Interestingly, when I acknowledge that I have to go I can be more present to and with C and the kids - we're just home from a county fair and had a fabulous time. Even more oddly when I acknowledge I should go I feel like I can stay. My thought is that this is because I am finally comfortable knowing where and what I am and then I think - Hey I could live like this. Then the cycle begins.
But back to the point at hand - what do I fear in leaving C.
Cecil is undoubtedly right - I fear the unknown. I am one of those boring guys who will at least sometimes (not always anymore) choose a mediocre meal at a chain restaurant than try something new. The unknown is scary - not knowing what to expect. I don't think that the world will hate me fortunately, but I do know that coming out at work would not be a good idea and coming out to the people we went to the fair with tonight would be disastrous. My kids would be upset if/when C and I did not live together because that would mean they did not live with both of us. But they would not, I believe, reject me.
But the fear of the unknown is only the tip of the iceberg. I also fear hurting/harming C and the kids. Some of that is undoubtedly excessive pride, but a lot is real. C and I grew up together in a real way. We have been together for over half our lives. I remember her younger siblings when they were younger than our youngest. Our separation/divorce will harm the kids - divorce always does. It does not have to be devastating, but it is not a walk in the park either.
I fear the end of a vital relationship - some of that is above in length of relationship. But I will also miss C. She knows me FAR better than anyone else. I trust her more than anyone else. I fear losing her. And her Cecil is right - I fear the unknown. I haven't dated in a long time. And I didn't do that a lot or very well. Will I end up a lonely old guy. And back to C - will she end up lonely. The answer here is easy - no - not if we maintain the people we are. Both of us are the sort who are good friends.
I fear the financial consequences of separating. They are real for both of us. We nonprofit guys are far from overpaid - at least this one is.
So Cecil was right - the unknown is at the center of most of the fears; he's righter than I first thought he was. The fear of hurting others is real and not an unknown. But I know that doing what I am doing now is harmful. There is stress and tension in the house and in our lives that is not spoken and named for the kids - just, "Dad is having a tough time." What an understatement, but "Dad was seriously thinking of killing himself" would be too much.
To carry on with quotes from WWII figures - "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill
And that is really the place to turn here. The fear is real and not unrealistic, at least not entirely so. The road is not an easy one. But regardless of where it leads I can work to see the opportunity in every difficulty. It is when I see the difficulty in every opportunity that I get stuck.
The difficulty is in being a gay man married to a woman. The opportunities I see there:
- I am alive and well. David is not. He was the guy I explored with in the 1970's. We parted ways. I went into the closest as the AIDS crisis began. David died "after a short illness" ten years ago. His parents would not say more than that.
- I have three wonderful children. I am not the same person I would have been with out them.
- C - I value and appreciate the time we have had.
- I have the opportunity to have a redo - to relive adolescence. It wasn't so good the first time!! I was looking out at it through the doors of a closet.
- I am not the man I was when I married. I have grown up; I am stronger; I can now face that greatest fear. "Honey, I think I might be gay."