By Kathy C.
Three members of the Westchester and Mahwah Face to Face groups went into New York City last week on Friday night and built some bridges between SSN and the LGBT Gay Fathers Group. We had been asked to come in and give our perspective on the whole issue of our spouses coming out.
There were about 30 dads ranging from 30’s – 60’s there – all of whom were or are still married. All but one was out to their spouses for any number of weeks, years. We went around the room and everyone introduced themselves, let us know first names, where they were from and how many children and ages of them. Kids ranges were from 4 – in 30’s.
They were the nicest group of men, very respectful of us and very much listening to what we had to say. We told our stories (in about 5 min each) so we could then open to a question, answer period. They had very good questions and most were quite concerned about their spouse- her feelings, anger, hurt she was feeling when they came out. Some had questions on how and when to tell children – some had spouses who felt they should not tell children – interesting one was the dad with a 19 uear old daughter whose spouse didn’t think they should tell her. We disagreed with that and explained better they tell her and she not find out from elsewhere (and explained she probably knew).
These dads were most supportive of each other. One asked “will we ever be able to be friends again”. We all felt that yes, they could co-parent and be friends but first they had to iron out the issues on the table for them at the moment (which is settling financials, child custody, schooling, etc for their divorce).
They asked if we would come again since we didn’t get to talk about the effect on children very much. We had to leave at 10 pm when the center closed and stood outside another half hour speaking to some of them.
We assured them we would go in again anytime they wanted us to return.
We learned a lot from them as they did from us.