Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

My friend Cameron over at If I Do The Right Thing  has, for the past several weeks, made me think about things that I have either not thought about in a while, or I am thinking about differently that I have in the past.

For awhile he had me going about the ethics of gay or bi men cheating on their wives with men.  (You know that is a hot topic for me.)

He also talks a lot about the selfishness of coming out and ruining his family.  A good man (or a responsible) will suck it up or take one for the team.  Today was one of those days.

I am not going to tell him he is wrong.  I completely understand where he is coming from.  If you have a couple of hours to kill you can read over the last year of my life to see just how much I identify with him.

I will preface what is to follow as have no more basis that my personal experience in my personal situation.  It may not work for you.  I also know this is a complex issue (or seems to be) that we fear will negatively  impact the people we love the most.

That said, there are some things that Cameron and others who struggle with their own closet should consider:

When many of us think about leaving out marriages, we think about the picture above.  Imagining it was drawn by that very sad looking child, just looking at this picture brings me to the brink of tears.  But it does not have to be that way.  It is NOT that way for me.

When K and I told the kids we were not going to remain married, we also assured them that we were going to remain a family, always.  We told them that I was going to remain in the house and living with them, even thought K and I would not longer be sharing a bed.  Having a friend with divorces parents who are openly hostile, my 8 year old son cried and spoke about us being a "broken family".  I posted in this blog how that broke my heart.  The next day I came home from work to find him sitting on my bed waiting for me.  Apparently he had been there, reading or playing his Nintendo DS for most of the day.  That was the last time I have seen any strange or concerning behavior from any of my 4 kids.

I am not the father of the year that Cameron makes me sound like, but I think I am pretty good.  Both K and I have worked hard to make sure that the kids feel loved and that their home is nor going to be uprooted.

The next step will be for me to tell them that I am gay and explain the nature of my relationship with T.  My kids know T as my friend and they have not asked me anything else about it. If they do, I will tell the the truth, but if they don't I will wait a while to spill the beans.

I am in a really good place now.  It was a hard road.  There was anguish in my heart that I did not know I could feel, but now that I can pause and look over the road I have traveled, I think it worked out pretty well.  What was most of the anguish?  Coming to terms with who I am.  

I cannot speak for anyone but me, but I DID NOT want to be gay.  I never wanted to be gay.  I wanted to be a normal guy with normal family and normal desires.  Coming to terms with the fact that I AM gay was the hardest thing I had ever done.  If the end it came down to a simple thing.  I am gay and I was PRETENDING to be straight.  No matter how hard I pretended, it did not change the reality.   As much as I love K, I did not love her like she loved me.  I was going through motions.  I was acting. Pretending.  Once I realized that, not only could I no longer pretend, K realized that she no longer wanted me to try.

Another breakthrough.  As much as K wanted me to be straight, I was not.  I could not change, and she knew it.

She is my best friend and gay or straight we still have commitment to each other, and the kids.

I worried incessantly about "destroying my family".  When K was so angry, she told me I was causing "sadness and destruction" but looking back, that did not happen.  My kids are in a good place.  They are in a good place because K and I have made a good place for them.

We have only been able to do that because we are still best friends.  I know that not all gay men can have that when they come out to their wifes.  Many are hostile, and that complicates things a lot.  I get that.  But I strongly believe in the long run, pretending is not sustainable.


Java said...

You sound really good, Jim. Your kids are getting the best care and attention that can be had in a situation like this, in my opinion. Congratulations.

I hope that Cameron and other guys who find themselves in these situations can come to the kind of peace you are making.

Jeff said...

Jim I can't stand it anymore and decided to speak up. The co-dependecy you and K have for each other is unhealthy. Neither of you can move forward in this situation. I mean the bed in the dining room is just weird. What man is going to get involved with a woman who lives at home with her gay husband? Sounds to me that AJ has been more than tolerant of the situation thus far. Your home is already broken (as all our homes are who come out in midlife) and these bandages you put on things will all too soon become apparent to the kids as just that. Ozzy and Harriet you two are no longer and the sooner you realize that the better it will be for both of you and yes even the kids

jim said...

Thanks for the tip, Jeff. I will take your input under advisement.

I have never said my home is perfect, but it is still a long way from broken. I suspect it is a lot more together than yours. Maybe you think it would be better if we had some open warfare. Maybe fighting in front of the kids or an ugly custody battle would be more normal? Lucky for me I am not interested in normal or what others think is "weird".

No, Jeff. I think I will stick with my plan.

TwoLives said...

I have wanted to ask: IF you had not been blessed with such a patient, compassionate and understanding wife, would you have decided to split IF you felt the break-up would have been traumatic for the kids, or, would you have remained unhappily in the closet - putting your happiness ahead of your perception of what would be best for the kids?