Coming out as a gay man to your wife is a harrowing and liberating experience.
Married men coming out — for real?! It is real and it’s something that has been occurring more and more despite cultural, social, and political commentary and movement. It truly is about the evolution of personal identity when a man who has previously been identified as heterosexual and married finally comes to terms with his true sexuality and chooses to accept, with conviction, who he really is: a gay man.
In our country, this can be one of the most harrowing, challenging, and growthful experiences a man can have. The journey is perceived as being mostly upstream, yet it is required if the individual making the choice is to attain any level of inner peace. It is not a choice that any man would wish upon another man. Any man who has made this transition, though, would be there to support an individual who is tired of living a double life straddling two worlds, each with their ugliness and beauty, and feeling as though they don’t fit anywhere.
I facilitated a Married Men’s Coming Out Group for six years. Each man attended for at least 6 months arriving scared, uncertain about their future, and confused beyond belief. Each was confronted by me and group members with a single question: Do you know who you are?” Through discussion, exploration, intuition, the relating of personal experience and revelation, each man wrestled with the daily issues with which they were confronted. They studied their inner terrain, working on the personality characteristics that come with growth: self-respect, self-worth, honesty, authenticity, sincerity, sensitivity, and integrity. Some of the attributes they accrued in this process were: a higher level of communication, a greater connection with self and others, compassion, unconditional positive regard for others, centeredness, respect for and from others, happiness, and inner peace.
All of this sounds wonderful and complete, but, like any process, it is a life-long study of self with new aspects of personhood to discover, new levels to explore, and deeper life meanings to be ascertained and understood. Though it has been a difficult path for each man, not one they would want to relive, each has accomplished what most people never consider or strive for: the knowledge, acceptance, and living the life that is their unique being. What greater gift can a man give himself and to others but the gift of his true identity?
Married men were and still are coming out of the woodwork to finally be who they truly are. They are no longer willing to compartmentalize their lives, their relationships, and their hearts — no matter what they are told by their religion, state and federal laws, current trends, or social media. This diverse group of over seventy men in the Married Men’s Coming Out group ranged in age from 21 to 70, parents and non-parents, famous and not famous, newly married or married for decades, familiar with the gay world or terrified of it. Some of the men were even expecting a baby. Whatever the individual’s situation, they needed to come out, to live their life in honesty. The Married Men’s Coming Out Group was formed out of this need.
At heart, coming out is about authenticity, a word that’s been prominent in spiritual circles for several decades now. Being a non-denominational term, authenticity is described as: “…having a genuine…authority in opposition to that which is false, fictitious, or counterfeit.” All human beings want to be the opposite of false, fictitious or counterfeit, yet the vicissitudes of life are such that we work incredibly hard doing just the opposite. Hence, the need for resources is paramount as we each seek to live authentically and in so doing, find some level of inner peace, self-acceptance, integrity, joy, and love. Without this, the world may not evolve to reflect these essential attributes for all of mankind.