Pride Month is all about celebrating the LGBTQ community and that love is love, no matter whom it is between. We've chatted with several Bravolebs and non-famous folk about their journeys, and have heard many different stories about how difficult coming out can be, especially if it’s something a person has waited a long time to do, if there's uncertainty about how family or friends may feel or, in these cases below, if it's a situation where someone has been in a heterosexual marriage and has had kids with this other person.
Read on as three people share what it was really like to sit down with their spouse and come out after years of not living their truth.
1. It Was Freeing
“I was married to a woman for 22 years and we had two beautiful kids together. I loved her very much but there was always a part of me that knew I was gay. I had experimented with men before we met. When we met, I decided that I wanted to build a life with this woman and have a family. Also, back then, it wasn’t so easy to be openly gay, so I didn’t even bother trying. I never told her that I had been with men before and I never told anyone of my desires over those 22 years.
Once our kids went to college, I decided it was time to live my truth. I told my wife and then days later, my kids. It was the hardest thing I ever did but I am glad I did it. I was living a lie and I wanted that lie to end. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I know that it was extremely hard for anyone to understand but it was just something that I had to do.
Fast forward three years later, my kids are in my life (even though things are still hard for them and they haven’t really forgiven me for 'messing up their life') and my ex-wife still does not speak to me. I haven’t remarried but I have had relationships with men. I hope in the future my ex-wife and kids understand this 'new normal' and we can have a strong relationship as I eventually settle down in a new relationship.” - Marty B., 52
2. It Was Horrible
“My son was 2 when I started having an affair with a woman that I worked with. It was my first time being with a woman. It was also the first affair I ever had. I had been very faithful to my husband and did love him very much. I couldn’t fight off the feelings I had for this person and it led to the end of my marriage.
After being with her secretly, and behind my husband’s back, for more than eight months, I came out to my husband and asked to get a divorce. It was devastating for him. He actually said to me that it was more painful that I left him for a woman than another guy. I’ll never understand what he meant by that, but I do understand that I hurt him dearly and in his words, 'ruined our family.' We do have joint custody of our son but other than picking up and dropping him off with one another, we do not speak. He has not forgiven me and never will. I am now remarried to 'that woman' and have never been happier with myself or my marriage.” - Jennifer V., 32
3. We Had an Agreement
“I was honestly terrified to tell my husband that I was a lesbian. I had hid that from him and everyone else in the world my entire life. I hid it so well that I convinced him to marry me and have a kid with me! I was always doing my own thing on the side, hooking up with woman, and telling no one. I always felt like a bad person, but I also felt like I was caught in this web of lies that I couldn’t climb out of.
Finally, when our kid was in middle school and was less attached to us and more into her friends and summer camp and activities, I decided now was the time to come out. I figured a divorce wouldn’t rock our world too much because she was busy outside of the house and he was still young enough to find another woman to be with. I sat down with my therapist and had her write out a script for me to read to him. I wasn’t scared he’d hurt me or anything, but just be completely shocked. I mean how would he know? He would never think this was happening behind his back.
When I finally told him, he was shocked. He thought I was joking. He left the house and didn’t come back for a week. He felt like I lied to him for the 11+ years we were together, which was true, and was angry, beyond angry. When we started to finally figure things out, he said that we should just have an agreement. We’d stay together but have an open marriage. I could be with anyone I wanted and he could too. That way, we’d keep the 'family' dynamic but just have any sexual partner we wanted.
It worked and still does work because at the core, I love him, I just don’t want to have sex with him or any man. He chose family over ending our marriage because I lied to him. His reward? Endless hookups with other woman. Same here.” - Mindy T., 43
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