Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You look so Gay in that Box...

Yesterday I was feeling very down, the ever looming deadline and realization of an impending decision seems to be taking it's toll on me. Whilst popping out for my morning ritual, which is a coffee and muesli rusk, I noticed a man walking in wearing a t-shirt with a slogan that read "I am not gay, but my boyfriend is", I had to smile. He wore it with pride and I could not help but think to myself how far we had come, and yet how far we still have to go.

This week I was upset to read how a fellow blogger seemed to struggle labeling himself as gay (which is fair enough I feel the same way), but i disagreed with his reasoning and I quote "It’s just that sometimes I don’t like being lumped in the same category as the fruity fruit loops. That sounds bad but it’s the truth." He was referring to being thrown into the same box as effeminate gay men.
I am definitely not a believer in being labeled either, I have written about this in an earlier post, and to be honest as an extremely masculine straight acting man I often struggle with the concept of classifying myself as bi-sexual let alone gay. I however have learnt that it does not matter whether or not I am labelled or choose to fit into one of the numerous boxes available as it is all irrelevant, however what does matter is that I am happy.

I try not to judge others, I have in the past, but somehow along this journey I would like to think that I have softened, become more gentle, more tolerant and less judgemental. I have come to the realization that everyone has the right to be happy, but often it comes with great hardship, especially when it comes to ones sexual identity. So I have to ask myself, how is it that someone who is battling with his own sexuality, who is unable to be brave enough to live his life openly, and hides the truth not only from his family and friends, but from himself as well (I am not judging him for this), still finds it within himself to criticize effeminate gays? Does he not realize that they represent the very thing he is striving for....a honest and open life, a more accepting world and an understanding of there sexuality.

I wish I was raised not only in a more accepting time, but that I had parents that were more open minded to me being different, I pursued living their expectations of a life that they desired for me as i was not brave enough to live the construct of my own life or challenge and questione what was presented to me as the right path.
I have no regrets, I was blessed to marry a wonderful woman, with whom anyone would be thrilled to have as their life partner, and I have been blessed with two beautiful children, but I remain with the question, would this have been my choice knowing what I now know, having explored my sexuality and knowing that I have the capacity to not only be with a man sexually, but to love him as well?

On Sunday night, my boyfriends emotions and the challenge and frustration of the last few weeks culminated into and emotional outbreak and the desire for him to now have an answer. I got the sense that he was less concerned as to what the answer would be than him actually receiving the answer itself, I think that the desire to get on with his life had become all too consuming. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt our mutual love, and I certainly don't doubt his desire for a future together, but I think and fairly so, that everyone involved is now exhausted and requiring some sense of stability and normality back in their lives
We have all been on a roller coaster ride over the last few months, but I would like to think that despite the pain, torment and exhaustion we have all endured, we all seem to be allot more aware of ourselves and each one of us would agree maybe even better people.

I can honestly say, I am not sure which life it is I see myself happiest in, I guess I will never fully know. I do know that letting go of either life though is going to be enormously challenging for me. I not only have fears with choosing a life, but I also have fears about the life I choose to leave behind.
Leaving my wife, would mean leaving my home, and allowing her to not only meet new men, but to also allow that man to play the role of father to my children. Yes I would always be their Dad, but it is a hard pill to swallow to imagine another man having more time with my children than even I, not to mention my children's mental states, my wife's emotions and everything else I would be giving up on.
Leaving my boyfriend leaves me with the fear and notion of someone else having the access to him that I have enjoyed, it will be hard to stop worrying and caring for him, i think of him so often and I fear that he would regress back into an empty life with little regard to how wonderful and special he is, but through it all, the fear that worries me the most, its the fear of simply not having either my wife or boyfriend in my life.

I honestly believe that I find myself having to make this decision that I am now faced with because i was not raised knowing that exploring and challenging this part of myself in my youth was ok. I find myself in this situation for fear of being judged, labelled and ridiculed just as my fellow blogger is doing to others even in his own struggle for his identity, but most of all I struggle within myself to undo the fear that exists in my own limitations from leading this life.
I guess if I was brave enough to wear a t-shirt in public it would read "I am not gay, but I love my boyfriend", the question is am I brave enough, or would I rather just ridicule others who are?


  1. It's amazing how many people, gay and straight, fear the gay label (myself included). I myself spent many years avoiding the label entirely until I was forced to step out into the light. I'm forced to concede I STILL have difficulty with it, dispite my strides forward.

    I can really identify with this post.

  2. I understand what you write but don't agree with everything.

    I hide this secret from my family and friends and everyone around, but I do not strive for anything more. When I made my decisions (to get married etc...) I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for. I strived (and still do strive) to maintain both "lifestyles" and I am perfectly happy with it.

    Not every married guy wants to come out of the closet and live their life as a gay man.


  3. Interesting thoughts, and interesting way of seeing how you see the others along this journey with you. Having been in a similar situation and knowing many others who have too... I offer a thought from the other side of the table ...

    "Never allow someone to be your priority while you're just their option."

    I have no doubt that you offer real and vivid feelings for both people, this is no way meant to be a take on that. Just a thought.

  4. Wow. I kinda agree with some points. And then not so much with others. If their were no innocent by-standers, i.e no wife, kids or boyfriend - what would you do. Where would your natural inclination to date someone lie. Would it be a gay dating website or a straight one? Are you bisexual? Kinsey said we can be attracted to both sexes - and while I also agree that it is the person that counts - for me I can honestly say at this point that dating a woman would be settling. So maybe explore your sexuality. Dont choose either. Choose your life. YOUR life. You only have one - make the best of it. Your wife, bf and kids are not dying. You will always be their dad. Dont make everything sound so final. You are going to regret making a choice to not hurt someone, rather than doing whats best for you. And i say this because both your wife and boyfriend deserve a deep, profound and meaningfull love with someone who wants to be with them and only them. Im sorry - thats just my two cents worth!!!

    As for stereo types - i also try not to judge - people are people. I love being me. Sometimes I like to kcik box - sometimes I like to sing along with Beyonce. Straight acting, masculine, fruity - they are all labels that define nothing. A person is a person. Yes it annoys me when some people are total drama queens - but maybe they are happy. Each to his own I guess.....

    No judgment here - just thoughts....

  5. oops. first 'their' in my comment meant to be 'there'!

    c monster

  6. The fellow blogger that you mention (and I don't know who it is and I don't want to know) seems to have internalized homophobia, as we all do to some degree. It is insidious, making us question our actions and dislike others in our own community. It's also the rigid gender stereotypes that the modern Western world has regarding how men should act.

    Cookie Monster raises a good point - which sex do you most want to be with? Not which person, but which sex? If it is a man, but you choose to stay with your wife to lessen the pain for her, your kids, your family, and to avoid the hurt that coming out would cause you and those around you, I fear that you will look back with regret on your decision.

    As I reread this, it sounds like I'm telling you what to do, and I'm not. I do think that I know the easier path for a married man in your situation, and the easy path often isn't the right one.

  7. As a fellow closeted gay/bi guy, I can't help but wonder: If you had to do it all over again, would you have disclosed your sexuality to your wife?

    Considering the effect it has had on your family, children, even your boyfriend...was it worth it?

  8. I agree with some of your statements and others, mmmm not so much.
    It is true that this situation involves more than just yourself, but i do not believe that others can be happy around you if you are not happy yourself. This you can only achieve to be content and honest.
    Why are you afraid to be labeled as gay and not afraid of being labeled straight. We are all individuals and at the end of the days that is what you will be judged upon. There are many facets of being straight and many of being gay but this is not who you are.
    Yes it does take a brave soul (forgive my spelling, i'm terrible) to live as an openly gay person, but even braver is to show yourself as an individual...

  9. Thanks for all the comments and advice:
    For me the desire to explore this part of myself became all to consuming. I was unable to do it whilst living a double life as the decision to take this journey was one about being honest. So I do not regret telling my wife, however I do regret the pain that it has caused.
    For me the journey was not merely about sex with a man, but the exploration of the desire to live a gay life, and in which life I would feel more whole. I am certain I am bi-sexual, but even in that I wanted to explore which sexual preference I leaned more towards.

    I am lucky to have a wonderful wife, and part of this all is about being fair to her, and exploring if I am able to be the husband that she deserves.

    So to answer BI LIKE ME, yes it was worth it, there has been pain, but there has also been allot of wonder that has come out of this all. In being honest I have allowed everyone the choice, yes the truth can hurt, but for me it was the lies that were destroying me.
    I think it remains my pursuit for a honest life that will ultimately get me to where it is that I truly want to be.

    I probably wish that I was able to live a double life, it probably would be more completing and I understand how people can do it, just that for me, it was not what I wanted.

  10. Bubby:

    You're spot on with "So I have to ask myself, how is it that someone who is battling with his own sexuality, who is unable to be brave enough to live his life openly, and hides the truth not only from his family and friends, but from himself as well (I am not judging him for this), still finds it within himself to criticize effeminate gays? Does he not realize that they represent the very thing he is striving for....a honest and open life, a more accepting world and an understanding of there sexuality."

    Two -- Anon writes, "Never allow someone to be your priority while you're just their option." I could not agree w you more. I'm going to be bold and direct and frank here because I'm removing myself from the eye of this storm. Look, never allow someone to be your priority while you're just their option. in saying that, right now, you are not thinking about YOURSELF. How long have you known your bf? How long have you been dating??? As far as we're concerned, though real and fun and new and life-affirming and wonderful, it's still very fresh and new. Right now, you are you bf's option. DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO PRESSURE YOU. You've been with your WIFE for HOW LONG???? Come on. Your other mate just came on the scene. He has NOOOOO IDEA what you've shared with your wife... and what it's like to be a father of TWO! If he truly cares for you and wants to GROW with you, he'll give you alllll the space in the world to just be.

    Cookie Monster is very correct in saying that your writing sounds so "final". The fact is: this process is NOT final. It will evolve and change and develop over time. You cannot see "your decision" as final. Bcos you have no idea what changes your "decision" will bring.

    My advice? FOCUS ON YOU AND YOUR IMMEDIATE family. Your bf? You've been dating for only "X" months. Bluntly, he needs to take a chill pill. What you're going through is not for the faint of hear. In the end, you will come out a grown and even more mature individual. To him, you're just his bf... his newest crush... his latest lover... that he might see a LTR with... BUT right now, this is NOT about him. This is about YOU and your immediate family. IF he's TRULY interested in your long-term welfare, he'll back off, relax, continue with his life and allow you God's Time to evolve.

    Again, YOU and your wife and your kids have a long road ahead. Like your 5yr old daughter's crushes, this is really your 1st M2M relationship. I'm not diminishing it. I'm just saying, you are not his option. Your priority should be YOU and YOU only. Second is your family. Once that is settled, the entire gay world (including your bf) will await you. Don't allow peer pressure to pressure you. It's hard enough w/o it.