Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bi and Gay Married Men with Children

Have you heard about "The Gay Dad Project" yet?

Here's a description from the Project's website:
We see The Gay Dad Project as a place – for everyone – to talk when a parent comes out.

We, Amie, Erin and Bry, want this website to be a place for conversation about families and what it feels like to have a parent come out. WE ARE NOT EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT GAY DADS. We aim to connect with other children and families who are going through – or have gone through – having a parent come out.

Through open and respectful dialogue we hope to give visibility to families and create a safe space for conversation. We will assist in locating appropriate resources as we can but please keep in mind that we are still working to connect with resources and organizations ourselves.

We are not licensed health professionals. We are simply kids who have been there, experienced the coming out of a parent, and want to connect with and help others.

If you are looking to read The Gay Dad Project blog please click here.
Here's a sample of quotes from recent posts:

"So now I’m a couple months shy of my fifteenth birthday and I have a gay dad for the first time in my life. Of course I’ve had a gay dad for almost fifteen years, but since I didn’t know that until now. . . well, you can see how it was going to be problematic." [And John Is My Boyfriend]

"One of the last people I came out to was my 10-year-old daughter, about nine months into the process.
Strange that the final person to hear the news was one of the people who needed to know the most.
I was incredibly nervous leading up to the big conversation with her. I had no idea how to script it." [Seth Taylor: And Then We Had Hamburgers]

"For many of you, yes, your dad lied. He lied to you. He also lied to the world. He might have even lied to himself. It was a tremendous whopper of a lie.  It was a huge betrayal so significant you can only wonder, “Exactly what else about this guy don’t I know?”  Is another bombshell coming?  How can I ever be sure?  For some, these questions morph into an even more dangerous stream of unconscious thought: How can I trust so-and-so not to screw up my life with a huge lie when my own father, for whom I have the utmost love and respect, can seemingly do it at the drop of a hat one random morning? For this problem, I have no easy answers, no funny quips, and no advice. Somehow, someway, I came to trust people, including my dad, again. Others are not so lucky.  I hope you find a way to be a lucky one." [Mark Best: You’ll Get Through This]
 
"As soon as we sat on the couch across from my parents, we knew this wasn’t a meeting to assign more chores or rake us over the coals about something we’d done wrong. Mom was crying. Ever the lawyer, Dad was pacing with a legal pad and it wasn’t long before he began his opening statement; he was preparing to defend himself. 'This is about honesty, integrity, respect, and my love for all of you,”' he began nervously and formally." [Share Your Story: Erin (Best) Margolin]

Amie, Erin and Bry also answer questions from readers:

Dear Gay Dad Project: “If you could have it all done over, would you still have your father tell you he was gay?”

Dear Gay Dad Project: “Should I come out to my kids now or wait until I have a partner?”

Dear Gay Dad Project: I’m 14 and My Mom Just Came Out to Me

As far as I know, the Gay Dad Project is unique.  It's the only place on the web where a kid can go to find true stories written by other kids that talk about what it's like to have a parent come out.  

Kudos to Bry, Erin and Amie for creating the site and for putting themselves out there as a resource for other kids.

***  

Writing about the Gay Dad Project naturally made me think about my own kids.  It's been 10 months since I came out to them, and, near as I can tell, they haven't suffered any ill effects.  As I say that however, I must confess that I behave as I always have; that is, I don't act any differently than when I was in the closet.  The only "gay" thing I do is attend a weekly meeting for married or formerly married men with same sex attractions.  My kids know I go every week, but until very recently, they never asked about the meeting. 

Sometimes I wonder if I keep a low "gay" profile because I'm plagued by internalized shame, or, if being low key is just part of my personality.  Generally, I feel like I'm being authentic.  I'm an introvert so talking about myself is not really my thing.  But perhaps spending a lifetime in the closet has made me much more introverted than I'd otherwise be?  There are big advantages to being an introvert and being in the closet; it's much easier to lie, hide and avoid awkward conversations when everyone close to you knows you don't like to talk about yourself.

Anyway, getting back to my kids, the question of "how out" I want to be with them has turned into a pretty big issue:

Because I have sole custody of my kids, I'm accountable to them at all times.  Every event, practice and game, every drop-off and pick up, every dinner and load of laundry, etc, etc, they're all my responsibility.  Also, now that they're teenagers, Friday nights have become a huge guessing game for me.  Which kid(s) will be home for dinner?  Which kid(s) will need to be picked-up later that night?  Which kid(s) will sleep-over at a friend's house?  Which kid(s) will ask if a friend or two can sleep over?  My kids rarely know their plans in advance so I'm on-call for every contingency every Friday night, all night.  The rest of the weekend can play out in a similar way.  As a result, I'm reluctant to make plans for myself - there have been a few times when I made plans and my lack of availability caused havoc and fights.  Not so much between me and my kids but between Gabbie, her mother and the kids.   When these fights happen EVERYONE wants to know where I've been and what I've been doing.

Essentially, I feel like I live under a microscope and any time I step out of view, I'm at risk of having four different people hunt me down and force me to explain my whereabouts.  This dynamic is really a problem when it comes to dates.  Whenever I schedule one I have to decide whether to be open about it or lie.  Mostly I try to ride the fence and say nothing, but when I get called out, I lie.  This means that as far the kids know, I've been separated for two and a half years and have yet to go out on a date.

Continuing to lie is a major disincentive to date...but so is talking openly about my not-very-fun personal life.  Perhaps this lose-lose conundrum is part of the reason why dating feels like 98% work and 2% fun.

There is a simple solution to the microscope problem and that is to do what I want and let the comments and criticisms come as they may.  Why don't I do that?

Apparently because I prefer the perks of being unscrutinized to the perks of dating men.  (Whatever those are.)

Dating one guy would be different than what I'm doing now, which is going out on first dates.  I'd have no problem telling my kids that I'm spending time with someone I'm proud of and someone they've met.  But going out on date after date with guy after guy is a commitment to a lifestyle - a lifestyle that's not me. I'll commit to a man, but to a lifestyle that has yet to bring me much enduring satisfaction??  I have no motivation to do that. 

Complicating matters is the fact that my most heartfelt dream is dating unfriendly.

Every day, whether I want to or not, I think about moving to a particular rural location from my past, a place where I could easily get a job that would excite me and fill me with passion.  That's the good part of the dream.

The bad part is that making such a move would have two very negative consequences.  First, it would require me to either leave my kids with Gabbie (which none of them want, at all) or they'd have to come with me, leave all their friends behind and be outsiders in a small community.  Second, if I made such a move, I'd pretty much be giving up on finding a partner.  Most of my time, thoughts and energy would go toward the job I'd love.  Pursuing a man would not only be much more difficult because of the location, but it would also be a pretty low priority.  Why do I so frequently daydream about making this move?  Because nothing in my current life fulfills me.  Not work, not family, not friends and certainly not pursuing hapless (and perhaps hopeless) middle-aged gay men.

More and more, I'm thinking that my happiness depends on how important men are to me.  It's a daily struggle.  Sometimes I'm optimistic about them, but more often I'm not.  Mostly I feel like I'm marking time until my youngest graduates from high school in five years.  Until then, I guess I have no choice but to continue to date, even as I struggle to stay motivated.  And, for now, I'll keep my private life private, because, for better or worse, that's what feels comfortable to me.

2 comments:

  1. "For better or worse, that's what feels comfortable to me."

    Everyone has a place where they feel comfortable. How a person happens to arrive in this place, who knows. You've made a decision about what works for you, it's not hurting anyone -- so everyone should respect your decision.

    Whatever happened to Dean? Do you think he might have had a change of heart after a few months?

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  2. President Obama is firmly committed to the homosexual agenda and recent promises made to the LBGT and others have caused some in the conservative movement and the evangelical and Pentecostal churches to shudder. It is also clear that the church's concerns have little bearing on the President's position to throw the doors open for the "gay agenda by closing the steel doors around those who make so much as a whimper against the gays. Signing the untested and highly suspect Matthew Shepard act is the latest evidence of that.

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