View Full Version : Married Man Comes Out!
01-28-2007, 01:02 PM
Did I get your attention? I'm one of those people who comes up with great titles and premises for books, but never gets around to writing them. This is my latest. I recently joined the Soulforce forum and appreciate all the emails I've gotten. Thanks. You can refer to "Hi from LehighGardener" if you want to hear some of life experiences.
This book, if I ever get around to writing it, would be part autobio, part how to. I'm not familiar with every GLBT book available, but I have searched Amazon and the glbt sections at Barnes&Noble and Borders. There are books about relationships, coming out, etc. But I haven't found anything offering advice to the married person who wishes to come out and leave the marriage. This is precisely what I'm planning to do.
I've asked a ton of questions in the past year, and talked to several gay men who were once married. I saw a book recently that said something like "there is one marriage in 2 million with a gay partner". Where did she get that number. From what I see it's more like 1 in 200, maybe higher.
(The following is mostly speculation based on what I've experienced and seen.) I look at it this way: I'd say there may be 1 in 50 marriages where one or both spouses is strongly attracted to someone of the same sex. This could range from dwelling on an earlier experience all the way to men who frequent rest areas for an anonymous sex act. These are trouble marriages at best. There's a good chance they will break up, but the person may marry again hoping it will work this time or thinking it will cure them. Or they may stay single and continue their same existence by not commit. Next, are those who end their marriage to lead a gay life. I'd put this at maybe 1 in 500. In the past year, I've met 4 people at work who have divorced to be gay. That's 4 out of about 4000 people where I work and I'm sure there are others.
My point is, there are many of us out there. I'm taking bold steps to change my life, but I tend to be somewhat open and bold anyway. How many are there who are scared to death that someone will find out, even their spouse? How many gay folks are on anti-depressants because they just can't cope?
Do you think a book like this could be helpful? I was thinking the format would lead thru the stages of life: Youth, Thinking of Marriage, Trying to live in marriage, wanting out, getting out, getting connected, living your life. It would include practical things like counseling, legal issues, custody, available support, finding a partner.
Let me know what you think. It's a coming out guide for a married person.
01-28-2007, 01:20 PM
The only thing I had when I got divorced and came out was a picture of Mel and "a partner". At the time, I did not know who he (Mel) was. I just knew that is what I wanted for myself. Eventually I stopped looking in bars and started looking in churches for a partner. Found him. That was 14 years ago.
The "scene" didn't interest me. The sooner the "scene" stops defining what I am the better.
Write ur book. It's way past the time.
01-29-2007, 11:42 AM
It's a bit dicey, I'm afraid.
The subject of married men coming out is a loaded one. On the one hand, yes, there are many of us, and it's a constituency that needs some outreach and help. People feel trapped in marriages, there is antidepressant use (and other use) going on, there are many women in these mostly unhappy marriages and so forth.
On the other hand, many of the women in these marriages feel victimized by us, and feel it's inappropriate to celebrate, in any way, the "coming out" of men who are in straight marriages. They feel like we had access to information that was not disclosed to them when we married, and that they are therefore victims of our dishonesty. While many such men who marry were more or less confused about their sexuality (I know that was my case ... I didn't admit to myself that I was gay until many years after being married), there are some men who "knew" they were gay but entered marriage for other reasons, either trying to cure themselves, or trying to fit in, or because it pleased their families, allowed for children and the like. My point is that many women feel victimized by their gay husbands and ex-husbands, and it's a dicey subject to get into without drawing a significant amount of ire.
In reality, these are tragic situations for everyone involved. It's a very difficult situation. Different people choose to do different things. Not every couple decides to end a marriage, and different people take different approaches to managing the issue. So while I think a biographical book would be of some interest to many men who find themselves in this situation, any non-biographical treatment would have to be very sensitive to the many different perspectives about this situation.
01-29-2007, 12:53 PM
I'm working on a book myself (not related to this issue), and have this one observation of my own actions in doing so: talking about it is fun but actually doing it is another matter.
To that end, I encourage you to keep a journal and write in it often. I keep a pad with me at all times so that the one brilliant idea I have while out getting a carton of milk doesn't get lost, for believe me, they do if one isn't careful. As well, keep good records. If you start doing library research, keep a log of where you been, what you've done, who you've talked to and what was said. The more organized you can be the better. This will save you a great deal of time when you want to quote something someone said, but can't remember who said it or when, or what book it came out of. Record your interviews with people you talk to- and be sure to ask their permission to use that material. Our own Steve (keltic63) would be more than willing to help you.
I also took a series of writing classes which have helped greatly- it is a craft after all- and how one conveys one's message is as important as the message itself.
Any journey starts with a first step. And every good idea needs a plan.
One way to start the process is to think in terms of chapters- and writing one and getting it published. One could submit this published chapter (it may be in a modified form) with a proposal to a publishing house. What you don't want to do, however, is to self-publish if at all possible. Your work will not have access to the book market in the same way.
Peace to you.
01-29-2007, 04:30 PM
Interesting idea, Steve.
How applicable would it be for married women who are coming out as well?
I ask because I have a good friend who recently went through this process, and a book like this would have been very helpful to her.
01-29-2007, 11:30 PM
Thanks for you submission. This is anothe strand I have considered - being at peace with my gayness, but remaining faithful to my wife. This has brought about as much excitement and acceptance from her as suggesting that we have a nightly orgy with strangers.
I was referred to Gay And Married Men's Association (GAMMA - gay-married.com) and have talked with the leader of the group in Philadelphia, about an hour away. It's a support group, meaning that they have no agenda except to help the men who come to the group, whether they are gay and considering marriage, gay committed to staying married or gay and divorced. From the stories I read, many of the men are faithfully married and accepting of their gayness. I don't know how it works, but I have considered it.
However, when I bring up my desire and willingness to attend, my wife, acting out of fear as usual, is convinced they will either try to talk me into divorce or that I'll meet another lonely guy and leave her anyway. Such trust this woman has in me! Twenty-one years of faithful marriage and all of a sudden I'm going to go home with a stranger. My best friend has told me that as the leader of our home and marriage, I should go if I feel it is best.
I've said all along that this is a possibility. Simply coming to accept myself as a gay man has been huge in my life. Sure I think about the grass on the other side and how I'd love to be in the arms of Mr. Right. But honestly, it scares the shit out of me too. There are two main fears I have - losing the love of my son and ending up not finding "true" love. If I could be guaranteed of both, I'd walk about tomorrow, but of course there isn't.
Well, this is part of my journey and it is far from being over. It is painful now, but I believe it won't always be, regardless of the path I go. Most of my Christian friends are convinced that my life will go completely to hell and I'll be miserable the rest of my life if I divorce my wife. Yet in our church as many couples who are divorce and while they may regret that decision earlier in their life, are very happy now that they are remarried. Oh, they did it before they were Christians, or they were stupid, but I don't see them divorcing their second spouse and returning to their first.
Please allow me to scream for a few seconds..... (Jeopardy music plays)...
Now I feel better. Are these questions really so hard to answer? Nobody wants to tell me how to live my life, but is divorce really such a terrible thing? Does it mean the end of life as we know it? Can goodness come from it? Are you divorced and now happily partnered with someone of the same sex? I've met several men who are just in that place. One of them said that his ex-wife actually thanked him for divorcing her. Now she knows what it's like to be truly loved by a man. WOW! Where are the women like that? Like Lyla White? Is it possible for my wife to ever have that sort of attitude?
Thanks to everyone for replying. I love you!!!
01-30-2007, 08:06 AM
However, when I bring up my desire and willingness to attend, my wife, acting out of fear as usual, is convinced they will either try to talk me into divorce or that I'll meet another lonely guy and leave her anyway. Such trust this woman has in me! Twenty-one years of faithful marriage and all of a sudden I'm going to go home with a stranger.
Well ... in the short-term, you have to expect that she will have feelings like this. In a way, she's probably feeling like you are something of a stranger right now ... the process has been likened to a mourning process, in that the person she thought you were is no longer there. Of course, you are the same person, but a key fact about you is different than perhaps she thought it was, and it's a key fact that goes to the heart of a relationship between a man and woman, so it's pretty difficult for her. I think you have to expect that she may feel threatened by your moving closer to support groups in the gay community, because this can feel very frightening to her. It's very hard, but although you yourself are going through some significant changes by coming to terms with yourself, you also at the same time have to understand how frightening and challenging this is for your wife, and act accordingly.
My best friend has told me that as the leader of our home and marriage, I should go if I feel it is best.
Eh ... I don't know about that. It's not a decision to be taken lightly. It may be the decision you make, but if it is, it's a decision for *you* and not, in my view, to be taken by you as the "leader" of the marriage. It's a hard situation, really.
Are these questions really so hard to answer? Nobody wants to tell me how to live my life, but is divorce really such a terrible thing? Does it mean the end of life as we know it? Can goodness come from it?
It can be, but not for everyone. It really is something that each person needs to figure out for themselves -- I think in this effort a good idea would be to see a therapist (hopefully you and your wife can) to help you discern what is the right choice for you under the current circumstances. It's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing.
One of them said that his ex-wife actually thanked him for divorcing her. Now she knows what it's like to be truly loved by a man. WOW! Where are the women like that? Like Lyla White? Is it possible for my wife to ever have that sort of attitude?
My ex-wife has become much more comfortable with things, but it's taken several years. She still is not what I would say is "supportive", but she also is not condemning, if that makes sense. In a sense, she has taken the fact that I am gay as a means to let herself off the hook for any mistakes she made in our marriage. People who are divorced generally have a "story" to tell about their prior marriage, and this one is a very easy story to tell about your marriage: "my husband was gay". So I think in a sense she is thankful for that. She and I tend to avoid talking about "gay issues", because we disagree about them. We do have an otherwise very friendly and supportive relationship, but we disagree about gay issues and probably always will. I consider it a victory to have a good relationship, and I have a much better relationship with my ex-wife than many straight divorced men do with theirs.
Ultimately you can only deal with the situation you have, and you have to make your decisions based on the specific situation and details.
01-30-2007, 09:46 AM
Sure I think about the grass on the other side and how I'd love to be in the arms of Mr. Right. But honestly, it scares the shit out of me too.
Are these questions really so hard to answer? Nobody wants to tell me how to live my life, but is divorce really such a terrible thing? Does it mean the end of life as we know it? Can goodness come from it? Are you divorced and now happily partnered with someone of the same sex? I've met several men who are just in that place. One of them said that his ex-wife actually thanked him for divorcing her. Now she knows what it's like to be truly loved by a man. WOW! Where are the women like that? Like Lyla White? Is it possible for my wife to ever have that sort of attitude?
Thanks to everyone for replying. I love you!!! Steve
At the risk of being corrected for identifying my social location (I feel it is required, however, to respond honestly), I am divorced and remarried - twice, in fact, but I am not gay.
That being said, the anguish you are feeling is perhaps compounded by being gay, but is not because you are gay. This may be your compelling reason for considering divorce, but most people have a compelling reason. In the broader sense, I hear the same questions and concerns that any person contends with in your position, even though, in the specific, your circumstances are unique to you.
Is divorce such a terrible thing? Divorce can be hideous - divorce can be wonderful. It can cripple both partners for years - it can free both partners to find real meaning and joy in their lives - it can free one while crippling the other. To say divorce is terrible is to ignore the fact that so many lives have been vastly improved by it - physically, emotionally and spiritually. The opposite is also true.
Divorce is not the issue - life is. When life is joyless, deformed, heavily conflicted, or without love that nurtures and allows both people to flourish, marriage can be a "terrible" thing. Rarely, when one person is miserable, is the other satisfied. Generally, the other just doesn't have to deal with their immediate fears and demons - they can continue live in some kind of self-delusionary bubble. If true love exists at all, and one partner is miserable, the other seeks to alleviate the conditions that cause misery - whatever that solution looks like.
Does it mean the end of life as we know it? Yes, but that may not be such a bad thing depending on the circumstances. Etymologically, divorce means "to turn away from" (from latin divertere). Oddly enough, the Biblical concept of repent means exactly the same thing. The question really is, "How is life as we know it? Is this life?"
Can goodness come from it? Depends on the above. The answers range from YES to MAYBE to NO, or visa versa depending on your perspective. Just as with marriage, it will be what both partners put into it. Just as one person cannot make a marriage good, neither can one person make a divorce good. When two people are involved in anything, one does not have the power or responsibility to ensure the others results.
Are you divorced and now happily partnered with someone of the same sex? No! But I am divorced and remarried to a wonderful woman with whom I share a blessed life. I was not miserable in my previous marriage - the choice was my ex-wife's. I was, however, adept at ignoring the obviousness of the stunting nature of the relationship and chose to ignore it - to live in my self-delusionary bubble and refusing to see the misery my ex-wife suffered. I can now look back and see the shrivelled thing I called life because I chose to be ignorant. My ex-wife's need for a divorce freed me to seek change in my life that has resulted in a closer walk with God and humanity, freedom from the rat-race of materialism, and a relationship that is tremendously more fulfilling for me and my wife. It has come with much grief and much joy. In the end, just as for my ex-wife, I have found more meaning and authenticity.
While it sometimes works out that leaving one partner for another creates happiness, it is less, rather than more, common. That "grass is greener" thing is dangerous. The reasons for considering divorce, and the benefits of it if it comes about, have to do with your internal struggles and conflicts, and finding resolution generally isn't wrapped up with finding happiness in another.
In my mind (now that's scary), the covenant of marriage is about love. We promise to love each other as God loves us. Sometimes that love is best lived out together. Sometimes it is best lived out apart - freed from living a life that lacks integrity or authenticity to who God made us. Sometimes that love is best lived out by renegotiating the bonds that bind us together, to find the places and ways in which both people can flourish as God's children.
I think the most important question is, "How is it with your soul." I pray that, however this plays out, you can answer, "It is well. It is well indeed."
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