For me it was at age 38. For my current clients, it was at age 37, 43, 48, 55, and 60. Age has nothing to do with the decision to come out of the closet, because we all do it at exactly the same time...when we’re ready.
Granted, the longer you wait, the scarier it becomes. On the flip side, the longer you wait, the more maturity you bring to the table and resilience to weather the storm that often comes after saying, “Frankly My Dear I’m Gay.”
Obviously, the journey out of the closet and declaration of “I’m Gay,” comes with a myriad of challenges and joys. However, there are common threads that are unique for those of who’ve chosen to play the “heterosexual for the sake of everyone else game,” until that game is no longer a game that can be played. Whether it’s out of guilt, shame, or leading a dual existence, at some point, the person locked in the closet of being inauthentic, becomes a ticking time bomb that could explode if the pin doesn’t get pulled, setting free their true sexual orientation. Once freed, the often-rocky rollercoaster ride begins. For late bloomers, this new ride, has more hills and valleys than the average individual who’s come out without the additional baggage of spouse and children.
Pitfalls Of Being A Late Bloomer
Damage control. Depending on the situation, married, or married with kids, there’s divorce, alimony, child support, gay parent issues, child development issues, co-parenting battles to wage, plus in-laws, shared friends, etc. Similar to the standard fare heterosexual divorce or split, there’s a lot of emotions and deep tentacles into the relationship to undo. However, the “gay” issue sets a whole new keg of dynamite on fire, typically causing both parties and their supporters to stand firmly in the corners of the boxing ring, waiting to pull the knock out punches.
Betrayal runs deep. 99% of the time, those who’ve been married or in a long-term heterosexual relationship, can’t escape the “How could you do this to your husband/spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend?,” after coming clean about their sexual orientation. Admittedly, those on the outside looking in only see cheat, liar, and bitch/bastard stamped in big scarlet letters on the closet escapee’s head. Ironically, the closet escapees have more than likely been brow beating themselves with similar unloving phrases; it’s simply part of the coming out journey. The difference for the person who’s waited to come out at some point in life beyond, youth or young adult, is the precedence they’ve set living “as if.” This is a hard pill to swallow, not only for the closet escapee, but also for all those in their inner circle.