Out Of The Closet Into The Fire

Well here goes – the big one. The issue I am sure is at the heart of most of my problems. I’ve been putting this one off since I started this blog a couple of months ago, but I know if I want to move forward I have to confront it. This really isn’t something I am comfortable talking about – even as an anonymous blogger, but I will try and force myself to be as honest and candid as I can.

Since the age of about 13, I’ve known that I was gay. I’ve never ‘come out’ to my family or most of my friends – even gay ones. I’m sure some of them suspect it, but it is not something that is ever discussed. Although I have had numerous sexual partners since about the age of 17, I have never had what would be termed ‘a relationship’ with anyone – serious or otherwise. Between the ages of 14-17 I had three girlfriends, one of which I even had sex with – it was ok, but I knew what I really wanted.

The reason I’ve never had a boyfriend, is that I have only ever been attracted to older men. Guys my own age or younger do absolutely nothing for me at all and the whole gay ‘scene’ thing horrifies me. So sexually I am attracted to older guys, but there has never been any interest in forming a relationship with them because of the age gap. I don’t feel I have anything in common with guys 10-20 years older than me. I have spent my adult life satisfying my sexual needs with one night stands – occasionally I have seen a guy 4 or 5 times, but ultimately it would never go further even if they wanted it to, because I seem to be unable or unwilling to form that kind of connection with anyone.

I have grown up in a society where ‘the norm’ for a guy is to get a girlfriend, move in together, get married, do cozy coupley things with other couples, have kids, do cozy family things with your other friends who by now have kids as well etc. There is such a large part of me that yearns for that – to fit in with what is deemed ‘acceptable’ to the majority – to fit in with my old friends lives – to fit in with my brother & sister’s lives. But instead I have to accept that this is not going to happen for me. I watch my old friends disappear off to raise their families, go on holidays with other friends who also have families, and I’m left standing on the outside looking in – It feels like I have become a spectator of life rather than a participant.

When I go and visit my brother or sister (whom I love dearly), I increasingly feel like an outsider – like I don’t belong. When the whole family get together I am surrounded by people who love me and care about me and who I love and care about in return, yet it makes me feel miserable because I can’t join the ‘happy families club’; I feel like I am being selfish in depriving my nieces and nephews of cousins, my mum and dad of grandchildren, my brother & sister of more nieces and nephews. I never even have a partner to bring to the party – of either sex. I know this is the result of social conditioning, but knowing that doesn’t make things any better or change anything.

I always told myself that I would ‘come out’ when I got into a serious relationship with someone. I didn’t want to announce my sexuality before having a partner, as I figured I would need their support to get me through the difficult ‘coming out’ process. I never for a moment considered I would get to the age of 41 without ever having had a serious relationship.

My feelings towards my sexuality are complex and somewhat confusing. I made a post in March called Contradictions, Self-Deceit and Confusion and I realised as I was writing the post, that most of the contradictions I wanted to talk about revolved around my sexuality, but I was not ready to talk about it at that stage, so the post never really quite got to the heart of the matter. I have always told myself that I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m gay, comfortable with the fact that I am permanently single, comfortable with the fact that I’ve been withholding the truth from my friends and family. More recently I am not so sure that this isn’t just another self-deceit. The problem is that I’ve said it so often and for so long, that regardless of the actual truth, I actually believe it now… so I end up with statements like; ‘I’m comfortable about my sexuality – but I’m not comfortable about my sexuality’. In my head both statements are correct. Is one just a learned response though? I’ve spend hours, days, weeks, years pondering this and I honestly just don’t know. I don’t care what other people think, but I do care what other people think. I love living alone and can’t imagine having to live with anyone, but I want to share my life with someone…. these types of paradoxes infest my mind are without doubt rooted in the issue of my sexuality.

So what do I do? Stand on the rooftop and announce to the world that I’m gay? Not my style. And I don’t really see what it would achieve apart from probably more misery and paranoia for me – convinced (and probably right) that everyone is talking about me and judging me. If ever there was proof that homosexuality is NOT a lifestyle choice, I’m it. I don’t want it, but I have no choice – I am what I am and I have no alternative but to accept that…. only trouble is, as I get older I seem less and less able to accept it.

Some gay men hide/suppress their sexuality and enter into a heterosexual relationship in order that he can have children and lead a ‘normal’ life. How nice for him. How appalling and crushing for her when the truth finally outs. I could never do that to someone… although I sometimes wish I could.

I don’t feel like I have any choices available to me – I can’t have a heterosexual relationship which is really what I want (due to my social conditioning), as that would just be a lie. I can’t have a gay relationship because I’m only attracted to older men and I have nothing in common with them. To make things even worse, I only seem to be attracted to older men who are straight/married. So the only option left to me is to carry on living alone and rely on my cats for companionship. Great. What a future.

For years I was content – even happy – with my situation. Having the occasional one night stand to satisfy intimacy/sexual needs, relying on my friends and family for the social contact & interaction, and my cats for companionship. Recording music and playing computer games filled in any gaps. It doesn’t seem to be enough any more though, and I think the feeling of helplessness about the situation has slowly broken me down. I’m no longer interested in sex – I occasionally appreciate a handsome face, but nothing more. I’ve been celibate for over a year – and before that about a year & a half. The whole notion of sex just doesn’t seem to interest me any more and even when it does, the object of my desire is always just an impossible dream.

Self-imposed or otherwise, it feels to me like I have been denied the ability to ever have a lasting, intimate relationship with anyone – like I have been condemned to spend my whole life as a single, reluctantly gay man. It doesn’t feel very good knowing that I am utterly trapped and there’s no way out.

About RescueMyLife

I am a single man, 45 years old living in London and working in the media. My life is complex and I have decided to try and make some sense of it. I am writing this blog anonymously as I believe that only by remaining anonymous can I be honest and speak freely about my thoughts and feelings. I have no idea where this blog will take me...
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9 Responses to Out Of The Closet Into The Fire

  1. Pandora says:

    I just wrote a whole pile of stuff in this comment box, but it’s all platitudinous bollocks, even if it’s well-intentioned. I have no advice, and being straight I can’t even empathise in anything other than a vicarious way (I was there when my best friend ‘came out’ to his father, but that’s another story – suffice to say it was a disaster initially, but now they’re closer than they’ve ever been).

    At the risk of spinning another dull cliche, you’ve nothing to be ashamed of. But I know that’s easy for me to say. Have you taken up your GP’s proposed referral for therapy? The process certainly helped me deal with issues of sexuality, although of course they’re wholly divergent from yours. I just think that, with the right therapist, attitudes can change and self-acceptance can be achieved.

    Meh, I’m babbling again. Sorry. Just – good luck. And take care.

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Thanks Pandora, this one is a really difficult/complex issue for me. I haven’t taken up therapy yet, I wanted to settle myself into the medication first then take therapy as the next step, though I am more than a little doubtful that therapy can really help me with this – it won’t stop me trying though.

  2. I think Pandora is quite correct. Therapy could help you work through your feelings about your sexuality. You deserve to be happy and to be able to accept yourself for who you are…even to love yourself. I admire your bravery in taking the first step in coming out!

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Thanks for the kind words. My concern about therapy here, is that I’ve already worked through my feelings about the issue about a million times. I’m pretty certain that no new revelations will magically appear by talking about it. The best I can hope for is that it makes me think about it in a different way – a less self-destructive way. I do question how ‘brave’ I’m being by talking about all this from behind a nice secure anonymous shield….
      Thanks for your thoughts & support

  3. susietrue says:

    I have come upon your blog for the first time today and have now read all your posts. Whilst this comment is in direct response to a specific issue I must first say how struck I am by your insight, openness, humour and the clarity of your writing. In connection with earlier references to therapy, I can see why you might be hesitant: it would take quite someone to uncover issues and offer guidance that you have not already identified. That is not to say however that such a therapist does not exist. Just that you might have to meet a few before you settle on the right one.

    As for your bravery in talking anonyously here, don’t we all? I suspect that you might be more recognisable than a few others of us but that doesn’t mean we don’t all have quite a bit to lose/explain if family, friends or business contacts were to know our true identity.

    So about this big issue. First, please don’t settle for living with your cats. I have been celibate for a few years, despite being married – but we’ll not go into that here – and how I long for the connection that full physical intimacy would bring. It is not just about the sexual bit but it’s the tenderness, the desire to make someone else feel truly special and bein the one who knows how to do that. Without wishing to quote a sound-bite at you, love is not about looking at each other but at looking in the same diection.

    You don’t say what it is that attracts you to older men? Or indeed to the straight, married type. Would it be harsh of me to question that by saying that, you are identifying forbidden fruit and almost giving up? This is what you want, but it is not available either because you have nothing in common or it would break the wife’s heart (and yes, you are so totally right on that). So, back to the cats. No – must try harder!

    I may be a total romantic in that I still believe in the happy ever after, but is it not possible that your paths may yet cross with Mr Right? I suspect that he won’t be wearing a shirt with “I’m gay and available with similar interests to you” on it, but he will no doubt have kind eyes that shine when you speak. Your interest in sex would no doubt soon be rekindled.

    I share your view that shouting about your sexuality from the roftops is not the way to go, but I would nevertheless not seek to deny it. Is there a need to “come out”? If you were not anticipating coming out until you were in a committed relationship then it doesn’t seem to be a pre-requisite to finding a partner.

    I am in a bit of a mess in my life and am in no position to offer advice to anyone but all I would say is just keep the faith – don’t accept life as a single, lonely person with mixed feelings about his sexuality. Open your eyes and your heart – to therapy, to love and I suspect you may be very pleasantly surprised. Indeed I suspect you may find that the best person to rescue your life is you.

    I wish you well.

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Thank you so much for your kind and insightful comment. You have hit the nail on the head on a few issues, and rightfully ask about what it is that attracts me to older men – I will tackle this issue in a separate post and I know it will be a very difficult post to write! I know I shouldn’t give up the idea of ever finding someone, but it is difficult to remain positive when you’ve reached your 40’s without ever even coming close…
      Your thoughts on therapy are really helpful and I think you are right – there probably is someone out there who can help me, but the options available to me from my GP are limited to say the least… but certainly worth exploring. Sadly I can’t afford to go private.
      Thanks again – your helpful comment is gratefully received

      • susietrue says:

        Dear Caramel (the nearest I can make of RML)

        The really strange thing in all this is that since writing these comments my day has taken quite an upward turn. So thank you for that!

        I was at first somewhat reluctant to enter into a dialogue with someone who has a seascape as a banner together with the words anonymous drowning man. My great desire some time ago was to be the anonymous drowned woman but it was not to be. Those fantasies (sorry, suicidal ideations – we might as well get the psycho babble right) have returned but the problem with these psychotherapists is that they form a therapeutic alliance with you and killing yourself along the way is not felt to be particularly conducive to that relationship.

        There are many things I long to share and your idea of a blog is an enviable one….you really have worked all this out very cleverly in keeping your identity so safe. I am very glad that my earlier comment struck a chord somewhere. I await your future posts with interest. Glad you can tolerate the prozac. I had to give that up having had really bad vertigo but confess I wasn’t mixing it with alcohol or cannibis. Not totally sure that would help but who knows.

        Keep safe, and stay creative.

      • RescueMyLife says:

        Hi susietrue… Caramel?? hehe that’s funny – RML actually = RescueMyLife 🙂
        I’m really pleased that your day got better & feel good that you attribute that to me somehow. I hadn’t actually made the connection between Anonymous Drowning Man & my photo… I just chose that because it was the only photo I could find that I had taken that I had cropped into the right shape to fit the hole! As a point of interest I actually very nearly drowned in that very sea (Cornwall) when I was 13 years old…. that again is pure coincidence. I very thankfully do not have suicidal tendencies… that is not to say I never think about it, but there’s a big difference between thinking about it occasionally and actually considering doing it.

        You seem to me to be very eloquent in your writing ability so perhaps you should bite the bullet and start your own anonymous blog… it’s been an eye-opening and interesting experience for me so far and I never thought for a minute I’d keep it going as long as I have. If you want any tips or advice I’d be happy to help.

        It’s still early days on the Prozac and today I have actually been feeling pretty nauseous & had a bad stomach ache so I don’t think I’m out of the woods yet. I’m sure every medical professional would tell me to immediately stop drinking and smoking cannabis, but the best I think I can do is moderate it. The cannabis I can do without but my evening tipple?… that’s a different matter.

        All the best

  4. susietrue says:

    Dear Caramel
    Oh deary me! Yes I had sussed out what RML stood for, (good grief!) it’s just I prefer to use a “name” and Caramel was the best I could come up with that sort of sounded like RML. (Anyway, you sound like you have brown eyes.) Still I won’t take up too much more space here as work has gone totally mad. Just wanted to say, I may well think on about the blog and thank you for the offer of a steer in the right direction.

    I’m off to do something quite mad this weekend which will take me right out of my comfort zone so that would indeed be a good start to a blog, assuming I resist the temptation to come home and go “swimming”. How about you take a walk on the wild side, leave the joints alone tonight and I hope you sleep better.

    Take care of you.

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