Nigel Sellens was in the middle of another heated argument with his wife of nearly 20 years, and their six children were sleeping upstairs. He doesn’t remember the exact comment that tipped him over the edge, but he decided that he was going to tell her what he had known forever, but had only recently come to terms with; that he was gay.
“I always knew I was [gay,]” Nigel said on GWK the Podcast. “But people like me are often so trapped in fear and terror, that we don’t know how to escape. So we survive the only way we feel we can. The only choice I felt I had was to be straight.”
On this episode of GWK the Podcast, Nigel explains that coming out in his mid-40s with a wife and half-a-dozen children took some serious courage.
“It was a bit of a rollercoaster, one minute [my wife] was supportive… the next, it would be really awful stuff,” he said. “I was also the sole worker in the house… I had to still support the kids. In the meantime, this [coming out] was all going on in the background.”
Nigel had been married since his early 20s, and the couple became parents within five years of tying the knot. Looking back, Nigel said he knows he got married because it was “expected” in his family and in his rural town outside Sydney, Australia.
Apart from a chaotic and difficult coming out process, as a gay man who came out after having six kids from a straight marriage, Nigel is part of what he calls, “a very judged and misunderstood arm of the gay family tree.”
“My friends that are gay don’t really understand what it is to be this sort of gay,” he said. “They will say things like ‘how did you have sex with a woman?!’ or 'How did you not know you were gay?!' While being very supportive, they don’t always understand… You do what you do to survive. That’s what it was for me.”
Dating as a gay dad was not something Nigel considered until quite recently, since over the past few years he’s been mostly focused on rebuilding his own life. But he said he’s become more open to the idea of meeting a partner as he settles into his new world as a single gay man.
“I’m not looking to share the burden, that’s my responsibility,” he said of parenting six kids. “I’m looking for somebody for me. But I have been surprised at some guys who I think would be less inclined, [they] seem to be those who don’t actually mind. They get that I’ve had a life.”
Listen to Gays With Kids the Podcast below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitchr, or wherever you listen to podcasts.