Tuesday, June 5

Loved and Lost

I met a guy today. He may not remember our meeting tomorrow... but already it's burned into my mind.

At first, nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the conversation. It was just another meeting. Jokes, banter, talking about life and going through the motions of getting to know you before the agenda begins. But there was something more in his words. Most of what he talked about - the stories he shared to illustrate his thoughts - centered on his family. He had been married, had children, and was now divorced.

He wasn't old, but it seemed to me that he was speaking about his family too freely for the divorce to have happened less than a few years ago. And yet, the connection was still there. He still joked about his in-laws. He recounted positive stories of his marriage... and I found myself wondering what had happened. The brief glimpse I saw in his anecdotes of the past seemed wholly different from what I could see across the table. The man I saw was stressed to his limits, trying to prove something to the universe by taking on far more than he really wanted.

What had happened? What pushed him from married life to being yet again single... from balanced stress to chaos?

And then it hit me - not only what had happened, but why I felt I could empathize so deeply with this man I had never met. His friend made a comment, and all the rest of the signs and stories fell into place. He was gay.

In that moment, I saw through the facade and realized how it all fit together. I understood the banter and the sarcasm, the stress and hectic schedule. A guy, attracted to other guys, who tries his hardest to make life work... somehow falls in love with a woman who returns that love... they have a child... and then something happens that pushes them apart. She learns about his attraction to guys... divorces him... he loses the one person he loved more than anything in the world... gives up on trying to stay chaste... and is left to pick up the pieces of his life. A few years pass and here he is, still bearing the signs of wear and tear, but trying to push through life.

I don't know if I'll ever talk to him in person again. But later that day I had tears running down my cheeks... frustrated and wondering how many other men and women felt the same way... betrayed, lost, confused... and, for a moment, I felt like I could understand why someone would just give up when that happened.

Then I saw part of The Vow.

For those who aren't familiar with the storyline, a man and his wife are in a terrible accident that leaves the wife unable to remember anything from multiple years before. He tries valiantly to help her remember, attempts to court her again, drops his job and stays by her side... but she can't remember him, doesn't accept him, and leaves him completely.

I found myself crying a whole lot... exactly what I would be doing if I were in that situation. And after she served the divorce papers, I felt myself in his shoes and wanted... honestly... to jump off a bridge. Just end life completely. I mean, when the person who means everything to you walks away, what else is there to live for?

There's God... which He gently reminded me... and with God life always a purpose. But sometimes that doesn't make it any easier to get up in the morning or not cry yourself to sleep each night.

The realization I had looking at the man across the table and into my own heart... is that I don't know if I have the strength and faith to live through the trials that finding love, and losing it, would bring. I would hope so. But that seems far more difficult than anything I've experienced... and I hope I never do.

To those who have loved and given and sacrificed and lost: may you have the faith and hope to find God in your trials. May He heal your wounds and give you peace. Tonight you are in my prayers.


  1. Thanks for that. My situation is actually quite similar to that guys. It hurts deeply to have your eternal companion reject you for something you can't control (the attraction). I'm not normally a crier, but I cried every day for months. And I was in a very dark place.

    I'm still a long way from where I want to be, but I do feel the love of God almost every day now. As cliche as it is, it's true that the sweet tastes so much sweeter after the bitter.

    I had my own pity party for quite a while, but the experience really opened my eyes and heart to all the varied suffering in this world. My own experience was devastating, yes, but there are so many people struggling with so many things that are devastating to them. I actually feel so much more love for all now than I ever could have before.

  2. Thank you for one of the most beautiful posts you've written to date. This deeply touched me, and I hope the lessons I've learned from your words and your experience will help me have more compassion and understanding for others. Thank you again.

  3. I certainly hope and pray that your personal experience and testimony reaches those that really need to hear it.

  4. Just 2 things.

    1. I admire you beyond belief. I wish you would understand the extent of my respect. You have a way with words, and you are truly an example to many.

    2. I wish more than anything we could be friends. Like..face to face friends. No judgment. Only understanding leading to more understanding. You see, my brother-in-law struggles with this. I wrote a long e-mail to you...and deleted it. I want to understand this more than anything. I want to know you. But I can't.

    We & Serendipity

  5. I don't know you and yet, in a way, I do because your spirit speaks to mine in ways that are uncanny. I love you for your stark honesty and transparency. So often, more than you can ever know, your musings speak answers to my bruised and battered soul. Battered as I am, I am nonetheless always healed by the innumerable blessings given to me by Father and thus made whole. Thank you for being one of the many blessings given to this world.

  6. This is exactly my story, but it is still very raw and fresh. "Battered" is the right word, and there are moments where I feel abandoned and worthless, especially when family and friends are not supportive. Thanks for sharing, it lifts some of the loneliness and isolation that I feel.

  7. Fear not. The same thing happens to straight couples. Marriage is a gamble--but less of one with God. That is part of what makes it wonderful. I just read this article on the subject http://www.joshweed.com/2012/06/club-unicorn-in-which-i-come-out-of.html?spref=fb

    I also think you have made a great headstart. You are open and honest with your feelings. A marriage that starts out open, honest, intimate is more likely to stay that way. As a woman married to a straight man for 7 years that has just barely revealed serious sexual sins--porn and sexual relations with another woman before we were married (he told me I was his first and only kiss--let alone his first lay)--I'm having trouble staying with him. It's true that he disgusts me right now--but the deceit is a big part of that. Even though I can see him working with the Lord to make things better, I am also having to accept unpleasant things. I do think our relationship can move past this, but it's very difficult. And I'd imagine that it is similar for homosexuality--even though I believe SSA is not a sin unless acted upon. Because my husband kept his temptations and sins secret, his revelations have caused me greater pain. I feel like he loves me less because of them--even though a part of me knows that isn't completely true, my self-worth has been challenged and damaged. I don't feel as sexy, I don't feel as important, and because he lied to me--I don't feel as close with him. More or less, our relationship has been redefined on multiple levels, and does require change. Unfortunately, if feelings of disappointment are paired with strong feelings of betrayal, divorce is a much more natural path to take than intimacy--of course if this blog is about anything it's fighting the natural path and choosing the plan of happiness. . . but that doesn't mean we don't mess up.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, both parties are hurt when there is dishonesty. Please don't judge the spouse too harshly. They have also had their world ripped apart. It doesn't need to be like that if there is honest and open communication from the get go. If you haven't told your spouse. Tell them RIGHT NOW! Later is never better when it comes to honesty.

    An LDS spouses of porn addicts support group posted this that I found helpful:
    The Porn Healing Paradox: He Recognizes His Problem with Porn and Is Getting Better So Why Do I Feel Worse?

    HE: Feels a new level of honesty and truthfulness
    SHE: Feels the level of his disloyalty and deceit more intensely

    HE: Has a new level of appreciation for the marriage bond
    SHE: Is saddened to realize how little the marriage has meant to him

    HE: Finally has the accountability he was looking for
    SHE: Senses the shame and secrecy of being married to an addict

    HE: Loves her more than he ever has before
    SHE: Has never felt less loved, valued or secure

    Bottom Line:
    He wants congratulations for something that makes you want to throw up. The emotions listed above are true and valid for both the man and woman yet are polar opposite.

    Why does this happen?
    He has been holding these feelings for a long time and is very familiar with them. It is a welcome relief for him to disclose his secrets and come clean. Sharing his burden with you means you now get to grieve over the loss of the relationship as you knew it to be. You get to feel some level of the shame he felt. You also have a finely tuned sense of distrust towards all of his actions. Welcome to the temporary insanity that healing from a porn addiction brings to a couple.

    Be aware of the porn healing paradox as both of you move forward. Share this with him so he understands and appreciates your viewpoint as both of you work on becoming whole again. He needs to continue to earn your trust. And you need to continue to work on healing yourself and becoming open to trust again.



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