Michael writes the blog Coming out in Mid-Life and was the very first gay blogger who I read (along with Kelly of Rambling along in Life), many years before I knew I was gay.
Michael was also the first gay blogger who I e-mailed about my desperate situation. I still recall my fear and excitement, heart pounding, when I read his thoughtful, experienced and supportive response. His experience was like a beacon of hope for me, a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
I'll let the article speak for itself, but a few points jumped out at me:
Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed: "I believe these marriages* are toxic. (* closeted gay men married to straight wives.) Marriages are based on honest communication, intimacy on a physical and emotional level, and fidelity. A gay husband isn't able to provide this to a woman in a sustaining way, as his urges to be with men heighten as the years go on."
"The evidence also suggests that a large number of gay men are married to women."
Buddy Bear's response: I agree wholeheartedly with this, based on countless requests for sex which I've received from married men in the past four years. There are far more gay or bi men married to women out there than anyone could possibly imagine!
I must add that I had never done anything sexual with a man before marriage and had never fooled around with men during my marriage, either.
I have also told dozens of young men who I've hooked up with, such as the Hungry closeted Spaniard, that their attraction to men will only get stronger as the move into their mid 30s and beyond.
Many of them think that they can fool around with men while having a girlfriend on the side. I tell them: "Don't do it! Don't ruin the life of that young woman!"
Michael: "I certainly was not a happy person while in the closet and that unhappiness and self-hatred had to spill over into my parenting.
Despite all of the turmoil, I like to think that I am now a far better parent and, I hope my children have learned that they need to live their lives to make themselves happy, not please parents or societal expectations. "
Buddy Bear's response: During the eighteen years of my marriage, I believed that I was the best Dad in the world, and I still think this. I must point out that I do not think that I was truly closeted back then: I was just in the deepest denial about my attraction to men. In fact, I was completely unaware of the possibility of "men -on-men."
My entire life, apart from my teaching job, revolved around my kids and around our home. I did virtually everything with and for them without much help from my wife: grocery shopping, cooking, helping them with homework, teaching them countless skills ranging from welding, cooking to house wiring, car repair, carpentry and knitting.
Our fondest memories involve me taking them and gangs of their friends on a million outings such as skiing, hiking, camping, shopping, kayaking, swimming and countless school events while my wife stayed at home in bed.
Having said that, it must have been obvious to the kids that our marriage was lacking true intimacy and physical affection. This situation only worsened as my wife's bitterness towards me became more entrenched and more obvious to outsiders.
In the end, I felt trapped in a desperately unhappy situation which I could not escape, exactly the sort of "toxic" marriage which Bonnie wrote about. And in fairness, my ex-wife was equally unhappy, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage.
My next post will be on my relationship with my children right now.