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I took the first step! The rollercoaster has started...

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by JonathanW, May 26, 2019.

  1. JonathanW

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    After years of ignoring my feelings I am exhausted. I’m 40, just an ordinary guy, married and 2 beautiful daughters but I cannot deal with the secret and confusion anymore. I have never confided in anyone except for some anonymous posts on this site. But your stories were very helpful.
    So I took a huge step of faith. I emailed a psychologist and made an appointment for next Friday!
    To make sure she is up to speed on where I am at, and to take a radical step, I sent her my whole story in detail. With my name and address. No.way.back...send!
    I wrote her about my childhood, the bullying, the very loving christian environment but without any gay examples. About the constant ignoring of my feelings, so much that it lead me to believe I was doing the right thing to get married at 22. And as the years passed by, it seemed harder to face my true feelings.
    What a dick I felt for questioning my inner feelings. I already made a decision that involved a great woman and now two kids! So I hope my first session will be an eye opener. That it will provide me with answers how to proceed. The very idea that someone in this world knows my true story is both a relief and excruciating.
    To sit down with her and talk about this face to face even more. Don’t know whether I’ll cry or be very distant and analytic. But hey, that’s what coming out is probably all about? Slowly scratching the surface for the first time. Peel. Open up. Twist. And then discover something brand new and beautiful? I’ll keep you guys posted on how it went. I hope I can sleep this week. Xx
     
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  2. Jggates

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    Well done on taking the first step. I've been through a similar roller-coaster, and can honestly say being able to speak to someone face to face in a safe space about my feelings was the best thing I ever did. It acted like a safety valve and gave me the space to breathe again while I worked out what I needed to do.

    Best of luck to you. :thumbsup:
     
  3. PrinceVegeta

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    Congratulations on taking the first step. I hope everything works out great for you. Keep us updated please.
     
  4. Chip

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    Awesome, and what a courageous thing to take the step of taking action to better understand yourself. Therapy isn't nearly as scary as it sounds to people who have never had it before. Once you're in there, I think you'll find it a lot easier than you expect.

    One thing to keep in mind: No two therapists are alike in style and method of engaging with clients, and so a big part of success in the work is finding the right fit. I've been super lucky that of the therapists I've had over the years, three out of four have been awesome. (The fourth I saw while living in a small town, and he was helpful, but not awesome.)

    So... keep in mind that you should feel comfortable, listened to, and have a sense of complete non-judgment and safety in the therapy room. The therapist should not be directive, should not tell you what to think, but instead, to help you look at yourself and find your own truth. Sadly, some therapists miss the mark on that, so it's important for you to be aware, going into this, that this is *your* session, and you have to feel safe and have a sense of trust for the therapy to work.

    That doesn't mean it isn't hard, uncomfortable, and painful at times to do the necessary self-work. But a good therapist will help you through that, and give you encouragement and support.
     
  5. JonathanW

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    I promised you guys an update. Last week I went to a psychologist and talked about my feelings for the first time in my life. It lasted nearly three hours. It was liberating, confusing, weird and great at the same time. I talked, I cried, I opened up my soul to a stranger, and at some points I had an out-of-body experience thinking ‘what am I doing here? This is not me!’. Later I’ve managed to whisper ‘i’m gay’ to myself for the first time, something that I’ve never been able to do. But this is also confusing because it doesn’t give me the ‘yes-factor’ I was hoping for. It’s like I feel totally straight in my desire to be with my family, my wife and my two kids.
    I feel gay in my desire to be intimate with a man. But I cannot see me living with a man and live a gay life (I know, there’s no such thing and it’s up to you to shape your own life). Is this weird? Is this uncommon? Should everyone with gay feelings desire actually living with a man? It’s like I can’t see myself doing ‘normal’ things with a guy like laundry, shopping, daily stuff. Is this because I’m used to living with my wife or do people that are not married also have these issues?
    Thanks for your replies guys!
     
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  6. Chip

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    What you're describing is actually completely normal. As we process any loss (in this case, loss of our identity as straight), we go through stages: denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance. They aren't always sequential, and it can take minutes or months, sometimes even longer, to go through them.

    So very often, 'bargaining' looks like "ok, I know I'm attracted to guys, but I still can end up with a wife and kids'. Of course, in your case, you already have the wife and kids. But nonetheless... what's going on in most cases is the part of you that wants to hold onto the straight identity is essentially holding back the part of self that can imagine being in a relationship with a guy and living that way. And yes, part of it is you're habituated to the heteronormative family, so it's not unexpected that you feel this way.

    I suspect that the more you allow yourself to lean into the realization that you are gay (as you've said to yourself), you'll find it easier to "put on" that persona, and you'll likely discover that it fits you much better than the one you've been wearing all these years.

    This doesn't happen quickly for most people. Take your time, relax, let yourself be, and just see how you feel, how your feelings change. If you are so inclined, often writing a journal can be really helpful.
     
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  7. Jggates

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    You are at the beginning of the journey of processing your feelings, so give yourself time. Sounds like you had a great first therapy session - you certainly did better than me! (It took me a long time to open up.)
     
  8. Jggates

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    This is really good advice. I found keeping a "mood diary" very helpful - simply writing down each day how I was feeling, and and thoughts that were running through my head. It helped process my feelings between therapy sessions, and getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper definitely helped reduce these thoughts from going round and round in my brain and driving me slowly mad. It also gave me something to look back on every now and again, which made me realise I was making progress.
     
  9. JonathanW

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    Update. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Last night I let my wife read everything I wrote down. She knows every. All of it. And she was the most understanding person on the planet. We cried together, not knowing what this means. But what a relief. What a love. What pain.
     
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  10. Chip

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    Awesome! That takes incredible vulnerability and courage. The rest can come in time. Be aware that she is likely to go through the stages of loss (denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance) and so there will likely be a pretty significant anger phase. But if you're aware of it in advance, then it will be easier to understand.

    Keep us informed!
     
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