A closeted reader in a longtime marriage is asking Dear Abby if it's worth it to come out later in life.
In a letter to the advice columnist, "Closeted in the Midwest" explains that he never anticipated an era of LGBTQ+ acceptance and connectivity enabled by "the computer era." He has been married to a woman for over 25 years and has had affairs with men but does not know how to proceed.
"I have had two gay relationships. Both lasted less than a year. I feel like my whole life has been a lie, and I pretty much screwed up my wife because of it," he wrote. "I did provide her with all the creature comforts financially, and gave her two beautiful kids.
"I just don’t know if it’s worth coming out at this point in my life. I’m also reluctant because I don’t have a guy in my life right now, although I am looking. It’s just so difficult. I’m torn about how to live the remainder of my life. Please help."
Abby's response? Be honest with your wife about your sexual orientation "so she can decide how she would like to spend the rest of HER life."
"She may need help from a licensed therapist to deal with the ramifications of your disclosure, so be prepared because it may be a shock when she learns the person she has spent the last quarter of a century with is not exactly who she thought he was," Abby wrote.
Dear Abby is a syndicated column originated by Pauline Friedman Phillips, who was a frequent supporter of LGBTQ+ people. Her most famous response was in 1979 to a reader complaining about a gay couple who moved into the neighborhood. “You could move," she advised.
Phillips died in 2013 at age 94. The column is continued by her daughter Jeanne Phillips, who writes under her mother's pen name, Abigail Van Buren.