When Scott and I were dating, we were very cuddly, and I LOVED it! I have always been a very cuddly person, starting with when I was a toddler and would go get in bed with my teenage brother, who was also very cuddly. I remember once when I was a teenager, I leaned on my brother while I was watching a movie at his house or something, and he said teasingly, "You need to find yourself a boyfriend to cuddle with." I told him how much I wanted exactly that.
It took 6 months from our first date for Scott to kiss me, and then it was very awkward and only happened, I think, because all of our friends kept expecting it to and the pressure was on, but cuddling began even before our first date, at 6 a.m. in the football stadium when we were waiting for a madrigal rehearsal to begin to prepare for the homecoming pep rally. I was cold, and Scott came to my rescue by holding me. Wow, I have never felt anything like that before. I felt so safe, so alive. It did not feel sexual to me at all, just sweet and kind of like, "Wow! After 17 years a boy finally notices me and cares about how I am feeling!" That was a new thing for me, really new. Actually, I guess other guys had noticed me before; just no one I was ever really into, and no one that seemed to have MY best interest in mind.
So, cuddling is what I remember most from our courtship. It was really hard on me a few years ago when the cuddling decreased in our marriage until it became virtually non-existent. Scott claimed he had never really liked to cuddle, that it made him too hot, that it was uncomfortable to have the circulation in his arm cut off by the pressure of my body against it. At first it made me really frustrated and confused. We were also having problems with intimacy (read: he rarely wanted sex), and I got the impression that he viewed cuddling as foreplay. I tried to convince him that I loved to cuddle, that I needed to cuddle, and that it didn't need to go any further. I was glad that I had young children to cuddle with, but it wasn't the same.
Then when he came out to me last summer, suddenly he was willing to cuddle again. Actually, not only willing, but he wanted to! I didn't know what to think or how to react, but I just learned to enjoy it again and be grateful for it! I also have learned to be more forward in instigating it. I guess I always expected (or wanted) it to be HIS move, an indication from him that he loved me and loved my body and wanted to hold it. But since I now understand how he works, I am not as hesitant to take his hand first or cuddle up with him first, and he doesn't seem to mind it anymore, like he did for a while! It is awesome!
A week or two after Scott told me about the gay thing, he was having a down day. It was strange to see him down, because he had been so much happier, having found himself, exploring all it meant for him to be gay--to him and to us. We kind of talked about his depression during the day, and he wasn't sure what had brought it on. But instead of improving, it got worse, and by the end of the day when the kids were in bed and we could talk freely, he was lying on the living room floor, depressed, and I asked him what I could do to cheer him up and he said, "Hold me."
Wow. I had probably said that line a million times to him when I wanted his comfort, but I didn't remember him ever saying it to me. I lay down behind him on the floor (spooning), and put my arm around him. As we lay there, we talked, and I seem to remember it being a pretty emotional conversation, about how now that he had figured himself out, he had this overwhelming desire, or longing, to be held by another man. I held him and apologized that I could not be what he needed. It did not hurt me personally to know that I was not enough for him, but it hurt to see that the one I love so much was hurting and needing more than I could ever give him.
Over the past year, he has still had days where he has been a bit down and has honestly told me on those days about his occasional "longings". Either the longings have subsided as the year has progressed, or he has gotten better about not letting them get to him or at least not letting me know that he is feeling them. But anytime we watch a "gay" movie together, I worry about his longings. And honestly, when we have our friends over, and a bunch of single guys are squished together on the couch while Scott sits and talks to them from a separate chair, I feel bad for him.
Why can't he squish with them on the couch? We are not talking about the entangled cuddling that he and I engaged in many times when we were dating, and now do again, but the simple closeness of being with friends: shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, maybe an arm behind a neck. Some have expressed on Scott's blog post that he should ABSOLUTELY not venture into that territory, but I really don't see anything wrong with it. Correct me if I am wrong, Scott, but I believe he is only talking about slight contact, nothing more than any of us would have with siblings or parents or good friends.
Or maybe we are just deceived, and this is the first step for venturing onto a slippery slope....
But for me, it is to see my best friend, the one I love more than anyone in all the world, happy because he is able to snuggle up with some friend of the same gender while I snuggle up with him (Scott) on the other side...
And yes, I guess that would be like me cuddling with a straight man, or a straight husband cuddling with another woman, but somehow it doesn't feel the same to me. The straight husband has the wife to get the woman's touch that he needs. I have Scott to get the touch from a man like I need. It doesn't matter if he is gay or straight, he is still a man, and I am attracted to him! But he gets gyped, because he does not get the touch of a man that he needs.
Maybe I am out of my mind, but it feels right to me. I am willing to risk the slippery slope to help Scott be as happy and fulfilled as he can be, while still staying in a monogamous relationship with me. We have been doing our best to follow the promptings of the spirit and do what is best for us, and so far, it seems to be working out. So hopefully, if this is the wrong thing, I pray that the spirit will be with me, with us, to know that it is not the right thing. I have faith that Heavenly Father will answer this prayer for me when the time is right, and before we start sliding, uncontrollably, down hill.
Thanks for your concern, for your opinions, for your encouragement, for your input. But please remember that ultimately this decision is up to us, and I trust Scott enough to know that he will not do anything that I am uncomfortable with. That is the beauty of open and honest communication. Neither of us is ever afraid to express what we really feel or think about something that has happened or might happen.
Now, for those of you who hang out at our house sometimes and are now "awkward" at the thought that you are expected to fulfill Scott's need for man-touch, please don't be! If giving him a handshake or a hug or a pat on the back is all you are comfortable with, then by all means, don't do any more than that. Just as this has to seem right to Scott and I, it also needs to feel right for anyone else who might be involved. Please be open and honest with us as well, if needed.
4 weeks ago