The Other Side of the Closet

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    Dec 10, 2013 9:33 PM GMT
    I came across this article today and I would HIGHLY recommend that any of you who has NOT been in a heterosexual marriage read it. It very concisely shares what married guys struggle with. This is probably one of the most accurate articles about being married and living in the closet that I've ever seen. Having a glimpse into the other side, might make some of you think twice before throwing accusations and disparaging remarks at married guys still struggling to figure it all out. Sensitivity is always a better option!


    Is My Husband Gay? The Other Side of the Closet

    On a Wednesday night seven years ago my wife and I drove our gold mini-van in silence through the center of town and pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot. After I parked the car, she turned to me, hesitated for a moment and then spit out a question. "I just have to ask you this. Are you gay?" I watched a family of four get out of their car, grab each other's hands, fade into the dark and then briefly reappear under a circle of light cast from a parking lot lamp.

    "I don't want to be," I said.

    "Oh God," she inhaled.

    I exhaled.

    It was one of the truest statements I had uttered in 22 years of marriage. I don't want to be gay. I don't want to tear my family apart. I don't want to go to hell. I don't want my family and friends to disown me. All of my "Don't wants" were laid out like the wooden planks of a bridge behind me and I watched them catch fire from the spark of that five-word sentence and crash in a terrific blaze. It was horrifying and exhilarating and devastating. But at the end of all those "don't wants" was a big Want. I want to love and be loved, body and soul.

    I was born in the 1960s in one of the most intolerant states in America, North Carolina. Being gay was not an option. It was a mental illness listed right there in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM II until 1974. I married a woman, had two children and suppressed what I was told was unhealthy.

    I am a human face to one of the statistics referenced in the recent New York Times article which states that 5% of American men are gay. The article also states that the detrimental effects of living a life in the closet is most strongly felt in those intolerant states, the band of southern states.

    Maybe you are one of those statistics too. Maybe you cruise the Internet late at night searching for images of men having sex with men. Maybe you self-medicate with prescription drugs and alcohol attempting to numb that part of yourself. Maybe you and your wife have not had sex in over a year. Maybe you think that you can survive for the rest of your life hiding just a part of yourself, without realizing that what you hide is more than that. Because the closet doesn't contain just your arms or legs, or body, it claims everything, including your soul. Maybe your wife is searching the Internet right now typing in the search term "Is my husband gay?"

    After I admitted that I didn't want to be gay I became another statistic referenced in the New York Times article. I became an openly gay man living in one of the most tolerant regions in America, New England. Here is what became of my "Don't Wants." Yes, my marriage fell apart, but after that I married a wonderful man and we merged our two families. I didn't lose any friends or family. The hell I was living in was self-made. Waking up next to the man I love, body and soul, is heaven on Earth.

    It is never too late to open the closet door and breathe for the first time.

    Last night, my husband and I drove our car through the middle of town and parked in front of MaineStreet, a local gay friendly club in this small corner of Maine. We took each other's hand and walked across the street in the dark and then into the warm holiday lights of the bar. Inside most of the residents of Ogunquit gathered with plates of cupcakes, cheese and other homemade items to share, each of us carrying a toy to donate to a needy child. Families, gay and straight hugged and kissed each other. Children ran to meet Santa as the gay men's choir sang carols.

    There is a saying here in Maine, The way life should be. It was a long road from one side of the closet door to the other. Last night, my husband Paul turned to me and asked "Are you happy to be here?"

    And I replied "There is no other place I would want to be."


    William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2013 9:45 PM GMT
    What a nice story.
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:05 PM GMT
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:09 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound like her situation is completely irrelevant.
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:28 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound her situation is completely irrelevant.

    The writer's perspective was his own - duh - - women in this situation do write about it - from their perspective.
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:28 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidI came across this article today and I would HIGHLY recommend that any of you who has NOT been in a heterosexual marriage read it. It very concisely shares what married guys struggle with. This is probably one of the most accurate articles about being married and living in the closet that I've ever seen. Having a glimpse into the other side, might make some of you think twice before throwing accusations and disparaging remarks at married guys still struggling to figure it all out. Sensitivity is always a better option!




    thanks for the story. i certainly can sympathize with the struggle that many gay closeted married men face. what i can't sympathize with is the double life that some of these men lead in order to fill the void they desire; i'm specifically talking about cheating on their wife with another man. i would feel the same about straight married men who cheat on their wives with other women because they want to fulfill some void. sensitivity is a better option to a certain point. everyone has a story, but at some point we all must take responsibility for actions and be honest with ourselves and others.
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:32 PM GMT
    HikerSkier said
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound her situation is completely irrelevant.

    The writer's perspective was his own - duh - - women in this situation do write about it - from their perspective.

    Maybe you could provide us a link to her blog. I'm guessing it's www.I-Got-Seventy-Five-Percent-Of-Everything.com.
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    Dec 10, 2013 10:45 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?


    Hopefully she's ok.
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    Dec 10, 2013 11:42 PM GMT
    I'm not fully out but I'm selfless enough to know not to drag a chick and/or kids into the picture too.
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    Dec 10, 2013 11:58 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound her situation is completely irrelevant.

    Well, you missed the whole point of why I posted this. It was not so say one side deserved kudos while the other did not, yes, it's just as hard or harder on the spouse. No one is denying that, the go through the same loss and grieving process as the man. My point is that there is a lot and a long journey for men to get to where they can finally give in and accept who they are.

    Many of the guys on here find it deceitful or selfish to have been in the relationship itself but many also fail to understand how a man got into a marriage knowing he was gay. There in lies the problem, knowing he was gay. Todays society has a much greater chance of understanding the feelings and seeing the options before getting into a heterosexual relationship, but 20 or 30 years ago, that was NOT the case.

    No one wins in a divorce, not the husband, not the wife and not the kids. It's not the option anyone wants and that is part of the reason that many guys don't come out sooner when they finally accept who they are. Bottom line, it's very difficult and for those of you that will prejudge guys, think again and try and understand how it is for the couple, husband and wife.
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    Dec 11, 2013 12:03 AM GMT
    hellass saidI'm not fully out but I'm selfless enough to know not to drag a chick and/or kids into the picture too.

    You're insinuating that the man was selfish in getting married, that's exactly the prejudging I'm referring to. If this guy was in a 22 year marriage, he probably didn't understand about being gay, thought it would go away, had no internet to search it on and no support groups to help him. It's easy for you to make that statement because you're from a different generation that had much great access, maybe even a culture that was more open and accepting than here in the US.

    All I'm saying is consider if you were in his shoes and try and understand the struggles, especially emotionally, that married guys endure when they're married and realize that the feelings for men is never going away. The accounts in the story are very similar to many guys I've spoken with that have gone through this.
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:32 AM GMT
    eb925guy said
    hellass saidI'm not fully out but I'm selfless enough to know not to drag a chick and/or kids into the picture too.

    You're insinuating that the man was selfish in getting married, that's exactly the prejudging I'm referring to. If this guy was in a 22 year marriage, he probably didn't understand about being gay, thought it would go away, had no internet to search it on and no support groups to help him. It's easy for you to make that statement because you're from a different generation that had much great access, maybe even a culture that was more open and accepting than here in the US.

    All I'm saying is consider if you were in his shoes and try and understand the struggles, especially emotionally, that married guys endure when they're married and realize that the feelings for men is never going away. The accounts in the story are very similar to many guys I've spoken with that have gone through this.


    No, i'm not prejudging anyone. I'm only solely talking about myself. Because I KNOW i'm gay, and even tho i'm not fully out, I wouldn't do the straight marriage thing. I know it's different for those who are still unsure because at one point, I was unsure myself.
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:35 AM GMT
    you end up like this

    bob-closet.gif
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:37 AM GMT
    *yawn*
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:41 AM GMT
    I'm sorry; I find it difficult to muster sympathy for a gay man who's destroying an innocent woman's life because he doesn't have the balls to live an honest life. Not to mention the devastation it creates if they have children.
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:49 AM GMT
    somersault saidyou end up like this

    If you don't have anything constructive to say in the thread then stfu. You're really annoying sometimes. This is a serious thread for some guys. Go post your stupid repetitive gifs in another forum!
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:59 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI'm sorry; I find it difficult to muster sympathy for a gay man who's destroying an innocent woman's life because he doesn't have the balls to live an honest life. Not to mention the devastation it creates if they have children.

    It is we who should be sorry for you, for being incapable of empathy. Someone in the position of the man in the story did not know he was gay when he got married, which was very common until about 15 years ago, and still happens today. So a marriage break-up was inevitable eventually. And when it happens, the wife gets to find a truly straight man to be with.
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    Dec 11, 2013 5:00 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI'm sorry; I find it difficult to muster sympathy for a gay man who's destroying an innocent woman's life because he doesn't have the balls to live an honest life. Not to mention the devastation it creates if they have children.

    That's such a BS response. I would have expected better from you. Guys who come out later in life do not destroy their wife's life by coming out, they open up and are honest about who they are. That's such an ignorant statement. You have NO idea the balls it takes to go through the whole process of coming out, risking your family, friends, colleagues, finances and everything else. Most guys have never gone through as difficult of a decision in their entire life. So I guess you're more in favor of a gay guy just staying in the relationship and pretending to be in love, not having any sex, being miserable? Have all your decisions been the right decision the first time? What a lame ass comment!
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    Dec 11, 2013 5:12 AM GMT
    eb925guy said
    Scruffypup saidI'm sorry; I find it difficult to muster sympathy for a gay man who's destroying an innocent woman's life because he doesn't have the balls to live an honest life. Not to mention the devastation it creates if they have children.

    That's such a BS response. I would have expected better from you. Guys who come out later in life do not destroy their wife's life by coming out, they open up and are honest about who they are. That's such an ignorant statement. You have NO idea the balls it takes to go through the whole process of coming out, risking your family, friends, colleagues, finances and everything else. Most guys have never gone through as difficult of a decision in their entire life. So I guess you're more in favor of a gay guy just staying in the relationship and pretending to be in love, not having any sex, being miserable? Have all your decisions been the right decision the first time? What a lame ass comment!


    +1..
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    Dec 11, 2013 5:48 AM GMT
    eb925guy said
    Scruffypup saidI'm sorry; I find it difficult to muster sympathy for a gay man who's destroying an innocent woman's life because he doesn't have the balls to live an honest life. Not to mention the devastation it creates if they have children.

    That's such a BS response. I would have expected better from you. Guys who come out later in life do not destroy their wife's life by coming out, they open up and are honest about who they are. That's such an ignorant statement.



    That's NOT what I meant. I meant getting into a relationship with someone you're not attracted to is wrong. The coming out part is the best thing they could do.
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    Dec 11, 2013 6:03 AM GMT
    eb925guy saidI came across this article today and I would HIGHLY recommend that any of you who has NOT been in a heterosexual marriage read it. It very concisely shares what married guys struggle with. This is probably one of the most accurate articles about being married and living in the closet that I've ever seen. Having a glimpse into the other side, might make some of you think twice before throwing accusations and disparaging remarks at married guys still struggling to figure it all out. Sensitivity is always a better option!




    Wow. What a compelling read. Most of us have no idea how much a guy struggles, and how much hell he goes through to come out of the closet, especially if he has a wife & children. Thanks for posting this.
  • Apparition

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    Dec 11, 2013 6:09 AM GMT
    Jockbod48 said
    eb925guy said



    Wow. What a compelling read. Most of us have no idea how much a guy struggles, and how much hell he goes through to come out of the closet, especially if he has a wife & children.


    um..dont all out gay men know what it is like to come out...ya know...having come out?
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    Dec 11, 2013 6:37 AM GMT
    ^^^^^Most of us were never married. Most of us never had wives, children and so much to consider when coming out. Most of us have no idea how many considerations and how much $$$ it is going to cost a guy who has those factors to deal with.

    Some of us were never IN any sort of closet, and instead just came of age and starting dating whomever we wanted to date.
  • Amelorn

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    Dec 11, 2013 7:56 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound her situation is completely irrelevant.


    I am well acquainted two young women whose parents went through the same story (Gay dad, shocked mom).

    In both cases: Dad got a boyfriend. Mom & kids got therapy bills that are out of this world. Mom's confidence in picking men is shattered. Kids tended to be sympathetic to LGBT causes/concerns.

    I encountered another such story when I moved down under, to the same ending.

    These come-out-of-the-closet divorces tend to yield much better results for the man than the woman.
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    Dec 12, 2013 12:24 AM GMT
    Amelorn said
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    eagermuscle said
    JarIan saidWhat a nice story.

    For the husband. How'd the wife make out?

    Exactly. It makes it sound her situation is completely irrelevant.


    I am well acquainted two young women whose parents went through the same story (Gay dad, shocked mom).

    In both cases: Dad got a boyfriend. Mom & kids got therapy bills that are out of this world. Mom's confidence in picking men is shattered. Kids tended to be sympathetic to LGBT causes/concerns.

    I encountered another such story when I moved down under, to the same ending.

    These come-out-of-the-closet divorces tend to yield much better results for the man than the woman.

    I disagree with some of what you say here. Do the women get short changed, probably in some way, yes but they don't necessarily and certainly not always. I've supported at least a dozen guys from right here on RJ who accepted themselves and went through the exact process as described in the article and none of them seem to have wives or children that have issues now or suffered in a significant way, other than the typical emotional roller coaster figuring it all out. The ones I've spoken with recently have a fair to good relationship with their ex.

    Now I'm not naive enough to think that this is always the case and I think it's probably more costly for relationship that have other serious issue besides the husband coming out. Also, if the man has begun an relationship while being married or is hooking up (and gets caught) then there is definitely more struggle for both the wife and the children because it brings up many more issues than just sexuality.