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But, He's Gay!

The number of guys still living in the closet is staggering. I don't get it. But I also don't get the argument that being gay is a choice. Being gay was never one of my options. Still, I respect that this argument does apply to the people who proclaim it to be a choice. It must be true for them.

I would have thought in this day and age that being gay was quite okay. But in family law we are still dealing with a host of guys whose marriages are breaking up because they are married to the wrong sex. For some reason, these guys haven't yet come out or been found out like that Republican legislator who was caught last month in a hotel room smoking pot with some boy.

And the break ups seem to take one of two patterns. One was covered very nicely this week in a New York Times piece. This was the full disclosure approach. "Honey, I'm gay. I thought I was over it but I'm not. I'm sorry for misleading you." Very healthy. Much more likely to promote healing.

The other is the one we more often see: the continuation of denial. "I'm not gay. I just found this half used tube of lube in the men's locker room at the gym and I picked it up and continue to carry it with me wherever I go." (True story).

These divorces are nasty, not because of custody issues or hotly debated high asset division but because the gay guy, in an effort to continue to protect himself, is intent on destroying the wife's identity, her self confidence. As if it must be her fault that he finds women unattractive. It's all her fault from where they live to the color of her dress. It's all her fault from the schools the children attend to the hors d oeuvres they served at the last party. It's all her fault from his inability to climb the ladder at work to the fact that he's driving a mini-van.

It's all her fault.

Having managed divorces for coming on 30 years now, I know plenty of occasions where the guy remained in denial throughout the divorce, only to finally accept himself within the next decade or so and become a much more pleasant, peaceable and positive, co-parenting kind of guy. Though the divorce might have been hell, these still are the success stories because they are of self-actualization, albeit eventual self-actualization.

But self-actualization is far from inevitable. The guy with the boy in the hotel room is still in denial. He claims he was only counseling the boy, trying to help him stay on the straight and narrow, no doubt. Some people will probably live in the closet their whole lives.

May all God's children come out of their respective closets in which they have contained themselves to try to live more self-actualized lives. We'd all be much better off if we all did.

Michael Manely 

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