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NEW DAY AND TIME FOR STRAIGHT WIVES TALK SHOW
This is a reminder that my computer radio show "Straight Wives Talk Show" has moved to Monday evenings at 9 p.m. EST, 8 p.m. CT, 7 p.m. MT, and 6 p.m. PT. The show can be heard live or after the podcast 24/7. Just log in to www.Blogtalkradio.com, and in the search bar type in Bonnie Kaye's Straight Wives Talk Show. My two monthly regular co-hosts, Dr. Brian Hooper and Coach Suzette Hinton Vearnon will be joining me on the first and last Mondays of the month to discuss issues that affect us all. In between I have specialists who can help us through the healing process. You can listen to any of the past shows when you have the time or the need. If you would like a link to my weekly radio show a day ahead of time, please email at Bonkaye@aol.com and put "Radio" in the subject box.
HAPPY 15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO US
This month marks the start of my 15th year of monthly newsletters. I know it's hard for me to believe that there are so many things to say after so many years of saying them! I decided to change directions this newsletter because I wanted to celebrate this special anniversary month with three REPEAT articles from the past. Even though you may have read them before, they are messages that need to be hit home to many of us. In fact, they are so important that I send them separately to everyone who asks me for information. Some of the things I mention in the articles will be painful to some of you, but you know it is said with love, compassion, understanding--and mostly experience. Please forgive the length of this, but I couldn't find anything I wanted to cut. I hope these messages guide you in the future.
#1 - WAITING FOR HIS CONFESSION THAT WILL NEVER COME…AND WHY
Okay, I finally, finally get it. Although I’ve alluded to it numerous times in my writing, I had to really get this clear in my mind. Some of your husbands will never admit they are gay to you. You are standing around waiting for a confession so you can feel better about the void and lack of intimacy in your marriage. If only you could get a confession…if only you could hear him say those magic words…if only you found the proof you need…if only, if only….
Guest what? It is not going to happen. I wrote about this ten years ago when I described the Straight-Gay man. Since it has been a while since some of you have read it, I am going to repeat it here because I believe it helps you understand these men who won’t tell you they are gay because they don’t believe they are gay. This article is from my newsletter dated January, 2002.
I have coined a new term for another classification of gay husbands. It is “Straight Gay Husbands.” I hope you like it. It is my new reference to gay men who are permanently living the straight life, sort of like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are the husbands who will not acknowledge their homosexuality privately or publicly--ever. Some of them know that you know, but try to confuse you enough to put enough doubt in your mind to make you think that you are the crazy one. It’s the best defense to your “offensive” questions. These are the men that shut you up or shut you down the moment you think about making mention of the possibility of homosexuality. They know what they are, and they know what you suspect, but keep your mouth shut because they don’t want to hear about it--especially from you.
These men are different than the gay husbands that admit they are gay/bisexual but promise not to act on those needs while they remain married to you. (Like we really believe that story!) They are also different than the gay husbands who are leading very secret lives and not leaving a trail of crumbs for you to follow. They are not even quite like the Limbo Men I have described who are caught in between two worlds. These are men who are definitely not stuck. They are identifying strictly as straight. There is no way they are entering the gay world through the front or back door, or even through the closet. They detest the gay world and what it stands for which gives them even greater reassurance, at least to themselves, that they are not gay.
The Straight Gay Men are the ones who have to remain in total control of all of their physical motions lest someone should suspect they are not quite as straight as they claim. It’s funny how many women tell me how their husbands’ physical appearances, gestures, and movements change once they come out. I can’t even fathom how difficult it must be to have to go through life calculating every breath and step you take. It’s sort of like walking down a sidewalk and having to make sure that you “don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back” as the game use to say. My balance and coordination never let me win that game.
These husbands are quick to use you and the children as their proof that they are not gay to the outside world just in case they let their guard down and anyone might accuse them of the “unthinkable.” They honestly don’t identify as gay even though they have sex with men. They don’t get themselves involved emotionally with men, just sexually. That helps them justify the fact that they are straight, not gay.
Some women can’t understand this. If you look like a duck, walk like a duck, act like a duck, but have sex with a goose, are you still a duck or are you a goose? I say you’re a goose. I don’t care what you act like to the outside world; I only look at who satisfies you sexually. And if you’re a duck making love to a goose, your feathers have to ruffle in a different direction when you stand up and straighten them out. But this does make things that much more confusing and complicated. So, to simplify your confusion, let me say this—STRAIGHT MEN DON’T HAVE GAY SEX. You can call it whatever makes you feel better, but I still call it gay—all the way.
Women who live with Straight Gay Men and Limbo Men are often the most commonly emotionally abused women. They would have to be. Their husbands are truly living in a complex world that makes little or any sense. They are living unfilled lives because they don’t have any emotional connections. They don’t connect emotionally with their wives because they aren’t really straight. They don’t connect emotionally with men because they refuse to be gay. And so they function but don’t connect. This lack of emotional connection creates a sense of insensitivity when it comes to your feelings and your emotions.
It also closes them up as human beings. They are unable to connect with a wife because they are living an internal--and what seems like an eternal--lie. This lie keeps overtaking any sense of good feelings towards the person whom they believe is responsible for this state of living—namely you. Now we know it is ridiculous to think that you should be their reason for living this lie, but subconsciously, this is how they feel.
As much as they love to have you as their “cover” is as much as they hate to have you sharing under their covers. They resent your nagging demands for sexual intimacy because it “isn’t their thing.” It’s your thing. And why do you have to try to make them feel inadequate just because they are? Even when you stop asking for it, you are still thinking about it and they can tell. It means they have to come up with a continuous string of stories to account for their lack of sexual behavior with you. This puts pressure on these guys who feel you are being unreasonable. Why do you have to make such a big deal out of sex?
They feel that in all other ways, they are ideal husbands. They are there raising the family with you. They are helping to support your financial needs or at least sharing in them. They are taking part in the social activities that you have decided are important. They are doing lots for you—and how do you show your appreciation? By badgering them with little innuendos and questioning looks. This really shows a lack of appreciation on your part and so they get pissed.
The Straight Gay Men think they are Supermen. And to a degree, they are. They juggle, manipulate, calculate, and carefully plan out all of their actions. It takes a lot of energy to do this, and they marvel at their ability to pull it off. It gives them an air of smugness that shows in their personality. I’m not quite sure what they think they’re pulling off because they know that you are doubtful of their explanations. There are only so many headaches, backaches, depressions, and side effects from medication that you can keep relying on. But they feel confident if they use these excuses enough, you’ll give up. Most women do. As I’ve said before numerous times, no woman wants to feel like she has to beg her husband to make love to her. It’s degrading and demeaning. We get the hint after enough sexual rejection and stop asking. But it doesn’t mean that we stop thinking—and wanting.
Every time we see other couples holding and caressing lovingly together, this is a reminder. It’s a reminder of what we thought we should have had but never were able to achieve. It’s a reminder of what our hopes and dreams were for married life when we took that life-altering step and said, “I do.” We are momentarily reminded of what marriage was supposed to be, but never became. And this sadness shows in our faces, in our eyes, and in our hearts. When our husbands glimpse at us, they know what we are thinking. They know what we are wishing. They know that the words they don’t want to hear may possibly be coming out of our mouths at any moment. Rather than take a chance and have to come up with one more excuse, they find some way to knock us down and put us back into the non-assertive mental state that they so easily know how to do.
We are women who have been conditioned. Remember, Straight Gay Men remain in the marriages indefinitely and have years to erode your sense of self-worth. They are not going anywhere, and they want to make sure that you feel inadequate enough so that you won’t go anywhere either. I don’t know who could have taught these men about the facts of life and marriage, but obviously, they weren’t listening or didn’t have a teacher. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that sex is part of marriage? Didn’t they ever hear that intimacy grows from making love to the person who loves you? Do they really believe that they can sit for years in a marriage and overlook that little detail? Yes, they do. And we become their silent partners because we have been silenced on the issue of sex.
The irony is that even if you leave these men, as some women do, they will remarry again. Yes, they will remarry another woman. They will still do their occasional gay sex thing to satisfy their sexual need, but that goes with the territory. It is amazing to me how these men can live such a delusional existence until the day they die. And they will drag other women into their web of deceit. The next victim (and men who do this more than once are victimizers) will fall for it just like you did—but even better. Your Straight Gay Husband has a track record. He will still use you as his shield by telling his next conquest that he was married before, ergo, he is straight. And the woman who is in a subsequent marriage with this man has no reason to question his sexuality at all. He married before; he’s marrying again. Chances are his next wife will feel even more inadequate than you feel. He’ll make sure to tell her that the two of you never had problems in the bedroom before. And if she does meet you, she’ll be too embarrassed to ask you the truth. And you’ll probably keep protecting him.
So if you are in a long-term marriage to a Straight Gay Man, don’t plan on things ever getting better. There may be temporary second honeymoon periods, only to prove to you once again that you are crazy for even suspecting there is something wrong with your wonder man. But it’s guaranteed that things will resort back to the “normal” pattern of digs, harsh words, and put-downs. Count on it. Then decide if this is the most that you want out of life because as long as you are in this marriage, this is all you can expect.
There is a word that describes what these husbands do: COMPARTMENTALIZE. This means he is able to keep his behaviors separate and tied up in neat packages without letting one interfere with the other. The Straight Gay Men live their lives this way. They are able to separate their need for sexual dabbling with a man from their “straight lives” as straight husbands. I do tell our women that as long as you allow your husband to live in his “compartmentalized closet,” he will remain there forever. The fact that you remain in the marriage to him allows him to justify even more that he is straight—especially in his own mind. After all, his wife isn’t going anywhere, right? This convinces him even more.
So if your happiness is waiting for a confession that won’t be coming, do yourself a favor and stop waiting for it. Take control of your life and GET OUT before you allow yourself to totally lose who you are. Remember—if your husband can’t admit he is gay to himself, he will never admit it to you. In his own warped sense of reality, he is a straight man.
#2 - THE HONEYMOON REVISITED
I love happy endings to stories. With straight/gay marriages, some of you also have the advantage of having some happy middles of stories even if the endings are sad. Of course, these middle stories don’t last very long, but while they happen, it’s like having a second honeymoon.
I hear it from many women. The story is usually the same, so here goes a typical one that I received this week:
It’s a miracle! After I confronted my husband with my suspicions about his being gay, he admitted to me that he had passing thoughts about men but would never act on them. And now, things are better than they’ve ever been. Now it’s just like when we were on our honeymoon—but even better. My husband is being very attentive to me and very considerate. For the first time in years, he is being affectionate to me. He is holding my hand in public and kissing me goodnight every night.
And now for the best part—my husband realizes that he is not gay.
He has approached me for sex for the first time in years. He is really doing everything to be the kind of husband that I knew he could be if he could just get those homosexual thoughts out of his head. Now I realize that we can move forward in our marriage with all of the bad times behind us.”
< Most of the time, the letters end with, “You were wrong, Bonnie.” Sometimes, I’ll hear a more insightful thought from a woman saying, “I know that this is just a temporary stage, but I’ll take it for the moment!”
I do want to tell you that these honeymoons don’t last for long. Sometimes they’ll last a few weeks or even a few months. But as letters that come in later with humble apologies to me say, the “honeymoon revisited phase” is usually over within a short amount of time. You see, after the husbands lulls you into a false sense of security once again, he feels he has you back where he wants you and so his “Normal,” or shall we say, “Abnormal,” patterns creep back slowly, or sometimes quickly. But they always come back. I tell these women there is no need to apologize. I know how I used to hang on to any false hope that came my way no matter how quickly it whizzed past my eyes.
Why do our gay husbands revisit the honeymoon phase? Quite simple. They fear that you now suspect or know the truth about their homosexuality and they are determined to throw you off track and start doubting yourself. They are not ready to be honest, and so they buy time. They become affectionate, attentive, and start to give you unexpected gifts. They say they are willing to work on their “sexual dysfunction.” They claim they will go for marriage counseling, and in some cases, give it a try for a few weeks or months.
And you feel good. You start believing that your suspicion about the worst possible scenario is untrue. And all those little signs that you thought were leading you in that direction were really something else. Maybe it was just a curiosity phase. Maybe your husband was having problems from medications. Maybe he does have some gay tendencies, but maybe that’s from an extra chromosome or two that has been misplaced. Maybe he’s learned his lesson by realizing that you are going to leave your marriage if you find out that he’s doing his thing.
Then you think you are so “stupid” when the second honeymoon is over and reality hits again. Please don’t apologize or feel stupid. I was lulled endless times into what I wanted to be a functioning marriage. I grasped for any sign of rebuttal from my husband and swore I could make things better if only he would work with me on it. Yes, I even had a couple of extra sexual encounters that he initiated in good faith to prove to me that our marriage would be A-okay. But how long could he fool me? He couldn’t even fool himself. He couldn’t carry out this lie indefinitely, and within a short time, things reverted to where they were—or shall I say deteriorated back to where they were—when I threw out my suspicions.
So, next time you see things changing, be aware that it is just a temporary ploy. Don’t get your hopes up—enjoy the peace and quiet for whatever time it lasts. Use this time to strengthen yourself mentally because this is not the time that your husband will be battering you down mentally. Recognize it for what it is and take advantage of the quiet time to make a plan to protect yourself and your future. And rest assure—the honeymoon will be over before you know it. Once you understand this, your chances of being disappointed will become one of expectation and much easier to handle.
#3TELLING THE CHILDREN
Every few years, I have an epiphany. You know what I mean—that “Aha” moment when things you were gray about become black and white. In the past six months, this has happened to me in terms of the always present issue of WHAT TO TELL THE CHILDREN.
Okay, I admit I was on the fence for the past 25 years. And believe me when I tell you I struggled with this throughout the time of my own children growing up, as well as your children growing up. I really vacillated because I felt that every situation was so different. It depended on:
1. The age of the children
2. The location of where the family lives
3. The willingness of the father to reveal the information
4. The acceptance of the mother of her husband’s homosexuality
I used to think that if a child was younger or older, the news would be better accepted. I really did “fear” telling children in their adolescent years for fear of them questioning their own sexuality which might further complicate their teenage years.
So now, after listening to so many stories from adult survivor children of straight/gay marriages, I realize that I was wrong—the children need to know as soon as possible. So let’s discuss the two issues here: (1) why do they need to know and (2) how to
Let’s start with the question “why do they need to know?”
First, the truth may hurt some of you reading this, but it’s better to face the reality than live in the fantasy. Although our husbands may be award-winning actors as they portray their parts as “straight husbands” during your marriage, you, the straight wives, have not developed that same talent of “acting” like you are happy when you know that there is something missing and wrong in your marriage. Most of you are spending hours every week wondering what the problem is and how you can fix it, and when you find nothing is changing no matter how monumental your efforts are, you become depressed. There’s no shame in this, trust me. I was there. It’s really hard to keep laughing while your sense of self and sexual esteem is plummeting downwards daily. When the extent of your intimacy with your husband resorts to being a quick peck on the cheek, it’s hard not to feel that sense of rejection.
It doesn’t take long before you move from a state of “living” into a state of “existing.” Yes, you wake up, do your chores, go to your job, get through the days, take care of the kids and husband, but you’re on auto pilot. In most cases you have no idea what is going wrong in your marriage, but you do know it’s not what marriage was supposed to be like. And even when you suspect the worst—namely the truth—you’re doing your best to believe the lies your husbands are constantly telling you hoping beyond hope that lies will miraculously turn into truths--but they never do.
Stop deluding yourselves by thinking your children don’t know something is wrong. They do. Every child of a straight/gay marriage has written to me telling me that he or she knew something wasn’t right in the home. There was a lack of affection, caring, compassion, and loving. It didn’t mean the dad wasn’t a good dad—it just means that the marriage wasn’t a good marriage. Children know it. They can sense it. And guess what? They sense your unhappiness. They hear your crying. They see you taking “medication” in the form of antidepressants. They sense your struggle, even if they don’t know what the struggle is about.
When you do find out the truth, if you don’t leave the marriage, you are covering up the truth. Like I said, YOU are covering up the truth. By the time you find out, your husband has now let down his defenses and started to get careless. Almost all of these children found evidence of their father’s homosexuality before you did via the Internet, cell phones, or pornographic material in the home. But now you feel backed against the corner to keep HIS secret. Let me tell you as a fact—this kind of secret destroys families.
I can understand the fear that gay men have of their families finding out. I work with many gay men who are going through this process and I do hurt for them. I really do. But I also tell them they need to do the right thing and TELL THE TRUTH. Now I’m telling both our women and gay men you need to tell the truth to your children.
First of all, why are we keeping this a secret? A secret implies something bad. Are we giving the message that homosexuality is bad? By keeping this a secret, we are. Homosexuality is different—it’s not bad. We have to move away from the “secret” mentality because it only perpetuates the situation and makes it worse. Remember—children are made up of two parents, not one. If a child feels that there is something wrong with the father without knowing what the truth is, any kind of horror can be imagined far worse than the truth. This affects the self-worth of the child because half of him or her came from the father.
Next is the issue of the children knowing and feeling they now have to keep this news a “secret.” This puts them in a very dark space that they don’t want to be in. They feel they are caught in a web of deceit affecting both of their parents. They don’t want to be the cause of the breakup of a marriage. They know their fathers are cheating but they are afraid of hurting their mothers. They don’t want their fathers to be mad at them, so they keep silent seeing their mothers hurting and feeling helpless to do anything to help their mothers.
Yikes!!! What are we doing to these precious children? We are giving them all the wrong messages about love, marriage, and trust. How the heck are they supposed to find positive relationships in their future when they look at their “teachers”—namely their parents—and feel such a sense of confusion?
Yep, this secret should not be a secret—it should be discussed as soon as the wife has time to process it. And it should be told to the children by BOTH parents. However, some of the fathers refuse to do this, still thinking about protecting themselves before protecting the mental health of their children. In that case, you will have to become the teller of the news on your own. Give your husband a chance to tell it with you, but if he refuses, be firm and tell him that you will do it yourself.
I know some of you are shuddering by now. As loving, kind, compassionate women, you are often the “keeper of the secret” for your gay husbands. You continue to protect them long after they are living their gay lives because they ask you to because THEY don’t want people to know. Let’s be honest—why are you protecting them? Why aren’t you protecting your children? Why should your children live in the mystery of why a marriage ended, and in some cases, blame YOU for the end of their family life? This makes no sense.
I look at this like a domino effect. Your husband has no choice in his homosexuality. He married you with the hopes and dreams of being a good “straight” husband, but it’s not happening over time. So he’s falling and knocks you down. Now the pressure of both of you falling is knocking down the children. Who are the real victims here?
Mis-marriages (or mistakes in a marriage as I call them) happen. The issue of fault is not the issue when it comes to the children. Gay men make the mistake and most often unintentionally—but they can fix it. They don’t have to linger in your life forever making you feel more trapped than they feel being where they don’t belong. As adults, you have the power to rebuild your lives again even though many of you feel very powerless. With help, counseling, and support—it does happen all the time. But who is there to rebuild your children? Why wouldn’t you think that your marriage wouldn’t affect them? Trust me when I tell you that it does. The emotional damage that it can cause them will fill their lifetimes. That’s why you owe it to them to do the right thing and tell them the truth before they find it out some other way or from someone else. Your children won’t thank you for “protecting” them as some as you think—they’ll wonder why you couldn’t be honest with them and then wonder what else wasn’t true in their lives that you “protected” them from.
As far as how to tell them, well, that’s another story. It can’t be told with anger in your voice and venom in your heart no matter how you are feeling at the moment. Remember—this is NOT about you—it’s about YOUR CHILDREN. When you talk about their father in a derogatory way, don’t think they won’t be internalizing it because they will. Your children don’t have to be your allies—you have friends and families for that. The children need to feel a sense of security and love from both parents, even when one of them may be acting like a total jerk. And to my gay men reading this, trust me—it’s not the “gay” that makes these men jerks—it’s the lack of responsibility financially and emotionally to the families after they leave. And while I’m on that subject, I don’t really care about how gay husbands now have the chance to “find themselves” after being tormented in a mis-marriage for years.
The family STILL has to come first. That’s the correct, responsible thing to do. I make NO excuses for irresponsible gay husbands who are too busy having fun in their new found freedom to remember their grieving families. NONE.
The family STILL has to come first. That’s the correct, responsible thing to do. I make NO excuses for irresponsible gay husbands who are too busy having fun in their new found freedom to remember their grieving families. NONE.
So that’s where the problem comes in. It’s not really WHEN you tell the children, but HOW you tell them that is the issue. Homosexuality CANNOT be used as the weapon in the truth. Using derogatory words about gay is NOT going to help. That’s why wives have to be able to separate their personal own antagonisms based on their hurt from this discussion. Telling your children that their daddy is a “faggot” who likes to “screw men” is totally inappropriate. This is NOT going to make your children feel better about the situation. You can’t use gay as the target of your anger when telling the children the news. This is where loving them and putting their needs for emotional stability before your need for revenge comes into play.
Children don’t have to “visualize” their father’s sex habits in order to know about homosexuality. It’s bad enough that you are smacked in the face with it—but you’re an adult. It’s hard enough for you to figure out—don’t expect them to be able to deal with those thoughts. They shouldn’t have to. They do need to know this:
1. People are born differently. Some are tall; some are short. Some are white; some are black; some have blue eyes; some have brown eyes; some are straight; some are gay.
2. People don’t “choose” to be gay. They are born that way. They don’t always know it because there’s no big “G” sign on their bodies when they are born. The homosexuality develops at different times of each person’s life. Some people know it early; some know it later. There’s no set time which is the problem. For those that develop this later, they don’t understand or know it at the time they are getting married. The marriage was brought together by love, and the children were born out of this love.
3. When a man realizes he is gay, he needs to love his wife and children enough to be honest with them because he doesn’t want his family to suffer anymore. As a gay man, he can’t be the kind of husband the wife needs, but he can still be an important part of the family.
4. A gay man can still be a wonderful father. His love for his children hasn’t changed even if the marriage does change.
Do I have all of the answers? No, not yet. But I think this is a good start. It’s an objective start. Look, when my kids were growing up and my ex-husband was acting like a jerk, I had to bite my tongue A LOT so I wouldn’t say derogatory things about him that would affect them. Sometimes, I bit it so hard that it was swelling out of my mouth. There were plenty of times I wanted to call him every horrible name in the book—but I didn’t—not to them. I saved it for my friends and family. To my children, I turned my ex into a prince. I didn’t do it for him—I did it for them. I wanted them to feel secure that their parents loved them regardless of the fact that we couldn’t live with each other. I also knew that children are created from two parents. If they believe that one of them is “defective,” they internalize that something within them is wrong. It deteriorates their own sense of self-esteem which affects their future as far as positive relationships. I see it all of the time as our children find themselves in destructive relationships as they grow older because they don’t feel worthy of anything better.
And guess what? I told my children when I felt I had no choice. My ex refused to tell them even though I repeatedly asked him to. They would be in his home and find things as children do—magazines, videos, and other things. They would see him in bed sleeping with other men. By the time they were in their early teens, I felt I had no choice. They were confused, and I felt that as they grew into their teenage years, they needed to understand what was going on. And so, with great sensitivity, I told them because their father couldn’t—or shall I say wouldn’t. My ex was leading an actively gay life, and my children were around it whenever they visited him. He thought he was “hiding” it because he wasn’t holding hands or showing public display of affection, but children are far more perceptive than that. I felt the words had to be spoken because they were asking me questions that needed to be addressed.
Once my ex knew I told them was he mad? Infuriated is putting it mildly. He told me that I had no business to tell his business. But I told him he had no right living a life that the children were seeing and pretending like it wasn’t happening. How confused were they supposed to be growing up?
We didn’t speak for nearly a year after I dropped the news, but I had no regrets. In fact, in later years when my daughter came to terms with her homosexuality, at least she understood that she didn’t have to live her life in a closet pretending to be who she wasn’t because she didn’t have to feel the shame her father felt throughout his life.
My daughter was far more accepting of her father’s homosexuality than he was of hers--ironically. My son, on the other hand, felt it was his secret to keep from his friends. And that was his choice. He loved his father dearly, but he didn’t want people to know he had a gay father. I respected that decision. My son was certainly pro-gay, but he didn’t want people to know his father was gay. You see, if your children choose to keep the secret from their friends, that’s fine. But at least give them the knowledge to make that choice.
So, yes, there are no easy answers in this most complex situation. But as I tell the men who come to me, the truth will set you free. I am now telling you that it will also set your children free. Please think about this and feel free to get back to me with your thoughts and stories. We owe this to our children.
Thank you for indulging me on this special anniversary edition. There is nothing much that is new that I could say that would have been more impactful than this!
With love, hope, and optimism,