Today’s post is a reflection on some of the comments that were left on yesterday’s post, entitled “The Family.” There were several comments of support, which I appreciated. There were also a couple of comments recommending caution as I move into this next phase of coming out.I appreciated those, too. Then there was the comment that consisted of “eye roll”; I deleted that one. Aside from being left anonymously, it didn’t impress me as being terribly articulate.
Then, there was this comment from Beck: “In a certain sense, this post makes me want to celebrate you discovering a new "family" that is helping you through a difficult transition. It can be addicting and intoxicating, as I've felt the newness and excitement of meeting people who "know" a side of me that I hardly, if ever, give voice and expression. It is very liberating. At the same time, this post makes me very sad. I think of your "real family", especially your wife and children. Am I alone in thinking that there is no choice other than 1) keep the family you have and live in misery, or 2) leave the family for another "family" in hopes of finding happiness? Is there really no other way? Can there not be another path? Is it just me?”
I started to write a reply to this comment, then decided to make it the subject of today’s post.
I don't see myself as leaving my “real” family. Unlike many married MoHos who have come out to their wives and have found a willingness on their wives’ part to try to make the marriage work (i.e., from that point forward, in spite of their husbands’ attraction to men), my wife did not react in this manner. Even though she had known about my attraction to men since before our marriage, as soon as I broke the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" rule and uttered those magic words, “I am gay,” my marriage was effectively over as far as she was concerned.
She is the one who is driving the break-up of my marriage; I don't really even have a choice of, as Beck put it, "living in misery." But regardless of what happens, I will always be my children's father, and they my children. They will always be my family.
Furthermore, I am not leaving my “real” family for the "family." I am part of the "family" by virtue of the fact that I have accepted who I am. I don't know what the future holds; perhaps I will, one of these days, find a Mr. Right and form a relationship that will add another facet to my “real” family. But whether or not that happens, I will be a part of the “family” in that I will be gay and will almost certainly be living as a gay man. That fact will become part of my “real” family because that gayness will be my reality, i.e., who my children’s father “really” is.
As to Beck’s questions about their being “another way,” I will leave that to other commentators, except to say that I think each person in a situation like mine has to examine his heart and look at the facts and parameters of his own particular situation. As I said in my post yesterday, there is no “playbook.” I didn’t plan my coming out; it erupted out of me. I didn’t decide to divorce my wife in order to embrace life as an openly gay man; she was the one who decided she couldn’t live with a man who had admitted that he is gay. Those are my basic facts.
Now, I am examining my heart and seeking to navigate a very difficult situation. I am not discouraged, however; at least not most of the time. I certainly have my moments. But I basically feel good about the direction in which I am headed, despite the challenges. We’ll see how that holds up. But one thing I know for sure: I couldn’t have come this far and couldn’t face my future without the support of the “family,” and I’m very grateful it’s there.