I live in a grand Victorian neighborhood in Louisville called “Old Louisville” that takes pride in its diversity. I attend the Metropolitan Community Church of Louisville. I have volunteered for our gay theater troop and gay chorus and attended a gay men’s support group. I may sound like a seasoned gay, but I’m not.
I came out at age 50 (7 years ago), ending a 25+ year marriage. I was raised in a small, German-Catholic town in southwestern Indiana and attended a parochial grade school. All my young life, the priest and nuns in our religion classes preached about our only goal in life was to marry and procreate. I definitely bought into it, not knowing there was a choice. Would I have done things differently had I known. Without a doubt.
Back then, there were only two “queers” in town. One, a boy in high school who got beat up in the school’s bathroom and the other, an old man that got his house egged all the time. If that is your only example of gay life, why would you choose that path?
I have two wonderful children. The only reason I didn’t leave my wife sooner is because I didn’t want to loose my children. How ironic, because I did anyway. Their mother threw a big pity party – “He used me, wasted my whole life and needs punished” – and they bought into it. They haven’t spoken to me since I left.
The divorce was the mother of all divorces. When I tell someone the story, they are silent in disbelief. During the process, my ex also sued me “for the mental anguish I caused and the fraud I committed”. If this wasn’t enough, more personal tragedy struck during this process. My mother died on Thanksgiving, and a brother died four days earlier. My father had a life-threatening aneurysm in his aorta.
My daughter was already married, but now has two daughters I have never met. I sometimes catch myself reminding myself I’m a grandfather. My son has since married, so I have a new daughter-in-law as well.
While I do regret losing my kids and grandchildren, the regrets stop there. I finally understood the expression “the truth shall set you free”. I moved into an apartment with nothing more than a bed and radio/alarm clock. Yet, when returning home after work I found myself getting excited. I thought to myself, “If I’m getting excited about coming home to an empty apartment, this has to have been meant to be”.
Fortunately, my own family all accepted me…even my mother who quit watching “The Brady Bunch” when she found out Mike Reed was gay. With the support of my family, church, support group, neighborhood association and work family, I have managed to keep my sanity.
I am still searching for someone to share my life with. I have faith it will happen when the time is right. In the meantime, I’m living a very active life. I once told someone just because someone doesn’t want me in their life doesn’t mean I stop living.
I’m sure my story is similar to many. I want to thank you, however, for letting me tell it. I’m glad to have stumbled across your site, and wish you nothing but the best.