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July 26, 2021 6:21 am  #11


Re: telling the kids

“You were strong enough to get this man out of your life and now you hold your truth...your truth..... inside of you because....why?”

Good question, Elle. I guess I hadn’t thought that there’s another, better reason to talk to them, beyond wanting to punish their Dad, that has to do with honoring my truth. I’ll ponder your question a bit more. Thanks.

 

July 26, 2021 8:47 am  #12


Re: telling the kids

Toward the Light,

I haven't told my (our) son (in his early 30s) the specifics about his father's cross-dressing and his belief he is transgendered.  I did tell our son that people don't just divorce after 35 years of marriage because they're "happier apart" (his father's preferred story), and I followed that up by saying the reason we divorced has to do with his father, and although he can ask his father about it, I already know his father will tell him "Some things are private."  I told my son that if he wants to know more, he can ask me.  He said he didn't, but he knows he can ask me at any time.

   I'm both ok with that, and not ok with that.  I'm ok with that because my son has made a decision, and I want to honor his right to make a decision.  I'm not ok with it because I painted myself into a corner. 

    What do I mean by that?  I firmly believe that knowing the truth would explain certain conditions in the family, and between my ex and me, that affected our family dynamics and my son's development, and that bothered my son when he was a teenager.  It is my belief that the truth, his knowing the truth, would be something my son could benefit as an adult going forward.  I also believe it would be beneficial to the relationship I have with my son to have an honest relationship with him, based on the truth.  As is, there's a part of me I hold back, and resentment of my ex, whose relatively unchanged relationship with our son is enabled by my silence. But I'm not willing to go against my son's wishes.  I suspect, however, that at the right moment, I may again ask if my son is still content not to know the truth, and be guided by his answer.

 I believe in truth and honesty, not secrecy and lies, and I believe that's an important value to communicate to my son and to live by.  That value was the reason I told my husband at the time I said I wanted a divorce that I wanted our son to know the truth.  I now regret that I allowed myself to be brow-beaten out of telling the truth, to the "there's a reason people divorce after 35 years, and the reason has to do with your father whom you'll have to ask" even though I knew his father wouldn't tell him the truth.  

 So there are reasons other than wanting to punish my ex for my son knowing, and they are, to recap, to honor truth and honesty, and end the abuse enabled by secrets and lies, and to give my son information about his past that could benefit his development as a man.
  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (July 26, 2021 8:48 am)

 

July 26, 2021 8:59 am  #13


Re: telling the kids

This is what really frustrates the hell out of me. We make our decision to honour our truths, our values, we have kids watching our behaviours, reactions as we put an end to the marriage and these spouses continue to hold us hostage.

Hostage again, held down by those same values and the beliefs Your damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

OoHC, I agree with everything you say. I say, as time moves forward, you will know what to do to put a final chapter to this story. Trust your instincts- they’ve been spot on.


I never cease to wonder at the cruelty of this land, but it seems a time of sadness is a time to understand, is it mine, oh lord is it mine, when everything is dark ….. Roger Hodgson. 
 

July 26, 2021 9:11 am  #14


Re: telling the kids

I also feel like I am in a hostage situation.  My GH wants to stay closeted, he has already established an emotional relationship with a gay man and has a gay presence online so he is sort of out there closeted web gay man.  I do not want to out him because I am not capable of that... so i do believe that we are all about honor and trust and playing fair and we have gotten PLAYED because we are so different and our moral fiber is of a different strand.

I am the one in the closet it appears.

 

July 26, 2021 9:46 am  #15


Re: telling the kids

newtotheclub wrote:

I also feel like I am in a hostage situation.  My GH wants to stay closeted, he has already established an emotional relationship with a gay man and has a gay presence online so he is sort of out there closeted web gay man.  I do not want to out him because I am not capable of that... so i do believe that we are all about honor and trust and playing fair and we have gotten PLAYED because we are so different and our moral fiber is of a different strand.

I am the one in the closet it appears.

You automatically enter the closet upon disclosure or discovery. The only way out is by acknowledging the truth.  Secrets have a way of coming out, sometimes decades later. They can devastate a person, we all know that from our own personal experience. Just offering my opinion.


I never cease to wonder at the cruelty of this land, but it seems a time of sadness is a time to understand, is it mine, oh lord is it mine, when everything is dark ….. Roger Hodgson. 
 

July 26, 2021 1:11 pm  #16


Re: telling the kids

newtotheclub:

    I also allowed that idea that telling the truth about my life and what happened to me was "outing" my now-ex to keep me in his closet.  It's just a way to hold us hostage to preserve their secret life, and avoid the difficult act of living their truth.  It's wanting to have their cake (their gay life) and eat it, too (preserve their straight cover); it's Beard 2.0, Beard Lite, whatever form of Beard you want to call it.

   I have since reframed that idea that revealing the truth is "outing" someone and therefore unethical.  There's a difference between maliciously outing someone in order to do them harm and telling the truth about MY life and experiences.  I've decided that the prohibition on speaking OUR truth in order to protect our spouses'  secret is just the flip side to the "stunning and brave" praise our spouses receive when they do come out.  Well, they lose their right to secrecy when they involve us, when they deceive us, when they choose, over and over for years or decades, to continue to lie and to deceive us.  

  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (July 26, 2021 1:15 pm)

 

July 26, 2021 9:49 pm  #17


Re: telling the kids

The closet within a relationship is pernicious.The ONLY person the closet benefits is the closeted gay person.  Everyone else is drawn into a complex web of lies, deceit and denial. Very damaging.

I left my gxh not because he was gay - he never came out to me - but because he was nasty cruel and abusive and acted like he hated and despised me.

He came out to our young adult children after I had left him, and swore them to secrecy. He didn't want his parents to know apparently(!).

I found out from a nephew, who saw my gxh's flamboyant facebook posts and showed his mum (my sister), who asked me was he gay. I said I had no idea, and I asked my kids did they know.   

They said they felt awful not telling me but felt they had to keep dad's secret. The Closet. So manipulative and divisive, to make your kids your secret keepers. Yuck.

What was the worst was that my youngest son was still a teen doing custody visits and gxh had a boyfriend around at the time.  I thought I should have been told that, that an unrelated adult was staying in the house while my child was there.  Duty of care?

That was the beginning of my journey away from not talking about the abuse I endured while 'keeping up appearances'. His being gay explained a lot about the various dysfunctions that had developed in our marriage. Withheld information that has since helped me make sense of things, realise definitively it wasn't me, and start to heal.

I had a lot of very frank talks with my children about the importance of honesty and communication in personal relationships. 

I explained our family history and how damaging it had been to us. I told them of some of the abuse I had been subjected to. I apologised for any hurt I had caused them. 

They in turn had already accepted the truth of how uncaring and selfish their dad is before he came out, and have calibrated their relationships with him for self-protection.  Three are No Contact, two are low contact.

Its a work in progress, but I have much more mature and honest relationships with my kids now.

Last edited by Soaplife (July 26, 2021 10:02 pm)

 

July 27, 2021 2:26 pm  #18


Re: telling the kids

Everyone here is a model of restraint. My heart goes out to each of you.

I had never considered how the secrets of the closet haunt long after the relationship ends, making us or the kids feel somehow complicit in keeping them. The secret sexual basement on wheels.

Right now, for me, leaving means truth even if it creates discomfort. I will not be roped again into quiet obedience for the sake of saving face. Thank you all for sharing this, it is not something I had considered.

Last edited by Upside (July 27, 2021 2:39 pm)

 

July 30, 2021 3:28 pm  #19


Re: telling the kids

I'm going to very strongly agree with lwh above: "Secrets have a way of coming out, sometimes decades later. They can devastate a person, we all know that from our own personal experience."

Nobody ever asked me whether I wanted to live my life in a closet I never chose.  And, parents have a responsibility to be honest with their children.  If I'd lied to my daughter about why the family was breaking up, I'd end up having to come up with a cover story ... maybe one she believed, or more likely she would suspect I was lying and let her imagination run wild.  Who does that benefit?  Certainly not her, and definitely not me.

And, my husband was involved with some very, very sketchy people.  I didn't want my daughter to learn what he was doing for the first time when a police officer came knocking on the door in the middle of the night.  

I gave my husband a deadline to tell her, and told him it had to be done after her graduation so that the stress of senior year would be over.  I said if he didn't tell her, I would.  He didn't, so I did, and neither I nor my daughter has ever regretted it.  If I'd kept his secret and she'd found out, I'd be complicit.

 

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