We wanted you to hear this from us.
Hello friends and family-
Nick and I have some news about our family that we want to share. I am gonna go first, and then he will go second.
Our family has been working through some things the past few years that we have not discussed publicly. Which, if you know us and our desire for transparency, might seem unusual. Our family “brand” (for lack of a better word) has been to process difficult things out in the open in an effort to normalize the fact that everyone deals with shit.
But this is different.
It’s taken us some years to get to the point we are at now.
Now we have more clarity.
And now we feel like it’s the time to share.
I am just gonna say it— I (Gwenn) am gay. I have struggled and grappled with my sexuality for many years. And for a long time I thought I was probably bisexual. But more recently I have had to acknowledge that I am, in fact, actually gay.
The intellectual honesty it required to admit this to myself and then to Nick was grueling. But now that I have gotten to a place of acceptance, I don’t want to spend one more day not accepting or acknowledging this core part of my identity.
This has not been easy and the past weeks have been a whirlwind of coming out one-on-one to a lot of the really important people in my life. It felt important to do that, but so absolutely exhausting and more emotionally draining than anything I can recall. I find that most people have been supportive while also being very concerned about Nick. That’s fair. We have been best friends and partners for almost a quarter of a century--for over half our lives.
First, let me say that none of this has caught Nick by surprise. We have been talking about this openly for at least 5 years. He was the first person I started talking to about this and he has been nothing but supportive— I mean it. He has always expressed his desire for me to be fully who I am, even though he’s been aware that could come at a great personal cost.
So then the logical question we have been getting a lot is this, “So what are you going to do then? Are you splitting up?”
Here’s the honest answer— we have no idea what we are doing or how things will “end up” in the long run. We like the idea of trying to find a way where we can stay partnered in many (most?) ways, while also creating space in our relationship for us to explore this new reality for both of us. That may seem scandalous to some people, but it is not a scandal. It is something we never plan to hide, and yet it is something I anticipate we will keep ENTIRELY private between us. In other words, we are not looking to process that publicly and we aren’t open for suggestions or advice about what we should or should not do unless we specifically ask you. (We are both in therapy and have professionals helping us with that).
Nick and I have been through so much in our lives and 2+ decades of marriage. We got together and married impossibly young before we really had a chance to figure out who we were as individuals. (Because Evangelicalism). I do not regret my marriage or the amazing family Nick and I have built together. I feel proud of it every single day. I think our family is unique in that we have consistently been courageous and creative in our approach to life’s challenges. We have never backed away from hard situations or conversations. Our entire identity as a family has been about always pushing forward for more love, more truth, more growth, and more transparency.
Nick and I grew up together and spent our entire adult life as best friends and partners. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very open that Nick Mangine is the best human being I know, in every way. That’s not something I am willing to just walk away from because that’s not how we do it in our family. (In some ways it would be way easier if he was an asshole, yet, here we are).
And so, while there are definitely very mixed feelings about where we are headed next, I just wanted to say that also, coming to this realization and acknowledging it, and welcoming it into my soul has been healing on a level I cannot even explain. This is who I am. And I know that not everyone is going to be okay with that. But I spent the first half of my 40s learning how to love myself and acknowledge that other people’s feelings about me are none of my business. And I am ready to spend the second half of my 40s liberating everything inside me. I believe the world needs everyone to be authentically themselves. That is how we get through this.
Thanks for listening. We appreciate the support as we try to walk on in love for one another. It is our deepest desire to create stability and consistency for our children, and to embrace the paradoxical elation and grief this kind of journey brings.
"Life is multiple choice, " this has been my mantra lately, "we don't get to pick the options, we just get to make our choice."
"It changes everything," this has been Gwenn's mantra lately, "and it changes nothing." Then she adds, "but it changes everything."
Gwenn and I find ourselves in an interesting situation lately. No choices were made. No mistakes. Just a new situation. A beautiful one.
Gwenn is gay. And we're married. We're in a mixed orientation marriage.
I am so proud of Gwenn. She has been digging deep for the last few years. Doing really hard. Really scary work. And I am honored that I was part of the process. She left me out of nothing. She did the work, but we did this together.
And I am so happy for Gwenn. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore her. I have never wanted anything but for her to be happy and that has always been a struggle for her. But this new reality has brought her a joy and a comfort and an identity that she has never had before--not before me, not with me. I cannot speak to her inner world, but from the outside looking in, for the first time in our life together, I can see that she is happy. It's what I've always wanted. And I support her 100%. In exploring. In experiencing. In discovering. In becoming. There are no scandals here. I am behind my wife.
And now it gets darker, because I am also devastated for Gwenn. Once you reach a certain age, every great discovery comes with the regret of not having discovered it earlier. And I know Gwenn feels that now. I am devastated that it took 45 years for her to have enough space and support to be who God created her to be, not what other people wanted her to be.
And I am devastated for me. I watched them wheel my 3-day-old son into heart surgery. I experienced a natural disaster that took hundreds of thousands of lives. I have been robbed at gunpoint multiple times. I was there when my wife admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital. Personally, this is harder. Maybe the hardest thing I have ever done. And I wish it was easy.
Yet there's hope. I find myself inspired. The reality is I was a child when I married Gwenn. And the struggle to make everything work, neither of us knowing the reality of that struggle that we now know, caused me to turn off parts of myself that I'm turning back on. I'm looking forward to discovering and growing and becoming. And there is no scandal here. Gwenn is behind me. As for our relationship, I am letting go of the ending. At the same time, there are dreams that are not yet dead--not happily ever after, not in the traditional sense, but dreams nonetheless. We are working to bring the life that we have built and love, our home, our children, our friends, our marriage into this new life that we are, again, building together. One beautiful, messy, loud, crowded, table.
Life is multiple choice, we don't get to pick the options, we just get to make our choice. And in this intensely beautiful, intensely difficult moment we are choosing each other. I choose Gwenn. She chooses me. I choose me. Gwenn chooses her. And we appreciate your love and support.
Gwenn and Nick