In my last blog I related how in an effort to end my feelings of isolation over my hidden sexuality I had asked to see my younger brother for his help and advice.
As soon as we were seated in the pub with a pint he said “so what is all this about?”
I did the bravest thing I have ever done in my life – I made no answer except to slide over an extract of the introduction of Joseph Nicolosi’s book “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality – A New Clinical Approach” which I had brought with me which said:-
“There are homosexual men who reject the label “gay” along with all the implications that label would bestow upon them. Although “homosexual” may name an undeniable aspect of their psychology, “gay” describes a life-style and values they do not claim. These men experience conflict between their values and their sexual orientation”
he read the passage in silence and when I sensed that he had finished I turned to him and said – this pretty much sums up the dilemma I have experienced in my life for a very long time and I cannot continue to live like this any longer. I was very emotional but because I was in a pub I had to suppress it.
He was calm, not judgmental – he wanted to know if my wife was aware of this issue – when I said she was not, his immediate advice was that I should begin to work towards telling her.
He was confident from the start, that the outcome that I dreaded of losing my marriage, losing my wife and daughters and being humiliated by gossip about the reasons for the break up, were not necessarily the outcome I would get if I told her the truth.
He asked me if I had ever entered into a relationship with a man and I explained that I had not but that I was tormented daily in my attraction to men that could not be suppressed or denied.
I asked him whether he had ever suspected the truth about my sexuality and he said he had not. I said that I found that hard to believe and that for many years I had not felt comfortable in conversations with the male members of my family whom I felt sure had made comments about me. I explained that this had made it difficult for me to have meaningful friendships with my brothers, my brothers’in-law and my nephews and this had had a damaging impact on my relationships with them.
He said that on one occasion, and only once, our older brother on witnessing me having an emotional outburst at a family event had turned to him and said “When will our William accept that he is gay?”
This comment was to haunt me and although my brother urged me not to seek to blame others I felt from this moment that I had to explore the origins of my homosexuality – was I born this way? – or had my emotional development lead to my developing in this way? – where has my Dad been through all this? – can he be blamed?
My brother assured me that the family were aware of my pain but they had felt powerless to deal with it as I had a tendency to turn on them with my anger so over the years they had backed away from me but they most certainly did not know that my anguish had been caused by a conflict over my sexuality.
He said that he wanted to help me get the support I needed to confront the issue and in time find the courage to tell my wife about it. He asked me as I prepared to drive home if he could discuss this with his wife – I said to him I am 48 years old and I have carried this secret with me for at least 20 years and you want to unburden yourself in less than two hours by sharing it with your wife – I said no he could not tell his wife.
As I drove home I felt an immense sense of relief that I had actually told him – almost euphoric – but at the same time very vulnerable to the fact that I could not take back this conversation back – I had trusted him and in doing so I had made myself vulnerable to his care.
My brother features in my story as it will unfold in future blogs – he has suffered for his trouble as he has been on the receiving end of my anger and frustration but I am where I am today because of his acceptance of me and his willingness to help me financially and emotionally over the last two years.
A key lesson for me has to been to learn to challenge my belief in what I think an outcome will be before it has actually happened, and also, to learn to trust in others. When I write blogs in future in respect of my magnificent coach I will explain these observations in greater detail.
My next blog will be – My wife confronts me