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Hiding in the closet


silverfaux
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Though I realized at an early age that I was gay, I grew up in the typical homophobic neighborhood of the 60s and 70s. I am one of the middle children in a group of 4 boys and 1 girl.

I was a 96 pound weakling and I was too cowardly to face anyone who called me a faggot. So I kept mainly to myself or hung around other boys that were much younger than myself. By the time I was about 14, a neighbor man expressed an interest in me and I was eventually molested by him. Though it was a painful experience, this person liked me and I went back to him on numerous occassions.

My father arranged for my sister to babysit my younger brother and myself every time that her boyfriend would show up. So the only way she could go anywhere with him, was by taking us along. The boyfriend then started coming around when she wasnt home and would take us kids for rides in the car. After awhile, he began to stop by just to pick me up. As with the other guy, I was molested. I didnt object to the attention I was getting and didnt dare tell anyone what was going on.

Eventually, I grew away from these guys and found someone my age. I remained in the closet and had "girlfriends" that never amounted to anything. A couple times, while I was a teenager, I had sex with girls. I was considered to be fairly good looking and had quite a few people express an interest in me. Guys and girls alike. But the girls never seemed to excite me as much as the guys did.

But I felt guilty everytime I had sex with a guy. It was so taboo that once I climaxed, I was ready to leave. I felt that I had to give up the "gay" stuff and try to be straight.

I moved around alot but eventually came back to the same neighborhood and met a young lady that later became my wife. We dated for a few months then we lived together for about 3 years before we married. I was determined that I was going to be straight. During the first 5 years of our marriage, an old friend of mine used to hang around alot. I had been intimate with him in the past and he brought back those feelings. I finally broke away from him and my wife & I moved to a new town.

We had 2 kids. The first was born within a year of our marriage. The second was ten years later. Our sex life was boring. She was a virgin when I met her, and she had a backwoods knowledge of sex. To her, sex was a chore. She never intitiated sex, it was always me. Several times, I had to think about the intimate times I had with the guys in order to enjoy sex with my wife.

I thought about throwing in the towel. When the first child was 10, I wanted a divorce. Her family was so intent that we can make things work, that she refused to divorce. I couldnt mention that I was gay because I was afraid that I would never get to see my son again. You know the stereotype that gay men cant be trusted among boys. Well I was afraid that this would be how I would be treated. I tried to make a go of the marriage again.

Six months before our second child was born, the sex stopped. I think it was because I tried to initiate sex and she wasnt interested. When I made up my mind that sex was off limits for the night, she commented to me that if I want to do anything, then let's go.

Now it seemed like it was a job. I had to go perform at that moment. No foreplay, just go do it and get it over with. So I remarked that I was too tired. Since then I made a vow, to myself, that I would wait until she initiated sex before I would express an interest. That was over 14 years ago and we havent had sex since. My only sexual pleasure is self gratification after looking at porn on the internet. The sites are all gay.

I should have never gotten married. I should have faced the facts that I was gay and not try to be someone that I wasnt. However, that's water under the bridge and I need to move on.

The problem with coming out of the closet is that I still have a 14 year old child at home. The same feelings deep inside of me is that I will be rejected by my kids (both boys) and forced to stay away from them because I am gay.

I hate hiding in the closet. But our family income is poor. They (my family) can not live on my wife's income (just a little over minimum wage). I make about the same wage as her and can not support a place of my own plus pay child support and possibly alimony.

The stress levels are high in my family. I work long hours and hate to be bothered. I am alienating my son because I want time to myself to read the paper, watch tv shows that I dont get to see because of work, or surf the web. I havent been participating in any of his school activites (because of work) and I have a short temper now. (Not physical).

So what to do?

Come out and ruin this family more than I have already? Or keep it a secret and stay hidden in the closet?

But hiding among the garments makes for a lonely person. I desire some physical attention and living in my home is like living with a sister or a cousin. Sure I love my wife. But I am not in love with her.

Any suggestions?

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Silverfaux,

Wow, that is a very moving account of your life. I felt trapped just reading it.

You want advice and I don't know what to say to you. For reasons which seem largely driven by shame you've created a 'straight' life for yourself and you are deeply enmeshed in that life now. You have responsibilities and relationships that are many years old. You seem to be a dutiful and loyal man. Other men would be having affairs, but you have avoided that. I think that is a very good quality, although from a purely sexual point of view it has made your life difficult. It isn't an option to redo your life; you have to deal with it the way it is today. Anybody, gay or straight, leaving an established marriage will be vilified by the family who will feel abandoned. If you leave you may risk your relationship with your son, who would probably stay with his mother. And all of the financial issues you are concerned about seem quite reasonable. So it is a difficult problem. I suppose you can simply put the issue of leaving off until your son is out of the house in a half-decade or so, but that is a lot of time to not be living your life the way you need to be living your life.

I know for a fact that there are many other gay men out there who have dealt with this issue. Have you considered trying to consult with men who have lived this out and seeing how they have handled it? I don't know of the right URL to send you to, but I don't doubt that a little searching will turn one up; a support community that gay men (and women possibly too) frequent.

This issue could also be profitably explored in therapy. In many larger communities, there are therapists who specialize in working with gay men, who will have seen many men dealing with this same issue and who will have some ideas about how people typically deal with things.

Mark

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Silverfaux,

I have many friends and acquaintances who are gay. Most of them are openly, but not "in-your-face" gay. They have allowed me to ask questions and have shared their stories of coming out of the closet.

As a wife, and knowing what I do about gay being the way you are born and not a "choice," I would support my husband if he told me he was gay. Women know when they are not loved in the marital sense. It is hard and makes me wonder why my husband can't love me even though he cares for me. Children also know when things are not "right" between parents. This said, how do you handle being true to who you are and minimize the emotional trauma to yourself and your family?

There are therapists who specialize in working with gay clients and would be an excellent place to start. This way you can plan and manage the process of coming out, marital issues, and hopefully have a reasonably amicable divorce.

I do know there are many couples who have successfully adapted and are mutually dedicated to loving and caring for their children despite a divorce and the fall out from learning about your sexual orientation. The fact that you want to minimize the pain and do the best for your family yet stop living a life that brings you so much stress and pain says much about you.

I hope I helped in some small measure and that you find comfort and peace in your life soon.

Flutterby-mom of a bisexual daughter, lesbian niece, and many gay friends. I have also dealt with gay bashing in a classroom incident and know the intolerance and hatred you risk facing when you come out. HUGS

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First of all, thank you very much for your replies.

I do feel trapped. And like someone who is caged, I want freedom with a passion. However, the consequences of that freedom comes with a dire price. A divorce is something that I can handle, but the distance that will come between my family & myself is the hardest part to handle. I have spoken with other gay people who say that coming out was the best thing they ever done. The differance between them & me; they were single.

I've looked for gay support groups in my area, but the local group 35 minutes away, only meets once a week. A day when I cant go. I tried to call their phone number, but it turned out to be a crisis line for gays who are contemplating suicide. I cant afford to pay for counseling, obviously because of the limited income.

To add another twist to my closeted world, I also have A.D.D.

You know how the anxiety builds for students with A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. and the impulsiveness that goes with it. Well, throw in the fact of hiding something like being gay and you have an idea of what I am going through. I tried Stratterra to help me focus and control the impulsiveness, but I had an unusual reaction to the drug. (My youngest son aslo has A.D.D. and was on Concerta for about 2 years) My doctor didnt want to put me on the Concerta because of the side effects and my reaction to the Stratterra

I attended a few meetings for the A.D.D. students and spoke with the school counselors. They informed us that the A.D.D. also mimics the signs of depression. So while I had insurance coverage I went to a counselor for the A.D.D. symtoms. Her comments were that I was just an average person with mild A.D.D., no signs of depression, and thought that simple guidelines would help me out. (She commented that there was something else going on that was bothering me, and when I felt comfortable enough I would discuss it. I wanted to come out to her, but I just couldnt do it.) My insurance ran out after about 6 sessions and I havent been back since.

Anyhow the anxieties build to the point where I just want to blurt it out and get it over with. But then I have the moments of reality when I start thinking of what will happen when I come out. I often wondered what happened to make me this way. Was it from the molestations when I was a young teen, or was there a defect in a gene? You dont know how much I wish I was normal and had the male/female attraction instead of being gay. However, I try not to let it get me down too much. I try to keep my attitude positive and a smile on my face. And if I may steal a line from a country song,

"I'm dying inside, and nobody knows it but me"!

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I dont' know that anyone knows definitively how sexuality is determined. Certainly a lot of it is biological (as many gay and many straight people know from the earliest years what their orientation is; and as many become gay without ever experiening molestation). However, there is also a role for "nurture" developments. What happens to people in their lives influences them in both psychological and biological ways. In high school biology, I learned this as "genotype/phenotype". the genotype is the underlying blueprint that says "build this thing". The phenotype is what happens when the blueprint gets built with the available material and is exposed to the environment. Things change during the building process as a result of what happens and what is available. The final product is a mixture of nature and nurture.

I'm sure that the molestations did not help things. regardless of any sexual orientation, people who are molest victims tend to have some issues that get in the way of a happy sex life, or just a happy life in general.

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