As I have come to accept the fact that I am able to love men as well as women, I have also come to accept the fact that I am able to love myself. This is possibly the most important lesson learned during my discoveries. The old dictum is absolutely correct. One must love one's self before one may love another. One of the ways I can tell that I love myself is the absence of the self-abuse which had been a part of my life to one degree or another.
Chemical, physical, psychological, sexual.
Substance abuse. Risk taking. Self hate. Denial of physical sexuality.
These are gone. I have no need for them any longer.
Something else I have realized as of late is the equivalence of caution and judgement.
Some friends have expressed concerns about my well-being and that of my relationship with my wife. I understand your concerns. You need to understand this: Repeated cautions are dangerous to OUR relationship, friends, truly they are. For when you continually voice your opinion that I should do this or shouldn't do that, these suggestions come across as judgements. When you voice these judgements in a public way, as rejoinders to my words as expressed in a public forum, these judgements tell others that you don't trust MY judgement. This is not acceptable.
You must bear in mind that Sweetpea and I have had many deep discussions about where I am and where I am going. When I came out to her I truly had no idea what would come next. I had an inkling that now that I knew what and who I was, that that would be enough. The psychic pressure was relieved by the simple knowledge and acceptance of that internally. I had no intention of becoming a practicing bisexual, none at all. My relationship with my wife was paramount and primary. When she not only accepted who I discovered lived inside of me but also encouraged that man to emerge, explore, and enjoy himself, it was almost more than I could believe. She has suggested non-fiction and educational literature that I may want to read to learn more about who I am and what it means. She has offered me some of her favorite gay erotica to read. Yes, HER favorite male-male gay erotic fiction that she has been reading for years unbeknownst to me (this partially explains her easy and open acceptance of my new reality). She has told me of the boundaries she is comfortable with. We have discussed the possible outcomes of my future relationships with men that I intend to become involved with. We have discussed the fact that some of these people may want more of a permanent relationship, one that does not include a wife on my part and how this is unacceptable to both of us. She is the one that equipped me with protection, though I had already done so, before going to Burning Man and encouraged me to explore my friend or others who would be there. She is the one who has told me that it is important that I no longer deny myself that which I have desired for so long. She is the one that has told me that it is important to her that I express and experience myself to the fullest extent to which I feel comfortable. She knows what she is in for and is very aware of what may happen in the future.
Believe me friends, I know the risks that lay ahead of me on this new path, in these new fields, in these new beds that lay before me. Believe me when I say this. Believe. Know that I accept your fears. But also know this: I am deeply involved in my relationship with my wife. I know us. Trust me. I have far more of a vested interest in the continued success of this relationship than you will ever know or will ever imagine. You cannot possibly appreciate the nuances of our relationship just as I do not presume to know them in yours. I have been blessed with something far beyond acceptance. Permission. While I do need your love, I do not require your permission. That I already have. Continued insistence and continued warnings come across as a subtle but no less corrosive form of intolerance. As a form of distrust and misgiving. Even as a form jealousy. That you may not accept these, my interpretations of your intentions, is of no matter to me. The matter to me is that you accept me for who I am. Who I am includes my choices and my freedom to make those choices unhindered by your misgivings and worries. The best thing that you can do is to keep these insecurities to yourself. I would not dare to offer you marital advice in a public manner. All I ask is the same consideration from you. I ask this in love, in friendship. If you truly feel that you must administer a warning to me, that you must share your fears of failure with me, please do so in a private communication. To do otherwise is to advertise to the world that you lack confidence in my ability to make decisions for myself without your guidance and input. It not only shows disrespect to me, it shows in a very public way that you discount the wisdom of my wife and elevate your knowledge and judgement above that of hers.
I love you,