Saturday, April 29, 2006


As I write this, I’m feeling a whole of host of feelings – new and old. So, if this seems disjointed, I apologize….I’m full…..and I’m still learning.

I’m not perfect.

I have not arrived.

I do not have all the answers.

But here is what I have learned.

Last night I went to my gay married support group. While I was there, I gave thought to all that the other guys were saying and I was struck by just how far I have come. Yes, there has been pain. Yes, there has been doubt. Yes, there has been bitterness.

In writing this blog I have attempted to be honest. At times I have let my feelings show…warts and all. Then, I eagerly press the PUBLISH button. It documents those things, good and bad, that have happened through this awful period of my life.

Oddly, I have found this exercise – of keeping a blog…keeping it real and letting other people have access to not just a sanitized version of my struggles – liberating. It has in essence helped me to begin tearing down the various walls that I have hid behind in the past.

How I appreciate each word that you, my readers, have bothered to share with me…both backchannel and the comments you have so freely posted. Please keep them coming…I draw strength from each one.

As of this writing, I find myself in a continued peaceful state. The bitterness, anger, resentment and hurt have all crested. The flood appears to be receding. Yes, I think when the flood is over, I know that I’ll need to continue to shovel out the muck and the debris. But this experience…over these past 3 years….the pain…and the sorrow….and the related stuff will make me such a better person. I’ll be able to better understand what it’s like to talk to other guys who are hurting….because I have hurt. I’ll be more effective at comforting and genuinely caring.

For years I have lived behind many walls of protection. I’d forgotten how to genuinely care for others. I’d forgotten how to feel comfortable in the presence of other men. I’d lost myself somewhere…and just now I think I’ve found me.

How do I know this?

I see glimmers of my sense of humor….my thoughfulness… overall kindness….. beginning to surface. I hope I haven’t seemed heartless or cruel in time past…but I think that I was so caught up in the drama which is my life, I forgot how to be to enjoy the journey….how to see the wonder of relationships. Those walls were so tall….so daunting. Trying to get over them was exhausting.

Perhaps my drama also made me feel self-centered. I was consumed at trying to survive intact…and my walls wouldn’t let me seek the help I needed. My only focus was on me.

Something very momentous has been happening during this past week. I find that I’m not having to leap over my walls, but the walls seem to be lowering! The love and respect that I felt for each guy present at the married men’s group last night was almost overwhelming. The empathy….and the feelings of wanting to help surfaced full force.

I’m comfortable in my own skin. I have deep feelings of compassion for guys on this journey.

My issues are already fading a bit…I find that I’m more concerned more about some of my other fellow sojourners.

Yes, I think I’m finally on the right path.

I appear to be making some progress.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Shades of Gray

The last little while I've been cleaning out stuff throughout my home as I prepare for Lovey's departure. Her move date has now been set for June 28. Since it is going to be a very hectic couple of months I think it wise to be prepared.

In going through my stuff, I came across something that Daughter #2 wrote not long after I came out to her in 2001. She was almost 18 at the time.

Since a number of you, like me, struggle with the issue of "coming out"...especially to your children, I thought I'd share this here. May it provide some comfort to you, and perhaps help you to see the issue from a different perspective.

SHADES OF GRAY: A Letter to My Dad

A wise person once told me that Christianity tried to make things black and white. I thought about it and found it to be true. “Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not lie.” It all seems so simple.

There are questions, however, that do not fit this scheme; they lie outside the realm of right and wrong, theology and expertise. Answers exist only in belief and faith, both of which are intangible and elusive---that which cannot be proved or disproved; answers that exist not in the spheres of black and white, but in all the shades of gray.

I’ll never forget that day when my daddy told me that he was gay, or really "happy" as he put it to make my face turn from its downward contortions into a slight smile.

It was late at night on Christmas day and I had just had a long talk with my mother.

I had grown suspicious over the course of two or three years at my dad’s behavior on the computer, visiting gay Web sites and seemingly pornographic sites. I had asked him on numerous occasions why he did that, and his answer was consistently that he was helping some gay men out whom he had met via different chat rooms.

At mom’s suggestion, I finally got up the nerve to ask my dad about his sexuality, “Dad, are you gay?” I was relieved when his answer was no, but not satisfied. I figured I could trust my dad and leave it at that.

On this particular Christmas day, I was discussing with Mom the possibility of doing a school oral report on homosexuality in a philosophy course at school when the subject came up yet again. For the sake of being reassured yet again by my mother that my dad’s answer had been the truth, I asked my mother. She urged me even more strongly to ask my dad.

I was disturbed. Was she being coy? Was his original answer a lie? I cried. The implications were too great for me to handle. I asked again and said that I needed to know. After some hesitance she went on to explain that she had once asked that question and that the answer that she had received was “I don’t know.” Talk about confusion. I would have preferred a yes or no answer. I dove in a little deeper, not really wanting to know anything further, but needing to know. I asked Mom if she and dad still had conjugal relations. She paused and said, “Sometimes, on special occasions.”

I went to bed rejecting her suggestion that I talk to Dad before I went to bed. I brushed my teeth, picked up the dog from Mom’s bed and went to my own, knowing that sleep would probably not come for another hour or so. I cried and prayed.

I didn’t have a chance to say much. Dad was upstairs a minute or so later and after a few words with Mother, he came in and got me. I told him “Not now. I need to sleep.” He made me get up and follow him into his room where I complained that Mom should not have told.

I did not want to talk that night. I didn’t sit next to Mom. I didn’t sit next to Dad. How could I face him? I was already embarrassed by my questions. What business did I have asking the same questions that I had already received answers to? What reason did I have to doubt my father’s honesty?

He asked me what the matter was. I thought to myself, “What a dumb question,” when he obviously knew what was to come. I asked Mom to explain. Before she could say anything, he just came out and said it, “Yes, I’m gay.” That was it. I cried again. My beliefs that I spoke of with such conviction when needed were being put to the ultimate test. My daddy was…is gay. A senior in high school, I was already accepted into the college of my choice and had a dream of becoming a Contemporary or Christian singer and my first thoughts were, “What is this going to do to my career?” How low is that? My daddy, my best friend went on to explain that four years earlier while my mom, sister, brother and I were on a trip to Illinois to visit family, he came really close to committing suicide. It hit home. I couldn’t imagine life without my daddy.

For the first time I was told the true story of a man who tried for the longest time to fit in to a society that dictated the rights and wrongs of sexuality and could not; a man who tried programs sponsored by our then-Church, which claimed to be able to “change” sexuality back to the presumed norm; a man who married my mother and continued to struggle with his sexuality, telling her of his suspicions on their first wedding anniversary; a man who loves his wife and loves another man.

In the Church I grew up in, homosexuality was a great sin separating men from God. It was a choice and those who chose to live a life of sin are damned to hell. Personally, I struggle with Christians and people in general who work so hard to condemn that they forget that the ultimate judge, God is also the ultimate advocate for outcasts. I know that God does not make mistakes and I know that no person in his or her right mind would choose to live the life of a homosexual.

My next concern was if my parents were going to stay together. Why was my mother still there? As a studying minister, how did she view my dad’s actions? I developed a new respect for my mother and determined the cause of her depression that had often caused great rifts in the house when I was younger. My mom loved my dad and my dad loved her. It might not be the same as other parents, but it was a love nonetheless that many couples lack. I was later able to laugh at the irony in the situation. My parents had lasted and were still going twenty years into their not-so-straight marriage while my three aunts had each divorced and remarried.

I also wondered what I would do about dating? I have always dreamed of meeting a man like my father. My dad has always been sensitive towards things that most fathers and men in general I know are not. The next question that went through my mind echoed a similar question asked in the movie In and Out, “Is everybody gay?” I doubted any chance in this world at finding a good man, especially with my experience with guys at school.

I had two days to contemplate this new information on my own. I woke up the next morning wondering if it had all been a dream. No such luck. I tried to get used to the idea, “My dad is gay.” Such a simple but loaded phrase. My dad had been scared to tell us. What would we think of him? What discrimination would we face at school if anybody ever found out? All legitimate worries, echoing my own. My sister found out two days later. It was a relief to have somebody to talk to and to cry with.

Nothing huge has changed, only my perception of my father and my role in his life. My mom and dad are still married; I still go to the same school; I have the same dreams. Life goes on.

This idea for this publication surfaced two days after I found out and on the same day my sister found out. I have to face the facts. My dad is gay. He has told me of a group that he met with twice a month. It shocked me to learn that there were many men in the area who were in the same situation as my dad, gay married men with children and satisfied to remain just so living in shades of gray.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


See those masks in the picture? They are the famous symbols of drama. In days of old, they were used to convey emotion of a drama...or play.... The true actor's face and emotions and features were hidden from public view. No one knew what the actor's thought or felt during their performance. They were hidden behind the masks of drama.

As I write this post, I am emotionally weary -- wrung out and spent from all the drama that is now my life.

I hate whining. I hate sounding like a whiner. But, for the past 9 or so months, that's all I seem to be able to muster the strength to do. I spent a lot of time be instropsective. I critique every action I do, every word I say, every emotion I exhibit. Perhaps I over analyze.

In my discussion this weekend with "Lovey" some things became very apparent. Each conversation with her brings out new items for me to process. I suppose in a way it's helping me to see what's been lurking behind her mask of perfection for all this time.

She has prided herself with having a loving family. "They love you Frank, even though they know you are gay!" she says rather smugly. I have heard this a number of times over the past 9 or so months.

She said this again to me on Sunday during our discussion.

Then it hit me. If they loved me as much as I have been told then why has there been such a silence with them? Why no telephone calls?

Lovey will say it's because of "awkwardness." She loves that word.

I guess the reason I have hung onto the concept of them caring for me still is because I'm an only child. I've never had brothers or sisters. Family O'Lovey is the only extended family I have ever known.

But through the years...I've never felt like I really belonged. I never really felt like I was a true part of the family. No one knows how much I struggled to fit in. I always thought it was because of my gay struggles.

Early on in my marriage, I was subjected to constant nagging and criticism about my weight. I was packaged differently in those days and really did have quite an appetite and sweet tooth. Time and drama have their ways of making one view things differently. It also helps the old bod to redistribute poundage. I still weigh basically the same amount I did when my wife and I wed in 1981. The only difference now is that there are others in the extended family who have redistributed poundage that's not nearly as flattering!

I've been frequently criticized by various members of their family for not only my weight, but my eating habits, my faith, my child rearing abilities (one sister criticized me for not bonding with my children during fun things like rock climbing). I always got a perverse charge out of the child-rearing criticism, since it alway emanated from the contingent that never had had children. Further, although they were quick to lob criticism...they never bothered to fully investigated all the other things I did with my kids.

I suppose all this outpouring of negativity from them was enough to make me an uncomfortable family member itself. But, still I tried to fit in and felt that I failed miserably. Perhaps it was the fact of my gayness I finally reasoned. Yet, during my discussion on Sunday with "Lovey" it dawned on me that my feelings of not belonging......of not feeling accepted....stem from something entirely different.

It wasn't that at all... I think it may have been my sensing genuine, old fashioned phoniness or insincerity.

Growing up, one thing my parents always stressed was for me to be REAL and to detest phoniness. That's why I had the anger problem concerning my church on Sunday. That's why I have had issues with key individuals throughout my life. This is why I'm harboring the feelings I have now for Lovey's family: for all their Christianity.....for all their syrupy sweet cliches.......for all their faux concern..... It's oh so shallow...and their comments ring hollow. Yet they hide this with their masks of concern, of empathy, of compassion... I wonder if they know how unattractive it is and how easily it is to detect when you've been away from it as I have been.

The cryptic comments that I have received many times in the past from my friends who have met Lovey's family or Lovey's co-workers are now beginning to make more sense to me in light of this revelation.

Why wasn't I conscious of it all then?

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Today I went to another church -- one a bit more inclusive and accepting of diversity. No great loss at the other church since no one at that church has really bothered to contact me or to even check in. As I drove to the new one, I couldn't help to feel some anger billowing up inside. It hurts to feel like an outcast.

When I arrived at the new church, I was immediately welcomed by two transgendered people...two lesbians and a gay guy. They were certainly open and at ease with themselves. Their ease, made me feel immediately at home. I had just arrived at the beginning of their coffee hour. So, I mingled. I'm amazed at how at ease I felt. Yes, it felt like "home."

The sermon was about PEACE. A topic that I could feel inside that I needed to desperately hear. I also heard music that lifted my spirit.

However, as I drove home....the closer I got, the more anger I my other "lovey" the world.

When I finallly got home, I walked inside to find that "lovey" was ready to discuss alimony. I warned her that I was on we meandered around the topic.

I boiled over. I'm not sure where it came from.....but it spewed out like an eruption of a volcano. Everything that I had been storing up from the neglect from my church staff the fact that I asked her just what value was I to her and the children other than as a "Daddy Warbucks". We went at it for quite sometime, until she received a telephone call from a colleague of hers. However, before that she actually apologized to me for the divorce.....and how she realizes now that she had neglected my an oversight. We both kind of feel it's too late to do anything about it, but I did appreciate the effort. After her phone call was ended.....I was exhausted. I didn't want to talk about things any further....and neither did she.

So hear I am, with a slight headache, trying to recover from my outburst.

How I hate this...

Friday, April 21, 2006


Today I find myself experiencing a tinge of bitterness toward “Lovey” and all that she stands for.

There, I have put it on the table for all to read.

I am bitter because of some conversations I have had with other men in my situation – married and struggling with being gay. I’ve heard them talk about how supportive their wives have been – of the many different and creative ways that they have worked things out – of the many couples who are happily celebrating 25, 30, 35, and yes, 40 years of dealing with it successfully.

And here am I, looking at a possible future of being alone. Alone as in no wife to talk to, to share my secret dreams with, to share my fears with, to rejoice in great triumphs or victories with, to experience weddings of our children with, to experience births of grand children with. Nope, no woman in my life to experience all these life events.

So, today, Friday, April 21, 2006, I’m bitter about her….and about a whole lot of other things surrounding her…and this floodgate of change and difficulty and pain she introduced into my life:

• I am now forced to face my gayness front and center.

• I must figure out how big a force in my future this is going to play.

• I have to decide whether or not to come out to the world and be done with it! (Do I do this in the event I wind up with a male partner later on or heck, should I just take the private route and if that happens, let them all figure it out then?)

• I have no significant female figure in my life on which to consult with on the trivial and the critical…unless you count my mother. (Sorry Mom…)

• I resent the fact that I have not been able to have any say in who I come out to for the first wave of disclosure. “Lovey” has outted me to practically the world and she has never understood why this isn’t and shouldn’t be done. (Maybe I shouldn’t worry about bullet # 3 after all it has already been done!) Whatever happened to loyalty? (She has always been loyal to her blood relatives though.)

• I resent the fact that very few in my church have cared enough to check on me or call – NOT EVEN THE PASTOR or other STAFF members. “Lovey” says it’s an awkward situation for them…because she is on staff. Hmmmm…why is it that they can’t pick up the phone to say they were thinking about me?

• I also resent a member of a gay married support group that I am part of in my city. I always looked up to him as a model…and as my rock…. But he has not once checked in with me… Oh he’s been concerned about the special guy in my life…and how my divorce is impacting him……but not one time has he checked in on me….to be concerned about how my divorce is impacting ME!

Did I say I was bitter?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I’m amazed at how things in my life, while at times seem to be in utter chaos, suddenly take a turn towards affirmation and even confirmation -- confirmation of the fact that I am on the right path in my journey; and, affirmation that I am a good person and worthy of good things…not the dung beetle I once thought I was.

I am also profoundly affected by the things that I am learning through this period of transition. I seeing glimmers of new things and the excitement of new experiences.

There’s even a new word that's becoming more common in my life – friend.

Growing up I had only a handful of what I would consider truly close friends. I suppose my standards have been rather high since I’ve always defined the word friend as someone who knows all there is to know about you and loves you anyway. Thus, I’ve not hot had that many.


It is the plain and simple fact that I have not let people know all there is to know about me. You see, my gayness has been my constant companion since the age of four.

Lately I’m beginning to see that I am nurturing a lot of new friendships. I seem to be emerging from my shell. It’s so different for me to be able to not be shy for once. I am actually able to start a conversation with total strangers. Folks even comment on my warmth and compassion.

I am also enjoying the company of men.

Because of being hidden deep in a dark closet for so long, my male friendships were nil. I had walls erected. I felt like Maxwell Smart from the old TV series “Get Smart”, when he is going to his secret headquarters and how he must pass through all those doors that are swinging shut from all angles. Yes, he is secure behind all those doors.

I was secure behind all those walls. Nobody knew the real me. Undoubtedly many thought I was stranger or different.

Last night I spent time having coffee with a new male friend. What an affirming and powerful meeting it was. He’s a minister in the denomination that my wife and I are involved with, so he is uniquely familiar with the situation we now face: awaiting “Lovey’s” appointment to her first, full-fledged pastorate!

I immediately felt comfortable with him. It was as if we had been friends for years. No walls…no hidden agendas… fear of what he might think.

Just honest and clear dialog over the course of two hours.

He told me his story….and I told him mine. He told me of his life in the closet and his very slow emergence out of it. He spoke of his need for continued discretion but how his children and other extended family members have supported him. He explained his need of male camaraderie and the pleasure he derives from talking to other men with similar backgrounds.

We spoke of our dreams for the future and our marital frustrations…our frustrations with organized Christianity and their views of homosexuality. We also discussed intimacy and how each of us has discovered it in our own ways. The crushes….the disappointments….the longings….the joys….the sadness….the loneliness….both of us could write extensive books on them all.

Yes, my situation brought us together and I reached out. When I did, I had a strong warm hand that reached back.

When you have a true friend, you have a living, breathing gift.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Going through the breakup of a long-term marriage isn’t fun. Coupled with the fact that I am still struggling to accept the fact of my gayness in a predominantly straight world has set me up for a whole host of issues.

The worst of my issues appear to be that of insecurity.

I despise change. I like things to remain constant. I like things nice and easy and preferably slow.


Lovey’s pronouncement of divorce from 2003 haunted me. I lost all trust in her as a wife. I found that I had to rely on myself in ways that I had never imagined.

She wasn’t there for me then as I hurtled through the fringes of complete breakdown. However, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. After all, when we were first married in 1981, she clearly stated that her ministry would always be first.

Silly me thought that I might be first occasionally or even when we had children, perhaps they would even come in first occasionally.

I was wrong.

The ministry was always first. I just learned to live with it. The kids and I learned to work around it. We’d go to the movies or to the playground. We’d go on vacations. I got to spend much bonding time with all three of my children. I attended the 8 significant funerals that occurred in my family during my marriage alone. Then there were the host of reunions and other family gatherings that I attended alone. In 24 years of marriage, some of my relatives have never met my wife and at this point, probably never will.

Lovey worked on sermons, put herself through seminary, achieved her Master of Divinity degree, pastored or co-pastored several churches, switched denominations, quit a high paying legal secretarial job and took an $11,000 pay cut to go to work for the seminary.

I made no demands. I set no standards. I defended her decisions to her family, to my family.

Still, I was her husband and she was significant to me. And I was gay…

Now that our marriage is in its final death throes, I find myself so insecure…even in my other stable relationships. I figure that if my wife left me after 24 years, then what’s to keep my other significant relationships from leaving me too.

I’m damaged goods. I’m a failure as a husband.

Oh, many of my relatives have said, “You’re not a failure! You’ve been a great father and a great husband!” In my mind, while nice to hear from these individuals, the wife of “the great husband” obviously begs to differ.

So, here I sit. Trying to become a little more secure in my life and in my relationships – but it’s difficult. Once you’ve had your foundations knocked out from under you, it’s a little hard to trust any foundation going forward.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Awaken Insecurity

June 9, 2005 was not the first time that Lovey said she wanted a divorce. Actually she told me that she wanted a divorce on October 31, 2003.

That morning had started like every other one. We woke ready for work and Lovey decided to fix me breakfast -- something she rarely did. Just when I was completing my last bite, that's when she told me. She told me that she wanted a divorce and that I had basically made her life hell.

It came from left field.

I didn't see it coming. I didn't know that she had felt so badly about being married to me. But obviously she did.

I didn't take it well. I fell apart. The depth of emotions I felt that day cannot be described. It felt that my world had fallen apart. Life as I had known it vanished. I felt as though I had been kicked in the gut by a sledgehammer.

I wandered to the office literally lost in a fog. I couldn't do my job.

I now understand the concept of a mental breakdown. I acted out and did things that I can't believe I did. I wound up suspended without pay for 3 days. (They could have fired me.)

I was a mess. I had no appetite. I lost weight. I didn't sleep for days.

I cried.

Never have I experienced something like this. Divorce had never been in my life plan.

I thought I had been honest about my feelings...I thought that is what I was supposed to be. I couldn't lie to my life partner. After I all, I thought that is what husbands and wives did: expose weaknesses, discuss vulnerabilities, actually be oneself.

I was least in this marriage. I soon found that everything I had experienced....everything that I had dealt with....everything gay....was now up for discussion...with her colleagues.....with her family....with our pastor. Suddenly I was naked for all the world to see.

I grew paranoid. I wondered who knew what....and I started clamming up. I could feel the coldness beginning to freeze me at my core.

And then, a delay. Her father became quite ill. In the midst of it, she said: "I was wrong. I can live with you forever. I don't want to divorce you."

I didn't believe her.

Eight long months dragged on. Father O'Lovey died. We made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Happy New Year 2005. I turned 47. She turned 50. There was a big party. Family group pictures were taken. There we were...all five of us: Lovey, Daughter #1, Daughter #2, My Son the Marine, and Me, smiling cheerily. Then, almost 2 weeks later...BOOM! Here we go again.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Life Goes On...

Here I am...visiting my elderly parents in West Virginia for the Easter holiday. I look around the old neighborhood...the place that I used to go to...the old schools... So much has changed...but still some things are the same.

The old elementary school was torn down long ago. The fence that once kept all the children safe is the only reminder of what once was.

My junior high is now a middle school. It's still the same.

My high school has closed, but the building is a silent witness to its once greatness. Thirty years ago I graduated with such high hopes and unrealistic dreams of greatness.

The downtown area has faded from what it was 30 years ago. The Sears moved to the mall on the outskirts of town years ago. The other major department stores closed years ago with their buildings standing as mute testaments to the greatnes that has long past.

The majority of the population appears to be elderly. Folks going about their lives.

And here am I. Still gay....single once more....with grown children and a wife who expects her appointment at the end of next week. Hopefully by the end of June it will all be over. I can go on with my life.

Life goes on...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Queer Blues

I visited my local gay bookstore not long ago and saw a book entitled, “The Queer Blues.”

Now there’s a title.

Obviously someone has taken the time to study this so-called phenomenon and I should have purchased the book. I have suffered from this malady for quite sometime. Clearly, a lot of other gay people do too. In a warped way it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.

I also suffer from diabetes which is known to wreak havoc on one’s emotional well-being. My doctor tells me that diabetics are notorious for “blowing their neural receptors” and this brings on depression. It’s a chemical imbalance.

So now I have two reasons for the blues.

Why do I have to be twice blessed?

I mean, after all, I can be in the midst of any one of a number of joyful celebrations. I can be laughing and having a grand time. Then it starts. I can’t describe it. It just begins to envelop me, like an unwanted cloak on a beach.

I can generally tell when it’s the diabetes and not the gay issues. If it’s diabetes-related, I’ll have no real reason to be depressed. It will come from left field. After a few hours it departs and I’ll feel tremendously better.

The queer blues happen when I read something gay-oriented that makes me sad – a bashing, a right-wing speech likening me to a child molestor, an alcoholic. I suppose the one thing that did me in more than any other one was when Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell blamed me, a gay person, for the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The right-wingers and the Christian Fundies are nuts. They don’t understand.

Homophobes don’t understand.

I am an upright citizen. I pay my taxes. I live my life. Don’t I deserve to live my life in a way that will that will bring me happiness?

I wonder how many other upright citizens who pay their taxes suffer from the queer blues? It’s not something they could readily confess. They probably can’t even define it or put their feelings into words.

How many of these people take the extreme measure of ending their lives because of it? How many miserable teens use this as a reason to kill themselves?

I think we’d all be surprised at the answers.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


When Dan died so unexpectedly, I found myself in an unpleasant situation, the likes of which I never dreamed that I would have to go through. The feelings that I had can be summed up in the Kevin Welch song that contains the lyrics, "I'm dying inside, but nobody knows it but me."

Here I was a closeted gay male, having been involved in a physical relationship with another closeted gay male. that I began to have some emotional attachment to, and before I could get the nerve up to tell him, he went away in a moment, never to return. I cannot begin to describe the feelings that I had. It caused a fog to descend upon me...heavily... I didn't dare share it with anyone.

Imagine the loneliness. Imagine the isolation. Imagine the pain.

Dan's secretary could tell that I was shaken by her news. She said that the memorial service celebrating Dan's life would be held the following afternoon...and that I should come. I hung up.

Not only had I been dumped for Jesus, by Cole, but it seemed that God was playing mind games with me by snatching Dan from me too.

The next day dawned. Life was moving ahead and I was still suffering from emotional devestation. I couldn't bring myself to go to the memorial service. My presence could generate more questions than I could provide answers. So, I stayed away.

At the appointed time, I breathed a prayer and moved on with my life. Later on, I called his secretary to find out where Dan had been buried. A week or so later, I made my way to his grave and worked through my grief there at the cemetery.

Still inside I was grieving, not only about Dan's sudden loss, or Cole's breakup with me, but it seemed as if I was grieving for the Frank that used to be. The straight Frank that I couldn't ever become.

On June 9, 2005, I would again feel this sense of loss. I would begin the grieving process for the loss of my marriage. I would grieve the loss of the "old Frank", the "old" life, and the "old family." Yes, some days are better than others. However, there are other days when the fog rolls in and totally overwhelms me. Even though I can chat with my friends and let them know that I'm in pain. Unless they have been there and gone through anything comparable, there's no way they can relate.

And once again, I feel like "I'm dying inside, but nobody knows it but me."

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Unthinkable

In early 1997, I discovered chat rooms on the Internet. Generally, I used them to meet other men like myself to help me become more comfortable with being a married gay man.

One day online I met a 40-something year old man by the name of Cole. It turned out that Cole and I had much in common. He had been married over 15 years. I had been married for over 15 years. He had 3 kids. I had 3 kids. He was active in his church. I was active in my church. He served as praise and worship leader at his church. I did the same.

The main difference in us was the fact that he lived in Texas – over 900 miles from where I lived!

He and I spoke daily via the Internet chat room. Then we progressed to telephone calls and e-mail. Pretty soon, he and I lived for those communications. Yes, I was developing a crush.

He was too.

About that time, my office had to send me to do some work out of town – to Texas! I couldn’t wait to tell Cole. Where I was being sent was only about 2 hours from him. He was thrilled and said that he would drive the 3 hours to meet me.

So we met. It was as if we had known each other forever. He was quite familiar with the city we were in. He took me to lunch. He showed me the gay areas. He told me the story of his life. How he had gone through the “ex-gay” route and how miserable he had become. How he had been suicidal and depressed. Finally, he said, he had just accepted himself.

The day ended and we felt closer than ever before. My crush had deepened and his appeared to do the same thing.

I was amazed at how I was feeling.

Flying home the next day I was quite elated. I had never been told by another man that he loved me. That he wanted to be with me. And…I had never had feelings like what I was experiencing with him.

I came home on Saturday. On Monday, I got to my office to find an e-mail from Cole. He said that he really enjoyed our time together and that he cared for me. However, on his way home from our meeting, God had told him that I would wreck him spiritually and that I, would send him to Hell for all eternity!

Well, gee, I didn’t think I was all that powerful!

The bottom line to all this is that he no longer wanted a romance. As time progressed, he ultimately ran into a hot little gym bunny and was prepared to move away with him. Then he got his wife pregnant. She had a miscarriage. He then went back to the ex gay route. He started counseling. The counselor fell in love with him. He moved to another city….and we ultimately lost touch.

I was heartbroken…

But I still had Dan.

Dan and I had still been seeing each other occasionally. I could never bring myself to let him know of my deepening emotional feelings for him based on our earlier agreement.

However, the Tuesday following my email from Cole, I called Dan’s office to see if he could have lunch with me. I needed to vent about Cole. I needed Dan’s friendship. I needed some comfort.

Dan’s secretary, Michelle answered the phone. She knew that I was Dan’s friend. I asked if I could speak to Dan. Michelle paused.

“I’m sorry Frank. Dan no longer works here.”

“What?” I said, rather shocked. “Where’d that rascal go? He didn’t say anything about getting a new job or leaving.”

A very long pause…

Michelle then told me that Dan had just been killed in an automobile accident.

I went numb. It was like my mind couldn’t really process this information. In looking back on this, my reaction was quite like that of Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, when he finds out that his beloved Jack Twist was killed in an accident. You just sort of stand there listening to the details unable to fully respond.

Two emotionally draining events happened in one week. Dan’s sudden death affected me in profound ways. I don’t have any pictures of him. I couldn’t bring myself to go to his funeral or his memorial service. I became very depressed. I grieved alone. I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. I had to go on with my life.

Would this be my lot in life? Would I never be able to get away from all this pain and sadness and ever really become a happy gay person,able to experience true happiness.

I also became haunted by my feelings for Dan. I knew that he had been having a hard time with life. His wife and he had been having some difficulties….I believe from the gay issues. He was holding down his two jobs to make ends meet. He had just moved into a new house. He was under a lot of stress.

I wondered. Would it have been easier for him knowing that I cared for him and that I didn’t expect anything in return?

I’ll never know.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


If there is one thing that I am learning during this process of divorce is that I am enjoying my alone time. And, at this particular time I’ve been on a business trip to New York City. I’m not climbing the walls. I’m not afraid of having “down time.” I’m actually able to sit down and compose these entries and I find this is actually helping me process things better -- to put thoughts in writing. It’s good therapy.

It’s also a time of self-discovery…of remembrance.

I’m learning what it’s like not to be uptight about my sexuality. It’s okay to explore. It’s okay to read. It’s okay to learn what my particular tastes are.

It’s also comforting to know that I’m not alone. This is confirmed by the comments I am receiving via email and the comments that are posted here. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to affirm me.

So much of the controversy surrounding gayness in today’s culture seems to stem from the preoccupation with the physical manifestations of being gay. Granted, this is a part of the whole package, but for me, it doesn’t define the whole.

However, when one is first dealing with all the rush of feelings and emotions that accompany the breakup of a longtime heterosexual marriage, the need for sex seems to be magnified a thousand fold. The same happens (at least for me) when one is coming out to one’s self. Many psychologists and counselors believe in the concept of a “gay adolescence.” They say that it is because if you have spent your life and your energy trying to be straight, that you actually miss out on what it’s like to “sow yor wild oats.”

So here I am at 47. Embarking on a facet of my life – one that I never thought would happen to me. A divorce after 24 long years of marriage. AND…I suppose I should be sowing some wild oats about now.

But I’m not.

Several years after we had adopted our son in 1986, who by the way, is now a 20 year old United States Marine, “Lovey” decided that we no longer needed to have physical acrobatics in our bedroom. This, I later learned, is rather common in mixed orientation marriages. There just comes a time when both parties decide not to express themselves to each other in this way. (Usually when the husband comes out to the wife, a honeymoon period follows where there is more sex than can be handled – I think that it is because the wife thinks she can prove her husband is not gay.)

So during the fall of 1990, I met Dan, another married man who was in similar circumstances. I was 32 and he was 47. Funny, but he was the age then that I am now. He had children in college, had been married for many, many years.

Early on in his life, he had held a very high political office in his city, but was outed as a result of an indiscretion in a public bathroom. As a result, he was out to his wife and children. The news media had made his experience into a circus event. He was forced to resign and move out of his state…out of his region.

He landed in my city, working for the government in a much lesser capacity than what he had been used to. His family had made many financial sacrifices. He was paying dearly for his gayness.

We became fast friends. He and I liked each other. And, as nature took its course, he and I began to take care of each other’s more physical and carnal needs on an occasional basis. He’d call me up when he needed me and vice versa.

At the outset we established ground rules. He would never expect nor want to meet my family. He expected the same of me. We agreed that we would never have a partnership or a live-in arrangement. This would only be his and my secret and we would take care of each other in that way.

And so it began…

We had some great times. I’d listen to him talk about his children and about his wife. He loved them dearly, but he felt that he had let them down. He was consumed by guilt, but he also knew that he had needs to take care of.

We met periodically for over seven years.

Near the seven year mark, he was getting depressed. His wife had become suicidal. Financial problems were mounting. He took on a second job at a department store. I could see it was taking its toll. I also knew that my feelings for him had changed. Emotional feelings were surfacing after seven years that I never thought would happen. I wanted to tell him…but because of our agreement that we had made at the beginning of our relationship I remained silent.

And then, the unthinkable happened…

Monday, April 03, 2006


The first time I ever heard the term “gaydar” was when I was watching one of Oprah Winfrey’s programs.

I’ve often wondered how it is that someone can be in a a crowded room, or walking down the street, and something inside responds to a certain glance, or a certain look. “Lovey” and I have been known to play games in a restaurant. As we’re going inside, we’ll notice a car in the parking lot with a rainbow flag and then I’ll take a spin around the restaurant to see if I can identify the car’s owner. Invariably I’m able to do this. I’ve gotten to be pretty good at it.

I don’t know how or why I am able to do this.

Just yesterday, I was walking with a gay friend near Central Park West in New York City. It was our first meeting, and he and I had been sharing the stories of our lives. As we walked and talked my “gaydar” was going off right and left. A number of guys were walking their dogs. Some appeared as couples. I spotted lesbians. Then there were the obvious ones: the ones holding hands.

Nobody seemed to care.

Granted, I was in one of the largest cities in the United States where people are more sophisticated. Still, it was amazing to me that here they were: gay people of all ages, sizes, shapes, skin color and gender, happily living their lives!

I remarked to my friend, who is married to a woman and struggling with his gay identity, about all the gay people I was seeing.

He couldn’t see them. They were invisible to him. He hasn’t been able to get his “gaydar” to work. He seemed frustrated at not being able to see like-minded individuals.

Yet, here I could see them -- all over the place…not beating their chests to say, “Here I am. I’m gay. Look at me!”

They were just going about their business, happily living their lives!

I want that.

What Next?

As a gay and almost single man, It recently occurred to me, what's next? What's the next step for me, a 47 year old gay guy, with three grown children, a dog, and a house in a suburb of a very large city?

I suppose I could "play the field" and see what's out there...or I could just plod along at a very slow pace analyzing all my options.

Do I continue in the church I have come to love?

Do I leave and look for a more gay-friendly, reconciling congregation?

Do I make any grand pronouncements at church? at work?

Do I pursue another fulltime relationship?

Do I look for other female companionship? I just stop? Take 10 deep breaths?

There are a number of positive things that have happened as a result of my crumbling marriage. It has made me have to emerge from my comfort zone and reach out. I've had to reach out to other people...other wonderful men in my situation...both online and off. I've made friends. This is an art that I thought I had lost.

I'm learning to enjoy my alone time -- another lost art. I'm actually writing this from a hotel room in New York City. If I had been here five years ago, I would be climbing the walls....I'd feel so out of place... But today I feel very comfortable...and yes, glimmers of genuine happiness!

So many questions....wonderment.....(is that a word?)...what does my future hold?

Only time will tell...