My Trip Out

Gay married man coming out story

To tell or not to tell, that is the question

I’m approaching 4 years pretty much consistently with Scrappy. My wife well down the road of understanding as are my kids. However, none of the rest of my family (meaning mother, father, brother) know what has gone down. Should they? Would it matter? Would it help? Would it hurt?

I can rationalize it all sorts of ways, but mostly it comes down to me being a big chicken. Or perhaps not. Having lived in London, Germany, popped around Europe, Sydney and now Hong Kong. My family most sense something is wrong. But they have access to the grandkids who seem fine, I call regularly with no sound of stress in my voice. But clearly they would have their head in the sand to not think something is amiss.

But no one asks. It’s personal. You don’t go digging into someone’s life even your own family without a clear objective and simply being nosy (which my mother is) is not good enough.

I thought about whether this was in effect, lying to them and that they would be hurt because I didn’t tell them something had happened. But the reality is if I tell them, they will have questions and be ultimately supportive. It’s the questioning bit I’m not sure I want deal with. They’ll want to rewind the tape for 4 years and get the story. How did this happen? What does this mean? Are you OK? Is your wife OK? Are the kids OK?

It just sounds painful, so I continue with this don’t ask, don’t tell policy, I’m happy, and they’re none the wiser.

Scrappy is brown (hmmm brown, more of a tan brown, but brown), he’s very young and the odds of my family, a hard core bunch of Southerners accepting him is probably pretty remote. They have an image to maintain. At first glance, Scrappy is very young, brown (hmmm brown, more of a tan brown …) and a bit let’s say exotic to look at. It’s not until you see him and I interact do you realize we’re an old married couple, squabbling about little stuff and very comfortable with each other. Scrappy also is just cool, it only takes a few minutes to realize his sincerity, his way of putting you at ease, his ease with himself.

But I’m not so sure my family would get that far, at least initially. So I continue down this road, whether I made a conscience decision it is hard to tell. I will either have been right in my decision or wrong and unfortunately, I’ll just have to live with that.

5 Comments

  1. Is it a rhetorical question or one you want answered?

    In case it is the latter, from a man who was married longer than you, came out older than you, and is now nearing 7 years of a live in relationship with a partner 20 years younger, my answer is … you’re not telling because you don’t want to deal with any fallout and would prefer to hide. But in the process, you lose a lot of yourself. When I came out, I came out to all pretty quickly. I’m not in a position to judge – hell, I was in the closet for most of my life, but once I accepted who I was and how I had to live, then I realized, I was just compounding prior lies by hiding the truth. The result for me? This weekend is my daughter’s wedding. My partner and I are a prominent part of it, we’re on the invitation, will be up there for the parent’s dance (along with my ex and her new husband), and not everyone there is fully accepting, but f**k em. The road had a few bumps, but everyone that’s important to me is at some level of acceptance, some full (like my kids) and some only partially down the road. But it feels good to not be hiding anything anymore. Try it. The bumps are worth the end result.

  2. Your family might surprise you! My parents certainly did when I told them I was gay at the age of 48, after 20 years of marriage. They couldn’t have cared less … all they wanted was for me to be healthy and happy.

    If you never tell your parents, then they will never have an opportunity to accept you and Scrappy for what you are… a committed couple. And if they “reject” you… well who cares? It doesn’t sound like you see much of them anyway and at your age and level of maturity, you would survive that, too.

  3. Ah, a true family of the South……..no unpleasantness please….of course don’t they mostly end up drinking themselves into early graves? Even my “born again” youngest brother invited Geoff and me to his sons wedding, amazing. Families are actually very resiliant.

  4. As someone who has just gone through the process at lightning speed, I can tell you the relief is overwhelming. You said yourself not too long ago “duality of life is mind numbing”. The fact that you still live a dual life with people who could be very close to you has to be causing some conflict. Your parents and brother deserve the opportunity to love and accept you, and Scrappy, for who you are and if they choose otherwise it’s their problem not yours. I agree with the others who have commented – go for it, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.

  5. I’m only 1.5 years in to coming out & I’m far enough away from that initial part of the process that I hate to have to relive the whole torried series of events that lead up to & where apart of the coming out process. I just recently had to do it with friends of 30 years that I’d not seen since coming out. But rightfully, to keep a good close friend or relative I’ve found they need to “walk” through there own process of how you got to where & who you are today, for them to fully accept the new me. It’s hard, but not nearly as hard as the initial coming out…..but we all know that we will never, ever quit having to come out in some form or another for the rest of our lives…..its just hard when its people close to us. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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