I was raised in the Mormon church all of my life, 6-7 generations deep. I was married at 21 and immediately started having kids. After all, for all of my life I was playing the “Mormon Game of Life” spinning the wheel, and moving to the next space, doing exactly as I was “supposed” to be doing.
From the age of 17 I had fleeting glimpses of being gay, but lived such a disconnected life it never really seemed to be a big deal for me. Over the years, it came and went in waves, some stronger than others.
I did love my wife. I loved her for the woman she was. Eventually after 12 years of marriage, I realized however that I didn’t love her the way that a husband should love his wife; the way she deserved to be loved. I went into reparative therapy, trying very hard to not be gay.
I spent three years working really hard. I became very involved in the movement, and even started seeing clients in my own therapy practice and working with them to “get fixed” and not be gay any more.
After three years, I came to a realization. I was spending 24/7 focused on my wounds, my issues, and my brokenness. Instead I chose to focus on my greatness… the me that God created. I eventually left the church, got divorced, and came out, literally all within a few short months of each other.
I am so grateful to my time in Reparative Therapy. Though I still agree that many parts of that type of therapy are harmful and wrong, it helped me to become the man that I am. It helped me to finally come out in a way that was healthy and safe for me. We all need to do it in our own time in our own way.
Well, I suddenly found myself with very few of my former friends still wanting to be in my life. At first it was hard, but it’s become a real gift. At 37 years old, I was able to create my life. The friends I wanted, the people I wanted, the relationship with my kids I wanted, etc. It’s been a beautiful and happy time.
I have worked hard at maintaining a solid relationship with my kids. They know me. They know my heart, and the biggest key for us is authentic communication. Nothing is taboo in our discussions. They know they can talk to me about anything.
I’m dating an amazing man now, who though initially scared to death about the prospect of a man with 5 kids, he’s still here and willing to face that fear and give it a shot.
I’m finding myself becoming more and more interested in becoming involved in LGBT family advocacy. I proudly put my HRC sticker on my Durango, and can’t wait to put the little family stickers on the back window with the five kids, cat, dog, and two dads!
Many of the people from my past have accused me of being selfish in my actions. To them I say this: My kids now have an example of what it means to stand up for yourself and who you are at any cost. Selfish would have been staying with a woman who would have never been loved the way she deserves. Now she is free to find that man who will treat her like the queen that she is. It would have been easy to stay there, going through the motions, and neither of us would have been fulfilled. It was a hard choice, and a choice I’m very happy I made. I know the day will come when my ex-wife and my kids will see the gift that I gave them. It’s now my job to do it right, and become the man they will be proud of.
I’m happier, healthier, and more alive today than ever. And I’m really grateful for the 36 years I spent in the struggle that taught me who I am that brought amazing gifts into my life, the greatest of which is 5 amazing kids who love me more than life.