Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Message from the Past

I know that this is such a difficult time for so many of our women who go through additional pain during the holiday season. I will be reprinting some of my past holiday messages in the upcoming weeks so you will understand that you are not alone in how you feel. The dates may be old, but the message is just as relevant now as always.

This message was from my December 2003 Newsletter.

ACT 2: SCENE 3

Quite frequently, women write to me about their lack of viable skills when it comes to securing a job so they can gain financial independence. I always look for transferable skills that would be a good match such as caretaker, nurse, detective, etc. How did I miss the most obvious one, namely—ACTRESS?

Every holiday season, wives of gay men have to play their Oscar award-winning role of “Happy Wife” in front of crowds of hundreds. Of course, there is no golden statue at the end of the season like their movie counterparts, but no doubt, the performances are just as extraordinary. And the holiday season is not the yearly birthday, anniversary, or Easter. The HOLIDAY SEASON is a long stretch that starts at Thanksgiving and continues until Valentine’s Day. Between those two points, we begin the family and love ordeal. Thanksgiving is the beginning, followed by Christmas, New Year’s, and finally ending on Valentine’s Day in February. We are so relieved to have the President’s Birthday as a holiday in February because by then, all of our emotional horror of the holiday season is over. Imagine thinking that Washington and Lincoln can actually neutralize and balance out life because after three months of families celebrating family unity and love, we no longer have to cringe when we hear the word, “holiday.” The touchy-feely ones are over, and once again, we have not been touched or felt, and in fact, most of us have been living with a Novocain kind of numbness so that we can protect ourselves from crying at any given moment because we are HURTING.

The Holiday Season is such a difficult time for straight wives because it is an up front in your face reminder of what life was supposed to be like but never became. Or if it was, it’s over after years because homosexuality has joined into your previously happy union or what you were hoping would be your happy union. It’s almost like having Scrooge find his way into your husband’s body and head. When you want a display of affection and emotion, he’s saying, “Bah, Humbug.” To this I say, “Ho, ho, no, no more.”

You see, even though you may be feeling the pain of this holiday season, it could be your last year to suffer this way. Believe it or not, you can make it your New Year’s resolution to be FREE by next year. Free of the pressures and strain of living a lie. Free of the constant questioning of what can you do to make life better with a man who wants a man to make his life better. Free of the mental torture from the mind games your husband plays so well with you, trying to make you start believing that you are losing your mind and it’s just your imagination running away with you while he’s running around with men. Free of earning your professional detective license while snooping around in a relationship that is supposed to be based on honesty and truth. Free to go to bed at night and feel good about waking up in the morning. Why? Because waking up alone and having peace of mind is always better than waking up next to someone who really doesn’t want to be with you and is making you miserable because he feels that you are “trapping” him.

You see, way beyond this being a holiday season of family and love, it is a holiday season of hope. A time to make resolutions that will help you become healthy and happy. Now I know people hate clich├ęs, but this one really catches the essence of the holiday—namely, “HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL.” This little ditty kind of coincides with my own personal philosophy; namely, each new day offers the opportunity of waking up and changing your life. I believe it. I actually did it, and I never look back and regret it. My marriage was doomed. I could have spent 10, 15, or 25 more years of wasting my life with a man who could only make me miserable. But a little bird in my head that became a choir of canaries singing to me, “Don’t Do It.” Don’t give up one more year of precious time to a debilitating situation.”

Love, Bonnie

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DECEMBER 2011 NEWSLETTER

TEXAS GET TOGETHER IN MARCH!!!
Plans are firming up for our Texas get-together for March 3-4 in Houston. I am really excited because we have some wonderful women in Texas who have been part of my support network for quite a while. It will be such a treat to meet or see again those who can come. And guess what? You don’t have to be from Texas! Come from anywhere for the opportunity to meet some of the most dynamic women you can ever hope to meet.

We will be staying in a wonderful spa resort for a fantastic discount price thanks to our support member Lynn who is doing all the legwork to make sure this is memorable and comfortable weekend. The dynamic Patsy Rae Dawson will be joining us to give her words of inspiration to our Christian sisters who still may have difficulty with leaving their marriages. And if you are as inspired by my friend Wendy, the author of Wendy’s Lists that you have read in my newsletters and heard on the Straight Wives Talk Show, you will have a chance to greet her in person and hear her inspiring words.

It will truly be an unforgettable weekend. If you are in the Texas area, or you would just like to get away for a healing weekend with women you will love to be with because they understand everything you are feeling, please write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com for the details. Treat yourself to healing!


NEW YORK DINNER GET-TOGETHER TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27

I’m planning to be in New York City on Tuesday, December 27, to meet with any area women who are available for dinner. Please email me at Bonkaye@aol.com if you’d like to spend a few hours together with me and some of our wonderful women. Dinner will be in mid-town Manhattan.

NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE
On November 24, 2011, this wonderful article appeared in the New York Times about how the author, Jane Isay, kept the marriage to her gay husband a secret from everyone—for the sake of her children. Isay is the author of the book Walking on Eggshells which many of our women have read and recommended to others.

I was not aware that Ms. Isay had a gay husband nor that she stayed with him for a long period of time after his disclosure. Allow me share this article with you titled “Keeping Marital Secrets Closeted.”

THIS summer, soon after gay marriage became legal in New York, my sons held a wedding for my former husband and his partner of over 30 years. The grandchildren were flower girl and ring bearers. The wedding thrust me back to the time when we faced a terrible choice and decided to stay married for the children. That’s what motivated my then husband and me to carry on our incomplete marriage for its last nine years, and that’s how we explained our actions after the divorce. It was a convenient truth, and also a self-serving one.

The year was 1980. I was waiting for my husband of 15 years to return from the last party of a psychiatry convention. I could hear voices from down the hall, happy men enjoying their time together. When he came in, his face was grave. He sat down on the bed and said, “I have something I need to tell you.” He took a deep breath. “I’m homosexual.” At that moment I saw my future collapse before my eyes. I got the chills and ran to take a hot bath. It gave me time to think and warmed me, but not for long. We spent the night talking and lamenting. On the plane home, we held each other and sobbed and planned. By the time we landed, we had decided to keep his sexual orientation a secret and stay married for the sake of the children.

Of course we both wanted to protect our sons, who were 10 and 14. Divorce was not uncommon then, but the circumstances surrounding our relationship were controversial and would have created a scandal in our small university town, so staying married for the children helped us both feel better about ourselves and our lies. We thought they didn’t notice any change, and we were mistaken. Secrets have a way of seeping into the atmosphere. Kids are natural observers. They watch parents like hawks, and they know when something is wrong, even if they don’t know what. I desperately wanted the charade to work at home — we were doing this for the children. So covering for my husband on his two nights a week out, and his two vacations a year became second nature — he was a busy man with many meetings.
I paid a price for my silence with my closest friends, because a secret of this magnitude builds barriers. I just couldn’t bear to show them the spot I was in. And I was leery of advice. When I felt so alone, I could always remind myself what a good person I was being, sacrificing for the children.
The other reasons for staying married were not so charming. If I had thought, I’m staying for the money, I might have questioned the lies I told my sons about where their father was on the nights he spent with his future husband. Or if he had thought, I’m staying to promote my career as a psychoanalyst, he might have felt a little heavy on the ambition scale. Or if we both had realized that we were just too scared to face the world alone, I might have given up some of the pretending, and he might have realized the gravity of his original secret.
But never mind. We had an explanation that made people admire us when we finally went public. Other truths might have evoked pity or suspicion: what’s the matter with her radar? How could she accept a half a marriage instead of a whole one? Who is she, really? To say we stayed married for the children put an end to uncomfortable questions.
If I had faced the other reasons to stay in the marriage, the burden of our lies would probably have been harder to bear. But the burden on our sons might also have been lightened. It’s not so great for kids to be told they are the cause of their parents’ behavior, especially when that’s only part of the story. When they finally learned the truth, our sons were more disturbed by our deception than by the facts. Our reasons didn’t seem to matter anymore. Truth trumps lies every time.
The phrase “we stayed married for the children” is like a silk duvet on a complicated and imperfect marriage bed. Nobody really wants to turn back the covers, the unhappy spouses least of all.

There were many comments posted after the article was printed. Many of them did not have sympathy for the author, although I don’t believe she was looking for any. But one profound comment by a straight wife really moved my heart:

Children know so much more than we think. Our puppet show may work for the outside world, but it is patently obvious on the inside. I thought I had successfully hidden my misery from my children and stayed married in a hugely dysfunctional and abusive marriage for over a decade. My ex was a closeted gay man but that was only part of it. Every time my sister would visit she would say, "I don't know how you can live here. It's horrible. You can't even breathe." I pretended to not know what she was talking about and was insulted. But my kids certainly did. Rather than believe we had the happy family I presented to the world, my children absorbed the misery and secrecy deep down, only they couldn't process it.

The damage is huge, over a decade later. Basically, the biggest damage is that they learned not to trust the evidence of their own senses and to think of quiet brutality as normal, and to think of their own needs as unimportant. It impacts their choice of partners, their life choices in careers, their ability to function. In weighing the decision whether to divorce, I should have taken all that into account. If you realize you're staying out of fear, comfort (money, social class), etc, it's easier to decide what to do. A marriage becomes much less justifiable when you are sacrificing your children for your own comfort and your own needs.

And now for the saddest comment of all was from an adult child from a straight/gay marriage:

You presented a most potent description of the damage done to the children when parents are keeping secrets and remaining in a marriage for the sake of the children. In particular you said: "Basically, the biggest damage is that they learned not to trust the evidence of their own senses and to think of quiet brutality as normal, and to think of their own needs as unimportant." My parents were wretched with each other, and told themselves they stayed married for our sake. We four grew up to suffer chronic depression, substance abuse problems, bulimia, and all the relationship problems attending those plagues. The toxic miasma of our parents' hostility poisoned every breath we took.

Why I loved this article and the comments after it was because it confirmed what I keep trying to hit home year after year. Staying in a dysfunctional marriage for the sake of the children is not doing anything to help the children except to damage them. The problem that I have with some of our women is that they INSIST to me that there is no way that their children know there is a problem because they are good “actresses.” I say HOGWASH—and that’s not a word I’ve ever used before in any of my writings. It seems pretty harsh, but I can’t get this message across any better without using this word.

If you are afraid to leave your marriage because you feel you can’t make it on your own, then just admit it. There is no shame in admitting this to yourself because this way you can really start to work on YOURSELF and understanding how to get “unstuck.” It may take therapy, support, education, or training, but it’s YOUR issue—not your husband’s. He can’t change—and he won’t change—so STOP trying to change him or “wish away the gay.” You can look for that little glimmer of hope like putting gold glitter on a picture without paste. It looks great for the moment, but when you pick the picture up, the glitter falls off and blows away. You may have calmer moments in your marriage when you can delude yourself into thinking that things are “going better,” and maybe they are momentarily. However, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that’s how it will continue. Whatever temporary show of affection your gay husband is showing you is temporary. Like the glitter dust, it blows away quickly.

I grew up in a broken family. I had no role models to teach me what marriage was supposed to be like—only what it wasn’t supposed to be like. I grew up screwed up with values that were twisted at best. My parents thought they were “hiding” their problems from us by waiting until we were “sleeping” before they started to argue. They thought they were “protecting” us by picking the late night hours to argue. They weren’t. They were “waking” us. My father wasn’t gay—he was straight. But growing up with parents who were destroying each other was also destroying the children. I believed I was one of the major causes of my parents’ unhappiness. After all, wasn’t I what they were fighting about? This contributed to my own lack of self-esteem and self-worth throughout the years. Those feelings impacted the poor relationship choices I made throughout the years.

I am currently updating my earlier book from 2005 titled ManReaders: A Woman’s Guide to Dysfunctional Men which I will re-release in the next few months. One of my past support network members allowed me to reprint her letter that articulated this situation so well. I met Mindy in 2003 in the aftermath of her marriage to her gay ex-husband. It was a tumultuous marriage that escalated to physical abuse because of her ex’s frustration of living in a marriage where he didn’t belong. Since ManReaders was written for women with any kind of dysfunctional husband/relationship, I asked Mindy not to gear it to the gay part of the marriage and to make it more general for all women with abusive situations because the end results are the same.

I will now share it with you:

Dear Bonnie,

I used to keep track of how many minutes a day I spent in tears... and now I can't remember the last time I cried over something other than a tear jerking movie! I had been married about 5 or 6 years when I began to think that the life I was living actually fit the description of 'abuse’. I wasn't any different from any other abuse victim though - there were so many excuses... so many "I'm sorry's"...so many promises... and I believed it would get better.... someday. Of course - that "someday" never came...not in that life, with that husband anyway. The biggest regret of my life was that I allowed my two beautiful daughters to grow up believing that their father's abusive behavior was acceptable.

After twenty-five years of enduring abuse, a visit to my oldest daughter’s home made me realize that the change was up to me, I was the one that had to change. I was never going to change him - I couldn't do that. I also knew...that as I stood there looking at the bruises on my gorgeous daughters face, if I didn't make the change now, her abuser would end up killing her. If I continued to let her believe the abuse was acceptable, she would also continue to live it.

The legacy had to STOP - and if it didn't, my precious grandson would also grow with the same skewed belief of normalcy that would either turn him into an abuser or a life as a victim of abuse.

I left my abuser - it was probably the hardest decision of my life. I knew I would be giving up a life of beautiful material goods while also giving up a life of painful emotional and physical abuse. It was difficult to see that the payoff would be worth it - but it didn't take long. I knew I made the right decision to divorce when I didn't even think about keeping track of tears and conflict. I was able to sleep at night, I was able to work all day without abusive interruptions, I was able to call my mother and my friends and family whenever I wanted. I was FREE!

There aren't enough material goods in this world to be worth my life of freedom and happiness and the freedom and happiness of my children and my grandchildren.
I am now happily married, to a wonderful, peaceful man. My daughter
also divorced her abuser, and she is also now in a healthy, loving marriage.
Life is good - and I tell my new husband every day that I don't take a minute of this peaceful life for granted. I never will.

Bonnie, I pray that all women in abusive relationships can gain the self-confidence and esteem to find the peace that I have found. Thank-you so much for your hard work toward this effort! The LEGACY must be stopped!

Sincerely,
Mindy L.

I think Mindy’s letter still says it all. It doesn’t matter if the abuse is physical or emotional—it is still destroying you—and ultimately your children. The key to this is finding the strength and energy you need to stand up for yourself and move away from a situation that is so destructive.

Several years ago, I shared this letter with my readers written by my mother after the divorce from my gay husband. My mother passed away in 2000, but her words will always be a part of my heart and my actions. I hope they will inspire you during this difficult holiday time:

Dearest Bonnie
This is not the funny card I was going to send, but instead one the color of sunshine, the sun bringing to mind that whatever happens to people, joys, tears, health, sickness, weddings, or divorce, the sun always rises bringing new life, spirit, and vitality to the world. Remembering the words, “On This Joyous Occasion” from the first time, those occasions change, and we do the best we can to look ahead to brighter days and happier times. Divorce is a finality and a conclusion to a mistake. You should be proud that you brought this to an end from a legal standpoint and a morale standpoint. Your children will someday admire your decision, as to not divorce but know of the reason for your unhappiness would lower their feelings of strength they see in you and count on for their future. Someday, they may have to accept his failings but never your weakness. My life, in limbo all these years to suit your father’s fancy, has been unproductive, restrictive, and foolish on my part. Now it is too late to recapture my years, but I’m comforted in the fact that you face a free new road. Enjoy your freedom and strength. I am proud of you always.
Love Mommie

I always take comfort in those words and can’t tell you how important they were to me haring them from my own mother who suffered with my abusive father for so many years.

I hope that hearing the inspiring words from others will give you the strength in the upcoming year to make some decisions that can “set you free” from the unhappiness so many of you are still living with. This not only applies to women still stuck in their marriages, but also to women still pushed into the back of their husbands or ex-husbands’ closets keeping “his” secret. Most importantly it also applies to women who are still questioning whether or not they need to tell their children the truth. I hope these letters will help guide you to realize that secrets destroy. The truth hurts…but secrets destroy.


COMIC JULIET JESKE – NO LAUGHING MATTER!
One of our support network members, Maggie, turned me onto a blog a few months ago written by a real “clown,” Juliet Jeske. Juliet has been performing as a comedian and a clown—yep, a clown--for over a decade. Her ex gay-husband is also a performing clown. I loved the article because it expressed the struggles that so many of you face moving from marriage back into single life, and I asked Juliet if she would be a guest on my radio blog show where she graciously joined me and my co-hostess Misti Hall on December 11.

Juliet is in the process of writing a book. Her blog has now been recognized internationally and her articles are printed in the Huffington Post. Many of her topics deal with dating in New York as a single woman and are quite interesting. Her blog about her marriage to a gay man really hit home to a number of our readers, and Juliet said I could share it with you:

Divorced after being a straight spouse two years later.
I still remember my wedding day, vividly. Any day planned and fretted about for months is going to stick in your brain for a lifetime. Any day built up as the beginning of the rest of your life will burn into your psyche, in the same way horrible trauma sears its pain and anguish deep into your bones. Try as you might, you can’t shake it the pain becomes a part of your very foundation. Few positive memories have the same effect.

For whatever reason, our bodies, hearts and minds tend to cling to the negative memories such as: being humiliated in front of your class, not being able to get jeans off in time due a broken zipper and wetting myself at girl scout camp, seeing my father lash out at me in a yet another blinding rage, losing a job or role for reasons unknown, having a voice teacher tell me I would never be a singer, seeing the face of a lover suddenly go cold and distant, having no one show up to my 13th birthday party….and on and on and on. The traumas and disappointments get inside of you like a bad virus you can’t shake, but the good memories fade quickly. The memories replaced instead by just vague emotion. Instead of specific images they blur into shifting colors through a window. Instead of the detailed sharp piercing prongs of negative memories happy thoughts become reduced to feelings. I can’t remember holding my cat for the first time, hugging a friend I haven’t seen forever, the first kiss from a person I adore, winning a competition….they drift, they fade only warm pretty shadows remain in their place.

The memory of my wedding day is now traumatic but still beautiful in my mind, so like the crazy nuanced event it has become, it is now a hybrid of negative crystal clear clarity and blurred fuzzy happiness.

The one image that keeps coming back is the walk down the aisle. I used to have PTSD style flashbacks of the very event. I would be sitting on the train or reading a book and for no reason it would flash into my brain as clear as it was actually happening. The cathedral, with his family on one side and mine on the other, the organ music, with all of these faces turned towards me. It was so overwhelming, all I could do to get through the ritual was to focus on my soon to-be husband and move closer and closer to him and the rest of my life. I knew that if I turned to look at people on either side I would start crying and I didn’t want to cry on my wedding day so I kept focusing on the task at hand and that was to get down the aisle without shedding a tear. My husband was now my new family, the scars and damage from my old one were over and I had chosen this new man to start over and help wipe away the darkness and pain of the past.

Since my divorce, I have had recurring nightmares of being outside of my body trying to run up to myself in the moments while screaming
“Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it”
The sound of my screams echoing through the great hall of marble, but no one looks up, no one even flinches and I still just keep moving forward. Nothing I can do can stop me, it is like looking at ghosts re-enacting the same scene in a play over and over.

I hate it when people say,
“Well at least your husband was just gay, it could have been a lot worse”
Or anything to the effect of that I have somehow had it easier than a typical divorced person.

I guess in some ways I have, in that the end was so absolute. There was no reason to second guess why I was leaving my husband, no amount of couples counseling, no amount of therapy or listening skills that would have made anything better, no horrible act of betrayal that I would regret for ending everything. But on the downside I felt cheated. I got cheated at a chance at a normal marriage, with a man of the same sexual orientation who loved me like a man is meant to love a woman, in mind, heart and body.

I was cheated of the chance of having children and being a mother. I know I might still have time left, but dating at age 38 is difficult as half of the eligible men already have children and don’t want more. And in my current state I couldn’t afford to raise a child on my own, as I can barely take care of myself. There are times on the subway or in the park that even the sight of a young mother with her child will send me spiraling. Suddenly tears come from nowhere and I can’t make them stop. Why is she so lucky to have the one thing that I will never get to experience? I am constantly told that I shouldn’t give up hope but I haven’t been able to sustain a relationship for any length of time and every other man who I find compatible is already a father and doesn’t want more children. I had to end therapy because literally every single session was the same conflict, the same fear, the same resentment over probably losing the chance to be a parent. When my therapist suggested I go back on medication, and then tried to get me to justify what I consider a fairly innate human desire to procreate I couldn’t take it anymore and ceased the sessions.

I was cheated of the dream that everyone has when they get married, that despite the obstacles in life and arguments, fights, and petty annoyances I no longer have a partner for life. I was cheated on the intimacy of an adult human sexual relationship. It seemed normal at first but it quickly became dysfunctional but because I loved my husband I stuck it out, and now I beat myself up for not leaving sooner.

So over two years have passed, but I am still not right. I am still not healed and I don’t know if I ever will be. I am suspicious of every man I meet, and I trust no one, it is so debilitating that I actually stick around in relationships that aren’t fully formed, that aren’t as scary, that aren’t as real…I am scared to have a real one.

But my shattered life has in some ways made me stronger, like a piece of metal cracked and then welded back together, or a bone broken and then reset. I am no longer the same shape, my insides, my skeleton is not the same, and I don’t react to pain the same way. I am far more empathetic to another person’s pain especially anyone divorced. I feel deeply for them, and I cut them a lot of slack for self-destructive behavior or lashing out at themselves or others. I know they are in a ton of pain and that most of their actions are not directed at me or anyone, but instead directed at the emptiness inside of them.

I have also learned that I have to heal myself before allowing anyone else in. I no longer have my husband to unload my emotional baggage on. And friends get tired when I repeatedly do it to them, so I am now forced to deal with it on my own, with just my broken heart and damaged soul to mend myself. These things have definitely made me a better friend and a better person, but the lack of trust and emotional scars have made me more skittish and more apprehensive about letting anyone new in. I have become damaged goods complete with certain memories playing repeatedly in my mind. Hopefully I will one day be able to replace the photo sharp negative ones with more blurry happy thoughts. But until then, I try to ride the nightmare of the memory of walking to my new life of fraud, deception and loss. Two years ago I was pushed off a cliff and I survived, now I just need to figure out how to pick of the pieces and start climbing again.

If you would like to read some of Juliet’s thought provoking writing, you can visit her website where you can see this beautiful young woman in action including a Youtube Video interview from a show in Australia. You can also access her blog from her website at www.JulietJeske.com. I’m a fan—I’m sure you’ll be one too after seeing her or listening to her. You can hear Juliet on the archives of our radio show at Blogtalkradio.com. Put in Straight Wives Talk Show December 11, 2011.


MAILBAG

Each month I receive letters from my readers. I always ask before printing those that I find most helpful for permission to reprint. It can be reprinted anonymously or with any name you choose. These letters help inspire other readers—like you!

Bonnie, I have not read your news letter for a couple of years now as I have "gotten on with my life" now, having moved out 5 years ago from my closeted husband of 20 years. But seeing the newsletter in my in-box like monthly clockwork has always given me a special comfort.

In November's newsletter I enjoyed reading the last letter. I identified with what she said so very much! I too am experiencing love from a heterosexual man for the first time (i didn’t date much before i married at age 26) and there is NO COMPARISON in the way this heterosexual wonder-man treats me and loves me. Women out there who are on the fence, just know that it is true, gay or bisexual men are not treating u the way that u deserve. The way that a heterosexual man would treat u. I too thought I wasn't pretty enough or skinny enough now I have the best love-making that is all about me (he does things to make me happy, not like the narcissistic ex who it was all about himself, even on our wedding night, and who also gradually dwindled the sex down to every couple of months to virtually non-existent sex.)

My ex died last year. He was HIV + so I am so glad he lost interest in me or else I too might have contracted the virus. Because of course he wouldn’t wear a condom because he had just gotten clipped. He died of pneumonia - age 49. What a waste of a life... But mine is just starting! So take heart, things will get better. Be true to yourself, take care of you and you will get though this! And trust me, there is sweet love at the end of the dark tunnel....

HAPPY AT LAST! Finally LOVED!!
From the West Coast USA

Hi Bonnie,
Please pass on this message to "Sarah" from the mailbag.

Dear Sarah,
From day one, my gay ex-husband (now of 3 years, HOORAY FOR ME!!) said only one thing that I believe is so true (probably the only true thing out of his mouth), yet so hard to accept. He said "GET OVER IT--JUST BE HAPPY." Well it took some time, and the anger rears its head (mainly because he puts his 4 daughters LAST all the time). His "happiness"--alcoholism and "going out"--comes way before any school function, sporting event, or social function for his daughters now ages 10, 11, 13, and15. However, it is time for YOU TO BE HAPPY SARAH!! Forget his inability to be an upstanding guy! Forget his inability to be an upstanding dad! Forget his inability to be truthful with himself! (It will never happen anyway) YOU know the truth, YOU are stronger than HIM!! Tomorrow is a new day, and you were put on this earth for a reason. So YES, MOVE ON and BE HAPPY! For those of us who ever wanted a title (like Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, etc) we have it--STRAIGHT SPOUSE! Proud of what we have endured and PROUD TO MOVE ON!!!
Kathy K.

Well my dear friends, here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season filled with hope for brighter days. I will have online support throughout the holiday season. If you would like to join my support chat for extra support, just drop me a note and I’ll send you directions. Remember—you are not alone. And thanks to all of you—either am I!

With love and hope,

Bonnie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

November Newsletter, 2011

THINGS I’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND—EVER

Over the past 29 years, I think I have learned about every possible situation when it comes to straight/gay marriages. I get it—no matter how I don’t understand some things—but I do get it. Most of the time—that is!

In fact, here’s a summary of what I do understand vs. what I don’t understand.

• I understand that most gay husbands (not all—but most) love their wives when they get married. They really are hoping against hope that marriage will change those attractions to men—but they don’t.

• I understand that gay men who get married really want to be straight. They are hoping a “traditional” wife/children family” will be enough for them—but it isn’t.

• I understand the need for most gay men to lead an authentic life at some point, so most of them need to leave the marriage.

• I understand that some gay men will live in denial for a lifetime pretending that they are straight while fantasizing and having sex with men in sneaky places.

• I understand that some gay men really believe they are “bisexual” because they have a wife to prove it. And if once in a blue moon, they can “perform” sex with her while they are frequently enjoying it with a man (men), they can believe in their own sense of denial that they are not gay but rather “bisexual.”

• I understand that some men will stay in a marriage forever because leaving it would be too “inconvenient” to them.

• I understand that when many gay men leave their marriages, some of their priorities change because they are now able to experience a new freedom. They are finding their way into their new lives and often make you and the family feel like you aren’t their top priority.

Now here are some of the things I don’t understand:

• I don’t understand why some gay husbands compromise their wives’ health by having unprotected sex with men and then their wives.

• I don’t understand why gay men are out there having multiple affairs before they can “believe” they are gay.

• I don’t understand how gay men marry a woman whom they supposedly love but mistreat her by making her think she’s crazy causing years of self-doubt and loss of self and sexual-esteem.

Okay, I admit I might be making some headway in understanding—not excusing, but understanding—how some of this happens.

But here is one thing I will NEVER, EVER understand. I’ll never get it.

In the past four months, two high-profile MARRIED “PUBLICLY STRAIGHT” politicians were caught having sexual relations with men. First, in August, you had Phillip Hinkle, a state representative in Indiana exposed due to text messaging he was sending to an 18-year-old male pretending to be 20. The news report said, “The Republican state representative had apparently responded to a posting on Craigslist’s “Casual Encounters” section, and he offered a young man $80 plus a tip to meet him at an Indianapolis hotel. Hinkle used his publicly listed personal email address to answer an ad looking for a “sugga daddy.” Of course Hinkle claimed he was not gay, and his actions were "stupid," but that he did not break the law. "I don't know what was going through my mind," he said. "I don't know why I did what I did."

Okay, so here an established, educated politician who is “straight” claims that he doesn’t know what was going through his mind. It reminds me of that commercial for Trix cereal. All I can say is Hinkle must be close friends with that “Silly Wabbit.”

Next, several weeks ago, a report in the news stated that:

A suburban New Jersey mayor who unsuccessfully sought a congressional seat as a Republican is being accused of paying for sex with a male escort and not following through on a promise of other gifts for the hustler.
The Burlington County Times reports that Medford, N.J. Mayor Chris Myers is being accused by the male escort of paying for sex during an October 2010 encounter at a California hotel. The man said Myers identified himself as a mayor from New Jersey and offered his township identification card and gold ID shield as proof during the early-morning meeting at the Fairmount Hotel in Newport Beach. He currently resides in his hometown of Medford with his wife of 15 years, Tiffany, and his two young children.
Okay, this is what I don’t understand. These high profile figures—with Hinkle involved in anti-gay legislation—are having gay encounters. Now I know that Ted Haggard—cut from the same mold as them—would call that “straight with issues.” I call it gay. You know my theory—if you want a penis, fantasize about a penis, watch gay porn, touch it, or have any sexual contact with it including masturbation or oral sex—it is GAY. I don’t care of you have a wife and children. It’s irrelevant to me. I don’t care if you have issues—if they are gay issues they are gay. Okay, you know my stand which never changes on this issue.

But here’s the part I don’t understand. How is it these men go and identify themselves to their young encounters bragging about their positions? They show them identification to PROVE who they are. They have to “impress” these young prostitutes that they are government officials. This is what I DON’T GET. Don’t they worry about the news coming out and how their wives and children will be affected? Do they think the 3,000 mile distance from home will never be discovered in this day and age of technology?

These guys are truly a disgrace because they bring public disgrace to their families. This is what I’ll never understand—a complete disregard for those who give them the most support in their lives—their loving families. It truly is an American tragedy.

MAILBAG

My friend Annie responded to last month’s letter by A Reader. Here are her words:

Dear A Reader -

I know your head is spinning right now, we have been there. I know your heart is broken and shattered, we have been there.I am afraid for you, I don't want your relationship with your children destroyed.

I was there, I walk the walk - I talk the talk. My daughter had suspected and her friends at college set her straight about "his friend" always being with her dad when he visited. They are the ones who put the idea in her head. To her, he was dad's friend. After all, I visited with friends (female) and it meant nothing. I had many conversations with her over this. I did not feel betrayal, I felt love and felt her confusion on what to do, she was caught in the middle of this whole blessed mess.

Her biggest question to herself was - Did she tell me? Is it possible I could hurt more than I already was? I thought what happened between her father and I was a woman, I had no idea of the truth. She was afraid for me to know because I was so fragile in the beginning and knew the day would come when I found out (unfortunately it was her college graduation day) and you know what, she was there for me. I can still feel her arms wrapping around me from behind (she ran to me from across the street seeing the look on my face) I can feel her hands on my shoulders, embracing me and hear her whispering in my ear, how much she loves me, telling me it will be okay and we will get through this together. I felt bad I was not there for her when she found out but am grateful she had friends for support.

My daughter is the product of her father as much as I. I did not want her in the middle of this. It was not her fight, it was mine. For all the things I could say about him, I will say and will defend him, he was the best dad. He was always there for her. Her father traveled with his job but it was always around her schedule and needs, as it should be.

I do hope in time you find the answers you are seeking, we all asked them a million times over. If they do know, there is probably a reason and when the time comes, you might have your answers, like I did.

As for close friends who knew and didn't say anything, I had two. We were close almost sisters, so they knew all my doubts, all my questions, the anger I felt at times etc etc etc. Why won't he make love to me anymore? What did I do that he looks at me with such contempt in his eyes. Why does he treat me like I have an incurable disease? Why do I have to ask for a hug? Why does he tell me no when I do ask? Ya Ya Ya - The list goes on. Again, in time you get your answers. I confront them, asked them why, got their answers and have nothing to do with them. Time is too precious, they are not worth my words nor my breath. To me, they died. I told them the same thing I said to gay husband, NEVER DARKEN MY DOOR STEP AGAIN.

I hope this helps. You can contact me anytime, I will always listen.

Annie - aem1951@aol.com



Dear Bonnie

I just read your newsletter and thought I'd write to you about my experience of telling the children.

After I found out, and after I rejected his assertion that it was my fault he had an affair; after I refused to agree to his statement that it was only our business - no one else's therefore I shouldn't tell anyone; after I refused his suggestion that he stay in the house, lead his gay life and I would just be the housekeeper (this was supposedly "for the children's sake") - after all this, I did a lot of reading and internet searching, and came to the conclusion that the children should know.

Several reasons
- they already knew something was wrong
- kids really HATE being lied to (this was the biggie)
- there had been enough deceit and I wasn't willing to perpetuate it
- it just felt wrong to try and keep such a huge secret from them

This wasn't a toy for Christmas - it was something which would change their lives forever.

They were - boy aged 15 and a half approaching final year of high school, girl a month after her 13th birthday and in first year high school and boy a week after his 10th birthday whose teacher had been hit by a bus and killed, outside the school gates only a month earlier, so the timing was very poor for all of them. Still, I instinctively felt that they should know the truth, and that they would get any support they wanted from wherever I could get it for them.

After a lot of talk, GEH (gay ex-husband) and I agreed a time, place and manner of telling them. The next day he told the 2 younger ones while I was briefly out of the house (not agreed) so I insisted he tell the eldest as well that evening. We then talked to them together a few days later and I spoke with each one individually. At the time it was awful, mainly because he had told them all sorts of stories, but gradually they heard the truth. They each took it differently. The 2 older ones clammed up and it took some time, after counseling, for them to regain a sense of balance. They were both hugely angry at GEH, and spent very little time with him (not that he was available very much - too busy exploring his new candy shop). The youngest one's comment was "If it didn't matter before when you didn't know, why does it matter now?" I couldn't answer that then.

With their permission, I told a trusted staff member at each of their schools, who all agreed to look out for the children, and eventually the older ones each had regular counseling with a professional at their schools. It took a long time, and each has a relationship of sorts with their father - the youngest is rather a love/hate one (he is now 15, and has Aspergers & Tourettes syndromes so it's always going to be difficult). The older ones see through him more now, and do tend to use him a bit for their own convenience but that is between them and him. He doesn't really put himself out for them - most of what he says is for show and they realise that now.

If I were asked, I would advise telling the children the truth - of course it does depend on their ages, but I think that from about 8 or 9, a child can be told realistically what is happening. I would never ever condone keeping it from teenagers or adult children. It's hard enough for the wife as it is without having to keep his secret from their children and I don't believe that older children would thank their mothers for keeping the secret.

Anyway, just my thoughts, feel free to use any of it if necessary or to forward this to anyone who is interested.

Love

Louisa

Dear Bonnie,
I am full of rage again today. I thought that was behind me. I divorced him six months ago, went to therapy, and recreated my life here in Florida. I contributed to Bonnie’s Straight Wives, Shattered Lives, Volume 2. That contribution was also a kind of therapy. But today I am raging, because my experiences today are so typical of the stories in that book! There is a pattern to this, for all of us in that book. Dealing with a gay man, whether you are divorced or not, is the same for all of us:
First, it is never about us. It is always about his life, his needs, his pathetic childhood, the torture he endured, the torture he continues to endure. In my case, he only exited the closet to act out his fantasies a number of years ago. He said he “Had no choice but to accept the love God was pouring down upon him.” But of course, he could not tell me because he didn’t want to hurt me!!

But also, in that time of accepting God’s love, he needed to share with only those he must share with in order to keep God’s love flowing. Today, he actually believes that he should continue that charade so that he can protect his sexual partner, who lives in the same town and continues to try to keep his marriage together. He is deeply involved with yet another man, but continues to live out the “my wife left me here in this big house and moved to Florida,” routine. And now all the widows in town are thronging around him in support, and to their faces he actually says, “I will not have anyone run my wife down. She is a good woman.” What a mealy-mouthed cop-out! They naturally all conclude that he is a saintly man who runs Bible studies, prays earnestly with any number of counselees, and got the royal shaft from the woman who divorced him for no reason at all. If they only knew that he not only has a married lover, but also a lover the age of his son! We spent part of this week finalizing the monetary division after the divorce. The conversation lasted an hour, during which I was able to say almost nothing. He ranted and raved about how “generous” he was by making his will and giving me everything when he dies. Yet in the meantime he is moaning and groaning about how difficult it is going to be to maintain his lifestyle on his income, which is actually more than what I get. But because he “has to keep this big house,” he is to be pitied. At the end of the conversation he said, “This has been such a good conversation, because we both agree on everything!” That is classic narcissism! It is the common thread to all the stories in this recent book. It represents a total lack of empathy for me, and for everyone who is in his immediate family.

Second, we do not deserve the truth. My ex-husband continues to decide what I can know and what I cannot know about his personal life. He tells the children, (who I forced him to tell before the divorce) and of course his most intimate male friends, that he is now seeing a man who is younger than his oldest son, but he has decided that I “am not ready to hear this bit of information.” Let’s see, how is this different than the entire scope of secrecy in our marriage? How is it different than the years since he came out to his male friends and started an affair, while treating me like a viper who invaded his house? How is it different than the repeated lies and absurd manipulation he treated me do during our entire life together? Yet today, still, after the divorce and the craziness of forcing him into the open with our children, he still is deciding what truth I should be entitled to hear!!! It’s because he doesn’t understand that I deserve the truth! I do not believe that these men are able to comprehend this simple, direct message. They just do not get it!

Third, these men all blame someone else for the difficulties in their lives. My ex-husband will blame his mother until he dies. She was a piece of work: She was also a narcissist, pathetic in her relationships with her children, never a nurturer. But I have noticed that most people I know have had a parent or grandparent who isn’t a nurturer. Lots of people have been emotionally abandoned, abused, rejected. Heck, I experienced that as well. But do you know what? I got over it!! My life is my responsibility, period. Blaming someone else does not allow you to move forward. My ex-husband, I believe, also blames me: I wasn’t enough of a wife to have made him straight!!! He wanted more than anything to be straight, and I failed him.
Fourth, I notice a pattern in these stories about how our marriages came about. There is never a direct and simple, “I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Here is a ring showing how much I want you in my life.” No…. In my case there was never a ring. In other cases, it was an oblique discussion that resulted in a date set. In others, it just evolved into a wedding ceremony. The book shows me how a commitment from a gay man is never really there!

Finally, these men still expect the women in their lives to make it right. My ex-husband expects the women in our small town to pity him, invite him to bridge parties, make over him. He expects our daughters to pander to him as a pathetic, misunderstood, and now gay man. He expects me to contribute financially to his lifestyle, since his life style is more demanding than mine!!!! I can live simply and don’t have as many financial demands, but of course he must have his usual eating out experiences, his sports events, his experiences with his lovers. I, on the other hand, have never had excess needs. I live close to the earth, I have a simple lifestyle, so my financial needs cannot compare to his, and in the entire scope of our marriage, he deserves to have some of my income! Today, on the phone, he made it clear: He should have half of my income in order to continue to live the kind of life he needs.

Bonnie, thanks for this book. It helps me to get perspective. If I can ever help anyone else in my geographic area, please let me know!
“Sarah”

Dear Bonnie,

As I read through this last newsletter, I could feel the emotion and pain in the betrayal and lies that these women were going through. It sure brought back some memories of just how raw and painful being in this situation is.

It brought back the year 2000 ...all the suspicion I had that 'something' was wrong... the sleuthing I did to find the truth ... the lies ... being told something was wrong with me for even thinking such a "disgusting" thing ... convincing myself I just had an overactive imagination ... the sudden sex phase probably to convince me it wasn't true ... that gnawing feeling that something just wasn't right ... being told it wasn't him, it was me ...the anger ... the pain... being lied to again ... and then, finally... getting the truth that I desperately needed ... and my world collapsing around me.

I remember that pain. I wish I could hug everyone going through it now.

When I think of all the time I spent with those images in my head of what he was doing... and thinking what a fool I was the whole time ... trying to look back in the years in my head to see what clues I had missed ... I realized I had spent years of my life dealing with the aftermath of loving someone leading a double life and giving myself the strength to "un-love" him. I had to un-love him. I couldn't love him anymore, even though part of me wanted to. It was literally killing me emotionally and physically.

Fast forward to 2011. I am whole again. I have been whole again for several years. You really DO get through it. No way to go 'around' it... you have to go right through the middle of the storm and feel the pain before you come out on the other side. And you have every right to be MAD AS HELL, - don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Anger is part of getting through it. But it does happen. There comes a day when you realize it's him, not me... and you start to find your way back.

My ex died in 2008. But, I buried the pain of what he put me through long before that. I pray that all of your readers let themselves know and accept the truth and absolve themselves from any responsibility for it. I hope they all dig deep and find the strength to get through it and find themselves again -- the person they were before this deception entered their lives. It does happen, and I wish them all well and I hope they know that they are not alone on this journey, many are walking the same road. I am so thankful for you, Bonnie. So thankful for the help and support and love you have given me over the years. I am in awe of what you do so selflessly for others.

In understanding and love,
Joanie

Dear Bonnie,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support over the last three years. It has been an incredible journey, one that should have never happened and one that would have never turned out the way it did without the support over your monthly newsletters. I have felt that every one of your newsletters was speaking exactly to me and my situation. They really helped changed my thinking from being paralyzed with fear to “what am I going to do to make my life better”.
My ex-husband and I were married for 28 years. For most of it, I knew things were not right. It went to having sex once a week, to once a month, once a year and then about 9 years ago, not at all. The rejection was debilitating to me. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, sexy enough, skinny enough. Maybe I wasn’t doing enough for him? Looking back, I can’t believe I wasted so much energy focusing on what was wrong with me.
About three years ago, I noticed that he was spending a lot of time on the computer. I bought spyware to figure it out. Sure enough, the evidence was laid out in front of me. At first I was mortified and terrified. Then it went to extremely sad and then I was angry. Angry that he heard me crying myself to sleep after another rejection and he knew the answer. Angry that I put so many years into a marriage that was doomed from the start. Angry that our kids (now 26, 22 and 14) lives would be changed forever. Angry that at 49, I had missed out on the best years of my life with a man that could never love me like I should have been loved. Angry that he wanted to stay in the closet and therefore was holding me hostage.
Today, I am happy to say that there is a bright light in my future. After keeping silent for 2 years, I started to tell a few close friends. Their reaction was so different than I thought. They were supportive, understanding and truly wanted what was best for me. I got to the point where I didn’t want to live another year, another month, and finally another day feeling the way I was feeling.
Last spring, I asked my husband to leave and he did. Although being a single mom and financially maintaining my own household has been difficult, I’ve been able to keep the house and am committed to doing so until my daughter graduates from high school in 3 years. The split was shocking to our children, and without my ex admitting the truth, there has been some blame thrown my way. However, even if my ex does not face his truth, someday I will be sharing it with them.
And, as it turns out, I am pretty enough, thin enough and loving enough. Just recently I started a relationship with a man who adores me. What a difference to be in a relationship with a totally heterosexual male! I didn’t even realize what I was missing. He can’t keep his hands off of me. He is affectionate, loving and sexual. He is totally present whenever we are together. Even after rambunctious night in bed, he can’t wait until I wake up in the morning to make love to me again. Life is grand!
So, Bonnie, thank you and all you do to support women who have gone through the experience of being in a relationship with a gay man. Even though for many years I was stuck and didn’t move forward, I was reading, re-reading and absorbing the information in your newsletters. At times I felt like nothing was ever going to change for me, but it did, and I am forever grateful.

Sue in Washington.

Thank you, my women, for sharing with others. You give so many thousands of people validation each month. If you would like to share a letter with our readership, please feel free to write one. I always ask first before printing it, and you can do it anonymously.

Monday, September 26, 2011

50 WAYS GAY MEN SAY NO TO SEX WITH THEIR WIVES

This article is reprinted from my September 2011 newsletter. If you would like to be on my monthly mailing list, just email me and Bonkaye@aol.com and request it. Remember my mantra--Life was never meant to be this complicated. Period.
Say it ten times a day until you believe it! Life will get better. Promise.

GAY HUSBANDS SAY THE “DARNDEST THINGS”!

In the thousands of letters for help or support I receive each year, at least half of them are from women who HAVE NO PROOF. They have a gut feeling, but they don’t trust it. That’s because their sense of reality has been “slip slidin’ away” from the chaos and confusion their husbands have been putting them through. Most of these guys are one step ahead of you, and even when you catch up or get one step in front of them, they find a way to trip you up so you slide back again. It’s not easy always having to be one step ahead of someone who is trying to “gaylight” you.

Even after a woman does get a partial admission such as, “I am just looking at pictures—I would never act on it,” or “I’m just comparing myself to other men to see how I ‘stack up’.” Even though there is half a sigh of relief when you hear these ridiculous explanations--which I guess is better than none--you still feel out of sorts. Once the doubt is there, you can only stay in “ostrich mode” for so long. You can keep your head buried, but sooner or later when the next picture of pornography pops up on the computer, you have a harder time burying your head in the sand deeper than it already is.

For those of you who just can’t seem to get the proof you need that your husband is gay, I decided to request information from my online support group members asking them to share with us the excuses their husbands would give them for not making love to them in a meaningful way on a regular basis. I thought maybe if you could connect with some of these reasons, you would have that long awaited “ah hah” moment to put you on the right track.

So, with a slight drum roll, here are some of the top 50 excuses our women sent me:

1. I turn him off because I ask for it. By the way, I only ask maybe once a month.
2. All you think about is sex.
3. He says it’s not a perfect world, and I can’t have everything.
4. He hates the smell of a woman.
5. He took medication so he can’t have sex with me.
6. He was busy and he wasn’t having sex with me.
7. He is too tired.
8. I asked him if he wanted oral sex, but he said he wasn’t in the mood.
9. I came home from work early to surprise him thinking we might have sex, but he said, “Don’t ever come home without calling first ever again!”
10. He told me I was a nymphomaniac.
11. When I kissed his neck and his said ear, he said, “Stop, that makes me sick, I don’t like that!
12. He told me if I would stick around, I might get it.
13. Said he just took a shower ...he can’t have sex now.
14. His back hurts.
15. He’s too busy.
16. He doesn’t like sex at night.
17. I’m too mean.
18. I’m too fat.
19. He’s too tired.
20. I’m too pushy.
21. “If you would clean up the house, I would”
22. “You know watching you cook and clean turns me on.”
23. You’re too big.
24. You want it too much.
25. He compared my body to other women and told me what he liked about them better...if you had bigger nipples, etc.
26. You look too much like a Rick James.
27. “It” is too worn out...you use that vibrator too much.
28. You wait until it’s too late.
29. It's too early.
30. "It's broke" was his favorite line.
31. When I would ask for a hug he's say "nah, I don't feel like it right now."
32. Give me time, and it will come back to me. Those were two lines I heard forever.
33. "We are not sexual creatures": His favorite mantra for the last years of our marriage.
34. "I have a urinary infection": Used this excuse the last years of our marriage.
35. "Too tired, got to get up early and go to work. I have a real job:” He said this one a lot, especially during the last years of the marriage.
36. "I no longer find you attractive," said 6 weeks after our second and last child was born (1996). I begged him to make love to me. He stated, "No. I no longer find you attractive." I swore I would never beg for sex again. After our son was born, we had sex once every 3 years.
37. "You stink." Said this the night our son was conceived. I was starting foreplay. He stopped me and said, "You stink" and then turned his back to me. I quietly cried myself to sleep. I was suddenly awakened when he forcefully whipped my body around so I was on my back. He forced himself in me. It lasted less than a minute. All our sexual encounters lasted about a minute or two and they all ended with him turning his back to me. He never brought me to an orgasm. He never cuddled or held me as we slept.
38. "Our daughter will hear us and I don't want to wake her." He said this a few times early in the marriage.
39. "I'm sea sick." Our Honeymoon. He did not make love to me until the end of our honeymoon.
40. "Going down to the bar to hang out with the guys. Be right back." He said this on our wedding night. I was shocked that he would leave his bride and cried myself to sleep. He did not come right back, and I did not go looking for him. His stall tactic worked. We did not make love on our wedding night.
41. Having sex with you is “boring.” You don’t do anything exciting.
42. All people slow down with sex after they are married for a while.
43. You don’t have enough experience in bed to satisfy me.
44. You have terrible breath, so I can’t stand to kiss you.
45. You are too flat-chested.
46. You need to have a breast reduction.
47. Your body is sagging.
48. You aren’t willing to use toys with me.
49. You don’t have a good sexual technique and you can’t learn that.
50. You don’t know how to please a man.

If you have some other excuses that your husbands have given you over the years, please share them with me in this newsletter or write a note for my blog which you can access on my website at www.gayhusbands.com. Let’s give women some signs of what they need to be looking for so they won’t have to wonder any more.
A special thanks to all of my online support group members who were kind enough to share this with me and our readers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FRAN DRESCHER--LOOK WHO'S NOT LAUGHING

LOOK WHO’S NOT LAUGHING

I have to admit that I am feeling very angry about Fran Drescher’s new program “Happily Divorced” which just started airing this week on TV Land. Trust me--I’m a big fan of funny sitcoms. And I also have watched TV Land for many years when I needed a laugh. But guess what? I’m not laughing now.

Fran Drescher has somehow taken a situation that devastates millions of people who are living in straight/gay marriages and turned it into a sitcom. Is the show funny? Well, yes—if you aren’t one of those straight wives or gay husbands living this life. In nearly 30 years of counseling over 70,000 people, no one came to me laughing. In fact, I can say with certainty that no one’s parents were laughing over this news either as Fran’s television mother Rita Moreno was doing on the show. And many of the gay husbands who come to me struggle internally for years to the point that it drives them to drinking, drugging, or potential suicide. Oh—they aren’t going to laugh either.

After living in the aftermath of my own marriage, I have devoted my time to giving people an understanding of how our situations happen and why it devastates those who are living it. In the 1980’s when I started my outreach, there was virtually no information on this subject matter. Women felt the need to step further back into the closet than their gay husbands because of the total sense of isolation, unfounded guilt, and public shame when people found out.

Even though I’ve brought light to many living in the darkness, there is a whole world out there that is clueless about the suffering we go through. For our women, constant snickering comments are still made including, “When are you going to get over it already?” That’s after hearing comments like, “Didn’t you know he was gay before you got married?” or “How can he be gay if he married you and had children?” We always have to feel as if we are on the defensive or being under attack for our stupidity because people are clueless and just don’t understand.

So enter Fran Drescher and her gay ex-husband where her real life strongly mirrors her new show. I think it is wonderful that Fran and her gay ex-hubby can be the best of friends and help each other with meeting new dates—or even double dating. But this is the exception—not the rule. The fact that the show takes a real life situation where so many people are so lost and turns it into a weekly comedy is just plain wrong. In fact, I feel violated—not validated. And to go one step further—I feel exploited.

Something just doesn’t feel right when someone has to take a situation this serious for millions of people and turn it into a cutesy show. What’s even worse is that this show will put back the cause of understanding of our situation by 30 years. Now society will view our lives as humorous. Fran is laughing—why aren’t we? Fran is best friends with her ex-husband, even living with him and wanting to double date—why aren’t we? Fran’s dating a new man within months of her long-term marriage—why aren’t we? If you think that our feelings and pain weren’t validated by friends, family, and the general public before this show—it will be all that much worse now after they laugh along with Fran.

I have a new name for this show—it is a “SICKCOM,” not a “sitcom.” This kind of humor is sick. Maybe TV Land could make more comedies out of other people’s tragedies. How about a show about a victim of child abuse laughing with her abuser after she grows up called “Bruise Me and Amuse Me”? Why don’t we make a comedy show over eating disorders showing people laughing after they vomit and call it “Up Chuck My Guts”? How about a sitcom about people with colostomy bags laughing about how they have to now go to the bathroom since they can no longer go the normal way and call it “Oh Sh*t!”

Maybe I would laugh at those shows. Maybe I could find the tragedies of others funny. But I really don’t think so. Shame on Fran and TV Land for profiting from the suffering of so many others. I find it a disgrace. I won’t be watching or laughing in the future. Hopefully others will show their disgust by stating, “Don’t take me to TV Land.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ARCHIVED FROM NEWSLETTER NUMBER 1

Dear Friends,
I am so excited because March marks the 11th year of the start of my monthly newsletter Straight Talk. I will be going back to the archives to share the best of my past advice via my newsletters.

This first article was written for the premier issue of the newsletter in March 2001.
Now, a decade later, I am repeating it for you because none of the relevency has been lost--none!

I hope you learn from this.
Love, Bonnie

The Issue of SECRECY—Who Can I Tell?

Several dozen women have recently written to me about the issue of keeping the news of their husbands’ homosexuality a secret once they learn about it. Their husbands are very emphatic that no one should know about this—not family members, friends, co-workers or counselors.

I feel very angry when I receive these letters because not only are these wives expected to deal with their shattered lives, but their husbands also expect them to deal with it alone in isolation. Some women admit that they are much too embarrassed to tell anyone for fear of being ridiculed. Others are convinced that it would be some type of betrayal to their husbands even though they have been betrayed. Why do they feel the need to protect their husbands while they continue to suffer in silence?

I remember when I suspected that my husband, Michael, might be “bisexual” and suggested that we talk to a professional counselor. He strongly warned me that if I told anyone about my suspicions, he would leave me and never look back. At that time, I was in a beaten down state of mind, and the thought of his leaving kept me from seeking help and support. Eventually when I couldn’t bear to carry this burden alone, I turned to my family and made them promise me that they would never reveal my suspicions because I couldn’t bear to pay the consequences. I suffered greatly during those days because I felt so isolated and alone.

Gay husbands who demand this from their wives have most likely made sure that they have a support system in place. They have already gone to bars, meetings, and/or counselors to look for affirmation in their decision to come out. They have gotten the support they need, but fear that their secret will hurt their reputation with the family, friends, and business associates.

This to me is the greatest form of selfishness. I strongly encourage all women who learn this news to seek help and support immediately. No woman should have to deal with this devastation alone. The straight wives are the ones who need the support and help. It is their lives that are being pulled apart one strand at a time. One woman wrote me the following:

Dear Bonnie,
I have been married for 15 years. Three months ago, my husband revealed to me that he was homosexual. I was shocked and repulsed by this news. At first I couldn’t believe it. Here was a man whom I thought was my best friend for all these years. I believed we had no secrets between us. How could I have been so blind not to see this?

These last six months have been the most painful months of my life. My husband moved out last month with another man whom he claims he loves. I still love him very much in spite of the hurt. He has begged me not to tell anyone about the real reason he left. I have gone along with his wishes to protect him from the disapproval of his family. But in the meantime, I constantly receive calls from his mother and sister asking me why we can’t work on our problems in our marriage. Now they actually feel that I am the cause of the split because they think that I am not looking to go for help. Even my own mother can’t understand why I am not trying harder to put things back on track.

I’m not looking to hurt my husband, but on the other hand, I’m not happy with people thinking that I am the cause of the problem. What should I do not to compromise his request for secrecy but not to take the brunt of the blame?

This letter was typical of the many I received from women trying to protect their husbands while taking the blame for the break-up of the marriage. Honestly I don’t understand this need to continue protecting the husband.

I am not saying that the news should be shouted out to anyone who will lend an ear; however, no woman should have to endure the additional pressures of taking the blame from the family. Homosexuality is clearly the reason why the marriage is breaking apart. Why shouldn’t the wife be “allowed” to tell her family and friends who can offer her support? How much more selfish can a husband be to expect this news to remain his secret? It’s not his secret to the people he chooses to tell.

I remember after my marriage when I revealed this information to my friends. My husband became enraged yelling that it was not my place to tell people. This was his private business and I had no right spreading it around. But I told them anyway because I needed support and understanding. Those people around me were very supportive even if they didn’t understand the issue. They may not have understood, but they knew I was hurting and wanted to help me feel better. This is what helped me move through the readjustment period much more quickly.

Your husband kept his homosexuality a secret until he was ready to reveal the information. This does not mean that you are committed to keeping it a secret. This information should not be used as a weapon of revenge; however, women can certainly use it to enlist the needed support to cope with the changes that will come about from this revelation. His secret is now your nightmare. You have every right to find the comfort and support you need.

Friday, February 18, 2011

POST VALENTINE'S DAY MESSAGE

Dear Friends,
Each year I like to write a Valentine's Day message to address the pain that our women go through on this day. For those of you who don't receive my newsletter, I am reprinting it for you. If you would like to be on my newsletter list, just let me know by sending me an email at Bonkaye@aol.com.

IN THE AFTERMATH OF VALENTINE’S DAY
Each year this issue of my newsletter comes out on the heels of Valentine’s Day, the ultimate annual reminder of how hard you can keep trying to make crumbs into a cake that never quite seem to “gel” together.
It’s impossible to escape the reminders that loom largely in your face--or in the case of all of those heart balloons--over your head. You can turn off the television and radio to avoid the Hallmark commercials, but as soon as you walk into the market, the first five rows of display tables are filled with hearts of chocolate and bouquets of roses.

To many of our women, this is a painful holiday. For those still in a marriage, your husband sometimes does his “husbandly” Valentine duty of bringing home a card with little xxxxx’s and oooo’s or expressing his appreciation of you by giving you a box of candy--even though he keeps telling you how “unappealing” you are to him because of your weight. On this sacred day, he lets that comment pass as he shoves the chocolates at you encouraging you to enjoy them as a way of saying, “Don’t expect more.” Yep, some sweets for the sweet. It doesn’t mean he’s going to make love to you or make your feel beautiful—but hey, crumbs are still crumbs. By the way, on a personal note—how many crumbs does it take to make a cake? How about a slice of cake? I haven’t figured that one out yet.

For those women whose marriages have ended this year, your first Valentine’s Day is usually the worst—which is the good news. In the future, you will feel better once your emotions sort out the reality from the fiction in your marriage. At least those moments of frustrations of wondering why your husband couldn’t love you the way you needed to be loved on that special day of romance for couples will be better understood. The other bonus is that you won’t have to feel frustrated and once again disappointed after making the day such a special one only to end up with his recurring headache, toothache, backache, or inability to “perform” due to….oh yeah—stress.

One of the ways that I keep trying to hit home with our ladies is to make Valentine’s Day a new tradition of loving YOU. Unless you can learn to love yourself, trust me, it will be impossible to love someone else—at least in a healthy way. I know that may sound funny, but trust me—it’s true.
When I was younger, I had a distorted image of what marriage was about. I believed that if you loved someone with all your heart and soul, you would live happily ever after forever and ever. Amen. I guess that meant that I had to work hard every day waking up and figuring out what I could do to have my husband keep loving me the way I loved him. Sadly, many of us from the baby boomer generation were socialized that way not realizing that marriage needed to be a two way street. Do whatever it takes to make your man happy. Those were the messages we kept hearing over and over again.

We found ourselves in marriages that weren’t fulfilling because no matter how hard we worked, we were running in circles. It was sort of like running around that Valentine heart. You’d move up the curve of one side but within a short amount of time you’d come sliding down the other side. Then you try climbing that slope again only to be bounced back down. In other words, even if you get to the top, don’t plan to stay there very long. And the climb down—or rather the fall—is a long and slippery one for sure.

And yes—we got tired—oh so tired—of the excuses leading to the accusations:
 Valentine’s Day is for young people
 Valentine’s Day is for young lovers
 Valentine’s Day is for newly weds
Which all translate into one real meaning of what your gay husband is thinking--
Why are you always trying to think of a reason to have sex?

Here’s the funny thing—as much as you are dreading Valentine’s Day, so is your gay husband. Remember that song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon? You know the one that says, “Get off the bus, Gus. Make a new plan, Stan. No need to be coy, Roy.” Yep, for your gay husband, it’s 50 Ways to Say No to Your Wife. It could include lyrics like:

“I’ve got a new pain, Jane. I have too much stress, Bess. You’re much too large, Marge. I need some air, Clair. My tooth does hurt, Gert. There’s a pain in my head, Peg.”

Yep, I bet I could rewrite that song in a flash. Sadly, so could all of you.

So, to my weary women warriors fighting that hopeless battle, gather your strength for the fight ahead of learning to love yourself most of all. You see, I’ve learned in life and through enough hard knocks and lessons that when you love yourself first, you’ll never be disappointed. Why? Because you won’t depend on others to love you in a way that can be disappointing and defeating. Even when you are disappointed, you love yourself enough to analyze the situation and do something meaningful for you. You don’t personalize the rejection—you realize YOU are not the problem—your partner is.

Remember, if you don’t learn how to love yourself, you’ll be doomed to repeat your legacy over and over again. It may not be with a gay man, but it will be with some man who isn’t worthy of your time or attention. Don’t forget—there are lots of unsavory predators out there in the straight world. Some of you have told me all about them—well, actually I found my own collection of them for a number of years as well!

If you need ways to build up your self-esteem or to feel better about yourself, write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com. I will send you ideas and suggestions. Most of them won’t be mine because people far more original than me thought them up, but at least I found them and I’ll share them with you.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my ladies and men. Better days are ahead! Promise!

Friday, February 4, 2011

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY NOTE

Dear Friends,
This is an article from my archives. This article was written in 2002, but it is still as relevant today.


HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY--NOT

In the past, I have written about the difficulty that straight wives have during the holiday season. It is not uncommon for depression to set in somewhere around Thanksgiving and continue right through the New Year. During that six-week period, there are three holidays that revolve around family happiness and unity, something most of us are missing.

While we get caught up in the preparation for these holidays, we can’t help but to feel an emotional letdown when they actually take place. We know what they represent, and yet, we never feel the wonder and joy of what the holidays represent that others are feeling. We go through the motions waiting for the emotional impact to kick in, but when it doesn’t, that’s when the depression sets in.

And now, just as we start to get back to our “normal” existence state of mind to cope in our relationships, we are once again brought down by the most hurtful holiday of all—Valentine’s Day. This is the day that exemplifies love and romance. It’s hearts and flowers all the way. It’s the day that symbolizes what being in love is all about. It’s a day where two people who love each other take the time to stop and think about that love and to remember how it feels to be “in love” even if some of the passion has faded through the years.

If you are the wife of a gay man, this is a day that really hurts. This day, more so than all of the other holidays, is a slap of reality about your marriage. You see, on the other holidays you can cover yourself with a veil of illusion because they are family holidays. Whatever you are lacking in your marriage can be compensated for through your children and other family members. But Valentine’s Day is different. It’s about the two of you. And no matter how you justify it by thinking it’s a day of love in general, it’s not. Yes, you can buy Valentine’s Day cards for your son or daughter, mother and father, co-workers and friends to try to make it better. But there’s really no escaping what it really is—a holiday for lovers.

The reason why this holiday in so painful is because it is upfront and personal and right in your face. No matter how you try to avoid dealing with the reality of living with a gay husband on a day-to-day basis and lull yourself into a false sense of security, Valentine’s Day reminds you of the lie you are living with the man whom you fell in love with and married in good faith. It’s a reminder of everything that you were supposed to have but were cheated from having. And the man who robbed you of your dreams is still lying in bed next to you. Each morning when you wake up with him next to you, it’s one more day of living a lie.

Now the lie wasn’t your lie to start with—it’s his lie. But it has become your lie because you’re living it with him. You’re going through the motions of what marriage is supposed to be, but it’s falling way short of what your intentions were when you made that commitment at the altar Your husband, who promised to love and cherish you through sickness and health ‘til death do you part, never mentioned that he would never be able to love you the way you needed to be loved. In fairness, maybe he didn’t know that he wouldn’t be able to do it. No doubt, he was hoping that he could pull it off. And I’ll even go so far as to say that maybe he didn’t come to terms with the fact that he was gay on that life-changing day. But in almost all cases he knew he was having conflicting feelings. He knew something was off even if he couldn’t figure out that it was homosexuality.

Even when I speak to gay men who tell me that they honestly didn’t believe that they were gay, or hadn’t acted on those impulses prior to marriage, they still knew looking or thinking about men sexually aroused them. And even if they still couldn’t come to terms with that, they knew when they stopped making love to you early in the marriage that they were not attracted to you because you were a woman. But they kept quiet because they were afraid if they told you their secret, you may blow it for them. You might pull away their security blanket leaving them vulnerable and feeling naked. It wasn’t always an easy choice for them to keep lying to you, but it was easier than telling the truth.

So to those of you who are living in one of the many situations that bring us all together under this umbrella of commonality, let me personally wish you a Happy Future Valentine’s Day. Believe me, it can happen to you just like it happened to me. This is a day I celebrate in a big way. It’s a day that makes me happy because I have a man whom I am in love with. He makes my heart flutter and my knees still get shaky when we touch—and that’s after eight years. I don’t say that to brag, but rather to let you know how life was meant to be. You were meant to have a man who can love you and make love to you. You were meant to meet someone who would cherish you and treat you as if you were the most important part of his life. The fact that you were sidetracked doesn’t mean that you are doomed forever. It is never too late to find the happiness you are seeking as long as you don’t give up hope. And even if you don’t want to think about falling in love, at least think about not living in an abusive situation. Work on loving yourself enough to move away from a man who is not your soulmate but who is destroying your soul instead, one layer at a time.

Go out and buy yourself a giant box of chocolates. Enjoy each one of them as you remember how sweet life is supposed to be and how wonderful it will be once you remove yourself from a disastrous situation.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

WELCOME TO MY NEW BLOG...

Dear Friends,
Welcome to my new blog which will be updated on a regular basis with news, articles, and links to help you understand the complexities of staight/gay marriages. I welcome your comments and hope you will share your thoughts and feelings with the thousands of people who will be reading the words here. If you need need help or support, you can always reach me at Bonkaye@aol.com. Never feel as if you have to go through this journey alone. Reach out--and help will be there.
Love, Bonnie