Stress was a topic given me by life and a web collaboration. I never dealt well with stress, and still don't. Part of dealing with stress is learning patience, which I am always short of, and giving myself permission to explode every now and then.
A Gay Opinion 8/3/00
by R.A. Melos
A long time ago, before I was outed by my ex-lover, the stud formerly known
as Mr. Right, I lived a life of stress loosely held together by a web of lies.
As a now out gay male, I can look back on the stress caused by my attempts to
be something I'm not and breath a sigh of a relief and a thank you to my ex-lover
for releasing me from my self-imposed prison of lies. However, it was not always
From the time I first began to privately acknowledge to myself the possibility of my homosexuality, the stress of hiding who I was from my family and friends caused an inner turmoil not unfamiliar to anyone with a conscious, or to any closeted homosexual.
I would try to fit in, publicly telling derogatory gay jokes, while privately hating myself for feeling the need to fit in to a heterosexual society. I would hang out with my straight male friends who would flirt with every girl they saw, and I would pretend to understand what they saw in these women.
I too would flirt with women, but never really carried through beyond the harmless flirtations, knowing in my heart I wasn't interested in women. Unlike many closeted homosexual men, I could not "fake it" just to perpetuate my web of lies.
So instead of pursuing a situation which would only further complicate my personal life, I turned to my professional life as a real estate agent and would-be writer, filling my days with baby-sitting an office, making feeble attempts at selling houses, all the while filling page after page of note books with stories. So when I finally stopped denying myself my natural sexual desires, I was then simply suppressing them with work.
Prior to my outing by, in my opinion, Mr. Right, I had already finished writing two novels and one stage play, as well as a plethora of short fiction. As you can tell, I always thought of myself as a writer first and a real estate agent second.
Even with all the time I was filling, I was still confronted on a daily basis with my web of closeted lies. Every time I would see a guy I thought was attractive, my mind would tell me I couldn't have him and shouldn't want him, because heterosexual society wouldn't allow it. If I were out, I reasoned, I wouldn't be able to continue with my life as I knew it.
Just when I was getting used to the fact I would probably live my entire life alone, accepting myself as a closeted and lonely gay male, The Powers That Be intervened and walked the most handsome man in the universe into my office. Thus my web of lies suffered some major stress fractures, as I began a secret sexual relationship with a closeted married man and father of two children.
The effort it took to keep the lies (if you'll pardon the expression) straight, was almost more than I could withstand. I was lying to my family, and my broker (that's the boss to those of you not educated in the ways of real estate) telling them I was out with customers, since Mr. Right wanted to see me practically every afternoon. My broker wasn't seeing any sales or customers, and I wasn't seeing any potential money coming in for me.
As for me, my main source of stress relief, writing, was also being neglected since Mr. Super-Stud-Right was soon taking up most of my time, calling me every morning to talk for and hour or so, and then meeting me every afternoon to do more than talk for a couple of hours.
Now add to the stress of a secret life a time factor. I turned 30. The big three zero! You have to realize I was 13 in 1977 when the movie Logan's Run hit the silver screen. At the time 30 looked really old, and as I got closer to it, the notion of 30 did seem as if life truly would be over. Instead I hit 30, and it was as if life were only beginning.
Thanks to the economy real estate began to pick up, I had a fantastic lover, and I was maintaining two completely separate lives. I should've been happy, but instead I was already feeling the major stress of lying to everyone in my life.
My almost perfect lover further complicated matters by not only pursuing me sexually, but begging me to come work for him as his personal assistant, which on the plus side meant even more sex, but also added more lies to my stress level as I was introduced to his then wife, and became a part of a loosely knit family unit.
The stress got even worst when I realized somewhere along the way I had fallen in love with Mr. Right. Actually, I knew I was in love with him from the moment I laid eyes on him, but the realization of love was much more stressful. After all, love is great in the abstract, but when it is applied to one person it is suddenly real on many levels.
I had already privately accepted my homosexuality, but never actually considered there would ever be anyone in my life for whom I felt this truly foreign emotion known as love. I had never before experienced the feeling of caring more about someone else than I cared for myself, and it was far more scary than any of the horror films I sat through. The feeling of love was also the most wonderful feeling in the world.
Unfortunately, like Doris Day sang in film Calamity Jane, I had a secret love. It was becoming clear to me the main source of all my stress, my sleepless nights, my inner turmoil, was my secrets and lies. Awakening within me was the desire for truth and openness, and I didn't know what to do.
As my relationship with Mr. Right progressed, he added more complications by starting another extramarital relationship with a woman I knew in my real estate office. Now my secret life was in more danger of exposure than ever, and I was the one who put myself in that position by having introduced my lover to this woman.
I recognized my mistake immediately when this woman, who was completely in the dark about Mr. Right's and my sexual relationship, told me she wanted a husband and was going to take him away from his wife and family.
In retrospect, my subconscious may have been searching for a way to uncomplicate my life of lies, and get rid of what I thought of as Mr. Right, by hooking him up with some unsuspecting woman who would be my route to emotional freedom. I was completely selfish in my own action of sacrificing the one person I loved more than myself to someone I knew in my heart would only end up hurting him, no matter what her original intentions.
I was feeling the stress of a lifetime of secrets and lies, along with the pressure of keeping my still very horny lover's secrets. I was lying to my family, to his wife, and his future wife, and I was trying to keep all the lies straight, while both women would question me about their husband/boyfriend, my lover's, extracurricular activities.
The soap opera all of our lives had become came crashing down with a supposed pregnancy and abortion on the girlfriend's part, the revelation to my lover's then wife of his relationship with another woman, while keeping his relationship with me a secret from them both, and his outing me to my mother in an attempt to hurt me for not being willing to keep any more secrets.
Amazingly, I still loved him after all of this. On the advice of a psychologist, I outed him to all parties concerned as a retaliation for the pain of rejection I was feeling on all levels. Yet, I was strangely relieved that I was removed from all the secrets and lies of my ex-lover's terminally screwed up life, and miraculously had all of my secrets removed as well.
Yes, it was devastating for a long time, but the devastation has given way to an emotional freedom I long ago gave up on ever experiencing. I now had NO secrets. I now had NO lies. My life had become one where secrets and lies would never again exist.
I could face the world in complete honesty, without the need of secrets and lies to help me fit in with a society I didn't want to be part of in the first place. I was inadvertently given the gift of emotional freedom by my ex-lover. It didn't sink in immediately and there was still some more hurting between the two of us, but all of our secrets and lies had been revealed.
I was able to move on, free of secrets, while he still hung on to the threads of his lies, rebuilding his shaky web of secrets based on new depths of self-delusion on the parts of himself and his new wife of the moment.
From all of this I have learned a valuable lesson. No secret is worth keeping, no lie worth telling, which will cause any level of stress in my life. Unfortunately our world, and society in general advocates both secrets and lies with the military's rule of "Don't ask! Don't tell!"
I offer the world, through this web site and through the way I live my life, this advice. Let's change "Don't ask! Don't Tell!" to "No secrets! No lies!"