Thursday, March 15, 2007

Friends and lovers

I got married while I was still an undergraduate. The marriage was ill-advised and inharmonious from the start, but I stuck with it for 5 years and 2 kids. Then I came out and left the LDS church. Or maybe it was leave the church and then come out. (I came out to my wife before we married.)

Although coming out was a wonderful experience for me, it involved the trauma of divorce and separation from my children. I was able to navigate the transition successfully and arrange to have plenty of time to be with my young children on an almost daily basis. Kids are the X factor; they make these situations much more complicated. I was lucky in this area, and I think my kids were better off after my ex-wife and I separated. (A bad marriage can be worse for kids than a good divorce.)

A few years later, I met a man who eventually became my partner. We lived together for almost 10 years. My kids grew up (part of the time) in a gay household. They liked my boyfriend. I never had to come out to my kids. They just grew up with my being gay from an early age and never had an issue with it. Here's an exchange I overheard when my kids were about 9 and 10 years old:

My son (as if telling a secret): I just saw Dad and David kissing!

My daughter (disgusted): Ewwww, gross! David smokes!

Eventually this relationship ended after it became apparent that my BF liked alcohol more than he liked me. Alcoholism breaks up families, gay or straight. Fortunately, his drinking never affected my kids.

After my boyfriend and I broke up, I started living with a close (woman) friend, and this has been going on for about 8 years. She and I are very close, but the relationship has never been a sexual one. We share many interests and sometimes travel together. About six months ago I met a man I really like, and we've been dating.

All in all, I feel that I've been lucky. I've been able to raise my kids successfully and provide them with the resources and support to make them successful in life. I have loving relationships with people who care about me. I'm able to live my life openly and with integrity.

If I had it to do over again, there are some things I would change. Even though I love my kids dearly and consider them to be the most important part of my life, I realize that I should never have married. This hurts to say, but it's the truth.

After I came out I should have been more cautious in choosing a boyfriend. It was not a good match. To paraphrase Maya Angelou:

We did then what we knew how to do. When we knew better, we did better.

I'd be happy to see your comments or answer questions.


playasinmar said...

Straight marrige; the great relationship paradox.

To have kids or not to have kids... that is the question.

Anonymous said...

Im in a similar situation, but wanted to know how you could have your own kids if you are gay and not attracted to women.