BONNIE'S NEXT HEALING WEEKEND
My next healing weekend will take place on September 28-29, my birthday weekend, I am planning my seventh annual Philadelphia healing weekend for women who want to meet other women for a two days of sharing, healing, and caring. If you would like to join me and some other wonderful women, write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com and put "Healing Weekend" in the subject box. This will be a great weekend with women from around the country joining in. There is no cost for the weekend other than the expense of travel, eating, and the hotel. The group rate at a new hotel is phenomenal considering how beautiful the rooms are. Treat yourself to the gift of healing.
NEW YORK DINNER GET-TOGETHER
On Saturday, September 1, I will be staying over in New York and getting together with a group of our dynamic New York/NJ/CN ladies for a long evening dinner. If you would like to join me, please let me know by writing to me at Bonkaye@aol.com and writing "New York Dinner" in the subject box. I will fill you in on details.
For the past 10 years, I have been holding my online support chats on AOL. This is quite cumbersome for people who are not part of AOL and impossible for people who have MAC's and phone computers. I found a new chat venue that anyone can now access. If you are interested in joining me on Sunday evenings, please let me know. The chat room will be available to members for additional chatting as well. Please write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com and put "chat" in the subject box.
NEW BOOK - MANREADERS
People on this mailing list received my recent announcement about ManReaders: A Woman's Guide to Dysfunctional Men. This book helps you understand why men who are not the right partners find us--and why we allow them to. Whether you are still in a bad marriage or post-marriage and looking for a new relationship, this book will really help you make better decisions. All of us are "prey" for predators. There are millions of men out there who are not gay, but unstable, controlling, narcissistic, and mentally unstable. It's easy to find a man like this after coming out of a marriage that was broken. These men can't make you happy--they will only break you further. Learn how to recognize them so you can save yourself more unhappiness in the future. See my site at: www.dyfunctionalmen.com
You can purchase the book there. If you feel you don't need it, think about buying a copy for a sister, daughter, niece, or friend. It's a guide that every female needs to learn about before it is too late. You can also read and add to my blog from that page as well.
I had originally published a different version of this book back in 2006. I took it off the market three years later because it was based on a new group that I had formed with some friends that didn't work out. I reworked it taking out at least half of the previous material that wasn't relevant because the group didn't get off the ground and added new original material to replace it.
I really liked the concept of this book because women are so vulnerable when they move into relationships after being married to a gay man. Some women are just so desperate to feel loved, they take the first man who comes along and promises them happiness. So often, this man is a straight version of their gay husband. Many of us had gay husbands who were narcissists or sociopaths. We learn the hard way that there are plenty of straight men out there who are the same. And guess what? It just doesn't happen to us, but to millions of other women who are married to straight men as well. The same prototype of a woman that a gay man looks for is the same prototype of a woman that a broken man looks for.
In this book, I continuously discuss the issue of self-esteem--or rather the lack of it and how it drives us to make poor decisions in relationships in our lives. I do talk about some of my past pathetic relationships/marriages, and how in my desperation to feel love, I only destroyed my own life. Some of the stories in here were painful to tell and expose, but I believe all of us are connected by our pain and mistakes. I never want you to feel alone or stupid for making choices that you did.
This book also gives you a list of things to do to check out a man before you get involved with him based on some of the things I should have done but didn't early on. I learned from those experiences including dating a man who lied about who he was and catching him . Like I said, so many of us are so vulnerable and believing because we want to believe. Don't be fooled! Read this book and learn from my mistakes rather than learning them on your own.
And speaking about ManReaders, I've added a new Mantra to my www.gayhusbands.com website:
You can never fix a broken man--but he can break you.
Please make sure you engrave that thought in your mind!
WISE WORDS FROM MY FRIEND NANCY IN GEORGIA
When I went to Houston to meet with some of our women in March, one woman who joined us was Nancy. Nancy wrote to me:
I pulled up something I wrote about October of 2010 that reflect the thoughts I had as I struggled with what to do about our marriage. I think you will find at the time that I felt like many believers that these urges should be kept inside and not expressed especially if married. I now know that this is impossible, but I figured many women like me may have these same feelings as they go through this painful process.
This piece that Nancy wrote is followed by her new piece which shows how her feelings have evolved over the past two years. Nancy will be my guest on the Straight Wives Talk Show tonight. You can hear her by going to the following link at 10:00 p.m. EST or accessing the archive any time after the show is on:
You can also go to www.blogtalkradio.com and put Straight Wives Talk Show July 15, 2012 in the search box.
Here are Nancy's original words:
I come here today to begin to make peace with a new life that seems to be unfolding before us. Over the past few months we have been faced with many changes that rocked our world, and caused much tension, heartache, suspicions, and anger. On the other hand, it has caused me personally to reacquaint myself in the most intimate way to God, our creator. He has been there to provide assurance, guidance, and an unmistakable peace that can only be explained through His divine power.
I have had much time to reflect since the news that came on that June 5, 2010, and although at that time, the details were sketchy and unclear, I was not surprised at the revelation, something I had suspected to be the case became a reality.
The words:“ I am gay, and I was born that way” resounded loud and clear. I did not make assumptions about how this would all play out, but the foundation of a world that seemed so certain, was far from that. It made many things clear to me as we had grown apart over the past years, and I had felt a loneliness as a result of a lack of closeness in our marriage. But I quietly put away some of those feelings, and dedicated myself to the task of educating and raising our children, and in supporting my spouse in his career by managing our household. I know that as best he could, with an ever increasing struggle to disguise the feelings he always had, he tried to continue to be committed to supporting our family but ever increasingly removed himself emotionally and dedicated much more time to his own personal growth and development outside of our relationship together. On at least two occasions I initiated conversations about how I would like to see us develop a relationship that would help us grow together. These interactions got very little to no response, and I just quit trying.There seemed to be no room or common ground together for us to make that happen. I missed the relationship that comes from the dedication to grow closer in a husband and wife union. What I saw more and more was an association that regarded me mostly asthe mother the children, and a business partner as we managed our home.
But here we are, and I have played out many scenarios in my mind. I have told Chuck that I believe God knew his struggles before we married, yet, provided a family relationship, children, and an extended family that loves and accepts him even now. I also believe he provided an environment at work of the highest caliber that gives him the opportunity to grow not only in what he does best, but an exposure to the top leaders and fellow believers . All of these serving as a hedge of protection from a life that may or may not be that which God intended. I do believe that not all gay men are intended to follow their attraction, any more than a gambler should live in a Casino, or an alcoholic a bar. Forgive me if this is a simplistic way to describe a very complex struggle. These associations can be destructive, and ultimately deceive one into believing that to follow this attraction is God plan for that individual. But ultimately, that is not my decision to make, and only Chuck and God know the answer. I just want to make sure that no stone is left unturned so that the decision is made assuredly and without regret.
In answer to a question: “Can I be married to a gay man?”. My answer is no, I cannot be married to a man who is not dedicated fully to his wife at the exclusion of all others. This was part of our commitment at the altar in which we were to “forsake all others and devote ourselves” completely to each other.
I know that the person that is gay remained hidden and the person I married compartmentalized himself to accommodate the different lives in an attempt at keeping the gay person out of sight while still giving the appearance of a husband and wife relationship. The events of recent months made that duality impossible to continue and what little was revealed to me about an ongoing relationship only led to more suspicions. The trust I thought I knew had broken. The frustration which I now face, is separation, and the enigma of that person continues. Our separation gave way to more secrecy and very little disclosure about where we were headed.. This is no longer acceptable, and I seek to know where we stand. I requested that we meet together before now, and it was rejected. I am now compromising by meeting with a therapist who already has a relationship with my husband, and try to initiate some dialog about our future. Perhaps in this meeting, knowing that he has revealed enough information, that together we conclude that divorce is the only solution. I am ready for whatever is or will be determined.
This was Nancy's newest writing:
Left Handed- Right Handed, Gay-Straight
When driving home from work one day, I reached into the driver’s side door pocket to grab a pencil. I grabbed it with my left hand and held it as if to write. It felt awkward, uncomfortable, and out of place for me, a right handed person. I began to think how amazing it is that we come into this world with certain dominant characteristics that make us who we are. I happen to have a son who is right handed, and a daughter who is left handed. There was a time in history where a left-handed person was considered a nasty habit, a mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, rebellion, criminality, and homosexuality (http://facts.randomhistory.com/facts-about-left-handedness.html). Fortunately we have abandoned such ridiculous misconceptions when it comes to our dominant hand, but unfortunately we have still hold on to misunderstandings about a person’s sexual orientation.
I do not know why left-handed dominance previously got such a bad rap. Perhaps it is because 90 percent of all humans are right handed. It is customary to see something that is not the “normal” as unusual and a threat to the standard. We may look back at these facts and think them to be so ridiculous, archaic, and coming from people who are intellectually inferior. But as we explore the issue of sexual orientation, we still hear these same ridiculous “facts” that take us back to the people whom we now criticize about their views of right-left hand dominance.
I cannot imagine if we had lived in a time where my left-handed daughter would have suffered such abuse, to the point where it would have been better to force her to write with her right hand to avoid the “label” and “abuse”. As her parent, desiring her best interest and protection, would have trained her to deny what was a trait that God had created in her, to be what our narrow minds considered the only acceptable way. ¬¬¬¬¬-Instead today, we speak of the left-right hand dominance as a natural inclination, and accept whatever way our children are “wired”. The explanation for which hand we will utilize is much more scientific, and we know so much more about the function of our brain and bodies.
On the other hand, our sexual orientation, also a result of the way we are “wired” has not benefited from the same progressive thinking and acceptance. Although the implications of our orientation are more complex than manual dexterity, the reality of it being something we are born with has been a difficult concept for most to grasp. It is difficult for us to pick up a pencil to write, or try to work primarily with a hand that is not our dominant one. It is awkward and requires more effort from our brain to make it do what it should. It does not feel natural, yet with some training, we can improve the use of it, but never to the finesse of our dominant hand. Who can explain such a mystery? I cannot, but I see it in action.
I am not here to explain these things, but I am here to say that we are born with certain traits, dominant characteristics, and yes, a sexual orientation. Knowing that 90% of the human population is right-handed, does not make it the only way, instead, it is the most prevalent. In the same manner, heterosexuality is the sexual orientation of the majority, but homosexuality cannot be denied as a real orientation by a smaller population of the world. We may not be able to describe how and why this can be possible, but it does not discount the reality of its occurrence.
I speak passionately of these things out of personal experience in a brother (never married) and a now ex-husband who are homosexual. Through much research, counseling, and hearing from life experiences of other women like me, I have come to terms with the reality of their sexual orientation. Would they have lived differently if the “prejudices” or “misgivings” about homosexuality did not exist? If there are indeed four million women in this country alone who unknowingly marry gay men, I will have to say that the suffering from a “mismarriage” is carried on in the lives of the women children, and extended family and friends. The consequences of trying to live the most acceptable form of “family” can be devastating and painful to all those involved.
In this country we have made some strides in accepting homosexuality as a natural part of human life and not merely a choice. There are places around the world where the consequences of such a revelation could result in death, and for this reason, the option of leaving a marriage would be impossible. I hope that we continue to open our minds to the complexity of life and become more open to the possibilities of just how we are “wired”. It will only make it easier for men and women to come to terms with their sexual orientation, and perhaps feel less pressure to follow the majority, rather than the person intended by God for them to be.
Nancy from Georgia
Thank you Nancy, for explaining this in a sensitive and understandable way. Part of our healing process is understanding that what has happened to us in having a gay husband has nothing to do with us as wives. We didn't create it or cause it--and we can't change it. We can accept it and move on in our lives.
Each month I receive some wonderful letters after the newsletter is sent out. I always ask permission to print your comments here when I think it will really help others. Thank you all for sharing. Learning from each other is the best way to learn.
Often your newsletters prompt a flood of responses in me, as I’m sure many others can say. Your April and May newsletters did just that. Especially the concept of “waiting for the confession that will never come.” Over 40 years ago, just 2 months into married life, my newlywed husband sat crying on the bathroom floor after another of our constant fights stemming from the incomprehensible, humiliating reality that my young husband wanted nothing to do with me sexually. In that wrenching moment of honesty, the one and only peek under the heavy cover that was to become his life for four decades, he declared that, “we were DOOMED simply because we got married – and that if I ever repeated that he would deny ever saying it.” He wanted me to forget he said it, forget I heard it – and never to understand what he meant by it. Instead as if the words were seared into my brain, I never forgot them and spent 40 years trying to understand what he was saying so long ago. He never again spoke the truth to me about who he really was. I still don’t really know and probably never will. I didn’t at the time appreciate the full significance of what it was and how it would affect our marriage – or our entire life. But in our fourth decade together when his secret life began to unravel and reveal itself to me, I understood he had always held a secret. He married me knowing he had a secret that would doom our marriage. That when he told me way back then that he would deny ever saying it – he was telling me he would be deceitful in our marriage. That was something I would never have accepted or even allowed myself to see.
Having come from an abusive childhood and having spent those early years clinging to the belief that my father was a “good father” – that same denial that served me so well swept me right into my marriage. My husband would rescue me, he would be the “good husband” and we would live happily ever after. For if I did not have the good father or the good husband, it must mean there was something so terribly wrong with me to make me unlovable. Now in my 60s I mourn the fact that I was never allowed the experience of feeling truly loved by a husband or even a father. My life was unknowingly confiscated to serve as the “everything’s normal” model of matrimonial bliss. The heavy cover he had placed over his life enveloped me. And in all that time I believed he loved me – deeply. That whatever the state of our marriage was, we were in it together.
But when the truth spilled out, or just as much truth as he would allow to be revealed, he admitted to “allowing men to perform oral sex on him”. At first he said it was once, then twice, then five times, then fifteen, …he stopped at 20 years but I now understand it went back to before we were even married 32 years earlier. At one point he said he had lied his entire life, “Didn’t you know that?” he mockingly asked me. No I didn’t know that. What was wrong with me? How could I be so stupid, so blind? Was I crazy? I questioned him about a man that for 3 years was always phoning the house when my husband was not home. He said he thought the guy “was hitting on him”. In that moment I didn’t recognize him. I wanted to vomit. He denied being gay. He said under the circumstances he couldn’t deny being bi – but within a few weeks he was denying that too. He denied it right to the end. Maybe even to himself. I’ll never know – even though I was with him for four decades! During the unraveling, my life descended into a deep dark hole that lasted for several agonizing years and even still appears at times today. Sometimes I wonder how I survived.
Throughout our marriage, I never understood what our “problem” was. I could never get him to open up. But I always believed that if I could just find the right key I could get him to and then everything would be fine. He would be able to show me he loved me. That denial, that naïveté became my way of life. In hindsight, control…control of his secrets, of my ignorance, of my sanity, of the truth - became his life. We never could develop any kind of a connection between each other, which kept me feeling continually shut out, never a partner, a helpmate, or a lover. That lack of connection never let him show any empathy. And still when the truth or at least part of it was given to me I still wanted to hold on to our marriage. It was all I knew. He was my life since I was 15 years old, 40 years earlier. I just couldn’t see how we would re-establish that life. By then he had told our children his “story” in detail unfortunately, and also his entire family. He was on an unburdening crusade. But before I could come to an understanding, he had found someone else, on the Internet, on a porn site chat group, and it was another woman. He told me repeatedly that he could tell her anything. I have a feeling he did tell her the truth – the truth that was continually denied to me – and that was devastating. I know it is not uncommon for men in this situation to marry another woman and continue the secret with a new “victim”, but I really do believe he confessed to her soon after “meeting” her online – or at least told her things he never told me in 40 years. I believe this because of where he “met” her – on a porn site. I think she was okay with the truth and probably promised him whatever he wanted. Immediately after the divorce was final they married and moved across the country to her home state. I have had nothing to do with him since. His grown children will never feel the same about him and seldom see him. It was all very sad. He ruined our family. He had lied to all of us for our entire lives. He may have lied to himself too, but it is undeniable that he knew he had a secret all those years. He knew something. Something that was toxic to us. And he never shared it with me.
We were divorced 6 years ago. Being in a no-fault state, none of his discretions could ever be brought out, so the entire year long battle became solely about how as a free-lance artist I never earned a great deal of money, since we decided together that I would be a stay-at-home mom. One day he stood before me face to face, and wryly asked, “How will you survive?” Then shook his head, and walked away. By the time the divorce was over I was a shattered empty shell, no self-esteem, not even a belief in my own sense of reality or perception anymore, consumed with humiliation.
It has taken all this time for me to begin to understand what happened to my life. I knew I was better off without him almost immediately. But it took me years to deal with the grief that the man I was so in love with all my life never existed. He was a myth… a figment of my imagination created by a man in hiding, feckless, preferring to remain incognito at the expense of my life and our family really. And the man, or the carcass that was left, was a complete stranger to me…a changeling. The fierce, abusive fights that ensued briefly soon after frightened me terribly. They gave me a taste of how dangerous those periods can be for women in my situation. I had descended into a very real place where I never before could have even imagined ending up.
In time, I went from that horrible place into a new one. My sanctuary, my safe place, my healing place in the shadow of the Mississippi River bluffs. I have loved this home and grown here for 6 years. But the time has come when I have to move on again. There were only 4 years of maintenance payments from him before he retired. My small pension dropped drastically with the recession and my health insurance rates are continually on the rise so I can no longer afford to live here. I continually arrive at places in my life where I never dreamt I would be. And I move on.
My daughter has finally convinced me to move to the city where she lives so that I can be closer to her, my son and grandchildren. My daughter and I have plans to buy a duplex together. I think I will be happier there, less lonely for sure. Most of my friends disappeared with the divorce. One was afraid I would go after her husband. Didn’t she know the last thing in the world I wanted was another man? I had just had one man in my life, but it seems he had many of them, countless really, so that revoltingly, I felt like I had had them all too, indirectly. That was more than enough. Several other “friends” left when they saw my ex’s wedding announcement in the paper, and thought I had lied to them about him – after all he was marrying another woman. Of course I must have lied.
People are always telling me I need to move on, so much so that I get tired of it. They don’t seem to understand that this is what moving on looks like. Moving on does not mean just forgetting everything like it never happened. This was my entire life, my history. It was my identity. It held my hopes and dreams. Those things are all different now, re-created. It is a painfully long process. And it takes as long as it takes. I’ve sold my beloved house as I sold the one before this one – our house, our family home. I have to do it again and leave my hometown of 32 years, but I am learning to look forward to new hopes and dreams, and creating new memories, in the years ahead. But in the end, some questions will never be answered, memories never all extinguished and always that question – haunting as it is – of just what about my life was real? And what wasn’t?
Thank you for your continued newsletters. I hope you're well. As you know, I have a good relationship with my ex-husband and reading the husbands' views still tugs at the ole heart strings. I still struggle with the, "I had to hide, I know it wasn't my wife's fault but I was miserable" bit. I struggle with it because of the gay husbands' words they hurt. I had the misfortune to read in our local newspaper a 'your voice' section where an ongoing dispute is going on between gay and straight people about gay marriage. My ex's partner wrote in a witty reply to one straight lady not at all insulting just nicely written. Then the following week some straight ex-husband now gay had to write "of course gay men can have children it's just the act that repulses us"..............omg I wanted to write a snotty reply and believe I may have called him a few rude words...but why had I reacted like this. Well that brings me back to feeling that I am being blamed for their miserable life and keeping him from what he was....even though I didn't know. I realize this is obviously this bit of it still hurts me and need to do more work on. The "my wife really loved me and did nothing wrong it was me (but underneath I blame her for making me be married etc)"......makes my blood simmer somewhat.
As I pointed out to my ex and would like to say to the other ex gay husbands who say "If friends and family can't deal with it it's their problem not mine so I will distance myself from them. They're just narrow minded blah blah blah"......well my dear, you hid this from yourself for 20, 30, 40 years, however long you've hidden it - and now you're out and are happy with your choice and now get to live your life your way I say WONDERFUL. HOWEVER, it has taken you a long, long time to come to terms with it yourself you CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT expect family and friends just to go, "Oh okay then" there will be people you have in your life that can do. To the ones that can't, give them time, don't walk away and punish them for their misunderstanding and judgment just remember how long it took you to come to terms with it and then give them the same chance to come around even if it takes them years too.
Anyway Bonnie all the very best to you.
I wanted to share this e-mail with you and your organization. Thank you for providing information about what it really means to be married to a gay man, and what options are available. You did not offer the suck it up and try harder options, you just laid out truths that at times were difficult to read, but at the end of everything were not only correct but so empowering.
I hope that women everywhere who are struggling with this challenge find your site, and realize that the options available to them are theirs alone to choose, but there is a community of women who have gone through similar struggles and are available to support them through this crazy, ugly, devastating experience with love and courage.
Dear divorce busters:
Several years ago I found your website and encouragement to work through my marriage difficulties and find a way to make my relationship last. I was your typical wife; I believed in forever, work through your problems, raise our child and find solutions to problems if they seemed too big for my spouse and I to handle. We went to counseling and our life as we knew it was unraveling.
You see, my husband is gay. He was born that way but knew it was 'wrong', and he says he never cheated on me, but since we had not had sex since the birth of our daughter 9 years before, and prior to that very infrequently, STD's were not a concern. I told the counselor I thought my husband was gay, and he point blank told me I was wrong. So back to fixing, and working and feeling lonelier and more empty each day. There were great days and good days and really low days, but I had my marriage, and according to the church, and your website, and the counselor it was working.
Then, we went on vacation and the family met a 'friend' of his. They held hands, and hugged and visited. Then later that night we went swimming and I snapped. He was watching his friend like a man who was in love, he smiled that sweet, 'I can't believe my luck' smile. He followed the movements of this man, and he forgot I was there. It was then I knew that he was gay. Three months later I told him he was gay and that I would be moving out. He assured me he was straight, and I told him if that was the case, in six months we would try again. 6 weeks later he wasn't coming home, and told me he had met a man.
I am sharing this with you for two reasons. The first is because I believe in marriage, in the beauty and sanctity of it. I believe that you don't just throw things away when they get difficult, and we worked so hard to make it work. However, as I believed in marriage and my husband my soul were dying and the loneliness was heart wrenching. Your web site never mentioned that this could be something that was going on, or what to do.
This leads me to the second reason; as you share the importance of staying strong in a marriage, and believing that a couple can work through anything with kindness and diligence, sometimes your soul being saved, and your gay spouse finding true happiness is more important.
When you love someone, truly love them as a husband and wife should love each other then you must allow that person genuine happiness. I gained that happiness through heartache and tears. My ex-husband has found a contentment that eluded him for years because he was set free.
Please remove me from your divorce busters emails and go out into the world with kindness...some marriages just aren't meant to be.
Thank all of you for sharing your heart-felt words. Remember--sharing is truly away to express caring.
Have a great month.
With love and hope,