One confession ultimately broke up our marriage, but there is more you need to hear.
Beyond the initial hurt, lies, and confusion, there is more to be said. The question is — are you willing to listen?
I always dread these types of conversations, yet on the other hand, I also get simultaneously excited because I know I’m about to go there … to a place where I can be raw, naked, real. They call that space “the truth.”
I have something to confess to you and I truly hope you will try to hear it.
It took about 5 years, after coming out and delivering the “I’m gay” blow to our relationship, before I felt like my ex-wife was finally hearing me and that I, in turn, was finally hearing her. I feel fortunate that we got to that space. Most fractured couples do not.
I knew the big, shifting moment was happening when I finally said, “I need you to hear this … and I mean really hear this.” Yes, I was standing there with my testicles in my hands (metaphorically speaking) when I said those words. I was scared, but knew that I needed to say what was about to be said. Why? Not to clear my conscious. Okay maybe a little, but that wasn’t the primary objective. Mostly, I wanted to … needed to … share things that (even as we were breaking apart in one sense) might help reconnect us in a more honest way.
I wanted to help everything make more sense; not to take away the pain she felt, but hopefully, to at least ease it. I wasn’t looking for forgiveness (just because a truth hurts someone doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong). I simply wanted to provide insight that might help her understand, on a visceral level, that none of this was a rejection of her. It was was all me — and me being incapable of loving her in the way she deserved to be loved. The truth that I revealed to her — that I am gay — may have started me on a road to greater honesty and clarity in my own life, but it simultanesouly thrust her into a deep shadow of confusion about what (if anything) had ever been true or real in her life. Or rather, in our life, together.
So what did I do? I started dropping little mentions about our life together and how I felt about her in moments when such conversations felt right. Moments when I knew those words could be said and actually heard. Words that I hoped would help us both heal, be better co-parents, and to love each other in a new way.
With each of these mentions and in each of these moments, I became more humbled and she became more empowered. At times we were quickly embroiled in chaos and anger once again, but I came to realize that was precisely what was needed for our mutual healing to continue.
Probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from these “coming out confessions to my ex” is that, in any relationship, it takes two\ — two to tango, two to argue, two to procreate, two to love, hate, cry, and, ultimately, to make the effort to understand. It has now been over 14 years since I uttered the words, “Frankly, my dear — I’m gay.” But even after all this time and all of the healing that has occured between us, I know there are still more confessions I’d like her to hear.
To that end, here are a few of the confessions I’ve already made and a few new confessions that I hope she’ll hear in her heart for the first time:
- I really did love you. I just didn’t love you in the way you define “love” in your heart, mind and body. I apologize.
- I enjoyed the act of sex with you, but I was never really fully “there” with you sexually. I tried.
- I hid my truth and escaped into sex outside of our relationship with men, which left less time for us. I’m sorry.
- I didn’t marry you just to have two beautiful daughters, but I’m glad you are their mother. I’m blessed.
- I didn’t intentionally marry you to see if it could “cure” me of being gay. I married you because we clicked on so many other important levels (except for that gay thing). I’m glad for the time I spent with you.
- I lied (and was ultimately pretending) at the alter on our wedding day, and in doing so, I let you build false hopes for your future. I’m sorry.
- I shared laughter, tears, joys, and challenges of a long-term relationship with you because so many aspects of “us” did work. I’m grateful.
- I never let myself fully be “me”, so you never had the chance to know the real me until after I came out. I apologize.
- I didn’t know how to be man enough to stand up for my beliefs and my truth at age 19, yet, if I had, I never would have met you or had our two beautiful daughters. I’m lucky it worked out that way.
- I believe that we all have more than one soulmate in our lives, and you’re living proof of that. I thank you.
Confessions are like the pooper-scoopers of our lives. Once the “crap” of reality drops on the sidewalk, you can either leave it there for someone else to step in, or grab your pooper-scooper and clean it up yourself. I prefer cleaning up the mess of coming out myself. After all, it was my own “stuff” that caused the pain and drama to begin with, not my ex-wife’s or anyone else’s.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.
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