NEXT HEALING WEEKEND
My next HEALING WEEKEND will be outside Washington D.C. on Saturday, April28 – Sunday, April 29. There is still time to join us. If you would like to be part of this amazing weekend, please email me at Bonkaye@aol.com and put the word “Healing” in the subject box. I will send you the details this month. There is no charge for the weekend outside of travel, lodging, and food. This is a life-changing experience for people who need help during the grieving and recovery process.
THE STRAIGHT WIVES NEW ICON - SILENT NO MORE
This is my new icon for our women. It was designed by my favorite artist, Maureen Tillman, a straight wife herself who understands suffering. It represents how so many of us have been "shut up" as we are/were being "shut down" to protect our husbands' secrets of homosexuality. In this day and age, it keeps making less sense to me that we are standing in the darkened closets abandoned by our husbands who decided to find their "authentic lives"--but not without making us promise to "keep THEIR gay secret OUR secret." As crazy as that seems, it is the case for too many of our women. You might think that in the newest established world-heard "ME TOO" testimonials of women shouting their truths to bring public awareness to their horrific plight of sexual pressuring and exploitation, our chants would also be heard. We would be yelling at the top of our lungs, "We too!!" inspired by "Me too!!"
Nope. That's not what has happened--YET. Every blue moon we get to see an article, a Youtube video, or a blog that quietly mentions STRAIGHT WIVES. In fact, we are so excited to see something that touts our cause because so little ever makes its way to the media unless it is sensationalizing those few couples who have decided that sexuality really isn't an issue in their marriages. Yes, the media loves those stories even though it doesn't represent about 97% of us, misrepresenting our nightmares.
We're not lining the streets as activists do carrying signs talking about our plight. We're not making demands to be recognized as a group of women who have suffered words that aren't even part of the English language because those words combining our collective abuse have not even been thought of yet. And though I know you're probably tired of me bringing this up over and over again....well--I'm sorry. I have to. Not for me--but for you.
You see, I am free. I am free because for 35 years I've been "pitching our plight." Yes, since 1982 when I started my first in-person support group, I've been standing up and speaking out on behalf of straight wives. I took that chance and shouted out the unfairness of our situations on shows such as Oprah, Sally Jesse Raphael, and Phil Donahue before most people even heard about straight/gay marriages. Since then I did my share of documentaries for this country, Canada, and England to expose and educate the public to what we go through in our journeys of pain.
It was easy for me because I was a fighter for years before this battle. Fighting injustice in a meaningful way is what my life was about--even if it wasn't the conventional way. Maybe it's because I'm a Libra that everything in the world needs to be in balance. Maybe if I were born a month earlier or later it would have been different--I'll never know! But I didn't hesitate to ask people to support us in our plight to let gay men know that it is NOT okay to marry a straight woman, and even less okay to keep that secret from her while you're out there doing your gay sex thing.
Back then, the battle was more difficult. We didn't have the internet nor the information that we have today. In the 1980's, people questioned me on how I could accuse such a "macho man" like my ex-husband of being gay. I didn't get mad at them because I questioned that myself. How could he be gay? He's a martial artist who could beat people with his hands. How could he be gay? We did have sex. How do gay men have sex with women? Impossible!! By the nature of the word "gay," it meant men wanting men--not men wanting women. I knew gay men. I had gay friends. I lived in California during the 1960's when gays were prominent and out there instead of hiding. I knew gay. I also was smart enough at the time of my marriage to my gay husband to know that you can't turn a gay man "straight."
I learned that lesson years before. In California in 1968, I met a guy when I was 17 and he was 23. When I found out that he was openly gay, I said to myself, "All he needs is the love of a good woman." Yes, that's how little we knew about homosexuality back then. I fell in "puppy love" with him, and he claimed he "loved" me, but that couldn't stop him from being gay. I was smart enough to say no when he suggested we get married. I knew that love was not enough to make a relationship work with a man who couldn't stop being himself--and he knew it too.
I also had a boyfriend named Andy in high school who came out many years later. It was a short run, but we enjoyed our time together. Gay was not a topic people talked about in the mid 1960's, so I was totally clueless not even knowing anyone who was gay. When Andy sought me out 10 years later, he revealed in our conversation he was gay. I had no idea how that happened to this strapping, good-looking man. I met him in Miami Beach, Florida for a weekend. The first thing I said to him was, "I am so, so sorry that you are gay." He asked me why. I told him that it was such a hard life for someone to live the 1970's. He said he was happy with his life, and please do not to feel "sorry" for him. But I did. I didn't understand how anyone could be happy living a life where they were scorned and ridiculed. But he had no intention of getting married to a woman, and he claimed that as much as he loves women as friends, it's different than loving them as wives.
So yes, I knew gay. Or so I thought I knew it. The equation was simple:
Gay = Same Sex Attractions
Not sex with the opposite sex. It could have never been within my spectrum of knowledge back then that a gay man would even want to have sex with a woman--and certainly not a marriage with her. How little we knew. How difficult to understand. How horrible to find out. How devastating to deal with--on so many levels.
I've been telling the stories in my newsletters for 18 years. Yes, this month marks 18 years of newsletters. 18 years of telling the stories the way they are as far as affecting people living in this confusion. 18 years of spreading the word to thousands here in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Australia, China, and Africa. 18 years of "thank you" letters for shedding light in a world that was otherwise dark. 18 years of validation of everything that I speak about from straight wives, gay husbands, parents, other family members, and best friends who were caught in this mire of confusion. None of us expected the gay "wrecking ball" that would one day roll through our path and strike us down like bowling pins in a lane.
This "straight wife phenomena" is not like any situation I've ever encountered in my long life. I've never seen any group of people who have been victims that are so afraid to tell their stories to anyone. I do understand--more than you know. I see the looks that people throw us when we tell them--looks of disbelief or that we are telling lies. They question how we couldn't know after years of marriage. They question how our husbands became gay if they weren't gay when they married us. And when the gay serial marriage criminals marry women again and again, how does that make us look? It makes us look like pathetic liars. So unlike other minorities who are willing to shout out about their horrors, we just get sucked deeper into that closet that our husband finally came out of. He bolted out, but you are still stuck in there--hiding.
He'll tell you that it is not your secret to tell. You don't have the right to announce he is gay to other people--including YOUR support system. Besides, there were other problems in the marriage BESIDES gay. "Hardee har har" as Lippy the Lion used to say in his cartoon. Or as I tell people when they tell me jokes that aren't funny--NOT VERY FUNNY. Is your husband for real? There were other problems? Like what? You were suspicious of him while he was out there cheating on you? Like you would cry because he didn't want you near him and found you repulsive? Or maybe you didn't like the way he brought you home some sexually transmitted disease that he'll swear you gave to him and hold you accountable even though you never dreamed of cheating on him.
One thing I will say to you:
Living their lie with them is different than living their lie FOR them.
Once they leave, you are under no obligation at any point not to tell the people who are part of your support system. You lived HIS LIE with him for 10, 20, 30 or more years. Now it's time for you to start living YOUR TRUTH. You don't have to remain in his closet hiding when he is out living his "authentic" life.
And guess what? If your family and friends want to find fault with you for staying in the marriage as long as you did or leaving it when you did, they are not part of your support system. Avoid them as much as possible because you only need people who can lift you up--not put you down. You don't need your support network dictating to you about how long it's taking you to recover. This will take a long time--no matter what. Years of peeling away your self-esteem, chiseling into your feminine spirit, and questioning your sense of sanity through "gaylighting" will be a one step at a time recovery. Let's not forget how your life will have to be rearranged.
Join my "WE TOO" movement. If you would like to buy a beautiful tote bag with our new symbol, write to me and I'll send you the link. I carry mine wherever I go. It always is a talking piece--and we need to start talking. We need to let people know about our plight. Let this be your new mantra--WE TOO!!!!
If you like to order a carry bag from Maureen's picture, it is now available. Write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com if you would like the link to buy one. They are big, bold, and beautiful!!!
The letter below comes from a young woman whose mother is part of my support network. She asked me to share her thoughts with you.
Dear Bonnie Kaye,
You do not know me. I am the daughter of a woman in your private Facebook group of Straight Wives Healing Journey. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for the work you do. How you wholeheartedly support these traumatized women much like my mother. If you let me I would like to give a message to these traumatized women.
"Dear beautiful women, I am a daughter of one of the wounded women in this group. My mother regularly speaks of your support. Words fail to express my love for you all. How my heart breaks for you all. I feel so sorry you all had to/are having to experience the pain of denial, betrayal, rejection, abuse, humiliation, rejection of the depth of your love as a woman. I feel so sorry that you have been/are unseen, unreceived, not understood, unloved, unsupported, unempowered and unwanted in the depth of your love as a woman.
Those that humiliate you in your pain are NOT your friends! You all deserve to be surrounded by people that Love and Care for you as you are today no matter what that looks like. Please do not allow the scarcity of loved ones to make you settle for less than you deserve. While I am not like you and obviously everyone of you has their own unique experience and way of coping I feel your pain. It is not my intention to push you. It is my intention to show my Love and Care for you as a group of beautiful wounded healing women. Please forgive me if my words impale to the sentiment of your experience.
As a woman and a daughter of a wounded healing woman like you I felt called to let you know that the problem is not you! It is unfortunately the way that the current society is build. Please be kind and gentle with yourself. Give yourself the peace and space you can to grief in any way that works for you. As women we must lift each other up and not bring each other down. Anyone that brings you down I dare you to be brave and tell them and what it touches in you. I dare you to tell them your longing, how you would like to be treated and I dare you to set your boundary when they cannot treat you with the love and respect you deserve. I will not say I understand what you are going through/have been through.
I feel only those that have actually experienced it can say so and then still it will vary. So to expect one to understand is setting yourself up for disappointment but for sure you MUST expect to Be Loved and Respected as you are, where you are at in your truth of your experience. You owe it to yourself.
Dear beautiful women my heart goes out to you. I wish you all much strength, love, warmth and care on your healing journey.
Much love, Aimée"
Thank you, Aimee, for your heartfelt words.
Next is a letter from a gay husband who asked me to share this with my readers..
I wrote to you back in November for help because of my torture of living life as a straight husband when in fact I am gay for my whole life. You were kind and understanding to me more so than anyone else that I went to. You didn't judge me at all. Rather, you understood my struggle and felt my pain. You also explained to me why it was so important to be honest to my wife because she was suffering even more than I was not knowing why our marriage wasn't working. I was so scared to hurt her, but you showed me how living this way was hurting her more.
I just wanted to let you know that I came out to my wife a few weeks ago. We talked and cried for six hours that day and more since then. She said she had suspected this for several years. We had lots of ups and downs each day, and she felt this might be the problem. She is seeing a therapist in our area for support as we go through our transition.
My wife was very understanding when I told her the truth. She didn't yell and scream like I feared. Of course, she had all the questions you said she would have. I answered her with the truth which I know was painful.
As I told you before, we have three adult children. I plan to tell them next week when they come here for the Easter holiday along with my wife so they can understand that our upcoming divorce has nothing to do with her. I never want them to think for one moment that my wife was at fault in any way. We are both committed to work through this as a family and hopefully stay friends.
You told me during our early conversations that the best way to maintain a healthy relationship for the sake of our children is to do the right thing as far as being emotionally and financially responsible to my family. I know that may take time but I am committed to whatever it takes to help my wife transition through our separation and divorce.
Thanks for your encouragement and time. I have heard you talk about several gay men who have harassed you publicly by calling you homophobic, but I want people to know that you were the least homophobic person that I ever met. You didn't blame me, accuse me of anything negative, or make me feel worse than I already did. You spent hours of your time encouraging me to do the right thing by telling my wife the truth. You didn't even know me, but when I reached out for help in desperation, I heard from you within hours. I am forever grateful, and if anyone challenges you, your knowledge, or you compassion, know that I will always be there to defend you and tell people the truth about the real Bonnie Kaye. I would appreciate it if you share my words with your newsletter readers to let any of the gay husbands who read your letters know that there is hope for a better life when you do the right thing.
George S., MN
Thank you for your kind words, George. Please keep me updated on how things are progressing. Thank you also for doing the "right thing." xoxo
HELP FOR THERAPIST KIM MAZELLA
Kim Mazella is a therapist in Virginia who specializes in straight wives having been one. She is a wonderful advocate for us. Please take a moment to fill out her anonymous survey below. Just post the link into your browser. Thanks!
I have updated my 2016 straight spouse survey, and was wondering if you would be willing once again to share the link with your ladies? I am only looking at women with gay husbands this time (not trans), because I think some of the issues are different.
This is a confidential, anonymous survey that looks at different aspects of the straight spouse experience. I would love it if you would post the link to get as much data as possible. I will be presenting the results at a meeting of therapists and divorce attorneys on April 27th, then plan to write up the results for publication.
Thanks and take care,
Kim Mazella, Psychotherapist
NEW SUPPORT GROUP FORMING IN THE ATLANA, GEORGIA AREA
Last week, therapist Dr. Maggie Bonnet, joined me on my Straight Wives Talk Show. Maggie has helped a number of straight wives over the years. She is starting a support group for straight wives in the Atlanta area. If you would like to join her, please email her at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a link to our show so you can listen by pasting it into your browser:
The week before, we had such an inspirational therapist, Bill Martin, from Chicago, Illinois, join our broadcast. Enjoy with the link below:
Have a wonderful month!
Love, Bonnie ♥