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Forums / Sexuality and gender identity / Married, gay? Confused

Topic: Married, gay? Confused

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    28 January 2020
    I’ve been married for many years and have three kids. I love my wife and children but think about being with men. I thought I could carry on as normal and deal with this but I’m finding with increasing work stress that I’m not coping with anything at the moment and I’m finding it hard to isolate what the real cause of my anxiety is.
  2. uncut_gems
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    uncut_gems avatar
    351 posts
    28 January 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hello Leo, and welcome to the forums!

    I just wanted to welcome you and share a few thoughts I had about your situation if that's alright with you. What you're describing– questions about your sexuality, stress at work, and anxiety, are all very common by themselves and in combination with one another can be a real burden to deal with.

    I hope you don't mind if I begin by sharing a bit about myself. I am straight but my partner is bisexual, and her parents are separated because her father came to a similar conclusion about his own sexuality later in life. They still live together, are best friends, and have raised a wonderful daughter together.

    My girlfriend and I met at a very experimental, "hippy" uni that encouraged critical thinking about one's sexual and gender identity. While I also have had similar thoughts (as most men do, I suspect), I ultimately came to the conclusion that while it may be some small part of my sexuality, it is not defining and not significant enough to change how I identify. While gay and straight are satisfying identities for some people, others find their sexualities much more fluid and are attracted to people of all genders, or to one more than another. Still others find this changes over time, or that suddenly the circumstances in their life are right to come to terms with with what they always knew to be true.

    It goes without saying that all are valid and deserve equal respect, even if some are easier to articulate than others. All this to say that the thoughts you are having are healthy, normal, and do not necessarily mean there is a problem with your relationship or that it is based on a falsehood or mismatch. Obviously if you find yourself attracted to other men to the exclusion of women, including your wife, then that will require a different, but by no means impossible conversation.

    First, address the underlying work stress as best you can by fixing your workload or the conditions that are causing you trouble– this will allow you to more clearly deal with the implications, if any, of these thoughts you're having.

    Once you have some time to evaluate more clearly, you will have a better chance of getting at the real source of your anxiety. Consider seeing your GP for a referral to a counselor, someone with whom you can anonymously share these thoughts. Whatever happens, you are in a great position to better understand what's been going on with you and to get some relief from these tough feelings.

    Warmly,

    Gems

    5 people found this helpful
  3. eight
    eight avatar
    372 posts
    28 January 2020 in reply to Leo8

    keep reading the 8 in your name as like, august, and thinking to myself "ye leos are born in august" and laughing at my unfunny non sequitur

    there's very old threads down in these boards telling similar stories of "i've been in this long relationship with my spouse and maybe 2.5 kids and i think i might be gay??" some of them have continued with their relationship, some of them came out and still are on good terms with their families after, some unfortunately not so good. some of them stopped posting and i still mull over the words never spoken

    (maybe if i felt distracted enough i would be spieling at length about how i'm fascinated with the internet being full of ghosts, people and tales and history and chances, but i am trying very hard to fight that adhd instinct)

    wouldn't your work stress be a big contributor to this anxiety? i dont know if you could afford to get extensions or changes to your conditions or a decreased load or whatever in your job right now though.

    gems thoughts on seeing a counsellor could be a good idea and i do have a few helplines/services offering counselling or specialising in sexuality off the top of my head but only if you'd be open to the idea i dont want to sound like fobbing you off. i feel like i'm assuming too too much as i type but i guess from posting in here you might have an inkling those thoughts could be causing your anxiety?

    i'd say you should think those suggestions through a little before doing anything too big in times like these yeah. i know you're confused enough and it might not mean much but i hope you can be alright leo

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    29 January 2020

    Hi Gems and eight I found your posts really helpful. I grew up in a conservative neighbourhood so you were either a poof (not my words) or a bloke. There was no other way. I met my wife when I was 21 and had never really thought about men. Then when I was in my early thirties I got very drunk at a work function and went home with a male work colleague. We kissed and slept in the same bed but nothing else happened. I felt horribly confused the next day, a combination of disgust for my betrayal to my wife and actually that wasn’t too bad and maybe I enjoyed it. I felt sick for about a month and eventually told my wife. We spoke it through and stayed together. A one off silly thing. To cut a long story short I enjoy being intimate with people and are attracted to both.

    Now the work issue. Work has been a nightmare and I’m finding myself wanting to cry for no apparent reason, can’t sleep at night and struggling to make myself look happy and committed. I manage a large team and find myself unable to concentrate. Im just finding everything all too much, my sexuality, work, keeping up appearances, a large mortgage. I feel like I can’t keep living a lie to everyone.

    I went to my GP yesterday and he has given me a few days off although I feel like I should go back to work tomorrow and has given me the name of a psychologist. My stress is manifested by gut issues.

    2 people found this helpful
  5. eight
    eight avatar
    372 posts
    31 January 2020 in reply to Leo8

    god that hurts leo about where you grew up.. when you’re surrounded by that from all sides at a young age you really can’t imagine anything else. what's the technical psychological word for it as i type this i cant remember but i swear i’m going to send it off and itll immediately come back t’me. do i even need to use it

    thats interesting about that fling (don’t know if theres a better word but i sure feel like i gotta find it) and how it was a point for you in realising you might like guys? some people who like men and women and everyone else sometimes call ‘emselves bi but its your choice if you want to use that or something else or not label it at all, yeah yeah. have you been thinking about it more right now, about that one-off n such? would your wife be expecting anything i wonder?

    did you take those days off work, too? i’d been a bit too Not There to reply to you its been what three days. is it too early to ask about if you’ve done anything with your psych either? i feel like it but it might be a bit too forward - how are you feeling about seeing one or at all, you sound as if maybe you think a psych cant fix the gut issue-stress

  6. Only I know
    Only I know avatar
    214 posts
    1 February 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hey there Leo8

    I'm glad you came to these forums, I did about 15 months ago for similar reasons. I posted about being in my late 40's, married 20 years and 2 teenage kids. I knew I was gay all my life, but never felt that I could be myself. I suffered depression on and off for the last 20 years, the feeling of guilt/shame and not being true to myself eventually took it's toll. I almost did the unspeakable, but thankfully a good Samaritan stopped me.

    I told my wife, and I was extremely fortunate. She didn't kick me to the curb or hate me. She has supported me 100%. We still love each other and are a big part of each others life, so it can work out. We've separated now, but things are good.

    You've been given some great advice above, get a referral to a psychologist (I never thought I'd be one to go to a psych, but glad I did). Your GP can give you a mental health plan that means Medicare will cover part of the fees. Luckily, I was referred to a Gay Psychologist, so he understood exactly what I felt. I did go to one referred to me by my employers health care (most large employers also have an EAP, where you can get free anonymous help). This one was okay, and helped me to a certain point, but found the Gay Psych much more beneficial.

    There's an LGBT+ organisation called QLife - google them. They are a peer based phone support. I called them a couple of times as well, and found talking to someone who didn't know me about what I was going through, very helpful. The chap I spoke to there was also able to put me in touch with the Gay Psych.

    Even talking to people here on these forums were very helpful. I got a lot of advice, some of which I took and others that I didn't. People here are really great, we all come here for our own reasons, but everyone genuinely wants to help others.

    All the best, Daz.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. eight
    eight avatar
    372 posts
    1 February 2020 in reply to Only I know
    addendum! addendum! qlife also has a webchat too at qlife.org.au. both services are open 3 to midnight every night
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    12 February 2020 in reply to Only I know

    Hi Daz

    the good thing about these forums is you realise you are not alone with dealing with issues or having these thoughts. I had my first psychologist meeting, it was ok she spoke about being evidence based and believing in myself. Came away not feeling any better but I suppose it was about understanding each other. I’ve really tried to be upfront with my wife and share my thoughts. Not sure where this will lead us. I’m trying to stay positive and take control and not be overwhelmed by my brain thinking about everything. One step at a time. What ever happens I love being a husband and a dad. I think I’m a good dad. I’m beginning to see that people can’t be classified but should be accepted for what they are, we are all different and that’s what makes life interesting and fun.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Only I know
    Only I know avatar
    214 posts
    18 February 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hey Leo8!

    apologies for not replying sooner, I have been interstate for work!

    You are right, these forums are great as you do find people dealing with, or having dealt with, similar situations.

    You're on the right step, keep chatting to the Psych. The first one I spoke to helped me, but he didn't really understand what I was going through and found it difficult to help me explore my thoughts. he was able to help with the negative/blame/shame etc feelings, which got me out of trouble quickly, but recognised that he wasn't able to help me work through the being gay part. I found a psych that was gay himself and he helped me immensely. he also helped my (ex)wife understand a few things too.

    It sounds like you have a loving wife like I do (did - we're still good mates!) You need to keep fostering the loving open communication - answer whatever questions she asks. I guess it may also help if you know what you want going forward. I realised that although I loved my wife, and my family unit - I was not going to be able to keep going the way that I was, it would have ended up in tragedy, and my kids fatherless.

    I too loved being a husband, and I still love being a dad and even though now separated, I'm still very much a big part of all of their lives.

    I have no doubt that you are a good dad, it is clear by your actions (starting to take care of your own health by seeking help). It's only by getting the help to discover and understand your life that you will be able to work on a solution to ease what and how you are thinking, and how you are feeling about yourself.

    I've been through all that and am coming out the other side now. My life isn't perfect all of a sudden, and never will be. And I'm okay with that. but I have clarity and comfort now. Where my life now heads is entirely up to me.

    Keep being positive, try not to think about being "overwhelmed". In fact, try not to even use the negative terminology to describe how you are feeling. Recognise the triggers of when you feel not so positive and distract yourself.

    You will get through it.

    cheers

    Daz

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    25 February 2020 in reply to Only I know
    Thanks for your message Daz. You are absolutely right I need to be better using positive language. I find that I have really good days where I take control of things and other days where I feel really down. I am sure that is normal. I haven’t been back for a second appointment yet with my physiologist but she has given me a script about how I need to believe in myself and my abilities. Although simple it does appear to be helping. It sounds like you taken control of your life and you are happy with how things have worked out, although not perfect yet. It seems like such a big leap into the unknown and that scares me. In so many ways I am happy with my life but deep down I do realise that there is a part where I am not being true to myself. Is that part that important? Am I wanting too much?
    2 people found this helpful
  11. Only I know
    Only I know avatar
    214 posts
    25 February 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hey there Leo8!

    You've hit the nail on the head!

    Yes, it is a very big leap into the unknown, and yes it is very scary! Though it actually isn't as scary as you think. Though you look at life from a new angle, you find it is not really any different.

    It seems you are coming to some realisations about yourself, perhaps even getting some clarity. And that is good. Just take deep breaths and think things through. You ask "Is that part important?" and "am I wanting too much?".

    Only you can answer the first question. For me, I always thought that it wasn't important, that what I had around me was what was important, but then it slowly ate at me from the inside, proving that it was more important - to me - than I had admitted. You should think hard about what you are not being true to yourself about, and just how important it is to you.

    As for "am I wanting to much?". Just remember, it is YOUR life, you only get one. what you want for yourself - you own that. You own the right to want what you want, and have what you want. Yes, you do need to be considerate of those around you - if it impacts on them, but you should always seek and strive for the things that you want. Denying what you want, and fulfillment along with it, may only lead to resentment and worse.

    So now that I've "come out", and pretty much on the road to good health, I'm about to head off overseas, to backpack around Europe for 6 months. This is something I had wanted to do for a long time. Now i'm in a position to do so. Of course, there is an impact on my loved ones. Especially my daughter who is 12 this year.

    It'll be great for my confidence, self esteem, and mental health, but I had to consider the impact on her, and I also needed to consider my own health. After battling depression, and talking it through with her, I feel comfortable in going.

    We have to make some big decisions in life, the way we handle these decisions only help us learn to be better versions of ourselves.

    I'll be around for a few weeks yet, but then only intermittent whilst travelling. Good luck!

    Daz

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    26 February 2020 in reply to Only I know
    Hi Daz. It’s very helpful hearing about your journey and listening to your thoughts on what I am going through. Admitting to how much it is eating at me from within is something I am not good at. Also thinking about me is not something I am good at. I often think I would like to do the pilgrims walk in Spain to really take the time to work it all out without any distractions. But I know this is unrealistic. I’m very happy for you that you are having a break and going to Europe. I’m envious. I am feeling more in control of things although little steps at a time. I realise that a happy and honest me is important. Thanks again for taking the time to listen to me.
    2 people found this helpful
  13. Only I know
    Only I know avatar
    214 posts
    29 February 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hey Leo8

    Well I'm glad that you are benefitting from talking on here. I know I did, it helped me work through all the thoughts. I understand exactly how you are feeling. So remember, it does get easier.

    Admitting how much it eats at you, is the key. When you finally get there, you can truly start to take care of yourself. Until then, just be aware of what is happening - know triggers and how to cope.

    Don't get me wrong, I still have "not so good days" where I feel down, alone and lost, but I've come to recognise them and I distract myself. That may be by just going to bed, or the gym, but it's important to not sit there and dwell on the negative stuff. You don't do yourself any good, nor those around you.

    I don't want to make you jealous - buuuuuuut, I am actually doing the Camino walk in Spain in June or July, whilst i'm over there. I plan on walking the last 200klm or so, from a village called Ponferrada. I'm not religious in any way, so not doing it for the pilgrim point of view, rather than the opportunity to reflect and be at peace (which I guess is the same reason as a pilgrim anyway).

    Keep on going to the psych, chatting out loud to someone who won't judge you, and are there to help you work through the thought process is extremely valuable. I actually had a couple of gay mates who helped me through the darkest period, along with the psych.

    Really glad that you found the forums here, it's a great place to start feeling more like yourself.

    cheers

    Daz

  14. LittleMissAlice
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    LittleMissAlice avatar
    36 posts
    3 March 2020 in reply to Only I know

    Hi Leo8,

    Righto so I do have this really bad habit of jumping in juuuust as the chain of conversation seems to peter out, but lets go with it anyway...

    Anywho I was just reading through the thread and focused on something gems said, I've personally found it really helpful to interpret sexuality as, as gems said, fluid. Its really really important that you make sure that you're not influenced to slap a label on this. Like eight said, the sexuality-dilemma-while-married thing is pretty common on the forums and one issue that happens a lot is that the new sexuality is not "compatible" with the current relationship. But obviously things aren't that black and white, and it might be helpful to consider your feelings as whatever you want them to be. Don't feel forced to name your feelings, whatever makes you happy should be the most important thing to think about in this (and most) situations.

    So yeah sorry that's probably way off topic but hopefully it was at least a little helpful...

    -Marie xo

  15. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    11 March 2020 in reply to LittleMissAlice
    Hi Marie thanks for your response I know there are many threads about being married and having gay thoughts. I like your response because if I take the fluid mentality maybe the question is about being married and also feeling like I occasionally would like to be intimate with a man. The whole heterosexual marriage doesn’t really allow for this. I feel like i need to make a choice. Having never been in a homosexual relationship I’m not sure that will make me any happier. Would I then want female companionship as well? Should I just stay where I am? I know you can’t answer these questions for me but that’s what goes through my head.
  16. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    11 March 2020 in reply to Only I know
    Hi Daz I am jealous that you are doing some of the walk. I’m not religious either but I think every now and again one needs their own space and time to simply reflect and change gear. I have tried to adopt your be positive and it does help. I have good days and not so good days. Taking control is important. I’m still no closer in figuring out what my future looks like but I’m trying to get my thoughts around being honest with myself and those around me. It would be good if there was a physical support group for married men in this position. Actually talking to someone is often better than online.
    1 person found this helpful
  17. Only I know
    Only I know avatar
    214 posts
    13 March 2020 in reply to Leo8

    Hey Leo8,

    well you are right, online here is one thing. In front of someone is another. I definitely suggest talking to someone face to face, it helped me.

    If you a close friend you can confide in without fear of judgement then that may be a good option, or of course, a psychologist. The psych helped me a great deal.

    I always knew I was gay, so I never had the questions you have. I was just trapped in my beliefs. Once I got past the being trapped, it started to work out. This is where someone to talk to will help. Won't necessarily give you answers, I think only you can come to those.

    Unfortunately, no group that I know of exists where you can go and chat about this sort of stuff. There are groups of course, but these are social groups and people don't necessarily want to talk about other peoples issues. Sometimes you may make a friend and one of these LGBT groups and then the more personal chats occur and people are happy to discuss things when they know you better. Which is why a good trusted friend or health professional is great.

    Figuring out your future may take a bit of time, especially if you are still uncomfortable with your own thoughts and still struggling to work through them. I wouldn't rush into making rash decisions that you may regret later.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Leo8
    Leo8 avatar
    10 posts
    26 July 2020 in reply to Only I know
    Thanks

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