Sunday, December 25, 2011

I came out to my wife... A new chapter....

So I finally did it. On Friday night I broke down and told my wife about my attraction toward men.

I had gone to bed somewhat depressed at about 6:30pm. I woke up at about 8pm and she was reading beside me. I couldn't fall back asleep. My heart was pounding and in my throat. I was at a point of despair. I was at a point where I was prepared for the worst. I asked myself, what is better; me leading myself into a deeper and deeper depression to a point where I might lose it or worse hurt myself or should I just put it all out on the table and at a minimum unburden myself of this million pound secret? I was at a point where even her worst reaction seemed like an upgrade to me from where I was at.

We started talking about a frum organization that was hosting a lecture on how frum Jews should deal with the emerging issue of  homosexuals within our community. She spoke sympathetically about it and said that it needs to take place and how she is impressed that they are doing this.

That was my moment.

I put my head in my hands and quietly told her that I had something to share with her. She verbalized to me that I was scaring her. I told her that she has the right to be scared because what I was about to say was going to be a life changer. She again said that I was scaring her. At that point there was no turning back. What in reality was probably a minute or two felt like an eternity, I struggled with trying to say the words to her. I started mumbling. "I am..." and then I stopped. I said "I have this problem where I am..." then I stopped again. This went on for a bit until I finally said to her that I am physically attracted to men. I explained that I  have this burning desire to be intimate with a man and it has been getting more and more intense. I told her that I have had it since I was a teenager and on differing levels of intensity throughout the years. I assured her that I never in my life had a gay relationship or encounter. I assured her that I never cheated on her. I also assured her that I loved her and that when I have been with her over the years there were many times that I was in the moment and doing it out of a true physical attraction to her.

I am lucky to have shared with her over the years all the negativity that I received from my parents, therapists, bullies and male "role models" growing up. This allowed me to explain where alot of the intimacy issues took form.

She started crying. It was close to hysterical but not quite out of control. She asked me if  that meant that I wanted to pursue the need and find a man to live with. She asked me if I didn't want to be with her any more. I told her that from my perspective I am still trying to figure it all out. I wasnt looking to throw out everything we had. I explained that I recognize that so much of my need is deep rooted into my psych from a troubled and abusive childhood. We continued talking. I told her I was willing to work with her and try further therapy together and/or separate to see if there is a way for me to develop that intimacy with a man in a non sexual way and/or figure out ways that I can find the intimacy I lack through my relationship with her. I told her that there are no guarantees that this will work but I was ready to give it my all.

I explained that I have no expectation of her response. I told her she doesn't need to respond and/or if she does in any way I would let it be and understand.

She took a tissue and wiped her eyes. She looked at me with a resolve and said (i am paraphrasing but this is pretty close), "I want to be there for you. I want to do what it takes to see if we could make this work. I want to join you for this journey".

I was floored. I was ready for her to walk out. I was ready for rage. I was not expecting this loving and caring response. Don't get me wrong, I wont say that I wasn't hoping for it... but expecting it, I wasn't.

I don't want to ramble on but we talked for a few hours. She asked me a lot of questions. I answered them honestly. We talked about some of the men in my life and who I am attracted to and who not. It got to a point where we were able to even laugh about it.

In summary, she was amazing. I feel closer to her already and in fact had a day today where I just wanted to hug her and be with her all day. I know this feeling won't last forever and there are huge struggles ahead but this is the best start I could have asked for.

I wasn't sure that I wanted to write this blog post because I am now committed to working on my relationship with my wife in a way that can bring depth and intimacy to our relationship. What this means to me is that my struggles will be taking a shift from being shared primarily with the general public through my blog to being shared with her privately. I felt I needed to write this because I owed it to the people that have been reading and that I have met through this blog to share this important update..

With this blog, I have made a number of friends and acquaintances and I don't plan on losing your friendship. If you have any questions or if you want to check in and see how I am doing, feel free to email me or comment on the blog. Depending on how things go I may or may not be posting the intimate details of my life for a while.

I don't know where this journey will take me but yet again here starts a new chapter.....

21 comments:

  1. Wow ...your story resonates mine to a T. Came out to my now ex wife the same way on a Friday night. Travelled a difficult road for a couple years. Our outcome may be far different than yours. The one thing I can say for sure is that honesty to yourself and those you love is paramount. We are all in a better and more authentic place now. A good ex wife, three accepting orthodoc kids and a supportive life partner. Kol Hakavod. Hill

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  2. Tan ish du milemeisav armalo. She has everything to lose, and you, olam habu.

    So, it's a positive development. In time, sex is less important than self fulfillment. Being gay, aside from issur, doesn't bring accolades in the primitive, fundamentalist Orthodox community. Your kids would prefer not knowing even if you teach them never to hate.

    You're being led by a Divine hand to choose righteousness. A good person by every definition, you are.

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    Replies
    1. "Tav l'meitav tandu", I think you mean.

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  3. Thanks for the update. I am so happy to hear that your wife took the news the ways she did. Lord knows she could have been full of rage and not have been able to hear your honest answers.

    Now that you are putting your energy into your wife, I agree that perhaps it is not the time to be blogging to the public about your challenge. Perhaps it was through your blog posts that you not only found clarity, but the strength to be accepting of yourself AS YOU ARE. And your loving wife wants to do the same.

    Best of luck

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  4. Yasher Koach! You acted very courageously in confronting this terrifying situation. Your wife also sounds like a real Tzadekes. I am sure that having her support while make your struggle/journey easier. I wish you the absolute best of luck and hope to read more soon.

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  5. Congratulations on taking one of the biggest steps in your life. I too was raised orthodox and married to a woman for 18 years. I never cheated on her with a man (or woman) and I too came out to her on a Friday night. Her reaction was similar to yours....we were going to stay together and work it out...and then a few weeks later the rage set in. One day the locks were changed the bank accounts emptied. I was blindsided by this, but later found out this is pretty normal behavior.

    You see you have known you were gay for years, she has only had a few days/weeks to really 'know' this. As she thought about this, maybe even talked to some friends or relatives, she began to question whether your marriage was a total sham and if you kept your sexual attraction a secret, maybe you have other secrets. I'm writing this to give you some warning, some thought, some idea, that you too might have a surprise coming.

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  6. Wow. So brave... I wish you must success in navigating your journey. I can't image how hard this must be and how courageous you are. Titchazek!

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  7. Why don't you contact Jonah?

    Its an awesome organization. They are so caring and I am friendly with so many people from there.

    Its definitely worth a shot.

    Don't go to a therapist who is not familiar with SSA.

    Jonah does not do therapy but will work with you, guide you and also refer you to good therapists if you want to work on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonah is tantamount to abuse. Their methods are not scientific, and they do not adhere to any medical standards of care. Conversion therapy has been specifically labeled as harmful by American Psychiatric Association. It is believed to lead to lower self esteem and higher suicide rates.

      While we live in a country with freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and some might want to expose themselves to the methodology of Jonah in order to assume a different sexual orientation than is true to their inner selves, please do not call Jonah a form of therapy.

      Delete
  8. Jonah?? are you serious??? They have been discredited, sued and shown to be a scam of closeted Jewish gay men.
    Listen to these men who escaped the horrid clutches of JONAH

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsMgRUMFZks

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  9. Nate why do you just look at one person's experience.

    There are countless others who were helped.

    There are always going to be people who have a bad experience.

    I know, I have personal knowledge!

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  10. @ Yosef
    The man (my husband) in the picture is a psychiatrist in the gay community and has treated countless men who have been hurt by JONAH. It is more than a few disgruntled people. NO research has shown that reparative therapy works.

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  11. Here are two studies:

    a. Karten, E. Y., & Wade, J. C. (2010). Sexual orientation change efforts in men: A client perspective. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 18, 84-102.

    “On average, the men in our sample reported: a decrease in homosexual feelings and
    behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in
    their psychological functioning. Analysis of the self-report data indicated that on av-
    erage the men in our sample made positive gains as a result of SOCE; and several of
    the variables we examined related positively to change in functioning while others re-
    lated negatively. Consistent with our hypothesis, the analysis showed that married men
    had greater reduction in sexual feelings and behavior toward men than single men. One
    possibility is that men who are married are more invested in this work because they …”

    b. Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? 200 Participants Reporting a Change from Homosexual to Heterosexual Orientation (Archives of Sexual Behavior, October 2003, p.403-417 ).

    Here are TWO refereed journal articles indicating that it does work for many people.

    Now its YOUR TURN to provide a study that it doesn't work.

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  12. It seems to me that you are bi-sexual not gay. what you did is amazing. i envy you for having A supportive wife and hopefully family in the futter. its not in the cards for most of us. I'm a bi-sexual female i was abused as a child and came out when i was placed in foster care and into a public school.now i will never be able to find a desent shidduch or anything like that.

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  13. Mushky,

    Don't say that and don't feel that way. You are not stuck!

    I know 3 people (2 are friends) who got married within the year. They both spoke to their prospective shidduchim about it during the dating process - but they only dated after working on their SSA first.

    Yes, maybe in the specific circles that you would have gotten shidduchim in in the past it may be difficult BUT there are frum regular guys out there who would be interested in you.

    Really!

    The worst thing is if you buy into the idea that it is not in your power and that this is the way you are.

    How depressing!

    You DO have option and people WILL want to marry you!

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  14. The "Torah Declaration" attempts to help Jews. But instead it hurts them because it promotes the view that people with same sex attractions can actually be "cured" or changed into people with only opposite sex attractions. It has adopted the view of reparative therapy that childhood damage causes homosexuality, and that it can be cured. The problem with that is that this is not true. The very people that would be willing to forgo the prohibited behaviors often also would very much like to believe that they can actually "convert" not only the lifestyle but the actual attractions completely. They end up finding out years later after this approach that is not the case and are devastated. This results in some suicides and leaving the faith.

    Aside from all the mainstream psychiatric, psychological, social work, the World Health Organization and counselling groups even many experts among people that have been involved in "reparative therapy" agree on this. It does not work.

    Dr. Abba Borowich, an Orthodox psychiatrist who practiced reparative therapy for Orthodox homosexuals for nearly 30 years concluded that this was an ineffective course of therapy which only increased suffering among his patients and their families .

    The leader of Exodus the largest public group of people (several hundreds) who changed from a gay to heterosexual lifestyle through years of reparative therapy, admits that this does not include an end of same sex attraction for 99% oh the group.

    So the twenty-five "ex-gays" witnessing the Declaration and stating that some can control and some can cure their orientation will discover in time that they can only control,not cure, their orientation. (If they had a range of orientations then they will continue to have a range)

    Dr. Spitzer recently repudiated his own study, clarifying that he thinks orientation does not change.

    Dr. Throckmorten, who is doing therapy with gays that want to change their lifestyle, and adopt a straight lifestyle, does not believe in reparative therapy (Neither the theory, nor the efficacy).

    A side issue is that the Declaration group primarily relies on someone who is of bad character, in that he has a history of misleading people for profit.

    The declaration is steering teenagers and others to Jonah, as is evidenced by the signature of Arthur Goldberg. This executive and founder of the organization , Jonah, was disbarred and spent 18 months in jail for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars. He dropped his middle name Abba to disguise himself.It was one month after he got out of jail that he started Jonah to help himself to the money all these desperate families would give him.

    Also Jonah is using Christian evangelicals and counselors who ask patients to Touch their private parts in front of them.

    In conclusion, the declaration says that the therapy will work and be safe if done responsibly.

    But reparative therapy is not safe primarily because it doesn't work.

    Let everyone in this matter be clear when saying that “change” is possible. Yes you can become celibate or marry (if you tell your mate) but you can’t change your attractions and desires!

    Orthodox religious therapists and rabbis can offer support in an honest and effective way. Then those people will have a better chance of being adjusted with their adopting a straight lifestyle without having to live a complete lie.

    It is also absurd to say that only reparative therapy is the Torah way. This is saying that before this 30 year old method there was no Kosher way.

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