Mark, Four Years Later

Today, I’m talking with Mark, another person I talked to about four years ago during my Intersections project. If you haven’t heard that interview yet, you can hear it in last week’s From the Vault episode, along with Leandra Vane. Mark is a gay, married man and I had a great conversation with him as we caught up on his life since we last talked, growth in his marriage, unique struggles of non cishet marriages, puppies, and lots of other things.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:36] Mike: So it’s been four years. Yeah. Um, and I know we were talking a little bit before we were recording about like, Identity and, um, yeah. 

[00:00:50] Mark: [00:00:50] Yeah. Well, I think everyone’s identity, of course is a very personal thing. Right. I think there are what 6 billion people on the planet. I think there’s probably 6 billion identities.

[00:01:00] Right, right. And, um, if you’re gonna put me into a box, I’d tell you identify right now is as a gay male. Right. But I think the only true statement I could make is my identity is about being honest with myself about what I want in life. Right. So if, um, if there’s one commonality that has stretched from the time when I first told my wife, look, I, I’m pretty sure I’m gay too.

[00:01:30] Um, today where I’m, I’m married to my husband, to what I want for myself in the future. It’s just the truth, you know? Not hiding, um, what I want for myself, not finding what I need for myself. Um, so with that, having said that I can’t promise that might any, will never change in the future. I can’t imagine a day where it would, but 20 years from now, I couldn’t imagine the day where I was talking to you today.

[00:02:00] Right, right. But, um, so I just want to identify as a honest person, you know, honest with the people I love and honest with myself. So maybe, maybe that’s a cheesy cop out. I don’t know. But yeah, 

[00:02:18] Mike: [00:02:18] I like that. I want to identify as an honest person. That’s actually, that’s a good identity to have nowadays. Yeah.

[00:02:27] Um, yeah. And I dunno, it actually is seeming like more now people are less. The generations coming up and the people that are really like moving forward with this kind of stuff, or like becoming less concerned with identity as much as just being able to be who you are. 

[00:02:51] Mark: [00:02:51] Yeah. Yeah. The, the freedom that younger people feel today is something that I think, um, is a big step forward.

[00:03:04] Our society is made, right? The freedom to be who you are and the right to say, I don’t have to be ashamed of myself no matter who I am. You know, that, that, to me, that is a societal progress we’ve made. Hmm. 

[00:03:20] Mike: [00:03:20] Yeah, it’s looking better. I think. I mean, there’s still struggles, but it is definitely different than, um, even 10 years ago.

[00:03:32] Mark: [00:03:32] Yeah.

[00:03:32]Mike: [00:03:32] Four years ago. 

[00:03:34] Mark: [00:03:34] Yeah. Yeah. You know, I grew up in a small town in Michigan and in a farm community, there were less than a thousand people who lived in the town that I grew up in at the time. There’s like 1200 now, but there’s still no stoplight. There wasn’t a stoplight and Litchfield Michigan when I was growing up.

[00:03:51] And there isn’t one today, but it’s only marginally bigger, but, um, being, uh, you know, a pretty feminine gay teenager, um, as I was at the time, I feared for my safety, you know? And I go back there today. That was it, my family. And I see 18, 19 year olds on grinder in Litchfield, Michigan, this little town of 1200 right now.

[00:04:15] So young guys who grew up in that town, young guys who were building themselves in their identity and they don’t feel like they need to run away to Ann Arbor to do it. Like I did when I was 18 or 19 years old, you know, they can do it right there in their hometown, around their families, where they grew up in, where they were raised and not, you know, look over their shoulder and not be afraid.

[00:04:35] You know? So I don’t know that I had anything to do with that, but I’m proud of my little hometown for at least making those steps 

[00:04:44] again, as it were they, I mean, they’re, they like. Because I know there’s still a lot of places where it’s still not really welcomed, is it right? I mean, are they, are they out there and not feeling 

[00:04:59] well?

[00:05:00] So I don’t know. I don’t know the details. I’m not going to be, it could be 45 year old coming home to revisit his old hometown and start messaging, you know, young kids on Grindr like that, you know, I’m, I’m not going to do that. But, um, from the few people that I know who I, I went to high school with, there were, you know, three or four of us, none of them were out to one another in high school.

[00:05:21] Now that we’re all adults, you know, we’re like, Oh yeah, obviously the three or four of us were friends in high school. We were all closeted homosexuals. And here we are grownups. And now we’re, you know, obviously all of us are gay. How it’s good in a bag. You know, I think you kind of drawn to your tribe. If your tribe is kind of hiding from one another.

[00:05:39] Um, just talking to them and listening to them, they don’t feel any kind of fear about being who they are and living their life, you know, in, in their forties. So, um, that kind of suggests to me that there is a degree of openness, even for the young guys that wasn’t there before

[00:06:03] it suggests that I don’t 

[00:06:04] Mike: [00:06:04] know it does. Yeah. It’s different. And of course, you know, in a, in the eighties you 

[00:06:09] didn’t have, um, you didn’t have apps 

[00:06:13] to connect. You didn’t have the internet to connect over. It was either find people in a place in person or newspapers or magazines or whatever. So I guess that’s the connected, the fact that we’re connected better helps because you can find your tribe easier.

[00:06:35] Mark: [00:06:35] Yeah. The power that the LGBT community has today is we know how many of us there are now. Right? Right. So, um, we, we know there are hundreds of thousands, probably more than millions of us in this country. We know that, and we know that we’re not alone. We know we’re not isolated. We know that if we’re in trouble that, um, we can call one another for help.

[00:07:03] There are organizations that are just, you know, an email away. I remember when I was a young kid and Litchfield and I was 15, 16 years old and I just tried coming up to my parents and it did not go well at all. I remember thinking to myself, well, I know there’s this place near Ann Arbor called the ozone house.

[00:07:20] That takes LGBT runaway kids. I remember thinking, but. How, how do I get to Ann Arbor? You know, I don’t have a car. I can’t catch up there. That’s stupid. I don’t have any money. I can’t call them because I’d have to call them on the rotary phone, the landline that’s right there in the kitchen where everyone’s going to hear me doing it.

[00:07:42] Um, so how do I even know if they’d take me if I just showed up at their door or would they just turn me away? Maybe they’re full. So all I knew that there was an organization that existed someplace where if I wasn’t physically safe, I maybe could go there, but I had no idea how I could pass them if they happen, or if they’re even able to take somebody like me or if they would just turn me over to the social services and God knows what would’ve happened then.

[00:08:09] Right. So, um, young kids today don’t have that problem. You know, they can just go on Twitter and tweet apples on, Hey, you guys got any bags or, you know, they can just go, they can just ask this stuff with some degree of privacy. Right. And so there’s this degree of interconnectedness that didn’t exist back then.

[00:08:30] And I think that is the true power that the community just realized know almost it’s almost, um, we’re in some ways, internet has facilitated this large avalanche of writing information at the same time. It’s also facilitated, um, the ability for people who once were marginalized in the press to connect with one another and realize their strengths and share numbers.

[00:09:00] Yeah.

[00:09:04] A blade that cuts both ways. Unfortunately. 

[00:09:07] Mike: [00:09:07] Yeah. Yeah. Everything kind of is, but it is it’s, it’s nice to, I mean, there’s things like this on the internet where people can go listen and find out who’s like them and who’s. So, yeah, it’s pretty cool. 

[00:09:24] Mark: [00:09:24] Yeah. And thank you so much for doing something like that. I mean, the, the, the 13 or 14 year old who was thinking to herself.

[00:09:33] Wow. You know, I’m probably gay and thinking that my life was over today, that 13 or 14 year old confined the work that you’re doing. Right. And understand that there’s, there’s a whole life and a whole world ahead of them. That’s going to be good, you know?

[00:09:50] Mike: [00:09:50] Yeah. Well, thank you for being, for doing this interview because otherwise they just listen to me talk every week and that would be boring. 

[00:09:59] Mark: [00:09:59] Yeah. You know, it’s not just, you know, 13 to 14 year olds. It’s also 30 year olds, 40 year olds, 50 year olds, 60 year olds who are, you know, finally understanding themselves in a way that they couldn’t before, who are scared that.

[00:10:14] Their life is over there, that there is no good future for them. And if nothing else I’d like to dispel that, um, that fear and that shame. 

[00:10:28] Mike: [00:10:28] Yeah. There’s a lot to be said for finding out that you’re not the only one. Yeah. Because I think that’s where a lot of the power comes from is when you think you’re the weird one.

[00:10:40] Yeah. And not that there’s a whole lot of other people that are, that are like you in some way, you know, finding that tribe. So, yeah. Yeah. That’s pretty cool. So speaking of the tribes, um, so you kinda, now, I I’m trying to remember, did you.

[00:11:10] Realize you were gay or at least not straight before you entered your first marriage or? 

[00:11:19] Mark: [00:11:19] Well, I don’t know. So I knew that I was bisexual at least. Okay. So, um, growing up as, as a teenager where I did in a pretty isolated, um, rural community, isolated in terms of there not being other gay people visible.

[00:11:43] Right. Um, I was pretty sure I was probably gay because I just wasn’t interested in the other girls around me. And then, um, I went away to college and I started sleeping with both men and women. And that was really confusing to me because if I was gay, how could I enjoy sleeping with on it? So I must be by, right, right.

[00:12:06] And I kind of realized that whenever I felt anything romantic, it was towards other women. It wasn’t towards the other guys and thought, well, you know, maybe that means I’m bisexual leaning towards heterosex reality, you know? And I had, um, had a couple of girlfriends and a boyfriend, um, a lot of fun in between.

[00:12:29] Um, and, um, so to me it was really an unsettled question in my mind, and it was really anxiety provoking to deal with it because, um, where, where I was at the time around the Ann Arbor, um, the LGBT community in Anarbor was very, um, um, what’s the right way to put it.

[00:12:59] Tolerant, very vocal and yeah,

[00:13:06] it seemed like most people I knew of who were openly gay were part of the, um, performing arts community. And, um, we’re very theatrical and flamboyant and, um, I didn’t really fit that very well. Right. And so I was like, well, these really aren’t my people. Yes. I, I enjoy, you know, the sexual aspect of it, but that’s not really where I belong.

[00:13:31] Whereas when I looked at the woman that I was with that kind of really easily fell into that environment, although with a really big secret that I wasn’t sharing with that. Right. So I fit in because I wasn’t being honest or open. Right. But that was easier, easier for you. But the whole thing was very excited, provoking.

[00:13:51] So after college, I lint. Um, off to, uh, um, a job working for a nonprofit that would take kids from the juvenile justice system and we take them backpacking and canoeing for Mount Sinai. And, um, so I kinda just put the whole question of relationships aside and just focus myself full time. And, um, in this position that I got, which was a lot like being in the peace Corps, you know, it was very much a, a way of life when it was a job or anything like that.

[00:14:22] It was all consuming. It was 24 hours a day, weeks on end sometimes. And so I just kind of put it all away for all the sides, and we’re not going to deal with that, but I really want to do this. I’m going to do this. We’ll revisit that topic later. So I was, um, in that role and, um, my father had passed away pretty suddenly from cancer when I was 22.

[00:14:53] No pardon me. I was 23 at the time. And, um, I kind of lost my ability to be an effective leader in that role, because I was just too torn up. You know, my dad and I, we were at odds almost all the entire time I was growing up. Um, but when I moved,

[00:15:14]Hold on just a second. I got these shoes. Look at it. Rescue some shoes from my dog.

[00:15:19]Sorry about that. 

[00:15:20] Mike: [00:15:20] No, no worries. 

[00:15:21]Mark: [00:15:21] So yeah. So you were just trying to pick this up. You were, your father passed away and you were kind of at odds with him. 

[00:15:30] I’ve been at odds with him until I moved to Georgia. And then, um, we didn’t,  we grew really close and then a matter of months later he passed away.

[00:15:38] So I was pretty turned off from there. So I moved back to Michigan and, um, kind of in the, in the upset and the throws of mourning, all the questions I had about what is my life now, who am I, where I’m going to do? Um, I met a woman and we became very close with one another. And, um, they, it was, um, I mean it was locked.

[00:16:13] Right. And I remember thinking to myself, well, how could I be gay if I love a woman like this? You know, if we have this great sex life together, if we enjoy spending this time together, gay men don’t do that. Right. So I put that aside and said, well, that can’t be who I am. Otherwise, this experience I’m having right now, wouldn’t be happening.

[00:16:34] Yeah.

[00:16:38] We were together for a long time. We were together, you know, about a good 10 years before things started to really go South for us. And we divorced after 12, we spent two years trying to make things work.

[00:16:54] Um, 

[00:16:56] but I wouldn’t trade those 12 years in for anything. We have a lot of good memories together. Right. A lot of there was a lot of love that was there. There was a lot of fun. It was a lot of good things to happen. There a lot of ways that we help each other grow. Um, but at gala day there was just something missing that couldn’t be felt in their relationship.

[00:17:19] And, um,

[00:17:25] if it was, you know, having the love of, and the ability to love another man, right. And once I realized that there was just no going back,

[00:17:45] Mike: [00:17:45] um,

[00:17:51] Mark: [00:17:51] well you have all these great memories and then, you know, you start to realize that you need something different that just isn’t there. And there’s no way to make it there. And, you know, the person that you love and care about feels betrayed. You feel numerously guilty for having hurt and betrayed somebody, whether, whether you’ve actually betrayed that person or not.

[00:18:13] It’s how you feel. Right. Um, I would never tell anybody today who was realizing things about themselves that maybe they didn’t fully understand before I would never characterize the asset portrayal of the other person. People learn, they grow, they change. That’s just reality, you know? And that’s the risk.

[00:18:32] All of us take when we say I do, right? The person that we marry today will never be the same person, 10 years from now or 20 years from now. And you don’t want them to, right. Right. You want to grow together. You want to change together, but unfortunately, you know, sometimes growth and change. Doesn’t always keep you together.

[00:18:53] Sometimes it leads you in other directions. And you have to be kind and gracious with yourself and kind and gracious with your partner. It’s it’s just life. Yeah. It’s just the truth. 

[00:19:08] Mike: [00:19:08] It’s true.

[00:19:11] Mark: [00:19:11] So, um, I’m sorry. You, you were about to say something and I started, 

[00:19:17] Mike: [00:19:17] no, no, go ahead. Go ahead. I, I, I like store I’ll start up questions. So 

[00:19:24] Mark: [00:19:24] yeah, so, um, I fell on a pretty deep depression after that, and it took a few years of therapy and, um, it took some career changes to get to a point where I could really forgive myself and be pardon me.

[00:19:50] And, um, be as functional as I was before. Um, So it was a lot of work, but important work.

[00:20:05] Mike: [00:20:05] Um, so just out of curiosity, cause I kind of said, you asked the question of yourself a few times. Did you ever figure out an answer of, cause you were like, I sexually attracted it and like you had romantic relationships in sexual relationships with women, but yeah. Did you ever, I mean it’s okay to say no, but I was just curious if you ever like worked out what had happened at that?

[00:20:32] Mark: [00:20:32] Well, so I, I don’t know the answer to that question about what happened back then. I can tell you that I know today that I only have emotions and feelings for other males, right. For other men. Um, I think. Women or allowed to experience sexual fluidity. And I think our society does not give them that same freedom to have sexual fluidity in their lives.

[00:20:56] Right. I think that if a woman says to you, yeah, well, you know, I was with a man, you know, I loved him. He was my husband, you know, and now I’m a lesbian as a culture. We kind of go, okay, we’re done with that. We’re done with that. Right. We, we don’t think that that’s a flaw in the woman’s character. We don’t think that she misunderstood herself.

[00:21:20] We don’t think that there’s anything there that she needs to feel bad about or apologize for women are allowed to do that. Right. Men are not. If, you know, if, if you love men now that means anything else you did before. That was a lie. And then I don’t think that’s true at all. I think that, I think that human sexuality is a tapestry.

[00:21:43] Um, I think that everyone has their own thread and that tapestry and I don’t think everybody’s thread is the same. And I think that threads off and change color from blue to red, to green, to yellow, depending on where they are, you know, and on their path in that tapestry. And so I would like to live in a world where men were afforded the same freedom to be true to themselves, but their truth not have to be a constant from today to tomorrow until the end of time.

[00:22:15] So I couldn’t tell you why. Um, but what I can tell you is that it was true back then, and I can tell you it’s also true today that whatever my ability was back then to. Enjoy being with women. I don’t enjoy that anymore. Right. You know, so I don’t know anything more to say, except that it’s, it’s just the truth is I can best express it.

[00:22:48] Mike: [00:22:48] No, I like it it’s cause it sounds like you’ve um, cause you know, a lot of people have that kind of question or like, well I’m obviously not really, I’m not really gay because I had this thing where I had this attraction or whatever. And it’s like, yeah, it’s good to just say, you know, it’s who I am. Yeah.

[00:23:07] Yeah, in the bisexual community we have, um, if you get 10, 10 bisexual or pansexual people, you’re going to get 10 different definitions of both of those words because everybody writes their own, their own thing.

[00:23:21] And yeah, it’s good. I mean, it sounds it’s, it’s, it’s good to hear that you found, uh, you know, you’ve. You’ve integrated that into who you are and you’re okay with it. And it’s not a, it doesn’t sound like it’s a struggle anymore to try to answer, which is cool. Sometimes the answer is that

[00:23:41] Mark: [00:23:41] you don’t owe anybody an explanation for who you are. Right. I don’t owe anybody an explanation for what I felt and who I was. I don’t even know myself an explanation. I just owe myself the truth. Right. So that we don’t ask women to explain themselves if they’ve gone from straight to gay, to back again, back to gay or lesbian or whatever direction that they go.

[00:24:13] We never asked them to explain themselves. It’s it would be considered rude if we didn’t. Right. Oh, you used to, you’re a lesbian now. Oh, well, weren’t you married to a man at one point boy, he did something really awful to him. Yeah, we would never say that to a woman. We feel so comfortable saying it to men.

[00:24:31] Mike: [00:24:31] Yeah. I will say I’ve, I’ve known some people that have experienced that on the female side, but it is definitely prominent. Yeah. It was definitely more prominent, I think when like, and I think it’s that if that masculinity thing know, you’re not a real man, because you touched another man and another man touches me.

[00:24:55] I might turn gay. 

[00:24:57] Mark: [00:24:57] Yeah. All, all the horror, 

[00:25:00] Mike: [00:25:00] right? Yeah, exactly. If a gay man showers with me, I’ll turn gay if he looks at me. So 

[00:25:09] Mark: [00:25:09] yeah, if it was one of that simple there’s.

[00:25:16] I’ve got it. I’ve got a 

[00:25:17] Mike: [00:25:17] list too. Everybody’s got a list. Do you and your husband have the, um, what we call it? Like it’s, it’s your, it’s your one-time list? Like this is your one pass list. I mean, I know you had at least had when we talked before it opened, but like a lot, you know, a lot of couples have that.

[00:25:38] Here’s, here’s the one, you know, Jason, 

[00:25:42] Mark: [00:25:42] that’s a pass 

[00:25:43] Mike: [00:25:43] or something like that. 

[00:25:44] Mark: [00:25:44] So I think a lot of, a lot of gay couples just enjoy talking about men together. Right. And so we’re, we’re no different, right. So, um, He’ll he’ll tell me about someone that he knows or somebody that he met or this really have massage therapist or something like that.

[00:25:59] And it’s only a picture and all this time. What if you can get that? You’ve got to get that I’ll be mad at with you if you don’t, if you don’t want to go do it for me and tell me about it, you know? Yeah. There’s just, Margaret show has this line in one of her, um, comedy acts, um, where she’s talking about gay men and says, you know, if you’re hated for who you want to have sex with, then when you do it, your dams are going to have a good time.

[00:26:28] Right. And I think that applies to both my marriage and to so many, um, gay male couples that I know came home married, just that I know, especially the ones that last a long time is there’s this sense of fun and exploration and, um, laughter and just joy that revolves around, um, you know, Really your whole lives together, but the sexual component, especially.

[00:26:54] Right. And so it’s, it’s not just a game, you know, it’s, it’s not, it’s not like that, but it is something that is meant to be enjoyed, you know, and we have a same, um, in, in our marriage together where I never want him to feel bad about doing something to feel good and vice versa. You know, my husband’s told me, I never want you to feel bad about wanting to feel good.

[00:27:27] You know, if you want to do something to enjoy yourself, go enjoy yourself. Don’t ever feel bad about wanting to enjoy yourself. Right. And if, you know, there’s some sort of sexual component to that, that’s great. And if there’s not, that’s great too. Right. Um, obviously, you know, neither one of us wants the other person to do anything stupid.

[00:27:45] Um, but, um, I never want to be the reason he doesn’t enjoy his life and vice versa. So, um, there’s a degree of openness. Um, then we’ve got, it’s not really structured around rules. Um, more like just common sense. Like, you know, obviously I’m not going to do anything stupid and hurtful and neither is he. Um, and in the era of COVID, you know, we’ve scaled that back dramatically.

[00:28:16] Sure. Um, just it’s dumb to put your partner at risk, right? Neither one of us is going to do that to the other one. Um, but we’ve had a lot of fun, got a lot of fun together, got a lot of fun, not together. And then, and then share that time with each other afterwards. And what. What’s the point of being together.

[00:28:41] If you can enjoy your lives together, you know, Dan, so, um, he’s always given me the freedom to go and do things that, um, maybe other couples wouldn’t feel comfortable with. I don’t know. Um, but I think especially after five years, so it’s just such an implicit trust. That’s been built up in our marriage that it’s just not even a question in my mind or his mind like, Oh, he wants to go do that.

[00:29:16] I don’t think to myself, Oh my God. I’m so afraid that he might do X, Y, or Z. And it’s like, Oh, okay. You want us to go do that? I know I’ll take care of himself. I don’t know if he’ll conduct himself. Well, go have fun. I’ll be here. When you get back, go to Fort Lauderdale for a weekend. Go crazy. Come back and tell me about it.

[00:29:33] I’m not going anywhere. Yeah. So, yeah, so like, I think, um, a lot of people, when they’re, if this is going off, course, just tell me. But I think like a lot of people who come out later in life, you feel like you’ve missed out. Right. And the fun and adventure that a lot of gay people have in their younger years.

[00:29:58] Um, so there’s, um, there’s a week-long event and Fort Lauderdale and what term? Wilton manors. And, um, late November, early December, I think they call it pig week or something silly like that, but it’s basically just a bunch of sex parties. Right. And, um, I was always kind of curious about that. Like, okay, well what actually goes on there and is it fun and it’s a hot, and would it be enjoyable to take part in that?

[00:30:24] Or is it just a bunch of guys getting high on drugs? Right. What what’s actually happening there? Um, so I had some friends, um, who are going, bringing in a house with a group of their other friends. And, um, so I went, I went with him, I said, Hey, look, I want to check this out. And, um, you know, sorry, my dog is playing with a toy and, you know, response was okay, go be safe, be good.

[00:30:52] If you can’t be good, don’t get caught, just go. And, um, and I went down there and I ended up taking part in none of it, because there was so much drug use. And, um, a lot of the men who were down there were just either drunk out of their minds or scarring of their minds or worse. And, um, a lot of what was that like the social component of it.

[00:31:20] It really wasn’t even all that hot because people were too high to fit in, like to really function, you know, So I feel like, you know, a lot of people talk about those events, like, Oh my God, it was such a halftime. And I consider myself as, okay. Are you remembering things as they actually were? Or are you remembering some drug-induced haze of what you thought happened?

[00:31:43] Because it, none of that really seemed like it was all that great to, so I went down there, I participate in almost none of it. I watched a lot of stuff. Right. I, I observed it almost like an anthropologist. Um, went to the bar a few times. Um, I think I went to the bath house in Florida and hooked up with one really cute Colombian guy, but that was like it in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of guys who came from all around the world to go there and do nothing, but just have a bunch of sex parties.

[00:32:15] I just didn’t want it. Right. So I went back home at the end of that week and I got home and, you know, my husband asked me how it was new ideas, you know, honestly, The fantasy of it was way better than the reality of it. And he was like, yeah, that’s often the case. The fantasy is better than the reality, you know?

[00:32:37] And, but he also made some comment. I came here exactly what he said was like, you know, he kind of, you kind of expected that I would, I would think I would feel that way, but he wanted me to go there and figure it out for myself. Right. And that’s the kind of thing that, um, I really appreciate about him and the trust and the openness that he gives me and the idea of him, you know, it’s the freedom to go and see and decide for myself, having the faith and confidence that I’ll make good decisions and he’ll make good decisions.

[00:33:12] And, um, 

[00:33:15] yeah, so that, that’s kind of, I think, I don’t know if there’s a good, abbreviated way to describe our marriage. Except to just say it there’s trust and there’s openness, there’s freedom and there’s fun. There’s responsibility towards one another, the responsibility towards ourselves. Um, 

[00:33:40] and, um,

[00:33:44] just respect for each other as individuals and respect for what we’ve built together. 

[00:33:50] Mike: [00:33:50] Right. That sounds like a pretty good short description of it. 

[00:33:54] Mark: [00:33:54] Yeah. So I, I lucked out for sure. Right? Because I met this guy, um, two months after my ex wife left our home in Florida. He moved in down the street from me and I’m just barely said hi to me and scoffed or something like that.

[00:34:17] And I wasn’t looking for anything. He was getting ready to go to school to finish those, um, degree in hospitality management. He wasn’t looking for anything. Um, as so often is the case. It’s when you’re not looking that you find it. Um, so 

[00:34:35] Mike: [00:34:35] yeah, that seems to happen a lot. Yeah. Like once you try to S once you, once you’re not trying to fit a relationship into what it’s supposed to be and fit the perfect person that you’re looking for, fit, whoever you look at into that, then all of a sudden you find the person that’s actually maybe right for you.

[00:34:56] Mark: [00:34:56] Yeah. 

[00:34:56] Mike: [00:34:56] I think it’s cool that you all, you two have, seem to have that trust and built into your relationship and defining it and putting a term on it. 

[00:35:06] Mark: [00:35:06] Well, it’s not something that happens automatically, right? There was a lot of, um, the first few years there was a lot of working that out, you know, when you’re still really getting to know each other know, Oh, you know, figuring out what your hot buttons are, figuring out.

[00:35:27] What’s good. What makes you feel bad? Um, with the other person working through, um, misperceptions and building that trust, it’s a journey, right? It’s a fun time to get there, but we always kind of knew that’s what we wanted to work towards. So when we finally got there, it was very satisfying.

[00:35:50] I might be rambling. 

[00:35:51] Mike: [00:35:51] No, I think it’s right on. Cause I was like, You have to, you still have two people working, working on it. So you have two different sets of perceptions and needs and, um, boundaries and all of those things. And yeah, sometimes it takes some time to work. Find the things that work for both of you for, for anyone else who’s, who’s involved in it.

[00:36:23] It just, it takes time. 

[00:36:27] Mark: [00:36:27] Yeah. Yeah. Like I was describing to you earlier about going down to Florida for a week, we couldn’t have done that in year two, right? Sure. We can in year five, but in year two, no way, you know, there would have been arguments, bites, cold shoulders, things like that. It would have been tough.

[00:36:45] Mike: [00:36:45] Yeah. 

[00:36:47] Yeah, because I remember it seemed like four years ago when we talked to you or kind of you you’re less than a year into the marriage, you were still kind of figuring some things out and, um, yeah, just, yeah, so it takes time. Yeah. It things do. So it’s good to hear that. You’re, you’re definitely in a good place with it now, though.

[00:37:11] That’s pretty awesome. Especially nowadays, like you’re stuck in a, stuck in the house with this one person. If it’s going to be the one person you’re stuck with, it should be someone you like and can get along. Yeah. So, yeah. Um, 

[00:37:27] Mark: [00:37:27] yeah, we’ve had, yeah. You know, it, if you’re lucky enough to be with somebody who you really enjoy it, then something like this experience can be a lot of fun.

[00:37:37] And fortunately for us, it’s been a good time. 

[00:37:39] Mike: [00:37:39] That’s good. 

[00:37:39] Mark: [00:37:39] You know, We we’ve had a lot of fun making meals for each other, watching movies together, going for walks on the beach. We bought the puppy who keeps interrupting. Um, he’s our COVID puppy. We got on the second week of March, right before Florida went on lockdown and brought him home.

[00:37:56] So we figured, well, we’re going to be stuck at home for a while. This is the ideal time to buy, you know, a seven week old puppy, someone called sharp puppy. So, um, you know, that’s been a lot of fun for us, you know, it’s the closest we’ll have to raising the kid together. So, um, yeah, it’s, it’s been a trip.

[00:38:14] It’s been a good time, but 

[00:38:17] yeah, it is a good time to raise a dog, I guess, a puppy. Cause you’re, you’re not going anywhere anyway.

[00:38:26] Yeah. So it’s been a good time and I feel, um, really mixed feelings about all of this, um, because it’s been an absolute nightmare for so many people and my heart goes out to them. But it’s been an enormous boost for me and both for my husband personally, you know, it’s been good for me to have the time at home to be able to rest more, to be able to reflect more.

[00:38:56] It’s been good for me as a career. Um, because the insurance industry is pretty recession proof, right? People have to have our insurance. There’s just no way around it. People have to have insurance on their homes. There’s no way around it. So, um, I’ve been fortunate in that respect. Um, my, um, husband’s constant new opportunities in his career.

[00:39:20] Um, as, as COVID has kind of caused people to reevaluate where they’re at and make moves themselves. Sometimes geographic moves sometimes career moves. Um, some opportunities have opened up for him that he has been able to take advantage of. Um, and then we’ve got, you know, the, the new dog and, and the ability to just kind of, instead of commuting an hour, each way to the office in downtown Tampa, you know, I’ve got those two hours to live a more fuller life.

[00:39:53] So the whole, the whole thing has been a really good experience for me, minus, you know, um, the societal breakdown caused by, um, I 

[00:40:07] think,

[00:40:10] uh, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t, I don’t, I do not want to see this conversation about politics, but I feel like it’s been hard for people to know the truth of what they’re supposed to do depending upon their information environment. Right. And we’ve seen a lot of extreme reactions from both directions as a result, um, and the societal rupture that that’s causing or.

[00:40:31] Um, that was already there that this isn’t claiming, I think has been, um, truly unfortunate. And then of course there’s the, the loss of life, the sickness, the illness, the loss of jobs. So many people have had, it’s hard to know if, um, has been a net positive for you, but such a huge negative for everybody else.

[00:40:54] It’s, that’s, that’s a hard thing to process, right? Like I’m so glad this happened minus the many ways it’s for other people, you know, but the two are part and parcel of one another and I don’t know what to do with that. 

[00:41:10] Mike: [00:41:10] It’s true. I’m kind of wondering now with the way you’re with you saying that like, cause one of the things that I’ve seen, like, I, I, I’m kind of with you, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily new about the people.

[00:41:30] You know, the last four years have had us become very polarized where people are seeing the differences more clearly, it’s been stressful for us. Then the pandemic hit and then certain events happen where people that are just, you know, living through a pandemic, living in having to quarantine and facing people that are like demonstrating their lack of care for the, their fellow human, by not taking the steps to protect each other.

[00:42:08] And then you couple that, with the things that have been going on, you know, since we’ve been a country and the people that are on the victim on the, on the bad end of that are like enough so that, you know, the sparks are, there’s just that. My partner, I have, um, we call them Rhona moments where, you know, great, we have a great relationship, but there were some times that you just are like, I just can’t deal with this anymore.

[00:42:38] And yeah. You know, and so, you know, country has had that around, you know, racism is yeah. And stuff like that. But at the same time, people like you and me who, you know, cause I’m the same way my industry is, is taking off. Like when we went into lockdown, I work with websites. So we went into lockdown, our business shot up because everybody was making a website.

[00:43:00] Mark: [00:43:00] So e-commerce 

[00:43:02] Mike: [00:43:02] right. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s been very, very prosperous for us and already was already working at home. So I didn’t have to really make any career adjustments and yeah, I have good health insurance and you know, all of this and I can survive without having to leave my house to go to a job.

[00:43:18] It was already there. So yeah, it was easy for me, but I think maybe people like us. Get to see how, how much, you know, cause it’s always been about knowing, understanding privilege. You know, we all have everybody, you know, you have those privileges positions of privilege you’re in and it’s, it was easy before to kind of not pay attention to that part.

[00:43:44] And now like our privileges in our face in a way we can’t, you just can’t avoid it. And I know that that’s one of the things I’ve heard from people is that the, the response from people who it wasn’t just the people, you know, it’s not just black lives matter, being black people, having to speak up for themselves, but now white people and other people from positions of privilege or like.

[00:44:13] Oh man. Yeah. What do I need? What can I do to help? Like it, it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s become very real. And I think just having to sit through this and be like, well, I have these inconveniences because of this. It’s just, it’s much more of a visible difference, I guess. I don’t know.

[00:44:33] Mark: [00:44:33] Yeah. We’re in, we are insulated from death and disease because of, um, some of it’s because of the work we’ve done to allow ourselves to be in the kind of roles that we’re in. Some of it’s just pure happenstance, right? It’s like, it didn’t necessarily need to be the case that the insurance industry allows for me to work from home and be safe.

[00:45:06] Society evolved in that way. Right where we’ve got webinars and zoom meetings and all this kind of fun stuff, but that didn’t need to happen. Right. If, if technology had gone a different direction or if it never developed, and I’d be in the office too, as a necessary feature of making a living. So some of the work that we’ve done, some of it, I think, is just society evolved in the way that rewards us, you know, in ways that in retrospect, maybe they’re kind of arbitrary, right?

[00:45:45] It didn’t, it didn’t there nothing, there is no reason the world needed to happen the way that it did, but it did happen that way. And I’m the beneficiary of that. And I’m lucky in that way. 

[00:45:57] Mike: [00:45:57] That’s true. Yep. 

[00:46:00] Mark: [00:46:00] So, um, but it kind of. You touched on something, you know, we were talking about COVID and I, I, to me, that’s the biggest difference and what I see in gay marriages versus what I see in straight marriages.

[00:46:19] Whereas I think in, in straight marriages, men and women are, are different river race, very different. Um, we’re socialized very different men and women are, um, there’s, there’s a bridge that you need to cross right. To come together in that way. But I think when you have two men together, there’s an implicit understanding of one another, that doesn’t exist the same way for men and women.

[00:46:46] I mean, I don’t, so I subscribe to the idea that men are from, or women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Right. But there’s something to be said for just whether it’s innate or whether it’s okay. Terrains. Yeah. There’s differences there. Right. But those differences don’t really exist for two men together.

[00:47:07] You know, we’ve been raised around one another, put into situations through sports, through gym classes, to classrooms, through, um, anything really, you know, where we learn how to be around one another, you know, and that’s really easy, easy way, you know, um, where we’re socialized and taught how to be around other males, um, and work together.

[00:47:41] And, um,

[00:47:55] You’ve kind of looked at there’s many differences, but, um, men, two men together don’t have the same degree of differences to cross. I think because of that, just being together is easier being together every day. Like that it’s just easier. Right? It’s like, um, um,

[00:48:17] guys who practicing on a sports team every day, you learn how to be together and get along with other men, right. Or, um, guys who are in a band together, guys there there’s just this whole, um, and maybe this is a uniquely American thing. I don’t think so, but maybe it is, but there’s this whole, um, socialization component to our culture that teaches men and boys, how to get along work together.

[00:48:44] Um, spend time around one another in a very casual way and just kind of shrug it off while the minor annoyances, you know, it’s just. Right. Yeah. So I think that when you have two men together and they can be stressful like this, I think, um, a lot of that socialization kind of kicks in right. Where, um, um,

[00:49:09] it’s easy for things that are stressful to turn into laughter because that’s how guys handle things when they’re younger. Right. They make jokes about it, you know, or there’s like, there’s a, you know, a gentle teasing or poking fun on dad. And, um, so a lot of times when, when we experienced stress, um, or since March, since the lockdowns really started in this part of Florida, it changes from stress till after pretty darn quick.

[00:49:45] Um,

[00:49:51] I don’t know, it’s a, it’s a difficult thing for me to put into words, but, um, I’ve noticed this, not just in my own marriage, but, and, um, most of the male male couples that I know, and especially the ones that have lasted for some period of time, there’s just an ease of being around each other. That feels a lot like when I was growing up and there were guys who were like best friends, um, you know, it’s that easy, casual.

[00:50:21] We like the same stuff we joke around with each other. It’s a lot like just hanging out with your best buddy, and there’s a sexual side to it too. Right. But then that friendship is just so much easier to forge and to maintain, I think for two men together. And there it is for a man and a woman together.

[00:50:36] I think it’s, it’s a lot to do with, um, the fact that two men obviously are more similar than a man and a woman. Generally are not in all cases, of course, but generally speaking, but also just the huge amount of socialization that occurs, um, that teaches men how to be together and work together. And, um, how are you going?

[00:50:57] And other’s differences to achieve a goal. 

[00:50:59] Mike: [00:50:59] Yeah. Oh yeah. Well, I mean, and in school and stuff, you have boys, girls groups and girls groups, and, you know, that’s where you learn all the cool social things. When the girls go away because the girls are icky thing and, and you know, and in a, in a, um, straight marriage or LA, you know, opposite gender marriage, you have those gender roles are there and you’re trying to fit into the gender roles of what you’re supposed to do in a marriage where if you don’t have those genders to work through, you just get to be yourself.

[00:51:39] And all the things that go into a marriage are still there. You just don’t have to worry about. You know, is this the man’s job? Is this the woman’s job? Is this the, and of course, you know, every bachelor party or ever, you know, marriage is like, you know, every system that marriage is like, you’re giving up your freedom, you’re giving up this stuff.

[00:52:04] I mean, we put out a whole thing of how, you know, marriage is a, some kind of prison it’s trap and yet, and for same-sex marriages right now, it’s, it’s definitely a huge freedom. It was only recently made legal nationwide. So yeah, there’s a lot of that. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:52:24] It makes sense. 

[00:52:26] Mark: [00:52:26] So it’s kind of like, instead of, um, in a point you’d have to negotiate with, which is what I see in many of the heterosexual marriages out there.

[00:52:35] Um, it feels more like having a partner in crime. Yeah. And a lot of, a lot of men described their husbands as their partner in crime. And the crime might be something as silly as, you know, a ton of cheek way of saying, you know, we have extraordinary vacations together or, you know, we engage in all this, um, you know, sexual exploration together, or we, um, you know, have this career that we built together.

[00:53:01] We run a business together, whatever it is. But, um, there, there’s this thing that kicks in where, um, the same thing that makes it really easy in our culture, in our society or men to be friends since kindergarten and to stay friends throughout their entire life. I don’t know anyone who can say that because, and I think a lot of it is, well, certainly don’t know any women and men who can say that except for me being day and.

[00:53:32] My lesbian friend who I’ve known since kindergarten. Right. But, um, that’s a totally different dynamic and I think exists in 99% of the world. But, um, I don’t know many women who can say that. Oh yeah. Well, you know, she’s been my friend since kindergarten. Hmm. I don’t know that I ever seen that. I’m sure it exists out there.

[00:53:50] But what I do know for sure is that our society pits women against one another in competition for men to such an extent that our society would discourage that kind of friendship. That’s true. Lasting that long. So, um, I don’t know. I I’ve, I’ve noticed repeatedly, just an ease of being around one another, um, which makes it easier to deal with the kind of conflicts that come up with quarantine together.

[00:54:20] And most of the male male couples that I know, and especially in all the long-term ones. 

[00:54:25] Mike: [00:54:25] Yeah. Huh. Interesting. 

[00:54:32] Mark: [00:54:32] Yeah. I don’t know if it’s interesting to anybody but 

[00:54:34] me, but it’s interesting to me, it’s interesting to me. So 

[00:54:39] the little by little stuff I see, you know, I don’t know. It’s kind of a weird thing.

[00:54:42] When I think about boy, what, what would this be like if I was still married to my ex wife and, and I think about how, um, we would really miss going to the movies together because now we love to go see movies together. And that was one of the big sources of drive. We’d miss going to see live music together.

[00:55:03] We love to do that too. Um, I think we’d be really bored with the food at home. Um, I know that me being a messier person than her would have driven her absolutely insane, um, to have to be around that 24 seven. Um, yeah, it it’s, it’s difficult to think to think of, but what I, what I. What never enters my head is if we have little conflicts, we’d be able to just shrug it off in there.

[00:55:36] Maybe that says more about our particular marriage than it says anything about heterosexual couples in general. I don’t know. I can only speak from my own experience there. Sure. But from what I observed, something tells me maybe not, I don’t know

[00:55:56] what I, what I can say though is, um,

[00:56:07] Ooh boy. Maybe I should have thought about the words for that before I went down and I often have, I often have so. I haven’t had a boss before. I have words for them. Like sometimes I’ll know that I have an idea and then it’ll take me all day to, to figure out what my, to work on that express that idea.

[00:56:26] So I’m sorry about that. 

[00:56:27] Mike: [00:56:27] Probably as soon as we disconnect you, we like gets the word. That’s 

[00:56:33] Mark: [00:56:33] embarrassing. 

[00:56:34] Mike: [00:56:34] That’s all good. It is all good. Yeah. 

[00:56:40] Mark: [00:56:40] I’ve been yakking out a bunch. I’m 

[00:56:41] Mike: [00:56:41] sorry. Don’t be that’s. That’s what we’re here for. So, um, and I know like when you talked to them a little bit and it sounds like that’s kind of what you were getting out of here a little bit was like, cause you’ve been through, what was it?

[00:56:58] 14 year marriage, right? Well, 12 year marriage with a woman and how five years with a, with a man and like you see differences in the two types. So, um, 

[00:57:12] Mark: [00:57:12] So, yeah. So I think another one of the you’re going to ask them and I’m so 

[00:57:16] Mike: [00:57:16] sorry. Go for it. I think you’re about to answer it. So go for it. 

[00:57:19] Mark: [00:57:19] Yeah. So like, one of the things about heterosexual marriages is that they feel, um, it feels like there’s like a, um, predetermined stage of development, stages of development for that parents that you come together, you get married, you know, the script is you have children, you raise the children, your children grow up, they graduate, you have grandchildren girl together in your older years, you to volunteer where hopefully he garden, he enjoy your life, but there there’s like this.

[00:58:03] There’s a script for how a couple grows and develops together. There’s a script for how change occurs. And you almost don’t really need to do anything to follow that script, except just follow the script. Right. But there is no script for a gay marriage. Yeah. And that’s both good. And it’s also kind of tough, right?

[00:58:30] Because how do you grow together? What, how do you become something over time? How do you become something new? What is the goals for you together to grow into? But it’s not to become grandparents. And I think, 

[00:58:51] Mike: [00:58:51] um, 

[00:58:54] Mark: [00:58:54] if you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re going to look back five years later and wonder how the hell you got there.

[00:59:02] Right. And I think that’s a real danger for a lot of gay marriages is you’re together. And maybe what’s brought you together is. You enjoy each other’s company? Um, communicate really well. The sex is great. Um, you have fun. Oh, that’s wonderful. But what are you going to be in seven years? And if you just leave that to chance, then there’s a really high risk of things going haywire or off the rails.

[00:59:31] Right? If not seven years than 14 years, 22 years, how do you grow together? How do you become something more over time? Or what are you becoming over time?

[00:59:49] Mike: [00:59:49] Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:59:50] Mark: [00:59:50] And to me that the, I think I was talking a little bit about how I think some gay marriage was in some way, um, better and easier than straight to speak. Just because two men have an easier time. Dealing with communication issues and have been socialized in such a way to that makes life and proximity, I think probably easier.

[01:00:13] Um, but I think one of the ways that gay marriages are more difficult is that there’s not a script and that’s both a blessing and a curse because you can, if you’re a couple who has the ability and the, in the first site to think about those questions and plan out an answer, um, obviously, you know, life always throws you curve balls, but just the fact that you have something that you’re working towards together, I think is something that helps you grow together.

[01:00:40] But in the absence of that, then it’s really, really easy to kind of grow apart and become detached and become disillusioned.

[01:00:50] And it, and you know, talking about how men are socialized in some ways they’re socialized to cooperate and be in proximity, but they’re also socialized to compete. Right. So the guys who are on your team, you know, you learn how to, um, cooperate with them and be around them and deal with each other’s flaws and strengths and weaknesses and work together, overcome them.

[01:01:16] But the guys on the opposite team, you know, you’re taught as, as young males to go after them, give no mercy, you want to win. And, and there’s a real danger, I think, amongst male couples for the other person to become, to be seen as part of the opposite team, if you start going apart and then every argument becomes one of those things where you just want to win, because you’ve been socialized not to cooperate or to compromise.

[01:01:49] Um, but just to beat the other team down. Right? So where, where I’ve seen relationships go really wrong. You know, aside from issues of addiction, you know, which is sadly all too common and in gay life, um, where I’ve seen marriages go wrong is when two men can’t, can’t compromise with one another, but they need to win against the other person.

[01:02:18] Yeah. And you know that, I think that manifests itself in terms of, well, this person’s career is going one direction that person’s career is going the other direction. There is no compromise. This is, this is my life. And I’m going to win this argument. Right. We’re, we’re, we’re going out to California, whether you like it or not, or, um, right.

[01:02:39] You know, that kind of stuff. So, um, or even little things like, um, I, I know of a couple who moved into a new place together, and then they got divorced when they couldn’t decide how to decorate the place. Right. Which is like one of the greatest things in the world, right. Either that goes, or I go, well, you better pack your bags because that lab stopped going anywhere it’s over, you know, but it’s, it’s true.

[01:03:07] That’s a true thing that actually happened. 

[01:03:09] Mike: [01:03:09] I was wondering, it sounded very, very specific. 

[01:03:13] Mark: [01:03:13] No, that, that is a true thing that actually happened. There was this couple, I know that they were together for quite some time. They go to a new place and what drove them apart was they just couldn’t compromise and how decorate the place.

[01:03:23] Wow. One guy wanted it one way. The other guy wanted the other, they weren’t going to compromise on it done right now in straight marriages. The husband would say, okay, yeah, happy wife, happy life. Right. And, um, and a lot of gay couples that I know. Who tend to be more cooperative, you know, they’d say, well, you can have this room and I’ll take that room to make some kind of compromise, um, or even gay couples.

[01:03:53] I know who look at their husband and say, yeah, happy wife, happy life. Yeah, that happens too. Um, but, um, it’s, it’s the guys who just, things become a competition, which I think as, uh, um, stems from the way that we’re taught to compete against one another, you know, in class environments, in sports environments, you’re put up against one another, you know, to win who’s better.

[01:04:23] Who ranks higher, who gets the lamp, the competition. And you can’t lose. I don’t know why maybe because become the time that we’re kids we’re taught that we can’t lose to the boy down the street. We can’t lose to the classmate. Can’t lose to the opposing team. 

[01:04:43] Just a lamp.

[01:04:51] That’s interesting. And they’re 

[01:04:53] both miserable, right? They woke up, they couldn’t compromise on the house. They both, they left the marriage, they broke up and are both miserable. Neither one of them is any happier than they were before, but God dammit. They didn’t have to look at that lamp. I don’t even know what to say.

[01:05:11] Mike: [01:05:11] Yeah, yeah, 

[01:05:12] Mark: [01:05:12] yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think, I think that kind of stuff, I think that’s where like the dangerous come in for, um, homosexual marriages is, um, the lack of a prescribed. Well, the lack of a societal script, I think, um, can lead some couples who don’t think about how they want to grow together to grow, to part, grow up out easier.

[01:05:38] Great. And then I also think the social issue to compete sometimes can overcome the socialization to cooperate. 

[01:05:45] Mike: [01:05:45] Yeah.

[01:05:51] Yeah. And there’s this, um, I actually got to interview an author of few weeks ago. Um, and Garen, she called it the relationship escalator. 

[01:06:03] Mark: [01:06:03] Oh yeah. And 

[01:06:04] Mike: [01:06:04] it’s like, that’s the thing. And I mean, I know, I know gay couples that try to S to, to make the same sex version of the relationship escalator. Yeah. Without the script.

[01:06:17] And maybe it’s trickier though. I don’t know. Yeah. 

[01:06:22] Mark: [01:06:22] Yeah, no. Yeah. But I don’t even know if it matters what the details of the plan is. I think it’s just looking at the other person and in casually saying. Yeah. In seven years, I want us to be together. Talk about, let’s talk about that. You know, I don’t, I don’t think it mattered what the plan is.

[01:06:42] I think just the fact that you’re having that conversation or something. Yeah. 

[01:06:45] Mike: [01:06:45] No, well, you have the conversation and have, it has to be two people that are both looking out for each other’s best interests and your own best interests and yeah. Finding what’s going to actually work for both of you. 

[01:07:06] Mark: [01:07:06] Yeah.

[01:07:06] So then you start visualizing things and that’s powerful. 

[01:07:13] Mike: [01:07:13] Yeah. Cool. Wow. We talked about a lot. 

[01:07:19] Mark: [01:07:19] Yeah. Sorry about that. 

[01:07:20] Mike: [01:07:20] No, no, don’t be sorry. That’s that’s I love it. Um, was there anything else that you were like wanting to make sure you covered or had to say, or. Other like profound thoughts about stuff.

[01:07:38] Mark: [01:07:38] Um,

[01:07:51] Oh, I can’t see anything really. I mean, um, I feel very lucky in ways that, 

[01:08:05] um, 

[01:08:07] I can’t even put into words 

[01:08:09] sometimes, 

[01:08:12] but what I want is for other men, maybe they’re 38 years old. Like I was at the time, maybe they’re older, maybe they’re younger who think that they’ve made a set of life choices and, um,

[01:08:31] there. Somehow hurting other people or, 

[01:08:36] Mike: [01:08:36] um,

[01:08:40] okay. 

[01:08:41] Mark: [01:08:41] Sorry. They’re back on commitments that they’ve made, you know, if, if you’re that person and you feel that way, because you’ve come to learn something about yourself that maybe you didn’t fully understand before

[01:09:00] then, um, you haven’t hurt anybody. It’s not to say there won’t be pain, but, um, you haven’t done anything on purpose to anybody else you just grown and what is life, if it’s not growth,

[01:09:26] Mike: [01:09:26] so 

[01:09:27] Mark: [01:09:27] true. Be kind to yourself.

[01:09:33] Walk ahead into the world. 

[01:09:36] Mike: [01:09:36] Yeah, that’s good.

[01:09:44] Mark: [01:09:44] It took me many years of therapy to be able to say that, 

[01:09:48] Mike: [01:09:48] Hey, whatever it takes. Right, 

[01:09:51] Mark: [01:09:51] right, right, right. Yeah. 

[01:09:54] Mike: [01:09:54] No, that’s good. I like it. I mean, and it’s, it was really fun to, to just, to just listen to how much

[01:10:06] like who you are. Hasn’t changed. I don’t think in four years, but what you definitely, where you are, has come a long way. Maybe your understanding of yourself and your relationship and everything is just, it sounds awesome. So 

[01:10:25] Mark: [01:10:25] yeah. Thank you for that. Thank you so much.

[01:10:31] Mike: [01:10:31] Yeah, thank you for doing this. 

[01:10:35] Mark: [01:10:35] Anytime. Anything else I can do, please just reach out to me. Definitely. 

[01:10:41] Mike: [01:10:41] Definitely.

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