Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shannon's Story

10 years ago I married the love of my life.

7 years ago I became a divorced mother of one. I lost my best friend. My husband disclosed he was gay.

3 years ago I married again. I found a man whom I trusted to be straight and wanted to make a life with my child and me.

My story begins like this.

I met my first husband, Scott, while in Junior High School. We had the same interests; Drama Club, Music Class, Tap Dancing (ok, maybe looking back I see that Scott was not like the other boys), and we became best friends. Scott and I spent our high school years planning our future, from who would sing at our wedding to the names of our children. One of the most painful days of my teenage years was the day Scott moved to Lincoln, Nebraska to go to college while I stayed in California.

While in Lincoln, Scott and I stayed in contact. We spent every Sunday on the phone, we wrote letters to each other; we continued to plan our future. I heard about college parties, and even encouraged Scott to ask other girls to the events, as I was so far away. I saved money to visit him in Lincoln a few times while he was in collage. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He dated girls. I dated boys. We told each other, though we dated others, we were still committed to one another. Once Scott finished college, we would get married.

Scott finished college. It was time to make a decision. Scott proposed to me. He even asked my father for his permission. I said yes. Finally, Scott and I were going to be married. Just like we had planned in our Senior Year of High School.

The year we were engaged was wonderful. We moved in together. We went to pre-marital counseling. The counselor had great hopes for us. Both sets of parents had been married for over 25 years. We could make a marriage work. We both believed it.

3 months after our wedding, we decided it was time to start a family. It took a while, but 18 months after our wedding, we were blessed with a happy, healthy baby boy. We were now living the perfect married life. We both worked full time. We had a great daycare provider for our child. We were both involved in community theatre, he as a performer, and me as a backstage gal. We even found roles for the small child so that we could work all together as a family. Times were good.

How things change. Looking back, I have no idea what changed, or how I figured out things were changing. Scott and I fought all the time. The only thing we could/would agree upon were items regarding the child. Everything else was a knock out drag out fight. Scott was pushing me away mentally, sexually, physically. I solved all problems by eating. I gained 80 pounds. It was obvious I was unhappy, and Scott was too.

When your husband has an affair, straight or gay, there is something that clicks inside. That is what happened to me. I figured out Scott was having an affair, with a man. I waited 2 months before Scott came to me and told me the truth. Knowing that I could not change Scott’s feelings, I accepted the facts and took my 18-month-old child and moved out.

The first year alone was not fun. My emotions ran from really angry to feeling sorry for myself. Knowing I had to provide the primary care to my child kept me focused. I found solace in reading the Bible, praying and talking to friends. I took the time to grieve the loss of my marriage that I had counted on for so many years.

It was difficult to see Scott on a regular basis. I believe that all parents need to be involved in their children’s life. A very specific parenting plan was developed and Scott and I stuck to the plan down to the very last point. This meant I saw Scott at least twice a week…not easy when you are still in love with your child’s father.

During my healing, I found a great interest in the business side of community theatre. I was asked to sit on the board of directors for a local theatre company. I accepted. There I fell in love with a man who I found to be a stable, dedicated, honest individual. Mike was aware of my first marriage, he even knew Scott. Mike did not pass judgment on the details of why my first marriage ended. Mike accepted my son, my past, and me. We ended up getting married.

Since my 2nd marriage, my relationship with Scott and his partner has greatly improved. I’m certain that the reason Scott and I were together was to have our son. I also know we were to not stay together, that our destiny was to remain the best of friends…and to have love and partnership with others.

My son has reaped the benefit of having two families: his Mom and Mike, his Dad and Dustin. I’m proud to report that all of us attend parent/teacher conferences, sporting events and all school functions. Scott and Dustin are welcome in our home at any time, and we are welcome in their home. Mike has been a huge supporter of my continuing involvement with Scott. It makes for a unique lifestyle, but one that I’m proud of.

My life has had its challenges. My healing process was full of potholes, peaks and valleys. I with stood the hurt and pain by reading books about Homosexual marriages/divorces, prayer, friendships and most of all an understanding that I was not the issue, my ex-husband made bad choices.

Every day I think ‘what if’. What if Scott was straight? What if Scott had ‘come out’ before we were married? What if I stayed married to Scott even after he told me he was gay? I know that the path I’ve chosen to follow, with Gods help, is the right one for me. I don’t place blame on anyone. I’ve accepted that I’m a mother, wife and ex-wife. I’ve chosen to make my relationship with my gay ex-husband the best it can be.

God Bless

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