sexuality. In addition to baring my soul to her I had to support her in going to a therapist herself to get help from another angle in dealing with what I had laid on her. It took a while, but in the end it all worked out for the good.

Unfortunately, my letter writer's husband has clammed up. He refuses to talk to her except to blame her. There is no hope for him or her in this relationship except a miracle. Miracles happen. I'm living proof, but they are rare.

If you are a married homosexual or bisexual man, you cannot change your sexuality. But you can make good decisions about how to live your life. Most of the time, those good decisions will be hard ones. One big clue to a bad decision is if it seems easy, its probably a bad decision. If you are a homosexual man, most likely the best decision for you is to admit it to yourself and your wife and get a divorce. The likelihood or either you or she ever being happy in your marriage is nil. If you are a bisexual man, you have more choices but none of them are easy. If you are going to have sex with both your wife and men, then you are absolutely obligated to do it as safely as possible and not bring an STD home to her. You are also obligated to keep her as the main object of your love and desire. If you find she is loosing that status to another man, you've more than likely incorrectly identified yourself as a bisexual man. You're gay!

Of course there are other factors that can enter into all of this, but to discuss all of them would take a book. I hope you'll give real thought to your situation and live up to your responsibilities as a married man. If you can't, you need to get out of the marriage. If you need to talk about your particular situation, I'd be glad to talk with you.

My thanks to my letter writer. This is not a pleasant subject to talk about. Human misery is never an easy subject. But it is a subject that is appropriate to talk about. It has to be talked about.

To my letter writer and to those of you who identify with her, the good news is, it is never to late to change your life. It just takes good hard decisions. The easy bad decisions? You've already made those. Honestly look around your life and see where they have gotten you. Are you ready to begin making the hard decisions?

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott