I was married for eleven years. It wasn’t happily, it just was. I knew I was gay, I just wouldn’t let myself admit it. Each time it would float through my mind I would splash it away as quickly as possible. Keeping it hidden meant it wasn’t entirely true.

The whole time I was married sex was peculiar. I remember the first time we tried I was unable to maintain an erection. I told myself, through my shame, it was because I was nervous. I even allowed myself to believe (for only a short period) it was because she was black. She asked me flat out, the first time “Are you gay?”

In retrospect I wish I had just said yes and moved on. Gone home, told Mom I was into dudes. Maybe I would have ended up some sort of dot com mogul, rubbing elbows with Elon Musk and exchanging weight loss tips with Oprah…a man can dream.

That’s not what happened though. I adamantly denied it and we tried for weeks. It took several weeks before I could “finish” the process. After I figured out the trick to keep myself erect, from there it was practice, practice, practice.

I did my best to convince myself I was into sex with women. I fed my mind with straight porn, although, over time I began to solely look at gay porn before intercourse.

I know what it feels like to hide and be terrified at coming out. What will she do? What about the kids? What about my coworkers and family and friends? Will they all think of me as a bad person because I waited so long? Will I lose everything? Am I going to Hell? Should I end it all and explain later? Maybe I can keep forgetting and it will go away.

Unfortunately that is all poisoning. Your secret will consume you. It WILL cost you everything. Like your happiness, your freedom even. Your life. As a Father you will suffer because as you hide yourself your children do not get all of you, because there is this hidden part you protect from even your own mind. It hurts everyone, most of all you.

When a plane crashes, you first put on your own oxygen mask, then help others with theirs. Whatever the consequences are of coming out, it is much more acceptable than a life of suffering.

Coming out is hard when you feel you have everything to lose. Trust me when I say, the closet has its own consequences and they can be much, much worse.

With Love
Jeff Utnage