Monday, August 18, 2008

Marriage

The video below is an advertisement which is apparently showing on US television. I find it quite emotional. There is something upsetting about seeing what is meant to be the most wonderful day of a woman's life being ruined. That lesbians (and gay men) cannot experience that day in most countries is a blot on society which is only very slowly being changed.

I have been "best man" at a wedding 3 times which seems to prove the old saying 3 times a bridesmaid never a bride may be correct :-).
Twice it was a Christian wedding and both ended in divorce!!! Once for a colleague which only lasted about 18 months and the end did not surprise me. He was a fanatic for detail and cleanliness and could not abide change to plans whatever the cause. We actually worked well together on projects when I was in charge. I had the grand plans and if it was necessary to change, I overrode his objections while he was very good at making sure the plans were carried out in minute detail. However I was not surprised that the lady found it difficult especially as she was much younger and had been a student of ours. I have not seen him for many years but do not think he remarried although he became Principal of an important high school.

The other (actually the first) was a guy with whom I grew up, having lived 2 doors away. He was a student at Moore College and became a priest. They stayed together for many years and had 2 grown up children before the divorce. I lost contact with him but believe the divorce and remarriage was a real brake on his progression within the diocese of Sydney. Knowing their religious views, I do not think either of these men would be happy to know I am gay.

The third time (lucky) was for a guy who openly claims he is an atheist and I felt a little uncomfortable supporting his marriage in a church. However I have kept in contact, although we live about 200km apart, and he is still happily married with 4 children and several grandchildren. When I came out to him several years after the marriage the reply was "I have known that for a long time" and he calls me "big brother" ( I am more than 10 years his senior) and gives me a big hug when we meet (but draws the line at kiss).

I was encouraged to find a nice girl and get married by psychiatrists who were treating me for my disorder. I followed their advice and became engaged which at least stopped the treatment developing in ways which I believe psychologically harmed other gay men I have since met. I did not return to tell them I had broken the engagement. That was traumatic enough but although she was a lovely woman, I realised there would be a problem when I found myself regretting leaving my male friends to take her out and we sat on a church hayride, holding hands while the other couples were doing much more around us in the hay.
Breaking an engagement in those days was serious, my family turned against me (even Mum for a while) and it took many years before she did marry. Her mother and mine exchanged Christmas cards for the rest of Mum's life.

There was an article in this weekend's magazine "The Good Weekend". Unfortunately not on line. It is titled "Fairytale Marriage" and begins:
The perfect couple, the beautiful kids, the picket fence. It's the dream existence - until the wife finds out it's all based on a lie. This story is on the gay men married to straight women - and what happens when they finally come out of the closet.

Some other parts (my bold):
For religious, family or social reasons, some men don't come out. Some churches still tell them they can overcome their feelings. Others feel if they get married young, their desires for men will be lost in domestic bliss. Then there are those who are married for years before they realise that, while they somehow relate to Victoria Beckham, it's David they fancy.

And

"you've no idea how big this scene is, I see fathers with their kids at junior soccer in the mountains (my area) who I've seen on the beats - we give each other a knowing nod."

And

The men can move on with their lives more easily, but it is pretty tough for a woman with three young kids whose ex-husband is off having a lovely time with his new boyfriend after having discovered his "true self".

It is all very sad reading. Some of the men try to do the right thing, eg keep up a social front until the kids grow up but have separate bedrooms and go out with their men friends. But what sort of a life is that for the wife? Others leave the wife to bring up the kids and take off for their new life.
I can never come out to my sister's best friend as she has another close friend who has been left to bring up her children in poverty while her wealthy ex-husband (a medical doctor) lives with his boy friend. Her views of gay men are naturally jaundiced as a result.

I refused to have a relationship with a man who was a pillar in local society with his wife and 2 kids and wanted me on the side. I admit I was mainly thinking of myself, still left to live and socialise alone while he to my mind had the best of both worlds.

What a f...ed up world it is and the church does not help.


2 comments:

FranIAm said...

Oh Brian, thank you for this post and for your own reflections of life.

I too have seen marriages go bad because people just went forth and married. One friend of mine told me she knew that her husband was gay but that she thought she could make things "right."

It is tragic and tragic as well that people who are in love cannot marry freely.

And that it is because of the pressure of religious groups is an outrage. Churches do not have to sanction marriages, just those for the people who want to marry in them.

It is an outrage all the way around and heartbreak for many.

Thank you again and this has inspired me to write about this as well.

Brian R said...

Thanks Fran for this and the link from your site. When I was teaching in a senior high and open about my sexuality, a student from the previous year visited and asked for guidance about marriage although he had gay feelings. I advised him against it until he was more sure of his feelings. His girlfriend rang the next day and abused me and said she would overcome his feelings. I do not know what happened but at least she was aware.