There isn't a day that goes by that someone doesn't finally take a stand and come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The comings out we usually hear about are those of young people or celebrities. Often forgotten are those who figure out this sexual-orientation thing much later in life.
We late bloomers are often called "liars," "cheaters," or "hypocrites." I get it, and I resemble those labels, as would most people who know they've lived a lie for 10, 20, 30, or 40-plus years. Yet underneath those despicable labels is a human, one who found himself or herself in the hot water of confused sexual orientation, out of love and compassion and a desire to do what they believed was right at the time.
Yes, I said "love and compassion." I realize it's hard to equate love and compassion with lying, cheating, and hypocrisy, but I want to invite you to try. Try to look at the possibility that you may one day have to face the fact that you're married to a gay man or woman -- and don't get cute and say, "Well, if I'm gay too, then what's the problem?" You know what I mean: You're in a heterosexual marriage and suddenly find yourself wondering, "What if I'm married to a homosexual?"
First reactions to the coming out of a spouse are typically gnashing of teeth, screaming in anger, and raising hands to the heavens, crying, "Why me?" I'm not going to ask you not to have those types of reactions. You're human, for crying out loud! What I'm going to invite you to do is try a few new thoughts on for size, thoughts laced in love and understanding.
- Out of love for their religion or spirituality, they made the choice to hide. You'd have to have been an ostrich with your head in the sand for the last 1,000 years or more if you didn't know that, biblically speaking, homosexuality is frowned upon. If you are a religious or spiritual person with strong convictions yourself, imagine throwing all those beliefs away because of who you are deep within yourself. It probably wouldn't happen, and if it did, it would tear you apart.
- Blood is thicker than self-love. Hold up your right hand and swear on a Bible that you've never tried to please Mom and Dad! Just as I thought. We've all been there, done that. Oftentimes the person who hid in the closet did so because failing Mom and Dad would have meant failing miserably. In some cases, these individuals don't even come out until their parents have passed from this human existence.
- They chose to have a make-it-work moment that lasted longer than a moment. Surprisingly, may gay people don't have an issue having sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex. It's not their orientation, but somehow they can make it happen. Now layer on the belief systems, societal pressure, and family ties, and provided that there wasn't a complete disgust for sex with the opposite sex, the stage is set for "This isn't so bad, and I can fake it!"
- It was a "passing phase" that never passed. We all grow and change. Hello, remember puberty? Hormones raging, pimples breaking out, in love one moment, out of love the next, and before we know it, we're all grown up and, for the most part, teenage angst has passed and we're fully functional adults, or at least trying to be. In one way or another we've all had our crushes on someone of the same sex. Yes, even Mr. Macho sitting on the couch, scratching his groin, has had a few bromances with his favorite Monday Night Football heroes. The difference for the gay individual is the passing-phase crush didn't pass. It's their reality. It's their orientation. It's their comfort zone. As much you might like to think it's all about sex, it's actually all about overall attraction -- an attraction that never died and never went to rest.
The next time you shudder at the thought of having to admit, "My spouse just came out of the closet," here's a new perspective I'd challenge you to take.
- You have a gay spouse... plain and simple.
- Feel for them and consider the turmoil they've been in before you go all postal about what they've just done to you.
- Love them the same way you've loved them and the same way they've loved you. The only thing that's changed is that you're not the right fit for them, nor they for you, any longer.
- This challenge is happening for you and for them. Embrace it.
- Feel for them and support them. In return, ask them to feel for you and support you.
- Take a stand with them in society if it is in alignment with your core values. Don't hide your support. Be a beacon of light.
I know firsthand the pain I brought upon my wife. I admit I caused it, but not all of it. I caused the breakup, the lies, the cheating. What I didn't cause is the view of homosexuality that society has taken. What I didn't create are the family values my family created. What I didn't design is my biology that causes me to be more sexually, emotionally, and spiritually attracted to men.
I didn't intentionally plan to hurt a beautiful woman and two little girls whom I love with all my heart. Because of that, I've learned that if the tables were turned and I suddenly found out that my partner of 13 years had been trying to live a homosexual life just to please me, I'd simply admit that I have a heterosexual spouse who needs my support, and that I'm willing to work with him to unravel our relationship so that we can both move powerfully into our intended journeys in our human experience.
Are you struggling to find yourself in your sexuality or deal with a spouse who's come out? Hit me up for a complimentary consultation on how to come out without coming unglued.