On waking up on the morning after I had told my wife of my same sex attraction, the fear I experienced was terrible. I hardly dare move, but I sensed that she was awake at the side of me. At the same time, I felt a sense of relief that I had in fact told her. I was fearful that an issue, which I had tried to suppress and control within my own isolation, was now potentially going to be exposed.
I was worried about my reputation and I sensed I would be ruined if my wife spoke out, and my mind quickly ran to how I would protect myself by “running away” never to be seen again. Writing that sentence now sounds pretty barmy but that is what the fear did to me at a time before I accepted my same sex attraction and subsequently rejected the idea that others would not accept me too.
I did not follow my normal rushed routine to get off to work – I fully intended to go, but I needed time to compose myself – looking back I am surprised I was able to function at all considering the emotional turmoil that I was experiencing – this speaks to me now of a profound strength and resilience that I had not recogised previously.
After breakfast we sat together in the living room – a room I never normally enter on a morning – and we both cried. I told her that I hated myself for the attraction to men and that I wanted to get rid of it (yes, I believed it was possible!) – that I would never act on my same sex feelings because they contradict my religious values and the promises I made to her in our wedding vows that are stronger values within me (I think these are valid aspirations and plausible but they have to be actively chosen everyday from a whole range of choices with all options remaining available if they are to be honoured).
I told her that as a young man I was deeply attracted to her and my memories were of wanting to he a husband and father – I wanted to have children – I told her that I had been a failure as a man.
I explained that a traumatic exit from a job that I had loved doing seven years earlier, had triggered within me a deeper awareness of a same sex attraction, which over the years had got gradually worse, until the torment and isolation that I was experiencing and the inner conflict of trying to resolve two competing lifestyles had become exhausting and unsustainable.
I told her I felt angry towards my family (my parents and siblings) whom I blamed (at that time) for neglecting to address the issues that I had experienced as a young man (boy), At this time I linked my homosexuality to having been caused by being bullied at school.
I cried all the way to work – Abba’s song “Chiquitita” came on the radio which includes the words “you’re enchained by your own sorrows” and as each wave of emotion came over me as I listened to this song I did think that now at last for good or ill the secret is out and I felt hopeful that we could resolve this within the marriage.
In the evening we sat and cuddled, we turned off the television and talked all evening and reassured each other of our love fro each other.
As I went to sleep that night I caught a glimpse of a photograph I have on my bedside of St Theresa of Lisieux on the reverse is the following prayer:-
A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE
O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.
O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity.
I mention this because having explained in my first few blogs the background to my inner conflict and my eventual liberation from it – I want to write in my next blog, about my Roman Catholic heritage and my attempts to seek help from the church in the months leading up to November 2012 and St Theresa of Lisieux inspired me, I believe, to tell my wife.
My next blog: Catholic and Gay – Inner Conflict