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Where to begin...

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by GeoTrekker, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. GeoTrekker

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    Hello EC,

    Longtime listener, first time caller here. First off, thank you to all of the posters on this site for building up my strength and courage. Your posts helped me to understand that I'm not alone and that knowledge helped me get through some truly dark days.

    My story is very similar to many on this site. I married a woman at a young age knowing deep down that I had an attraction to men. She was someone I enjoyed spending time with and felt a strong connection with. Over time, as we started dating, I grew to love her.

    For both religious and family reasons I completely emotionally separated from my gay self to be the person I felt I was supposed to be. After marriage I would occasionally look at gay porn as an outlet and then would be filled with self loathing afterward. Even so, I managed to fool myself into believing that it was a phase and as time went along my gay desires would face away.

    A couple years ago, after 14 years of marriage, I went into a deep depression. Prior to that, I would occasionally have short bouts of sadness, but overall I was pretty happy. This depression scared me. I didn't want to get out of bed, I didn't want to eat, I was completely numb.

    I told myself I needed to look deep within to figure out what was going on. That's when I finally admitted to myself that I was either bisexual or gay.

    A short time later I came out to my wife as bisexual. I was so scared but she was amazingly accepting. In many ways that was a blessing, but in other ways that made things so much harder. How do I come to terms with who I am, knowing it could be the end to a good marriage? While we do have our differences, we are very compatible and she is a wonderful mother to our two boys.

    Fast forward two years and after much soul searching and going through all the stages of grief, I am finally at peace with who I am -- who I was supposed to be. I am gay. This does not make me a bad person. This does not diminish the love I have for my wife or my children, nor does it change my roles and responsibilities as a father. I have not shared this with my wife.

    In so many ways I already have more than I need or deserve, yet at times I feel so empty. I'm on an emotional rollercoaster and don't know what to do. Thinking about an uncertain future can be so overwhelming and scary, but I know I'm going to be okay.

    I'm posting this for two reasons: first, I could really use some support and encouragement as I continue to assess my life, and second, to hopefully help someone else who may be in a similar situation. You are not alone, you are a good person, you are loved, you didn't mean to hurt anyone, and you also deserve happiness.
     
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  2. Contented

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    Of course you are not a bad person. Get that ridiculous heteronormative programming out of your head. You are loving human who is coming to terms with his homosexuality. You are not the first nor last to experience this later in life. Being gay does not change anything regarding your role as as a parent. You are a parent for life regardless of the sexual orientation. You do however have some very complex decisions to make regarding both your future and that of your wife. In the long run you owe it to her to be honest. That is not always easy but it is right thing to do. I also suggest you find a LGBTQ counselor to help you plot a course that takes sense based on your circumstances. EC is an excellent resource as you make your through these turbulent waters.
     
  3. quebec

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    GeoTrekker.....Hello and a very big welcome to Empty Closets! My story is very much like yours with the same marriage when I should not have done so, then realizing later in life that it was a very big mistake. Also like you I have a wonderful wife who has accepted that I am and always have been gay. So I guess the marriage wasn't as bad as I thought for a while! I think that I am somewhat older than you as all three of my sons are grown, married and have kids. I accepted myself at 64 years old in 2014. It has taken time, but I am now able to accept myself completely. I have been able to gradually move past the depression, self-hate and emotional pain that had a grip on me for so long. I have made the choice to stay with my wife. For me that is the right choice...I know that is not the right choice for everyone. We all have to walk our own paths. The most important thing here is for you to hold on to what you said..."I am finally at peace with who I am -- who I was supposed to be. I am gay. This does not make me a bad person. This does not diminish the love I have for my wife or my children, nor does it change my roles and responsibilities as a father." Being gay doesn't mean that your marriage has to end, nor does it mean that you have to stay married. You don't tell us the ages of your sons...that would be an important fact to consider as you look towards where you will be in the next few years. But, again, being gay doesn't mean you can't be a great dad! I have, as I said, three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law and eight fantastic grandkids and being gay has absolutely no impact on how I treat them or how I love them. Your kids deserve an incredible father and you can be that person...being gay has nothing to do with that! Please remember that you are a part of our wonderful LGBTQ Family...please keep us updated with how you are doing!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  4. GeoTrekker

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    Thanks for reaching out! Finding an LGBTQ counselor is a great suggestion. After coming out to my wife, I started seeing a therapist regularly. The first sessions were extremely helpful and telling someone in addition to my wife felt like a big step forward. Over time I felt our sessions kind of plateaued as I don't know if she was equipped to fully help me. Once COVID arrived I stopped seeing her altogether.
     
  5. Songful

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    Hello, GeoTrekker! You're not alone. I'm sure that many people here on EC can relate to aspects of your story.

    Ultimately, when you're ready, I think it is necessary for you to share the fact that you are gay with your wife. It wouldn't be fair to you or your wife to keep that a secret. Living with inner turmoil is no way to live. (Trust me, I've been there.) You said that, two years ago, your wife was accepting when you told her that you were bisexual. If she was accepting then, hopefully she will be accepting again when you tell her that you're gay. (Perhaps she already has a hunch that you're gay and maybe it wouldn't totally take her by surprise.) It's bound to be an emotional time once you have this discussion with your wife, but it can also lead to a place of growth and understanding. Best wishes to you!
     
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  6. GeoTrekker

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    Thanks for your kind words, David! Having read many posts on this site over the past couple years, I have to say your story is one that really stuck with me. I think it was very brave of you to come out when you did and it's great hearing that you have a wonderful, supportive wife. You were able to be honest, loving, and accepting of yourself, and isn't that the most important thing? Thank you for helping so many on EC.

    You asked about my kids' ages and they are 13 and 9. I am 38. As a lifelong people pleaser, the thought of majorly disrupting their lives does cause me a lot of angst. For now I feel like this is where I need to be, keeping our family of four intact, but some days can be so hard...
     
  7. GeoTrekker

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    Thanks for your post, Songful. You're absolutely right, my wife does deserve to know the truth. What scares me is that having "the talk" with her feels like it would be a death sentence to our marriage. As much as I want out at times, I guess I'm still not ready to let go of what I have. I know fear of the unknown has a lot to do with that, but I also don't want to upend the good life that we currently have.

    I know being untruthful is unfair to my wife, but keeping the fact that I'm gay from her seems to be the last bit of control over the situation that I have. I'm not ready to take that plunge yet.
     
  8. brainwashed

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    Welcome to ECs. In a nut shell you were set up. You were set up to live a life that other people deemed appropriate. Second you were robbed, those other people took from you a life per your innate sexuality. Remember these three phrases, set up, deemed appropriate and robbed, as you move forward to reclaims that what was taken from you.

    Many times as one looks at a situation, if they change how they look at something differently, they come to understand the situation - finally. Ex: getting lost in the woods. Do you sit down and mope about being lost? Or do you continue to wonder and hopefully get yourself out of the woods. Then maybe you climb a hill, "oh ya now I know where I'm at!"

    More later, hopefully.
     
    #8 brainwashed, Aug 24, 2020
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  9. brainwashed

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    OK I refilled the coffee cup and pushed aside what I'm supposed to be doing. Dont tell my boss.

    Dont assume ANYTHING like this. Period.
    Fear is one of five and only five basic psychological states we humans have.
    Yup being afraid of change. Almost as toxic as homophobia.
    Bingo. All to often I see people here on ECs self label as being gay. I believe this self label desire is driven by fear, "I've got to know where I fit in to the grand scheme of things." (climbing out on a fragile tree limb, I believe this self label desire is driven by Christian teachings.) The narrative has to be changed, only then can thinking be changed. What is the new narrative? I am human, a sexual being and not hard wired to be either 100% gay or 100% hetro. Most people's sexuality, per studies (Kinsey and others) fit right smack dab in the middle of a bell shape curve - cant cite statistical deviations at this time. 100% gay and hetro are each at the opposite ends of a bell shaped curve and are VERY RARE.

    A challenge for you is, can you form a new type of relationship per this new narrative.

    Oh shit here comes the boss, got to run.
     
    #9 brainwashed, Aug 24, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
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  10. Songful

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    What you’re saying and feeling is very understandable. I feel for you; that’s a tough situation to be in.

    I know you’re not ready to share this with your wife yet but, when you do, tell her the good things about her and your family that you love and appreciate. Let her know of the struggle you’ve been going through and that you really don’t want to hurt anyone. You just want the freedom to be yourself and not keep it a secret anymore. It could be the end of your marriage, yes, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. You two will have to talk and figure things out together.

    On a side note, when I was a teenager, I spent 5 and a half years in a relationship with a wonderful guy that I had hoped to marry. We were best friends, spent as much time as possible together, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. One day, when I was 20 and he was 21, he had the courage to tell me that he was gay and it absolutely broke my heart. I was devastated because, suddenly, my dreams of a future with him came crashing down. It took years for me to get over that heartache and honestly, part of me will always love him. I’m okay with that. We were each other’s first love. With that said, I’m happy to report that my ex-boyfriend is doing well and has been married to a wonderful man for 7 years now. I’m glad that they found each other and are enjoying life together.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of the conversation that you’ll eventually have with your wife. Be kind, but also direct and honest with her. I wish you and your family the best.
     
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  11. Songful

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    This made me laugh out loud. :smile: Thanks for that!
     
  12. Bastion

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    Hey @brainwashed and @GeoTrekker

    Could not agree more with what you said. I am beginning to like the new narrative more and more people are living by according to where their life journeys took them and are taking them for the future. The more i read and the more i think about it am finding that sexuality isn’t always black and white.

    I don’t think people need fences. They can just be who they are and try to find the situation that suits them and their respective partners. A person does not necessarily need to belong to a certain community or other. He can be just himself among other human beings sharing a common understanding or connection.
     
  13. maybgayguy

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    Hey GeoTrekker,

    Your situation really resonates with me. I am getting ready to have the same "talk". Although, I have not told my wife anything. I am not sure as to whether I am bi or gay but I think I am mostly likely gay. Labels aren't necessarily important however, I think I would be ok never being intimate with a woman again. The thought of never being with a man is sad to me.
     
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  14. Obsidian3

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    Wow, this is a very touching post. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am new to the forum, and i can already tell that this community will in fact turn into a virtual family. You are so brave and courageous, The best thing is that you gave and are giving yourself the process of assessing your life and finding and accepting your identity. Without rushing things and without putting yourself in unbearable pressure. I am really happy for you. This is who you are, this is who as a gay guy myself are meant to be this is what makes us unique. Be blessed always! Take care!
    Love is All,
     
  15. OGS

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    It's interesting the different perspectives people bring to these boards. I think that's part of what can make it interesting and powerful.

    My advice would pretty much be the opposite of the above. It think it's really easy to look around for whose fault it is, who can I blame and in the end I just don't think it's productive. To me the coming out experience, if it is to be successful, is about reclaiming your own agency and part of that is seeing the agency you surrendered along the way. It can sometimes seem like in the pre-coming out days you were making decisions without all the pertinent information. I think it's important to remember, though, that you'll always have more information about you and what you feel than anyone else. Not sharing that information is a choice.

    I think taking responsibility for your life going forward starts with taking responsibility for your past life as well. They may not be the decisions you would make now, but that doesn't mean they weren't your decisions. It doesn't even mean they were the wrong decisions at the time with the information you had. The whole things hard. Cut yourself some slack, but do so for everyone else too.
     
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  16. Obsidian3

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    Very interesting thought! Definitely brings a fresh perspective to my thought process for this particular scenario.
     
  17. Nickw

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    @GeoTrekker

    I wanted to just add a couple thoughts to what others have written.

    How you proceed right now is your OWN journey. We each have unique situations that require unique approaches. So, you need to set your own course.

    That said, I’ve talked to dozens of guys in situations similar to yours. Without exception, being honest yielded the best results. So, above all, stay the truth...wherever that takes you.

    It is scary thinking of what your family may become when you discuss your true sexuality with your wife. But, this conversation may yield opportunities too. You just don’t know where life is gonna take you. But, for most of us, it takes us to a place that is better than where we are.

    My wife was cool with bisexual and I know she would be cool with gay. Somehow, we would just make whatever work for both of us. You can love your wife and that can mean both moving on. You can love your wife and that can mean some sort of hybrid relationship. But, you can’t love your wife and keep this sort of a secret from her. That just won’t work.

    It isn’t easy. That’s what we do know for sure.
     
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  18. JessNC

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    GeoTrekker,

    Wow. You have been navigating a lot! I am glad you've been to share more of yourself with your partner. I know that things can get more complicated along the way so do keep your spirits up! Accepting your same sex desires can feel both liberating and intimidating at the same time but they are a part of your sexuality and learning what that means for you long term can, for some of us, be more journey-like than a quick sprint. Either way, it is a personal transition that requires self care and room for you to question and explore. Perhaps knowing that others have been or are in the same boat can make things easier.

    I acted on my same sex desires late in life (50) and while in a long-term hetero marriage. Coming out as bi to myself and my spouse has been a difficult but liberating journey. The two hardest things for me were learning to speak my truths and knowing they would hurt my partner. We have grown closer in some ways--and speaking my truth continues to help me grow--but it has been a bumpy ride.
     
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  19. GeoTrekker

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    You're right about the labeling. I've spent so many wasted hours in the past trying to label myself. Am I bisexual? Am I gay?

    I know my attraction to women is there, but that attraction is much less intense than it is for men. As I became aware of my attraction to men in my teens I started to freak out thinking this meant I was going to Hell. I was able to convince myself that I was "normal" because I recognized and enjoyed looking at the pretty girl in class.

    Does this make me bi and not gay? In the end the label doesn't really matter. I just know my desire to be in a same sex relationship is stronger than it has ever been and if I never had sex with a woman again in my life I think I'd be completely fine with that.
     
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  20. GeoTrekker

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    When I think about the future I like to envision having a partner and my wife getting remarried to a wonderful man. I very much want her to be happy and I very much want to remain an important part of her life. But to get there, I first have to destroy everything that we have...

    Thank you for sharing your story from the other perspective. It was very touching and insightful.