BY BONNIE KAYE
These are 10 most important lessons I have learned about being in or out of a straight/gay marriage. And by the way, I never dignify them by calling them something chic like “Mixed Orientation marriages. To me, “Mixed Orientation means Jewish/Catholic or White/Black, where people know way up front before marriage what the obstacles are. Straight/Gay marriages are more like Alice in Wonderland marriages—distorted through the looking glass at best. Never feel the need to have to “apologize for these marriages by cleaning up the way they sound because it’s hard on the ear. If anything, call them what I call them—MISMARRIAGES, meaning a mistake in marriage.
Here are my lessons learned:
Some of you have been languishing in a destructive marriage for years. You are throwing away valuable years of your life that can never be regained. Once they are gone, they are gone. Some of you feel compelled to stay in these marriages because you have no proof that your husband is gay. You know you’re unhappy. That’s enough of a reason to the leave the marriage.
You don’t have to prove that a husband is gay to get a divorce. Just suffering in a marriage with someone who lacks passion, compassion, intimacy, and respect is grounds for a divorce. When women who are married to straight men decide they want a divorce, they don’t have to spend years figuring out how to justify it. Why do you?
Stop spending your life being a detective. There is nothing more debilitating than to spend your valuable time investigating your husband. I did it for several years—checking his pockets, his notes, his papers, listening to his phone calls from the other side of the wall with a glass—you name it, I tried it. Why did I keep obsessing over this?
I needed to know that my suspicions were more than my imagination. So when I thought I had concrete proof and I confronted him, he went into a rage telling me that I was crazy. And guess what? I was relieved because I WANTED TO BELIEVE. And please don’t tell me that I was stupid because I know the majority of you out there want to believe as much as I do that this nightmare is anything but what it is.
You don’t have to confront your husband—you just have to know the truth for yourself. That should be enough. And when you do know the truth, then you need to set yourself free, because living with a gay man can never fulfill your expectations of what you want out of life. No way. Ever.
Although it takes two to make a marriage, when you’re married to a gay man, it only takes one to make it fall apart—namely him. Any other natural failures of straight marriages are not applicable here because your life is a distortion when your husband is gay. Whatever he objects to is through the eyes of a gay man. When he is angry with you, it is because he is frustrated being in a marriage with a straight woman and will look to find fault with YOU rather than face up to his responsibility of being honest. This is not to say you are perfect, but it wouldn’t matter if you were.
He would still find fault with you because you are a woman. And a lot of you are almost perfect. That’s because the unhappier he is, the more you try to make him happy, internalizing and personalizing that his unhappiness is your fault. Untrue. He can’t be totally happy or fulfilled living with a woman no matter who the woman is. Accept it. It’s his failure, not yours. And this is not to say that he is a failure as a person. He is just a failure as a husband to a straight woman. He can be a great guy, but he belongs being your friend, not your mate.
Love hurts. Loving a gay man really hurts. Even losing a gay husband in many cases hurts. This is why it is so difficult for us to recover from these marriages. Sometimes we have wonderful men who are our best friends. Then one day out of nowhere, a new man appears who is a stranger to us. The man we thought we were tied to for life now tells us that he can’t go on being “untrue?to himself. He tells us that as much as it pains him, he has to tell you that he is gay.
By the way, the ones who tell you are really the wonderful ones although it’s hard to believe when you’re hearing the truth. It’s the ones that refuse to tell you and accuse you of being crazy that are contemptible. It is going to take time to get past the pain of this. You need to give yourself the time you need to go through all the stages of mourning just like you need to mourn for someone who died. This is the death of a marriage, and in many cases, it is a very ugly death.
You are not stupid. You start beating yourself up over your stupidity in not recognizing that your husband was gay. You start looking back and examining all of your moments in the marriage wondering how this could have happened. How is it that the person who was supposed to love you and cherish you forever was leading a life or thinking about leading a life that was totally foreign to you?
You trace and retrack your years together. You look for the clues or the signs that something was wrong, but you keep missing the clues. This is because you were fooled by someone who was most likely fooling himself. And when he stopped fooling himself, he kept fooling you because he was scared. He was scared that if you knew the truth you wouldn’t want him anymore. These guys can be great deceivers. And we of good hearts want to believe in the love we have for our men.
Some women find it so hard to say that they knew something about their husbands prior to marriage lest they be accused of knowing they were marrying a gay man. UNTRUE. I say we don’t understand homosexuality. We don’t understand how someone who is supposed to be going with someone of the same sex is now marrying someone of the opposite sex. We believe that even if they did try it, they didn’t like it because they are not gay.
Even if your husband hinted that he was attracted to men, he has now “outgrown those feelings because he loves you. And after all, sexuality can be confusing, so maybe he was just confused. But now he knows what he wants and there’s nothing to worry about. Stop kicking yourself for being blindsided by this. There is no way that we can understand such a complex situation when our husband’s can’t understand it.
When I was 25 years old, I reunited with a high school boyfriend after seven years. He had become a
doctor and had nurses galore dating him. When we found each other again in a different place and space, he revealed to me that he had tried a relationship with two men on two different occasions. He actually lived with these guys for a period of months. He then told me that he also lived with two women for a period
He realized that he was not gay from those two experiences with men. Women were his thing and I believed him. He dated me, made love to me, and wanted to move in with me. Although I knew that something was missing, I didn’t think it was an issue of sexuality. I thought it was because he was a Cancer.
Hey, astrology was big back then. People believed in the zodiac signs. I thought that his July birthday accounted for his sometimes-aloof reactions to me and to us. It wasn’t for another 8 years that this man came to terms with his sexuality and found his man mate. Ironically, I left this guy for my future gay husband.
Like how stupid was I, you want to know? I don’t think I was stupid. I think I was uninformed. Look, I had sex with both of these men. Maybe they weren’t the best, but they were adequate. And in your 20’s, adequate is good enough. It takes us time to realize that making love is so much more than sex.
You find these good-looking, sensitive, conversational men who want to spend their lives with you. Gay? We may think there are issues, but gay isn’t one of them. Even before I married my gay husband, someone came to me with his suspicions that my soon to be hubby was bisexual. I felt a sick knot in my stomach much like the same knot that occurred years later when my suspicions started to kick in for real. When I told him about my friend’s accusation, he took the table where we were dining and nearly threw it over, yelling, “How dare someone accuse me of that?
I was so relieved. Hallelujah! My heart told me to proceed without caution because I had the confirmation I needed. Was I stupid? I think not. I was just UN-INFORMED. Some people may think that it’s not normal to find yourself involved in two relationships with gay men. Well, I had been involved with dozens of relationships over the years with straight men. It was not something I was seeking out. It was just by chance that it happened--chance and ignorance.
Some of us in our desperation to hang on to something that we should let go of will look to make a million excuses of why we need to stay. One of the common reasons I hear is “THE CHILDERN.?People want to believe that children need two parents living under the same roof no matter how miserable they are or how that roof is always caving in. WRONG. One important lesson I have learned from my own life experience is that children will not be happy unless you are happy.
My mother stayed with my father for far too many years. They would both fight and inevitably, fight about the children. This made me feel as if I were to blame for their misery. CHILDREN KNOW WHEN THEIR PARENTS ARE UNHAPPY AND THEY DO PERSONALIZE IT. Trust me on this one. If you or your gay husband is unhappy, your children know it and most likely internalize the blame.
The other problem of staying in this type of marriage is role modeling. Children copy their parents. If they see you staying in a loveless marriage, chances are they will think this is the norm for marriage, which is very sad. Certainly you don’t want your children to be condemned to a life of unhappiness when they get married, but we often repeat the mistakes of our parents. I marvel at how many women who had abusive fathers marry the same type of man. So, if you are staying in your marriage and think you need to do this for the security of your children, STOP.
WAITING FOR YOUR HUSBAND’S TO CONFESS CAN TAKE A LIFETIME. Too many of you are hanging in there waiting for a confession to something that will be the DECISIVE factor in your decision to leave. All you have to do is CATCH HIM, right? Then you’ll get him to confess. Well, let’s forget this one. Some of them will never get caught, and many of them will never confess—EVER. Some gay husbands are in deep denial. If they can’t even admit it to themselves, why do you think they’ll confess it to you?
When you do catch them they come up with the world’s best stories on how the porn got on the computer, how the condoms got into their briefcases, how they contracted a sexually transmitted disease (which they usually claim to be your fault), or how your imagination is running away with you. It’s just not happening, so stop looking for it.
If you are questioning your husband’s sexuality, YOU HAVE A REASON. Whether it’s a hint, an instinct, or proof positive, go with it. Women don’t suspect their straight husbands of being gay. Trust me on that one. This goes back to a few of the previously mentioned lessons. If you are unhappy in your marriage, no matter what the reason is, get out.
Breaking up is hard to do, even under the worst of circumstances. There is no easy way to leave a marriage. Most women need a readjustment period to filter the information through their heads totally. There’s lots of second-guessing during this time, as well as questioning your sanity or stupidity. “How couldn’t I have seen this coming??“How come everyone suspected this before me??And other people start questioning it too. “What did you do to make him gay? He wasn’t gay when he married you, was e??“Men don’t just TURN gay. You must have screwed up somewhere?
On top of all of the hurt we are going through, we have to deal with other people’s ignorance and stupidity, which compounds our own feelings of inadequacy. And you know what? Not every straight wife finds me in her early days of confusion or even ever for that matter. They sit and suffer because they are unable to find help or a voice of sanity to tell them they are not at fault. That’s the saddest part of all. Lack of support keeps women in a long state of depression and confusion.
Wives of gay men have to contend with so many issues that wives of straight men don’t face. This makes things much more complicated and uncomfortable. You see, I contend that women who have straight husbands don’t have the set of problems that we have. Most women who are wonderful wives LIKE WE ARE with wonderful marriages to straight men don’t have husbands who are sneaking and cheating on them because their husbands are happy.
We, on the other hand, are the best of wives but are made to feel like we are worthless. How do great wives feel when their husbands start abandoning them emotionally,
physically, and sexually for no apparent reason at all?
What does it feel like to think you have to “beg for sex from the man who is supposed to be you soulmate in life? How do you think it feels when you uncover his little secret only to find that all of those times he was saying no to you he was saying yes to a host of men that he met for casual sex that was so casual that he never even necessarily saw their faces or knew their names while he was making you feel as if you were sexually abnormal for wanting to share intimacy with him? You feel dirty because he makes you feel that way. You are not good enough for him to make love to — that is his message to you.
As women who have been emotionally abused in this way, we have to start rebuilding the long stripping
of our sense of worth, self, and sexual esteem. We now have to worry about what to tell our children, and if they will hate us for breaking up their family. We end up protecting our ex-husbands in so many cases, keeping their secret while they are out there living it. You see, it’s okay for them to do it, but they’ll tell you it’s none of your business to discuss it. After all, you’re only the wife, right?
You can be in what you think is the beginning or the middle of your marriage and suddenly, your husband announces that, “I am what I am,?and his own special creation is your worst nightmare. You have two or three children and limited resources as a single parent. This gay husband who comes to terms with his sexuality, unlike the straight/gay kind of husband that stay forever to torture you, is now walking out on you to begin his life as a gay man.
All your dreams are up in smoke so to speak, and you’re left to pick up the pieces. It’s not unusual in those early years of gaydom for husbands to be scarce when needed. They are off in their new life and very, very busy. It seems like he’s forgotten you, the children, the house, and the money it takes to run a family. He does seem to have money for his new life and lovers, and there seems to be no balance. You pay, he plays. And you’re also exhausted. Yuck.
It can be any one of those situations mentioned above, but the end result is all the same—misery. That’s why some women who are so pealed down mentally to start with, never can reach the finish line to proclaim themselves the “winner.?It’s hard to run a race if you’re wearing yourself out doggie paddling just trying to keep yourself from drowning. That’s why I never judge how long it takes someone to leave — as long as she knows that she is going to leave someday. Mental freedom is three-fourths of the battle.
Beauty. Hmm, let’s see — it’s in the eyes of the beholder—namely YOU. Self-esteem has to be rebuilt before you can truly love yourself and realize how beautiful you are. I have seen the most physically beautiful of
women learn to believe they are ugly and undesirable. When they look in the mirror, it’s like an anorexic reflection showing fat when the person is skinny.
When you don’t feel good about yourself, you don’t see yourself objectively anymore. You feel ugly inside, so you see your reflection as ugly outside. It’s such a shame and makes me so angry. The self-damage that is done has to be worked on before you pursue any kind of new relationship because you leave yourself open for other unsavory men to find and grab you.
They aren’t gay, but they are losers. They are controlling, angry, abusive, and in other cases, useless. These guys see a “sucker?coming and they lunge after you. They know you are ripe for the picking. Give you a few “I love you’s?or “you’re beautiful?and you belong to them, few questions asked. If they have sex with you, you feel redeemed from the marriage to your gay husband so you settle for the wrong relationship because it seems less wrong than the last one. UGH. More bad years wasted again.
The song The Greatest Love of All has the right line in it — learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all. If you can’t love yourself in a generous healthy way, you’ll never be happy in any future relationship.