The 6 Challenges of Coming Out Late
By Writers Deepak Sood/ William Smith
I have a few friends who came out late in life. Late bloomers is what I fondly call them. On the surface, they always seemed calm and collected but deep inside there was turbulence and turmoil. My good friend Tim, came up to me and asked me if it was too late to come out. To be honest, I was astounded as Tim seemed happy with his wife and three children. They had a beautiful home in the suburbs. They went on yearly vacations together, they had family over for Christmas and thanksgiving. Tim’s oldest boy was in high school and was doing well. I was speechless, when he broke the news to me.
I, then, wondered how he must have felt all his life, having a dual life of denial. Hiding his true self and not accepting who he was from birth. He must have a lot of pain and it took a lot of courage to tell me his own personal secret that he had kept all his life and never told his mother, father, siblings and alike. A secret that was bottled inside of him for 40 years. I couldn’t imagine his unbearable pain, his frustration and his trials and tribulations. We decided to meet for lunch on Saturday. I needed time to process what had just happened and to be prepared to answer any of his questions.
So we met for lunch on Saturday and discussed the challenges and benefits that he would have to consider if he decided to come out late in life . The gay world, like the straight world has just as many challenges and obstacles to consider.
1. Married with kids. Gay men get married to women for several reasons from familial, societal to religious pressures. Moreover, some may feel if they get married, the homosexual tendencies will go away or at least be controlled. The biggest challenge to coming out late in life is now you are breaking apart your family unit. Your spouse will suffer great pain, and anguish that is totally understandable . Your children will experience the loss of their father in daily activities and living underneath the same roof. Therapy and family counseling may help to navigate through this with your wife and children.
If you decide on a divorce, you can still be a good and loving partner to her and a great father to your kids. There is a website for spouses and the wife would benefit from connecting with the Straight Spouse Network: straightspouse.org. Also, some women may feel relief because they’ve endured a long and painful marriage and now can start a new life as well. You are not alone in having this situation Conservative estimates indicate that roughly two million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the United States have married someone of the opposite sex. When these partners come out of the closet, one-third of these relationships break up right away, a third stay together for a year and then separate, and another third commit to making it work–although three years later, only half of this last group of relationships are still intact. I asked Tim is he just curious or really serious ? There is a big difference.
If he does divorce, there is a grieving process for both husband and wife. I told Tim don’t forget to honor the life that was his in the past.
2. Family Acceptance. Coming out late in life and breaking of out of the glass bottle can be exhilarating. You finally are able to tell your parents who knew you as a straight man for 40 or more years that now your gay. When you tell them, you are gay there might be some anger. They may blame themselves or tell you that your just going thru a mid-life crisis and to get help. They may guilt you into going back into the glass bottle . This of course is not a real solution for you or anyone that is gay. Finally, they might say what took you so long and accept your gayness.
The important thing to consider is that it may take time but most likely your parents will accept you. Do you want to be back in the bottle for the next 40 years? It is up to you. I don’t think its justified but it is up to you. Your parents will get older and eventually pass away while you never fully experienced your true self because you were too afraid of disappointing them?
3. Youth is gone. Your best years are gone? I don’t think so but Gay culture tends to honor the youth. Your 40 + years old. Why bother? A lot of late bloomers try to overcompensate for lost time. They throw caution to the wind and shag anything they see. It is not a great idea. Besides, not every hot guy will want to be with you because you are older. Party hardy is also probably not a good idea due to health reasons and not being out in the field for many years.
Believe it or not, being gay isn’t just about the sex and raves.
I told Tim that I have personally seen a greater influx of older gay men in bars and clubs that were once married to women due to societal acceptance of homosexuality.
I reminded Tim that if he does fully come out, to not limit himself to one set of friends .Get out and meet as many type of gay people as you can: young/old, fit/fat, bear/twink, HIV positive/negative, coupled/single, straight-acting/fem, drag queens, all type of lesbians, transgender, etc.
4. Too many life stressors all at once. You are dealing with divorce, separation from your kids, finding a new place to live, coming out, starting your gay life and that is a lot of sh*t. When you post your profile on online dating sites or talk to some gay guys, they will be cautious because you have a lot of baggage.
Be confident and assured in the belief that you have gained wisdom that you’ve learned over the years. You have experienced many things that many gay men have not. If you display confidence, there is nothing more sexier than that. Your baggage actually could benefit you.
5. There is no gay training school or crash course for late bloomers.
It is a learning curve to understand parts of the gay sub cultures. There may be words that you may never heard of like tops, bottoms, versatile, bear, twink, bareback, etc., Every club or bar is a little different . Also. gay porn can’t be trusted completely when it comes to what to learn about gay sex.
Make a commitment to learn about gay history, culture, arts, politics, and personalities. Read books by gay authors; subscribe to magazines like Advocate, Instinct, and alike; visit internet sites that cover GLBT topics. Again, porn isn’t a realistic picture of what being gay is all about .
Again, don’t limit your pool of friends or the people you talk to .Get out and meet as many type of gay people as you can: young/old, fit/fat, bear/twink, HIV positive/negative, coupled/single, straight-acting/fem, drag queens, all type of lesbians, transgender, etc. I always found it to be fun but also I have learned a lot. No one is truly what you think the traditional stereo type is …everyone is so different and many are accepting. They want to tell you their story, for the most part, and it can be a great learning experience.
6. Finding Love
Everyone is looking for love? Not everyone in the gay world wants to settle. But most straight people think that gay men are always sleeping around. Truth be told, most gay men are searching for love esp. after a certain age . Based on my experiences , most gay men maybe just too picky or feel that If they settle there maybe a better guy around the corner and they will have a missed opportunity but that’s another story!
Finding love, acceptance and a monogamous relationship is the biggest challenge but it happens everyday!
So, I told Tim to look at the 6 challenges. Coming out late in life is not simple. There are many variables to consider. It’s a phenomenon that one will see more and more now that gay acceptance is growing . I left Tim alone and to let him decipher what he wanted to do. The decision is up to him.
Deepak Sood can be found on his own website called http://www.desigaylife.com/. It is packed with humor, and great advice. Check him out!If you find any joy and stimulation at Gay Life After 40.com, please consider Donating: