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,