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How long does coming out take?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by JonathanW, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. JonathanW

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    I’m still in the process of coming out. It’s eating me alive. My wife knows and my parents and two friends know. They all believe staying close to God will somehow make things fall into place in our marriage. Patience and trust in God are key. I so want to believe God will guide us through this in our marriage. But every day is a struggle. We had friends over for dinner, both recently divorced in separate marriages against their will and now very in love. It was so painfully confronting to see their every move. Every eye contact and remark. I realised that I will never be able to give any of this to my wife the way she deserves. I can pretend like I have for many years but I’m over 40 and cannot imagine how this can go for another 40 years. But I cannot imagine living a different life either. Crushing her soul. Devastating our kids lives. Cannot imagine giving it all up to find a guy and spend my life with him. Cannot imagine new roles. Afraid I’m going against God in all this. How long does coming out take? A lifetime? Will I just be going around in circles on all of this until I die? Sometimes I wish God would just forward this life to the end. It’s so hard, painful and dissappointing to see I’m such a failure in all this, mistreating my wife, marrying her, and now doubting everything and every thought. I could cry all night.
     
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  2. Nickw

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    @jonathonw

    Your post made me so sad.

    We each have different views of religion. But, do you really believe that God would have created you gay if it were some sort of a test? Or, that he created you to feel the way you do if it was wrong? Why would God do that? The love that can be shared between two men or two women is as beautiful as between a man and a woman. This beauty is not something that would be against the will of a loving God. I know that this is different than what you were taught. And, that is hard to give up what you have learned. But, sometimes you have to take a step away from this circular thinking and apply a little logic to the situation. If you really believe God wants you to be happy what would that mean?

    I know it is difficult to think of what coming out and living as a gay man might do to your family. And, it will be rough going for awhile. But, you really don't have a choice in this. Your sexuality is, fundamentally, a part of who you are. Read your post over again to yourself. You cannot be what you think you should be to your wife, your kids, your parents or society if you are living a lie and you are so miserable. It just doesn't really work that way.

    I don't think there is a timeline for making the move away from your current life. It depends on a lot of things (kids ages and needs, financial situation, living situation etc). Maybe you can continue to be honest with your wife and see if there are ways you can work together to make the transition easier? You will make the transition...you must.

    I wonder if you are getting any therapy right now? You may find that engaging a therapist may really help you to develop ways to meet your goals. It may also be something that could benefit your wife.

    Best man.
     
  3. OnTheHighway

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    Each persons journey towards self actualization and living our truths will be different. There is not specific timetable. The question you need to ask is if you prepared to do the hard work to embark on the journey in earnest and find out whom you really are? As is often stated, its not necessarily about the destination but it is about the journey. And finding your truth is a journey. For me, it was well worth undertaking. Your asking the question, so clearly your prepared to proceed.
     
  4. Fuzzy

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    You don't have to be able to imagine a new life with new roles or even a new partner. You don't have to be able to conceive of all that needs to happen. You just need to know the next right thing for you and your marriage. What is that for you?
     
  5. NotTooLoud

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    I love you all, but I disagree. Jonathan has only one life to live and he needs to, at 40+, stop worrying about pleasing everybody else, stop seeking the approval of his wife and his children and his family and in-laws. He has only one life and it is time to devote the remainder of his life to himself. YES, be selfish for a d#mn change!!! I am absolutely certain of this: he will regret it until the day he dies if he does not take his own questioning as a signal. Turn young man, turn, despite what everyone expects, TURN IN YOUR OWN DIRECTION. You have lived the first 40 years for others and now it's your turn to live the next 40 for yourself.
     
  6. Choirboy

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    How long? Could be a day, could be a lifetime; it really depends on how important it is to you, and really, what you consider "out" to be.

    I grew up wanting a family, but also knowing there was something different about myself that made it seem a goal I could never reach. I was kind of lucky in that I was oblivious to a lot of social cues and attitudes, and never associated my attraction for guys as a negative thing, other than that my lack of interest in women made that whole family thing seem impossible--until I got together with a woman who seemed to accept me for who I was, and we married and had a couple kids. Things were fine at the start, and despite harboring a lot of what-if's, i was a pretty satisfied husband, but eventually I drifted away emotionally, partly because of lack if interest but also because she had problems of her own that she has never, and will never, come to terms with. In the end I was doing all the work and getting nothing out of it. I came out to her unexpectedly--just blurted it out, although I had developed a sort of script in my head, with no intention to leave. A few months later I met a guy, fell in love and before I knew it, was outed to the neighborhood by the chatty ex-jock 2 doors down who happened to be in the same restaurant 30 miles away and overheard us talking. We've been together for 6 years and things gave gone almost embarrassingly well, with my ex-wife and kids accepting and liking him, and I am out to anyone who matters in my life. It all happened far more quickly than I had planned - although 10 years before the actual event, I had considered a divorce and backed away from it, because I knew that if I was single, I would end up dating guys, and I was afraid of losing all contact with the kids as a result, so I made a conscious decision to wait till a "safer" time.

    Life is kind of like that in general - we make decisions and have to decide between things we want and need and long for. How many of us have passed on the dream house because the mortgage payments would mean skipping the vacations that the family enjoys? Or passed on the dream job because working 60 hours a week would damage our relationships? Or fell in love with someone and then decided to break it off because there were things about them that you know would kill your love for them if you stayed together? We make choices based on what seems right, or our whims, or whatever, and we live with them. Coming out when you have a wife and children is a lot like that. You need to look at what you already have, and what you want, and whether what you could potentially lose will make up for what you could gain.

    In my case, curling up next to my guy at night is a vast improvement over dealing with someone who was chilly and bullying a lot of the time, but had she been a different type of person, or if a secure relationship had made her become more of a rational adult, I might have been willing to chalk up being gay as that dream house or job that I wanted but could never have. It wouldn't make me straight, but it would mean that i made a conscious choice to live that way because there were things I had built up and valued that i didn't want to lose.

    If you and your wife have already had some discussions, my advice would be to keep talking. Consider what is important to you and whether you can live with yourself better depending on what you choose, Although some will tell you that it's about your feelings or needs, I think if you are struggling, it's because you already know that it's not just about you, and proceeding as if it is will only make you feel worse. If you love your wife and want to maintain a loving relationship with her, it's got to be about more than just you. I had a lot of axes to grind with my ex but I treated her with respect and kindness despite it--sometimes not to my own advantage, either--and we are really back to the same level of friendship we started out as, which is better for us and far, far better for our kids.

    Some folks pooh-pooh talking to God, and if you don't have faith this probably isn't the time to suddenly sprout it, but it sounds like you're there already. I can tell you I talked to God a lot, and more importantly I listened, because in my case at least, the path was very clear once I started considering whether there were options that were fair and considerate to all concerned, as much as to my own self. A lot of the frustration and despair that you feel may because you're trying to rush things along. I waited a long time, but when I finally chose to act, it was because I was at peace with the decision. Best of luck to you. There will come a day when all the worries and deciding are behind you, and I can tell you it was worth the wait to do it in a way that I felt was right.
     
  7. Contented

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    For me the coming out process was incremental. As I started to acknowledge my homosexuality and work towards coming out I had overcome several obstacles along the way. I came out slowly first to myself and then to the man who became my BF. But at the beginning that was all. I was terrified of being found out. Enjoying being with another man but not willing to publicly admit it. Not having the courage of my convictions if you will. I felt like a fraud on two fronts both as a heterosexual and a homosexual. Slowly I realized I had to come out to my straight significant other. That was not easy but I needed to do it. Once I did that the ball started to roll towards coming out publicly. Once I was free of my heterosexual partner I still did not acknowledge my BF as such. I would introduce him as a friend. The only person I was fooling was myself. It turns several figures it out and many just assumed. This required another “coming out”. Then there was the coming out at work in my professional life. I was embarrassed because I felt people would think I had been a liar my whole and a total fake. It is hard to explain to some people that it took me years to realize I was gay. Even longer to admit it, learn to adjust to a new normal and then explain that to other people. In the end I finally did get to end of that path and I can honestly say it was well worth the multiple coming outs. Or perhaps I can better phrase it as it took about a year to come out completely. During that year I learned more about myself than I ever knew, learned that homosexuality is as normal any other orientation, I don’t have to hide who I am, loving and living with another man has been the most fulfilling experiences of my life so far. I can be openly, honestly a gay man without shame, reservation, second guessing, what ifs, etc. Sure the coming out process took a while and several iterations but in the end I am a happy man. I wish the same for all us as we navigate the path to our true selves.
     
  8. justaguyinsf

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    It sounds like it's not so much "coming out" that you're struggling with, but instead deciding how to resolve conflicting your conflicting desires to honor your commitment to your wife but also seeing what your life may be like as an out gay man. It might help to think about what is most important to you and not rush the process. It's great that you've been able to come out to your wife, parents, and a couple of friends, but do you have someone who can help you make the big decisions here and think through how things might play out? It seems like that's what you need to be working on, and I don't think you can expect your wife to be the person to help you do it. Not sure if that would be a therapist, but at least someone who is a neutral party whose opinions/values you trust.