STRAIGHT WIVES MATTER
We are living in a world that revolves around "political correctness." Over the past ten years, I have watched this develop and to some degree get it and agree with it. I agree that people need to be accepted for who they are. I agree that it is unkind to mock people because of how they look. And I agree that no one should have to live in a world feeling uncomfortable or feel "left out." So yes, political correctness has certainly made some major inroads.
I have to admit I don't understand all of these inroads. Maybe it's my age or maybe it's because it's too hard to "get it" all--and especially when it comes to sexuality. It was difficult enough for me to comprehend it when I learned that homosexual people were marrying straight people. That was a real eye opener. You see, I didn't grow up with that knowledge. I was told that if a man was gay or a woman was a lesbian, it meant that he or she wanted to be with someone of the same sex. Honest--that's what they used to teach us. This was in the day before the Kinsey ladder climbing up or down on the number chart ranging from straight to gay and everything in between. I didn't realize there was an "in between."
When I was in high school in the pre-enlightened 1960's, people would whisper the word "homosexual" or some horrifying derivative of the word, but I really didn't know anyone like that. There was one boy in high school--yes one--where rumors were whispered behind closed doors--but no actual confirmation. I went out of my way to be nice to this pimpled peer because I, too, was a teenager who never fit in to any crowd. I wanted to--but somehow, I didn't at that age. Therefore, I tried to find others like me for some kind of camaraderie. When we would speak, I never dared mention the rumors I heard about him for fear of making him feel worse than he already did. This was the closest I got to the gay world until 1968 in California.
At the age of 17, I moved to California to stay with my father. It was such a different way of life. Gay was very prominent back then as if it were the land of milk and honey for the new gay immigrants continuing to arrive daily on its shores. Here in California one could live an openly gay life. Actually, in California you could live whatever life you wanted because back then sex was over-the-top. There were orgies and swinging. It was quite liberating to those who needed to feel liberated. It was there that I met the first "openly" gay man in my life. At 17, I knew so little that I was so sure that gay was just a condition that came from lack of proper love. I was so sure that loving him would make him straight. And I tried the best I could for a girl of 17--but there was no change. I guess he tried to because why not? He was 24, and it seemed like something he thought might work--but he found out quickly it didn't. That's when I learned to understand that gay men were going to stay gay men. They couldn't change--and they shouldn't have to change.
As the years went on, I thought I had that whole issue figured out--but I didn't. At the age of 25 I rekindled a romance with a man who was my high school crush. We were both adults now and thinking that maybe we could make us work. Something was off from the beginning--but I wrote it off to the Zodiac signs. He was a Cancer--I was a Libra--and the two signs weren't meshing. At least that sounded logical in the 1970's. And talk about not knowing--I will tell you this. We were parted for six years since we had last seen each other. When we reunited, he told me that he had been with four other people during those six years--two men and two women. Did it strike me strange that he had been with two men? Not at all. Don't forget--the 60's and 70's were a time of "sexual experimentation" for people. He assured me that he tried it--and didn't like it. Or he liked it, but not as much as being with a woman. And guess what? I bought it. It sounded logical to me. Why else would a man want to be with me unless he "decided" he was straight?
We were very misled in those days by reports by "sexual experts" such as Dr. Kinsey who talked about sexual fluidity long before it was acknowledged as "accepted behavior" as it is today. Of course, he was stating that a large percentage of men had some kind of "homosexual" encounter if their lifetimes, and it was "normal." So that's what I thought. When that boyfriend said he "tried it" and "didn't like it," it made sense to me. And although I left him before our plans to move in together hastened to the date of action, I was having doubts because something was "off." I still was attributing it to the moon being in the seventh house and Jupiter aligning with Mars. Yes, it must have been that Zodiac incompatibility again. It's funny--we had sex, but I always felt he wasn't there with me--much like his moodiness and brooding. It wasn't until ten years later and several years after the marriage to my gay husband that I learned that he, too, was gay. I was smarter by then. I knew the moment I dialed him and a man picked up the phone that that was his lover--and he admitted it.
Oh well, enough of my history. I like to tell you my story because so many of our women kick themselves over and over for not seeing the red flags. That's because so many of us didn't know they were red flags. We just didn't know enough. We didn't have computers to check on the facts or find explanations to the behaviors that we attributed to astrology. Yes--for those of you grew up during the age of Aquarius, didn't the signs of the Zodiac explain everything?
Anyway, getting back to my point--over the past 10 years or so, political correctness has taken over in our country. It seems that you can't say much about anyone without getting condemned. We have to accept things which in the past would not be acceptable. And I admit I am somewhat weary of having to try to be understanding of behavior that seems somewhat mixed up and jumbled, but that's me. It was difficult for me to understand straight vs. gay--and now there are so many other variations of the sexual spectrum that I never imagined. And I'm not knocking it--I'm just acknowledging it. But I do have a problem with it, and I'll explain why.
It seems that we keep rallying to the cause of fighting for people who are coming out of some closet. The closets are different ones ranging from gay to transgender and include a whole new vocabulary of in-betweens that I won't get into. But it seems the more that these men come out and end up with barrels of praise for their bravery, the further back we, their wives, are shoved back into their closets.
How we, the straight wives, are feeling is never the issue, is it? Is anyone out there asking us Straight Wives what it feels like to have our lives blown away and devastated? I don't think so. I do know that I get at least two or three requests from media shows each month asking me for people in my group who are finding ways of "making it work by readjusting their thinking." I tell them they have come to the wrong person and refer them to other groups who may know these women. Of course, that's after I ask them if they would be interested in doing a show on the "real lives of straight wives" focusing on the devastation of what it is like to be one. Not one production company has ever said to me, "What a great idea!" Well one did--but they were only willing to do it if the husbands were willing to go on the show--and I don't think your husbands wanted to do it. Heck, they don't even want to talk to you about it. But they'll tell the world?
People don't take us seriously because there are no consequences. There are no advocates out there shouting for OUR rights. There is no one writing about OUR pain except an occasional Huffington Post blog or comedy cable show. We are judged by others without compassion or empathy that they are so willing to give to our husbands. People still think that either we knew and were desperate or missed all the signs meaning we were stupid. And then there are those who understand less than we did who still think that these men weren't gay when they married us, so it must have been our bad cooking that made them gay.
We were questioning our own judgment throughout our marriage wondering what was going wrong. When we found out, then people started questioning us as if we were "blind" or "responsible." Is it any wonder that we prefer to stay silent? We are double whammied--first by our gay husbands and then by society as a whole. While people are so busy cheering on the bravery of our husbands, who is looking our way with awards for enduring the suffering all of the years if our marriages were bad or if our marriages were good, awarding us for losing what meant most to us in our lives--namely our husbands. For some women, they look at the man standing in front of them and still see these men as their HUSBANDS--not as their GAY HUSBANDS. They still can't understand how gay crept into their marriage when they weren't looking. What changed? This takes years to figure out in many cases.
Why don't producers of shows want to know what it's like to survive this kind of marriage for us? Why do they only care about the 5% of marriages that try to make it work by living in an open marriage? What about the other 95% of us? Why aren't the members of the gay community taking up our cause like they want us to take up their cause? Where are their warnings to men getting married knowing that they aren't exactly straight even if they don't know they are exactly gay yet? And where is the condemnation from the gay community of men who are married and living this double life? Why are certain support chapters of gay fathers encouraging their members not to tell their wives until "after the divorce" so they won't have to end up with less financially? Where are the groups telling these men to FIX THE MISTAKE in a way that the wife comes out a winner after she has lost so much?
No one is parading for us around the country. No one has even suggested that we have a special "Straight Wives Matter Day" for us whose lives were thrown into turmoil without a warning. We are expected to be "understanding," "accepting," and "advocates" for the gay community now that we are somehow attached to it in a different kind of way--namely through our husbands. But what gay organization has said, "We embrace the millions of straight wives who have lost their husbands and families and welcome them to our community"? I haven't heard of any yet who are looking to share our grieving. And until I start to hear it, I guess no one except us will really care if Straight Wives Matter. Sad, isn't it?
Each month, I receive numerous letters of appreciation from my readers. If I think your letter will help others, I always ask your permission to republish. Here are two letters from this month.
I hope my email finds you well. I always think about you. It's been years since I met you in Houston. It's also been a long journey for me. I've ducked in and out of GayHusbands.com and the Straight Wives Radio Blog for years now because I still find it so helpful to my recovery. I credit you for telling it to me 'straight' and for saving my life. I put all of my trust in you, and you gave me the strength to be honest with myself, to trust my own intuition and to leave the relationship. After struggling with my recovery for about two years (I finally realized there had to be more to my story then just being duped by a gay man). For some reason, I don't know why but at the time I never fully understood what you meant about the crazy making, gaslighting and narcissism nor did
I realize that was exactly what I was suffering from and why I was having such difficulty moving on. I went back to your material, listened more closely to some of your guests like Mary Ann Glynn and Donna Anderson and then started Googling those terms and watching videos and so began my true healing. All of the pieces just fell into place and now I know I was severely gas-lighted by a covert narcissist. It's actually fascinating how these people work and even more fascinating to learn about the symptoms of someone who has been abused in this way and how very little the professionals know about this type of abuse. Needless to say, I exhibited most of the symptoms like not knowing what just happened to me, ruminating (a biggee!), feeling hopeless, suicidal, isolating, not being able to concentrate, etc. It was heartbreaking but at the same time knowing what happened, what he deliberately did and more importantly who he really is as a person has ended most of my pain. For the first time in years, I feel like I'm finally getting back to myself (kind of, still afraid to date) and to some of the things I love to do like sewing and writing (my therapy). So speaking of writing...I wrote the poem below, and if you want to share it or any part of this email on your website or elsewhere, please do.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you for what you've done for me and also for all of the other straight wives. Hugs!
The Letter To Him I Never Sent
It's been a long and lonely last three years
Still I fight back some of those old salty tears
Stupidly I thought you would be my last love
Only later to be strangled like a too-tight glove
Was the making of that big, beautiful home
Your secret plan to leave me all alone
Should have known you gave me many clues
Just a sick little game to watch me lose
And all that gaslighting and crazy making
Shattered my world and left me shaking
Of all the happy times I thought we shared
Now I know you never could have cared
Because you treated me like a big 'a hole'
That ripped right through my very soul
Every day it felt like a slap without a slap
But more than that I felt so trapped
Always telling lies, the biggest 'I am not gay'
Like a cat on a mouse I was only your prey
You are the biggest down-low pretender
A bait and switch I'm not your defender
Played me day and night like some old fool
But I'm here to tell you that was so not cool
I ain't no longer your cover girl or your beard
Go on and continue living the life you feared
Don't you know you can run but cannot hide
Behind that mask your fake and phony side
Learned many years ago how to avoid your eyes
That when it ended, I never said any goodbyes
See you skipped no beat and moved right on
You think you may have found a better swan?
Another good woman you will probably destroy
Hey abuser, user we are not your lil' play toy
Clear off the table now so I can place my bet
Cause a man like you, I'm sure she's never met
Maybe in a few years she'll reach out to me
Then I'll tell her all about 'The Bonnie' who set me free
I have been thinking a lot about the theme of "I will never be the same" and learning " to live with it." Most of the time, I think I'm actually better in spite of it all! I was so naive before this experience. I blamed myself my whole life because i refused to see other people's bad behavior and mental illness. It was too scary. And i think I believed people would change if I acted " better." I refused to think I didn't have control. So weird. Fear drove me in my life. I made bad decisions. I stayed too long. I lived in denial and fragmented my mind to tolerate terrible situations. I didn't know I had the power to leave. I didn't know I could like and care for myself. I relied on others for that, and they were not safe. My whole life was like some sort of reward/punishment, tit for tat experiment. I was keeping score, everyone was keeping score! This is not love.
With my gay ex, I could not understand the disconnection between us. I rationalized that I had some attachment disorder. ( I'm sure he loved that!) After I found out the truth, I felt stupid. I felt shame. It made me feel even more worthless. And my so called friends? They said" how could you.....?" I didn't realize they needed to invalidate me to protect whatever crap they had going on. This experience has sucked. But I have learned a lot about myself and other people. I have learned that caring for ourselves is seen as selfish. I have learned that most people unconsciously are manipulative and out for themselves but can couch it in caring and concern and looking " nice", but they really don't care, because they are focused on themselves. So now, I look for those few people! The truly caring ones! I actually think I found one in my therapist of all people! I am learning what caring relations looks like and that maybe I deserve it after all. I have also met some amazing women on the internet, and sadly, they are not here, but we connect in cyberspace.
So, do we ever get over" it"? The trauma? No. It is part of me. But it doesn't define me. I am working on bringing all the parts of me together for wholeness and maybe liking myself one day ( loving myself is a stretch lol!). If I had stayed with my gex, I could never have had space to do this. I'm pretty confident that he will leave me alone as I made sure it got back to him that I knew what he was! Maybe healing just looks like wholeness and not putting up with anymore toxic people. I don't miss that torture!
Many blessings to you today on our little soul journey! xoxo
A Straight Sister
Thank you, ladies, for sharing your heart-felt words.
LOVE TO YOU ALL!!! ♥ BONNIE