As I’ve gotten to know other men who have been married and now identify as gay, separating from their wives has come with various levels of pain. I count myself among the lucky men, because as difficult as it was to move out of my house and separate from my wife, starting a new life has been wonderful in so many ways. I have felt freedom, honesty, and integrity that I never had before, ever! The pain of hiding, since puberty, my sexual orientation, is gone.
In some ways, I feel luckier than men who have been out for years. So many of the men I have met have a resigned world-weary tone. Or they have built a wonderful but solitary life of work, gym, home, dog, friends, but have not had any significant long term relationships.
For me, the gay world is still one of wonder. I’m still learning and discovering. This is not to say that I made the right choice in staying in the closet. It would have been much better for me in so many ways to have come out younger. But, that aside, I feel there’s a sense of discovery I have about the gay world that other men who have been out for their adult lives do not. I also feel in part that I identify with the younger generation of gay men who have entered a world of acceptance and equality that did not exist just a few years ago.
Coming out to family, friends, work has all gone amazingly well. I guess I was the most surprised by my parents, who are older, and my aunt in her late 80’s, who were wonderfully welcoming to the news. I was also surprised how positive my coming out at work turned out to be. More people than I would have guessed had gay sisters (two men); gay friends in college (two other men), gay friends in their lives today (one of the women), and were almost to person, welcoming and accepting.
I went on a date last night with a guy that reached out to me on Match. I had the sense from our emails and his profile and photos that he would be a nice guy. He turned out to be a highly educated guy, about my age, and it was a lovely evening. While I don’t know where this will go, this kind of evening gives me hope that there are great men out there waiting to be met.
And so the journey continues, and I’m excited about what I will discover.