I was a little tense about this all day, not the actual "coming out" part, but because my wife would be there as well. Apart from our difficult phone conversations, we hadn't met in a few days. She arrived more emotionally fragile and distraught that I'd ever seen her in 20 years.
I felt very sorry for her but I hope this was the worst moment, and that she would eventually feel better soon. By contrast, I was as happy and serene as a Buddha but I tried to conceal this as it would upset my wife. She thinks I'm taking this all too lightly; I'm not, but the whole coming-out process has been so positive and empowering!
We all sat down together and I told the kids (16, 14) the facts:
- I starting noticing an attraction to men about 10 years ago,but had great difficulty in first recognizing, then admitting what it meant.
- The hardest thing was to actually admit to myself that I was bisexual or gay and this occurred very recently. (I know I sound still in denial, but the debate "Do bisexuals exist? will be the subject of future post.)
- Their mother found out accidentally over a year ago.
- The past year has been extremely difficult for her as she tried to cope by spending as much time as possible away from me.
- The kids needed to treat their mother with a great deal of compassion.
- The severe emotional distress and anger experienced by their mother caused her behaviour to be not as usual; that she was lashing out a lot of the time.
- Then my wife cut in with a breaking voice saying, "I deserve to be happy.... and the only I can be happy is to spend most of the time at my house. (on the lake). You kids can live here full-time, come live with me full time, or travel back and forth as you wish. I just can't live here." The "D" word wasn't mentioned, but the kids got the message, I'm sure. It was heartbreaking for me to listen to her pain; there was nothing I could do to fix it.
- I said that the kids should try to spend as much time as they could at their mother's house... that it woudn't kill them to do so.
- I also floated the idea that I would sell my house and get a place on the lake, so the kids can go back and forth easily. They seemed receptive to this idea.
- The kids and I hugged; I said I was sorry for the shocking news, but telling the truth is the best way to deal with this.
- My wife asked if they had any idea that I was gay. They said, "no."
- I said that this was probably the most difficult moment and that things will get better from her.
- We all agreed that our 19 year old daughter (2000 miles away at school) will be told in person when she returns at the end of April. She's a sweet and compassionate young woman; I know she will be fine with the news and concerned about her mother's emotional state.
After repeatedly assuring their mother they were fine, my wife went out to the car to wait for my daughter, who will be staying with her for a day or two. My son refused to go with them despite repeated requests from both of us, but said he will go out on Sunday.
With my wife out in the car, I emphasized to the kids again that it was this issue which caused their mother to be so angry for the past year. I said that bringing this out in the open could only make her happier, eventually, so everyone will be happier. My daughter hugged me and thanked me for telling them my secret; that it was good that they knew. That was very special!
I told the kids that it was unlikely that their mother and I would ever live in the same house again for more than a few days, even though my wife told me yesterday that I could still go out to the lake house in the summer, on occasion, and she could spend a regular weeknight or two here. It may take time for that to occur. My daughter said she understood that.
I said to my daughter, "This means we could now check out hot guys together." We had a great laugh at that, and then I said that I hoped that we wouldn't be interested in the same age group of men. I also said that it was highly unlikely that I would want to find a partner for many years to come. If fact, I said, I might must be like my beautiful, vivacious grandmother was widowed at 40 and lived alone in perfect happiness for 55 years despite many suitors. "Why would I want some old man to look after?"
My daughter left with my wife. I asked my son what he thought of it all; was he really all right?. He said, "I'm fine, Dad. When's supper?" We discussed the menu and I am now making roast chicken thighs, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.but right now, I'm pretty darned happy. I'm sure that very difficult situations will occur as we go along, but I'm sure the kids will be just fine.