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42, married, and tortured by confusion...

Discussion in 'The Welcome Lounge' started by MarkinThai, Oct 5, 2020.

?

Reading my post, what's your first intuitive thought?

Poll closed Oct 8, 2020.
  1. "This guy is likely gay, psychologically closeted, and should come on out!"

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. "This guy is confused, it's not clear he's gay, might just need to do more reflection.”

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. "It's impossible to say from that intro, but anyway welcome to EC!"

    5 vote(s)
    62.5%
  4. Something else entirely, and I'll say something in a reply to your post...

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  1. MarkinThai

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    Hi all,

    I think I'll compose a post describing my 'situation' in much more detail on another thread because this seems to be more of a '1st contact' place and a bit lighter. But this gist of WHY I'm here and introducing myself is this: I'm 42, married, and I feel like I'm gay and won't be happy for my remaining years unless I come out and live out. But it's NOT SO SIMPLE is it? (God I wish it were).

    Other info just to round out the picture of who I am:

    - I'm from a very liberal part of the US, so there's ZERO cultural hang ups about sexuality there (but yes, there are, inside of me for whatever reasons).

    - I've always been somewhat sexually active with other men, and it has always made me very happy...but I've never thought of it as deeper than physical fulfillment (even now I rarely find myself at all attracted to the majority of 'gay culture/media' but just saying that sounds shallow anyway).

    - I love my wife, but I just feel so...out of batteries...with her sexually, with my straight lifestyle as a whole, with the feeling of 'flatness' that this identify confusion lays down. Really, I'm super depressed. How could I NOT be?

    - What else...well, I suppose that's all for now - I think the point here is simply to say hello and see a handful of welcome replies pop up so you know it's not a forum full of bots or whatnot.

    So please do say hi! God, I really need some honest chat and feedback on what's happening with/to/for me in life right now! It's SO draining to deal with this identify confusion 24 hours a day, it feels like. To be honest, the energy required just taking that pounding kind of makes me an idiot. I feel so depleted.

    I hope all or at least some of that makes sense and strikes a chord! Here's hoping for some connections on this forum, and I can't wait to post about some specific issues and maybe get some helpful replies. So needed!

    Thanks everyone, happy to be here.

    PS - I think I'll add a "poll" here, just some "added value". Please respond if you're in the mood! It might be jumping the gun but I'm just so curious about peoples' impression, even from this short post...
     
  2. SilentM

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    Hi,

    So what are you planning to do now?
     
  3. DecentOne

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    Welcome to EC MarkinThai,

    I’m older than you and came out to myself and my wife in 2018, now I’m out to everyone. It happened fast after I started Therapy with a LGBTQ-allied therapist that I found through the Psychology Today therapist finder. I’m bisexual. I found it very important to be out to family, work, church - like you I grew up and live in pretty liberal and accepting contexts. I also ended up joining a LGBTQ hobby group, and marched in Pride (pre-COVID-19) etc. That’s what I need to feel authentic.

    If you haven’t found it already, the Later In Life sub forum here on Empty Closets has been a very good resource for folks like us.
     
  4. Ram90

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    Hello and welcome to EmptyClosets @MarkinThai. Please feel free to get in touch with any of the staff members if you have any questions or need any assistance with anything. You've checked the first box, in opening a thread in the welcome lounge, explaining a bit about yourself, so feel free to browse the forums and post in different threads. :slight_smile:.

    I voted for the third option, since after reading your post, I feel I don't have the complete picture and hence did not want to box my opinion into the other choices.

    That said, while I'm not married, I am 30 years old, not that close to your age, but in a slightly similar age-group perhaps, from my perspective anyway. :slight_smile:. I engaged in physical relationships with men until last year. They weren't a lot, since I couldn't find a lot of time and opportunity to do so, but like you said, they were just physical fulfillment. I didn't feel like my life changed a lot after each encounter. I I personally felt like I switched my life and brain off for each of those 1-2 hour slots, I spent time with those men, and switched everything back on (reality, I suppose) when I walked out of there. The way you described it (perfectly in my opinion!) really resonated with me.

    I don't really follow a lot of gay media or icons at all. That doesn't mean I don't feel happy when I read some good news about the LGBTQ+ out in the world, or in my own country, but because I don't necessarily feel that any of it helps me personally in any way, since I haven't really used news and media as a means of support before in my life. So it isn't shallow at all for you to say you aren't attracted to all of that. I for instance, don't really understand pride marches and might not ever go to one. Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so. Does it mean I hate LGBTQ+ prides? Absolutely not. So, I think it's ok. :slight_smile:

    I can sympathize when you describe your relationship with your wife, not empathize mind you (Since I'm single). I'm sure there will be other members on this forum who will read your thread and respond in a better manner to this point (With experience too). Do you know what your wife's opinions on LGBTQ+ people and the culture in general is? Do you think knowing if she is supportive of the LGBTQ+ culture might make it easier if you want to come out to her in the future?

    But putting the above question aside, I strongly feel you need to set some time aside to truly discover yourself. To discover your gender and sexuality. And it is ok if it takes time. While I knew I liked men from a young age, I discovered what it meant to be Gay at 16 and it still took me 11 years to come to terms with it and to come out to people (Outside of EC) in real life. So that's ok.

    I can't really comment on what your sexuality might be, since I don't really know you that well yet. But hey, it's a start! Would you mind telling all of us here a bit more about yourself? Like how you felt when you were younger. If you were questioning when you met your wife and got married to her? Did you date girls and/or guys when you were younger? When did you start being sexually active with men?

    Feel free to not answer anything you don't feel comfortable about. Welcome again to EC!
     
  5. MarkinThai

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    Good question! Right now, just try to think and process more honestly and productively. Searching and posting on this forum is something I hope helps that. I've also just started a bit of online counseling focused on these challenges. I hope it works and helps!

    Other than that, just try not to break anything until I have a more sure footing I think I'd say!
     
  6. MarkinThai

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    Thanks so much for this reply. I'll check out that sub-forum.

    My question for you is: are you still married? What happened there after you came out to your wife?

    Thanks again for engaging with me.
     
  7. MarkinThai

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    Thank you for your thoughtful reply Ram90! There's so much to chew there, I'll have to wait until tomorrow or soon to really do it justice. Can't wait to find the time. But I wanted to say thanks.

    Also, I know my poll was kind of silly. I was about to post my message and saw the poll function and got that nerdy "I wanna pull that lever" feeling and clicked it up. I'm not surprised that it's 100% number three answers, as that's really the only reasonable option! A good test of the common sense of folks here I guess. Haha.
     
  8. Old Dog

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    I wish it was as simple as looking at a pic of a man, and a woman,, see which one you like,,,,,sorry
     
  9. MarkinThai

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    To be frank I find myself looking at pictures of men (specifically their penises) and thinking “that’s the most beautiful thing in the world”.

    At the same time, I’m very appreciative of women’s beauty. I gaze at (pics of/actual...though not creepily I hope!) gorgeous women with some awe. So yeah...I like and appreciate both.
     
  10. Lucy Marie

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    Welcome! I am smack dab middle age and I feel for you. In other ways I struggle with who I inherently am as well. This site, I am pretty new myself, is an amazing resource for getting advice, I never leave here feeling sad. There are many resources to examine and delve into. May you find you!
    ((momhugs))
    PS no matter how old we are mom hugs can fix it all.
     
  11. DecentOne

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    Yes, I am still married. And that is the plan for the rest of our lives. My coming out was about 2.5 years ago. I was very surprised by my wife’s reaction. She felt as if everything was torn down. She called our marriage a lie, and said our children (grown, out of the house) would be devastated so I should never tell them. It was an emotional roller coaster. I still don’t understand that - she is fine with LGBTQ stuff, and would sign up as leader of PFLAG if it had been one of our kids coming out. I’ve never cheated in all the decades we’ve been together. I’ve never had an experience with a guy. To me we were exactly the same, only the label had shifted. She is now embarrassed when I remind her of what she was saying back then. She finally let me come out to the kids (they were fine, of course, we raised them right and they have friends who are LGBTQ, they mostly just wanted to know we’d stay married). Then a few others. Nobody (but her) reacted badly. She gave back my ability to own the coming out process after about 18 months, although she reneged on that, she was still too scared, until I talked her back into what we’d agreed. Things get better: I flew the Bisexual flag from our house on Bi Visibility Day a week or so ago. She’s given me rainbow stickers for the cars. But she didn’t come out about my sexuality to her best friend until last month and I think she was crying as she did it. This is not easy for spouses, especially as I thought I was straight until 2018, and she thought so too.

    A trick on this forum is you can click on a poster’s name, such as mine, DecentOne, and then click to see their profile. There is an option to look at that users past postings. I’ve been pretty open about the process, if that might be helpful to you to read. Or just ask - maybe better in the Later in Life section, as it draws a bunch of eyes from folks in the older bracket who have these overlaying issues too.
     
  12. MarkinThai

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    Thanks Lucy Marie. Middle age (never mind it being *2020*, just all that insanity) is not what I expected. I pictured a sort of leveling out of sorts in terms of identity. You just 'have become who you are' by now and are playing out what you know and acting within the things you've built for your self. Not....this. Not the questioning.

    One is susceptible to REALLY being hard on oneself like "wasn't I supposed to be going through this at 19 or so???". What an idiot. How could I be so dense for so many years. It feels like aspects of my 'EQ' are just in negative territory (even though I know that's not true - my real self is a very sensitive and aware person!).

    All because for some reason I just never learned to accept myself on this deeper, more real, more fundamental sexual level...? This is how it feels. A disconnect that's been leaking so much energy for so long.
     
  13. MarkinThai

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    Thanks for this.

    It's difficult though possible to imagine coming out to my wife fully and ending up with some kind of agreement to stay married. It's much harder, however, to think about staying monogamous and not having any gay sex after that (or sex with her, which is pretty much zeroed out). I don't know how she'd feel if I did want to have a type of open relationship. Another factor for me is that it's a very cross-cultural relationship: I'm American and she's Thai. And we live in Thailand. That generally doesn't mean there are TOO many huge gaps or differences we must navigate, but they are there. The biggest one that comes to mind is how honest she can be with her family about our status. Non-traditional relationships can be frowned upon, etc.

    Just as another note, I'm here in Asia (been here for the better part of 15 years) but I've never been at all attracted to Asian men for whatever reason (and found myself very attracted to Asian women once I move here). I wonder if I've subconsciously made some decisions around this based on my suppressed stuff. Like, made it harder for me to access objects of my (other) desires. I did have affairs with men when we were living in the US for a handful of years together. One was quite intense. And yet I never confronted the roots of it at all. I'd say this dynamic has contributed to our moving around regularly - my getting into the gay side and then being too scared to confront it and just wanting to move away and start over in a new place.

    God...I hate the idea that I'm letting a shadow self control my life.
     
  14. MarkinThai

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    In the meantime, can anyone share a good link to a quality treatment of "the stages of coming out"? I feel like I'm sort of heading into what I think is 'stage2' maybe? "Coming out to yourself" - internally accepting that you're gay. In the last 24 hours I've signed up for this forum, found some counseling to talk about this, and downloaded some gay erotica audiobooks to listen to in my car during my morning commute! Hmmm...
     
  15. Lucy Marie

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    Oh sweetie! You are being so hard on yourself. So hard. You need to forgive yourself—we are all works in progress. Rejoice in the fact that you are starting your journey when so many are afraid to even begin. I could go on and on about how amazing your actions are, but you know that—don’t ya? Anytime you need reminding of any of that—tap me on my shoulder and I will remind you. And of course....
    ((momhugs))
     
  16. MarkinThai

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    Haven't had a 100% authentic <<momhug>> in years! My mother died in 2002. And I was a big-time momma's boy for sure.
     
  17. MarkinThai

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    I keep thinking about opening up to my wife about how I’m feeling but it just feels like such a Pandora’s box...in the meantime though, life feels a little like a pantomime. I’m kinda dead inside
     
  18. Tartanskrt

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    I relate to a lot of what your said. Similar age, married and just not feeling it at all. I'm so in my head most of the time that my real life had taken on a kind of surreal quality. I think I just prefer it in my head where I am imagining a life of freedom and not trudging around going through the motions of a life that will always lack fulfilment for me until I can tell my husband and begin looking for another woman to live and love with. It is just such a monumental thing to bring into your relationship. Keep talking here though, you're amongst similar ppl
     
    #18 Tartanskrt, Oct 7, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  19. MarkinThai

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    It's super helpful to hear that you can relate. It's so easy to drift into believing this is some kind of "unheard of" experience. But it's more common than we think it is, surely, isn't it. The way you described it was so lucid for me. It IS surreal isn't it.

    This also struck a chord: "I think I just prefer it in my head where I am imagining a life of freedom and not trudging around going through the motions of a life that will always lack fulfilment"...couldn't have said it any better myself.

    I don't know what else to say now...I think I'll just ponder on these things a while. Thank you!
     
  20. MarkinThai

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    Did anyone else find themselves, while in the closet, experiencing more and more sexual pressure/energy/deviance?

    I was thinking about meeting two guys (at the same time) tomorrow. I’m surprising and a little bit scaring myself...feels like it’s due to closeted conditions...pent up, bottled up, pressurized energies. And probably not all that healthy/safe (I will be though).