I am currently living with my partner. I am 54 and he is 34. We met through "Outintheuk’ over three years ago.
I have known that I was gay from the age of 15. The next 35 years saw me seeking to satisfy my sexual needs through fantasising, self abuse and visiting pornographic web-sites. With a Christian background and a "born again" experience in 1972 I felt I had to repress acknowledging my sexual identity and did so for a long time although the sight of good looking males constantly reminded me of where my longings lay.
The Church's approach to me was that if I was willing to change then I could be helped. Change to me was just going back to repressing what appeared to be my real identity. As a result of my Christian experiences, I am left with a number of issues to resolve relating to eternity but do not feel that I can go back to suppressing my physical and emotional needs as the church has expected me to do.
There was a good deal of pressure from the church for me, a single man, to marry a divorcee with a young child. When I married my ex wife in the early 80’s, I hoped that it would prove that I was not really homosexual but it failed to do that and, as I got older, my need for younger male companionship increased. My ex wife and I had 2 children – A girl and a boy. While the children were young, I had much to focus on but as they moved into teenage-hood and became distant, the "distraction" was no longer there.
"Coming out" to people in the Church, my family and in the office in late 2000 after meeting a guy for a "massage" was a turning point. I spent more and more time on the internet in gay chat rooms and seeking friendships through gay web sites. Following one or two disappointments, I met up with my partner in London on at the end of the millennium. At that first meeting we clicked and I decided there and then that I wanted to embark on a relationship with him. We quickly discovered that we had much in common.
Despite the inevitable breakdown of the marriage, I was keen to minimise the hurt to my ex wife and the children and have sought to be as supportive as I could throughout. We agreed that divorce was the only way as it would leave her free to make a new life if she wanted to. It eventually became impractical for me to stay in the family home in and I moved out to live with my now partner at the end of less than a year after first meeting him.
I am very happy now that I am no longer having to struggle with suppressing my sexuality. I am living with someone who I love very much and who loves me unconditionally in return. We share in a very happy and loving relationship. At last, I feel accepted for who I am.
Over the time since I moved in with my partner, although getting less and less now especially as my family have settled into their new life, I found myself in an emotional turmoil. Whilst I was overwhelmingly in love with him, I still felt in love with my ex wife. Consequently, the last thing I wanted was to cause unnecessary hurt. Had I done the right thing? To get through these times I had to remind myself of the facts that led to my decision even though sometimes the balance between the pros and cons seemed a little blurred.
The loss of friends, uncertainty about the future for two gay men living together with 20 years between them and spiritual issues on top of having a family have all contributed to the confusion.
A financial settlement was agreed and the Decree Absolute arrived on last year. My ex wife and the children moved the previous year and bought a flat on the proceeds of the sale of the family home. They seem settled there.
I still care for my ex wife and the children. This is why I have been prepared to leave myself with very little financially to ensure they have a home and are provided for. As time has passed, perhaps because of the support I have given, both financial and materially (helping with practical jobs in their new home), our relationship seems to have improved.
My son still lives with his mother and seems distant from me while being very much a “Mummy’s boy”. When I visit, they never mention my partner and I don't press the point although I hope that one day he will be accepted as part of my life now. My Ex wife thinks of him as the cause of the marriage breakdown even though it was I that made the decision.
My Daughter has left from living with her mother and is living with a boyfriend 20 years older than she. The big thrill for me now is that she has come to accept my partner and I and she and her boyfriend will be meeting him for the first time on her 21st birthday on next month! This is made easier as my partner is happy for me to maintain contact with my children.
I regret the effect of my decisions on my family and wouldn't have put them through this for the world. Whilst it would have been better for me never to have married, I do not regret having two children who gave me much fulfilment.
My Best Wishes to each of you in your various circumstances.