1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What I Wish I Woulda Known..... (2 years later)

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by RunnerRunner2, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. RunnerRunner2

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Hi All. I've been away a while. Some may remember me as Runnerrunner, but I got locked out and had to make a new account. Hello again!

    This week I celebrated my 2 year coming out anniversary! As I sit here on New Year's Eve, I was reflecting on those past two years and thought that what I've learned may be helpful to those in the same place I was. EC helped me beyond measure as it was the only place that I could go to "meet" anyone in my situation and get advice. I'm forever grateful to all of you that helped me through some really difficult and dark times.

    In a nutshell: I was married for more than 20 years, have four kids, grew up in a super-fundamental "Christian" church and live in a super-conservative part of the country. I became suicidal at 15 once I began to realize that there was something "wrong" with me and didn't know how to cope. I learned to survive and that's what I did for nearly 30 years until the suicidal thoughts reached critical mass and I began planning it. Ultimately I decided that my kids would rather have a gay dad than a dead one. In hindsight, I was right.

    If you're in any situation like mine, you have my love, compassion, empathy and support. You CAN get through this. I survived what I thought was an impossible and hopeless situation and you can too. It's not easy, but it can be done and it's worth it.

    So here's my best advice from 30 years in the closet and two years out of it. Long story short, the two have been more than I ever expected. PLEASE understand that this is just my take on this epic adventure. Each person must do what is best and safe for him/her.

    *This shit is difficult! - I experienced a sense of loss and sadness that I never knew existed. I was completely alone in the universe while I was going through the first year. Advice...take one moment at a time, and before you know it, the moments add up to a year or more and the worst will be behind you. There is no magic wand to make it all over in a hurry. It took a lot of time to get into this mess and it will take time to get out.

    *Divorce sucks. There's no denying it. It's unbelievably painful and terribly expensive. I'd recommend not quibbling about shit that doesn't matter. Keep your eye on the people in your life and kids if you have them because they are what matter most, and not who get's the goddamn snowblower or the fine china. I found the purge devastating and exhilarating. Ahhh, I'm rid of all that stuff, and boy does that feel good.

    note: My ex-wife is now my best friend. We're closer now than ever before. Honestly can be a beautiful thing. She's suffered plenty too, but now there's an honesty that is priceless. Well, not exactly priceless; I could tell you exactly what the price was (arrrgghhhh).

    *Don't cheat on your spouse. I didn't and I'm grateful because it removed that element of betrayal. Your spouse will feel betrayed already, and if you can avoid that nightmare, the better. If it's already too late then be as honest as you can about it all. That being said, I do think that if I'd had a boyfriend to hold my hand and let me cry on his shoulder through the worst that it would have been easier.

    *Try not be be defensive. Though coming out is mostly all about you, try to see this from your family's perspective. You have had a lifetime to consider, ponder, etc. but this is brand new to them and they are going to say and do some terrible things in reaction.

    *Be forgiving. Mainly, forgive yourself. Likely, you didn't intend to live as a fraud and dupe the people you care the most about. You were forced into the closet like so many millions of us. You're a victim too. Though you may be ground zero for this family disaster, you're not guilty. Of course, many of your loved ones won't see your innocence, but you ARE innocent. Try to be as forgiving as possible for whatever your loved ones say and do. HOWEVER, there is a line. You deserve respect and deserve to live a full life. In my experience, though, let their drama run its course without asserting your needs too much. Again, they've had very little time to deal with this bombshell.

    note: I currently have almost no relationship with my mother. It's a long story that goes waaaaay back, but coming out pretty much sealed the deal.

    *If you lose friends or family, IT'S NO REFLECTION ON YOU. That's their deal and try not to let it affect you. I believe that we worry way too much about the approval of others and that's why we kill ourselves or squander our entire lives in the closet. Coming out is not about their approval, but assuming your rightful position in the world as a real human being that deserves to live just as much as anyone else.

    *Work - Do what's right for you. There's no rule on coming out. I originally thought it was a one time for all kind of deal. Stand on the rooftop (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and announce it to the world. I didn't do that, and I'm glad I didn't. There are levels phases to coming out. I think that a priority list may work best. Spouse > kids > friends/family > work. At work, however, there's a need-to-know/ought-to-know kind of dynamic. Some people simply don't deserve that level of intimacy in your life. I now only "come out" to those I feel that it's relevant and pertinent. That said, I don't fear someone finding out. Basically, I'm out enough. I've learned that not everyone needs to know. Sure, there are still some awkward moments on occasion, but not very often.

    *Dating is rough. Having no experience I didn't know how to approach such a thing. I dove right in and tried to figure it out on the fly. I think it worked. The biggest thing I learned is that I'm a pleaser and I found myself trying to be whatever I perceived that the guy wanted. That was a mistake though I had no sense on what I liked or was interested in, so I had no real alternative. Now I use a self-check when I'm on a date to gauge my interest. If I'd rather be home, then I know this guy isn't it. That may seem simple, but I lose sight of my own needs/desires and instead become completely wound up in his interests and needs.

    *Sex - If you're a gay virgin like I was, be really, really patient with yourself and go at whatever pace is best for you. If some guy loses interest in you because you won't do something, then it's his loss. But I must say, this hasn't happened to me even once. Every guy I've dated has been extremely respectful, patient, and understanding. I do say pretty early on that I'm "very inexperienced." They all have responded something like, "that's cool." "No worries." "I won't pressure you." etc. and all have lived up to their words. That's built a lot of confidence in me as I've been able to cautiously and safely go at my own pace. I'm sure I've frustrated a guy or two, but they've said nothing. Sex with a man is not like sex with a woman. I think gay guys are pretty fortunate in this sense because there are so many options of what constitutes "sex." Hetero sex is pretty much all about penetration (in my boring, dysfunctional experience). So, I assumed that with a guy penetration was the finish line too. Turns out, that the finish line is whatever you and your man want it to be. The rules and playbook are pretty much out the window. If you're anything like me, this will require quite a difficult and confusing adjustment. It can be very bewildering. But again, have patience with yourself. Heteros in their 40s likely have had 20+ years to sort this stuff out. Those of us in the "Later" category are learning from scratch. Think of how experienced and confused you were at 16. Yeah, it can be like that.

    *Going all the way...Again, go at your own pace and when you want to go all the way (whatever that means to you) you'll know it. I'd say find a balance in being bold and being cautious. I've had to force myself a little because I can shut down completely and get nowhere. A good friend recently said that the first time is always terrible, so just accept that it will be awkward/terrible and move on. Maybe it will be epic and earth shaking, but probably not. Bottom or top? Again, you have to figure that out on you own and expect some terror and exhilaration. My greatest epiphany in this area is just how normal sex with a guy was. Kissing, cuddling, touching, rubbing and more just seemed completely natural. For me THAT was worth coming out - to experience normalcy.

    *A Partner - I'm still looking, but I think that's important advice to say just be patient. Each guy I've dated has been in a hurry to partner up. I think that at this age the sense of urgency can be powerful and terrifying. I feel every day that I'm losing time, but I know that it's better to find the right guy and not just an available one. I've waited a long, long time for this opportunity and I'm not going to settle for anything other than amazing. This is a real work in progress and requires a lot of patience and willingness to endure loneliness and bouts with depression and hopelessness, but I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing.

    For those of you in a similar situation, be strong, you're worth it. None of this is easy but it's totally worth it. Do I regret not coming out sooner, hell yes! But honestly, I came out as soon as I could. Carpe diem my friends, CARPE DIEM!

    Happy new year and may 2015 be the best year of your life!
     
  2. Wildside

    Wildside Guest

    Thanks for all of this, RoadRunner. Usually when I see a post this long, I skip it or skim it. But I read every detail and devoured it. it really speaks to me, and my situation. I will probably come back and read this a few more times. It is amazing how universal our experiences can be, especially when we are at the same stage of life and have similar circumstances. CONGRATULATIONS on having done everything you did, it is really phenomenal. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I am certainly hopeful that 2015 will bring some changes.
     
  3. Choirboy

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    1,660
    Likes Received:
    381
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Welcome back, Runner! I can't even begin to tell you how much better you sound than a year ago, or how very wise. Thanks for the post and I echo every bit of wisdom you shared. This can be a very positive experience and a very freeing one. I'm so happy you and your wife are friends now. I'm not expecting that my wife and I will ever be best friends, but it's good to know thi n gs can get better. (And I can tell YOU that the whole partner thing can take you very much by surprise and show up somewhere you least expect it.) Thanks for the amazing post and I'm so happy for you!

    Gotta bring back the Matt Bomer avatar though, bud.... :lol:
     
  4. bingostring

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    England
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Welcome back runner…

    sounds rock solid comments to me
    like you've been doing some major thinking - and doing!
    Well done you!!
     
  5. RunnerRunner2

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    All the best Wildside! Happy New Year!

    ---------- Post added 1st Jan 2015 at 09:00 AM ----------

    Thank you Choirboy! Yes, it's been an interesting and at times very difficult experience. Yes, I'm in a much better place now. Thank you for your kind words. Annnnnd, Bomer is back!
     
  6. treatmeright

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2014
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dubai
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    For me coming out is out of question, but reading your story gave me hope that maybe one day I can be my true self.
     
  7. RunnerRunner2

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Hang in there Treatmeright. This process can evolve at a glacial pace and be very frustrating. Much love!! You're worth it.
     
  8. Jaymmm

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Thanks for your story, so many amazing points:slight_smile:
     
  9. Jerry36

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Hey Runner, your story came at the right time. Im feeling like the loneliest guy in the world but i guess helped me to realise this can get better becuase you seem alright with yourself right now. Maybe i can get there too one day.

    I am still at the " why me" fase and wondering how i can built myself up again from the ground up. Including what to do about dating and finding a guy..i neverbeen married like you, which is a tremendous hurdle to take. I think it is really courageous of you and still managed to be good with your wife. I really hope you find all the hapiness there is...thx

    Jerry
     
  10. likethewind

    likethewind Guest

    Thanks for sharing your story, RunnerRunner. I got a lot out of it.
    That has been and continues to be my greatest fear -- it's the main reason I have not come out. At this point in my life, I don't know that I would deal very well with the loss of any family/friends. I actually don't worry about family -- but friends, yes. I've met many gay men who suffered losses after coming out (more family problems than friends) and I find it depressing. Then again, I'm not particularly tormented by my "not out" status. It seems to bother other people more than it bothers me.
     
  11. offmychest

    offmychest Guest

    hey quick question...do you know what would be a good place for me to meet and potentially date other gay christians like yourself? i think i may have a bit more in common
     
  12. RunnerRunner2

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Man, I get it. It can be a terrifying and ugly place. The process can be very arduous and painful, but a turning point for me was when I truly realized that I deserve to live and be happy just like those in my family. Seems so simple but I never felt worthy of living because I was so "wicked." It's such a crazy contrast now because I have absolutely no patience for those who believe that I don't deserve everything (rights, love, happiness, fulfillment, etc.) that they do. Who are they to control me like that?

    I went through the "why me?!" too, and sometimes still do. I see "normal" couples and wonder why I didn't get to have that too especially since I tried SO hard. I don't have a good answer other than just accepting that I'm different, there are a lot like me, and that's ok. There is no normal. Someday I'll find the man of my dreams, and get a happily-ever-after. Hang in there!

    ---------- Post added 2nd Jan 2015 at 07:11 PM ----------

    Here's a harsh truth, if you're creating some kind of acceptable façade to fit in with your friends, then they are friends with a fictitious character. It's part of the closet. We construct something we think will be ok with those around us. This makes us sick because we know we're frauds. This makes us terrified because it's so hard to keep up the illusion. This makes us lonely because no one really knows us. After coming out I went through about a year of peeling off the layers of the closet. I had very little idea of what was me and what was the closet. Everything went through a check, clothes, mannerisms, speech, hair, everything. I'm still not done, but way better.

    I'd really doubt that you'd lose any friends. If you did, then they were never your friend anyway. Honestly, we simply must stop living our lives through the lens of someone else. You're a worthy human being and deserve the best!

    ---------- Post added 2nd Jan 2015 at 07:19 PM ----------

    I live in a small Mormon town and there's zero gay-Christian community here. I have visited an Episcopalian church in a city about an hour away, and found it quite pleasant and welcoming. Depending on the size of your city, I'd just Google what you're looking for. I know some online dating sites add this as filter too. Thankfully things are changing and gay and Christian aren't so mutually exclusive.
     
  13. Wildside

    Wildside Guest

    Thanks for that last comment, Roadrunner. I've got the impression that I have to choose my closet: either stay in the closet as a gay man to hold on to my faith as a Christian; or hide my Christianity in the closet to be accepted in the gay community. I've been hit pretty hard with that second message, and it was just more fuel for the fire for giving up. So I am encouraged to see that there is someone who thinks differently. My phoenix still can't fly, but it does give me pause. :confused:
     
  14. MarthRoyIke

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Excellent post. I only want to add one thing...

    When it comes to sex, at the end of the day sex is whatever you want it to be with your partner. Gay guys can also have a "goal" of penetrative sex; it's not just a straight thing. At the same time, hetero couples can enjoy the sensuality of many different methods of pleasure, just as you describe. There never was a rulebook. The thing to remember is that the goal is pleasure- that can be through penetration, foreplay, or just touch. Enjoy your partner, relax, build up the trust, communicate, and have fun!
     
  15. aboutface

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2014
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Mississippi (US)
    Thank you for this post runnerrunner! I don't have the marriage/wife/kids thing to deal with but alot of the rest of it was both useful information and encouraging.
     
  16. offmychest

    offmychest Guest

    thanks!
     
  17. PeteNJ

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NJ
    Awesome New Year's Eve post! Wonderful story of the liberation, challenges. I really like that you can laugh a bit at yourself and have a sense of humor.

    I love that you say how n o r m a l it all seems, being gay. It really is!

    Congrats!

    Pete
     
  18. RunnerRunner2

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Right? Isn't that crazy to suddenly feel normal after so many years of not? Pretty surprising to be honest. Now I think I understand what straight people have been experiencing all this time.