The Shaded Truth

“Would you write a blog post for me? Where you talk about how you’ve helped me?” – Ben

I’ve sat on this for a few days, trying to decide how to even begin this. What should I say? Well, I’m not quite sure, so I’ll just start with this; Ben is a friend of mine. His name has been changed to protect his true identity.

Our friendship started over common ground, as does most; our love for writing. If you’re a writer yourself, you know how deep a writer’s soul can be. The imagination, secrets, and demons that we all harbor, that try to force their way out in way or another. I’m not sure what caused Ben’s path to cross mine, other than he needed a friend. Not just any friend though. He needed a friend that would not judge him; someone who would deliver the raw honest truth when asked for it. He didn’t know that I would exhibit those traits at first, but obviously I crossed his path for a reason.

Ben is about to be married to someone he loves very deeply. They have a very young child together. On the outside, to everyone else, they probably appear to be a very happy couple on their way to wedded bliss. Upon the birth of this child, Ben was elated. He couldn’t wait for the baby to arrive. And after the baby did, anytime you asked Ben how he was doing or how was the baby, his response was always “Perfect.” When he spoke those words, I knew he was being honest and believed it to be true. At the very moment at least, life was perfect. But things are not always as they appear.

I’ve kept a small detail to myself, one that is very important, and I knew from the get go of the start of my friendship with Ben; and that is that Ben is gay.

Let that one sink in for a moment. Now, I’m not one to judge or criticize someone being gay. Everyone deserves to love and be loved. It’s not that Ben being gay is the issue. The issue is that he is about to marry and commit himself to the mother of his child and give up his own wants and needs because he must do the right thing by them.

Ben and his fiancé were longtime friends that became romantic with each other. He told me she was his best friend. Then she becomes pregnant and a wedding is planned for some time after the birth of their baby. Baby has been born, and it’s almost time for the wedding. And Ben is coming apart, on the inside.

As the wedding nears, his anxiety is heightened. Deep down he is miserable. And it’s not that his fiancé has done anything wrong. He loves her very much. But he’s not in love with her. At the end of the day, she’s not able to provide him the loving relationship that he truly craves with another man.

Ben has confided in me these things. He has poured his heart out to me, asking me what to do. Unfortunately, I don’t have advice to give. I’ve told him that there is nothing wrong with being gay. That his choosing to put aside his own feelings so that he can be with the mother of his child and raise the family together, is actually a very noble thing. But I’ve also warned him that he may be setting himself up for years of misery that will eventually harbor resentment. Over time it may come out in various ways that can become toxic to him and his soon to be wife.

In his moments of panic, I’ve listened to him come apart, and then tried to help him put the pieces back together again. He has thanked me numerous times for listening and not judging. The world is a cruel place, who am I to judge on something like this. When he asked me to write a blog post, talking about how I’ve helped him, I was perplexed. I don’t know that I’ve helped much other than being that non-judgmental friend who acts as a sounding board and doesn’t sugar coat the truth. I am known for my radical honesty at times.

But I think Ben asking me to write this goes deeper than what you see on the surface. Maybe this is Ben’s way of letting the world know his secret, without telling it himself. Opening up and laying it out for the world to see, while hiding behind the shaded truth.

Ben, as your friend, I will tell you this. If you’re not true to yourself, and who you really are, then the foundation of what you are doing is built on a lie. As you seek bits and pieces of what’s missing from your current relationship, from other men, you’re also breaking apart the commitment that you are about to make, piece by piece. You are choosing to live life as someone you are not. You are finding out just how hard this will be, and you haven’t even said “I do” yet. This isn’t a matter of “if”, it’s more of a matter of “when”. And the consequences will be worse and far bigger than what they would have been, if you had just been honest from the beginning. Not only are you cheating yourself out of happiness, but ultimately, you are her too. If this comes out, both of you will have wasted such precious time and missed out on being with the person who you can truly love whole-heartedly, and can love you back, the way you deserve to be loved. That will be the biggest tragedy in all this.

Whatever decision you make in the end, and you’ve made it quite clear that you are going through with the wedding because you cannot destroy your fiancé or your baby’s lives, please keep these two things in mind. One, you’re making a huge sacrifice that will cause much more hurt and anguish down the road if this ever comes out. And two, these things always find a way of coming out… Life is too short to live for someone else, while on the inside, you are slowly dying. ~

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