A Reason To Live

My wife is home in California with my two beautiful twin children. My family is healthy and my children are two happy four-and-a-half year-olds. We live in base housing and also own a home in North Carolina with a tenant who pays the rent on time and takes good care of our house. Our only debt is good debt: a mortgage, student loans, and one car payment. At work, I command a Marine rifle company. My company has 187 infantry Marines who are well trained, well prepared, and ready to fight for their country and their Corps.  I’m forward deployed, I’m PME complete, and I am almost halfway to retirement.

I regularly think of committing suicide.

I realized I was gay in high school, though upon closer reflection the writing was on the wall long before that. I dabbled when I was in junior high, and was in my first long-term relationship with a guy by my senior year. Ironically, I was also in my first long-term relationship with a girl at the same time. To say I was in denial was an understatement. It did not help that my mother, an evangelical convert late in life, realized my sexual leanings and ordered me to counseling with her minister. They both managed to convince me (a struggling recent convert at the time) that my relationship with boys was unnatural, ungodly, and would ensure I had a reservation in Hell when I died. Naturally, I believed them.

At college, I did what my family expected me to do. I went to a big, conservative school in Texas with a large ROTC program, I suppressed my sexuality publically (though quietly seeking the occasional interlude on the “DL”) and I went about my life. My long-term girlfriend broke up with me during my sophomore year after my long-term ex-boyfriend called her and told her about us. I didn’t date anyone after that for about three years.

Fast-forward to college graduation and commissioning. I started dating a girl in the fall of my college victory lap (5th year) and then proposed to her shortly before starting Marine Basic Officer Course in Quantico, VA. The suggestion to propose came from my best friend (who didn’t know I was gay) and I was too scared and too deep in the closet to tell him. I bought a ring, she said yes, and we were married five months later. At this point, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was gay, but there was also no chance that I would ever consider coming out to anyone, so I assumed I could simply change my feelings over time, and that I would eventually become straight, or at least bisexual.

It didn’t take me long to realize how hard it was going to be to keep up the illusion of sexual attraction. I have never been attracted to women. I can become aroused while making out with a woman and I can have intercourse, but my mind is always on previous sexual encounters with men. Always. In the seven years of my marriage, I don’t think that my wife and I had sex more than 100 times. I know this frustrated my wife, but I was too afraid and ashamed to tell her the truth, and so the lie became a life, and life became more complicated.

After my first deployment, we decided to try and get pregnant. I realize that I should have told my wife before this point about my sexuality, but again, I was too ashamed and I wanted to have a child before my next deployment. As an only child, I alone bore the family name and I did not want that name extinguished if something happened to me on my next combat tour. I had long concluded that my life would be one of silence and suppression of my feelings – the safest and most considerate thing to do. We were immediately successful and my wife became pregnant with our twins. I deployed a few weeks later.

Following the second deployment, I returned home to my new family. When I left, I had a wife and a dog. When I returned, I had a full house. Becoming a father was the best experience of my life. I’m not a great dad, but I worship my kids and they love me, so that is all that matters.

But being a father, especially as my kids grew older and smarter, made me realize the importance of honesty with my children. What would I do if my son or my daughter killed themselves as a pre-teen or as a teenager because they thought their parents wouldn’t understand? What would they think if they were to discover my sexuality when they were teenagers or adults? Would they hate me for lying to them and their mom? Would they resent me because I was not honest with them?

And about my wife—how much longer could I make her unwittingly suffer without the knowledge of my true feelings and desires? How much longer would I let her think that my lack of desire for her was her fault or that she was somehow unattractive? I knew that the longer I waited, the more painful the truth would be.

When I was at PME school, two significant issues began to creep into my conscious. First, I realized that my true political beliefs no longer matched those I professed. Despite being raised in conservative south Texas, attending a very conservative university, and serving as an officer in the most conservative of our Nation’s armed services, I was actually quite liberal. While most people have this revelation in college, I waited until I was almost thirty before allowing myself to admit it. The significance of this admission is closely tied to the other issue—my religion and faith.

These two revelations, each life changing for me in their own way, were perhaps the most significant contributing factors to my ultimate decision to come out to my wife. Once I was able to accept myself spiritually and politically, it freed my mind and my heart to accept (for the first time) myself sexually. Armed with the power of that knowledge, I decided that I would tell my wife the truth, and I would do so before the year’s end.

A few months ago, just before deployment, I came out to my wife. I had been sexually active with a male friend for about three months, and while that relationship was nothing sustainable, I couldn’t bear to keep it from my wife any longer. I feared that if she discovered my infidelity on her own, she would never be able to forgive me, and I knew that her eventual forgiveness was critical to my long-term emotional stability. Equally important to me was finding an end to the secret meetings and late-night hookups. I knew that my desire for men went far beyond sex; it was the relationship I wanted, and that demanded a total lifestyle change.

It was a Wednesday in October when I made the decision. I called her from work and asked her if she could have a friend watch the kids one night later in the week—we needed to talk. She immediately suspected something was wrong. By the time I came home, she was very distraught. She kept asking me questions, trying to pry the subject of the conversation out. I wouldn’t tell her, and that made it worse. I had hoped for a Friday night talk, where we could have the weekend to work through the intense emotions I knew would follow, but she couldn’t wait. I eventually quit stalling. We sent the kids to the neighbor’s house, sat down on the couch, and I spilled my guts. At first, she just sat there, shaking violently, having trouble catching her breath. She kept saying ‘okay, okay, okay, okay,’ as if she could somehow talk herself into accepting the complete destruction of the world she knew by wishing everything to be okay. But it wasn’t okay. We talked and cried for four hours that first night. She desperately needed someone to talk to, and so she asked if she could call her mother. I told her that was fine, and she made me promise to stay in the room. In spite of her anger and disbelief, she wanted me to hear every word she said, because she wanted me to know that she wasn’t going run to her family with the kids. She was in the lowest point of her entire life, but she wanted to be sure that I knew something—this was still OUR family, and we had to handle this as a team.

It was hard that night; it still is. But it was the right thing to do. While she is still hurt and angry, she does not hate me because I am gay. She is angry because I lied to her. We’ve agreed to stay together for a time until we work out what is best for the kids. We’ve decided to get divorced, but not to rush into it. She’s even let me start seeing a guy I really like; a fellow service member who I can see myself committed to for a long time. So there is hope for progress.

So why do I think about suicide? Because I’m 32 years old, and the world I built for myself is crumbling around me. Despite the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I’m terrified of my Marines finding out that I am gay. I’m terrified of telling my parents. I’m terrified that my wife and I will fight about our kids and she will take them somewhere that I won’t be able to get stationed. Life is so much better for our generation than it has been for previous ones. I’m grateful everyday for those who paved the way for our society to recognize LGBT people as equals. But I struggle everyday with the reality of living on the threshold of this new world.  My kids, my Marines, and the hope for a future with someone I can love openly are the only reasons I’m still alive today.


  1. BQCO99
    November 2, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    As a Former United States Airborne Ranger Army Officer….and knowing you in college….You are a real man for doing what you did. It takes intestinal fortitiude and deep love for your family to not hide it any longer. I wish you the best and remember that we all love you for being who you are….regardless of what these other people who want to judge you believe, think or say. We make choices in life and in my opinion…you do what is right in your heart….and you have definately made enough sacrifices to deserve the utmost respect from everyone.


  2. N
    October 30, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    Matt et al.,

    I was scared. I was scared of going to hell. I was scared of not making my father proud. I was scared of losing my friends. And I honestly thought I could be cured of being gay.

    Was I right in marrying my wife? No. I was a coward. Was I right in deciding to have kids, knowing that I could possibly end my marriage someday because I was living a lie? No. It was selfish because I’m an only child and I was deploying to Fallujah in 2006…and I thought I would come back in a box.

    Did I uphold honor, courage, and commitment when I asked my wife to marry me, because I was too ashamed to tell my best friend (who introduced us) that I was gay? No…I did not uphold those values.

    Matt-you’re right. I failed.

    But at least I’m trying to make things right now. I don’t want my kids to discover that daddy lied to them their whole lives when they are teenagers. And I want my wife to find someone else who can love her in ways I cannot…while she is young and willing to look.

    Am I selfish? Sure…that’s the nature of coming out. But don’t you dare accuse me of not caring how she feels. Don’t you dare accuse me of only caring for myself here. I wake up everyday with the guilt and regret of a man who betrayed someone he loves. I don’t think being gay justified my cheating….I’m embarrassed that I cheated. And that’s something I must live with daily.

    But at least when I wake up in the morning, I know that my wife…who is my very best friend…knows me for who I am. And someday, when it is age-appropriate, my kids will know me for who I am.

    And while I have lied most of my life, I’m living with integrity now. And that’s enough to keep me waking up each day.

  3. October 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM


    Regardless of your points, once someone realizes they are gay and are doing themselves and their families a disservice by attempting to “play along” and make something work, they are faced with a choice: stay married because they promised to do so, or honor their partner by freeing them to seek a truly fulfilling relationship. I’m certain that you’d agree that a straight spouse in that situation – and in N’s case, his wife – would not WANT to remain married in a situation like that … so I’m struggling to understand how you can be so against N taking a very courageous step and leaving the comfort of his established life – when it’s obviously a step that needs to be taken. What would you recommend – living a lie just to honor a vow? Why is one right, and the other is not? It is ultimately about someone having the courage to step up and live by their convictions regarding what is right and what is wrong. Not your conviction of what’s right and wrong, and not their families’.

    • Matt
      October 22, 2011 at 10:41 AM


      Firstly, I noticed that you edited your previous post regarding the method in which N left his wife for someone else.

      Secondly, regarding your statement about disservice; N made it perfectly clear that he “realized” he was gay before he was ever married – it is CLEAR that he did himself and his future wife a disservice long before taking the plunge. I don’t even know why we’re debating this.

      J, I am confused as to how breaking a marriage vow is honorable. You still have yet to explain this…

      I am against N taking this “courageous” step because it was everything but courageously taken.

      This is the fact that you wanted to ignore before you re-edited your post: N said – “I had been sexually active with a male friend for about three months, and while that relationship was nothing sustainable, I couldn’t bear to keep it from my wife any longer. I feared that if she discovered my infidelity on her own, she would never be able to forgive me, and I knew that her eventual forgiveness was critical to my long-term emotional stability.”

      I notice a trend in the words that N speaks here. It is very much about how HE feels and how HE wants to protect HIS “emotional stability”. He doesn’t really care about how it will make his wife feel – all he cares about is how she may never forgive him for having an affair with her. But then again, this seems to be the attitude fostered by yourself and others in the community.

      Well, J, N WAS living a lie to honor a vow. I never said that living a lie to honor a vow was right. What I have actually been saying all along is that N should never have married that woman in the first place because he was already aware that he was gay before he married her, he didn’t become aware after he married her. This has been my argument the entire time, it hasn’t changed.

      Apparently this isn’t about courage and living by conviction, otherwise N would never had married the woman and started a family under false pretenses. He should have made the necessary step to be honest before purchasing a ring and proposing to a woman that he never wanted to be with in the first place. The convictions of his family don’t matter? That’s a pretty selfish mentality to hold, don’t you think?

      I wonder if the words Honor, Integrity and Courage mean anything anymore. If you can use those words to praise a situation where a family is torn apart due to dishonor, unfaithfulness and selfishness – then I fear that those words no longer hold meaning, but rather serve those who pursue only themselves and a life that honors only themselves.

      Honor, integrity and courage aren’t inherent just because you’re in the military.

      • October 22, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        And again, you’re ignoring the statement that I keep making about 2 wrongs do not make a right. Whether he should or shouldn’t have gotten married is not the argument here – the argument is, knowing what he knows now, what is he to do? Obviously, what is best for him and his family is for him and his family to decide – the fact that the took such a stance publicly and decided to finally be truly honest with himself and with his family, is honorable. It’s apparent that you do not understand what it means to “lie to oneself” – but this is exactly what N did at the very beginning. Yes, in my opinion, he shouldn’t have gotten married – but that mistake has been done. Now, faced with the current information, should he make ANOTHER mistake by staying married and living a lie, or should he try to make things right by being honest with his family? This article is about him righting a wrong – a wrong that he did to himself AND to his family.

        Ultimately, we cannot live for others – to do so only sets us up for a lifetime of disappointment, emotional pain, and ultimate dissatisfaction. We cannot adequately SERVE others if we are not whole ourselves. It’s deeply tragic that people that have a similar mindset as yourself continue to enable the environment and culture that places pressure on people like N to be enslaved to what other’s perceptions of him are.

        It’s apparent I cannot change your mind, but consider how hateful your words are to someone who has had to struggle with this for their entire life – and then finally comes to the point where they can be truly honest with themselves and their families. Your perception of what constitutes “honor” and “courage” are way off from the military’s definition – as evidenced by Adm Mullen’s remarks to the Senate last year.

  4. Matt
    September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    First off, I am in support of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces being able to serve openly. That is for those who will, inevitably, label me “homophobic” for having an alternate point of view on this story.

    Everyone seems to be ignoring the real tragedy here – This man completely disregarded his marriage contract, feelings and well being of his wife and children when he DECIDED to have an affair.

    If what he says is true about knowing that he was gay before he met her, then he had NO business marrying that woman. He had no business making any type of vow to her, knowing full well he was lying to her and himself.

    It’s not his college buddy’s fault for making a suggestion, it’s his own fault for not being up front and truthful with his soon-to-be-wife. So because he felt “ashamed” that gave him the right to rob this poor woman of multiple years that she could have shared with someone who would have actually wanted to spend their life with her?

    There is nothing to commend here! It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight; you have no right to break a marriage covenant that you promised to uphold. I can’t help but think that had this man decided to leave his wife for another woman, he would be labeled many things, and none of those would be kind things. But since he left his wife for another man it’s okay because he is “freeing his mind” or “staying true to himself”. I’ve heard of men using similar excuses to leave their wives for other women, but in those cases the men were called dogs.

    Why is this behavior acceptable all of the sudden? It should never be acceptable, gay or straight, this behavior is unacceptable.

    I pity his wife, I pity his children.

    I thank you, Sir for your service in defending my freedoms here at home- Including my freedom to openly state my opposition to the devastation that has been wreaked upon marriages and families under the disguise of “progress”.

    • Kate
      October 3, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Matt I can understand your opposition to his breaking his marriage covenant, but what you should understand is the social/societal/whatever you want to call it pressure that is put on men in N’s situation. For generations gay men have been forced to live a lie because that’s what society told them was right, that even if you’re gay you should live an unhappy life married to a woman (who’s probably going to be quite unhappy herself) and have children. If they didn’t do this they would be ostracized and shunned from “normal” society.

      Yes, N made the decision in the first place, but he was living a lie. In all four services integrity is the most important of all core values. So, N is also making the decision to live up to his core values that are so important to all of us in the US military. He might have taken away a few years of his wife’s life that were spent with him, but he gave her back the rest of her life so that they both could be happier.

      In my opinion, N has made the brave and correct choice. He’s not shying away from the consequences he knew would come, and is trying to right the wrongs that were made long ago.

      N I would be proud to serve under your command, and i think you would make a damn fine EOD officer.

      • Matt
        October 6, 2011 at 5:13 PM


        Whatever the pressure, if any at all, is not reason enough for N to have ever had to marry in the first place. The military didn’t make him marry a woman, his college friend didn’t make him marry a woman. It’s ridiculous to say that society pointed some kind of imaginary gun to his head and said “live an unhappy life, married to a woman” or else! I am sorry, but I just don’t buy that – People need to start taking responsibility for their actions. There are plenty of other stories on this site about gay service members remaining gay throughout their entire careers, never marrying a woman. Not expressing your sexual orientation or preferences, is hardly “living a lie”; It’s choosing not to disclose information about your personal life that other people really shouldn’t care about in the first place (because it’s PERSONAL)

        I come from a military background, my father served for 22 years and my brother currently serves. I understand that integrity is a cornerstone to the armed forces. I encourage you to look up the dictionary definition of the word “integrity” and tell me how that word defines a situation where a man, in order to be “honest” to his wife and himself about who he is, has an affair with someone outside of his marriage contract. You can blab all day about the way society “forces” people to live a lie, but you’re really just alleviating responsibility.

        He may have taken a few years of her life away? He DID. I don’t think that is up for debate here. You’re really downplaying the effect of this man’s actions on his family. It doesn’t seem like anyone even cares about his family. She may move on, but what about their children who may end up spending a life-time without their father? Well, I guess if he’s happier that’s all that matters, right?

        I would call his choice neither brave or correct. I would call his choice selfish and self centered from beginning to end.

        Again, this is not an attack on gay or lesbian service members. We can see quite clearly from this site that there are plenty of people serving in the military that have remained consistent with their lifestyle and beliefs.

        I believe in treating everyone with the same standards. I believe that we are all created equally – Everyone exists on the same plain of reality. I would say the same things about a man leaving his wife for another woman and vice versa. Someone’s sexual orientation does not make them exempt to the standard of morality that everyone else has to follow.

        • October 10, 2011 at 4:04 PM


          The old saying “two wrongs do not make a right,” applies in this situation. Nobody is saying N should not have gotten married in the first place. Whether or not he lied to himself and to his future wife, his friends, his family, is for N to say … but i can tell you, as someone who has been through the exact same situation, I did lie to my future wife. And I lied to myself. I did what I thought God wanted me to do as a “good fundamental independant Baptist Christian” – and that was, to try REALLY hard to stuff these feelings and just make a “normal” relationship work. So I tried hard at that. I did – and DO – love my ex-wife, but not in a physical sense … after 3 years of marriage, it became obvious to all of us that it was not going to work any longer.

          Yes, we could have stayed married because we made a “promise” to do so – but that would have just been another “wrong” to throw on a pile of wrongs that were quickly growing larger by the day. Being married to someone is a committment – to put them first. To love and cherish them. Once you both come to realize that only by setting each other free can you show that you care about the other person, is this vow TRULY honored.

          Once N realized he is who he is – and once any person in a hetero relationship comes to the realization they are gay – they are faced with one of life’s most diffucult decisions: honor a specific vow, or honor the marriage partner they made a vow to. And yes, there is an absolute difference between the two. N chose the latter. He also chose to move forward in his life with integrity by standing up for what he believes and who he is. Regardless of his past decisions, he is doing what is right NOW – for his wife, his family, and most importantly, for himself.

          His family will be okay. Mine is – I still speak with them all the time. It was difficult at the beginning for all of us, but now it is much easier … I was able to allow my ex-wife to move on and find a love that could truly fulfill her, while being able to live with integrity and find the same fulfilling love myself.

          This is a story that deserves celebration! THIS is what honoring a vow and living with integrity truly is!

          • Matt
            October 14, 2011 at 9:01 AM


            Are you telling me that N had no recourse other than to cheat on his wife in order to tell her who he was?

            Again, this is an issue that people on here are failing to grasp.

            What is to stop anyone from “realizing who they are”, and just leaving their spouse for another person, gay or straight? Your logic is encouraging behavior which heterosexuals could just as easily use to leave their spouses for another heterosexual relationship.

            I am confused as to how it shows integrity to break one vow to “honor” your spouse. Sorry if I don’t grasp your logic here. I was always taught that being unfaithful and dishonest to your spouse was a bad thing, not good. I think that the universal laws of morality agrees with me there.

            What you said about him doing what was right now, seems to sum up that attitude I was referring to earlier. You said “He is doing right NOW – for his wife, his family, and most importantly, for himself.” Apparently the “MOST IMPORTANT” person is him, not his family. That’s certainly “honorable” to put yourself before your family. That’s what the military teaches you too, correct? Put yourself before your men?

            I certainly hope that you’re right about his family being okay.

            I won’t celebrate this story and totally disagree with it being a true definition of honoring a vow and showing integrity – that’s just nonsensical.

  5. September 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Dude, I’m “striaght” (if there was such a condidtion)…. Bottom line as a former Senior NCO (retired 2008) U.S Army. I would have served under you with repect…and honor you earned. So be proud of who you are, you can not change that. I wished everyone had the courage you have shown by comming out. Good Luck Sir (and yes you deserved that title)…. Semper Fidelis

  6. Franklin
    September 20, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    I want to thank you for your writing. This story was a big help in helping decide to come out to my parents last night. It is amazing how much better I have felt in the last few hours since this has happened. There is a weight lifted off me and I can finally move forward.

  7. N
    September 5, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    To everyone who has commented (including those who sent their comments to the editor before this e-version was published)–thank you. Your stories encourage me, they lift me up, they make me smile and they make me cry. While I was overseas, I was able to speak to a civilian counselor from Fleet and Family Services. Her non-judgmental, kind advice has been instrumental in my emotional improvement. Since first writing this article, I have had fewer and fewer suicidal thoughts. I have begun to see the beauty in myself that I didn’t believe actually existed, and it is now the anticipation of things to come which gives me strength to deal with things today. I’ve come out to several people in my unit, and they have all been tremendously supportive. While I probably won’t ever tell my boss or my Marines en masse, I imagine that they will eventually discover the truth. At the end of the day, the most important thing that I have discovered is that in order to live, you have to live honestly. In order to be honest about who you are, you have to accept and LOVE yourself. And to love yourself, you have to push away all of the hateful things people have told you and that you have so foolishly believed. Be proud to be you. Be beautiful. Rejoice in that, and you will be happy tomorrow. Thanks for all the kind words. Humbly, “N”.

  8. Rob C.
    September 3, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    What in the hell are you doing in the United States Marines?

    • Nancy H Franco
      September 3, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      Looks to me like he is protecting our butt. =N=

    • September 3, 2011 at 6:13 PM

      He’s doing his job, that’s what.

      I’m a straight 70 year old USAF Viet Nam Veteran, 60-69. During my military years I worked with lot’s of gay men a lesbian women. None of them would have dared to come out then. Many of us knew but it simply was NEVER a problem. Homophobic people like Rob C. are the root of the problem, NOT the LGBT people, be it military or civilian environment.

      As much as I’d like to rant on and on, it would do no good. Sadly it’s just one more thing our society has to put up with. I support the end of Don’t ask, don’t tell and hope that opportunities for everyone are fully realized.

  9. Dean Deason
    September 2, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    We are always in the midst of change. I was never in the military but my partner was in the USMC so I might have a little idea. One thing I have learned over the many years is that there is always change. All you can control is how you respond to it. Being a Physician, if a patient told me they were thinking of suicide because of their personal life struggles, I would send them to a counselor. I urge you to speak to a nonjudgmental counselor and get some help.

  10. C Casador
    September 1, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    You fine sir, are not alone. I too am a military officer, married with teenaged children. I didn’t come out to my wife, but rather she discovered it by other means. When confronted I told her I was and have always been bisexual–complicating the life and the lie. She continues to feel betrayed as her life is not what she believed it to be. Our “marriage” is completely strained. We have come to an unspoken truce which I feel she has decided to settle into only for the sake of our kids. She has stated how terrible it would be for the kids to find out about their father. As a Special Ops commander I too fear for the reaction of my men when they find out.

    Many times in the past I felt the despair you speak of, but thankfully speaking to a counselor has provided me a different perspective and faith to hold on as things will get better. A little at a time they do, and will continue to do so, along with getting easier. We are in the midst of great change. I’m so overjoyed to be a small part of it–greater joy fills my heart knowing that it will be a different world for the younger generation following in our steps as military leaders.

  11. September 1, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    I had a similar experience, knowing I was gay when I was in college, but feeling pressure to marry, which I did when I was a junior in college, and then almost immediately (unlike you and your wife) we began having deeply disturbing hateful fights. I dropped out of college and because this was the 70′s I was threatened with the draft, so I joined the Air Force. Being in the military, among men, basic training, the camaraderie, and I hate to say, freedom from my marriage from hell was exactly what I needed. This was Viet Nam, before even don’t ask, don’t tell. And of all things I fell in love with a fellow airman, and he fell in love with me. One of my off-base jobs was working as a waiter in a lesbian nightclub. Back then, the military police would raid the place, looking for military people. Funny thing was, since I worked there they never thought to check my identity. The short hair could have given me away, but by the time I was at my permanent duty station, we could grow our hair longish, as long as it didn’t touch our ears. I grew mine longer, but put dippity do on it and slicked in off my ears. At any rate, my wife decided we should separate, which also felt like freedom, and so after that, since you could get discharged summarily for being gay, if caught, my boyfriend and I went to the base commander and confessed. We both got honorable discharges.

    And then life got to a beautiful place. We were together for fourteen years, before he decided he was “straight.” He wasn’t, but we broke up anyway. He later contracted AIDS. I was once again alone at 42, but then I met my current “husband.” I put myself through the rest of my college with the GI bill, and we’ve been together for 20 years.

    So, please, don’t contemplate suicide. The only constant in life is change. All you can do is embrace the changes and nudge yourself toward influencing them.

  12. Douglas Ward
    August 31, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    I was in exactly the same situation. Married. 2 children, aged 5 & 3. Things will get better. I serve in the British Military and I was scared of the reaction but I’ve received nothing but support. In fact it’s probably hard for the other partner. As you say I’ve destroyed here world, her hopes, her dreams, but we are going to work out what to do for the best of the kids. We will one day get divorced, I have no doubt but we gave both agreed not to fight or get into an acrimonious situation. Reading you article gave me hope, and I hope my reply gives you hope too.

  13. Doug Hargrove
    August 31, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    I’m a USAF vet (Air Police) from early Vietnam (63-66) and, although I’ve never married, your story really hit me with some strong memories of colleagues who were as deeply in the closet as I was and who took different paths in life. One married, had kids, and lived in an otherwise sterile marriage for nearly 50 years until he died last week. Another had a breakdown while we were in Vietnam when word got out and was hospitalized before being sent back to the States for discharge. Then there was the witch-hunt on the base I was stationed on in New Mexico. And the resulting bad discharges.

    All that time and for years after, I was scared out of my wits that I’d be found out. Then came the mid ’70s and the beginnings of liberation in Colorado where I lived. There was no turning back after that and I haven’t hidden since then. It’s been a great life since I got rid of those irrational fears of total rejection (family, church, friends, employer, and any other tie to a “normal” life).

    Yes, I’ve known more suicides than there ever should have been and, while they can be understood, I still believe they were mistakes out of fear of unknowns – and even knowns – and such a tragic loss to the community.

    Now, it’s a new day that won’t always be easy but it will be bright and happy for most of us; I really hope you can rid yourself of those negative concerns and just move on with what’s good in your life while accepting that bad things will happen in everyone’s life and they’ll be overcome by that good old human tenacity.

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