This has been a very stressful week, and I don't feel like I have accomplished very much. In truth I haven't, but I am still wound up so tight. T is up to his eyeballs in work. I have not been able to see him all week, so I'm lonely too.
When the kids first moved out, it was not easy coming home to an empty house, but I found after a while I was really only there to sleep. I was going to K's house every day after work to be with the kids. Now that I have been out of work for a little more than 2 weeks, I find it is not the night time that's hard, it's being there alone during the day that is hard.
K is not in school all day, so there are some days that I go to her house just the hang out with her. I bring my computer and my books and do work there. Usually she is working on homework too, so it's not really social, I just don't want to be alone.
I started studying for the GRE this week too. I am feeling a lot of stress about that. The stuff in there is not really that hard. That is for someone who is in school now. It has been twenty years since I last sat in a class room or had to take a test. My brain is so rusty, it is going to take a long time for me to re-learn all the general crap I forgot from college, or even high school. The score on this test will be important for me getting into school. My grades from college were not very good, well below the standards for this school. I'm sure I will do well on the prerequisite classes I know I have to take. I'm hoping they look more at these recent classes rather than 20 year old grades.
T is confidant I can do it. I am really grateful for his support. Even though I have not seen much of him lately, I know he supports me nonetheless. That helps me a lot.
K is very worried about the whole school thing. She is concerned about how we will make ends meet with my income more than cut in half. To be honest, I'm worried about it too, but I just have to trust things will be OK.
Bowling is still a lot of fun. I am meeting a lot of people, and everyone is very friendly. I'm even getting used to the guy who dresses up.
That's all I have for now. I will be seeing T tomorrow. He is coming up to my house. I'm super excited to see him, but of course I have come down with my first cold of the season. By tomorrow, I will feel awful.
If someone told you there was a million dollars waiting for you in a bank and all you have to do it go and pick it up, you would be pretty excited. What if then you were told you it was in a bank 2 thousand miles away. Well, that's a set back, but you could just hop in your car and head to the bank.
What if then, you discovered you only have a half a tank of gas and because you have a much reduced income, you are not sure you can buy enough gas to make the trip. Then what? Well, you are going to let this stop you, it will be difficult, but you know you can do it. You don't really need much. If you adjust your lifestyle, maybe agree to take some cargo in your car, you will be able to get enough gas to get there.
Hell, even if you had to walk or hitch hike across country you would do it. It might take a several weeks or months to get there, but you know you can do it. You are determined and the promise of the pay off would change your life.
That's all well and good if you are single person. But what if your not? What if you have children? You have to bring them with you to get the million dollars. That changes the equation, doesn't it? You can't very well hitch hike with young children. It's just not safe. If you were traveling by yourself you could sleep in a bus station or even outside. But if you are traveling with children, you can't very well do that.
You really want the million dollars. You know that you can make the sacrifices necessary to get you there. But what about the others who rely on you? Can they make the sacrifice? It goes beyond will they support you, of course they will. But you still have to support them. What happens if you can't do that while you are traveling the road to the million dollars?
T has a large family. He has 3 brothers (pictured above) and 2 sisters that live nearby. He has 2 other sisters in California. In addition to his siblings and parents, there is a host of nieces & nephews and some of them have families. Saturday night there was a birthday party for one of his older nieces (she is 30) and I got invited. It was on my calendar for months and was booked at a restaurant I had never heard of.
I was late arriving at T's house and I found his family had already left. He was waiting for me (with some irritation) when I got to his house and we left in his car. When we got there, I was surprised how swanky it was. It was way more formal than I thought it would be. We went down stairs to the private party room. It was kind of cool, it was actually part of the wine cellar, or at least it supposed to look that way.
T and I sat next to each other at dinner which lasted several courses and a few hours. We chatted with his niece (who was the birthday girl) and her husband (who is Caucasian) most of the time since they were sitting across from us. There were several things about the evening were important to me.
The first, I was there at all. His whole family was there including his mother's sister, visiting from from Texas. His mother has not always been comfortable with T having a boyfriend. Three years ago, she would not have wanted me to be around at a family function so that her sister would not ask any uncomfortable questions. I did not detect any discomfort from her or anyone else.
T's niece and her husband were paying for this very fancy shin-dig. While they are both working, I know they are not making a lot of money. It was a lot for them, but they seemed happy to do it. During the conversation, they talked about setting up a future, but smaller family only event. When adding up the people would come they included me in that count.
Another thing that was nice about the evening was, for a while, I was able to forget about my other stresses and just relax with the man I love.
When dinner was over, T drove me back to his house, where my car was parked. I was pretty tired so I left to go home.
I am going to do it. I am going to go back to school. I am going to learn to be a Physician Assistant. It will take me three and a half years. I will have to spend all my retirement savings, at least the part I get to keep after I split it with K (which is not enough). I am pretty sure I can get unemployment for 2 years if I am in school, but I am not exactly sure how I will live after that.
But I'm going to do it anyway. I have been hearing from K and from T that everything is going to me OK. I am going to believe them, hold my breath and take a leap of faith.
I think that K will be forgiving about the amount of money that I will give her for a while. We found out that once they are married, that K and the kids can be covered by AJ's insurance. (And he does not have to adopt my kids). T has volunteered to co-sign loans if I need him to and has assured me that he won't let me become homeless.
So with all this, how am I feeling?
I am scared shitless. What I am about to do is SOOOOO far outside of my experience that it's hard for me to know where to start.
Today T started guiding me this afternoon. He bought me a book. One to help me study for the GRE.
T is coming to see me tomorrow. I am not sure if he is coming alone or if he will bring Confucius with him. I am really looking forward to seeing him tomorrow. I guess this is one of the advantages of being unemployed.
Last night I went to see him after my son's baseball game. It was very late when I got there. I was tired but it was worth it. We had some... er... let's call it alone time that was pretty spectacular.
Earlier today, I went back to my old job and signed a contract saying I would not sue them in exchange for 9 weeks of severance pay. I also got three boxes of personal items that were packed up from my cube.
When I got to the guard shack at the entrance to the grounds, I a gave her my name and she asked me, "Have you been here before?" Grrrr
When I parked my car and approached the reception desk. I gave the girl at the desk my name and she looked up and asked, "Have you been here before?" Grrr Grrr.
Anyway, I signed my papers, got my crap and I got out of there.
On another note, I am working hard to keep a positive attitude. I really am. Now with no job, it is ever harder for me to be at my house alone. I am trying to remember that it could be a lot worse.
Rob from Below The Radar has made several comments over the past few days. It seems his divorce was VERY ugly and he was actively kept from his kids by his ex-wife. I cannot even imagine how hard that must have been for him and how painful that was for his kids. I am calling that out because I think that it is important that for all my difficulties, it could be a whole lot worse.
I am grateful for K and her understanding and support.
I went to bowling tonight. The team we played against this week was friendlier than the team last week, so it was a lot more fun. I am getting to know my team mates better. The guy in the dress was not there this week.
It was nice for a while to just have a little fun and not have to worry about all the turmoil in my life. All I had to worry about knocking down as many pins as I can. I did pretty well for me. 143, 121, 149.
I am leaning more and more toward the idea of not going back to work but to got to PA school. I had a text exchange with my mother this afternoons and it sounded like both her and my dad are thinking that it is a good idea. This, of course, is delighting T that they agree with him.
I am still scared about how I will support myself, but T thinks that I should be able to get loans, even those that will cover living expenses. I am a little worried about paying back all these loans too. I will probably have to wipe out the little bit I have saved for my retirement, and making up that money while paying off large loans.
After thinking about it, I am coming around to the idea. Besides, when it comes time to retire, with this education I could easily work part time at a hospital or doctors office, to make up in what I am missing in my 401K.
There is so much change going on in my life right now I am feeling overwhelmed. After getting canned on Thursday, I had a sleepless night. I was up early on Friday. K has clinical on Friday's and needs to be at the hospital so I had to go her house to get my little kids on the bus. I have been doing that for the past few Fridays, but this time after I watched their bus drive away, I realized that I really did not have anywhere to go.
I went home, updated my resume and sent out several to some local companies. I went online and files my claim for unemployment benefits. (Of course, they said they could not process it without having someone call me back.) I ran a few errands, not because I really needed to, but because I had to get out of my empty and lonely house. It was one thing just to come back to the empty house to sleep, but now that I have no place to go during the day, I am spending longer hours in my empty house.
By the end of the day Friday, K kind of made be realize that I was panicking and it was too soon to panic. After all I know that I have 9 weeks of severance and I can get unemployment so I will be OK, for a while anyway. Also I saw a lot more open positions that I thought I would.
Then there is the question about whether I want to go back to work at all, but head back to school. It was all making my head hurt, so I took the weekend off from worrying about my situation.
On Saturday I had planned to get up and head to the gym. I have not been to the gym in months and not I really have no time excuse anymore. I did not go though, because K called and said the kids wanted me to come for breakfast. She also mentioned that I had the eggs at my house and she needed them. Once I get to the house with the kids, it is really hard for me to leave. I ended up staying there until 3:30 when I left to head to T's house.
For more than a month, I have planned to attend an event where T would be singing. He has a wonderful and powerful voice and even though I don't understand the words (he sings in Vietnamese) I love to hear it. I did record his song with my Blackberry, but it did not come out very well so I won't be posting it. Again we did not have as much alone time as either of us would have liked, but I was just happy to be with him.
Sunday was another day so spend with the kids. I went to church with K and all the kids. We had Lunch at K's house before going to my house. I took the youngest kids to the pool at the local YMCA. Back to K's for dinner and I put everyone to bed.
I had a really good weekend. Now it's nearly 2:00am as I am typing this. In the morning, I have a lot to do and I need to make sure I get up and get at it.
As with so many things these days, I was wrong. This afternoon I was informed that my position was being eliminated and after 8 years of service I was unceremoniously shown the door.
This has been a pretty bad month for me. My family has moved in with another man, and now I find myself, not only alone in my house, but now I have no job. I work in a pretty specialized field and while there are some improvement, the job market still sucks.
T is pushing hard for me to attend Physician Assistant school. It's a good idea, and let's face it, with that, I would never have to worry about finding a job again for the rest of my life. On the other hand, it will require about 3 and a half years of school. It would be very difficult for me to hold a job and go to school at the same time. So while I agree it's a good investment, I am not sure how I will support myself and the kids during that time.
Right now I can't ever think. I am so stressed out. The reality of my unemployed status is starting to hit me and it is so fucking overwhelming. I just don't know what to do.
I'm going to go to bed and maybe I will wake up from this nightmare.
As a rule, I don't think I'm needy. I do, however, place a high value on stability, and I don't like it when things are in flux. Now, things are in flux like crazy.
At work my department is going through a reorg that is taking WAY too long. My gay boss got demoted and now I have no boss. There are 2 new bosses, but my responsibilities are split between them. I know the job I currently have will be changing, but I don't know how much. It is possible I may be assigned completely different responsibilities. There is even a chance, though I think small, I could get laid off. Over the past few years of upheaval at home, it was comforting to know that work was stable. Now, not so much.
You know about the stuff that is in flux at home. I am starting to get used to being at home alone. I need to work on cleaning the house and making it a place that I actually want to come home to. The kids are adjusting to their new home and getting into the new routine. I know this all sounds like it is going well, and it is, but 15 years of constant parenthood is not so easy to let go of. The change is still very difficult for me.
For example, last night I went to visit T at his house. I knew it would be a short visit. I was actually in the car driving there and back, longer than I was with him. On the way back I stopped at Wally World, to pick up a few things. As I walked around with my basket, I thought about how I was only shopping for me. I did not need a whole gallon of milk. The smaller box of cereal is enough. The more I thought about the more alone I felt and the more depressed I got.
I know other men, gay and straight go through this. I know I will survive it, even though it really sucks now. I also know most men have a better support system. I have no friends aside from K and T. My family is very far away. I have no hobbies and I don't play a sport. If it was not for this blog, I am not sure I would have any outlet at all.
I am taking some steps. Bowling will help, at least I have a place to go every Monday night. Being with T helps a lot, but he is so busy it is difficult for us to find quality time together. I just have a hard time being alone.
T says I should be happy about the good things I have. He says I want everything, right away and that's not realistic. He is probably right (he always is), but I just can't help how I feel. I know this sounds whiny, but that's where I am right now.
"It was one bad day and it won't be the last one, but the new normal will come and it will be OK."
My sister reads this blog and while she does not comment publicly, I often get private messages about things I write. As expected, last nights posting drew a comment, specifically the one listed above. She also pointed out that going back into the closet was not really an option.
So with the drama of last night behind me, I spent most of the day with K and the younger two kids. After my daughter's softball game we did some shopping. All day long we talked about them sleeping at my house tonight. Because K works on Sunday, they will spend the bulk of tomorrow with me as well.
After out running around, we all went to K's house for dinner (hell, yeah, I will let her cook) and to pack over night bags. After dinner we (the kids and me) piled into my minivan and headed to my house. We set of sleeping bags for everyone and then got everyone to sleep.
As I am typing this, I am in my very quiet house. I am feeling at peace. There are 4 separate pieces of my soul in the upstairs bedrooms fast asleep.
Before I head off to bed, I need to thank T for loving me as much as he does. We were supposed to go out tonight. It had been planned for several days now. After the meld down from yesterday, I was able to work out a "do over" wit the kids tonight. As much as I know we wanted to see me, he did not bat an eye, but said only, "kids first" when I sent him a text saying I would not be able to come to his house this weekends.
He really is a awesome guy and I am lucky to have him.
I am sitting at a picnic table at a park near K's house. My daughter is playing in a softball game. K is helping coach the pitcher. I am watching my youngest son as we plays on the playground. My older boys are at a friends house playing Xbox.
I am feeling calm now. Calm compared to my meltdown last night. BTW, I really appreciate all the words of support from my Blogger friends. It really helps me.
Last night K told the kids I was feeling sad. My oldest son called to check on me around 11:00 before he went to bed. I'm not sure I'm happy she did that. Especially for the younger kids, I don't want them to think they are responsible for my happiness. That is not their problem, it's mine.
As I watch my son run around on the playground, easily making friends with total strangers, I feel happier. Even though we are not really doing anything together, I know he is there and he knows I am there.
I guess I was due for a meltdown and last night, I had it.
I am thinking about going back and deleting big chunks of my blog. I think have been delusional. I think I was bought into my own fantasy.
It was all bullshit.
I am seriously thinking it would have been better to remain in the closet. Especially considering I had a really good marriage. Things were not perfect, but it was not really that bad. I had my family with me.
Now that I am busting out into homo-land, I am finding that I am fully unprepared for the pain that is in involved is separating form my kids. Just as I was starting to think that things might be getting better, I had a really bad day.
The kids were supposed to have a sleep over tonight. Both little kids had baseball / softball and my middle son had a school dance. K was having a date night with AJ, so I had to go the ball field and shuttle back and forth to the dance (which I didn't mind doing). By the time I got done with all of that it was getting late. The little kids were watching a movie. The older kids when up to their room.
No one seemed very interested in going to my house a 10:00 to sleep on the floor.
K got back from her date night and I had had all I could handle. I quickly said good night and left her house before the tears started flowing. It was hard to drive home. It had been a long time since I had been sobbing like this.
I remember that a long time K told me there is a price for everything. There is a price to staying in the closet and playing the straight life. There is a price to coming out and upending your family. Today I have learned the full cost of coming out.
It seems over the past year I have been lulled into a false sense of security. I was bamboozled into thinking that I could let my family move into another man's house and I would be OK with it. I was so taken in by my own press, that even encouraged other men to come out to their wives.
I was wrong.
This sucks. I may not have been compleatly happy in the closet, but the pain was not like this.
This morning my kids got on their new buses in front of their new house. I heard from K in the morning when the last one drove away as she was herself heading to school.
After work I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things for my house and a couple of things that my kids have asked for. I went over to K's house. My youngest son saw me pull up and he came out to meet me. My daughter said "Hi daddy!" but did not look up from her xbox game. I guess things are getting back to normal for her.
K and AJ and having some minor difficulties, that I am not going to get into here. K has been talking to me about it, and like a good gay BFF, I have listened and offered support. Some of the difficulties could impact my kids, and I have only offered advice on things that will impact the kids. The fact that she is talking to me about these things makes me feel better that my relationship with her is still strong.
With some difficulty, I left K's house before they ate dinner to go visit T. It's not that I did not want to see T, it's just that I didn't want to leave my family. I did not have difficulty leaving when they lived with me all the time, but now that they don't, so it is.
I wonder if it because I am afraid that AJ will take my place. After all, he is living with my family. I may talk more about my thoughts on that another day.
I drove to see T. He was still at work, but finishing up. I drove him home where his mother had made a delicious dinner of beef, noodles and veggies. I stayed for dinner, but he had a bunch of home work to do and I was getting so I drove home. Of course it is always good to see him, but neither of us got the quality time we would have liked. Sigh...
As I write this, I am sitting in K's kitchen with her and AJ. She is working homework from her nursing school. AJ is reviewing a presentation for his job. I am writing this with my Blackberry Playbook tablet. I just finished putting my kids to bed and K has a meatloaf in the oven. I'm hanging out to eat and then I will go home.
Today I cleaned out the master bedroom at my house, where K used to sleep, and I moved my bed in there. While I was working most of my kids were at my house. My younger 2 were downstairs watching TV and the older one was cleaning out his old room. None of them were actually in the room with me or helping me, but I was so happy they were in the house. I even sent T a text telling him how it made me happy.
(editors note: I stopped writing at K's house and when home to finish.)
I know there are some, maybe many, gay men who simply walk away from their families. They abandon their wives. They walk away from their kids. How the hell do they do that? I have been in my house for 2 nights (tonight will be 3 nights) without my kids and it's driving me crazy. In fact, I am starting to think being a single dad would be preferable.
All that said, I think I feel better today. Having the kids at my house today helped a lot. As I was putting the younger two kids to bed, I ask both of them if they had a good day. Both hugged and told be that had. I was afraid they might say being at my house was boring, but they didn't. All that made me feel a lot better.
In my core, I really am a family man. Lately I have been thinking about the cruelness of God for having made me gay. It has been a long time since I have wished for the "straight pill" that would turn me into a regular guy. A regular husband and a regular father. Oh well, life's a bitch, ain't it?
While my house is even quieter tonight (the dog went to K's house night) I do not feel quite as bad tonight as I have, though I still have a long way to go.
Many nights I stay up late after everyone else has fallen asleep. After I put the kids to bed and I am sure they are all fast asleep. After K and I have said our good nights, I stay up. Sometimes I watch TV, or surf the net, or maybe even download a little porn. One thing I like about staying up later is how quiet the house is. There is so much action here all the time, it can be draining. The quiet rejuvenates me.
As much as I enjoy the quiet, I always knew my family was here. They were right there in the house. If they needed me, I could be there in an instant. If I needed them, they would be there for me too.
Tonight, after a busy day of moving, I am up late and the house is quiet. Tonight, however, it is different. Tonight it's quiet because I am all alone. There are no kids sleeping in their beds down the hall. K is not in her room across the hall, snoring gently. I am alone in the house.
Actually, as I think about it, this is the first time in my life I have lived alone. There was one semester in college when I had a single room, but in a dorm, are you ever really alone. Now I am alone. There is no one I can say, "are you ready to go home?" to. No one thinks of my house as home anymore, except me.
As depressing as this sounds, I know absolutely what I am doing is the right thing. I know it is best for K to be with a straight man. I know it is best for me to live my life as I am, not as I have pretended to be. I know, in time, I will get used to being alone. I also am working hard to make opportunities to meet people so that will help ... eventually.
For now, moving my kids out of my house was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and tonight, I feel pretty shitty about it.
Tonight K started to bring clothes and some things to the new house. I made dinner for the kids. Then I made something else for me, K & AJ. After her second load, K left to spend the night at AJ's house while I was getting my daughter out of the tub.
As I tucked her in to bed, like I have almost every night for the past 7 years, she hugged me longer than she usually does. She said to me, "When we are moved, you will be here with ... just you." I told her that it was going to be OK and that she could sleep over at my house anytime she wanted. I think that made her feel better.
As I closed her door, I could no longer hold back my tears. The day I have always feared is tomorrow.
This is Labor day weekend. It is the official end of summer. People get together together with their family and friends for the last BBQ of the summer.
Mine will be somewhat different this year. K and AJ closed on their new house this morning. They will be moving in over the weekend. First AJ will move his stuff. The K will move hers and the kids. Finally, I will be getting some stuff from AJ's house that will become mine. I don't know if they will finish all of that this weekend or not, but I'm sure they will try.
So the day has finally come.
I have been talking about the day that K and I will finally live in different places almost from the beginning of this blog. I have known for a long time that it would come, but I think in the way back of my mind, I never thought it would happen. I thought K would always be there (even though now it seems we are never home at the same time) and what's more, I thought my kids would always be there.
Whether they get everything moved this weekend or not, I don't know. But there is one thing I am sure of. By Monday, I will be sleeping alone in my empty house.
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
Most of the images used in my blog I found floating around the Internet. I believe, in good faith, that they are either public domain, or my non-commercial use falls under fair use guidelines. If, however, you are the are the copyright owner of any image and wish me to remove it, please contact me and I will do so as quickly as possible