Guilt seems to be the commonest emotion among married men with children who figured out (or admitted) they were gay later in life.
I've been reading the blog What a long strange trip, written by Jim, a late 40ish father of three college-aged children and married almost 25 years. Jim is at a crossroads and is "about to burst" as he contemplates the possibility of life as a gay man. Please check out Jim's blog and perhaps leave a comment. I love his honesty, integrity, sense of humour and writing style.
- will my kids will be harassed / shunned when everyone finds out about me?
- will the kids be messed up when our family breaks apart?
- will my family be financially ruined?
- will my wife ever be happy?
- should I have told my wife sooner about my sexuality, rather than stringing her along for years or even decades?
I know in my heart that I entered into my marriage in good faith, without any hint that I would develop an attraction to men. I worked very hard supporting my family. I raised them for nearly twenty years, operating much of the time as a defacto single parent as my wife spent every possible moment away from the house. I endured years of relentless criticism, anger and complaints but I chose to stay. I felt I needed to be there to raise the kids and run our household. Had I left, I would have feared for my kids' safety and well-being.
Now that we are separated, I continue to behave with compassion and responsibility towards my wife who is going through an extremely difficult time. We still have our moments of drama, but they occur far less often. She is no longer telling me that she wished I was dead, throwing furniture or threatening to get gasoline and burn my house down. I really want her to be happy, although I have long thought that she is, in fact, incapable of happiness.
I will admit that it took me a very long time to accept the fact that I was gay, but now I am fully out to everyone who matters in my life. I don't regret any of it, even my marriage. Having regrets is just allowing your past to cripple your future. (I borrowed that line from Under the Tuscan Sun.)
My kids are turning into responsible, compassionate and productive citizens who seem unconcerned by my gayness. As I said to my kids recently, if your mom and I hadn't have gotten married, none of you would exist! I am pushing ahead on my gay journey with no regrets and no guilt.