As a gay man I know the struggle of hiding who I am from people I am close to. We spend a lot of time worrying about how we talk, what we say, where we are looking, even how we hold our wrists. It's fucking torture and I think it's what eventually drives men out of the closet as they get older.
We are scared that we will lose our friends. We worry that our families will dis-own us.
I am starting to wonder why I ever went through all the trouble to do that.
My family has been supportive. Well, you might say, they have to be supportive. Your parents and your sister are predisposed to love you no matter what. Maybe I say, but it still took me until I was 40 to tell anyone of them. My mother has told much of my extended family and they seems to be OK too. Now they are all far away, so I don't really know how they feel since I interact with them so rarely.
My ex-wife is OK with it...now. My kids are OK too.
On Dec 9, I wrote about the wife of a friend I went to high school with, and hos she was good after I told her I am gay. Let's back up on that story for a moment.
When I entered my freshman year in high school I met "Ted". Ted had just moved to town from Virginia. He was a football player, a big guy, but a really nice guy. I don't remember exactly how we met and became friends but we did.
Ted did not look like the guy in the picture and I was never physically attracted to him, but we quickly became close friends all through high school.
After high school we went to the same college. We did not live in the same dorm, but we were close and hung out a lot. We did a lot of drinking and we had a lot of fun that first semester. We both were placed on academic probation.
The next semester I drank less, but Ted didn't. He eventually told me that he never wanted to go to school but his parents made him. He wanted to join the Marines.
After failing out he did just that. He joined the Marine reserves and went off to Paris Island. When he came back, it looked a lot more like the guy in the picture. While I stayed in school he got a job, got a girlfriend, got married and had a child. He was activated and shipped out to the first Gulf War back.
He came back unharmed and through all this time we remained close friends. We were both very different people, but for some reason we just clicked.
Eventually I finished school, got married to K and Ted moved to a southern state to join a city police force.
Today he is a lieutenant at the same police department, this children are both in college and I have only seen him one in almost 20 years.
He does not use Facebook, but his wife does and we are friends there. She has been seeing my posts lately and she reached out to me to see if I was OK. It was then that I told her I am gay. I was not sure if she was going to tell Ted about me or not. Several days later I got my answer. She had. She told me that he was OK with and only wanted me to be happy.
So now my long time friend knows I am gay. The first of my old friends to find out I am gay. What was going to happen? I was not sure.
Then, yesterday, my phone rang unexpectedly. It was Ted. I tensed and answered the phone.
"Hey Theodore!!" (I have always called him by his full first name when greeting him)
"HEY JIMBO!!" came back the cheerful reply (I only let a very few people call me that.)
We had a short conversation and he seemed like the same old Ted. I searched his voice of signs of tension, but found none. I was very relieved. Now the best part. He is coming here!! He and his family are visiting his family for the holidays and they have to pass close to my house on their was home. He called me to ask if I could meet them for lunch as they pass through tomorrow.
I feel a lot better about this. If he was not OK, he would not have reached out to me at all.
So this comes back to my original question. With all the positive reactions to my coming out, why was I so worried about it?
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.
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