Identity crisis

QUESTION: Masters, I recently uncovered a secret about my father’s life since he passed away in 2007. I learned that he had a hidden life as a gay man, while he behaved and lived his life as though he were entirely straight – remaining married to my mother for over 45 years. Knowing his favorite hobby was acting on stage in theater, I now see that he was using this skill in his everyday life to conceal his hidden identity. Although I have accepted this truth intellectually, I don’t understand something – why he would live his entire life concealing this secret? What purpose did that serve?!? I consider myself a liberal-minded person and have had friends that are gay. Why wouldn’t my father have the courage to tell me, or the family, and trust that we would love him anyway?? ~Valerie, United States

ANSWER: The life the soul of your father chose for his lifetime was one of ambiguity and duality. He was neither completely homosexual nor entirely heterosexual but today would be considered bisexual. He loved both of his lives –that of loving father and husband and that of companion to a same-sex partner.

He was very discreet in his lifestyle because he did not want to hurt either of his families. The delay in your finding out is a tribute to his stealth. His homosexual traits came at a time when he would have been condemned for them and his employment would have been jeopardized.

Had the fact come out that he had a homosexual liaison, he would have been forced to make a selection between the two lifestyles, but his then-tarnished reputation would have made it impossible for him to provide for your mother and the family in the manner he did. He loved everyone too much to take the chance of discovery.

These challenges were part of his life lessons. They had no effect on your life because you didn’t even know. Anyone who did know chose not to divulge the information to you because it could only cause confusion and harm. Would it have made a difference in the way you think of your father today if you had found out he had a mistress or an affair? What about if you found half-siblings around?

He felt he had enough love for both sides of himself. Don’t think less of him because he struggled long and hard to learn the lessons he had chosen. He is watching over you and hoping you see his life was selected for the experience it provided.