I have only a few regrets in my life. I regret that I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. Seriously. I regret that I didn't attend the funeral of a friend's mother when she passed away a few years ago. She was a second mother to me and I've kicked myself a few times for not flying to Utah from New York to pay my final respects and say goodbye.
And I regret that I did not tell KK sooner that I am gay.
Here's what that does NOT mean. It does not mean that I regret the life that I have lived with her. It does not mean that I regret having children with her. I have no regrets about the life I chose then or the life I am choosing now. But I do regret that I didn't have the courage to let her in sooner and share with her what I was struggling to understand.
Ideally, I would have told her before we got married. I loved her. She was the only woman I had ever fallen in love with, the only woman I was ever able to have a physical relationship with. So I wish I had done her the service of putting more trust in her. She gave me a few opportunities to do just that. She shared some very personal things about herself before we got married that she felt I should know. I remember thinking then, "Should I tell her?" But I couldn't. I really couldn't. And the closer I got to her the more convinced I became that I really wasn't gay. But still, I regret that I didn't say anything.
I also regret that I didn't tell her at some point sooner in the ten years of our marriage. Again, that regret arises not from a sense of guilt or because I wish I had lived a different life, but because I didn't trust her--the person to whom I was closest--with my most painful struggle. I shared everything else with her, but not that.
KK has pointed out to me that, with hindsight, it's easy to regret not telling her. It's easy because I know now how she reacted--lovingly, compassionately, empathetically. None of those things surprised me then or now, because Keri is loving, compassionate and empathetic. Her greatest happiness comes from seeing the people around her do well. And I have to admit that perhaps she is right, at least partly. I can look at how she handled this and say, "Ugh! Why didn't I tell her sooner!" But it goes deeper than that. I feel sometimes as thought I dishonored Keri by not telling her sooner and by not trusting what I knew about her character. I dishonored her by not empowering her sooner. That is my true regret. I regret that I didn't give her the choice of marrying a gay man, even recognizing that knowing something is not the same as understanding what it means--and I don't think either one of us would have understood what undertaking a mixed orientation marriage would entail. So even as I move past my shame of being gay and my guilt about divorce, I think I will always regret that I denied KK the power of choice.