Coming out is never easy, but coming to terms with your sexual attraction to men while in the middle of a heterosexual relationship or lifestyle can be particularly tricky. What do you think may be some of the biggest challenges?
There are many challenges to coming out but the first step is self-acceptance. Once you make peace with being gay, or bisexual, or whatever your sexual identity is it becomes easier to move forward and address other challenges.
I try to avoid labels as it usually engages stereotypes and this may not be helpful because you lack the understanding or knowledge of what true and what isn't. For example, if you are attracted to men, most would call you gay. But, what if you still have an attraction to women? Well that might mean your bisexual. But what if your mostly attracted to men? Well does that still make you gay or are you bisexual, or is there something else to describe someone attracted to men 80% of the time?
See what I mean? Call yourself sexually diverse if you like. I don't think it matters what you call yourself. Alfred Kinsey described sexuality as fluid and a spectrum from 100% heterosexual to 100% homosexual. Whatever works for you is my general rule, Bi today, Gay tomorrow. The issue you do have to deal with is the fact that you are attracted to men and you can't ignore it. In my experience these feelings do not go away, and they are difficult to manage or suppress.
So, self-acceptance is your first step. Make peace with how you feel. It doesn't mean you have to like it and be all happy about it. It just means that you stop struggling with them. When you stop wasting energy on trying to change, avoid, or get rid of these feelings then you can channel that energy into something more useful instead.
It doesn't mean give up. Acceptance means to take what is offered, embrace life. Open yourself up to your present reality and let go of the struggle with life as it is in this moment.
If life isn't working for you, then the only sensible thing is to take action to change it.
After Self-acceptance you then have other things like dealing with friends and family. Surprisingly I found this to be the easiest. There are very few instances where I found people outright rejected me. However, you must remember you have a choice of who you tell. You are not obligated to tell anyone this deeply personal information.
One thing I found helpful is to consider the idea of "welcoming people in" instead of "coming out". It makes you the agent of this information and owner of your sexuality. You get to choose who to welcome into your private and personal world. This goes for work people also. Be mindful that there are some that won't like it. In my opinion it becomes their problem, not yours.
Once you do tell your partner you also need to consider the legal and financial repercussions. Do not do this on your own. Seek legal advice and go to a reputable family lawyer. There is a level of guilt often associated with coming out and leaving a family or wife that can predispose you to simply giving everything away. It isn't in your best interest to do that and there is no reason you should give away everything. Using a lawyer may cost money, but it will give you an enormous amount of clarity and save you from an enormous amount of emotional difficulty and financial confusion later on.
Hey bloomy, thanks a lot for sharing about coming out/welcoming in! I have to say its right on the mark for what i'm struggling with at the moment. A couple of days ago i told my girlfriend of nine months 'I'm gay'. I said i'm gay so she could understand i'm exploring my sexuality - for clarity and for brevity, and so she could be free to consider having children with the right partner. It was so confusing when she responded well why did you sleep with me? Forget that it takes two to tango for a minute, but the truth is the labels of gay, bi, straight etc, never can explain what being a human is all about. I don't identify as gay, more like 30% sex with men 70% women. What explains why I responded, "i'm attracted to you, you are beautiful". What's happening is in my relationships with female partners is i get to a point where I feel as if i'm not allowed to have that 30%, and it feels like its to much of a sacrifice, and as if i'm cutting off a part of my body. I shut it out and then I become dull, feel as if the relationship is expecting too much from me, and I lose interest. Then I start to get really angry at myself for falling into this mistake, and learning the same lessons over and over, and the guilt of not being able to draw the "gay" line. But in reality its not that simple. So i guess that male attraction matters, because whenever i trivialise its value, it has a way of debasing my relationships with woman and myself. Does anyone else go through such experiences with the girlfriends?
Coming to terms with my sexuality and even admitting to myself that I have same-sex attraction has been very tough but ultimately very positive for my state of mind. For a long time I was in denial, and told myself that since I never actually had sex with men I couldn't actually be bisexual and could just ignore my feelings. This would cause me to feel a lot of shame and embarrassment when I had feelings of same-sex attraction, as I would tell myself that I'm straight and I shouldn't be having these feelings.
Since admitting to myself that I am bisexual, I understand that my feelings are normal and I don't need to be ashamed of them. That has been a great help for me emotionally, and has given me the courage to start my journey out of the closest.