In my previous blogs I have related how I came to the point after many years that I could no longer live a life of inner turmoil and anger and isolation.
In November 2012 after what I would describe as a “meltdown” – stressed, worried about work, family relationships and voluntary commitments underpinned about my secret same sex attraction, I drove over to see my brother 60 miles away to tell him I needed his help – I did what I consider to be the bravest action of my whole life by trusting him with my secret.
I related in my previous blog how he was very supportive and calm and confident that my fear and anxiety could be overcome. His advice to me was that I should work towards telling my wife what I had told him and he offered to help me get ready for that conversation.
What neither of us had appreciated was that the very following day my wife would confront me and demand answers – the subject of today’s blog.
I woke up the day after confiding in my brother and I was extremely emotional. I cried as I told my wife that I needed to make changes in my life and I was going to make an immediate start by giving up some of the voluntary services that I carried in in the community in line with what I regarded as my catholic duty to others. I also told her that I needed to let go of some of the issues that had caused family relationship problems particularly around how I expected my daughters to pursue their futures.
I struggled to concentrate when I got to work – I felt emotional and angry – angry with my family (parents and siblings) for not helping me with this problem and how they had allowed it to blight my life – a feeling that they were aware of my internal conflict but they had chosen to ignore it’s effect on me.
I did not regret having discussed the issue with my brother last night which was a surprise to me because whenever in the past I had built myself up to risk speaking about it I had always imagined that the moment of relief would be overshadowed by bitter regret – regret because I had lost control over an aspect of my character which I was deeply ashamed of because my sexuality did not fit in with what I perceived to be the values on which I had been conditioned to be in the world.
True to my word at a meeting of the voluntary committee on which I served that evening I did notify the chair that it was my intention to step down after many years of service at the end of the year and that a replacement would have to be found.
Unbelievably, whilst watching ITV I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here that very evening Brian Conley made a jokey remark that despite being a married man he fancied David Haye – I felt very uncomfortable and embarrassed and my wife sensed it but did not say anything.
On getting into bed that evening, my wife confronted me in the dark and told me in not so many words that she wanted to know what my problem was – she demanded to know what I had gone to speak to my brother about last night. I begged her to give me more time to prepare myself for the conversation but she simply said that was not good enough and she would not wait.
I said I could not tell her in the dark so we got out of bed and went downstairs into the lounge and whilst sitting on opposite ends of the sofa I took a deep breath and told her that I had an attraction to my own sex – that I did not define myself as gay – that I had never had any sexual relations with anyone else but her ever in my whole life.
She said calmly “the marriage is a lie.”
I said that the marriage was not a lie and that our sex was heterosexual – that I was attracted to her – I always have been and that as a young woman at the time we got married I was besotted with her and deeply attracted to her and in love with her and I still am.
She simply said, I feel sick, I am going to bed and off she went. I remained where I was totally shocked that the conversation had taken place – convinced I was about to lose her and preparing myself for being asked to leave perhaps as early as tomorrow – to be honest I felt lucky to be still sat where I was. I went to bed.
My next blog will be – Love through tears