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A Gay Man Revealed The Story Of How His Ex-Wife Realized He Was Having A Same-Sex Affair, And It's Sparking A Heated Debate

"All I knew was how to be what other people needed. I was raised from birth until my early 20s in church. Looking back, I spent a lot of those years in survival mode."

TikTok was shocked when Abe (@comingofabe), a former Evangelical Christian, told the story of how his ex-wife found out that he was cheating on her with a man, and that he was gay, three weeks into their marriage. Abe caught heat in the comments for his actions, but he's using his platform to help prevent other queer folks who are also suppressed by religion from following his past choices, which he still regrets:

Abe talks to camera about how getting married to a woman when you're gay will cause harm to everybody involved

"When you get married to a woman even though you know you're gay," Abe began in his TikTok, "you're destined to do some pretty stupid and harmful things to not only her, but to you and all the people involved, too." In his last semester of college and six months before marrying his then-fiancé, Abe started chatting with a guy he met on Chatroulette. "I didn't think it'd amount to anything," he said. "I was raised [in a] super conservative [religion], so I'd never allow myself to date a man. I figured, 'What could go wrong?'"

Abe talks to camera about how he started talking to a stranger he met on Chatroulette

"I accidentally fell in love with him," Abe continued, "because I'd never dated a man before." Months passed, the affair continued, and Abe married his wife. Then three weeks after their wedding, she found out. "I was in my biochemistry course when I got 11 missed phone calls from my wife," he said. "She didn't leave any voicemails or send any texts. I immediately knew what was wrong. I'm going to call her back, so I go outside the building, and she was right there."

Abe talks to camera about seeing his ex-wife waiting for him outside of his class

"She saw my open computer where I was Skyping with this guy, who I was still talking with. She saw our chat history and everything, three weeks into our marriage. That's how she found out I was gay." Abe followed up: "I don't think what I did was right. I don't think it was good. And that's why I'm talking about this. I'm trying to help people who think they might be able to do the same thing realize that they can't."

Abe talks to camera about how he's prepared for backlash in the comments

The reactions in the comments were divisive. One user wrote, "Why would you waste a woman's time if you know that [you're] into guys...imagine the pain she's in." Abe told BuzzFeed in response: "When people say things like, 'Why didn't you just not marry her,' it simply tells me that they don't understand. I didn't think I had another option if I wanted my soul to be saved."

comments on tiktok criticizing abe for marrying woman

"It was either [accept] that I'm gay and lose everything, or walk down the aisle, get married, and gain all the happiness in the world. That's what my religion taught me. I was promised a fulfilled life, a family, and all that other shit if I just did what I was supposed to. So I did. I did that all the way up until the point when I got married, and it destroyed me. It ruined me."

Abe talks to camera about the backlash he's getting and how they're ignoring the religious component

While there were many comments that dismissed the extreme religious context that surrounded the situation, so many other folks responded to Abe's story with compassion — they didn't approve of Abe's decisions, though they understood why he made them. "I don't excuse the acts," one user wrote, "but I respect direct accountability." Another user wrote, "You were literally subjugated into those roles via homophobic peer pressure. It was a mistake but the fault is cultural."

comments on tiktok praising abe for his radical honesty

Abe made it clear in another video that he doesn't at all see himself as the victim in this situation. "I'm telling you all so clearly that I did something really bad," he said. "I messed up. As a 19-year-old, I got engaged to a woman. I fucked up." He doesn't want to ignore the extreme pressure he felt within the hyper-conservative Evangelical Christian religion he grew up in and used to be devoted to. "Everything about my world was shaped in a way to avoid or block out the existence of any possibility that I could ever be gay, or that anybody is actually gay," he told BuzzFeed. "In my upbringing, you were not actually gay — you were just sinning. You hear that from your parents, pastors, friends, and your friends' parents — there's no safe space to be gay. This fundamental thing about my identity and my existence was erased."

Abe talks to camera about a negative comment in relation to his ex-wife

It's been about a decade since Abe and his ex-wife got divorced, and since then, he's abandoned the Evangelical Christian movement and moved to a new city for a fresh start where he now lives as an out, gay man. "Therapy, in many ways, brought me out of a place of not even being able to set out on a path of how to identify myself," he told BuzzFeed. "All I knew was how to be what other people needed. I was raised from birth until my early 20s in church. Looking back, I spent a lot of those years in survival mode. I learned these very traumatic ways to have no agency or voice, for the approval of my parents, teachers, coaches, and pastors — people who were my safeguards. Now therapy is teaching me how to have a voice again."

abe in a chair with colorful pants

And while Abe wishes to focus on himself in his continuing journey as an out gay man and leave the other people involved in his story out of the spotlight, he told BuzzFeed that he and his ex-wife have spoken a few times since their separation, though it took years. "Talking to her helped me release a lot of the shame I still held onto," he said. "I did love her. I grew up with her through high school and college. I cared for her very, very deeply. There's a reason why I was honest with her about literally everything else but my sexuality. The sad thing is that if I had come out to her in high school, she would have been a safe person to come out to. We probably would have had a beautiful friendship, and things would have been so different."

Abe smiling and holding his phone as his dog leans against him

Since Abe posted his original video, it's been viewed over 2 million times, and the discussion in the comments continues to grow. "I didn't know people were interested, but I realized that there were so many people out there who have gone through the same thing as me," he told BuzzFeed. "There are also so many people, still, that are on the brink of doing the same thing that I did. That was shocking. It's been years since I came out — I forget how brainwashed I was in that culture and religion." These kinds of comments have motivated Abe to continue telling his story, despite the condemning comments.

tiktok comments from people who can relate to abe's story

"I know that all that’s really happening here is that my voice is getting louder and louder and louder," Abe said in another video. "I know now that there are more people than I was ever aware of that need to hear this, that need someone to understand what they went through. And if that’s you: You’re absolutely not alone. Please, listen to your heart. And if it’s not safe for you to come out yet, then don’t come out yet. But you’re going to be able to one day. Because you just will…I know you will. And if you don’t think that’s possible, then fine. But give yourself some grace."

Abe talks to camera, "you're absolutely not alone"

You can follow Abe's journey through his TikTok, where he's compiled a playlist of his videos devoted to the topic of living as a gay man previously raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment, or through his Instagram.

If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.

The Trevor Project provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.