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Are there forums for married, but gay, men?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Emergelove, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Emergelove

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    Hi Everyone,

    Although I joined this forum several months ago, I have not been to it until yesterday. So, I am very new to this.

    I am in search for a group of men who are married and gay, because that is who I am. I am 30, married, gay, with no children. I see an individual therapist and I have moved a long way in understanding my internal motivations and struggles. I have come to a place where I am seriously debating about coming out to my lovely wife. I am scared of being alone as my therapist is the only other person aware of my struggle. I am alone right now in some ways, but that I how I have been for all my life. I know my world right now is okay. But I am more scared of being completely alone in an "out world," especially if the world I currently have, a pretty good world that I love, falls apart. I guess I want to know if I can belong in an "out world." I want to join a support group-of-sorts here. Or if there are moderators or veteran members of this forum who who guide me to such a online or offline community.

    Sincerely,

    SP
     
    Cornwall42 likes this.
  2. csm123

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    Hi and welcome to ec.

    Well i dont know of any forums that you are looking for,but i know that we have a number of members on here who have been in your situation,so im quite sure that you could get some good advice if you stick around here with us for a while.
     
  3. Beertruck

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    Hello there, and welcome! This might be a good place for you - although Empty Closets was originally aimed at teenagers going through the process, it's since grown to help people of all ages going through the difficult journey of coming out.

    As the poster above me said, there are quite a few people people on this board who have been in the exact same situation as you. In fact, one of our advisors, Jim1454, came out in his 30s while married. Definitely suggest you hit him up for advice. Welcome again, and good luck! :slight_smile:
     
  4. Chip

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    Welcome to EC! You're definitely in the right place.

    I don't know of any forums outside of EC that are specific to heterosexually married gay men (HMGM), but as the previous poster said, we have seen a pretty large increase in the number of HMGMs at EC in the past year and it's something we are looking at providing more organized support for (a special subforum or something of that nature.)

    You might want to PM Jim1454 or s5m1, two of our Advisor team who have been in your situation. And I'm sure that some of our many members who have been or are in your situation will chime in as well :slight_smile:

    I think when you start looking at the changes that coming out and addressing those feelings will mean to your life and relationships, it can seem really daunting and scary, but there are lots of people who have successfully navigated that transition, and many remain good friends with their (usually former) wives, maintained good relationships with their children, and gone on to have a happy and well-adjusted life as an out gay man. So while it might seem a far reaching dream at the moment, I assure you it's quite possible and, with some effort and work on your part, you'll get there.

    I hope you'll stick around EC and share more about what's going on for you. It will both help you and help others who are in your situation. :slight_smile:
     
  5. stilllovelyafte

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    Struggling with similar issues - I'll leave the more substantive advice to the experts here - Jim has been very helpful on these topics.

    If you are up for it, I highly recommend you read Dr. Loren Olson's book - Finally Out - Letting go of lliving straight. His book deals with the complexity of sexuality in general, but more specifically, the challenges of coming out later in life/in a married relationship. My journey is a work in progress, but I must say it began in earnest after stumbling on this book.
     
  6. jimL

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    Dear SP,
    You have come to the right place. I'm 57 althought I have a hard time admiting that since I just came out in the last six months to my wife, family and friends. It has been a difficult time but is getting better with each day. It's a very scarry thing thinking about coming out when your married. I also didn't have kids. I actually came out today to a long time friend that I have known since I was about eight years old and also my cousin. Both had very kind thoughts and were very supportive. I've been amazed at how supportive people have been. Please get rid of those thoughts of being alone. You won't be! You will find out who your friends are. You will still have lots of friends.
     
  7. Emergelove

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    This means a lot to me. This is one of those moments that I feel sad for that I have missed by being closeted and that that I may lose if I came out. The support makes the feeling of sadness kinder to bear. Thank you everyone for writing. Jim (I believe you are not Jim1454) thanks for sharing a bit about your story. I liked your signature "Learning to love who I am!" I guess many of my fears are based on how ashamed I feel about myself.

    I am not sure what or how to share. My sister is visiting and she and my wife are close. I am not sure if to come out to my wife and my sister now. Part of me wants to do it now with the idea that it may be helpful for them to be closer to each other during that to share their feelings. But then the other part warns, "Is there any good time to come out?" or "Is it really worth it or is it just my imagination?"

    Meanwhile, I will contact Jim1454 and/or s5m1.

    Thank you again,
    SP

    ---------- Post added 21st Nov 2011 at 06:28 AM ----------

    Stilllovelyafte, besides the advice from experts, I would like for you to share your own experience. I think it would mean a lot to me. Thanks for the book advise.
    -SP
     
  8. Tracker57

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    SP:
    I'm an older guy that just joined here, too. I'm 54 and came out to a very close friend and to my therapist within the last month. I have kids. Although my wife is one of my best friends, the sexual attraction just isn't there. She has no idea that I'm gay and I KNOW she would not deal with the "news" well. I'm struggling with the same issues.
    Stilllovelyafte and Jim: Thanks for the replies to SP. I'm following up on the same resources.
    TM
     
  9. nydtc

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    Welcome- while I can't relate to the wife situation, I can tell you that there are a number of guys on here who didn't come out until 30+. Heck it took me 38 years to accept and love myself. Many of those guys have great stories and are very helpful.
    As I was explaining to someone this weekend - it hasn't been easy but if I had known the inner peace I would gain by accepting myself - I would have done it much sooner!!
    Best of luck!
     
  10. Chip

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    It's always particularly difficult to come out when you're entrenched in an existing heterosexual relationship. But at the point you know or are pretty certain that you're gay, you have to start thinking about the other person.

    If you were to reverse your roles, think about how you'd feel if you were with someone who wasn't sexually attracted to you. The relationship would essentially be a lie, and you would be even less happy if the other person knew this but didn't tell you. It's one thing if you're uncertain and questioning (which, presumably, you were when you got married.) There are lots and lots of people who convinced themselves that getting married would "fix" things and they'd be able to live a normal married life and be happy. But once you know... you probably owe it to her to be honest. Now, you don't need to do this tomorrow or next week, but I would suggest thinking about what's keeping you from telling your wife and sister. If it's just fear, what will lessen the fear? It's never easy, and so if there isn't a good reason to wait, then probably telling them sooner rather than later makes sense.

    I also strongly recommend you get a copy of Joe Kort's book "Ten Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love" The book has nothing to do with finding real love, and everything to do with discovering yourself, and in particular, it has several chapters that talk in detail about heterosexually married gay men, and I think you'll find it very helpful and reassuring. It's out of print, but Bookfinder.com has some used copies, and Amazon has the large-print version in stock.

    Keep us up to date about what's going on and if you need help with how to actually bring up the subject, there's lots of examples here of letters and conversations, and lots of people happy to help you compose a letter or figure out how to present it if you decide that you're ready to do that.
     
  11. jimL

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    Hi SP,

    I just want to say that I also just started to read "Finally Out" last week and so far I am very pleased with it and think it might be helpful for you also. I have read a lot of books about homosexuality in the last six months. They have helped me in understanding myself and allowed me to be very comfortable with who I am now. Also, I'm glad you are here, EC has been a life saver for me. I think that you will find, as I have, that you will get all the support that you want. It is also a very good thing that you are working with a professional counselor.

    You are right that there is never a good time to come out. You just have to decided that your going to do it and then move forward. I also have a wife that is my best friend. She is one of the most wonderful people that I have ever known. There are going to be a lot of questions that your wife will ask you. I was prepared to answer them, you should be also. Be sure to tell her that you never intended on deceiving her, that you loved her when you married her (I'm assuming you did) and that you still love her now......but.

    My wife and I are still together just trying to figure out life and how it will all work for each of us. I can't tell you where I/we will be six months or a year from now. We have a very complicated financial situation which makes it even more difficult. But, I can say that I feel better now than I have for many many years. Of course your situation is different but there are similarities. Please feel free to ask all the questions that come to mind. I can tell you what my experiences have been, which may be helpful. I will guarantee you that you will have very difficult times and very good times. It is an emotional roller coaster ride, but you will not be alone!

    Also, you might want to post to Support and Advice instead of Coming out stories.

    Till later.

    Also, please don't be ashamed, you have no reason to be. We were all born this way!
     
    #11 jimL, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  12. Chip

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    I can move this thread to Support and Advice for you, SP, if you like. :slight_smile:
     
  13. Emergelove

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    Yes please! Thanks
     
  14. Chip

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  15. Jim1454

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    Hi there, and welcome to EC. Sorry it has taken me a couple of days to get to this thread. I've been busy at work this week, and haven't been able to spend much time in EC.

    The things that you're worried about - being alone, being accepted, how family and friends will react - are things that we have all worried about as we contemplated coming out. It's entirely normal, and we've all been there. But we've found that most of those fears were unfounded. Things don't turn out as bad as we think they might.

    I was married for 9 years and had 2 children with my wife before I finally came to realize that I was gay - and that it was my orientation (and the fact that it didn't align to the life I was living) that was driving a lot of my depression, and a significant contributor to my addiction. I was a mess when I finally had to admit and acknowledge (at first to myself, and eventually to other people) that I was gay.

    I worried that I'd be alone - but that wasn't my primary concern. I assumed all along that if I was in this position, there must be other people in the same position. And sure enough, there were. In fact, less than a year after I came out I met another gay married dad who would eventually become my boyfriend, fiance, and husband (as of this past August). Happy endings are possible!

    In fact, many people I meet have come from a similar situation, or their partner has. So I wouldn't worry about not being accepted in the gay community because you have been married, or because you're coming out at 30. It isn't an issue. Once you're out, I'm not sure anyone cares how long you've been out. Only that you're out now.

    I worried about how other people would react. I told my wife - because I had to given my specific circumstances. She was devastated - more because I hadn't been faithful than due to my orientation. She has always been very accepting of gays - and still is. I also came out to my doctor and therapist when I started to see him. (I'm not sure that I really 'came out' to any of them. I was having sex with other men - but I'm not sure at what point I really accepted even for myself that I was gay.) But it took me several months to tell my parents and my sister, as well as my best friends. I waited another year and a half before I told my kids. Only then did I come out at work as well. You don't need to tell everyone, and you don't need to tell everyone at the same time. In the end, EVERYONE responded in a positive and supportive way. (Well - my wife was devastated at first - but soon accepted the situation as her new reality, and worked hard to make the best of it.)

    This issue can consume every waking thought, and a tremendous amount of our energy. But in reality, being gay has very little impact on most of our life. I'm still an accountant. I still work for the phone company. I still like cars and music and television dramas. I still have parents, a sister, 2 kids and a dog. Much of my life has remained unchanged since I came out. Although, what I will say, is that I feel better about the rest of my life now that this one part of my life is out in the open and no longer a burden or huge secret.

    And then there are parts that have changed tremendously. I'm in recovery from my addiction. I'm living an honest and authentic life. I have a life partner (my husband) who I love more than I've ever loved anyone before - and who loves me back in a way that feels good to me. He and I love going out dancing or for dinner and drinks in the 'gay village' here in Toronto. But we also love staying home to watch TV. We have gay friends but we also still have our straight friends. My ex wife is one of my best friends and biggest supporters. Our kids all get along really well together, so I love our weekends together as a family. We'll often go to my parents' cottage up north and spend time with them - as well as with my extended family who also have cottages in the same area.

    With respect to coming out - it doesn't have to be right away. It doesn't have to be when your wife and sister are physically together. It should be at a point where you feel good about yourself and you're comfortable with your own orientation. Working with your therapist I'm sure you'll develop a message for your wife that is sensitive and supportive. This is going to be a shock to her (perhaps), and regardless, it's going to be a big disruption to her life. Remember that from her perspective, there isn't really any 'up side' to this announcement. For you, you get to let go of this huge burden that you've been carrying around. You have the prospect of starting a 'new' life as a gay man, with the hope of meeting someone some day and finding out what it really means to fall in love and be physically and emotionally attracted to someone. Your wife, on the other hand, thinks she already has that in you. So you need to be sensitive to that and know that she's going to feel a certain amount of hopelessness and frustration while you will have a bit of hope and anticipation (along with hopelessness, frustration, fear, etc.).

    Dealing with this now, or at least sooner rather than later, is for the best. Introducing children into the equation makes it more complicated for sure. That added responsibility will make it even more difficult to end the relationship.

    In Toronto there is actually a support group called 'Gay Fathers of Toronto' - specifically for that demographic. I don't think the situation is that unique, so there may be groups similar to this in your area. And whether you're a father or not, I'm sure you'd be welcome.

    I responded here rather than to your PM. This way others get the benefit of reading what I have to say (because there's likely someone 'lurking' who is in a similar situation but hasn't joined or posted their situation). But that doesn't mean that you cant send another private message if you'd like to exchange anything one on one. I'm happy to do that as well.

    Again - welcome, and good luck with everything. You've come to the right place, and we're all here to help.
     
  16. Emergelove

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    Re: Coming out as married and gay...

    Thanks Jim and everyone else, for your responses.

    Jim, I am glad you said that...I had given myself a deadline by when I wanted to come out, but this felt more forced than natural. As if in coming out I wanted to punish myself. I am paying more attention to that--the self-loathing, the shame-- and seems that coming out will be hard but does not have to be a punishment.

    Meanwhile, I had developed a connection with an online friend...His opinion and presence, albeit virtual, soon started mattering. We kinda hit it off. I had made it clear that I will not be meeting him in person. But soon, I started feeling an anguish when chatting with him or thinking about him. I imagined him being angry at me or rejecting me; his silences felt painful. These feelings and thoughts held a parallel conversation even when I seemed to have a good conversation with him. Last night, I decided to 'come out' to him...It's like getting out of the closet into another one.

    I wanted him to ask me why I don't want to see him in person...I wanted him to somehow figure out that I was married (similarly I want my wife to figure it out all). As I realized this, it became too much to continue to deceive him. It was very relieving to tell him I am married and that I am truly sorry for having lead him on, on one hand. But on the other hand, he did not say anything other than that I should get couples couselling (which is reasonable) but then I haven't heard from him. His silence is worse than getting punched, literally, by him. I don't know how he feels (it may be nothing). In any case, I have started to realize how I participate in this cycle where this subvert desire to punish myself plays out. Physical punishment seems more soothing than silent rejection...

    Anyways, despite this, I feel much more integrated, and that is what I am hoping for when I come out to my wife, who has all the reasons to be angry; and to whom I definitely owe and apology.

    I don't know if there is purpose to this post other than that I wanted to post this ever since last night. I am hoping it will continue to help me and that somehow this will stir up things for others too.

    SP
     
  17. missoni413

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    SP,

    I am 32, married with 2 kids and just came out to my wife and immediate family and friends over the past two months. Search my previous posts to read details. Also, feel free to contact me directly via PM or on my wall if you have questions. Would be more than happy to help with advice.

    You'd probably be surprised at what I have to say in terms of acceptance by family and friends, etc.

    It certainly is not easy, but it is one of the first steps to complete happiness.
     
  18. Emergelove

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    I finally came out to my wife last night... I experienced an upsurge of many feelings, one that i never imagined...We cried, and cried and cried. I apologized for the hurt. Her world at this point in time seems very dark. I want to be there for her in that darkness...She said she loves me and does not know how to be angry at me... It breaks my heart but I also feel relieved. But I feel I am on unchartered territories... I can only imagine how lonely and scary it's for her...

    We both are immigrants from a developing conservative societies and it's really new for her and to some extent for me too. Oh this is hard...

    ---------- Post added 3rd Dec 2011 at 09:35 AM ----------

    Our lives and love have changed for ever...and now I will never be able to return...oh it feels quite scary. She is angry, sad, shocked, confused...And can not understand why I married her and why I took 3+ years to tell her...I hope she will eventually feel better. Any suggestions?
     
  19. jimL

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    Congratulations for coming out to her. I know exactly what you are going through right now. The next couple of days will be very difficult. It's going to take weeks before things will settle down. You just need to give her time to process all of this. She needs someone to talk to now, friends, family, counselor. She should probably get professional help.

    You married her for the same reason that all of us gay maried men do it......because it is what we were told was the only acceptable thing to do. Don't beat yourself up for it. Hang in there. Be strong. Now you don't have to lie about who you are anymore. Your are on the road to recovery. Learn to love yourself!
     
  20. Chip

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    There are stages of loss that everyone goes through as they process any sort of significant loss (in this case, the loss of a marriage and the perception of you as straight).

    The stages are denial-anger-bargaining-grief-acceptance.

    From what I've seen, wives of heterosexually married gay men tend to process these stages a bit faster than many other people, but it still can take some time. Anger comes up and can be really unpleasant. But in most cases, the couple can still remain friends eventually, even if initially things are rocky.

    If you haven't already got Joe Kort's book I mentioned above, I strongly suggest you get it... the chapters on coming out while married to a woman can be really helpful in understanding and processing what's going on.

    It's also sensible for both of you to see a therapist who can help process the feelings she's having, and help you process and adjust how you feel about yourself. Often what is best is to have some individual and some couples sessions.

    Please keep us informed about what's going on. Things may be a little tough for a short while, but in the long run, the thing to remember is that *both* of you will be much happier.