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The future

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Highlander2, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Weston

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    You may also want to consider that if and when he does come out, he might not be the same person you're in love with now. People change after coming out — the sense of a weight lifting is palpable — and typically, guys want to play the field, not settle down. I think it is very difficult to sustain a relationship over a long period of time when one partner is out and the other not (or only recently so). Such was the case with my relationship (I was the guy not out.)
     
  2. Highlander2

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    Thanks Weston. He's out to everyone except his parents. This is one of the problems.
     
  3. Weston

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    Perhaps he's waiting for them to die first (it's not unheard of — before I came out I often had thoughts of how much easier it would be if something "happened" to my wife, and then I would beat myself up for having such thoughts). In any case, it sounds like it's going to be a long haul — I wish you luck!
     
  4. SiennaFire

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    Hi H2,

    I know this must be very painful for you. You love your BF and were very optimistic about a future with him. While you may be angry with yourself for asking the tough questions, ultimately you did what was necessary for you to find your true happiness on this path. Stay true and strong!

    We're here for you

    (&&&)

    ---------- Post added 2nd Feb 2016 at 07:56 PM ----------

    Hi Weston,

    Alas, this is not the case. The ex's parents are in relatively good health - http://emptyclosets.com/forum/2926044-post1.html
     
    #24 SiennaFire, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  5. Highlander2

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    So I've not contacted him at all for a few days. It's been the hardest thing I've had to do for years. I sent him a message at the start of the week just saying I wanted to find a way through this and I'd be here to support him. I was happy to wait.

    I sent another message today just checking that he was okay, and hoping he was taking time to look after himself and just think. He came back to me saying his mind was scrambled and he needed time to get it sorted out, and this would take time. He told me he understood this was difficult for me as well as for him.

    I'm going on the basis that, with my offers of waiting, being there for him, trying to help us find a way through all of this, and giving him some space, he hasn't told me that we are finished and is trying to sort out his own thinking and feelings first. I am assuming that a big part of this is going to be around whether he wants to have the conversation with his parents. If he doesn't and he comes to that conclusion, then I guess I have to make a choice (or he might make it for me). The problem for him is that if he and I split permanently he's going to go through the same thing in the future if he meets someone else. If he does tell them, again there's still no guarantee that we get back together again.

    I just feel like I'm in a limbo just now. I don't want to walk away from him - I love him and I know he's in love with me and loves me - so I'm willing to wait for him to come to terms with all of this. I just don't know how long is 'too long'. I guess I'll know myself.

    I was going to send him a Valentine's card - not a soppy, slushy one, just a plain card with a message in it, offering some supportive words and keeping it very much focused on him, rather than how I feel. I'll also send him a message - weekly? - just to check in that he's okay and so he doesn't forget me... :frowning2:

    This is killing me.
     
  6. Highlander2

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    Guys, just looking for advice on the whole 'giving someone space' thing. I don't do this very well and it's really difficult for me not knowing what's going on or, if I'm honest, not being in control of what's happening to me.

    I've told him I'll give him space to think about his feelings and get his head sorted as he's asked for.

    Do I contact him at all? What is 'giving someone space'? No contact, limited contact, no face to face contact - what do you think is okay for contact?
    How long do I leave it before I get in touch to ask how he is?
    Do I send a valentines card?
    Do I talk to one of his friends to ask that they keep an eye on him to make sure he's okay as I've told him I'll give him space but I just want to make sure he's being looked after.

    I'm scared that this period just allows him to 'get over me' and he gives in to his fear and we just fall apart. I know there's nothing I can do to change his feelings if that's what is meant to be, but I don't want to just sit back and let it happen by default.

    I'm really struggling with this.
     
    #26 Highlander2, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  7. SiennaFire

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    I hate the feeling of not being in control myself, so I certainly understand your disdain for this limbo phase. Here are my thoughts from a sounding board perspective.

    I agree there is a risk that his fear is strong enough that it will continue to control his actions, so your worry that the cooling off period will allow him to get over you is a valid one. Given that you want to exert some degree of control over the situation (I can't blame you I'm the same way), I'm thinking that it would be helpful for you to create an agenda or vision of what you want to happen. I'm surmising this would include working on the assumption that you are still a couple, so that's how you should act during your interactions with him. You'll probably want to time box this limbo period as well.

    Personally my gut tells me that you want to continue to actively reach out and support him, say once a week or so, maybe more frequently if you sense an in. The Valentine's card would be nice as well. My guess is that he'll let you know if you are crowding him. The only caveat here is his reluctance to come out to his parents seems to be emotionally charged, and you could unknowingly push a button.

    His reluctance to come out to his parents continues to be the crux of the matter and seems to be the pivot for your relationship with him. Do you understand his fears underlying his decision? I get the sense from what you've written that he has some strong emotional resistance to coming out to them, the type of resistance that is symptomatic of unhealthy emotional baggage. If you understand the reasons behind this, that would help with the question of how much space he needs and possibly give you a way to disarm his resistance. Without a good handle on this, there is a risk you could unknowingly push a button.

    I am assuming that he's being above board with you. Is there any chance that he's using coming out to his parents as an excuse to break up, cloaking some other reason for doing so?
     
    #27 SiennaFire, Feb 5, 2016
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  8. Highlander2

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    I do understand the fears he has - I think they are all unfounded, but it's not for me to press that on him, he needs to work that out for himself. I think he just needs to understand that this is something that is never going to go away itself and that he needs to act on it so he can be free from this pressure he puts on himself both now and in the future. Whether that future involves me or not, he still needs to take the decision or he's going to end up in exactly the same situation at some point later on, or he's going to drift from one short term relationship to another and I know that's not what he wants.

    Thanks SiennaFire, this is really good advice and has confirmed what I was thinking of doing.

    I've no reason to believe he is using this as an excuse - we've had similar conversations in the past where he has been reluctant to discuss the whole coming out thing, and I've just never brought it up as I knew it would be a flashpoint. I didn't actually raise that as an issue this time - just the fact that things just seemed to be different with us, and I know he has been stalling on giving me an indication of when the 'next phase' of our relationship would start. The fact is that the reason he is stalling is because he's not out to his parents. I don't need him to come out. I just would like him to stop stalling and make a decision on whether he sees me as someone he would like to develop a deeper relationship with and all that that would bring. If I am, then how we achieve that is open to discussion, but I'd never pressure him to come out.
     
  9. PatrickUK

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    Highlander, I'm sorry to read about all of the ups and downs that you have been going through over the last month and I don't think you are being unreasonable in wanting more of a commitment from him. You need a feeling of stability and security into the future.

    Some years ago I was involved in a relationship with a guy who refused to come out to his closest family and I persevered with the situation for almost two years in the hope that he would take the risk as we grew closer, but it just didn't happen. When I confronted the issue with him he told me that it probably never would happen and we agreed to an amicable parting. I didn't want to force the issue of coming out with him but I needed to know that we were on the same page and that we wanted the same things for the future and as it transpired, we didn't. It was a lesson learned for me when I started dating again.

    Now is the time to give him enough space to define his real intentions. An occasional text might be okay, but don't overdo it because it will keep both of you in an emotional loop.

    I don't know if his parents live nearby, but as it stands he is leading a kind of double life by being out to everyone apart from them and that's quite a risky tactic. When you do things like that it increases the chance of them finding out by accident and I would imagine that's the nightmare scenario for him. Only he can decide who to come out to and when to do it, but in his position, I'd rather be in control of it. I wonder if he has thought about that?
     
  10. SiennaFire

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    I wonder if he has the clarity to see these as two separate questions? Putting myself in his shoes, I might feel that you are pressuring me to come out because if we got into a deeper relationship I'd have to tell my parents and I don't want to do that because of my unfounded fears that we don't discuss as a couple.
     
    #30 SiennaFire, Feb 6, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  11. Highlander2

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    I take that point. But for me what he told me about being together for a long time, getting old together and other things, led me to believe he saw a long term future for us. Maintaining a status quo, and actively avoiding discussion about what that future might look like, was in contrast to what he said to me. I'd heard this many times, and it gets to a point where I had to ask the questions to satisfy myself I wasn't being strung along with false promises because he simply liked having a boyfriend but was not looking to commit to it being anything more. Whether he sees it as two separate questions - which they are but are both inextricably linked - I don't know. I've tried to discuss the fears and I just get shut down with responses like, I'll decide when I tell them. Pressing the matter, as I did once a long time ago, just ended up in being told he didn't want to discuss it. I wasn't going to court trouble that early on in a relationship.

    ---------- Post added 6th Feb 2016 at 03:57 PM ----------

    They don't live nearby, but I'd be surprised if they hadn't some idea that he might be gay. What you've described is a perfect example of the situation I am in. I'm at the stage of the 'will he or will he not come out to them' of your story - I'm just waiting to see what happens next. I guess I just need to wait and see. I'll give it to the end of the month - surely by that time he will have made a decision on whether he's able to tell them or not. If he can, then I can wait until he does. If he can't then we need to see whether we can have a relationship built around secrecy and waiting. The third option is that one or both of us decides in the meantime that we don't want to be in a relationship together regardless, and we never have the conversation.
     
  12. SiennaFire

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    It sounds like you have a plan Highlander2.

    It's unfortunate that he is unwilling to discuss his feeling about coming out to his parents, especially when they are inextricably linked to your future together. Hopefully giving him space will help.

    I'm wondering if he was ever married to a woman? My sense is no based on what you've written. I'm asking because as formerly married men, we have better relationship skills in general than gay men who were not married, so this could be part of the dynamics, albeit a secondary or tertiary factor.

    Sending positive thoughts for a positive outcome your way.
     
    #32 SiennaFire, Feb 6, 2016
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  13. Highlander2

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    No, he was never married to a woman, and has never really had a long term relationship with one. In addition, he's not had a relationship with a married man before (or with kids), and not longer than a year. It's all new to him, and I totally get that he struggles sometimes. It's just that this fear or desire to keep the status quo seems to have prevented him from seeing that it couldn't stay that way forever and that at some point things would change. In some ways, I could see the frustrations with the situation developing over time to become serious cracks in our relationship, which in turn I could see causing real disaffection. I think that in itself would be more difficult to overcome without causing real arguments and fighting which could have proven completely fatal.

    At least this way it's been done in a more controlled, albeit shock and awe, way while things between us were still very good.

    I find the no contact thing very, very hard. I love him and just want to be with him, talk to him, hold him, but I know that I need to give him time to think and if he thinks we can still be something then he'll come back to me. I'm setting the end of February as my date where I ask how things are going and whether he has any greater clarity around the issues he is dealing with.
     
  14. SiennaFire

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    I know that being apart from him must be very difficult for you. You love him, want to spend time with him and enjoy a playful Sunday afternoon together. You also know that until you both see eye to eye about the future there will be brewing conflict in the relationship.

    You are doing what you know in your heart you must do in order to achieve long-term happiness. I hope he realizes what a thoughtful, great man he has found (*hug*)
     
  15. Highlander2

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    Thank you (*hug*). As always, you've hit the nail on the head. I know that we couldn't move forward in terms of growing and deepening our relationship until we'd had this conversation. I hope that he sees that there are so many positives that we have that to throw it all away because of a fear that might be completely unfounded, would be so sad.

    I'm going to resolve to have no contact with him until next weekend - typical that it's Valentine's weekend as well though - and then see how that's received.

    Thanks guys.
     
  16. Highlander2

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    So that's it we had a messaging conversation yesterday and it's clear its over. He wants time to think about why he realised after me prompting him to think, why he wasn't as happy as he thought he was. We parted amicably and I hope that we can be friends in the future but I think a bit of time needs to pass.

    Just feel sad at the loss and the future loss of adventures with someone I loved.
     
  17. SiennaFire

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    Highlander,

    I'm so sorry to hear things ended this way. Your love for him was palpable in your posts, and I'm sad to hear that he didn't feel the same about you and your future together. Try to remember the good times that you had with him as you heal the loss (*hug*)
     
  18. Weston

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    Perhaps the take-away from this should be the knowledge that you have the capacity to truly love someone and to experience that emotion to the fullest as a gay man. The unfortunate downside is that the more you love someone, the greater your grief if and when that love should end. Expect to go through the five stages of grief (I know I did). It may help to keep a journal or to write a letter to your ex that you never send (I did both). Other than that, just time will ease the pain.
     
  19. PatrickUK

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    I'm very sorry to hear this Highlander and I agree with the comments posted by SiennaFire and Weston. I hope, in time, that you will be able to recover and pick yourself up again as you clearly you have a lot of love to give. I'm sure you will have learned something about yourself and what you want in the future from this experience, painful as it has been for you.

    It's good that you have not parted on bad terms and may remain good friends. That's really important because it can influence the way you approach future relationships.
     
  20. Highlander2

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    Thanks everyone. Today is a crap day. I keep wanting to look at photographs of us and all the places we had been to. Just seeing us smiling back at me makes me want to cry and I am really struggling to come to terms with why this happened. I'll get there - trying to fill my time planning things and keeping busy. It just feels like I'm back to the start again and I just don't know if I can do this all over again and get hurt again.