Lessons from a Gay Dad's First Break Up
Cameron Call, a dad of three who came out this past summer, writes about his first break up — with a man — as a newly out gay dad.
Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over this year — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his previous articles here.
Life has a way of repeating itself sometimes. Unless we recognize the patterns and make a change we will have a hard time progressing and becoming what we really want to be. I noticed this when I was married to my kids' mom. And I noticed this again when I had my first official boyfriend after my divorce.
I was told by many people that I needed to take some time and "find myself" before settling down following the end of my 10.5 year marriage. I thought I did. I went on a handful of dates on the nights I didn't have my kids. I met a few boys here and there. And I had a little bit of fun. But only for a few weeks. Because you know what? It quickly became exhausting. I was tired of having the same conversations with people I'd meet over and over again. The superficial conversations were only so exhilarating.
I quickly began to miss the intimate connection I had in my marriage and I wanted to be in a relationship. I thought so anyway. So when I met a really amazing guy who wasn't afraid to date someone newly out of the closet, freshly divorced, and a dad to three young kids I jumped at the chance. Within less than a month of my divorce being finalized I was in an exclusive relationship.
And it was incredible. As we got to know each other and experience things together I developed a new best friend, a partner, and someone I found myself missing when I was alone. After a few months of dating I introduced him to my kids, and later to my parents, and some of my other extended family. And every introduction went better than I expected. I was so excited and proud to be with such a great guy. And we fell in love.
As time passed, I began to realize that I had a lot of emotional trauma from my childhood and my divorce that I needed to heal from. I began to question a lot of things including who I was as a dad, a partner, and a gay man. I realized in many ways I didn't know who I was and I didn't give myself the time required to figure that out. My boyfriend of 8+ months had had over a decade to learn who he was as a gay man, and to find that I was everything he ever wanted. But I became unsure, insecure, and began to question what it was that I wanted. I realized I didn't know.
These thoughts and feelings lead to intense amounts of confusion, depression, anxiety and insomnia. My health started to decline. And I tried hard to think of every other reason this could be happening. Here I was finally out, divorced, in a relationship with a great guy, and "living my authentic life" but why was I struggling so hard? I slowly began to realize that maybe I had gotten in a relationship so quickly because I was afraid to be alone. Maybe it was convenient and felt familiar. Or perhaps I didn't want to put in the work to heal from trauma in order to grow into who I was made to be. Whatever the reason, I eventually realized that I was not ready to be in a long-term relationship and that I needed some time to be alone. And that thought scared me.
The experiences we shared together were different and more real than anything I'd ever felt before. And I'm grateful for all of it. I knew telling him was going to be incredibly difficult but I felt it was important that I be honest in exactly where I was at. He deserved that. I did not want to grow to resent him or feel trapped.
We eventually talked and I explained everything. And it broke his heart. In a lot of ways, it broke mine too. And then we ended it. It'd be easy to look at this situation and consider him collateral damage in my coming out process. I am choosing not to see him or our relationship like that. I learned a lot from him. And I'd like to think he learned a lot from me too. I've become a better person through this experience.
I hope my actions will help my kids eventually see a dad developing certainty and confidence in who he is. And a man who is striving to make himself a priority so he can become the best version of himself for those he loves and cares for. One sign that I know I did the right thing is recently I've been sleeping better than I have In months. And for now, that is good enough for me. Who knows what the future holds for me and for my kids. I don't have to have it figured out. However, I am excited to see what comes and what the universe throws my way.