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Arizona Man Leaves Wife And Five Children, Resurfaces 16 Years Later With Gay Lover

eric-myers-650x365A 50-year-old Phoenix man gave his family the shock of a lifetime after appearing on their doorstep nearly 16 years after he had been declared dead. According to reports, he left his wife and five children in 1991 to assume a new identity and unknowingly destroyed their lives in the process.

In the summer of 1991, then 34-year-old Eric Myers told his family he was traveling to San Diego on a business trip. Shortly after, he claims a robbery prompted him to head south to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he planned to “figure out” his life on the beach before returning home.

“I’m sitting there, saying, You can do this and still go back,” he told ABC News in a 20/20 segment that profiled him last week. “You can still do this and still be OK. Maybe a week. Maybe two weeks.”

But he didn’t reach out to his family, and forced them to deal with the aftermath of his presumed “death” while he headed north to Palm Springs, CA, where he spent almost two decades nursing a new relationship with a gay lover under a new identity, taking jobs that didn’t require identification.

Raised in a strict Christian household, Myers said he knew he was gay at six years old, and felt “uncomfortable” living a heterosexual life with his wife and children. Friends of the family have since suggested that Myers’ disappearance was prompted by severe financial issues, as he had been borrowing money from his father’s business to keep from running out of funds.

“I cannot say anything to deny that it is the most selfish thing in the world,” he said. “And I will never be painted as a saint. But no one is all good, and no one is all bad.”

Upon his return, Myers claims that his mother had forgiven his past “with one hug,” but his ex-wife and five children were less than forgiving. He learned that two of his estranged daughters took his disappearance especially hard, and one even battled an alcohol addiction in the years that followed. Myers’ ex-wife says she wished he had never returned, as she was successfully sued by Liberty Life Insurance for the $800,000 she received in death benefits plus interest.

One of Myers’ estranged daughters said she didn’t blame her father for being gay, but doesn’t ever plan on seeking a relationship with him because she “doesn’t believe that he is capable of love.”

Despite the fallout, Myers believes he made the right decision to return. “To live in a disguise is a horrible prison,” he said.

By:           Matthew Tharrett
On:           Jul 23, 2013
Tagged: , , ,

  • 46 Comments
    • Derek Williams
      Derek Williams

      Ghastly as this story is, and as unspeakable as his behaviour was, the root cause of this family’s misfortune was religion based homophobia. If he had been free to be himself, he would never have married this poor woman in the first place.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      Now this is some st8-BS. What kinda person would do this isshh.
      This is a sad sad story. I feel bad for the wife and kids. So sad.
      I really hate to hear stories like these.
      I know some brothas on the DL now that are doing this kinda isshh. This is terrible.

      Off with his head!..lol

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pauleky
      pauleky

      This is terrible, but what Derek Williams said is true. Religious-fueled gay hate leads to gay men and women to hide who they are. Some attempt the “straight life,” but it rarely works and people like this guy’s wife and kids are hurt badly. Blame society for making this guy think he couldn’t be who he truly is.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe38
      Scribe38

      Wow. This guys doesn’t get any pass from me. If he was so much in the closet he didn’t have to disappear, merely divorce the wife and bang guys on the side. This guy chose to rob his kids of a father and a decent childhood.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dwndckd
      dwndckd

      This motherfucker should die a thousand fucking deaths! There is no fucking excuse for what he put that family through… A true fucking coward!!!

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe38
      Scribe38

      In a perfect world the insurance company would go after him for the $800,000 not the wife

      Jul 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tardis
      tardis

      Is it bad that I sympathize with him? Although I find what he did outright cowardly and cruel, I somewhat understand how someone can reach that point…but how can someone do that to their family?

      I don’t really know how to feel about this story.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dixie Rect
      Dixie Rect

      No sympathy for this selfish D-Bag. I could see this happening in the 50s, but not in the 90s. Total self absorbed loser.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • billforsyth
      billforsyth

      I don’t wish to be judgemental but five children one would be bad enough to abandon but five .Its his wife and kids who I feel sorry for she should not have had to repay the insurance money seeing as he made no attempt to contact her.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StephK
      StephK

      I have absolutely no sympathy for this jerk nor for others who use women as beards for their experiments in heterosexuality.The damage this man has done to family is unforgiveable because he put his issues above their security. He abandoned his children and went off to find himself…that is not a real man.That is just selfish. His karmic payback is going to be justified and awesome.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Why is Queerty reprinting something directly from one of the more anti-gay publications?

      The fact that you didn’t even bother to change the wording. Saying he took a “Gay Lover” is kind of unnecessary considering this is a gay website.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StephK
      StephK

      Having reread the article, I am further disgusted by this jerk. He wanted to come out of hiding to escape a prison of his own makin. Being the self-centered guy he is, he liberates himself by reopening the nightmare for his family. Loser!!!!! message to his boyfriend> Dump him.He isn’t worth it. You can do much better.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Teleny
      Teleny

      I feel sorry for this jerk’s family. Once you choose to bring a human being into this world, you need to put your desires aside as the child becomes priority #1. There are honorable ways to deal with his situation even in the 1990s.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Will L
      Will L

      Waaaa Waaaa So life was difficult for him. He wasn’t and will never be the only person in that boat. His handling of the situation was extremely poor, but returning and causing all this was unforgivable. Returning was a purely selfish move.

      Jul 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blackberry_riot
      blackberry_riot

      I call bullshit on anyone saying he was “forced” to abandon his family because of homophobia or so he could “be himself”. Nobody forced him to marry or have children, and most certainly no one forced him to be a coward and run away. He gives us all a bad name and only serves to add fuel to the fire of homophobia.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • that_dude247
      that_dude247

      What he did was horrible, but dammit I certainly can relate to his situation.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      It just seems to me that Myers is using being “gay” as an excuse to justify what he did. He’s not even monosexual. He is capable of sex with both men and women but felt more comfortable living a lifestyle that did not center around the traditional nuclear family.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho
      vklortho

      I feel bad for both him and his family. If our country wasn’t so backwards and homophobic then he would have never had to try and live the standard heteronormative lifestyle allowing his wife to marry and start a family with someone who wasn’t gay and allowing him to not live a lie.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      The root cause of his actions is not religion and he should not be given a pass because of it. Religion cannot make you do anything that you do not want to do.It seems like his actions were based on selfishness. immaturity, confusion, inability to communication and function as an adult. And I don’t blame his daughters or ex-wife for not wanting a relationship with him.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 5:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dwndckd
      dwndckd

      @Brian & @Tackle—“Fuckn’ Aaaa,” as a STRG Guy, regarding this situation…. I agree with you both…

      Jul 24, 2013 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rioclash
      rioclash

      Can’t wait to see the lifetime movie on this!

      Jul 24, 2013 at 10:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aries3dc
      Aries3dc

      @Derek Williams: Lies. This has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with a heartless father who abandoned his family.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jheryn
      jheryn

      This has nothing to do with being gay or straight. It has everything to do with him abandoning his family and leaving them to suffer. He is selfish and deserves no sympathy at all.

      If you are gay, great! Divorce your wife and stay in your children’s lives. Support them as any parent should. He is reprehensible and deserves nothing less than scorn.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • yaletownman
      yaletownman

      What a narcissist. He seems to take responsibility for the destruction he left behind very superficially. He paints himself as the victim of religion. Well, since when have victims of anything just abandoned their children, allowed insurance fraud to take place, ran off to sunny Palm Springs just so they screw who they want to screw? He says no one is all bad or all good. What a manipulative way to minimize his actions. His coming back is selfish. His wife has been sued for the insurance money she received. He should be prosecuted for fraud because of that alone. He messed up their lives years ago and now he’s doing it again and his mother’s one hug and your forgiven is probably an example of what made him such a selfish narcissist to begin with. I’ve known many men who finally came out to their wives and family. It was hurtful and disappointing but they did everything they could do to continue to honour the responsibilities they had to their children. He’s just using being gay to ease his conscience. Personally, I don’t think he has one.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • miagoodguy
      miagoodguy

      What a scumbag

      Jul 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickeyP.
      MickeyP.

      He is a first-class selfish asshole! I GET the religion part,I get the hiding part. What I don’t get is abandoning 5 kids and a wife part. He didn’t even have to tell them why,just separate and figure it out,but STAY in the kid’s lives! Now the ex has to pay back 800,000 dollars,she never got child support and what,everyone is supposed to be thrilled? If that were my dad ,I’d go see him and kick him in the balls!He ruined his kid’s lives just so he could “figure out” who he was. Bullshit!

      Jul 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommysole
      Tommysole

      I feel sympathy for the family.
      What this man did was terribly wrong and so screwed up that I cant feel anything toward him at all! Except, anger.
      Many friends of mine are married and some of them are gay, they look at it like…………I can have sex with guys when the wife is not around, and they do that! Get a goddamn divorce, and then find a man that makes you happy.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @B Damion:
      There’s much more to the story than ABC’s 100s hours of coverage edited to 21mins of Sensationalism/’Entertainment TV vs. Balanced Journalism – for Perspective/Understanding check out http://www.ThatWasTheAct.com

      Jul 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @yaletownman:
      NO JUSTIFICATION FOR SUCH A SELFISH DECISION — ONLY OFFERED TO HELP UNDERSTAND (Understanding is NOT Agreement). My decision was based on 28 years of hiding who I was and conditioning to believe that my “leanings” were debase and reprehensible. This prompted me to conclude that I was of no value IF I “chose” to be what I knew I was inside; that I would be extracted from each of these* groups (my number-one-fear – rejection). The pressure to continue with the act of “dictated normalcy” by family-friends-society and religion became intolerable at that point in my life and I jumped through a crack in my world.
      *It was much more than that I am gay, it WAS my hardline – things are black or white upbringing, ultra-conservative political views, extremist religious beliefs and that I over-emphasized the importance of the era and culture I held up as the benchmark of how to be.

      I know NO gay people who would’ve taken my path, a culmination of knowing I was gay at 6yrs old, reared in a right-wing family; 3 suicide events, became a zealot (Charismatic Fundamentalist Christian) & absorbed the EXTREME religious programming I subjected myself to — knowing my life was hanging from a thread. Aware that IF I was discovered to be who I really was, the thread would snap, causing everything I cared about to collapse.

      Everyone has a different cracking point. Some crack sooner, later, never. I have different strengths & weaknesses which were greatly affected growing up in such a non-accepting environment. My husband, never cared about anyone’s acceptance — what happened with me, never would’ve happened with him.

      I was wrong. I had mental problems and I went off the deep end.
      What made me go off the deep end are NOT justifications or excuses. The damn broke. When it is investigated why the damn broke and then the reason why is discovered, it is NOT a justification/excuse for not doing whatever it was that could have been done to secure the damn. I speak my “WHY” so that others will be true to their real selves and thereby avoid breaking (or even getting into the ‘damn’ situation in the first place). Not being true to self (eventually) always results in collateral damage…which is wrong and painful for all involved.
      I am humbly greatly sorry for all the harm my damn situation brought to everyone.

      I have committed myself to offering my previous weaknesses up as lessons for others, to help as many as possible to avoid my pitfalls.
      Forgiveness
      is for the one who feels victimized, much more so than for the inflictor. We’ve all been victims.
      ELM

      Jul 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @B Damion:
      I have committed myself to offering my previous weaknesses up as lessons for others (especially those in the DL!); to help as many as possible to avoid my pitfalls.

      Jul 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @Tackle:
      “It seems like his actions were based on selfishness, immaturity, confusion, inability to communication and function as an adult.” < < AMEN!

      I WAS TOTALLY MESSED UP:
      (Peg it as you will: there was a total breakdown of all I cared about and I jumped out of the window. The thing that assuredly pisses people off is where I landed. If I had splat on the pavement, most would handle it better than knowing that I did not splat; and that is exactly why I made no attempt to make contact for years and years so that those who cared for ThatWasTheAct could live in the illusion of my death and get over the me they thought they knew.) At the point I cracked, I couldn’t see that I would survive. I was not surviving in the Act. I was dying inside for 34 years with the knowledge I had that would challenge/destroy the knowledge others thought they had of me. If I wanted others to continue to believe in the false-person, I would have never returned. I returned for the possibility of closure and healing (no guarantees). The possibility was worth the risk. Money had NOTHING to do with it. I was out of the will within the year I left and continue to be.

      “Secrecy and shame” are first cousins, a former priest and psychologist tells me. “People stay as sick as their secrets are, and institutions stay as sick as their secrets are.” VANITY FAIR Magazine AUGUST 2002

      No one but me has lived in my skin. No one can know what I endured, and eventually could not. I lived a life that no one but me knew I lived. I confided in no one; that, in itself, can be unbearable.

      For more perspective: http://www.ThatWasTheAct.com

      Jul 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      Although adandoning his children was cruel and selfish, it is nothing compared to him showing up at their doorstep after he was long dead to them. That is the really selfish act. What purpose does that serve other than self-interest? For those who want to blame Christianity, remember that he is still as selfish as he was then. He has caused this family another round of intense pain and for what? So he can feel better about himself? He is real scum.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @Eric: You should have stayed dead to your family if you had any feelings for them. I would bet it was the desire to stop living off the grid that led you to that decision, not a reparative quest.

      As for forgiveness, it is not for the victim because victims do not need forgiveness. It is for the transgressor. You are not a victim. You took these actions of your own volition and you deserve the public disapproval you receive. Crying victim to avoid the consequences of your actions demonstrates that you have not spent any of that time off the grid contemplating the morality of your choices. Hopefully, you have developed meaningful relationships in your life because I imagine a lot of people will want to stay clear of you given your lack of basic morality. I know I would.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @Eric: Did you ever consider that perhaps it was your duty to carry the burden of your actions, especially with regard to your kids? No. Instead, in your quest to relieve your own burdens, you hoisted them onto your children who already suffered the supposed abandonment and death of their father. And you’re seeking publicity for it no less! You really have no shame. Not the homophobic kind, but the kind of shame that decent people feel when they behave abominably. Perhaps in another twenty years you’ll come to that revelation.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kennetho9322
      kennetho9322

      “Unknowingly destroyed their lives!!!” Whatta crock! Don’t blame religion for your cowardice!

      Jul 25, 2013 at 1:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • darkorient
      darkorient

      I am from a religious family in the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. In our deeply conservative community, I’ve seen too many gay men giving in. Believe me when I say I understand how hard it is. But there were ways that you could have taken to make it easier for your wife and children. It’s too late now, but the least you can do is to make good. Please don’t give up on trying to make amend. Yoou owe them and yourself to do so.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @jar:
      Thank you. Well received.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @jar:
      I was against returning for 15 1/2 years because I had your same thoughts. After much counseling, returning was the right thing to do for a myriad of reasons. I definitely did not return ‘to feel better about myself’ – staying away would have been better if that’s what I was motivated by. Healing and closure for others was the motive for returning.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @jar:
      I hear you about:
      “deserve the public disapproval”
      “consequences of your actions”
      “the [im]morality of your choices”
      IF I wanted, I could easily have stayed away to avoid dealing with any of those.

      Changing others’ opinions about me and my errors is NOT the message. THE MESSAGE: Opening A Discussion to bring about change in those who are currently not being their true selves and could make lessor mistakes, and to everyone to avoid beginning a charade.
      ELM

      Jul 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      Well god dam Eric… is that really you? Are you really up in this bitch? awww lol…well aint that some shit…! da hell you doin on Queerty? you should be doing all you can and I mean alllllllllllll… you can to mend the fences.

      This is some isssh right here..

      Jul 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      AMEN, this is some isssh.
      I am hoping that I a mending.
      I do know, not all is mend’able’
      and some don’t want anything to do with mending
      and that’s OK

      Jul 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @jar:
      Forgiveness is not for me.
      By forgiving (I never need to know anything about it),
      the person does not continue to relive/revive the pain
      again and again.

      Jul 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jasentylar
      jasentylar

      This guy is a loser. Don’t blame religion. How can you look at your kids..you brought them in this world and as a human/parent its your duty to protect them. Then, you subject them to this. Complete and utter devastation. They would’ve gotten past daddy likes dick just fine. But THIS….I forgave my father for running out on us, but I never forgot. You should be ashamed. Men that don’t know how to be parents..that don’t know how to love….A fucking shame. The ex-wife is right: should’ve stayed gone.

      Jul 30, 2013 at 3:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jasentylar
      jasentylar

      Pathetic.

      Jul 30, 2013 at 3:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      I do not blame religion. I blame me, my weaknesses, mental breakdown from MY absorption/reactions to miss-programming* > my hardline – things are black or white upbringing, ultra-conservative political views, extremist religious beliefs and that I over-emphasized the importance of the era and culture I held up as the benchmark of how to be.

      Others, who have made huge mistakes, hide. One more closet I’m not willing to stay in. This is a discussion to reduce such future tragedies. There are no winners in this. I hope to help others to avoid harming others and losing.

      The mistake is mine (period). I had been stuck for years in a place that refused to change. Everything seemed hard, solid, and unmovable. Making the most difficult and painful decision of my life, I left for seventeen years — and started an avalanche of change that forced me down a dark and anguished patch of sadness and growth. Every time I thought I had reached the bottom, another trap door would open below me. I had spent years jettisoning useless baggage* until I felt raw, empty-handed, emotionally exhausted and for once, real.

      Everyone has a different cracking point. Some crack sooner, later, never. I have different strengths & weaknesses which were greatly affected growing up in such a non-accepting environment. My husband, never cared about anyone’s acceptance — what happened with me, never would’ve happened with him.

      I was wrong. I had mental problems and I went off the deep end.
      WHAT MADE ME go off the deep end are NOT justifications or excuses. NO excuse for my mistakes – only background to help others who may be in similar situations to not make theirs. I made serious mistakes and if anyone reading this will learn from it, and not do anything hurtful by living a charade, then some good can result.

      It would be great if I could go back and have a redo. I cannot. The mentally healthy me, with a positive sense of self, would definitely not take the same actions I took.

      For more, see: ThatWasTheAct.com

      It’s as if I believed there should be no gun restrictions and after
      hurting someone horribly with a gun, I’ve become an advocate for restrictions. LIVING A CHARADE CAUSES MUCH DAMAGE FOR ALL AFFECTED.
      COME OUT, COME OUT —— FOR EVERYONE’S BETTERMENT.

      Jul 30, 2013 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @B Damion:
      That’s very much part of the reason why I’m speaking out. To those ‘on the DL’ so they can see the collateral damage that may result.

      Others, who have made huge mistakes, hide. One more closet I’m not willing to stay in. This is a discussion to reduce such future tragedies. NO excuse for my mistakes – only background to help others who may be in similar situations to not make theirs.

      It’s as if I believed there should be no gun restrictions and after hurting someone horribly with a gun, I’ve become an advocate for restrictions. Living A Charade Causes Much Damage for All Affected. COME OUT, COME OUT — For Everyone’s Betterment.
      ________________________________________
      I’m OK with being the “Come Out” Poster Person similar to a Stop Smoking Poster, showing what could happen. Some good can result, if my serious mistakes can help anyone realize that, a charade eventually harms many more than they can imagine.

      If my motive was to be viewed positively, I would have stayed away. Before, I couldn’t face my life; now I can AND AM. My previous weaknesses are lessons for others, to help as many as possible to avoid my pitfalls.

      I made serious mistakes and if anyone reading this will learn from it, and not do anything hurtful by living a charade, then some good can result.

      More at > ThatWasTheAct.com

      Jul 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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