Friday, January 14, 2011

Maybe Breaking Up Isn't So Hard to Do

When you think about it, parents lie to their kids more often than almost anyone else:

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny.

"You're not hurt!"

"Mommy and I are just wrestling!"

In the spirit of 'good' parental lying, Gabbie and I have decided to delay telling our kids that we're splitting up for as long as possible.

Instead we're going to say that mom's job has become so intense that she must sleep away from the house several nights a week.

Think they'll fall for it?

Fortunately they are all self-absorbed teenagers...and we all know how dumb they can be. Also, to make the lie seem more believable, Gabbie has decided to sleep at home every other night. (Any bets on how long that will last?)

With the kids temporarily handled, the dark cloud hanging over Gabbie and I has been the fear of telling her mother that we're separating. Mommy is so involved with our daily lives that she's like our third spouse; she expects to be consulted about every decision.

Neither Gabbie nor I have been expecting mom to take the news very well. In fact, before we told her we each guessed what her reaction would be. We both agreed: Angry!

It turns out that our fears were unfounded. Mommy did not freak out. There was no yelling, bitter recriminations or guilt-laden criticisms. For whatever reason, mom took the news in stride. I guess she wasn't surprised.

Without any major objections from Mommy and with the kids sent on a mental trip to Fantasyland, both Gabbie and I feel some sense of relief. Breaking up, so far at least, hasn't been that awful after all.

There's still plenty of people to be told, but to insulate the kids for as long as possible we're not in a hurry to tell anyone else.

Both of us are simultaneously excited and afraid about the change we're making. Gabbie seems to be a little more excited and I am a little more afraid. After spending my entire adult life with her it's hard to imagine not having her as my partner. Yet, being able to openly date men...it's a life-long dream that's about to come true.

Part of me can't wait to post my first on-line ad or to attend my first gay social event. Another part of me does not feel at all ready to let go of my old life. I'm trying to find an equilibrium between those two opposing forces.

I think I've done that by creating a plan:

Gabbie is moving out on Sunday. From then until the end of the month, I won't do anything differently. I need to take that time to adjust. Starting in February I will turn my focus toward the future. In anticipation of dating I'll buy some new clothes, maybe get an expensive haircut, take some pictures, write a dating profile, and figure out some ways to make gay friends. In a month, on February 15th, I'll take the plunge.

Who knows...maybe by mid-March I'll have had sex with a guy for the first time in eight years.

Wish me luck.

15 comments:

  1. Congrats Cameron, It looks like you have made a lot of progress, in just a short time getting off the marry-go-round.

    If your kids are teens, they probably have friends with divorced parents so the idea may not be that strange to them. When I told my kids about 9 months ago (and they ranged from 6 to 14) and once they realized that their life was not changing that much, they never really gave it much of a though.

    An added benefit is not that they know, it is not so strange when K brings AJ (her boyfriend) to the house.

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  2. Thanks for putting the pressure on me. Looking at your timeline, you have made a lot of progress since The Conversation just a few weeks ago. And the mother wasn't so angry? What more can you ask for?

    I really believe that you will find someone as soon as you post your dating profile. To make it more believable, Gabbie should make it an out of town trip where instead of every other night she will be "out of town" from Sundays through Wednesdays/Thursdays. Every other night will raise questions if your kids are teenagers. But of course, I am a self-diagnosed schizophrenic, so I would say to just tell them the truth and that you guys are separating. Feel free to discard any advice from me since I have been slow to follow others' advice myself.

    Jim - Did you mean to spell marry-go-round that way? If so, very clever.

    My word verification today was "tacializ" but at first glance I thought it was well..."facialjiz" It's Saturday morning and I haven't had my daily exercise. Please excuse me.

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  3. Good luck and congratulations! You are making real progress on your journey.

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  4. It's good that's it's going so smoothly; don't underestimate your kids, though. They're not nearly as clueless as parents like to believe.

    Aside from that, be careful not to put your own internal kid in charge of the candy store. It's great that you'll actually have an opportunity to explore a part of your life that has hitherto been repressed, but try not to go overboard with it - or at least so overboard that you do something you end up regretting. Enjoy yourself, but also bear in mind that your internal gyroscope is going to be wobbling for a while, so your moral or ethical decisions on certain matters may not be entirely on the level.

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  5. My only piece of advice is don't lie to your kids too much. When they eventually find out the truth when they age to become young adults, they'll resent you like the plague. Otherwise, thumbs up.

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  6. Cameron,
    We are all behind you, and know you will look back on this momentous decision that seems to becoming executed with a lot less emotional pain than many other couples go through. It must be a bit sad to see how quickly Gabbie is making her move out seem postive, as it may make you distrust how much she ever really loved you and how much you really knew her.
    But you are now able to prepare for your own new future, and that is incredible given where you were in your thought process and blog musings only months ago.
    The kids? Be honest as quickly as possible - and I bet their reactions will be, we could see it coming and thanks for telling us what we knew was inevitable. The may love their mother but they know their mother well and could see she had checked out of family life in a big way. You think kids don't compare their parents and talk about what is going on in their various "fucked up" homes?

    Now to you - your plan makes a lot of sense. And as you watched me, a man old enough to be your father as you kindly reminded me once, find men coming on to me within the first day of posting on A4A - you will have no problems finding some men - in fact the number of men on A4A alone will ovewhelm you. And will you have your own "gay adolescent" phase like I did? Beware, you have these logical constructs and planning instincts even more than me, then reality takes you somewhere else.

    Just take off the blinders and get your self confidence back and use your shrewd instincts to use the net and other means to find the profile of men most likely to become a friend or more.

    Use your blog to work out the dilemmas you face in making choices and moves....you are great at dishing out advice, but you are about to go into a dating mode as a man who has not done that for decades, so ask for all the help we can give you and consider lining up a shrink to be a regular voice of reason and support for you.

    Best of luck Cameron, it is indeed a brand new life you are about to have and it will be spectacular, trust that.

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  7. Wow...this is probably the most significant event since you started your blog!

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  8. I am SO glad for you, Cameron. You deserve to be happy. Take good care of yourself.

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  9. I am so impressed.

    When I was struggling around ending my 35 year marriage, my therapist said to me, "If you carefully consider all the options and the persons involved and then decide is it best for you to end the marriage, it will be best for every one else too." My marriage is over ten years ago, and he was right. I am in a much better place in my life; my kids are doing their lives much better than either my wife or I were at comparable ages; and my wife seems be navigating -- from what I hear second hand -- to her satisfaction.

    So I give you the same counsel, especially with respect to your children. Remember, had you stayed in a dysfunctional marriage, what you will have modeled for your kids is that is it okay to be in a relationship which doesn't work, which isn't really a relationship.

    So yeah, Good Luck, Blessings, GodSpeed. I am very very happy for you.

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  10. your self control is astounding. eight years...?

    congratulations and good luck.

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  11. I think your kids will be mad if you dont tell them upfront. They are teens, and while very self absorbed, also are wanting to be treated on a more even footing, and by not telling them, you are in effect saying they are not old enough to either understand, or handle the situation. They arent stupid, they know the marriage is troubled, dont let them hear the news of your divorce from someone else.

    I'm very glad that she is moving out, and you are planning to start dating again. This will be good for the both of you.

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  12. "Think they'll fall for it?

    Fortunately they are all self-absorbed teenagers...and we all know how dumb they can be. Also, to make the lie seem more believable, Gabbie has decided to sleep at home every other night. (Any bets on how long that will last?)"

    Cameron I say be careful... They are only as dumb as they want you to believe they are. My biggest regret during my coming out process was lying to my kids...

    Congrats on the newest news for you and Gabbie

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  13. I've been lurking around here for a while and I think this is my first comment here.

    I have to agree with Blurred. When your kids inevitably find out THE truth, and that both you and Gabbie lied to them about/during the split (particularly your older kids), there will quite likely be some very negative consequences. It's possible that these consequences will be worse than telling them the truth right now (though I am not saying you should do that either). Just be mindful of this.

    -Rob

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