It was a good move. Time to compose your thoughts was good for me and good for them.
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They were very surprised, but have been a rock solid support. My ex wife is an awesome woman, and although some of it has been emotionally hard for both of us, she has been constructive and understanding throughout. As I said, my parents have been awesome, and the rest of my family have been fine too.
Being a part-time single parent was really hard, but as I've relaxed a bit and as the kids have grown up it has got much easier. I have a lovely partner - we've been together a couple of years, and my ex wife has a new partner too. He's lovely and loves the kids too. I've rambled on long enough for one post, but if you want to know more about my story, I'm happy to share it.
Welcome to posting on here. Thanks for sharing part of your story. I think it helps to know things can get better. I am encouraged by what has happened for you. Thanks from me as well for sharing your story. It seems that one of the important points of your experience is that you came out to yourself before you came out to others. I think that would be really important when it comes time to sharing emotions with others and dealing with some of the difficulties and questions as well.
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Coming out to yourself, and accepting that this is just how you are is the hardest step, at least it was for me. One thing I forgot to say earlier which I think is also important is that I feared that by coming out I would lose everything, but it never occurred to me to think about what I might gain.
Quite aside from feeling much less unhappy and stressed straight away in spite of the sadness and difficulties , I also discovered there are lots of men like me - who have been married but are gay. I also met lots of lovely caring people who understood where I was coming from, having experienced something similar themselves. Several guys gave me their phone numbers very clearly saying they were not trying to hit on me, and that I should call them if I ever felt at a loss. I never needed to, but just knowing that there were people out there who understood and who cared enough to do that was a lovely encouraging thing.
I have also made several wonderful friends, one in particular who is also a parent though his kid is grown up , and he comes over for dinner and the kids adore him. He's the person I unload my worries on, and he has a fund of wisdom and experience, and a wicked twinkle in his eye. I guess the point I hope you get is that as well and the things you might lose, there are also things to be gained. I think most guys in our situation would tell you that they have gained much more than they lost in a whole-of-life view.
Hello Dr Tom. Thank you so much for your post.
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It made me feel a lot better and gives me some hope for the future. I would love to know more about how you explained things to your children and how they reacted. Your children are a fair bit older than mine but one of my concerns is how me coming out might impact on them. Thank you so much for pointing out that there are positives too.
I tend to focus on all the negative aspects all the time and really need to stop doing that. You're very welcome! I have found happiness I never even realised life contained.
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Of course, it is not the case that life suddenly becomes easy. My life long susceptibility to anxiety and depression hasn't gone away entirely, but without a doubt I'm in a vastly better place. My ex wife and I were very much in agreement that we should be up-front though age appropriate with the kids, and I think we made the right call I'll come back to that in a bit.
We sat them down and explained through our tears that I had decided that it was not right for me to be together with a woman, and if maybe I had another partner in the future it would be a man. I don't think it meant a whole lot to them then, but it laid a foundation. Only my eldest really got the gist, but as the following story suggests, it didn't really sink in.
A few months later, once I was established in an apartment near-by, my eldest asked "Dad, why do you have a double bed? I replied that the two younger kids often climbed in with me during the night and it would be a bit squashy in a single bed. They've met several of my gay mates, and of course my partner. We don't live together, but he stays over often. The reason I reckon we made the right call, is that anecdotally, the younger the kids, the less of a deal it is.
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Let me offer a caveat, which is if you decide to come out, let it be for you - because you've decided that is what you need to do. Doing it or not doing it "for the sake of the kids" is not a good reason. In my opinion. Hi again Tom. Thanks very much for replying so promptly and for your words of wisdom. It sounds like you and your ex-wife have done a remarkable job explaining it all to your children. I am glad to hear that they have been so accepting. My boys are very young 1 and 4 at the moment.
So it won't mean anything to them for quite some time but it is still something I have thought a lot about. With the boys so young I can't bring myself to end my marriage right now.
I really don't think my wife would cope on her own and neither would I. In the same sense I am also aware that it is unhealthy for us to remain together just because it is easier. When you split up with your wife how much time did you spend with the kids?
Did you just seem them on weekends or how did you work that out? Was your wife working at the time? Sorry to ask all these questions but I can't get my head around all the logistics of it if we split up. These things are certainly complicated! And I'll admit I didn't even think about these things when I came out. It was just what I had to do. When we first separated I stayed with friends for about 6 weeks while I found a place and stuff. During this time, I went round for dinner most nights and helped tuck the kids in to bed.
On one or two of the weekends I took the kids down to stay at my parents place in the country. Since then we have had a pretty stable routine. I had Friday off every second week, and on that week had the kids from Thursday night through to Monday morning. The other week I just had them Thursday night. But we also established a "date night" thing which is that once a fortnight one of the kids and one parent do a date night, which depending on age and circumstance might mean take-away pizza and a movie, or going out for burgers, or a documentary at IMAX or something.
So obviously, if my ex is out with one of the kids, I have the other two. This has been a really good thing for the kids, and various friends have copied the idea, even when both parents are still together. As I said, I didn't even really think about what would happen after. I just felt like it was the end of my life as I knew it. And kind of, it was.
But it was also the start of building a new life, one that is much better than I ever imagined. I understand about the difficulty of coping on one's own. Definitely the first year or so was very hard going. Still, I had my lovely bestie who I mentioned. He would come and have dinner with us, and help sooth the bumps through the bed-time routine, and listen while I unloaded on him.
My parents and my sisters had us over for dinner often even though my sisters still have some ambivalence about matters-gay, I think , and my ex wife had family and friends looking after her. Whenever you come out if you choose to do so , it will be hard, at least for a while.
For you. For your wife. For the kids. But as you say, staying is hard too. If you do come out, hopefully the difficulty and pain will represent the start of beating a path though to a happier place.