HEADING TOWARDS SENIOR CITIZENSHIP
Friends, this month will mark my 65th birthday on September 26th. I will officially be a "senior citizen." Maybe I'm not typical in some ways, but there is no denying that age is more than a number--it's also a state of mind.
People change as they get older. Our outlook on life changes as well. We are living in times that to me seem very uncertain and scary. Then again, life was scary when I was growing up and being propagandized by the Cold War and then later the Vietnam War. Even though times were scary then, we weren't living with today's "political correctness" where people can say what they want and be whom they want to be--no matter how foreign it may seem to us. And if we question it, we are labeled or condemned.
Over the past 34 years since I started advocating for the rights of straight wives to be recognized for the pain that we fall into through no fault of our own, I have had a few detractors in both the gay community and the "bisexual" community. I have been accused of being a fake, a fraud, distorted in my thinking and "dangerous." I make no apologies for how I think. If anything, I think of myself as being overly understanding to the gay husbands who come to me for help in doing the right thing. These detractors call me "dangerous" for spreading my "bitterness" to unsuspecting people who will be :"misled."
So let me make this clear. I am not angry nor am I bitter. I resolved my own marriage to a gay man years ago and moved on to a healthy, loving relationship with a straight man. If I get upset, it's not for me--but for the millions of women who find their lives in "lock down" in these marriages.
I am the first to say that I don't speak for all women in this situation--but I do speak for almost all of us. If someone is truly happy in her marriage, she won't be writing to me looking for help. And for those women who do write to me to help them stay in their marriages, I refer them immediately to the Straight Spouse Network where they can find that kind of support. Some women are determined to keep their marriages together--no matter what. Who am I to say they are wrong? I don't judge people. I help people. When people are unhappy being married to a gay/bisexual/transgender man, and they want to understand how it happened, I am there to give out the information to help unravel the puzzle that can be solved. I don't apologize for that. Thousands of women over the years have told me that I was their key to sanity and freedom--and that is what validates my work and keeps me moving ahead. The fact that a few bitter and angry gay/bisexual men and their partners feel the need to destroy everything I stand for just goes with the territory. It just makes me realize how effective I really am.
These marriages are destructive and hurtful in many different ways. When a woman has to spend every day wondering why her husband doesn't want to be intimate with her, it sends her into a negative state of mind questioning everything about herself and what's wrong with her because her husband can't be honest about the real reason for his rejection. If the shoe was on the other foot, how would he feel about it. How do you think a man would feel if he wanted to make love to you but you found a 101 excuses to say "No," including:
1) You are too small where it counts so you can't satisfy me.
2) You are too big where it counts so you hurt me.
3) You can't go long enough so you leave me feeling frustrated.
4) You really don't have good technique or rhythm.
5) You can't kiss good and your breath smells bad.
6) I can't get past your body odor to want to be intimate with you.
7) You're lack of exciting foreplay turns me off.
8) You never want to try anything new.
9) What are you? A sex addict? All you want is sex, sex, sex.
Trust me, if you said these things to a straight man, his ego would be very bruised to say the least. And even though there are straight men who lack sexual prowess, most women will suck it up and just go with the flow because they love their husbands and don't want to hurt them. They would rather hurt inside themselves than be honest. And let me go one step beyond that--he may not be the best in bed, but at least he wants you in there with him trying his best to please you.
With a gay man, however, he will come up with a similar "female oriented" list of reasons why he doesn't want to make love to you, but he won't worry if he's hurting your feelings. In fact, he's trying to do exactly that so you'll stop talking about your lack of sex life with him. The fault lies within you--not him. At least that is what he wants you to believe. Maybe now you'll stop "bothering" him about it.
These men don't care if their rejection of you as a woman destroys your internal system. They are looking for a way to protect themselves from your sexual advances, and what better way is there to do that than make you believe that you are unworthy? What pisses me off the most is not only are they doing "harm now," but they are doing harm for your future relationships. They are doing harm to your children--their children--who can't have the mother they deserve because she is a "battered" mother. No, I don't mean the kind of mother who is battered with bruises on the outside--I mean the kind of mother who is battered on the inside. Battered and crushed.
On September 11, I did a radio show with my gal pal Patsy Rae Dawson. I've known Patsy for a number of years and had the pleasure of meeting her in Houston at one of my Healing Weekends. Patsy is a Christian marriage coach who has worked with couples for many years. She is also a motivational speaker and author who challenges traditional Christian leadership views of sex and marriage. I asked Patsy to put together a piece for my Christian women who linger for far too many years in these marriages because of the "vows" they have taken during the marriage ceremony. Patsy put together a beautiful piece for those of you in this situation. When I read some of her points, it brought me back to this conversation that we need to keep having over and over again. In Patsy's own words:
My children never experienced their mother’s true personality growing up. Trying to survive a loveless, sexless marriage so saps us, we are never emotionally free to be our best. And because of my childhood spent trying to keep an angry mother happy and my marriage to a man I could never please, I thought I was born without a sense of humor. I didn’t realize I was existing in survival mode and a state of low-grade depression. Even before my divorce finalized, I was thrilled to discover I have a wonderful genetic sense of humor. I laugh out loud easily and often. I so regret my children didn’t get to grow up with their true mother. We should have been laughing fools.
My children suffered 1000 times more than I ever did. This is my greatest ignorance and sorrow that still makes me cry—that I didn’t step out of my own pain to see theirs. I was the adult and could make my own choices. They depended on me to protect them. My son carried his scars to an early grave. My daughter and I talk about her wounds; I’ve apologized many times for my blindness to her pain.
My children failed to receive the greatest gift parents can give them—to genuinely love and cherish each other and them.
Patsy's words really stung my heart because they are the same words I hear from you over and over again. You are walking through the valley of the shadow of death here on earth. You are crushing those egg shells with your dance of doom no matter how carefully you try to avoid stepping on them. You are living each day in survival mode trying to make that ultimate chocolate chip cookie out of the few crumbs and chips scattered on the floor next to the eggshells. You are trying to be supermom believing that your kids can't see your crying on the inside or hear you late at night as you sob on the outside because you are hurting so much on the inside. It is easy to delude yourself while your husband does such an excellent job of doing it to you. Right?
Some of Patsy's other provoking thoughts include:
It’s easy to think, “That’s just the way he is” or the most deadly way we deceive ourselves, “My husband is perfect except for sex.” Because we believe that lie, we don’t recognize the red flags of secret unfaithfulness.
We also make the mistake of thinking, “I can live with it at this point.” But his desire for men never lessens. It always grows.
And that's the truth. Gay doesn't change. It doesn't go away. It's not a passing phase or a thought. It's not a lifestyle or a mid-life crisis. A person's sexuality is more than just a sexual act. It's his thinking, his wants, and his desires. None of which are you by the way. He'll stay there with you and pretend, but that's all it's going to be. He may love you like a brother or a distant cousin, but he's not going to love you like a straight man. Period. He can't. He is gay.
Patsy is a great believer in God's word of wanting Christian people to love sex. She will give you biblical verification of this over and over again. She will tell you scripturally why you need to leave marriages that are sexless marriages. They weren't meant to be.
I can't quote the bible like Patsy, but I can quote from several of the thousands of women who have written to me over the years. This one, from 2013, was from a woman who is part of this support network and reflects the aftermath that many of you write to me about:
It’s been almost 3½ years in now (since we had contact) and I can’t believe how time flies! I wanted to say again how very much I was helped during my family crisis by you and the support group and how often I am reminded you were right about many things from the start! I still sometimes see what I learned still applies to an ongoing situation. Mostly, I wanted to tell you that my life turned out BETTER than my old life by a bunch! I met THE most wonderful man and I have a new family with two new step daughters and one new step son. Although we have not made a decision to marry just yet we have made the decision to live together and be a family and I have NEVER been happier in my life. I’ve attached a few pictures for you to see.
While meeting the new man in my life is great, I wanted to make a point. Several months into counseling with you and the group, you made a very clear point to me. I had said that among the disappointments was that my ex and I were happy. We didn’t fight, we had built businesses and had been together since high school so our routine was pretty set. You sternly told me I did NOT have a happy marriage. You said that he did NOT love me as a man loves a woman truly and that his head was never in the game really. You asked me to remember the thousand little digs/clues/lost moments that I never understood. You asked me to consider this at the moment you said it to me and I remember searching my feeling as you said it and being sure you HAD to be wrong. I searched my feelings for better than a year trying to decide this issue….trusting that you had never led me wrong but not feeling that at the time. It stuck in my head. I let time and distance go by and considered it again. And again.
Here’s the end of that story. This new man loves me a way that cannot be described without a bunch of mushy words that diffuse my point. But it is TRUE! There a huge difference in a thousand little ways. I was so fed up of people telling me the ‘when one door closes another one opens” and “a better life awaits” but is OMG true! You can and WILL survive! I was able to take back possession of my memories I felt he had “cancelled” and now feel whole again. Another year of financial clean up and we’re done…all the way….DONE!
You saved my life in so many ways….always know I am grateful. I have had the chance to direct a few gals your way, one after receiving a beating when she lost it after catching her husband in bed with his BF before she even knew he was gay. She said she was staying for the kids no matter what and I said please let the group educate you. I don’t know if she made it there but I know what you did for me….
Give all the women a huge hug from me and thanks again for all you did….and do now to help us all…. Warmly, MJ
The line of MJ's that I have bolded really struck me:
I was able to take back possession of my memories I felt he had “cancelled” and now feel whole again. Now that is very powerful.
This letter came in last month.
I came to you four years ago filled with anger and doubts. I was angry at you because you couldn't give me the answers on how I could change my husband from "gay" to "straight," even though I believed he was still straight. I doubted you when you told me that he couldn't change because he promised me and swore he wanted to change. I blew you off back then and wrote a few sarcastic words. I think they were, "You don't know everything. You don't know me--you don't know my husband. You don't understand that we are different than other people coming to you."
You could have answered me the same way I answered you, but you didn't. You wished me good luck in a very nice way and stated that if I ever needed you again, you would be there for me. Of course, I didn't believe that would ever happen. But it did--last year.
After putting in another three years of doing everything I felt humanly possible to "straighten" out my gay husband, I had to admit defeat. He wasn't changing. In fact, he was getting worse. He had come home with an STD and accused me of giving it to him. I knew that was impossible, and when I went to get checked, I also was a victim of his indiscretions. He tried to explain that it happened before he "changed" when he had "one" unprotected sexual act. Well, I went berserk and decided that I was going to find the truth no matter what I had to do.
You suggested that I install spyware if I was ready to really learn the truth--and I did just that. Within the next few days, I saw why my husband was spending several hours a day locked away in his room for his "job." His job was obviously finding other married men for discreet sexual encounters. He even lied to them saying his was "disease free." I learned he was part of a gay swingers' group that featured all kinds of sexual interests from bondage and discipline to humiliation. You can only imagine how humiliated I felt. Humiliated...violated...and duped over and over again.
When I confronted him, he broke down crying and told me how much he loved me. He was willing to do anything to make our marriage work. But this time, I said a loud a resounding "NO." I couldn't do it anymore. I had to stop lying to myself and pretending it was something that it wasn't. All of those words that you sent me were about my marriage--my real marriage--not the marriage that I tried to pretend existed.
I want to thank you for not giving up on me even when I gave up on you in the beginning when I first wrote to you. You could have deleted the email, but you followed up with me every six months or so "checking in." When I found the truth, you were the first one I called--at 2 a.m. in the morning. I was hysterical--you calmed me down with love and compassion. That kind of compassion is hard to find from a stranger.
Bonnie Kaye, I've never met you, but it is on my bucket list to get there to give you a big hug one day. I was able to leave my "comfort nest" of delusion thanks to you. I am on the road to recovery which I know will take time after 18 years. But with you by my side, I know I will grow stronger and gain the perspective that I refused to accept in the past. Thank you for saving me from years of further mental deterioration and physical/sexual deterioration. I am going to take back my life. I would be stuck forever if I hadn't found you. With love and thanks, SM
These are heart-felt letters that inspire me--and I know inspire you, my readers. After 15 years of monthly newsletters, I am still waiting for the one letter from any woman who has come my way for help who would say I was wrong five years later, and she is still very happy being married to her gay husband. And if I ever did receive one, I would acknowledge it and then I would get tuck it away in the pile of thousands that say otherwise.
Why am I telling you this? Because after all these years, I know the truth--your truth--our truth. My critics say I'm "black and white," and yes I am. If people choose to stay together in this kind of a marriage, I never tell them, "You're crazy." People have different needs and desires. But if you come to me and ask me what you should do, I'm never going to tell you to learn to "suck it up" or "get used to it." No. I'm going to tell you to think about your own children and if you would advise them to marry someone who is just like your gay husband. I'm going to ask you what advice you would give the child you love about making a commitment for life with someone like you did. And I ask the men who come to me for help if they would want the daughter they love to marry a man just like them and have a marriage just like theirs. That usually is the defining moment for people who have to make this decision.
So I may be getting older this month for sure. And yet, my opinions are remaining consistent as they have for 35 years. For those who choose to hate and vilify me because I offer answers that make sense, oh well, hate me. For others who try to destroy me, well, I know who you are and what you are doing. Nothing you say or do will make any difference. You can tell lies about me, defame me, and undermine my work, but I am here to stay. And long after I'm gone, my words will live on to help the millions of women and men who are trying to make sense out of a situation that makes little sense at all.
If you'd like to listen to the Patsy Rae Dawson show, here's the link you can paste into your browser: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2016/09/12/bonnie-kayes-straight-wives-talk-show-with-guest-patsy-rae-dawson
You can visit Patsy's website at: www.patsyraedawson.com.
You can ask for her brochure, sign up for her free newsletter and request coaching.
WITH LOTS OF LOVE, BONNIE ♥