This blog is from the heart, informed by having been married to a closeted gay man and understanding how that experience changed the trajectory of my life, both as a woman and as a psychotherapist. Please add to the conversation and "Follow" if you're so inclined; all voices are welcome!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A letter to my gay husband

Recently, I was inspired to include voices of other straight spouses on my blog. I became aware that sharing our stories with each other, while helpful, just isn't enough. We already know all too well the pain and devastation of a spouse coming out. My hope is that you, the reader, will share this with others. Believe me, whether you know it or not, you have a straight spouse in your life. 


                                                                   Letter to my Gay Husband

The moment is both crystal clear and a haze of emotions. That moment. That moment at 8 am on an August morning when you hesitated and took a breath for a millisecond after telling me what bills you had paid and how D’s college tuition was being covered. The moment that is the bridge between the safe and comfortable world that I knew and the one that I live in now.  The moment that preceded the 9 words that shattered my dreams for the future and my memories of the past.  “And, I need to tell you that I’m gay.” 

Those words were the gateway to the many months I spent walking through fog in an upside down world, holding all known emotions side by side in my heart - anger, compassion, sadness, love, devastation, strength, resolve, darkness, self-love, self-loathing, fury, and peace. At the time, of course, I believed that had you been more thoughtful in your disclosure, or had you better anticipated what I might need and want, it would have “felt” better. In hindsight, I know that nothing could have diminished the pain and disorientation I have come to embrace as my own as a result of your truth.

We have talked more intimately in the past 6 months than we had during our 28 years of marriage; hundreds of hours by my estimation.  Almost certainly it is because of my need to know the watershed of thoughts, feelings and experiences that you kept hidden for all of these years. I wanted to know that part of you too. I have heard all of the things you have shared. Some of them have helped me believe that you truly love me, in your way. Some of them have helped me understand the myriad of forces that enable men like you to live a life-time trying to suppress or manage their same-sex attractions for the sake of normalcy. But when all is said and done, while you transition to living your life authentically, I still have a broken heart.  You focus on happy years we had together. I focus on this less; I didn't want a marriage that was going to end. I am trying to forgive you. I am trying to let go of the anger.   I am trying to give primacy to the love we still share. It is hard.

In Senegal’s Maison des Esclaves (The House of Slaves) the door to the quarters of captured slaves is known as “Goree”, The Door of No Return.  That is our door. Every possible path to the relationship we knew is blocked. Although we have tried and tried to navigate around this, to see what we can work out, in reality there’s no way back.  

I can’t imagine having survived the past 6 months without the support of other str8 spouses that are ahead of me in this journey. Sadly, there are hundreds of us.  We, collectively, can validate the feelings of pain, betrayal, deceit, loss that each of us experience as we let go of the person we loved so deeply but could not keep.

I know that you are sorry. I thank you for having been so present for me as I process where we are.  You have stayed with me and with our 4 boys.  But in the end, none of it matters.  I love you. I always will.  I only wish that you had loved me enough to have been more careful with my heart.   ~ Anonymous

To schedule a face-to-face or FaceTime session with Kimberly Brooks Mazella, LPC, please go to my website at www.straightforwardcounseling.com

21 comments:

Karma said...

Extremely moving with powerful emotions. Thanks for sharing. Can't think of anything more to say right now.....

Anonymous said...

The name says it all. Whenever anyone lives an inauthentic life, they by default are exploiting another person. That is such a great wrong. What is normal? Who knows. What is average, well that is another matter all together. We are approaching a time, when gay people won't have to hide behind a straight person's heart. Love and honesty matter in all relationships.

The Straightforward Project™ said...

Anon, what a heartfelt and moving letter. Thank you for so beautifully articulating what so many of us feel or have felt -- that confusing combination of anger and compassion; devastation and love. You mentioned the "hundreds" of us Str8s; sadly, there are thousands. No one should ever have to live on either side of this awful closet. Thank you for your part in creating change by speaking your truth. If it stops even ONE gay person from marrying rather than dealing with their sexuality, then something positive will have come from your pain.

Anonymous said...

In a marriage such as this, everyone loses. The children lose an intact family, the straight spouse loses what they thought was the love of their life, their companionship into old age, and the gay spouse as well as the straight spouse lose years, decades of their lives. Decades of their lives living in-authentically. All of this is unnecessary. Unnecessary as long as we all not only tolerate, but embrace each other as the human beings we are, just as we are. We only get one life. No one should have to live it in hiding.

Anonymous said...

Mine has not admitted anything ,my childrens lives are torn apart,my hopes and dreams and lifestyle shattered into pieces and will never be the same .I have felt like dying at times the pain was so strong.Not only has he cheated with both sexes and put his sex life before any respect of his wife and children the family he so wanted ,he was a very abusive man who had other addictions that i stood by and supported him . He is a discusting waste of skin ! I am thankful everyday i am finally out and living a honest life 20 yrs including the 3 to get the divorce wasted other than the children i had !

The Straightforward Project™ said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Karma. Too many people don't understand -- or even think about -- the devastation.

The Straightforward Project™ said...

"We are approaching a time when gay people won't have to hide behind a straight person's heart." Such an eloquent expression of understanding. Thank you, Anon.

The Straightforward Project™ said...

Amen, Anon.

The Straightforward Project™ said...

I'm so sorry you went through all of that, Anon. I hope the years ahead bring you much-deserved peace and happiness.

Anonymous said...

i am so fed up with oh poor them, the gay husband who had to hide who they were for years. they're not the victims, they took someone's love, trust, & security, and we're just suppose to feel sorry for them because oh it's societies fault they couldnt be who they are & instead lie & ruin lives of innocent women and children who are shattered by their family being ripped apart...whatever.. i think not! they dont get my sympathy vote. sorry

TwoLives said...

I just found your blog and I've read through all the posts and comments. You've touched on several of the key issues that straight wives face, but perhaps the most difficult one of all was mentioned by Anon 8:16, above: denial.

It's one thing to say that gay men knew the truth on some level when they married, but what about men who say they knew they were straight, and years later they've realized they're bi? Or the men who claim they have no emotional attraction to other men, so they're definitely not gay or bi? While it's true that Western societies have become much more accepting of gays and lesbians in recent years, and this acceptance should greatly reduce the number of closeted gays who get married to straights, a lot of "bi" young men today believe they can choose to be with one person of either gender, and that makes committing to a woman easy. I worry that many of these guys will later decide that their attraction to men can no longer be denied and they're no longer 70/30 attracted to women and men, but 20/80. What will happen to those marriages then? And how will straight wives feel when they agreed to marry their bisexual fiance', but 10, 15 or 20 years later he decides he's really gay? Bisexuality, whether real or imagined may be THE biggest problem straight wives face. It's the explanation that many already-married men use to justify their actions and decisions, and it's likely to be the reason many young couples take their vows now, only to regret them later. Given your professional experience and expertise, I think many straight wives would benefit from hearing your thoughts about bisexuality specifically, and denial more generally.

Anonymous said...

There is a schizophrenic component to this experience for many of us. On the one hand, I applaud the courage it takes for a married gay spouse to tell the truth; finally. That is part of the challenge in being supportive; particularly in a society still wrestling with reactions ranging from insistence on political correctness to homophobia. While after nearly 30 years of marriage and three adult children his disclosure explained the not-rightness in the marriage, and helped as I tried to peel away the layers of what I believe were my shortcomings in the marriage; specifically the absence of intimacy, he had a choice.

He didn't choose his orientation. Who would choose to be gay? I didn't choose to be str8. He DID choose to deceive me, our children, everyone in our lives. There are those who come out and opt to not cheat first. He assured me this was the case. Fifteen years later, given his behaviors that have followed, I'm not so sure, but it doesn't matter now. Whatever pressures he felt to be "normal", it changes nothing. He CHOSE to sacrifice me at the altar. He CHOSE this path that changed our children forever. I have adjusted and healed. Our children, on the other hand, are the collateral damage of his choices and his behaviors that have followed.

Narcissism is far too often the evil twin of our spouses, particularly in the case of gay husband. The don't choose the orientation, they choose the behavior. I don't care so much that my former husband is gay. I care that he not only broke my heart, but left me unemployed, bankrupt and homeless.

As for being "bi". Sexuality may or may not be fluid. Fidelity is a choice. I am not willing to drown in someone's fluidity. If married and the expectation is monogamy, no one should be asked to "share".

I applaud the courage he demonstrated. I always have. I always will. I haven't had the luxury of being able to compartmentalize my choices in the way he has, the way so many do. Those choices are an insult to gay spouses who actually tell the truth and then live with the integrity and "authenticity" so many articulate as the ultimate goal. Excusing actions that quite literally risk the lives of unsuspecting or naive spouses is unconscionable. Yet, there are never, ever, adequate consequences. There is no "fair" in this scenario. Suggesting that the choice to cheat is somehow "different" from a heterosexual affair would be laughable were it not so pathetic.

Make no mistake, I want him to be happy, truly happy. It has taken me a very long time to realize that I am not responsible for his happiness. I believe many of our spouses chose us because we were/are Fixers aka co-dependent. I cannot change what he chooses to do. I am also not responsible for his relationship with our children or anyone else.

For those in the midst of this gay-meggadon, don't try to "understand". It's a waste of emotion and energy. You never will, never can. Work on your own healing. Trust your gut. If you're new to the process, some basic advice: get to your doctor, find a therapist, speak with an attorney, protect your assets, tell whomever you choose whenever you choose.

I thank him for the gift of The Truth. Gut-wrenching as it was, and still is from time to time, it was the best thing he ever gave me. His gift helped me find me, find my voice. In doing so, I learned that it wasn't about me, it never was. I was always "enough", just not enough for a gay man. Ultimately the marriage ended because we had irreconcilable similarities: we both love men.

There IS light at the end of all of this.
P in CA

Anonymous said...

Thank you P. What a great comment!
Wish mine could be honest...feel sorry for the next woman he does this to...but I have to remember he is not my problem any longer and I cannot "fix" him or make him get honest with himself.
I divorced after 25 years and although it is hard...I have my sanity back and don't live with the lies of his annonymous hook ups on craigslist.

debbie said...

In my case, it was a choice for my ex to exploit me and hide behind my heart. Hiding behind a straight spouse is a cowardly behavior that is chosen and not dictated by society. Deceit and adultery have never been accepted.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to go with society's "acceptace" of morality! Same sex is just about that, I believe it is called sodemy. I will never change my beliefs for what is voted on in this country. To many worldwide share my views!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you amen!

Unknown said...

Also the spoke of Hollywood, where Hollywood writers seemed to put a gay person on every single sit-com and at least one scene or character in every single movie - stating that wasn't right because there just are not that many gay citizens in our country by proportion. Then they spoke of the ""gay agenda" in our politics in Washington DC, in our entertainment manufacturing, at our college campuses, and claiming that the GLBT crowd was preying on adolescents who are going through their own hormonal awakenings, thus, in a way brainwashing them as they are confused about the changes in their own bodies.

Anonymous said...

It is comforting in a small way to see that I am not alone in the experience of being married to a gay man. I feel alone though. I act my way through every day. I tried to confront him recently, but obviously wasn't clear enough. I started a blog Confessions of a Beard to just be able to talk about what I am going through. It's hardly a school-yard conversation.
http://confessionsofabeard.blogspot.com.au/

Anonymous said...

In the moment we discover our love's deceit, our pain closes the opening in our minds, protecting the heart. We are now limited to the belief that the deceit was acted upon without turmoil, without mental anguish by a person, whom we love so dearly and would have done anything to save them, had we only known.

Anonymous said...

Please join us on Facebook new support group My Ex Husband Is Gay....

Anonymous said...

Spread the word we are trying to build a support group for women who have been through this it is On Facebook and it is called: My Ex Husband Is Gay only 2 members hoping to get the word out we all need support