Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's NOT Your Fault

The following email exchange is from our online support group (posted with permission.) M----- sent an email with the subject heading "Need Some Encouragement."

I haven't posted on here much, but I could use some encouragement and
perspective today. My husband and I separated back in June. He's
alternately saying he's bi, gay, unsure, conflicted; whatever suits
the moment. But he admits to having always been attracted to men. And
there have been incidents over the years that point in the direction
of gay. Then back in January I discovered he wasn't where he said he
would be, and he was with a man. He says just friends, but I was
suspicious of the relationship before. And besides, why hide it if
it's friendship? Usually when you find your spouse in a hotel room
with someone else, it's not good news.

Anyway. We're in counseling, both individually and as a couple. And
one minute I think we understand each other, and the next I think he's
lost his mind. Because he keeps saying things like yes, he's
conflicted about his sexuality, but that's not why he left. And that I
need to take half of the responsibility for the marriage not working
out. This fries my logic circuits. Because of course, I'm not perfect,
but I think that anything else we could work on together to improve,
but being gay kind of necessarily ends the marriage (since I'm really
not interested in some kind of open relationship). But he keeps saying
that no, that's not the reason it's over, and that I share some
responsibility for it not working. Is this typical, or is he just
really, really more screwed up than I imagined? Or if I'm wrong, I'm
willing to hear that, too.

All I know is, I'm not the one who has been lying about who I am.


My response:

Oh, Sweetheart...

NO, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!! Please, hear and believe that above everything else.

He IS unsure and conflicted - he is a gay man struggling out of a closet that has caused unbelievable brain damage for him. He is gay. There may be some bi-sexuality - depending on how sexually functional he is / was with you. But that makes no difference. He is sexually attracted to men - therefore HE IS NOT STRAIGHT. He was in a hotel room with a man after lying about where he was? He's gay. And he's a liar. And he's a cheater. None of this is your fault.

I have always been so sick of the "I'm gay - therefore it wasn't really cheating. I couldn't help myself" bullshit. Cheating is cheating. Does the fact that he's gay make it more complicated? Sure. I remember when I found out that my straight boyfriend of nearly 5 years had been serially cheating on me and my former husband was appalled. He could not believe that the boyfriend would do that to me. He was totally dis-connected from the reality that they had done exactly the same thing.

Gay men that are married and want out eventually have sex with other men SO THEY CAN GET OUT AND FINALLY JUST BE GAY - even if they aren't consciously aware of it. Even if they are still confused and terrified. They need out. They want out. And they get out. But they already feel like such shit for (1) being an "evil gay" in the first place and (2) for lying for so many years about it (3) And for hurting you. They are desperate to not be the bad guy all alone. They have been blaming us wives for years for being part of the system that has kept them trapped in a world of pain where they cannot be who they really are. Deep down they resent us and our children (even though they know it's not our faults and even though they may really love us) for adding to an already unbearable burden.

In non-mixed marriages, heterosexual or homosexual, blame can be shared for that marriage failing. And even in your marriage, there are certainly things that you didn't do or could have done or should have done. You are human and therefore not perfect. If this was a non -mixed marriage, you could go to therapy and work on yourself, the relationship, issues... But THIS marriage was doomed to fail from the very beginning. RARE as a unicorn is the mixed orientation marriage that lasts and is based on a healthy, honest working friendship. He wants you to share the blame so he doesn't have to carry it alone. Tough shit. Don't do it.

He DID leave because he is gay. He needs out and you need him out. I know how much it hurts - BELIEVE ME I know. But, in the long run you will praise the gods if you get assertive, take action and DO NOT allow his mind games to work any longer. You have been brain damaged through this too and it is time you choose YOUR health and YOUR life.

But, when you do, be prepared for some unbelievably weird meanness which is, unfortunately, all too often part of the deal. A divorce between a straight and a gay spouse (especially when religion is involved) can be unbearably messy. As a whole, I love gay men with all my heart and will fight for them and their rights until the day I die. But those that got married and tried to be straight and are so damaged by that that they become the devils of destruction to their ex-wives and children? OH, HELL NO. I will put them in their place right quick. Just cause you're gay doesn't mean you get to be an asshole, I'm sorry.

He IS more screwed up than you imagined - although much of that is not his fault either. Don't join him in that. He is a big boy - let him take care of himself. He has a tough road to travel but there is huge support for him if he accepts it. Your job is to make sure you and your children get, and stay, well.

I am SO SORRY! All this is just gross - for everyone. But, you are not alone - not even close.

More love than you know what to do with,


Misti said...

Thanks for this post. My heart goes out to the writer of the post. If I had a magic wand I would sweep it across all Straight Wives, past and present, to let them know that they ROCK...they are BEAUTIFUL....they are LOVABLE...they are a TREASURE....etc. And most importantly...to let them know that it isn't their or anyone else's fault that their (ex) husband is gay. You are such an ambassador of hope for the Straight women! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

How do I know if he's gay? There are telltale signs yet reasonable doubt. He's the sort that would die before coming out. I wish it were enough that he treated me like shit - but I'd also like to know the truth...

Anonymous said...

If he's treating you like shit....why does his sexual preference matter? I know it makes it easier...sorta....but really, does it MATTER in YOUR choices? Here's a big question for you.... if your daughter were in the same EXACT situation, what would you want for HER?


No matter what is "normal" at home...your child will gravitate toward that behavior, that treatment, in their own relationships. If it's not good enough for your child....then it's not good enough for YOU. If things are happening in your home that are NOT OK....don't teach your child that it's ok to accept that behavior.

If you don't have children....then ask yourself the same thing about your best friend, your mother, whoever. If YOU are in a situation that YOU don't think is acceptable for others...then it's simply not acceptable for you either.
Whether he's gay or straight...treating you like shit is NOT ok.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to tell if someone is gay when they never would be willing to admit it? Peace of mind is priceless...

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this on and off for several days--Is there a way to know if someone is gay?

I was trying to think of characteristics, traits, what society looks at and says, "Gay."

Nope--there is not one thing I, myself, can tell you that will help you KNOW for certain if your husband is gay. Gays come in just as many different varieties as straights. My ex about rebuilt the engine in my old car this summer. He can fix ANYTHING. He has no fashion sense and no decorating sense. He doesn't look gay. He doesn't act gay. HE IS VERY GAY.

Misti said...

Just a bit of my opinion...and I wish someone would have told me this way back in the day when I was struggling being a Straight Wife....To all of you that don't "know" for certain that your husband is gay...please TRUST your instincts and intuition on this. Of all the Straight Wives I have worked with and talked to, NONE of them have ever falsely accused their husbands being gay. Many gay men do not fit the mass mind stereotypes. It is my opinion that your instincts and intuition are your best bet to determine if your husband is gay or not.

My ex sorta owned up to being bi-sexual and then recanted his story. So, finally I had to decide if I wanted to live or struggle to survive. I chose to live and have NEVER regretted my decision to move forward with my life. You deserve a beautiful and magnificent life!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and for a minute I thought I had written the inital letter (altho I have different initials!) So - how do I know if my husband is gay - or whatever? He doesnt know himself for sure (but he DOES feel attraction to men, always has to some degree but never acted on it til this summer, once...but has been online with guys for 4 years...). I don't really think he is totally gay but definitely some flavor of bi, and his kids dont really think he is gay either. Our sex life was great until I hit menopause and told him I wasnt very interested...that when he started his little Man Love Thing. Can't quite decide the Should I Stay or Should I Go question. Not that I have much of a choice, because HE wants to go...because I'm such a bad wife and I don't want sex all the time!

Anonymous said...

Last Anonymous--Just my opinion. Sounds like he is gay. Hate to say it, but my ex was involved with a married man in his 50s just recently. They have 4 children. I won't go into more detail except that his wife also wasn't interested in sex any longer either. He had never had sex with a male until recently. He plans on staying with her, but continuing to cheat with men.

I think some bury it really well because to admit it to themselves is more than they can handle. Many people wanted me to believe my ex isn't gay because he liked sex with me--but he is very gay. I'd call him a 6 on the Kinsey scale.

I'm the one who answered earlier that I can't pinpoint anything that will make you know for sure a man is gay. The best way for me to tell is to meet the person--but even that isn't 100%.


Mr. Andrew said...

Problem: Gay in the story is irrelevant! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery."

He violated the marriage covenant....was unrepentant...therefore is grounds for a divorce. Simple. Gay or not sexual misconduct is all the same. The players and circumstances will change, but not the principles of fidelity.