Numb. Confused. Angry. But, what else may have led to them finally saying...“I’m gay!"?
“I’m just not attracted to you...We’re not compatible...Our goals are different...” all valid justifications for calling it quits in a relationship. Yet, even those with perfect hearing don’t tune into the true undertones of the subliminal messaging, until the megaphone is held up to their ear, and blaringly your spouse says...”I’m gay and I’m coming out!” Not necessarily in my "Top 10 Ways On How To 'Come Out!" Regardless of how you do it, dead silence, shock, and utter disbelief usually hang in the air. And then it starts! The questioning:
- Why did you marry me?
- How long have you “felt” this way?
- Have you been sexually active with someone?
- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
- What are we going to tell the kids?
- Why did you wait so long to come out?
All very valid questions that get asked over and over again, when someone "comes out of the closet" and you realize, you're now living in a "mixed-orientation marriage/relationship."
Out of the dark red abyss of anger, questions fly. Faster than a tennis volley for match point, question asked, answer given. Question asked, answer given. Question asked, answer given. Yes, this is part of the "coming out" process. Exhausted, emotionally drained, and disconnected from the reality of what was, the initial chaos cannot be contained. No “How To Come Out Handbook” can fully prepare anyone for the avalanche of questions and emotions that unfold. Yet, within this tornado of turmoil there are other aspects of the relationship that if given a chance to be explored, will shed light on other contributing factors that led to the demise of the relationship. True, your spouse just "came out" of the closet! Their sexual orientation is “out of the bag.” However, like most relationships headed for the garbage disposal, things have been piling up and overflowing from the “out” box for some time...you just chose to categorize it as “a normal stage in the relationship!” Really? Funny how similar that sounds to “I think being gay is just a passing phase!” Same energy, same denial, same “Let’s talk about this later!”
So now it’s later and you’re standing there asking the question, “What about me? Why now? How do I 'come out' of the closet as a spouse who’s spouse has 'come out?'” For starters, let’s get real and be honest. Your spouse/significant other "coming out" wasn’t the only thing that threw your relationship under the bus.
3 Common Instigators That Break The “Coming Out Camels Back”
(No Blame Intended!)
Lack of sex and intimacy – Let’s be honest. Even the healthiest relationships go through peaks and valleys when it comes to sex and intimacy. More often than not, clients that I work with in the coming out process, often share that they have not had sexual intimacy with their spouse/significant other in one, two, five, even ten years. By no means did this cause them venture out and explore alternate forms of sexual gratification. Ok, maybe a few have. However, the majority of clients whose relationships are lacking the “bada bing bada boom” of sexual intimacy, find their latent sexuality awakened by the circumstances. Whether they acted on it by masturbating to gay/lesbian porn, reading sex novels on their Kindle, or actually stepping into the ring of sexual infidelity, the reality is, their true sexuality has come out and is here to stay.
Overwhelming Responsibility – Call this a cop out if you like, but let’s be realistic. There’s a lot of weight on your shoulders when you’re the primary breadwinner or the stay at home domestic engineer in the relationship. Either side of the fence is daunting when the sole responsibility for bringing home the bacon or caring for the castle is yours. Couple these exasperating feelings with the inability to be truly who you are in your own body and sexual energy, and it’s no great surprise that suddenly you find out Adam met Steve life as you knew is history. In congruency in any area of the relationship can light the coming out fire when you least expect it.
Silence Killer – The wedding bands look great on the fingers. Family photos on the mantle add to the warmth of the home. Domestic bliss prevails at company cocktail parties. All around it’s a picture perfect relationship and well deserving of an Oscar for best portrayal of “Happily Ever After.” So why aren’t you talking and communicating? Because you’ve grown apart? There’s nothing to say that hasn’t already been said? Silence is not golden in this case. If it’s not being talked about, then it’s probably the source of the problem. Open communication, listening and truly hearing – may, might, could – have brought this situation to a head sooner rather than later. Interestingly enough, over 50% of clients that I work with on “How To Come Out,” have in some way, shape or form have provided their spouse with a preview of their gay tendencies, prior the grand announcement...it just wasn’t talked about at a deeper level by either party.
Granted, the person who hides in silent retreat about their sexual orientation, owns the responsibility for that choice and for entering into a heterosexual relationship based on a lie. Equally responsible are both parties for allowing finances, lack of intimacy, jealousy, outside relationships, etc. to get in the way of the mirror reflecting that the relationship was in trouble even before the closet door opened. Does it make it any easier to hear the words, “I’m gay and coming out?” Probably not. However, it just might give you the inside pause necessary to see the signs and raise the caution flag so that life as you know it can be reframed, sooner rather than later.
If you’re struggling with coming out, dealing with a spouse who has come out, or finding it hard to be authentically you on the other side of the closet door, schedule a complimentary session with Coming Out Coach Rick. Click Here to schedule.
Rick Clemons is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practioner who's been featured on The Ricki Lake Show, and is a highly sought after radio show guest, blogger, author, and Sex Coach U Faculty member, who lovingly addresses the many facets of Coming Out for all who are touched by this Journey. Rick also hosts his own radio show, The Coming Out Lounge.
Sign-up for Ricks' Free Video Series, "Coming Out Without Coming Unglued!"