January 2016 Update

_MyHusbandIsGay

Well it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and with the new year, I figured it’s time for an update. Way back in January of last year, I posted about coming out to a friend. In the year since then, I’ve come out to  two other friends, and just a few of weeks ago, my wife shared our situation with a close friend of hers. So, progress, I guess. No resolution; no major turning points; but incremental progress nonetheless.

So where do we stand? I’m still gay, my wife is still straight, and we’re still married. I’m still celibate. I still love my wife. I’m still confused. And I’m still afraid for the future. I’m out now to five friends – the five people I would consider my closest friends. My wife, a friend from high school, a college roommate, a graduate school buddy, and my writer friend. In the process of coming out over the past couple of years I’ve gain a few small insights.

Acceptance is a low bar

Four of the five people I’ve come out to already knew some of the story. Like my wife, they’re all people that I confided in early in our relationships. They all shared the same evangelical understanding that I embraced at that time – specifically that being “same-sex attracted” wasn’t a sin, but “acting on it” was (see Not Chipper). So with each of these friends, early in our relationships, there was a “round one” coming out. Not “I’m gay,” but rather “I struggle with homosexual temptation.” And I remember clearly what a relief it was when they accepted me anyway!

It now strikes me as sad that I felt like that was at stake. I trusted them enough to confide in them, but not enough that I had any confidence in their response.

Judgment is a two-way street

So from my teen years onward, I’ve had a group of friends who supported me as a “same-sex attracted” guy striving to live an “evangelical-approved” straight lifestyle. When I myself bought into that mindset, it was great to have such support; but as my own views changed, it just turned into a new and different closet. “Sure they like me now, but if they only knew…” Keeping Secrets is exhausting.

And so I feared their judgment if they were to find out. But it struck me recently that I had been guilty of judging them in the same way that I only feared that they would judge me. If they found out that I had become gay-affirming in my beliefs, I was afraid that they would reject me. But in truth, if they had been gay-affirming in the first place, I probably would have never pursued a relationship.

I need more gay friends

One constant throughout the years has been the perpetual sense of isolation. It certainly helps to be out to my closest friends (I’m no longer alone with my thoughts), but then again it can be isolating in a different way. For most of them, I’m their one gay friend. Pretty poor exemplar, wouldn’t you say? When I was fully in the closet, being gay was nothing in my life. Then as I came out, it suddenly became the most salient thing. But when I’m with other gay people, it feels like it’s no longer nothing, and it’s also not everything; it can just be something – a part of who I am.

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8 comments

  1. I also came out to two of my closest friends last year. While they said they still loved me and accepted me for who I am, I realized I had a long way to go to crush the stereotype perception they had of what a gay man is like. I was able to spend time with them recently and educate them. It did bring our friendships a lot closer, but I agree with your last point, we do need more gay friends.

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  2. Greg.

    Your story reminds me of my former husband’s and mine. We were young evangelical students who fell in love and were each other’s best friend. Innocent and naive we were and yet the Lord helped us…and still is helping us… I can only hope that the Lord would bring comfort to you and your wife. I don’t know if it will help but here is our story… https://hannahhurst.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/our-story/.

    I am sure that Lance would love it if you messaged him if you needed someone to process things out with. You can find him on Facebook at lanc2980.

    One thing I will say that was not portrayed in our story is that Christian counseling often pushes to have you stay together and secular counseling pushes to have you be apart. It has been almost a year since Lance and I separated and he is just as much my soul mate today as he was then. I do not know if I will ever find another. Though our decision has been made, and we will continue to grow apart, I cannot help but wonder if in 50 years the constructs of our biological makeup will be done and dealt with and the framework for marriage much more open and altered. My point is that maybe our sexual makeup can be real and present and yet also not so all encompassing. Maybe with the right culture and adaptation we can just be who we are and be together, even in such situations as M.O. marriages. Though I know there is so much more to it than this oxymoronic statement that may have more to do with wishful thinking than anything, I would suggest that maybe one helpful thing would be for you both to ask yourselves what you want through the lens of what you both can agree would be possible rather than through what you both might be afraid to be impossible.

    I hope this is helpful and not harming.

    With much empathy,
    Hannah Hurst

    My prayers are with you both.

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  3. I am glad you came out to a few people, but all of them were your church buddies and associates. You NEED to accept your self first, before anyone else can accept you. Now why do you need validation from others on your private and personal relationships. Does your pastor get up on Sunday and tell every one how often he has sex with the Mrs Pastor, and how they do it? I don’t get why you keep demeaning your self and beating your self up. Your expecting more out of your self than you do anyone else around you. You wont even put some expectations on your wife, and you try to shoulder all the blame for every thing that goes wrong, like some type of mythical superhero. Well Friend , you are human, you are as you are, gay, and you have desires in that line. Now lots of gay men have married, fathered children and then went where they needed to. I am not saying abandon your family, but at least ask them for equal respect. My wonderful husband of almost 26 years was married to a female when he was just out of high school. He realized after two years neither of them were happy nor satisfied. It pays to be who you are, for every one. Be well and please stop beating your self up at being born gay, you did not do it, if you need to blame someone blame your great god, but simply accept your self as a great person and move forward. Hugs

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