Dear Annie: I am in my mid-50s and have known since childhood that I am gay but have always lived as a straight man. I met my wife in graduate school. I liked her as a friend and, after many years, gave in and married her. I was lonely and couldn’t see myself living openly as my real self. We have two children.
Four months ago, I met a younger guy who is very much in the closet except with me. Our friendship electrifies me. There is nothing sexual between us and I don’t intend to initiate anything, but if he wanted more, I don’t know what I’d do. I couldn’t stand to lose him. I have been faithful to my wife, even though our sex life has been marginal at best. She accepts my friend and has even had him over for dinner, but my children do not. It’s as if they know.
I want so much to tell my wife. I know it would clear up many questions I’m sure she has. But I fear what she might do to me — a nasty divorce and a financial wipeout. Do I have anything to gain by telling her, or should I just refuse to state what might already be obvious? — Still in the Closet
Dear Closet: Here’s what you have to gain: a loving relationship and satisfying sex life with someone who appreciates the real you, and the self-respect that comes from being honest and doing the right thing. Your wife also deserves to know the truth and, if she wants it, a relationship with someone who is sexually attracted to her.
She and your children can learn to forgive you for the deception if you handle this decently and lovingly. If you decide to come clean, you can get support through PFLAG (pflag.org), 1726 M St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Dear Annie: I recently received an invitation to a bridal shower for my cousin’s fiancée. The invitation states, “Please wrap all gifts in clear wrap.”
Is this something new? I have asked everyone I know, and no one has heard of this practice. I find it insulting. I am supposed to take the time to go shopping, pick something from her registry (ALL her choices are expensive), travel three hours each way for the event and — what? She can’t be bothered to take the time to open it?
I thought opening the gifts at the shower was half the fun. I don’t see the point of clear wrap. Do you? — Insulted in Pennsylvania
Dear Insulted: We actually have heard of this and completely agree with you. Guests are supposed to ooh and aah over the gifts, create silly hats out of the ribbons and generally make a fuss. Clear wrap makes everything rather clinical. It allows the bride to see the presents without opening them and, if necessary, return them without disturbing the packaging. For the sake of family peace, try to assume it was the shower hostesses, and not the bride, who made this gauche suggestion.
Dear Annie: As the mother of a young gay man, I want to respond to that poor teenage boy in California whose father won’t let him hang out with “Alex” because he might be gay. Your advice was right on. Being gay is not contagious.
My son is now 27, a graduate of a prestigious university, responsible, respectable and gainfully employed. My only response to his “outing” was concern over his safety, due to the mentality of people like that teenage boy’s father.
I couldn’t help but wonder, though, about the school thinking they needed to call home and report that “Alex” was caught kissing another guy at school. Unless the school also does this when boys are caught kissing girls, they are wide open for a discrimination lawsuit. — “Lavender’s” Mom and Proud of Him
Dear Mom: We don’t know the policy of this particular school, but we certainly hope it is the same for all students regardless of gender.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.17.08