So…I’m talking to someone… :)

As some of you know, I have been separated for a while and in the initial stages of filing for divorce. I have pretty much considered my marriage over for a lot longer, however, outside of the occasional guilt-trip laden phone call I receive from my soon-to-be-ex, I’m essentially moving on.

Although, I’m not getting into any committed relationship, I have made the decision to go ahead and open myself up to dating. Specifically, I am focused on finding a boyfriend in the future.  Although, I have finally accepted my sexuality, I recognize that I have never really attempted a relationship with any guy – it’s always just been sex when it comes to guys and I would like to think I’m the kind of person that values her (or should I really use ‘his’) own self.  To that end, I have placed a couple of personal’s ads – although, I really don’t know how to date anymore – and have been having a few conversations.  For the most part, the guys that contact me are NOT what I’m after.  But a little over a week ago, I received an email from a gentleman that seems genuine and I’m enjoying talking to him

I’m feeling like this is going the direction I want.  Although, a relationship is on the table as a possibility, neither he nor I are making any direct insinuation that sex with happen – it’s more of an obvious truth that it can be approached if/when we are both comfortable with each other.  I made it clear from the beginning that I am not currently able to have a relationship and he is respecting that boundary. I expressed that, eventually, I want the boyfriend experience, but for now it is really important I go slow and simply establish friendships for the time being.  He is really accommodating to that and understands my situation, which made him kind of attractive to me.  Also, I’m trying to focus on guys’ personalities and not their physical image, which although important, I don’t want it to be the primary focus.

The little bit I know about this man is being built upon. However, he is a little older than I am. He’s 50, retired from marketing, and enjoys some of the same things I do. He is interested in also finding someone to enjoy on a personal level and not just a physical level and he has expressed that he doesn’t want to rush into anything either.  Right now, it’s really nice and I’m not really going to push it and just see where nature takes its course.

I’m feeling positive…

Setting & Keeping Boundaries – a.k.a Not Being a Doormat

So, I follow a blogger that I find particularly motivational.  And I really enjoy the different memes/advice/slogans she posts on a daily basis. Today, she posted something, that kind of hits close to home for me and it is a struggle I haven’t quite figured out just yet.  You can check out her statement on boundaries here.

not doormat.png

This topic hits very close to home for me, because I am not so good at setting boundaries. In fact, I tend to allow people to walk on me, because I find that to be an easier, more peaceful solution than to confront things head on. Being raised as a catholic, in my youth, it was often I heard the advice, “Turn the other cheek” when wronged. Although, I understand the point of it – i.e. it is better to allow a wrong than to commit another wrong in vengeance. But, for some reason, I have taken this to the extreme.

There have been plenty of incidences that would make ample examples when I have allowed myself to be a doormat. I can remember times, playing with my brothers and sisters, when one of my brothers was a complete ass to everyone and in particular to me, he would attempt some emotional manipulation with things like, “If you don’t do it, I won’t be your brother”.  Things like this would be somewhat mind blowing to me, I didn’t understand how he could be mean to his own brother. Of course, I would get frustrated and tell one of my parents, who would say, “So what?!  Let him believe what he wants. Don’t fall for that.” And I would let it go, but secretly it would eat me up.

I also remember a time when I had a girlfriend that slept with everyone within earshot, Okay…maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it sure felt like it at the time. She would always admit it to me and always tell me how sorry she was and would promise to not do it again. And oddly enough, that song by The Offspring is bouncing around in my brain….which also happened to be on the charts during the time I was allowing myself to be walked all over.  This situation is one of the times I had seriously considered suicide.  Eventually, I got so sick of her cheating and boning everyone under the sun, that she had called me once and told me she wanted to get together for a weekend and I popped.

notyouagain

She called me up, although I knew she had been living with a guy for 6 months at the time. I had told her that I still loved her, but because I had moved, I didn’t think things would work out.

She asked me if she and I could still get together when I returned to town on weekends, I asked her, “But aren’t you living with, Jeff (the guy she was living with)…?”

And her reply is what sent my head spinning, “Yeah, but I love fucking you…”

I set the phone down for a moment, as I tried to collect my mind as it fell out of my butt, and I heard her repeating my name.

I picked up the phone and said, “I mean this with all sincerity, but I hope you die of AIDS…”

I hung up the phone, never to speak to her again. But this wasn’t the defining moment that taught me to establish healthy boundaries. No, it was the defining moment that taught me, though I didn’t realize it at the time, that I will continue to allow the women in my life to walk all over me.  A lot of this came out later, when I began going to therapy and told the therapist about all of my relationships with women – my mom, my sisters, my wife, any woman.  I find it impossible to set healthy boundaries, and when I tried, I was highly susceptible to guilt-trips. I allowed my frustrations to build and build and build until I began having self-destructive behavior.

I have always felt, however, that people don’t change unless they make a concerted effort to change, there are subtle sustained influences over long periods of time, or there is some cataclysmic event in their lives.  But now, as I prepare for divorce, I understand the need for boundaries, but I have not developed an understanding of how to set them or enact them.  But, I am taking the path of choosing to do so. And when I do it, I find myself feeling more and more sure of myself.

For example, I have not discussed my soon-to-be-ended-marriage and the problems in them at great length.  There are so many dysfunctional aspects to it, they are hard to define and I finally got to the point where I decided I don’t have to understand what the details are in the dysfunctions, I just need to be aware that something is not right and it may never change. I took a stand one day and I did it in the most calm manner I have ever tried to stand up for myself, I stepped away from a cliff. I felt empowered by it.

Recently, I had another situation that told me that I am capable of setting boundaries without being upset. I am finally willing to explore my sexuality in a healthy and non-destructive manner. I am considering dating, but I am not willing to go into it without making sure my soul and mental well being are protected. I am establishing boundaries for what I want in a relationship.

Certainly, I didn’t write about every event or incident in my life that demonstrated I didn;t understand how to set boundaries, but as I sat down and wrote this all a huge light went off in my head and it is a mantra I have always believed:

I have no responsibility over the behavior others choose, but I am most powerful when I choose my behavior.

I have a long ways to go, and I believe this process is one that will take practice, but I am taking important steps along that path.

byefelicia

Dating?

I have been thinking more and more lately about opening myself up to the potential of dating.  My marriage is in collapse – we have been separated for over 3 months; talk off and on, but it feels more and more like it’s over and kaputz!  Oddly enough, I’m okay with this and I am getting to a point where I am considering opening myself up to some platonic kinds of relationships.  But, I have no clue what I’m doing…

I haven’t been on a date with someone else in years and years. I don’t really understand the ins and outs of dating, social interaction and all those things that go into it.  Truthfully, now that I’m writing it down, my palms are sweating and my heart is pounding and my breathing is deep (For frick’s sake, it sounds like I’m having sex…). I’ve mentioned it before, but since my life is different than it used to be, I think I’d like to eventually have a boyfriend (but I would not turn down the possibility of a girlfriend).  I’m not interested in going too fast, I’d rather spend time just getting to know some people and form some friendships and if I ever get to the point where I’m ready for something intimate, then I am prepared.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but if I am being totally honest, I miss intimacy, I miss being touched or touching someone, I miss conversations, I miss those things that a couple might do. And I know and I feel like anything very serious right now, just isn’t right, but I would like to curb some of the loneliness…

Am I wrong for feeling this way?

Playful Email Exchanges

Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a couple of email exchanges that kind of surprised me.  I’ve had a few guys email me and express their interest in me…um…sexually…as Stephanie.  And I have to admit, it’s been a little exciting and I easily liked some of the exchanges. I liked that I was treated as if I am Stephanie and these guys are fully aware of who/what I am.  On some level, it encourages me that I might still be able to find love someday and it encourages me that, in spite of everything, I can be appreciated for the person I am.

I read another post today discussing cyber-sex. Often times I have pondered cyber-sex and if it is right or wrong.  I have debated it almost as if it is another example of my being as an issue of right or wrong.  I would be lying, if I said I didn’t appreciate the attention I got from the guys that have emailed me.  Actually, it would be a monstrous lie, because I really loved the attention.  I don’t know if it had anything to do with my more feminine nature, I don’t know if it’s because I mentioned I am going to be getting a divorce and I don’t know if I’m reading into it, but since I started expressing myself as Stephanie, I have received more interest in me than ever before while having this blog.  But, without thinking about it too much, I have to admit that it was exciting and fun.  I recognize, however, that these have been short lived exchanges and some of them went well and some of them didn’t, but it made me feel more like…myself. It made me feel a little more at ease.

I have other things going on in my mind today – especially since I’ve had some heartfelt realizations over this past weekend – but I don’t know how to sort them out just yet, so it’s hard to discuss them.  I do know, however, thinking about the attention I have been getting from some guys lately, has me a little…silly, stupid, goofy, bashful, excited, free, encouraged, positive, humorous, giddy, energetic, scary, flirty, worried, etc., etc.  The emotions come pouring out…

But how real can any of it be…?

SARD Part 15 – Damn Co-Dependency!

 

There are some days that have me questioning things.  Today, I’m feeling low…it was such an awesome high, yesterday, that I knew a low was going to follow – it always does.  I am torn about my marriage and I wonder, in some small way, if all I’m doing is trying to run and hide from myself and my responsibilities as a man.  I have such a hard time dealing with myself, when others I deal with aren’t happy with me.  This is so true in my normal everyday dealing with people, that it is no surprise that it is a cornerstone of any romantic/intimate relationship I have. I have so many examples of my codependency.

For example, I had a girlfriend once who cheated on me, and I did everything I could to try and convince her not to cheat on me.  I felt like I must have done something that would make her want to do this.  It must be something I have done, so I apologized for things I happened to be doing wrong.  Granted, they were wrong, but looking at it logically, almost anyone would agree that there is no excuse for cheating. However, I would make her indiscretions my issue, rather than making her accountable to herself (Granted, I did put my hand through her door when she told me…so THAT was childish and wrong). Then you can look at my marriage and there are so many examples of that same behavior, that I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Granted, my wife has never cheated (Well…kind of…there was that one time when she had a picture of a friend’s penis; and, recently, she began talking to an ex boyfriend and told me she was going to leave me for him, if I didn’t change).  This is not something I can excuse in my behavior, because I have.  And I have made other mistakes, as well – I was wrong for it, and I won’t do that to anyone again.  But for years, previous to that, I had been the victim of domestic violence.  That’s right, I said it…I had been hit by her on several occasions during arguments.  And I’m not talking about a slap across the face (Gawd knows, I have a sarcastic tongue…); no, I’m talking closed fists to my face kind of hits.  I remember her telling me on several occasions, when I expressed I didn’t like that treatment, “If you’d show me some respect, you wouldn’t get hit”. What did I do? I tried to change my behavior to accommodate her needs. I mean, I loved her, so wouldn’t I want to change myself to suit her?  This is just a small taste of the toxicity in my marriage.

In fact, when I began my first WP blog, it was intended to be about my failing marriage – that was almost 5 years ago, when I began blogging on WP.  I have changed myself so much to try and meet her needs, I began to forget who I am.  I expressed in previous postings, that I absolutely changed who I am as a basic individual. I have also come to terms with my sexuality over the past few years.  I truly believe I am bisexual. But something else began to emerge – Stephanie.  I am now questioning this reality. I’m questioning if it is simply another way for me to try and adapt to all of the heartache I feel as man.  Am I really someone that has problems with his identity, or have I been so emasculated through not being appreciated for who I am, that I felt I needed to change everything about myself – including my gender. But I’m questioning so much about the marriage that I am now having doubts about it’s continuance or it’s demise.

Something else happened today that had me questioning if I am even a good person.  Somehow, I inadvertently offended someone on here that I considered a friend.  I won’t go into details, because it’s not fair to discuss it, but she had asked me to unfriend her and has since blocked me.  Now, I’m wondering what I did wrong.  I always feel like there is always something I can do to have prevented a negative situation from occurring.  I look to turn a cheek, I look to explain myself for fear that the other person thinks I mean to hurt them. I look for some way to salvage any wrong -perceived or real.  It’s something I don’t know how to let go and accept that sometimes oil and water really don’t mix.

I feel like a failure when I want to make someone happy and it doesn’t happen…

And now, I begin to wonder again, if I am to blame for my marriage. Am I avoiding some responsibility? Should I be handling my life in a different way? What can I do to make things right? I’m probably only thinking of my needs, wants and desires when I consider my sexuality or consider that I’m not the gender I was born to be.  I start to question all my knowledge of self and wonder if I’m truly fucked up? Maybe when I question all of this, I should be seeking God…or return to my faith and accept that I am all wrong.

I feel like I was happy as a man at one time. I felt at one time I was happy being heterosexual. I felt at one time, I was secure in who I was as a person.  But life happened to me, it happened to me and it made me question everything about myself. Just like today did – and I don’t even know why, because it’s not like I was even close to this “friend” I mentioned above. It shouldn’t feel important. Granted, I have had conversations with a few of you on here and I feel like losing any of those friendships would devastate me, if this one is doing what it is doing now.

But, it made me want to eat this:

choc

At least it’s not a beer, right?

But I know, deep down, this co-dependency thing will be there with me, at all times! I don’t understand when it developed, where it developed or why it developed. I feel like I used to be secure, but somehow it’s like everything else I’m realizing about myself – it feels like it has probably always been there, but has never surfaced until later in life. But there are other things that I began to question after I started feeling co-dependent, so are any of those a reality for me?

Catholicity and my Sexuality.

I am not normal.

I don’t remember the exact words the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses in describing homosexuals (and in my case, bisexual).  I’ve mentioned, before, however, that I see the word “normal” from a mathematical standpoint and I can understand the exact nature of normalcy. Normal has an exact definition and I’m not offended when I hear that I’m not normal. Normal has everything to do with the distribution curve of humanity – breaking people into numeric descriptions that yields a data point on a curve and seeing that the bulk of that curve lies within a standard deviation of the data.  It has a quality to it that expresses a certain flavor of uniqueness.  I would lie outside that “bulk” of the curve. That is EASY to embrace – I am unique and my sexuality is unique.

An abomination?

That is the more glaring understanding of how Christianity and Catholicism sees alternative sexualities. Specifically, it’s not that one man loving another man is a sin, because that is the reflection of God’s love for all humanity. No, this judgment and assessment is focused on the homosexual act – the act of one man lying down with another man. There are a few references in the Bible that addresses this behavior – among many other behaviors.  So, I can grasp and see where many of the opinions originate from the Christian community.

Lately, however, I have received more followers to my blog that are Christian. I have several people that are Catholic following me, as well.  Having been raised in a Catholic home, I have an understanding of the….hmmm…for lack of a better phrase…an understanding of the mentality that goes on from the Christian community with respect to alternative sexualities.  I have mentioned in previous posts, that I had a decent grasp of the apologetics of Catholicism at one point in my life. I read the Catechism, the Bible, and various Catholic literature on a regular basis.  So, I can see and understand some of the reasoning that goes on in that community.  But I am always amazed that anyone from the Christian community would have anything to do with me – I am the abomination that they have learned.

Recently, I mentioned that I had an old friend that I almost revealed my sexuality. It was almost a scary moment.  Well,when she and I were much closer as friends, I had a suspicion she might be Catholic, although it was never discussed – mostly because I was immature and made rash assumptions without ever knowing facts.  During our recent conversation, however, she had mentioned she was Catholic but still supported LGBT rights.  She had several friends that had come out to her before, but she had taken her father’s understanding of sexuality because of her friends’ sexualities – that God loves us all and that loving someone is an example of His love. She also mentioned that her dad had expressed that God doesn’t make mistakes, so being born a certain sexuality doesn’t seem fair that they couldn’t love someone based on their birth. Of course, hearing this almost pushed me over the edge, because I had a lot of respect for her dad too.

But there is something else that stands out in my head from what I have learned about Catholic theology: Although God does make some of us with an “abnormal” (based on my definition of “normal”) sexuality, He still has rules for how we express sexual love – that it should only be expressed monogamously among a man and a woman who are married to each other. The idea that someone has been born as bisexual does not relieve him or her of this responsibility; this person has a special cross to bare (Side note: I can’t remember if I should be using bare or bear…I’m running into this a lot in my writing, lately…and it’s beginning to piss me off).

That seems like a wide river to cross as I am now in the midst of a failed marriage. Naturally, I have questions about what direction to take my life and whether or not I should pursue another relationship sometime in the future. I certainly don’t believe a relationship would serve me in the best way in the immediacy, but I am curious about that possibility in the future. I fluctuate in my sexuality too -What if I find another woman that I love?  What if this is the springboard that brings Stephanie out? What if I fall in love with a man? Or, maybe this is the time I give everything about myself up and hand myself over to God?

This concept of a Higher Power has been a struggle of mine for quite some time, as many of you are aware. I have not read my Bible in years, but for some reason, on a whim, I brought it with me on this time I am away for work.  And last night I read it. I opened it up to Psalm 62. I have taken comfort in this particular Psalm before and it has been recommended to me from a priest before.  I went to bed last night and read it before sleeping and I can’t really explain what pulled me in to read it.  I am at a crossroads in my life, again, and I have rarely approached my life without deep thought (A predisposition to my anxiety, obviously). But I read something last night that pulled me into this thinking.

I follow a blogger that I really find inspiring. I won’t mention her name or cite the post of hers I read, because I have not asked for permission, but she wrote something yesterday that got me to thinking.  She is “pro-life” and so am I.  I don’t want to get into a debate about the topic, other than to say her post really got me thinking about how much I have pulled away from my faith.  It made me question myself, again. In many ways, I feel ‘right’ about the part of my being that is Stephanie, but there is another part of my being that tells me I’m not on the right path in life at all.  There are times when I miss the faith in which I was raised, but there are other times when I feel like being bisexual, being Stephanie, being who I feel I am makes more sense. And then there are times when I look at life through the lenses of science and I question the reality of my life and what it means to me.

“Trust in God” is a tough piece of advice for me, because the reality for me is that I don’t trust God.  But it is this piece of advice that is suggested time and time again by priests, family, friends and others that have a strong belief in God.  And as a Catholic, I have not done Lent this year or in recent years…

And now, I wonder if I might be backtracking on myself – not a good place for my mind to be.  It makes me wonder what is next for me. It has me questioning if I have been using sexuality as a means to hide my own personal responsibilities in life. Am I a scared little boy unable to handle life? Or am I a woman coming into her own and this is the natural process that has to occur? Or worse, like alcoholism, have I been using my sexuality as a means to achieve some short-lived, superficial happiness based on some mental defect? Is this simply a manifestation of a disturbed mind?

These are my thoughts this morning, as I wake and have a cup of coffee and I prepare to work in one of the most male-driven, masculine-based industries known – drilling for oil.

Some Backstory…

The other day, I mentioned I told my wife I am ready for a divorce.  This was a tough place to be, but I wanted to discuss the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back.  Because it had been a recurring theme in our relationship – almost since day one.  I have made no secrets that our relationship is toxic and I bare an awful lot of responsibility in the relationship, as well, but there are something I am no longer willing to take responsibility.

I’m not sure if I had mentioned, before, but during my time of being laid off I drove for two different ride sharing programs (I won’t mention names, but they rhyme with “Floober” and “Plift”).  Well a couple of months ago, I picked up a couple from a club – a young man and a young woman (compared to me, of course) and began to take them back to the young woman’s apartment.  Along the way, unfortunately, the man had struck the woman in the backseat of my car.  Obviously, I felt I needed to call the police.  Long story short – he was arrested and the young woman felt I had done her a solid – so to speak.  So, a couple of days ago, the young man had a court appearance and I was called as a witness.  I invited my wife to go with me.

The process was annoyingly long, because the judge had a lengthy docket and when the young man’s case was called, he had made arrangements to plead the case out and receive a disposition.  The young woman happened to be present, as well, along with her mother.  When everything was said and done, she approached me afterwards to thank me for what I had done.  I introduced her to my wife and told her I was glad to help.  We parted ways.

Afterwards, my wife didn’t say a word to me.  I asked her what was wrong and she said, “Like you don’t know”. I expressed that I had an idea, but it made more sense for her to tell me.  She told me…off. I heard everything from wanting to have sex with the young woman to wondering how many women I had slept with while driving for these two companies.  I’ll admit, the young woman was attractive, but I was not interested in anything other than doing what was right.  My wife went on to call me every name in the book and I think she might have invented some, as well.  What I have always found as interesting is that she is well aware of my sexuality, but accusations of cheating on her with guys are rare – they do happen, but they are rare.

Well, I have stopped arguing with her. I have long since stopped trying to explain myself in any way.  I used to try, but I was never listened too. I get accused of not listening to her, and I hear that she feels like there are threats to our marriage (oh, just a side note…I mentioned this to another blogger on here, but I’m going to mention it now – she has been texting ex-boyfriends for quite some time). I know I’m not cheating, I know I am not interested in cheating and I know that cheating will destroy a relationship.  And I have done things in our marriage that are not right, but I have never been violent (she has), I have never used our children as a pawn (she has), and I have not brought up the D-word because it hurt her (It flies freely from her mouth, because I’m supposed to understand how she feels).  The bottom line is that I don’t do it and I am not doing it.  She just doesn’t want to see it or doesn’t want to believe it. The argument continued, without me having a chance to voice my feelings or thoughts (very typical for us).

Eventually, she began demanding to know what I want out of the relationship. I expressed that I Wanted to be with someone that allowed me to express myself. I was cut off and told that it was the same old “bullshit”. I told her I couldn’t do this anymore. I told her I didn’t feel like I mattered. I told her that I felt like any changes I’ve made in the relationship have been for nothing.  Then she began asking me to tell her what changes I’ve made I’ve learned that this is a tactic to get me to engage, so she doesn’t have to look at anything she does). I didn’t reply to that, I just said, “I’m not cheating, I’m not interested in any young women. I’m doing the best I can… You either accept me the way I am or you don’t.” Her response was, “You wanted her and the only reason you didn’t try anything is because you know she wouldn’t want you. There is no way any woman would want you and the only reason you’re with me, is because no one wants someone like you.” I smiled at her and said, “I’m ready for a divorce.”  She told me, “Good, because no one wants you here. I don’t want you and the kids don’t want you.”

I left for the evening. And now I am away for work for the next two weeks. I’ve already received texts and voicemails apologizing.

I haven’t responded.

 

(Edit: I just noticed all of my grammatical and spelling errors.  I wrote this in a rush and have no desire to fix anything…I really am done.)