He toured with the band, and when he came home, he'd sometimes stay out all night without telling me where he'd gone. Assuming he was having an affair with a woman, and feeling insecure and unattractive in the middle of my third pregnancy, I became hyperinterrogatory and angry. It didn't help: Chris became even more distant, and he started drinking heavily. It's easy to say I should have left him, but the choice wasn't so simple. We had virtually no savings, and I couldn't afford to take the children and raise them on my own. I also still believed that the marriage could weather such trials, in part because he was such a good father.
He took us camping, played with the children, planned holiday celebrations and even baked the kids' birthday cakes. Chris was percent better at parenting than my own father, and I got used to the idea that my fulfillment could come from the family rather than the marriage.
That thin fantasy crumbled on my oldest son's third birthday, well before my chlamydia diagnosis. That day, I caught Chris hiding cash in a desk drawer. What is the money for? He became defensive and announced, "I haven't gone to bed with anybody, but I've been going to gay bars. As the puzzling pieces of our marriage flashed through my mind—the lack of physical affection, his preferred position for sexual intercourse, his disinterest in spending couple time with me—I started sobbing and asked, "Are we getting a divorce?
Are we going to counseling? Is this something you're going to pursue? I desperately wanted to believe him. He agreed to go to counseling, but we had to pay in cash and keep it quiet because of the U. If anyone found out that Chris was gay, he could be fired. As usual, I didn't dwell on my emotions; I focused more on my family's well-being than on what the future held. You might wonder why Chris couldn't accept his homosexuality, but the sin factor was ingrained in him at an early age.
Being gay would not only endanger his job and family life, it could also cost him his relationship with his parents, his church and God. Chris feared that coming out would invalidate him as a human being—and might even send him to hell.
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Our therapist doubted the marriage could survive, yet I was dedicated to our union if Chris was determined not to be gay. The therapist told Chris that he'd have to stop going to gay bars, and we tried, again, to start afresh. I was soon pregnant with our fourth child, and we were living as if we were Ward and June Cleaver. Then came my fateful visit to the obstetrician and Chris's confession. I was officially done with the marriage, but we maintained the facade of a normal family while we waited for our divorce to go through. I took off my wedding ring but blamed it on swelling from pregnancy.
I focused my attention on caring for our children, even though I felt as if I were dying inside, questioning my self-worth, my intelligence as well as my existence.
I felt like such a chump. In church, the children and I sat in the front row as Chris played the organ.
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My in-laws, knowing our marriage was troubled without knowing why, even sent us videos about how to improve our relationship. It was the worst time of my life. The only thing that saved my sanity was the Straight Spouse Network, an international support group founded by another woman who'd been married to a gay man. During my first SSN meeting, I sat in the corner and cried the entire time. At least I knew I wasn't alone. I soon learned that straight spouses typically blame themselves for not being sexy enough to keep their husband from straying.
As bad as it is when another woman manages to steal your husband, at least you believe you can compete. When your husband wants another man, it denies your entire being. I also learned that a surprising number of gays in the military are married because marriage is such a useful front. You can't be gay in the military, and if you're married, then of course you're not gay. Chris was still living with us sleeping in the spare room when, through SSN, I met my ultimate soul mate, a father of three who had been married to a lesbian.
We soon started dating, which, astonishingly, infuriated Chris. One night, in a rage, he called my parents and told them, "I'm gay and I've been going out with men, but she's screwing around with another guy. In the town I'm from, leaving a homosexual husband was too scandalous. They urged me to stay in the marriage, regardless of what it cost me emotionally. My mother even suggested that I try different things sexually to keep Chris interested and mentioned that Chris could take medication to weaken his libido. I see now that many gay spouses genuinely believe they are doing the right thing by getting married, because they are lying to themselves more than anyone.
My soul mate and I got married the year after our divorces became final, when I was My kids accepted him very quickly, and we later adopted a child together. When we first started dating, my daughter told me, "I love it when he comes over because you're so happy! My relationship with Chris is as good as it can possibly be, given the circumstances. We do birthday parties and some holidays together, and he and his male partner live in—and have redecorated—our former house, although he continues to hide his private life from the military. Marrying a gay man completely reshaped my life and altered some dearly held values in ways I'd never planned.
I am living proof that you can be religious and conservative yet also care for, and even get along with, a gay former spouse. I now know that you can recover from an experience that shakes your identity to the core. Somehow, I'm an even stronger person because of the pain I endured. I have marched for gay rights and spoken about my experience to groups of gay fathers, because I believe it was intolerance and the fear of homosexuality that put me and my family through complete hell—and I hope none of that was in vain. Everyone has a fundamental right to be who he is, and I pray that Americans as a whole can become more accepting of homosexuals.
Perhaps then, gay people won't feel the need to pretend they're straight and get married as a way to "prove" it to everyone else. Sign up for our Newsletter and join us on the path to wellness. Spring Challenge. No Guesswork.
I married a gay man
Tell us what you think in Hot Topic. Share via facebook dialog. Share via Twitter. Share via Pinterest. The beginning I was a year-old college freshman in Kentucky when I met Chris. A lonely wife After Chris's boot camp, we settled in as newlyweds, but we never achieved the "happy couple" life I had envisioned. My shocking discovery That thin fantasy crumbled on my oldest son's third birthday, well before my chlamydia diagnosis.
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I wanted my son to have brothers and sisters. When I married my second husband, it was because I knew he'd be a good dad. And we still are. We had two children together, and they were five and seven when we got divorced.
It was a shock to my husband, that it wasn't enough for me. I started having counselling and it was then that I finally faced up to who I was — what I was. Suddenly, everything fell into place. I kept thinking, oh my God, I'm a lesbian. That's why I've never had any interest in men, never had a type — because I didn't fancy any of them. I didn't want to lose my friends. I felt massive guilt about the children.
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There's this torment inside you: My self-esteem was very low. For so many years, I'd just gone along with what everyone else wanted. I wanted to make sure the kids were OK with it. But he was fantastic. Then I told the younger two, who were 11 and nine. They were more confused and upset. They were worried about how it would affect them: What if I get bullied? But the oldest went into school wearing a T-shirt that said, "Some people are gay, get over it.
I had a couple of flings with women, which the children didn't know about, but I waited until the younger two were comfortable before I brought my current partner home. They thought she was great straight off, but they haven't told their friends what our relationship is, and though she has moved in and we are engaged, we're careful not to act like a couple in public, for their sake. I'm not in touch with my first husband, but when I told my second, I was worried he'd think it was a slur on his manhood, or that I'd lied to him.