How do you tell your kids?

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Joined in 2015
January 24, 2015, 16:45

Hi Again,

It's been a tough 24 hours. Lots of tears but in the end my wife emailed this message to me at work today after a sleepless night for both of us :

I'm too tired to process this anymore, but what I want to say for now is this: I feel far more hopeful after reading your letter than I did before I read it! Much, much more hopeful.

Reading it written out so clearly did cause me some grief, which is natural. And I'm sure there's more sadness where that came from, and that will come out in due course. Like you, I naturally grieve for all the hurt and pain. For lost dreams and hopes. Not just for me. For you, too.

But I no longer feel that our situation is completely without hope. Not that I'm happy about it, of course. No woman wants to find out beyond the shadow of a doubt that her husband is gay. But it rings true, and I have hated seeing you so conflicted and torn up, trying to deny it and fight it and hate yourself for it.

As for the future, I also want to be friends. Good friends! The best of friends! Heck, it's how we started out, remember!

I think that with you working towards accepting rather than loathing yourself, and us hopefully being able to set each other free to truly be ourselves without the expectations that typically come with marriage, I can foresee a better relationship than we've perhaps ever had!!

You can't ask for a better response than that, can you? I am very blessed.

What I want to ask now is for some advice about how to tell the kids. They are 12, 14, 18 and 21. Does anyone have experiences that might help or advice for how we should do it? One kid at a time? All together? Younger ones together and older ones separate?

We are both scared about this next step but both agree we need to do it.



Joined in 2009
January 28, 2015, 08:39

Hi JJ,

I'm really glad you've had this weight taken off your shoulders, and I agree, your wife's response is really as good as anyone could ask for. The great thing about this is that it means you've already got the person closest to you on-side for whatever you do going forward.

While I don't have kids, I can at least mention how I came out a few years ago when I finally felt the time was right. Maybe we can find something of value in there for you.

My process essentially involved telling those of lowest risk first, before then moving on to higher risk people. "Risk" in this case being a function of: (1) how likely they were to react unexpectedly, and (2) how big a part of my life they were. The idea being that as I told more low-risk people, they could then be used as a support base as I moved on to higher risk people in case a bad reaction came up. In the end, my family were some of the last people I told – not because I expected a bad reaction, but in the off chance they gave one, it'd have the greatest effect on my life.

Your situation is of course very different. At the time I felt no obligation to tell anyone, save for my own sanity, whereas you and your wife have agreed that it's best for you to be honest about this and tell your kids soon. It essentially means you're doing what I did – but in reverse! You're telling those who mean the most to you first. The good part here though is that it means your initial support base is really strong – your wife in this case – which is far more than anything I started out with.

Me being me, I would still apply something of a support-building and risk-minimising strategy from here on out by telling your two older kids first, and then telling the two younger ones. 18-21 year olds are going to process the news differently to 12-14 year olds. In particular, I imagine the prospects of you and your wife separating will have fewer ramifications for your older kids than for your younger ones. When I was 12, the idea of my parents separating would have affected me a lot more than when I was 21. General emotional maturity and life experience will also be a factor here. Having said all that though, you know your kids far better than anyone here. You're also very lucky you have your wife to help you plan this out.

I hope it goes well for you, whatever you decide!

Joined in 2015
January 28, 2015, 19:15

Hi Chris

I totally agree with you about going from lowest risk to highest. I've actually told one friend this week. We've connected through a support group for men who've been sexually abused. We've talked about the gay thing so I knew he'd be okay. And he was great. Very supportive and sworn to absolute secrecy. Why does it feel so good to tell someone? I'm not proud of it. I still loath myself, but it feels so good to get it off my chest.

I think the two older boys should know first. And I'm a little bit confident that they will both actually be okay. We've often talked about our views of homosexuality and there has never been a bad word spoken in our home. I guess they've taken that on board. My only concern is how they react when they find out it's their dad and he's lied for 25 years. But I have to take the risk.

I think the younger two will be okay. At this stage we have no plans on what to do about living arrangements. We've even talked of moving to a house where I could have my own space (a granny flat for example) so that I'm still around all the time. Who knows. And my wife agrees we don't even need to have separate rooms at the moment as we've not been intimate for a long time anyway.

I think the next step will be to tell my family. With social media today I'm just worried that the kids might slip up and say something to a cousin or something and before you know it my family hear it second hand. I think that would be very hurtful for them.

After that, who knows. I'm just trying to grapple with telling the kids right now. I am terrified. I'm even shaking as I type this just thinking about it.

But the horse has bolted now, I have to follow through, no matter how hard.

Thanks for your wise words.


Joined in 2014
January 29, 2015, 20:19

One step at a time.

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