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LGBT Later in Life A support and discussion forum for older members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender etc.

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Old 17th Feb 2014, 12:46 AM   #1
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Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

Hello All. First let me start by saying that I am a "newbie" to this forum; I never knew such resources existed before. Surely something like this would have made this so much easier when I was younger.

The reason I make this post is I have a some doubts about dating someone who is newly out of the closet who was previously married with a child. I'm in my mid 30s and he is as well.

When I came out, I was 16 almost 17. My coming out wasn't dramatic, beautiful, or done in some letter form that we see on social media evoking thoughtful reflection. Rather, it was swift, necessary, and executed with the kind of finesse only a mother could do to show love and support. I came from a single parent household where my mother was my one viable parent. At the time she suffering from a form of terminal breast cancer, where she confronted me because she had to make provisions in the estate (this was before marriage equality) to include any contemplated partner and adopted children to fend off any contingent beneficiary family members who would eventually discover who and what I am - in case any of them got plucky to seek a contest. Despite the rest of our family's strong overtly conservative almost Opus Dei like tendencies, my mother was a liberal Catholic educated by a bunch a free thinking Jesuits that made her the professional bad-ass she was. It was bitter sweet, and basically a non issue, since there were more pressing matters, 'where are you gonna live during the legal limbo until turning 18?, college, etc.?

I met a truly genuine guy who I worked professionally in the past and we have become great friends that is heading in the direction of relationship status. I helped him through the coming-out and the divorce, and I have been only a friend. After all mishegas settled, he asked me out, and our friendship began transforming which is scaring me because I don't want to lose our friendship. I know he has had other experiences in the form of encounters, but I am very hesitant to go beyond dating and I am seeking advice from those who are/were in the predicament.

For me I remember what it was like coming out, and being a "gay newbie" although much younger. I was "broken in" by a more experienced gay man 6 or 7 years older than I was at the time, he showed me 'the ropes' id est. dating, bars, the gay scene etc. I have also "broken" in 2 other boyfriends who I have truly loved and cared about only to walk out once they got comfortable with who they were and ready to "play the field." Mind you these aforementioned guys were single and not married, nor was there a child in the picture -- it was a fact of life or vicious cycle in this terrain that I went in eyes open akin to knowing someone you are dating is on the rebound, then getting comfortable to head solo after having a great sentimental relationship with me and move on once the self confidence kicked in.

I think that's the fear and what I'm seeking here, knowing what I'm walking into for the individuals who come out later in life stemming from a straight marriage is there a period where time is needed to "spread their wings" like I was when I was younger or is it more serious because coming from a straight marriage may entail a different result when it comes to dating and relationships. I do have genuine feelings for this man and I want to make sure he has the opportunity to experience the good, bad, the gay scene and all of its messy glory and have a chance to meet and date the many possibilities out there. At the same time I don't want to labeled a door marked exit or stepping stone or initiation point to living openly gay and dating openly gay based on what I experienced beforehand.

Are my concerns warranted? Is the dynamic the same from what I experienced in my 20s in gay dating? Or is it different for those LGBT individuals who come out later in life and with children?

Thank you for reading my post.
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 01:08 AM   #2
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

I might be a little young to give you advice, but I guess it all comes down to understanding if you love this person. My brief experience tells that relationships are never perfect or ideal, there is always some trouble. But if you are really motivated into sharing your life with this person, all problems can be overcome with communication and mutual support.
This guy just had a different story than you, and I guess it's pretty normal when you're not 20 anymore, and in your past there is something more than going to school. Am I wrong?

I don't really understand your concerns about the dynamics of gay-dating. If you like each other and are interested in a relationship the two you, why should you be bothered?
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 01:21 AM   #3
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by ornoir29 View Post
I might be a little young to give you advice, but I guess it all comes down to understanding if you love this person. My brief experience tells that relationships are never perfect or ideal, there is always some trouble. But if you are really motivated into sharing your life with this person, all problems can be overcome with communication and mutual support.
This guy just had a different story than you, and I guess it's pretty normal when you're not 20 anymore, and in your past there is something more than going to school. Am I wrong?

I don't really understand your concerns about the dynamics of gay-dating. If you like each other and are interested in a relationship the two you, why should you be bothered?
I agree
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 05:07 AM   #4
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

First, welcome to EC. You're right, this is an amazing site with a lot of truly caring people.

I've been thinking about your post since I read it earlier this morning. I have a couple of thoughts...

First, if you haven't already read it, there is a current active posting on this thread titled still struggling, it's the other side of your equation. Though not exactly the same you can see how this guy feels right now, his friend who helped him through the coming out and divorce is not ready for the relationship... That summary doesn't do it justice. But he is writing from the heart.

Second, I don't think anyone can give you the right answer... There are no guarantees. Yes, he's probably accustomed to being in a stable relationship, that doesn't guarantee that he may not want to explore. Bt the same token, he may be crazy about you and want to spend the rest of his life with you. It's love, and sometimes you gamble.

Best advice, be honest and open about your feelings and concerns. Give him room, suggest that you move slowly, and be there for him in the best capacity that you can.

If it's love... It will triumph in the end.

I know this is no answer, but it's my thoughts on the subject. Good luck!
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

I would add this recommendation to Dean's and ornoir's comments: take a look at Joe Kort's book "10 things gay men can do to find real love" -- i'm working through it right now and just started chapter 8 yesterday which deals with this topic specifically. This book can help you realize some things about yourself and how you participated in your prior relationships, and how your past comes into your current relationship in ways you don't often realize.

Regarding your future relationship with your friend, first ask yourself if you're ready to have his child as a part of your life. Next ask yourself if you're ready to have his ex as part of your life. Have no doubt in your mind on this fact: he's a dad first; he will try to make you his center when he's with you if you two pursue a relationship, but at his core he will still be dad for his child. And depending on how the separation with his ex is going, they could have a good parenting partnership going on that can leave you feeling excluded at time, a good friendship that can leave you feeling jealous, or it could be disastrously ugly that leaves you feeling cold and wanting to get away from it.

The main thing is going in with your eyes, heart and mind open and talk through these things with him as you progress your friendship and relationship.
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 08:17 AM   #6
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

I think you've received great advice so far. I'd echo the point about there being a child involved. I think that's what has made my relationship as good as it is - because we are both dads. Until you're a parent yourself it's maybe hard to understand the commitment that is required.

My husband came out about 6 months after I did. I dated (a little) but he didn't. We met as friends and I offered my support and advice because I was 6 months ahead of him in the process. We hit it off and fell in love. And we've been together ever since.

I gave him the option of 'playing the field' before settling down, and he passed. 6 months later when he was diagnosed with cancer he gave me the option of cutting him loose and going my own way, and I passed. We love each other, and believe that there isn't another person in the world for each other. (His cancer is a form of leukemia that is very slow to progress - so 6 years later he's still healthy and still just monitoring his blood counts.)

It think there is something to be said for someone who has had a successful marriage and helped raise a child when they're gay. It might suggest that they've got some unresolved issues to deal with, but it also demonstrates that they've learned to comprimise, make sacrifices, and really partner with someone. All those things made my relationship with my husband almost effortless. We don't sweat the small stuff. We don't care which way the toilet paper comes off the roll (although thankfully we were of the same mindset there!) and we know that we both have a huge responsibility as parents.

Hopefully he and his ex wife will get along well, and she can see it in her heart to accept you into their family as well. My ex wife was happy that I'd met someone - because she could see how happy it made me. And a happy dad makes for happy children. She wanted to know what he was like and to meet him - because he was going to play a role in the lives of her children. We would go for drinks at her place. We had her for dinner at ours. (Then she remarried, and her husband's insecurities preclude us from spending time together I'm afraid.) But then again, it can go the other way and work out for you two as well. My husband's ex still hasn't really come to terms with the whole situation and is very uncomfortable around me. But he and I make it work anyway.

So it really will come down to chance. Taking a risk. Seeing how things turn out. Hopefully this is something that has grown quite naturally and has a solid foundation to it. If he has had his 'encounters' then perhaps he has sown his 'wild oats' and will appreciate the quality of your relationship.

Hope this helps. Take care. And welcome!
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

I've got a few years on you and the guy you want to date.

And I came out in the past year. I've gotten incredibly comfortable in my gay skin - gay bars, gay men's retreats, gay resort, pride centers, pride parade. I'll be coordinating our center's marching in NYC and NJ pride this year.

But, to be frank, I've still got a lot to learn sexually. I've probably gone from 0 to 60, but there's still a lot to learn and be able to do. I have a good sense of humor, and most of my partners do too - we can laugh at figuring out the geometry and positions, that are sometimes still awkward at first.

And yes, I was with a guy who called me baby gay. He's been out since he was 19, and for him I was sexually just not acceptable. He wanted sex at 100% right away - not to be a teacher in any way. So this guy is "gayby". You'll have to decide if that works for you.

You also need to be prepared for him falling in love with you pretty quickly. And whether that's something you want or not. You seem like a great communicator and sensitive man. I'd bet you could make it work. And isn't any relationship work?
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 04:26 AM   #8
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Re: Openly Gay Man Dating/Relationship Advice with an individual LGBT Later in Life

This whole thing about being a "baby gay" might be a common thing, but not the rule. My "gay" spring happened on dating sites where, yes, I chatted with tons of men. But I've known forever that in real life I want a relationship. If it has to be a one-night-stand (or a ten-minutes-stand, as it often is), I might as well jerk off.

So, it's also very individual.
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