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It’s more than sexuality

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by old tacoma, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. old tacoma

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    I’m writing this on a Sunday evening, alone in my room. It’s kind of a refuge for me. I have written here on EC about my sexual orientation, about a special friend who brought me both happiness and despair (and in the process helped propel me fast forward to the man I am today), and about a long time friend who has given me a fresh perspective on living an authentic life as a gay man.
    What has become clear to me is that my marriage with my wife is at a standstill. It moves along now just in a status quo mode. As I sit here writing this it’s just so self-evident to me on many levels of our relationship, that my sexual orientation is actually only on the periphery, not even the main concern. We always have had a sort of emotional distance between us, but we managed to make it work because both of us understood what was expected of us.
    This past year, with its pandemic restrictions, has only heightened this awareness for me that my marriage no longer functions. There’s no yelling, no animosity, just a sense of it is what it is, two separate persons living together, not much different than two single people sharing expenses. My priorities, my interests are not her priorities, her interests. And as the time passes, the emotional separation seems to expand. Although my sexual orientation is no doubt a factor, I don’t see it as the only factor, even the primary factor. We have just simply grown apart and I don’t see any common ground to rebuild on.
    Yet I don’t see an easy exit. I am financially dependent on my wife more than she is dependent on me. The practical problems of tearing our life into two seems like a complicated mess. The only winners will be the lawyers.
    We have another house nearby that sits empty now. It was our primary home while her parents were still alive. When her parents died, my wife inherited her parents’ house, and that is where we are now, so that, as she put it, we can be together. For her, this is her home. She has lived here, or in close proximity, her entire life. For me it has never felt like my home. She has renovated the house to her tastes. My advice has been largely ignored. My role is to make sure the renovations are done correctly according to her wishes.
    Within the next few months the work will be completed. Then we can take a serious look at the other house. I’m thinking of going to stay there, ostensibly to coordinate the renovations there. But more importantly to me, to give me the opportunity to really be on my own again after so many years. To evaluate where I am now, where I see myself going forward.
    This is on my mind on this particular Sunday because several small things occurred today that made me want to just walk out now, but I retreated to my room to calm down. This post is my way to vent my frustration and also my way to find a workable solution.
    Thank you for reading. Your suggestions are welcomed.
     
    #1 old tacoma, Jun 14, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  2. chicodeoro

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    I may have missed your previous posts about your situation but I suppose several questions come into my head - have you and your wife had a proper talk about the future of your relationship? Would you describe what you feel about each other as 'love' or a sort of affection that married couples often slide into after years of familiarity?

    And what do you really want?

    Beth
     
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  3. SteveBi45

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    Being married for over 15 years, I know it can be easy for couples to drift apart, it's just the normal process for people who live so long together. If there's one thing I've learned - you need to constantly communicate and talk to each other. Even couples with all the love in the world will drift apart if they don't do this.

    It sounds to me that there are other issues for you to work out with your wife, rather than just your sexuality. There seems to be a dependence issue for you, but this ultimately shouldn't be the only reason to stay in a marriage. While I think the idea of going to the other house for some space might help you, I would agree with @chicodeoro - you need to talk to your wife about your relationship and your future.

    Be honest with her and tell her that you would like to take some time alone to think about things, but hear her side of the story too. At least then, if there is a decision to separate, she will at least feel she's been involved in the decision and that her voice has been heard.
     
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  4. Mj5963

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    Good morning . I can feel and sense your consternation in your post. Life is complicated for everyone and obviously the added component of sexuality impacts it more . I know it first hand . I am married 34 years with 3 now adult daughters and one granddaughter . I am out to my wife now almost five years . We decided to stay together since this discovery as are really now companions and great friends . We love our respective families , have a great group of friends and our kids are all working and no longer dependent on us financially . We have had many ups and downs during these five years and even prior when she was not aware of my sexuality . All of what you say about growing apart , etc is something that occurs for sure. We actually recently had a very intense long talk about everything especially how challenging it is because we don’t talk a lot about “us” as we talk about our kids , grandchild or friends but never about us and our respective needs . We have talked about divorce a few times yet we find we are not there and if either gets there then we will process it together without lawyers and move on. Living in a mixed sexual orientation marriage is a big challenge for both and requires open honest communication . All I can say is living unhappy is simply not something either of us wants for ourselves and eachother . We found a path that works but requires constant work. I hope you both can find a path either to remain together or not but happiness is just the main and truly best goal for everyone . Nobody is living your life so ultimately you have to make the decisions of what will work. Wishing you good luck and happiness !
     
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  5. dirtyshirt84

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    Hi Old Tacoma

    I would definitely talk to your wife as a first step and be as honest as you can. Listen to her side of the story. I wonder if she is happy with the status quo? Perhaps you can come to some sort of arrangement that suits you both?
     
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  6. LostInDaydreams

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    Hi @old tacoma

    I just wanted to say that I can relate to what you’ve written here. I spent a long time feeling guilty about the prospect of leaving my relationship due to my sexuality, but then realised that the relationship was unhealthy and unhappy regardless. In the end, my sexuality was not my primary reason for leaving. It was significant, but not the reason behind how and when I ended the relationship.

    I was also dependent on my partner and leaving felt impossible at times. I did get there eventually, but it took time, patience, planning and being proactive.

    Talking to your wife sounds like a good ideas. Maybe you can find a way to move forwards that works for both of you. Also, perhaps take some time to think about what the main barriers are and what you can do yourself to start moving forwards.
     
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  7. old tacoma

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    I just read again my original post here and life is pretty much the same today. I have a few hours to myself and wanted to write down an update of sorts. During the last several months I met a guy while I was out walking. As you may know, I walk almost every day about 10 miles more or less. It’s great exercise and I enjoy it immensely. I see a lot of people and some quite regularly. This one particular guy I had seen many times walking his two dogs. On a few occasions our paths coincided and we walked together. My schedule then changed so I was walking a little later in the morning. I hardly ever walked with him at that point, except now and then he would pass me on his drive home. He would always wave and say hello. One evening as I was thinking over my overall situation (and I mean overall, not specifically my sexuality) I thought to myself, If this guy ever decides to stop and talk, I am going to suggest we get together for coffee or lunch. Well, a few weeks maybe a month later, he passed me and that day he pulled over. We had a good talk, and before he drove off, I told him what I had decided, and I asked him for coffee or lunch since I couldn’t walk with him anymore because of my schedule change. Without hesitation he gave me his number and said to text him. Later that day I did. More to write, but I have to tend to an ailing dog here.
     
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  8. Bastion

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    I like the title of the thread. I find that’s it’s very true. Nothing is at it seems on the surface. Life is more complicated and it’s not always really about sexuality. As we grow older and wiser. We change as persons and things will never be the same again. I see that happening every ten years or so. Maybe we’ve changed somehow but our current situation as in regards to relationships can’t easily change in a day or two. Especially in difficult times. Sacrifices must be made either way. If we stay we have to somehow live with it. If we go our separate ways we have to live with the consequence of our actions or decisions and face the unknown once again and sticking by the decision we made and hope for the best and see it through. Also living with that decision, even if it might not be what we hoped for in the end.
    I see the conundrum that @old tacoma is facing and I see a lot of lgbtq+ later in lifer or questioning folks Including myself go through similar situations.
    I don’t think there is an easy one size fits all solution. The best I can say is that I relate.
     
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  9. old tacoma

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    Another update...
    After I sent a text to the guy with the two dogs, we decided to meet for lunch the next day. We have exchanged texts almost every day since. It’s been more than a month now. I find that we are very compatible, and we enjoy our time together. It’s too early to know how things will develop between us, but he has said on several occasions how much he trusts me. He is younger than me, still working, and in a career situation that being out and gay could make his life completely miserable. He was left to raise two daughters when his wife decided to divorce him years ago and marry another man. The daughters are both doing very well on their chosen career paths, and he is very proud of them. He talks with me about his experience with his ex wife, or maybe it’s more accurate to say he confides in me. He says that I must have some super kind of gaydar, that I must have known that he is attracted to men, but I have assured him that I asked to get together with him just because I am attracted to him. I didn’t have a clue about his sexual orientation. I actually thought he would reject my interest, but fortunately I was wrong. I am hopeful.
     
  10. GrumpyOldLady

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    That sounds promising, tacoma. I wish you luck with your newfound friend no matter where it takes you
     
  11. Ingvermama

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    Tacoma, your latest update sounds promising and you deserve some happiness so I hope things keep going in the right direction.
     
  12. old tacoma

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    I find myself at home today, passing the time while a work crew is outside replacing the fence around the backyard here. I would probably be texting with F, my long time gay friend, but he has a mainland friend visiting him and he is most likely showing him around the island. I am having one of my moments when I want to share what’s happening, so here I am on EC.
    I will call the guy with the two dogs “M.” I am a bit amazed at the rapport that is developing between us. He’s not Mr Perfect (at least I’m telling myself that, lol) but he is a genuine, regular guy who is just himself and yet quite remarkable at the same time.
    We got together yesterday kind of on the spur of the moment because we both had some free time. (The third time in a week!) It was a fun and relaxing Sunday afternoon. He had plans for his regular Sunday dinner with a couple he knows (the wife was M’s high school classmate) so I had a quiet evening at home.
    I drifted off to sleep and woke up at about 2 in the morning to find that M had texted me earlier when he was leaving his friends place. It’s a little thing like that which makes a big impression with me. (He was thinking about me.) So I texted M to say good night even though I knew he was probably already asleep. And I went back to sleep.
    We texted again this morning after we both woke up. It’s great getting to know him better each day.
     
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  13. GeoTrekker

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    Was feeling down tonight but reading through this thread put a smile on my face. Very happy for you, Tacoma.
     
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  14. old tacoma

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    I was just waking up this morning when I got a text from M. He was just getting home from working all night. He’s on call 365/24/7 so I sent him a total of three texts. All telling him to get some rest. He only had three hours of sleep the night before! We can text later...
     
  15. Bastion

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    It’s kind of interesting reading this thread. It’s like a journal of moments of real life shared. it’s different and it’s intriguing. So how are you guys doing? You and this new guy M?
     
  16. old tacoma

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    I just re-read my earlier posts on this thread and I want to loop back to my original post, that my relationship with my wife is more than just about my sexuality. This new guy, M, was previously married, has raised two daughters (one daughter still lives at home), and has a rocky relationship with his ex wife after what sounds like was a very difficult divorce. In talking with him, he has said very upfront to me that he doesn’t recommend going through the divorce process. He doesn’t think it’s even necessary from what he sees and knows about me and my wife. He met my wife when he came over to help me prepare the yard for the fence project now in progress. (He even brought her some flowers from his yard, in case she felt bad about us having to cut back the plants here at the house.) From his perspective, my wife and I seem like housemates. Cordial, friendly but clearly very different. And since he’s not going to come out himself because of his work, he’s happy with things as they are between him and me. He’s actually more concerned that l might lose interest because of his crazy work schedule, not really knowing when we can get together, the possibility of interruptions for his work, and stuff like that. I think after all the years I have been through, I’m pretty sure I can handle any bumps in the road ahead.
     
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  17. Bastion

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    What matters is that you guys understand each other’s situation and you get along. That’s good. As for coming out or not. That’s a personal choice.
     
  18. Nickw

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    @oldtacoma

    It sounds like, clearly, you fear you cannot come out to your wife because of the financial implications. I know that fear myself. When I came out to my wife I knew it could be a big hit in my lifestyle although I make a pretty good income. It’s just that the two of us together have a lifestyle neither of us could afford without the partnership.

    That said, I couldn’t justify not telling my wife and accepting the consequences. We each have our own reasons for being in the closet. But, the dishonesty took a major toll on my health and I wonder how others manage to live with it. I needed to seek care from both physical and mental health professionals due to this and I had never cheated on her. I just wanted to. The anxiety became overwhelming.

    I wonder how you see your life in the twilight years? I decided I had to make choices now that would provide those years to be what I wanted them to be. What are your thoughts on your “end game?”
     
  19. old tacoma

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    @Nickw — Fundamentally, I see my current situation as my end game. I am acutely aware of my mortality. Rarely a day goes by without at least a glancing thought about it. This is partly due to the fact that I very nearly died at the age of 8 from a very random encounter with a tick bite. After months of treatment I pulled through. It taught me a lesson that I never forgot. That my future, anyone’s future, is not guaranteed. I do what I can as best I can. With an appreciation that not all plans on the tree of life may bear fruit.
    You have spoken before of not wanting to take the high road in your view (of others), but in order for that to happen you need to truly appreciate both the similarities and the differences in each person’s life. As the saying goes, “Until you walk in another man’s moccasins...”
    I think I know my wife well. I have after all managed to keep our marriage together for nearly 40 years. I say those words in full understanding of their significance. I am the one who has the “need” outside of my marriage for an intimacy that my marriage cannot provide. In that you and I may be similar. But from what I have read in your posts, my wife is clearly not similar to your wife, and I will not deliberately, openly, cause her pain. A Dear Abby column many years ago, when I was a teenager, contained a comment that has reverberated with me ever since, “Some things should be taken to the grave.” I read it shortly after my father had died, and it reminded me of his funeral day, standing at his casket by my mother as she placed her wedding ring in his hand. A symbolic gesture that I she and I never spoke about but I sensed was full of their lives together.
    Yesterday was in many ways a typical day for me. In the middle of another renovation job, I spent the day at home so if any issues came up with the work crew, my wife would not need to handle it. (She hates dealing with these things.) As for me, sitting here with not much to do, I texted with three guys I have mentioned here on EC — F, B, and M.
    F is my long time gay friend, B is a guy I have mentioned here on EC several times, and M is a guy I have got to know fairly recently in the past few months after seeing him around town for a couple years. My wife knows all three guys. I make no attempt to hide or conceal these friendships from her. But I keep any intimacy with them private. With F, it’s simple — there is no sexual intimacy. But we have known each other for so long that there is an emotional connection. Which is why, when I felt that I could no longer “take it to the grave,” I decided to come out to him. From his almost 30 year relationship with his partner (until death parted them), I thought F could be a valuable voice for me to hear. I was right. And then B — the guy who has had such a big impact on me. Intensely intimate with him for a time, yet now a good friend. I never know exactly where I stand with him. The phrase “Can’t live with him, can’t live without him” seems appropriate. Since he has had an “on and off” relationship with a guy for years, and they don’t seem to be able to decide what that relationship means for them, now I just stand by my friendship with B, and support him in the choices he is making for himself. And then M — the “new kid on the block” so to speak. Not a kid, not new since I have seen him around town, and not in my immediate neighborhood. But through a sequence of circumstances, now a good and intimate friend. Where the way forward leads with M, I cannot predict. But there’s definitely something between us, that’s clear. That unmistakable connection. M has told me he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to divorce. He went through that with his ex wife, and it was very bad. (Interesting, it was she who was cheating on him. And left him with two daughters to raise.) He has done really well, as he said to me, “I had to keep my life together for me and my kids.” But what he did eventually realize is that he “is into guys.” We are very compatible, but since I don’t have a crystal ball, I can’t say where our paths ahead may go.
    As I see myself at my age already in my personal end game, I am taking my situation one day at a time. I am very glad to have found EC. This site has provided me with a much broader perspective and bolsters me through the rough moments that I (as well as anyone) inevitably must get through in living our daily lives.
    I apologize for my lengthy post, but if it helps anyone else, I think it’s worth it. I know other responses here on EC definitely help me.
     
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  20. Bastion

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    @old tacoma
    You summed up your whole situation in this last post and I actually can relate to it. Because there are certain circumstances and situations that are very difficult to change. I have some what a similar dilemma. But mine is a bigger issue from all sides. Family, relatives, even some friends not to mention the homophobic, relatively small area where I live. I was sort of forced to sever any ties or relations even friendship with any lgbtq person. I had to do it or I lose most of what I have which is a lot. Kind of i have to start from zero situation. Where I I’ll have nothing. (My life and work is closely tied to family estate and not my wife)
    Am actually still angry about it. Sometimes I lose sleep thinking about it. But am trying to accept it for now as I can still be intimate with my wife. But I have a certain part of me that wants to do other things. But that has to wait until I find a better solution.