Monday, May 12, 2008

Coming out agian

I am still working on the letter to my children telling them their dad is way gay. How 'bout we start with "a little bit gay." They don't need to know everything yet. As they mature, I want to let them know some of my struggles and misdeeds.

Families are as sick as their secrets, and I want my family to be as healthy as we can. But there are no quick fixes or easy ways out. I grew up with too many secrets, too much silence. The elephant(s) in the living room went ignored and unnamed far too long. This is no easy task and risks much., but it will be worth it.

My teenagers have been brought up to be open minded, inclusive, liberal, accepting. They each have friends or acquaintances who are gay. But when it's Dad . . . . .

Talk about a big "reality check!" The reality they have always known will be called in to question by this reality they have not known. If they distrust their perceptions of life, of me, of what is real, will they question my love and commitment to them? Probably, but I hope only fleetingly. Of course it will shake things up, shake them up. My prayer is that they will come around (and quickly) to see that I share this to help them get a better grip on reality. I share it all because I love them.

To clarify something: I am writing a letter but only to help me focus my thoughts and choose my words wisely. In June, their mom and I will sit down with them, and I will read it to them. This will help me stay on track and not go off on a tangent. Hey, I am ADD after all.

We used this plan last summer, telling them about our separation and my moving out of the house. That was a shock, too. But at least the younger one "saw it coming." I ain't so sure "gay" is on their radar. We shall see.

11 comments:

Lemuel said...

I just finished reading Maddog's post of the day and yours was next. I celebrate with you in the first step you have taken for your release into truth. I have yet myself even to go there. It seems that our rooms are crowded with elephants.

My thoughts and prayers go with you as you head toward June.

BentonQuest said...

Joe, I know this can't be easy, but I also know that the truth WILL set you and those around you free. Know that God travels with you through all of this, as do your friends in the blogosphere.

A Troll At Sea said...

BT:

I am so glad that your wife is still willing to do this awe-ful thing with you. I can't help thinking that her presence will go a long way to helping both you in speaking, and them in hearing, what is bound to be uncomfortable truth.

Bless you all.
T@C

Jeremiah Andrews said...

Sounds like a good plan. It is better to be on your toes and on solid footing when something like this is going to occur.

I forgot your kids are a little older than I had remembered. Maybe they will grow up a little more and not have to go through the drama of acceptance, You are still Daddy and that will never change. Your kids are your kids until you die.

If they love you then what you are will be less a distraction than WHO you are to them and to thine own self be true.

Keep us posted.

Luv
Jeremy

Anonymous said...

From one of your female readers, an ex-wife of a gay man (married 19 years, separated and divorced for 2 years now): For my kids, and I suspect yours as well, they were surprised about the gay thing, but were most upset by the sudden change in their parent as a moral leader. They did not believe being gay was immoral, but really struggled with the aspects of the lifestyle my ex chose to follow - namely having anonymous sex, having an affair while still married, and having a relationship with someone who had been arrested several times and was a drug user. This seemed very un-fatherly to them and crushed them. My ex worked (actually still does) for the church and had sort of a holier-than-thou attitude up until disclosure. He got upset when someone burped, for heavens sake.

In any case, I guess I would caution you against clearing your own conscience by telling them about your misdeeds, and in turn giving them a very, very heavy and confusing load to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

In the first few months after disclosure to the kids, my ex must have felt so relieved and free, and this caused some missteps with the kids. He had some weird conversations about drug use, masturbation, and porn with the kids (then 17, 15, and 11). This difference between his thoughts at the time and who the kids thought he was drove two of the three into needing therapy.

Just some thoughts. It is such a tragic situation for all involved.

Ur-spo said...

my experience is most people 'know' at some level anyway, so very few are 'shocked' by such announcements. You may be dissappointed that they say little more than 'oh, we knew that'.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Wow, that will be a big step and I wish you all the best in a tough situation Joe. Who knows hopefully being honest with them will make you guys closer in the long run.

Donald said...

God bless your efforts, Joe.

Hirsute polyamorous bear said...

I'm glad you're going to sit down with your wife and children and say it. I found out about my own dad from one of his former long-term (i.e. 10+ years) lovers. Figured out the other 13+ years lover, also a good friend of mine. I felt let down only in that he didn't tell me himself and that I had to hear it from someone else, and a vindictive someone at that.

Truth might hurt momentarily, but it hurts far less than an extended lie.

I'm with you, sending you good juju. :-*

Birdie said...

Secrets have such power that dissipates when you release them. You and your wife have a good plan here. Prayers for courage, peace and comfort for all of you.

afod said...

I like your approach to this and your analogy as to how healthy one can be without secrets. Finding out that your children were brought up to be very inclusive, I think this will not be as traumatic. And as was said earlier about the divorce, one may have seen the writing on the wall for some time about "Dad eventually coming out." I think what I would be concerned about is how the children will be treated if and when word gets out amongst the students your children are friends with and go to school with. (((((Joe)))))