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#71800 - 06/07/03 06:52 PM Struggling with a question
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
The other day at lunch, I went out with a guy I work with along with the receptionist which is new there. She was asking me if I had a girl friend or was dating anyone (just being curious I guess in a polite way).

I have only come out to two people in the office and am a little afraid of making it widely known. I'm afraid of how some people may take this and since it is a very small office, I don't care to put up with being ridiculed in addition to the stress I put up with on a daily basis. So I've kept quiet.

But that question is tough because what do you tell someone? How do you say it? I'm still getting comfortable with who I am and it isn't easy for me either. Plus it is not like I have many people I can talk to and relate to in being gay.

In the office, they are always wanting me to go out and party with them but right now, my free time is so limited and if I am not studying or working, I like to spend my time with Jeff. I really don't want to spend more hours with these people because I have to see them 8 hours a day anyway but they look at me like I am strange that I am single and don't want to party with them.

Everyone in my class at school knows that I am gay and have been very supportive which really helps. Most of them have gotten to know Jeff some anyway which helps. I've got some friends that know and they are completely fine with it, and then I've got some friends that don't accept it even though they gave lip service that they do. And I've got some friends that don't understand the relationship that Jeff and I have. Part of me is at a point where I am moving away from some of these people because they are toxic to my life.

As far as my family goes, they could care less if I am even alive so they have no clue that we are together. And frankly I don't care if they exist either. Of course my relatives that live close by, at least my cousin knows that I am gay and she is very kewl with it! She figured it out and asked me one time.

Some people don't understand how tough it is for a gay person to live in a straight world. There isn't a whole lot of support or places where you can go and be yourself. There isn't a whole lot of people that I know who are gay and that I can just hang out with.

For a long time, I wouldn't even call myself gay because I was taught all my life to hate anyone who was gay. It was taught in my family and as part of the church and the community I lived in. But the more I understand the love I have for Jeff and the more I grow personally, the more I could care less what anyone thinks. Except.... it just ain't that easy in life.

Just kind of lost and confused on this one.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#71801 - 06/07/03 08:17 PM Re: Struggling with a question
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Don,

Your perceptions seem very keen. Thanks for telling them out loud here--it's good for me to hear about your experience, because I too have some problems in this area.

Quote:
For a long time, I wouldn't even call myself gay
4 years ago when I was beginning therapy on the tremendous pain I was feeling (didn't know it was related to the CSA at the time), I would not call my self "gay"--I used the term homosexual. Sounded more straightforward and scientific I guess.

I explained to my therapist that calling myself "gay" made me feel like I was endorsing a whole lot of things about the gay community that I was not comfortable with--promiscuity, hedonistic attitudes, sexual exploitation, substance abuse etc. etc.

Today, with the help of some very thoughtful therapists and others, I can say that I have made much progress.

It seems to me that the sexual abuse that occurred in my life at the hands of a man I assumed was homosexual really poisoned my view of sexuality---especially my own. I know now that he wasn't homosexual--he was a sexual predator driven by power seeking.

As I continue to heal the damage done by the abuse, my attitude about myself and my sexuality is also being healed. There seems to be a direct correlation between these two things in my life.

I came to understand also that my difficulties with sexuality were not so much about being gay. I began to sense that I would have many of the same fears/anxieties if I were hetereosexual .

We all have sexual problems. Many caused by sexual abuse. Others just because we're human.

No, I'm still not totally at ease with public disclosure of my sexual preference; but today I am more willing to accept that of myself.

Learning about appropriate boundaries is a big part of my recovery--mine were violated in such a traumatic way when I was young.

I try to remember to give myself a break now, if I don't do life perfectly.

It sounds like you are making tremendous progress after a lot of difficult challenges in your life.

You are here, in the right place and asking the right questions. And how wonderful that you have someone like Jeff. I'm a little (ok a lot!) envious.

I hope someday to feel good enough about myself to find a man who will love me and accept my love in return.

I'm lucky. My family loves and accepts me just the way I am. I have had lengthy relationships (committed) with gay men in the past, but because of my many problems they did not last.

The damage done by the sexual abuse, which I was unable to accept, continued to destroy me.

In the time since I have begun my recovery from SA, I am able to have hope that I will have the ability to love again.

In fact, I found that love here from you guys.

You were one of the first men to respond to my first posting on this site.
Your care and compassion made me feel at ease and welcome.

You have a lot of love to give and it felt good to be the recipient. Give some of that to yourself, Don. You are worth a lot more than anyone's opinion.

Sounds like you are doing a great job and continuing to grow. Growth brings new challenges.

It is difficult, I know, but it is my hope that as you/I/we continue to grow, these issues of approval/acceptance/disclosure/ will get easier too.

I look forward to hearing more about how this goes for you and others. It's a subject close to my heart.
Thanks Don for your generosity and courage

Regards,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#71802 - 06/07/03 08:44 PM Re: Struggling with a question
sonlite Offline
Member

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
i have struggled w the "am i gay" question and have come to the conclusion that i don't have love attractions towards men. but even still, all during my childhood and teen years i was called gay and faggot and was shoved, punched, kicked, and humiliated in ways which to me were MUCH WORSE than the actual s/abuse itself. during my exploration, i went on a date w a gay man and a straight couple nearby kept glaring at us in the restaurant and even switched tables. which brought a heavy sense of saddness for me.

i am glad that you have jeff in your life to be a companion and to enrich your life. i wish we did live in a world where people could talk about their lovers and hold hands where ever they are and not be given a second look. i just don't understand it.

you have my support and encouragement.

john


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#71803 - 06/07/03 11:47 PM Re: Struggling with a question
Sum12Watch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 15
Loc: NE
Don,
(And of course, Danny and John too)
I usually don't post anything repetitious, but if it might help some, guess I will make an exception of myself: \:\) I added onto to the thread you wrote awhile back about your wonderful trip.(if you want the long version). Short version, however, I was outed at work years ago, and it ended up making me proud of the people I work with. Everyone was so incredibly friendly and understanding. Without going through a big long story, what it did teach me was that I needed to give some credit to the intelligence and understanding of people around us.
Now, as for the parental/family units - actually, the same goes. But if it helps any at all, when I was in my first long term relationship, I was so proud that I wanted to run home, break the news and tell everyone. The other half advised me against it with the statement "why don't you let them get to know me first." Actually turned out to be good advise. Though the discussion wasn't there for almost 30 years, it was not that long before the non-verbal understanding began. That was a Christmas, when a large package arrived with gifts for both of us. The gifts were all protected by crunched up newspapers, but sitting on top, just as you opened the box was that month's Psychology Today with the cover story "Can Homosexual Couples Be Happy" (and ;\) it was a very positive article). We knew then that....yep...they knew, they just didn't have a need to talk about it. But throughout the entire history everything was addressed to both of us, holidays consisted of both of us...you see where I am going.
Funny, it was not until my partner and I eventually split after over 25 years, was it ever discussed aloud...and that was between my mother and me. (dad had passed). Do I think I missed something not talking about it earlier. I have to be honest and say "no." Somehow, the way we all worked, it just didn't need talking about. Sometimes non-verbal communication can be just as effective.
Larry

_________________________
"Love yourself, like you want everyone to love you." - no author, just popped into my head tonight, plagarize the Golden Rule.

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#71804 - 06/08/03 12:35 AM Re: Struggling with a question
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Thanks everyone for your responses... the room doesn't seem all alone and as dark as it did...

Just thank you for what you shared with me.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#71805 - 06/08/03 12:42 PM Re: Struggling with a question
al Offline
Member

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 143
Loc: canada
Quote:
I'm still not totally at ease with public disclosure of my sexual preference
Know what bugs me the most is when people look at me and marc holding hands and think.. know how they do 'it' how gross, and it fucking pisses me right off cuz when a hetero couple does it its oh so sweet
sorry just venting

_________________________
Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music. Mark Kleiman

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston Churchill

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#71806 - 06/08/03 06:37 PM Re: Struggling with a question
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
My brother Wolves:

I hear you loud and clear. If some it the supposed hetero world have difficulty it is their big loss. They are bigoted and will never change. They do however miss the opportunity to meet, get to know and become friends with gay people.

You will never change them as any racist cannot be changed. All through our bloody history racism of one form or another has borne down on minorities in every society.

I think that here there is none of that.

As a matter of interest an huge percentage of the perps of male sexual abuse are hetero. Says a lot about them does it not. Very very few are gay.

Just want you to know there is one guy here that has benefited by knowing you all and by posting and being in chat with you.

I think you guys are great. Nuff said!!
and Al lol and ((((((((((((((((al)))))))))))))

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#71807 - 06/08/03 07:49 PM Re: Struggling with a question
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I've always thought that I was cool with gay people, prided myself on my liberal attitudes. Even way before I started recovery and therapy.

And nothing came along to change anything about my attitude - until I came here to MS.

And it was the 'normal' stuff that blew me away. A guy would post about having a row with his partner over the housework, guys expressed emotions about other guys and talked about sex in a 'normal' way.
And then I realised just how ......it's hard to describe.......maybe unthinking will do ? my perceptions of gay people actually were.
I had never thought that gay people didn't do all the same stuff as hetero's do, but I'd never stopped to think that they did either !

Should I have been surprised ? maybe not, but I admit I was. Possibly because of the stereotypes that are force fed us ?

Quote:
I explained to my therapist that calling myself "gay" made me feel like I was endorsing a whole lot of things about the gay community that I was not comfortable with--promiscuity, hedonistic attitudes, sexual exploitation, substance abuse etc. etc.
Just the sort of thing Danny mentions here, but hey, hetero's do that stuff as well.

It's one of the reasons I love to come to this site and spend my time helping here, I learn things about myself and others I would never find anywhere else. But it hasn't given me a magic answer to Don's origional question, sorry.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#71808 - 06/11/03 06:53 AM Re: Struggling with a question
michael Joseph Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
It is hard when I am still struggling, I wish I knew what I was. I don't like the confusion.
I guess I am sexual, i don't want to confine who I am. I want to love me. Not be disgusted by me or ashamed. I just love. I am kind. I don't want anyone to hurt, including me.

I could use encouragement and support, and hugs.

thanks for listening, it is hard to be honest
some people do not accept all parts of me

I have to be who I am, and I am many things.

MJ

_________________________
Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat

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#71809 - 06/11/03 09:28 AM Re: Struggling with a question
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
MJ,
Know what you mean. I've went through a rough ordeal in the past week and it started to shake me a little bit. I went deep down inside and got back with who I know I am. Its not easy like I say to live in a straight world and very hard for others to understand. A friend of mine from school and I were talking about all of this the other night and how much of a struggle it can be.

I'm not sure if I have any answers as it is as confusing to me as well, but just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one that experiences these things. I am glad I have Jeff even though with what took place, I have been emotionally hiding the past few days. Its been a struggle dealing with all of this.

But just wanted you to know you weren't alone and here is a "hug" just to let you know that is true.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

Top
#71810 - 06/11/03 10:41 AM Re: Struggling with a question
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
MJ and Don--

What a great way for me to start my morning--reading your posts reminds me of the courage and patience I need to just "be" where I am.

I'm the type of guy who always seeks the answer, the conclusion, the fix (quick or other), a way to Force a Solution.

Thanks for the reminder that it is possible for me to simply accept the uncertainty that is part of life. The ambiguity of hope and fear.

You both have my admiration and support. Just because we may find ourselves in the dark does not mean we must be there alone. Thanks for reaching out your hand this morning. I needed one to hold on to.

"...we die of cold, and not of darkness."
--Unamuno

I'm with you guys and happy to be.

Love to my brothers,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#71811 - 06/11/03 05:07 PM Re: Struggling with a question
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
MJ,
Despite the fact that we share the same avatar, I could also share the words you used to describe your self. I think it is harder to accept yourself when you don't quite know who you truely are. It's like your stuck in some inbetween world where nothing makes sense. Try as you may, nothing seems to ever make you understand. At least if you know who you were you could deal with it and then move on. But that's not quite the case because nothing is that cut and dry.
Well, things seem to be getting better for me but that's not saying much. Those pessimistic days still cloud my head.
Take care,
Mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#71812 - 06/11/03 11:13 PM Re: Struggling with a question
MEC Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/03
Posts: 62
Loc: NJ
Hey MJ
Ditto on all you said. Just want to be able to experience love and emotion without the conflict of my own mind games.

Also wanted to say hello

Michael

_________________________
Michael

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