Friday, August 28, 2009

Coming Out in Mid-Life: More Painful Than Many Know

For long time readers you will know that I began this blog at the suggestion of my therapist at the time for two reasons: to gather thoughts and materials or a book and also as a way to vent and as a therapeutic outlet. After a while, it sort of took on a life of its own and I progressed from having cyberspace friends to becoming involved with other LGBT activist bloggers. Along the way I have heard many stories both from older gays still in the closet to others who have undergone a nightmare experience coming out later in life. Coming out is likely never an easy process regardless of one's age. Nonetheless, coming out in mid-life has a whole additional realm of difficulties, especially when one "did what was expected" and married, had children, etc.
Compounding the problem - as I have talked about at length - is a homophobic judicial system that seems to 9 times out of 10 severely punish the gay spouse for being gay - regardless of the failings of the straight spouse - as if being gay is an elective choice made lightly. The legal system truely needs to change as do attorneys who wll viciously gay bash to gain advantage for their straight spouse client, acting at times as if the gay spouse is not even human. In the meanwhile, I continue to hope that this blog will be of help to others going through the coming out process or contemplating doing so. It is not/will not be an easy process, but the alternative is to live your entire life partly as a lie. That's not an easy process either. I have tried to recount my coming out, divorce and relationship experiences accurately - the good, the bad and the ugly rather than sugar coat what one may well experience. I hope this will help others if only in order that they know that they are not alone in their travails. One reader recently sent me an e-mail that I found noteworthy and made me feel that I was doing something right:
I have followed you blog for at least two years now and I really do think it's pertinent. Of my other blogger friends (3 maybe) they are not in the same position that we are in and they honestly don't quite "get" the horrible pain that we've been through. They don't have a clue about, at least to my mind, how emotionally and psychologically wrenching coming out at our age really is. That's why when you post something on your blog that is from your anger, your frustration, your despair - your heart -- I really do identify with what your are saying. I've been there and I know from where you speak.
It's possible that my recounted experiences may scare some to remain in the closet. But anyone about to begin this journey needs to know that it is not for the faint of heart. Would I do it again? Most certainly - despite the days of despair and darkness at times - because just being able to be who you are is so empowering. No more pretense and no more play acting. It may be ugly at times, but at least life is finally authentic and genuine. Better yet, once you find that special someone, your life will be lived on an emotional level that's beyond compare.


Lyndon Evans said...

For those of you reading this comment, click on "my name" to go to a posting I did on my blog FOCUS which was inspired by and although not by name is dedicated to Michael and others who have and are going through the trials and tribulations of coming out and ending marriage.

The post is titled, "It's a lonely path of hell for coming out and ending what is a sham marriage".

daveincleveland said...

there are many times where i look back the last couple years and wonder why in the hell i did what i did.....this has been an incredibly stressful journey, some laughs, many many tears...anger...and all the other gamets of emotion that i had no idea i even had.;....yes i am out, yes i am gay, yes i am single, would i do it again....i don't know....

Jay R. said...

Amen and amen. There is a lot of hoopla about gay men coming out early, and good for them, I say. Yet there are many many men who married because it was the expected thing, because it was the only thing. And they face hard hard choices.

I opted to come out. I lost nearly everything and everyone, including wife, kids, family, friends, job, court cases. Faced with similar choices, a friend and former co-worker (who worked for the same religious-based organization I had) drowned himself.

The pain is real. folks. Awfully, terribly real. Like the poet Sherman Alexie says, the world is two parts broken heart, one part hope.