14 September, 2006

McGreevey And The High Cost Of Selfishness

Well, Governor McGreevey is back in the news.
Former Gov. James E. McGreevey revealed during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he was having an affair with another man while his wife was hospitalized for the birth of their child...The nation's first openly gay governor told Winfrey he believed he was in love with the man, who would become a central figure in his downfall


While large numbers of folks are no doubt going to celebrate the fact that Mr. McGreevey is at long last being true to himself and his long-suppressed desires, I'm going to stick to my original opinion. The same one I held when Mel White came out of the closet a while back.

Despite the supposed triumph of these newfound selves, there is little mourning for the brokenhearted women and children left behind.

10 Comments:

At 10:40 AM, September 14, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:41 AM, September 14, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

I think you're making an unfair assessment of Mel White's coming out. His wife helped him through the process of coming out. After years of him going through various "ex-gay" therapies, she told him "Look, you're gay, and you deserve to be happy, and I deserve to be happy."

And I'm assuming that his son isn't particularly heart-broken over the ordeal since, last time I chatted with Mel, he mentioned his son had just donated a fairly large chunk of cash to Soulforce.

I agree with you in part in regards to Gov. McGreevey. I don't condone an affair for any reason. But in the unfortunate circumstance that a gay man (or woman) enters into an opposite sex marriage and has children, it's usually better for them to be true to themselves and their families. Dishonesty and staying in an unhappy marriage doesn't actually help anyone. It's my sincerest hope that Dina McGreevey will find a good strong healthy relationship with a straight man, and James McGreevey will continue to be an active part of his children's lives.

 
At 10:55 AM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I know that Mr. White's coming out was extremely difficult and took many many years. I respect him for trying to work through it with his wife.

Maybe it's because I'm a wife, I dunno. But I always find myself really feeling sorry for the wives--even if they are soldiering on, as Mel's wife did.

 
At 2:54 PM, September 15, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

I feel bad for the (ex)wives of gay men or the (ex)husbands of lesbians as well. Hopefully, as it becomes "ok" for people to be gay in society you will have fewer gay men and women who feel compelled to try to fake straight relationships.

Still, in the unfortunate situation that a gay person has entered into an opposite-sex relationship only to discover that it's not so easy to simply supress who you are, the best option is still for them to come out. In any relationship, I think honesty is one of the top priorities. I know a elderly married couple in which the man is gay. He came out to his wife not terribly long after getting married, but they decided to remain married as "friends" (a very strange concept to me, but it was a different time I guess). Even though that was a choice they made together (no kids obviously), I think it's a real shame that neither of them have had (or, I suspect, will have) the chance to pursue a true romantic relationship in their lives.

I guess I'm just saying that in any marriage where the differences are truly unreconcilable (such as an opposite-sex marriage where one spouse is gay), I think it's better for all involved (including both spouses and children) for the marriage to be dissolved. In my view, a divorce is better than a chronically unhappy marriage (that said, I think far too many married couples give up at the first sign of problems without realizing that relationships take work).

 
At 2:55 PM, September 15, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

btw, the first comment that I deleted was deleted just because of some pretty awful typos. It said the exact same thing as the comment that followed it.

 
At 10:02 PM, September 15, 2006, Blogger jewels v said...

I have to side with Kat on this one. The spouse that gets left behind is rarely considered. Even if the sexual orientation that was assumed at the beginning of the marriage was a farce, the marriage still existed. It was a real thing, it was a living organism and a divorce is a tearing of one part of that organism from another. With children, that organism become more complex and the tearing is painful to more people.

I am setting aside for a moment the "being true to yourself". One's sexual orientation is one part of yourself. Just as sex in marriage is also only one part of the marriage. The previous comment dismissed the posibility of a "true romantic relationship." I am sorry for you, if romance is all about sex for you, I feel you are missing out.

Going back to the "being true to yourself". Are you assuming that because this person is homosexual that they are not also commitment minded? That they should not take pause and consider the ramifications of dropping the G-bomb on his wife and children?

Sexual orientation aside now, any man that would have an affair (whether with and man, woman, or monkey) while his wife was having his child--he goes straight to the bottom of my list. Is this the type of man to be the poster child for a cause?

 
At 2:18 PM, September 17, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

Jewels,

You sugest that marriage is a living organism that is torn apart by divorce. I think that's probably a fair anaology, but yet if a person's heart no longer functions with their body, we remove it and replace it with a new one, do we not? That surgery can be painful and the price of it is high, but it's bettter to have a working heart than one that doesn't function.

I am sorry for you, if romance is all about sex for you, I feel you are missing out.

Are you saying that you believe in carrying out extra-marital romances? I think that romance is about far more than sex, but I know I personally would not be inclined to enter into a relationship with a married individual. Further I see no value in a marriage where both parties are romantically involved with others. Please don't feel sorry for me. I may be in a monogamous relationship, but I don't feel I'm missing out on anything.

Are you assuming that because this person is homosexual that they are not also commitment minded?

Hardly, my partner and I have been together for 5 years. Gay people are as "commitment-minded" as straight people.

That they should not take pause and consider the ramifications of dropping the G-bomb on his wife and children?

What I'm suggesting is that they should pause and consider the ramifications of NOT "dropping the G-bomb." Purposely staying in an unreconciably unhappy marriage, leave two individuals (the spouses) unhappy for the rest of their lives. It leaves any children with a confused and probably unhappy childhood (why don't my mommy and daddy love eachother?), and offers them the example of an unhappy marriage to live up to, which increases the risk that they will find themselves in an unhappy marriage in their future and the cycle repeats.

Sexual orientation aside now, any man that would have an affair (whether with and man, woman, or monkey) while his wife was having his child--he goes straight to the bottom of my list.

This we agree on as I mentioned in my first comment.

Is this the type of man to be the poster child for a cause?

What cause do you feel that type of man is the poster child for? I don't see that type of man as the poster child for anything.

 
At 9:07 AM, September 18, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

I am setting aside for a moment the "being true to yourself". One's sexual orientation is one part of yourself. Just as sex in marriage is also only one part of the marriage. The previous comment dismissed the posibility of a "true romantic relationship." I am sorry for you, if romance is all about sex for you, I feel you are missing out.

I'm sorry, I needed to revisit this because, seeing that it is such a bizarre and unexpected response to my comment, I didn't give the response enough thought before plopping it down.

My viewpoint excludes the possibility of marriage or romance being all about sex. If marriage was all about sex than my entire argument breaks down. If marriage is all about sex than it would in fact be selfish for a gay partner to come out after entering into an opposite-sex marriage. Gay people CAN have sex with members of the opposite sex. There's nothing about being gay that makes sex with a member of the opposite sex impossible (much the same way that there is nothing about being straight that makes sex with a member of the same-sex impossible). What gay people can't do is establish the combination of emotional/intellectual/physical intimacy that is romantic love with a member of the opposite sex.

Were marriage all about sex, I'd be inclined to agree that it would be selfish for a gay man to come out after marrying a woman. If marriage were all about sex, than that gay man could fulfil his role in the family simply by having sex with his wife and, while he amy not enjoy it as much, the rest of the family wouldn't suffer. Unfortunately for families in that situation, marriage IS about more than sex, and so a gay man in a marriage with a woman cannot properly fulfil his role leaving the entire family unhappy.

It makes no sense to suggest that I find coming out to be the best option because "marriage is all about sex." I rather find coming out to be the best option precisely because marriage is NOT all about sex.

 
At 4:28 PM, October 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be married to a gay man.
When woman marries a man for his money, that's reprehensible.
When a gay man convinces a woman that he loves her, and marries her as a cover for his private life, what then? - Is this different somehow?

There are over 1 million married gay persons in this country.
So there are over 1 million straight spouses who are as a daily routine being lied to, ignored, used. These straight spouses are frequently emotionally rejected and may even be openly despised by their gay spouse because the straight unwanted spouse represents the problems the gay spouse must face every day, and now can't get away from in their own home!
Talk about never ending pressure for both persons in that marriage!
Believe me, I understand that it's not easy for the gay spouse at all, but the straight person is in the same miserable place but doesn't even understand what's going on at all and so can't do anything to make it better for anyone.

Sadly, the personality profile of the straight spouse is the nicest of the nice, probably because they believe their worth only to be in servitude of others, and have no needs themselves other than to be safe and loved and have the opportunity to help others achieve their goals. Doormats, I believe is the usual term. Super nice people send signals that they don't need anything and they'll be supportive no matter what- "whither thou goest". And that's why when someone wants to get married but doesn't want to be in love, the doormats get chosen. What a reward. So yes it's fairy-tale nice that Mel White's wife helped him out, but let's not use this as a model to shame super nice people to continue to be self-effacing. In the long run, it's not healthy for either the straight person or the gay person.

So, there are over 1 million straight spouses who will probably need serious support and therapy for depression and feelings of alienation and abandonment and debilitatingly low self-esteem.
2 million people if you include the gay spouses - they need to get rid of their repressed feelings of guilt (and they do have guilt feelings, otherwise they'd be sociopaths - gays are not sociopaths any more than straight people!)

Remember, 1 million is way beyond the definition for an epidemic. 2 million people is even worse. This is a big big problem, and should be treated as such by the Center for Disease control, and the issues surrounding this problem on both sides should be as open as the discussion of homosexuality.

 
At 1:53 AM, October 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the ex-wife of a gay man ("hetero with bi tendencies")and while I only pray for an authentic life for him and am happy for Mel White's freedom...the truth is, they knew walking down the aisle. It's painful even six years later that the person I trusted had something he could have spared my life from, and our children. No one should have to live an inauthentic existence, but to take the life of an innocent woman and bring children into the world to face divorce? That's just profoundly self serving.

 

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