Well, I finally came out to someone other than “R”. I know it’s a very small step, but an important step regardless. Here’s how it happened.
The other night, I went to a “Coffee Gathering” which was hosted by a local LGBT group at a local coffee shop. (Not Starbucks, but IMHO much better) Anyway, this is the 2nd time that I have attended one of these and after my last outing with them, I thought it would be my last. (Long story for another time.)
So, after about 45 minutes of listening to really banal chit-chat, I was getting ready to leave when the door opened up and I saw someone come in who I knew. We used to work together years ago. Not wanting to “out” myself to him, I worked my way to the other side of the room, when I noticed that he joined the group and it seemed that everyone knew him. Now, I could have slipped out the door at this point, but then I realized, that if they knew him, then he was here for the same reason I was. So, I figured why not? Since we really didn’t know anyone in common, if I came out to him my “secret” was still safe.
I went over to him and he immediately remembered me. I don’t know though who was more surprised him or me when I went up to talk to him. He was someone that never even made a blip on my “gaydar”, although looking back now I should have seen the “signs”. During the normal course of work gossip, he never mentioned dating anyone or the usual “guy” stuff but on rare occasions mentioned a play or art opening he had been to. I knew he was single but sometimes you run into people at work that never share their private lives and only talk about work and I thought he was one of them. As it turns out, he was in a long term relationship (20+ years) and his partner died about a year ago of a sudden heart attack and he has only recently started to go out again. He told me that he kinda had a feeling I was also gay, but since he knew I was married w/kids he never pushed the issue with me. He felt that it was my business and he was all to familiar with gay men who married to “hide”. He was almost one of “those” but backed out a week before his wedding after finally admitting the truth to himself and everyone else.
I explained to him that although I knew I was gay way back when, I was never able to admit it to anyone other than my friend “R” who was also married. I went into a little about our relationship and how I was getting ready to finally come out after I settled other issues in my life including “R”. I also told him that I was divorced and no, the ex still doesn’t know, yadda, yadda, yadda.
We ended up talking for over 2 hours and then he invited me back to his place, (No nothing happened!) we did however talk until 3 in the morning. I have to admit that although there was no “chemistry” we did connect on many other levels. He understood where I was coming from and respects where I am now in my life and told me that his door is always open when I need to vent or just need another understanding ear. He said that he will be there for me because he knew that the road wouldn’t always be smooth and he would like to help. He also said that he would help me in any other way possible during and after my coming out process. Okay, so I have to admit that after he said that I started to cry like a baby. Then he held me in his arms and just let me calm down. It almost felt as if another weight was lifted off my shoulders, and I knew then, that I could do this, I can come out because even this small step, made me have such a sense of freedom that I want more than ever to finally be free to be me.
So, by taking a small step and venturing out, I reconnected with someone and in the process made a good friend. Will any thing come of it? Right now, I don’t think so and to be honest I would rather have a friend who understands and supports me rather than another relationship. I really don’t think that once I break things completely with “R” I would want to get into another relationship right away. (I was never one for rebound relationships anyway) I want to take my time and be choosy and maybe even be a little “slutty” (A safe sex slut though) that is if I could find anyone who would find this bearish body of interest. All I know is that once that door stays open, I will have at least one person that I could count on to be there for me and if anything could be a mentor of sorts and help keep me grounded. To me that is more important than anything else I could think of right now that would make all this worrying and guilt worth it.