NOTE: This is a continuation of Michael’s story from last week. It might help to read it before jumping in to Part 2.
As Christmas drew closer, the untameable beast of anxiety strengthened its strangle hold on all three of us. Sleep seemed like an old friend that I had not seen in years. We had all been taking prescription sleeping pills just to get through. They had set a date of January 2, 2010. This would be the date they told their kids and their family. But the date seemed to change with each passing day and with each change my anxiety hit new levels. I found strength in my love for him and in the strength she had shown throughout this process. Giving up and walking away was never a real option, but there were times when it seemed the only option.
Our therapist suggested that all three of us get together to discuss how we could all get through to “disclosure” without going completely insane. We met for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. As usual she was gracious, he was nervous and I could feel the heaviness in all of our hearts. The conversation stayed light but we did discuss plans for celebrating New Years Eve. A couple of months earlier I had introduced her to a friend of mine whose wife had left him for another woman. I went to high school with him and felt that he would be a great outlet for her. They had hit it off and she was now wondering if perhaps the four of us might spend New Year’s Eve together. I was open to it but wasn’t sure if it was the best of ideas. There would obviously need to be more discussions about who would sleep in the same room together, etc. and the possibility of it going very badly sat front and center in my mind. Ultimately she decided that she and my friend should do something separately from her husband and me. A wise choice for sure!
Christmas came and went. It was difficult for them to keep the secret and difficult for me to know that they were suffering so much. Still – we all got through it. He and I spoke on the phone several times. She seemed genuinely touched by the gift I had given her. There really isn’t a guide on what to give your gay boyfriend’s wife for Christmas so I went with a nice gift card from Bloomingdales and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. She loves cosmos!
New Years Eve was wonderful. She went off with my friend and my boyfriend and I spent the night in San Francisco. It was his first time bar hopping in a gay area (the Castro). He was nervous but we both felt that special connection we have always shared begin to return. He was still scared of what was to come but he allowed himself to be with me. We made love more than a half dozen times in that 24 hour period and it was wonderful!
The ride home from our night away was difficult because he was scared to death of what everyone would think once they found out the truth. I’ve always told him that I had faith. If I could love him as much as I did after only 9 months, I can only imagine how much those that have known him his entire life must feel about him.
The disclosure process began on January 2nd. The date had changed so many times that I had little reason to believe that it would actually happen but it did. They told their kids that evening and both of his kids showed grace and compassion well beyond their years! Their 16-year-old daughter said she was sad that her dad had to live for so long like that. She would always love him and he was the best dad ever. If anyone ever said anything hurtful about him, she’d put them in their place! Their son, 18, was equally as gracious. Telling his parents that they had done a great job raising them and their reaction to this should be proof enough of that. He was stunned by the loyalty that his children had showed him. I wasn’t quite as surprised. I’d always believed that he had amazing children. Once again, I was right!
The rest of the coming out process involved telling his four brothers. All were supportive, told him that they loved him no matter what and that was never going to change. They also seemed to have a clear understanding that this was not a choice and it is who he is and he can’t fight it. Telling her family was a little harder because he had always been so close to them. They did it though. Of course the family was shocked but they all committed to supporting them both no matter what. They were clear on being there to support him through this.
Interestingly, the subject of me never came up. No one really asked if there was someone else. Those questions are sure to come. How they handle them will set the stage for how he and I are able to move forward. Her support will make all the difference. She has been a woman of her word so far so I fully expect that she will speak the truth and make sure that people understand that I only remained in the picture because she asked me to. And that I have been a big help to her and to him. We’ll have to see how that goes.
Now that they are nearly done with disclosing (he still has to tell his mom) he is now feeling the full weight of the dissolution of his marriage. He is sad and feels like things are actually harder for him now. I know that is still his fear, but the power of honesty will pull him up. He is an amazing and wonderful man and he will get through this. If he falls, I’ll be there to help him up but he will move forward.
Now the process of reality begins to sink in. No more lies. No more secrets. Only truth and a rocky road ahead as we try to safely get to the other side of this; where I KNOW we will all find happiness!