Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Straight Talk Newsletter October, 2017

BONNIE KAYE'S STRAIGHT TALK
OCTOBER 2017     Volume 18, Issue 186
Bonnie’s Mantra:
LIFE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE THIS COMPLICATED. PERIOD.
COMPUTER RADIO PODCASTS - www.blogtalkradio/bonnielkaye                                     Live on Sunday night 8 p.m. EST or any time after the live broadcast!

STRAIGHT WIVES TALK SHOW's 7th SEASON!!

The Straight Wives Talk Show is starting its new season as of  October. Some of our best experts will be returning, and we will be having some new guests including straight wives who will share their stories with you. Stay tuned for some amazing programming! You can always catch a broadcast anytime after it is aired at this link:

www.blogtalkradio/bonnielkaye                                    

THE SHAME AND THE BLAME

This month I wanted to focus on twp important issues--shame and blame that we all go through after the marriage to our gay husbands on one level or another. Because this topic is so important, I asked my literary hero, Kristin Kalbli, to share her powerful thoughts on the topic of BLAME. After her profound words, I will share my thoughts on the issue of SHAME.

Transmuting Blame After the Trauma of the Gay Thing
By Kristin Kalbli

I want to talk about blame, and responsibility, and power. Blame and responsibility are often confused, but they are not the same. One is destructive, the other constructive. But we run from responsibility when we mistake it for blame. Responsibility is needed to reclaim personal power after a trauma, and to reject blame. As straight wives, it is immensely helpful to understand the role each plays in the trauma of discovering our husbands are gay in order to recover and move forward.

 First: blame. We straight wives know all about blame. When problems cropped up in our marriages to closeted or in-denial gay men, we were often blamed for those problems by our husbands. Personally, I regularly tried to address the lack of sexual intimacy in my own marriage with my husband. He became deeply uncomfortable and would completely shut down, refusing to communicate at all. He would then become angry and resentful and blame me for confronting him, for putting pressure on him, which made him feel “even less like having sex” with me than the barely-once-a-month we already had sex. His behavior never changed; I never got answers, but I did get blamed for seeking them. We were in a maddening feedback loop of my hurt and frustration at the constant, inexplicable rejection, and his anger and blame at being asked to address it. Many of us straight wives were told our bodies were to blame for our husband’s lack of attraction to us. We were too fat, or ugly, or our genitals were repulsive or smelled bad. Our bodies were deeply shamed and blamed for a problem that never originated with us. Of course our husbands weren’t attracted to us, because they were gay, not because there was anything at all wrong with our beautifully human bodies. But we swallowed that blame, and many of us tried to make ourselves into better, prettier, more desirable versions of ourselves…to no avail. Our husbands used blame strategically. As long as they blamed us, they deflected suspicion away from themselves.  '

 When we finally learned our husbands were not straight, often it was because we stumbled upon evidence we weren’t supposed to find. Whether we went looking for that evidence or were taken by surprise when it surfaced, a few of our husbands came clean then. But those who were still deeply closeted may have flown into blind, panicked rages and blamed us for questioning them, doubting them. They blamed us for our suspicions, they blamed us for needing answers, they blamed us for snooping, they blamed us for finding out their secrets, their shame, and they blamed us for having the audacity to confront them about it. If the evidence was too blatant to deny they blamed us for shining a light on their dishonesty, their selfishness, their hypocrisy. They blamed us for unmasking them, to themselves and to the world. They blamed us for forcing them to confront themselves in the mirror, a responsibility they abdicated in favor of blaming us. They blamed us for tearing our marriages apart for no reason, because they weren’t gay! They blamed us for splitting up our families when we couldn’t tolerate any more lies, any more gaslighting, any more illicit encounters with strange men in motels or clubs or our own beds.

When our marriages disintegrated in front of our families and friends, they may have blamed us. They may have blamed us for tarnishing our husband’s or our families’ reputations. They may have blamed us for not trying to make it work and keep our families together. Ludicrous as it is, we may even have been blamed for making our husbands gay.
 And when society at large finds out we were once married to closeted gay men, we are subjected to a litany of humiliating and stigmatizing accusations. We are sneered at and blamed for not knowing our exes were gay (“Didn’t you know? Weren’t there signs?”). We are blamed for being unsupportive of our gay husbands who are seen as having overwhelming courage for coming out of the closet when the incentives for coming out finally outweighed the incentives for staying in. (How many of us have heard this accusatory query: “aren’t you glad he can finally be his true self?”). When we dared show our justifiable anger at the lies and betrayal, we were blamed for unjustified homophobia. People don’t believe us when we insist we are not angry that our husbands turned out to be gay, but because our husbands lied to us about being gay. When we insist our marriages and divorces were crazy-making and profoundly disorienting because of our husband’s hidden sexuality, we are asked, “Aren’t you relieved he didn’t leave you for another woman?” When we were enraged at the years stolen from us, enraged at being used as our husband’s closet, enraged at being used as brood mares so they could have children, we are blamed for being bitter, lonely, and pathetic ex wives. When we feel our lives were commandeered and our marriages were fraudulent, when we feel robbed of an authentic partnership with romantic love and mutual sexual pleasure and intimacy, when we feel violated because we did not consent to being in a mixed orientation marriage, when we question our entire realities, we are blamed for being crazy, for overreacting, for being angry (something women are not supposed to be in our society). In short, we are blamed for blaming our husbands. When we dare insist that our lives were not for sale, and that our husbands be held responsible for their lies of omission, we are blamed for not giving our closeted husbands a pass for lying because of societal homophobia: “How can you blame him for hiding in a marriage when society is so dangerous for gay people?” As if we should have happily volunteered to sacrifice our lives. While cultural homophobia is real and insidious, it does not entitle a persecuted human being to use another human being as a human shield. And when, years down the road, we still struggle with depression, anxiety and PTSD, when we are still in therapy or still struggling to trust men again, we are blamed for not moving on, for not getting over it, for not forgiving our exes soon enough.

 Yes, we straight wives know all about being blamed.

 But blame is not the same as responsibility. And in responsibility, lies power. Let me explain. In my own recovery, I had to work long and hard to parse through the tangled psychological web of my ruined marriage and decide what I was and was not responsible for. In therapy, I realized I was responsible for choosing my ex husband. He fit into a pattern of abusive men that was part of my own karma, a pattern that commenced with my father and that I continued for a time with heterosexual men after I was divorced. I was also responsible for waking up to that pattern, and I am now responsible for choosing better men in my life. And I was responsible for not knowing myself well enough to realize that my ex, gay or straight, was not a good match for me compatibility wise. I mistook our common interests (antiques, gardening, cooking) for compatibility. In truth, I needed to pay attention to what kind of man he was, and if his words matched his behavior, and if who he was (a conservative, risk-averse homebody) fit with who I was (an adventurous, passionate wild-child). I also had to learn to have compassion for my 21-year-old self, who didn’t know herself, who couldn’t spot his subtle misogyny and abuse, who didn’t recognize the gay red flags, and who didn’t know how to honor her instincts about him. I was also responsible for the ways in which I wasn’t a good wife, but those lapses were more the product of my youth, immaturity and superficiality, and they were minor in comparison to the “abject abuse, emasculation and neglect” my ex husband invented and blamed me for. I didn’t recognize the person he accused me of being. I knew I was no angel, but I couldn’t figure out why he thought I was such a demon by the time we divorced.

 That’s why it was equally critical for me to decide what I was not responsible for. I was not responsible for my ex husband’s sexuality. I was not responsible for his self-loathing and internalized homophobia. I never put him in the closet and I never kept him there, despite his attempts to blame me for it (when he finally came out to his second wife, he told her that he had tried to tell me that he was gay – which is a lie – but that my reaction was so rage-filled and abusive that it sent him right back into the closet and into a marriage to yet another unsuspecting woman). Those were his choices, those were his actions, those were the consequences of his decisions. Not mine.

 Not. Mine

 And not ours.

 As straight wives, it helps to get really clear about what we are and are not responsible for, and therein lies the key to taking back our own power, regardless of whether or not our ex husbands, or families, or friends, or society continue to blame us for being straight wives, and regardless of whether or not our ex husbands ever take responsibility for their own choices and lives, or for the damage they have done to ours. Responsibility is empowering, even when we do the unpleasant work of taking responsibility for our own less than perfect decisions and actions. When we own and accept those parts of our lives with compassion for ourselves, we can reject blame confidently and powerfully. When we have done our internal psychological work, and determined our core truth of what we must own, and what we simply cannot own, we have a stable piece of physiological ground to stand on. From that ground, we can better withstand the blame hurled in our direction from all directions; we can better draw our new, healthy boundaries with our exes, our families, and our friends. We can respond thoughtfully and commandingly in social situations where someone’s ignorance and prejudice lead them to misunderstand or misrepresent a straight wife’s inner experience. We can own our lives again, and we can own ourselves again. 

Thank you, Kristin, for your beautiful words that will help so many of our women. Kristin will be a guest on my radio show at the end of this month. Stay tuned!!

THE ISSUE OF SHAME

          Since working with women for 35 years who are going through the gay husband trauma, I have learned that one common feeling we all go through is that of SHAME.

This emotion comes about due to several different reasons that I will discuss. First, I'd like to share my own words on blame--which will lead to the shame. This is one of my first articles written in 2001. I think it is just as relevant today as ever.

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY –THE “IF ONLY” AND THE “BLAME” GAMES


I have worked with too many women who at first assume that the reason for their husbands’ homosexuality is due to something they did wrong. For those of us who have had time to work through this problem over a longer period, it is easy for us to react by saying that this thinking is ridiculous.  But try to remember when you first suspected or discovered your husband’s interest in men. Then it doesn’t seem quite as ridiculous.

When I reflect on my own inner feelings of shame during those early years, I remember feeling a great sense of responsibility. I used to play a game that most of us fall prey to. I call it the “If Only Game.” It goes like this. “If only I could be a better wife….if only I was more attractive…if only I was better as a lover…if only I was a better housekeeper, if only I wasn’t so demanding…if only I could lose more weight….if only I was smarter…if only, if only, if only…then maybe he could love me enough not to think about men.

My ex-husband was excellent at playing the other mind-twister game, which I call the “Blame Game.” After I questioned him for the first time about his sexuality two years into our marriage, he used this as an opening to play this game as his new weapon of mental torture. This is where he would come closest to revealing the truth by throwing in my face,  “If I were gay, who could blame me? After all, you are always making too many sexual demands…complaining about something…gaining weight…acting jealous…being possessive …much too demanding….all consuming…and the list went on.  Then he would end the conversation with the words I desperately wanted and needed to hear—“It’s a wonder that I’m not gay.” Whew, what a relief. I was a failure as a wife, but at least not failure enough to make him gay.
        
A young woman who was part of my support group recently told us that on an intellectual level she knows she didn’t make her husband gay, but emotionally she still feels that she is responsible. I often hear this in the beginning of a marriage separation. During the early stages of disclosure, it is easy to believe that we are somehow at fault for our husband’s decision to enter the gay world. Even when we can accept the news, we still can’t grasp all of the implications. We can’t figure out how our husbands were “straight enough” to marry us, make love to us (even if it wasn’t frequently or passionately), have children with us, have married lives with us but chuck it all for sex with a man. When we pass through the denial stage and accept that our husbands are gay, we still have a difficult time believing that it wasn’t something we did that drove them over the borderline and into the twilight zone of homosexuality.

What takes time for us to fully comprehend is that we had no part whatsoever in our husbands’ homosexuality. This was who they were long before we ever knew them. Some of them knew it and fought it hoping that marriage to a woman would miraculously make them straight. It can’t…and it didn’t. Others claim they honestly didn’t know it because it didn’t surface until years later. But even the late bloomers almost always felt that something was not quite right—they just didn’t think it was a sexual thing. 

Playing the “If Only Game” is a very natural part of self-questioning that all of us initially go through. The problem is that some of us keep playing, sometimes for months and even for years. This is a dangerous game if played for too long because it indicates that you have not been able to put things into perspective. It also stops you from moving ahead and trying to rebuild your life. Prolonged questioning of your failures in the marriage serve no purpose at all. If you failed at the marriage, it’s because you were in a no-win situation. You were set up for failure, not for success. Success was not an option.

If you had been in a marriage with an emotionally healthy straight man, all of your efforts of being a supportive and loving wife would have been appreciated and in fact, cherished. So don’t use your marriage with a gay husband as a map for your future relationships. If you try again with a straight man, you’ll see how different and better it can be.

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The point I from this past article is that so many of us suffer with the emotion of SHAME. When you have been told year in and year out that the failures in your marriage are your failures--you feel SHAME. When you given a laundry list of reasons why your husband doesn't want to touch you--including you're "too fat," "too thin," "you're too boring in bed," and other degrading reasons too numerous to mention including the MOST degrading comment of all--"your body has a bad odor which is why I can't make love to you," you feel SHAME. When he lashes out at you that you are too needy because "all you think about is sex all of the time," you feel SHAME. When your husband keeps telling you that you are a failure not only as a wife but also as a mother, you feel SHAME. When you are constantly reminded about all of the qualities you lack by the man who married you because he loved you, you feel ASHAMED. And in the overwhelming number of women I have worked with for 35 years, this is the overriding emotion in these marriages--SHAME.

SHAME often turns into guilt. When you are blamed enough for the problems in your marriage, you move to the next emotional stage of shame, which produces the next negative emotion you face--namely GUILT. We buy into this emotional battering and start to feel guilty about a list of lies our husbands perceive about us to deflect the truth about themselves. It is so much easier for them to find fault with us--fault that doesn't exist--rather than to take responsibility for the real issue--their homosexuality.

I am stating for the record that the longer you stay in marriage to a gay man, the longer your recovering time will take. "Rewiring" your emotional state after years of being beaten down takes time. "Unwinding" the facts from the fiction of your marriage also takes time. This is why Gay Husband Recovery is unlike divorce recovery for straight couples. In those divorces, people find fault with characteristics and traits of each other. In our marriages, the fault is that we are women. There is no therapy in the world that can ever change that fact.

It truly saddens me when I hear straight wives swear that they will never look for another relationship after their marriage to a gay man. And please understand that I love the fact that some women can find happiness on their own and lead fulfilling lives. I have single friends outside my straight wives circle who live very happily alone. But my sadness comes in when I know that choice is because of the fear of rejection from being damaged so badly from their gay husbands who put the fear of blame, shame, and guilt inside their heads no matter how much they learn to understand how they were "conditioned" this way. It means that the only love a woman will know in her lifetime is the love of a gay man--which is not the love she was intended for. She will never know the feeling of true emotional intimacy. She will never know the pleasure of sexual enjoyment or understand how "making love" is different than sex for the sake of throwing her a crumb to deflect the real truth. She will never know the appreciation or her worth as a loving partner in a relationship and how all of the loving gestures she made to her gay husband--which were rejected--would be loved and appreciated by a straight husband.

This is not to say that a marriage to a straight man would be perfect--but the problems would be problems of personalities rather than sexuality. Too many of our women end up what I call "sexually mutated" from the many years of sexual rejection and verbal sexual abuse. It's so sad knowing that something so beautiful can be turned into something so ugly when SHAME is the cause of it.

Ladies, unwinding the damage takes time. Good therapy and/or coaching is often the key to a healthy restart. If you need a good therapist or coach, I have some wonderful ones that are part of this network. You never even have to leave home. Go to my website at www.Gayhusbands.com and look for the "links" tab on my website. Or feel free to write to me and I'll provide you with information. I'm there for you--and always will be! We can get through this maze together!

BONNIE KAYE'S STRAIGHT WIVES TALK RADIO SHOW SHOW

After taking a short break during the summer from the radio broadcast, my newest season (season 7) started off with some dynamite guests. I am sending you the links for the shows that aired this month. You can listen at any time on your computer. Next Sunday my guest will be health coach Pamela Adams Gifford. You can listen live or anytime after the show is broadcast by going to this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2017/10/23/bonnie-kayes-straight-wives-talk-show-with-health-coach-pamela-adams-gifford

Last week. Dr. Hooper was my guest. Here's the link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2017/10/16/bonnie-kayes-straight-wives-talk-show-with-dr-brian-hooper

Donna Andersen, founder of Lovefraud, was my guest to talk about Narcissism and Sociopathy. Here's a link to her show.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2017/10/09/bonnie-kayes-straight-wives-talk-show-with-expert-donna-andersen

If you are wondering how to find evidence for your divorce case or for peace of mind, listen to Mike Garrotutte, a private investigator with wonderful tips.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2017/10/02/bonnie-kayes-straight-wives-talk-show-with-guest-mike-garrotutte-dectective

I will be posting upcoming shows on my blog at www.gayhusbands.com. Feel free to check there for programming.

Have a wonderful month, and I will be announcing our next Healing Weekend shortly. Let me know in advance in you are interested in attending this spring.


Love, Bonnie

Sunday, September 3, 2017

STRAIGHT TALK NEWSLETTER - SEPTEMBER 2017

BONNIE KAYE'S STRAIGHT TALK
SEPTEMBER 2017     Volume 18, Issue 186
Bonnie’s Mantra:
LIFE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE THIS COMPLICATED. PERIOD.
COMPUTER RADIO PODCASTS - www.blogtalkradio/bonnielkaye                                     Live on Sunday night 8 p.m. EST or any time after the live broadcast!

STRAIGHT WIVES TALK SHOW CONTINUING IN OCTOBER!!

The Straight Wives Talk Show will start its new season in  October. Some of our best experts will be returning, and we will be having some new guests including straight wives who will share their stories with you. Stay tuned for some amazing programming!

GAY HUSBAND RECOVERY

A topic of discussion I have with many women is about how do you work through Gay Husband Recovery, and why does it take so long? I hope my words below will explain this to you.

One problem that we all face is the pressure from family members and friends and their well meaning slogan to “get over it” when it comes to “recovery” from our marriages. Our loved ones, no matter how well meaning, can’t understand why we are having such trouble doing this. Their intentions are good. They want us to get past the nightmare and move on to a happier place.  They see straight marriages ending in divorce all of the time, and those women seem to manage to start over again and find new relationships more easily than we do.

I do get upset when I hear these stories of additional pressure from my women who are trying their best to move through the stages of anger and hurt but not at the pace that others expect of them. The end of a marriage is like the death of a loved one, and we all have to pass through the various stages of grieving before we can come to the point of acceptance. And acceptance for us is twofold—accepting the marriage is over and accepting the homosexuality of our husbands which will now be part of OUR lives forever, especially when children are involved..

What other people don’t realize is that there are numerous issues that we have to deal with after a marriage to a gay husband ends. Some of these issues are unique and unlike those that women with straight husbands face. For instance, we have to figure out what to say to the children and when to tell them; we also have to decide what to tell family, friends, and co-workers. We live in a world where many people still don’t understand about a "gay husband" married to a woman and fear the ridicule we will face from this ignorance. Even in this day and age, people say, “What did you do to make him gay? After all, he wasn’t gay when he married you.”  Yes, ignorance abounds.

We have to rebuild our own self-esteem, which has been sorely damaged through these marriages by not only feeling the failure of a marriage, but also wondering how much of a lie we were living. We have to rebuild our sense of trust within our own decision-making processes knowing that we walked blindly into a situation where we were so misled and blindsided.

Most of us have lost or never had the feeling of what real intimacy means in a relationship. We have difficulty trusting men again and trusting our own ability not to walk into this situation one more time. And this is a genuine fear that many women express—“It happened to me once. How do I know the next man I get involved with won’t be gay?” After all, why couldn’t we tell the first time around? This is confirmed by the ignorance of others who insist that we “must have known but married him anyway because we thought we could change him.”

There are other complications as well. There are those women who still feel some sense of responsibility for their husbands’ homosexuality. They are convinced that they played some part in their husbands turning to men. That’s because some gay husbands are cruel enough to say that to their wives rather than take the responsibility for the truth. 
         
          We have to deal with our own feelings of homophobia. Even if we were accepting of homosexuality in most cases, it took a whole new meaning when it entered our marriages and destroyed our futures with our husbands. We have to deal with our own feelings about our ex-husbands bringing lovers into the lives of our children and how that will affect our children emotionally. We have to fear how other people will treat our children if they find out their father is gay. And of course, we now have to consider the possibility that our children will be gay because this is a new reality.

          Certainly straight marriages that end go through emotional upset and turmoil. We have to go through those same problems including single parenthood, financial problems, selling the home, going to work, and legal tangles. But in addition, we are forced to deal with all the additional issues stated above. This is a double whammy that just doesn’t end when a marriage ends.

          What saddens me are the dozens of letters I receive each week from women who just can’t work their way through the maze of emotional complications that they are left with not only during the marriage, but also after the marriage. This is a process that takes time. But without going through a number of these steps, it will take much longer or just leave wounds that will not heal. I've adapted these ideas from other 12-step recovery groups, and I hope you will find them helpful.
         

THE TWELVE STEPS TO GAY HUSBAND RECOVERY (GHR)

1. You admit that your husband is gay, and you are powerless to change his homosexuality. You accept that you had no responsibility in “turning” your husband gay, and he has no choice in being gay.  You also accept that your marriage has become unmanageable living with homosexuality.

a. The first step in working towards recovery is to admit those words that are so difficult and painful to say—“My husband is gay.” You have to accept this as the beginning premise and not look to find excuses or lull yourself into a false state of security by saying the word “Bisexual” because he has you for a wife. 

b. Once you can accept that your husband is gay, you must understand that you are in no way responsible for this. Your husband was gay long before you met him even if he couldn’t understand this himself. You in no way brought this out in him or caused him to change into this. You had no influence one way or the other on when his need to act on his homosexuality would surface. There is nothing you could have done to stop this from occurring.

c. You realize that your marriage is in turmoil because your husband is gay, not because you failed as a wife. Even if there are numerous other problems in the marriage, they are all tied in to this basic fact.

2. You believe that once you turn for help for yourself, you can restore yourself to sanity.

You cannot change your husband, and no matter what you do to improve your beauty, intellect, or personality. it will not make a difference. You must turn to others who can lend help and support to understand how and why this happens so you can start thinking clearly and rationally. You need to rebuild your self-esteem and sense of self-worth so that you can start thinking ahead to the real solutions that are necessary. You do not need to waste time or money going for family counseling to try to make this marriage work. When you are living with a gay man, the bottom line is he will always have the physical and/or emotional need to be with men. This is not something that can change if you both go for marriage counseling together. Instead, go for counseling yourself to work on regaining the emotional strength you need to cope with in the marriage until you are able to move out of it. 

3. Make a decision to take back your own life, which has somehow been misplaced through your marriage.

Throughout your marriage, you have focused on your husband instead of yourself. This is for the most part because you have spent your time trying to please him because he doesn’t seem fulfilled. You personalize this as your failure and so you try that much harder to be a “better wife.”  It is not surprising if you have lost sight of who you are or who you were before the marriage. You have somehow misplaced your own life and aspirations while trying to make yourself into someone whom your husband can love better. It is now time to start focusing on you and what your goals were prior to the time of the marriage. You did have a life before your husband as well as dreams and hopes. It’s time to revisit that period of your life.
If you married at a young age, you may have never had time to work on personal goals. View this as an opportunity to sit down and figure out the life you want. Mentally visualize yourself in a place where there is happiness based upon trust and truth rather than chaos, confusion, and lies.


4. Make a search of personal inventory to see what it is within yourself that has allowed you to lose sight of your own identity and who you were before your marriage.

It is common to get off track while trying desperately to make your marriage succeed. Now it is time to do some personal inventory to see why you have allowed yourself to regress to the low emotional state you are in. What is it within you that keeps you hanging on to this marriage long after it should be over? What insecurities and fears are you facing? Living with a gay husband brings about a number of common emotional problems such as lowering or loss of personal self-esteem, loss of sexual self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.

You need to focus on a major issue that will haunt you for the rest of your life unless you deal with it upfront—namely, TRUST. You have lost the ability to trust your own judgment. You must learn to trust your own instincts again and not allow a mistake beyond your control to jade your ability to make future decisions. You must first trust that you were a worthy woman prior to your marriage. You were able to think rationally before you met your husband. But after living in an “Alice in Wonderland” existence over a period of time, you start thinking with upside down thoughts, which develop through living a lie. Once the lie is exposed, it is time for you to start examining how that lie impacted on your important decisions or fear of making important decisions.

When going through the step of taking personal inventory, start making a list of all of the qualities you have. Start recognizing your wonderful strengths and traits that have somehow been minimized in the shadow of your husband’s problem. Start thinking about how those positives would have been accentuated if you had been married to someone who could have been a real husband to you by being encouraging and supportive rather than finding fault with you because he was frustrated living his lie.  

5. Admit to yourself and to others what the real problem is in the marriage—your husband’s homosexuality—and not look to place the blame on yourself.

Until you can internally believe that your husband’s homosexuality is not your fault, it is impossible to move on. You need to understand and accept that you were not “stupid” walking into this marriage or even na├»ve. You were uninformed, inexperienced, and lacking the knowledge of understanding homosexuality. You thought that gay men were attracted to the same sex relationships, not relationships with straight women. Even if you knew about past gay encounters in your husband’s life or suspected there had been homosexual contact, you believed in all good faith that your husband had “chosen” to change and you accepted his explanation when he told you this. Remember, the overwhelming majority of women who marry gay men had no idea whatsoever about this prior to the marriage. Those who had any suspicion or knowledge didn’t understand that homosexuality was not just an adolescent encounter or fantasy. For the handful or women who went knowingly into the marriage with a gay husband, you believed in your heart that if your husband loved you enough, he would change. Stop punishing yourself by thinking that you didn’t see the “unobvious” signs.

6. You are ready to develop a mental plan for a positive future and believe that life can become rewarding and fulfilling after your marriage.

In order to regain hope, you must believe that there can be life after your marriage. Some women don’t believe that this is possible and view their marriages as a life sentence. This is not the case. Even if you can’t leave your marriage at this moment, you can start to plan for a positive future regardless of your age. Stop putting up negative roadblocks such as, “I can’t financially support myself,” or “I’m out of shape,” or “I’m too old to start over.” These are self-defeating messages which allow you to stay “stuck” where you are. All of the money in the world can’t buy your happiness. It doesn’t make sense to stay emotionally dead just to keep a roof over your head. You can put your life back together in time as long as you start believing in yourself. It may take you a year or five years, but the bottom line is that if you want it, it will happen. 

Part of developing a mental plan is realizing that you may be taking anti-depressants because you are depressed living in your marriage. So many women are coping in their marriages or after their marriages this way. If your depression is due to the marriage, antidepressants will numb the pain as well as other feelings. However, medication can also stop you from dealing with your feelings which is essential if you expect to move ahead to a produce and happier life. If you are taking medication as a result of your depression from your marriage, realize that you need to put limits on how long you can suppress your emotions. Medication doesn’t change the situation that your husband is gay, nor will it make you any happier living in a marriage with a gay man.

7. You are willing to accept you have your own insecurities and low self-esteem issues and need to start working to change them.

Women in these marriages are often plagued with insecurities and low self-esteem. This is because marriage to a gay man is an unnatural state of marriage to live in. Staying in a marriage void of passion and intimacy is also an unnatural state of marriage no matter how nice a partner is. If you wanted only friendship, you didn’t need to get married. You wanted a husband and a complete marriage that includes physical intimacy. Too many women end up “redefining” marriage justifying that there’s all different kinds of relationships. This thinking may make you feel better temporarily, but certainly not in the long run.

Living daily knowing that your husband desires a man over you strips away your sense of self-esteem one layer at a time. It is a slow process that erodes your mental state over time, not all at once. When you don’t know that the problem is homosexuality, the feelings of personal rejection are even worse because you believe that you are doing something wrong in the marriage. Gay husbands who won’t be honest will often say that “you” have the problem, not them. They claim they are happy because they can’t come to terms with their truth and would rather continue living their lie. They make you start believing that you are the cause of your own unhappiness because they claim to be “happy.” This is why so many women invest so much time and money going for therapy to help a problem that they don’t even know exists.

I know women who have gone to such extremes as developing eating disorders, investing in surgery including breasts implants and liposuction, and even going to sex therapists in hopes of getting their gay husbands to desire them more. They don’t understand how their husbands loved them enough to marry them but now won’t continue to desire them in the bedroom. They don’t understand that no matter what they do, they can’t make themselves attractive or more desirable to their gay husbands because they are not men.   

8. Make a list of all aspects of your life that have been altered through the marriage and look for ways to mend them.
         
          I know that having a gay husband alters the lives of most women. When you live in a state of constantly trying to please your husband, you lose sight of what you can achieve for yourself. Some women have never received the emotional support or encouragement from their husbands and have given up on their own aspirations. In our desperation to keep the “status quo,” we have put a freeze on the idea of education, employment, and social contacts.
         
          It is important to start focusing on goals that will help you build or rebuild yourself. It is time to start mapping out a game plan on how you can achieve these goals whether you are with your husband or no longer with him. When I lived with my gay husband, I became a prisoner of my own insecurities like many of you have. We are afraid to walk away from the house for fear of what will be going on in our absence. This leaves us in a state of paralyzation--afraid to make a move in any direction--including a positive direction. We stop socializing with friends and family; we put any plans of improving ourselves through education or employment on hold; we literally become locked up in our own fears of what will happen if we walk out the door.

I wasted so much valuable time not doing for me because I was afraid of what he would be doing for him if I left the home. You must accept the fact that you cannot be a 24-hour guard against his homosexuality. You cannot stop him from acting on his needs just by surrounding him every moment. He will find ways to do what he needs to do regardless of how hard you try to stop in. And in doing so, you are only stopping yourself from moving ahead. Start focusing on you because otherwise you will be wasting years of your life that could be fulfilling and productive. 

9. Make contact with other people however you have to in order to feel connected rather than isolated and alone. You must not be afraid to seek out help wherever you can even it is against the wishes of your gay husband.

You cannot put your husband’s need for privacy and discretion ahead of your need for support and help. You must understand why you keep putting his need for secrecy before your need for sanity.
.        
          It is amazing how ashamed so many women feel when it comes to discussing this subject with family members, friends, co-workers, or medical professionals. This is a subject that has been kept quiet for so long because we are afraid of how others will judge us. Our greatest fear is that people will believe that we are the cause of our husband’s homosexuality. On some level we still internalize that this is our fault and haven’t accepted that our husbands were gay when we married them. Some women who finally come to terms with this fact continue to blame themselves and feel that these were suppressed feelings in their husbands that they have somehow triggered by not being good enough wives.

When we seal ourselves off from others and deal with these thoughts alone, we feel an even greater sense of isolation and failure. In order to recover, you must be willing to share this news with others and seek support. Once you can say the words, “my husband is gay” to someone, it is a major step forward in finding personal independence.   

10. You are willing to confront your gay husband on any issues and not be afraid that you are going to do more damage than has already been done.
         
          When you suspect that your husband is gay, or in some cases, have proof that your husband is involved with gay activities such as porno, websites, emails, etc., it is important for you to confront him with your suspicions and findings. This is not an easy thing to do, but carrying this burden yourself is self-defeating. You need to let him know as soon as possible why you suspect there is a problem. If he denies this, or tells you that you are crazy, don’t give up. In some cases he will be very defensive and angry, but that should not be the basis of your shutting down. In some cases he may be in denial, but you must continue to tell him about your feelings in hopes that he will do the right thing.

You need to accept that this is a problem that will not go away no matter how hard both of you wish it away. In many cases, your husband fears telling you the truth because he is scared that you will have the confirmation you need to walk away or use it as ammunition against him. His fears will often keep him from admitting the truth to you. Don’t “give up,”  “shut-up,” or “shut-down.”

11. Seek answers through support and professional help so that you can ease your knowledge that will give you the courage to change your life. You will explore all avenues that will result in your personal independence.
           
            Finding out that your husband is gay is one of the worst experiences a woman can have. There is no way that you can expect to recover from this problem alone. You need help and support to help guide you through the difficult days ahead. There is no shame in going for help. In fact, now that you know that there is help and support, the shame is in not going for it. Find help that works for you in a meaningful way. Just like all therapists are not for you, not all groups claiming to be “support” groups are the right ones for you. If you are not comfortable with the support being given by various organizations, keep searching until you find the right one. In time, you will find help that is of the comfort level you need. If you need a good therapist who understands this situation, contact me for help to direct you.

12. Having a new insight and education as a result of these steps, you try to carry this message to others who need to understand what your situation is about. You also try to extend yourself to others crying out for help who are lost and confused.
         
          An excellent way to work through the healing process is to support others who are going through the same problem that you are. First, it gives comfort to others who are just starting on this path. Next, it helps you to know that there are others out there in the same situation so you don’t feel isolated or alone. This will help you in your personal journey to Gay Spouse Recovery. As a number of you tell me, "PAY FORWARD!"
         
          The important thing is to keep moving ahead. Realize that this is a process that takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. In time and with help, you will reach your goal of rebuilding your self-esteem and self-worth. Then it is time to step away from this period of your life and move on to a new part where positive self-discovery will bring you the happiness you seek and deserve.
   
Remember, as with any recovery program, you have to work these steps daily. You have to make them part of your internal belief system and look at them regularly to reassure yourself that you are on track. Any time you feel yourself slipping back instead of forward, read them over again. You can and will recover! 


Love, Bonnie

Sunday, August 6, 2017

GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT!!

 NEW EPIPHANY - GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT

Every few years, an epiphany hits me like a ton of bricks. The first one was in 2001 when I realized that we became women who we were not necessarily supposed to become because our husbands are gay.  Instead of working to grow emotionally and professionally, we are spiritually muted or stagnated for years living in a state of what I call "Muck"...much like sinking in quicksand. That is because we dance in that "circle of crazy" which means running around in circles like a dog chasing after its tail. Even the dog is in better shape than we are because sometimes he gets a hold of his tail--we just keep sinking further into helplessness.

Several epiphanies later, I now have a new one. This comes from 35 years and over 100,000 women asking me dozens of different questions that usually start the same way:

"HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME?"
It's very simple--he's GAY.

And here's my newest epiphany:

"GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT."

Please don't misunderstand me. This is not a put down on gay people at all. It's just a reality based on years of observation. I am the first to say that I don't think gay. That is because I am straight. Once again--an observation.

So when women ask me how their gay husbands can do the things they do, it's quite simple--they are GAY. They don't belong in a marriage to you. PERIOD.

The problem with our women is that they keep expecting their husbands to act as if they are straight--not gay. You forget that gay men who complain about their unhappiness are unhappy because they are married to you--a woman. And even though your husband  was for the most part all excited about the "opportunity" to marry you before you said, "I do," he was saying, "I hope I can, I hope I can make love to her, I hope she'll believe me when I pretend to be straight, I hope I won't keep fantasizing about men anymore, I hope those things I've done with guys will be in the past, I hope that if I can't resist these urges and she finds out, she won't leave me," etc. etc. You see, while you were entering the marriage filled with hopes and dreams, he was entering your marriage filled with the hope that he could "pull it off."

Don't ever believe that your gay husband just found out he was gay after he married you--after 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. That isn't true. And don't believe that he thought all men--including straight men--fantasize about being with men or have occasional sexual encounters with men because that is NOT true. And he knows it isn't true--he is just justifying his sexual fantasies and encounters. And why? He doesn't want to be gay.
I do believe that most gay men marry you because they love you--but let me clarify that by saying that they love you to the best of their ability as gay men. They love you the way they would love a sister or a cousin--but you are not his family--you are his WIFE. And as a wife, you are expecting more out your husband than to love you as a family member or best friend.  That's where the disconnect begins. Some of us have that happen sooner than later in a marriage--but eventually, it does happen. And when things are not heating up in the bedroom, that's where the anger, resentment, and blame begin.

          You: Why does it feel like I have to ask for sex all of the time?

          Him: Why are you always thinking about sex?

          You: Other women spend romantic evenings with their husbands.
          Him:  You are watching too many movies. It doesn't happen that way in real life.

          You:  We've only been married a couple of years. Why don't you make love to                         me?
          Him:  What are you? A nymphomaniac? All you think about is sex, sex, sex.

Here is the disconnect. As a gay man, he is also thinking about sex, sex, sex. But he is not thinking about having it with you. When he thinks about sex with you, he is thinking about a way out of having sex with you. Just like the thought of having sex with your brother or uncle would be repulsive to you, he has the same thought when it comes to you. It's not that he doesn't love you--he just doesn't love you the way you love him--because he is gay. He can love you, but he can't be "in love" with you. He is gay--he doesn't know how.

Gay men in denial who have a deep enough desire to stay married because they can't face living in a "gay world" will go through the motions. They can talk the talk. After all, they've been practicing their whole lives observing straight people. They can walk the walk--they know what a "straight walk" looks like. But they can't do the "dirty" indefinitely no matter how hard they try. And after a while, it becomes "dirty" to them. It becomes as incestuous to them as it would be for us to have sex with a family member--or even your best girlfriend whom you love--but not as a lover.

Why do we keep expecting gay men to be straight men? That is the faulty thinking that we have. Every response they have with you is based on their gay thinking--not on straight thinking. The resentment they have towards you is because you are a woman who wants them to be a straight man. Why wouldn't you? He married you. He promised to love you through everything--but he didn't understand that everything meant being a husband who wants intimacy and sex with his wife as part of the marital deal.
When your husband married you, he figured he could do it and maybe enjoy it. After all, he could always close his eyes and fantasize about his dream man. Many of these gay husbands do just that--and they have told me so. But they don't want to do more than they have to do to convince you that they are straight. After all, if they can get an erection every now and then--even if they can't keep it during your intimate moments--that will prove to you that they are straight. And if they lose the erection in the middle of one of those moments--no problem. It's your fault, isn't it? If he can get one, he takes the credit, but can't keep it going, then you get the credit because it must be your fault. Let's see, you're too fat...thin...dirty...smelly...flat chested....big chested...have bad breath...breathe too loud...demand too much...boring during sex...didn't clean the house enough, don't use the right shampoo, etc., etc., etc.

And then you ask me how they could do this to you.

So ladies, here's where my new epiphany should become your new mantra:

GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT BECAUSE THEY ARE GAY!

You need to say this over and over again to yourself daily whether you are still in your marriage or not. You see, we keep wondering how they can worse after they leave the marriage. We keep thinking like straight women who have a straight husband:
          
           Us:      Maybe now that he has left, he'll realize how much he has hurt me.
          Them:  I gave up so much of my life for her. I was such a good husband and                        provider. I gave her everything I had, and all she did was complain and                        complain about sex. She's so ungrateful. 

Yes, we just don't get it. Women have come to me and said, "He's willing to give up his family for a roll in the hay with someone? Sex means more to him than his family?
Yes, you just don't get it. It's not about sex--it's about being gay and being free of living a lie where he can never please you. It's about him feeling the kind of love and excitement with a man that he can never feel for you because he is gay. And say it again:

GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT BECAUSE THEY ARE GAY.

The key to healing from this nightmare is to realize that you can't do anything about it other than accept it. You can't personalize it. When your husband or ex-husband blames you for his unhappiness, you can believe it because you are a woman. You can never be the wife he needs because he doesn't need a wife--he needs a man. He is gay.
When he blames you for ANYTHING, hold your head high because you need to believe this has NOTHING to do with you. You didn't create it, and you can't change it. In Bonnie Kaye terms that means: You didn't break him--you can't fix him. Stop trying.
Nothing upsets me more than women who tell me that some of the problems in the marriage happened because of their behavior so they have to take some of the blame. Well sister, here's the news--you don't have to take any of the blame. You married someone who can never make you feel good about yourself because he was rejecting you on some level since the day he married you. Even though he didn't want to hurt you, he couldn't help himself because he is gay.

What does that mean? He resented you. You became the enemy. You were the keeper of his internal prison he created, and YOU held the key that you refused to hand him to escape. It doesn't matter that he wanted to marry you, nor does it matter that he refuses to leave his safety net and comfort level of leading a "straight life." Now you are the one who "keeps him trapped" into being someone he doesn't really want to be---namely your husband.

This is where another disconnect sets in. He continually picks, picks, picks--and he is picking at you and on you because of his frustration. He'll look to blame you for the problems in the marriage. After all, he's done everything to make you happy, but you are never happy. He's a good provider. He's a good father. What's the problem in the marriage? It has to be YOU. In his mind, he does what he believes is the right thing to do--other than giving you sex every time you ask for it--and don't you keep asking? What is with you?   

Since most of these men don't  or won't tell you the truth until they are ready--and sadly, too many will never be ready, even when they leave you--you slowly begin the deterioration process that strips down your self-esteem one layer at a time. You lose your footing because no matter how hard you try, your husband doesn't love you the way you know a man should love a woman. You're not stupid--but you sure are feeling very stupid because nothing you do is making your husband happy. When you don't know why all of your efforts don't bear the results you want, you finally understand what is wrong in your relationship--YOU ARE INADEQUATE. You have made every attempt to make your husband love you by showing him with love, affection, and passion--but nothing helps. What is wrong with you?

This is where the anger, depression, and worthlessness starts taking over your psyche. Many of our gay husbands/ex husbands are passive-aggressive. They use a "slap and smile" strategy meaning they slap you down (mostly emotionally, but in some cases physically) and then tell you that they love you. Our "perception" of love gets distorted. As long as you hear those words "I love you," you feel there is a chance if only you can change some of your ways. You know what upsets him most--SEX. Other than that, he's not "that bad." As your family and friends keep telling you, "He's a good dad. He's a good provider. You go on nice vacations. He's not a WOMANIZER. You are a lucky woman."  

         Message: There's nothing wrong with him. You should be happy.

So why aren't you? You start feeling guilty because you think you don't have the right to complain. Then you start reading magazine articles that say most relationships "lose their groove" sexually in time, but the friendship and love is still there. As the song goes, "Don't worry--be happy." Right? Wrong.

This is not about straight couples who get caught up with life on life's terms over the years where sex can diminish due to health issues or job pressures. This is about a gay man who has never made you feel valued as a woman--only as a sexual aggressor who has turned him off. It's about losing confidence in everything you do because no matter how much you have done, nothing is working. So many of our women try transforming themselves by going through life-changing surgery like gastric bypasses, breast implants, liposuction, and plastic surgery in order to make themselves more beautiful so their husbands will desire them. That's because he usually throws in those little excuses, "If only you weren't so heavy....if only you would lose weight...if only your breasts weren't so small....if only your body wasn't so flabby....if only, if only, if only.

Ha, ha, ha. Like changing this will make their husbands want them sexually more. They soon find out that "enhancing your appearance" to make yourself more beautiful is an act in futility. Your husband doesn't want you more beautiful--he wants a man--he is gay.
 When you are a normal woman, years of getting the message that you are 'abnormal" deprives you of ever knowing who you really are. There won't be much personal growth or actualizing here because you are too busy trying to get your husband to love you which means "desire you." You have to learn to accept the way you want your husband to love you WILL NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE HE IS A GAY MAN!

Never mistake "cuddling with you" for "passion" with you. If it gives you some false illusion that "cuddling" means loving you, then you are deluding yourself. A marriage doesn't need cuddling as its primary source of affection. It needs the passion and desire that that makes you feel like you can climb a mountain or float on a cloud. A straight man will never just "do it" to make you happy. He will make you happy because it makes him happy when you are sexually satisfied. He loves to touch you. Cuddling is secondary--not the primary reason he wants to touch you. When a man loves you, he wants to "make love" to you.

I have been with my boyfriend for 23 years and 7 months. We have a beautiful and regular sex life that is always top of the line even at our age. As he explains to me, "Making love to you is the best way for me to express how much I love you." Yep, that is how a straight man thinks. We are both so in sync with each other because we know what pleases each other. After more than two decades, I can tell you that he still works just as hard to please me because to him IT IS NOT WORK. It's passion that has built our intimacy to survive those difficult times when sex isn't possible due to medical issues. The medical issues are never an excuse--they are just a delay knowing things will be better and we will be fine. That's the difference between a straight man and a gay man. Straight men want sex with you because you are a woman--gay men don't want sex with you because you are a woman.
In closing, repeat these words every day:

GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT--GAY MEN DON'T THINK STRAIGHT.


You'll know you finally understand this when you stop hurting over something you have no control over. Stop personalizing it for the sake of your own mental health. Distance yourself emotionally so that one day you can truly heal. Don't continue to let his homosexuality define who you are. Remember--you are straight and he is gay.

Monday, March 20, 2017

BONNIE KAYE'S STRAIGHT TALK NEWSLETTER - MARCH 2017

BONNIE KAYE'S STRAIGHT TALK
March 2017     Volume 18, Issue 183
Bonnie’s Mantra:
LIFE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE THIS COMPLICATED. PERIOD.
COMPUTER RADIO PODCASTS - www.blogtalkradio/bonnielkaye                                     Live on Sunday night 9 p.m. EST or any time after the live broadcast!

NEXT HEALING WEEKEND
There is still time to come to my next HEALING WEEKEND which is only weeks away in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 29 – Sunday, April 30. If you would like to be part of this amazing weekend, please email me at Bonkaye@aol.com and put the word “Healing” in the subject box. I will send you details. There is no charge for the weekend outside of travel, lodging, and food. This is a life-changing experience for people who need help during the grieving and recovery process.

HAPPY 16 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO MY READERS

This month marks the anniversary of my first newsletter in March of 2001. Sometimes I really feel like “retiring” because how much can any one person keep saying? But I keep going, fueled by your letters and your pain. In all of these years, the situation has barely changed at all. Women still feel the emotional “isolation” while going through this even though millions of us are doing or have done it. Believe me, it’s not a handful when the numbers are in the millions—and that’s just in this country.
In the years since I’ve started writing these newsletters, I’ve had over 27,000 monthly readers, many whom have gone on to new lives and healing wishing me goodbye and thanks. I was their “lifeline” during this time of numbness and confusion. When people “graduate” and asked to be removed from the list, I am so happy to say goodbye and good luck. Being a straight wife does not have to define your future. The goal is to heal from it and restart your life over. Many of our women have found real happiness with a straight man. Others have found happiness being alone on their own by CHOICE. Either way is the right way. There is no wrong way to move on except for one way—finding a mentally or physically abusive situation again with a predator who senses your weakness after a destructive marriage. Sadly, this happens, too, when women don’t spend the time they need in Gay Husband Recovery. They run and jump too fast looking for love in all the wrong places. They haven’t learned the lesson from that famous Whitney Houston song that learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

That may sound trite—but ask someone who has found happiness again, and she’ll tell you that it’s true. If you don’t love yourself enough, you will never get the love you deserve and should expect to find with a man. You’ll settle for less—and still not find inner peace. A true relationship with a new partner has to be one based on fulfilling your needs—not just you walking down that street of pleasing a man so he will stay with you. You did that for enough years of your life—and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter that your new husband is straight—in fact, it’s worse. At least with a gay husband you know the problems were because he was gay, but with a straight husband, there are different problems. Now it’s not the “gay” messing up your life—it’s other problems that you may not even know about that you have to now face. And trust me, you’ll fall back into those old habits of having to do all of the pleasing like you did/are doing with your gay husband because you will be convinced that “you” are the problem. That’s just the way it is. Period.

If you are strong when you are ready to meet a new partner, you’ll have a better chance of seeing those red flags of danger waving in your face and knowing when to run in the other direction. Your new mantra will be “NEVER AGAIN!”  Hopefully you won’t get your heart broken too badly, and even more hopefully, you’ll gain back some sexual confidence and insight into sex with a straight man. I always say that no experience is wasted experience—even if it isn’t the “forever” experience. These “starter relationships” help you realize that you aren’t emotionally wounded or sexually numbed forever. They awaken feelings in you that you thought were gone, and that is the purpose they serve.

One thing that saddens me the most is that after all of these years of writing, talking, speaking, and spreading the word, straight wives still don’t matter. No one has taken up our cause of seeing how we are the true heroes and how we continue to suffer. I hate to keep repeating this message, but I can’t help it. I want us to feel like “victors” more than “victims,” and the only way that will happen is when society acknowledges that we are SUPERWOMEN who withstood more pain than almost any other woman does. We try our hardest to make our hubbies happy but to no avail. We are missing that magic wand if you get the double meaning there. No matter how loving and helpful we are, it will never replace what he really wants and needs—and it’s not us—it’s a man.

Over the next five years, I plan to move things to a new height is getting people to understand why we are the real heroes here—not “self-imposed” whiners who must have known that our husbands were gay. Yep. That’s what many on the outside think. They are so smug in thinking that we knew but accepted it anyway. Sometimes they even think that we caused it—misinformation thrown into the fire by some angry gay men. But we know the truth. The truth is we didn’t know “gay.” We didn’t understand “gay.” We couldn’t conceive why a man who wanted men would want to marry us. Some of us still don’t understand it—but we have to live with it because it’s the truth.

I am looking for women who will stand with me while I do battle with what the screwed up divorce system this country has called NO FAULT DIVORCE when there is a fault. It’s misleading to think that these marriages are like other marriages when they are not. There is no fault here when our gay husbands reveal they are gay and want to leave. That’s not our fault—it’s his fault. That’s why I am going to challenge the NO FAULT and try to change it to YOUR FAULT divorce. It’s going to take a lot of fighting because in this country, divorce is done state by state. There are some states that accept adultery as a reason for divorce, but they don’t consider gay sex as adultery. Something must be done to change the laws.
I am asking my readers to see who will help me on this mission. I’ve asked before, but the response was not enough to start this moving. I think you can see that now is the time for us to unite and start standing up for ourselves. Until the world can understand that STRAIGHT WIVES MATTER, we will continue to allow ourselves to feel minimized by not only our marriages, but also by society.

If you want to help, please write to me and put the work READY in the subject box. We’ll take it from there. And maybe by the time of my next newsletter anniversary, we will have made great strides. Tell all of your straight wives friends from other groups that we need to be allies and fight this together. If we do this in a united way, I know we can win. The battle has just begun!

A TRIBUTE TO MARGIE M. – A HEROINE DEAD AT AGE 32 IN 1989

I have written about hundreds of topics over the past 16 years of this newsletter. Yes, this month marks 16 years of endlessly writing about topics that affect women who married gay or bi men looking at every possible story or thought that came my way—except for one.
I felt the need to write about this now because I’ve never addressed it before. But as the years go on and people still don’t get that STRAIGHT WIVES MATTER, it continues to jolt my mind in so many directions of why we feel so “minimized” in this situation.

A friend of mine recently wrote that he is so excited to be in a play about AIDS. It made me think about the whole situation of this horrific disease that created one of the darkest clouds of terror that our country faced in my adult life. It was such an ugly time of watching people behaving at their worst out of pure fear (which was understandable) and in many cases, ignorance (which is also expected whenever there is fear).

There is no way that I will minimize this horror story that gay men faced as they died painful and isolated deaths due in many cases to refusal of medical personnel to treat then due to fear of contamination. In the early days of AIDS, it was believed that the disease was airborne and you could catch it by being in the same space as someone. Those days were frightening—and I knew it first-hand from my own experience.

My son was only four years old and attending nursery school in 1986. Sadly, he was born with a rare genetic disease that caused his death at the age of 23. In his early years, he had a number of hospitalizations for treatment and surgery. I was invited to appear on the Sally Jesse Raphael show to discuss straight/gay marriages, and I accepted the invitation. I was getting hesitant to do television as my children were getting older even though we had different last names as I didn’t want them to be affected by my involvement on this issue. The show was national at that time, but it was shown at 4:00 a.m. in Philadelphia which made me think I was “safe” as far as people not seeing it in my area.

The show was scheduled to be shown about one month after the filming. A week before the showing, my son was hospitalized for an infection related to his rare disease. He was out of school for three weeks, and during that time all hell broke loose. Petitions were sent to the nursery school organized by a mother who woke up early that day and saw me on the show. She saw that my husband was gay and my son was sick, therefore he must have AIDS. Parents threatened to take their children out of school unless my son was removed. The school stood by me and refused to remove my son. Several of these women did remove their children from the school because of FEAR that I had no control of no matter how many times I told them that my ex didn’t have AIDS and my son was sick from a bacterial infection—not a viral one.

This situation made me so much more empathetic to people infected by this deadly disease because I saw how people reacted to me and my son—and this was just because someone put two and two together and it equaled seven. I couldn’t even imagine the horrible life of people infected as they were handed that death sentence.

Many movies were made about the horror of this disease focusing on the pain these men went through. However, other than Precious, a movie about a teenage girl infected via sex with her addicted father, very little has been said about the women who died from this terrible death—meaning those women who were infected by their gay husbands. No movies or tributes have been done for them—and I know I was working with seven different women who died during those years--not from sharing needles, but from sharing their husbands with gay infected men. All of these seven women were blindsided—they learned of their husbands’ homosexuality when one or the other became ill. Both of them—husband and wife--died leaving orphans behind. Going through the nightmare with these women forced me to take a step away for ten years because I couldn’t deal with the emotional pit in my stomach anymore. It was too deep.

Here I will tell the story of one of these women—Margie M. I met this lovely lady late in 1988. She had seen me on a television show locally here in Philadelphia several years before I “disappeared” from the public on television, and she found me on the Internet.  I’ll never forget our first call because her tears of hysteria are still fresh in my mind when I allow them to surface.

She called me and said she saw me on a show and felt I was the only one who would understand her. I told her that I am here for those women who find out their husbands are gay and that I understand her pain. She responded to me with:

          “No you don’t. You can’t possibly understand my pain.”

I replied that I had worked with over a thousand women at that point, and I really did understand. I had been there myself.

          “Well, let me ask you this, Bonnie,” she said. ‘How many other women have you worked with who won’t be alive to raise their children because they have AIDS?”

I admitted none. She was my first, but sadly not my last. Margie went on to tell me that she learned of her husband’s homosexuality when she went to the doctor and tested positive for AIDS. She had started to exhibit the symptoms of AIDS shortly after her husband. He went for a test, and when he revealed the startling news to her, he told her that she needed to be tested as well. And so with heavy heart and strong fear, she took the test which came out positive.

Back then, AIDS was a death sentence. We both started crying and continued throughout the conversation. Both she and her husband were going to die and leave their three children behind. The children were then 5, 7, and 10. Both Margie and her husband had lost their parents, and the each only had one sibling who was unable to care for the children. My heart broke for her. We spoke five or six more times before her death seven months later. Her husband had died two months earlier.

I felt very helpless to provide any comfort to this heroic woman. Her husband—like many others—didn’t think about his actions and how they would affect her. In fact, over 20% of the women who come to me have some form of an STD. Thankfully, people today can live with HIV/AIDS, but it isn’t easy. Men who are out there having sex and not taking precautions and then coming home to their wives to have sex without taking precautions are at best unconscionable. That’s why I tell every woman to get checked so she can make sure that if she has an STD, it can be treated early.

Side note: I can’t help but mention the number of women who have told me that their husbands turned their anger towards them when learning about the STD claiming there was no way in the world they—the husband—could be blamed. He would start blaming the wives of all kinds of infidelity which never happened or sitting on a toilet seat to “acquire” crabs or herpes. These women walked around feeling guilty and blaming themselves—some for years. Again—UNCONSCIENABLE.

Men today have told me (gay husband men, that is) that AIDS is totally different today because it is treatable. Most people are living long lives, and with medication it can be controlled. I say, “Thanks, pal.” Justifying this with stupidity is worse than not mentioning it at all. Too many of our women have been diagnosed with every variety of STD’s. Some will carry the scars forever because they are controllable—but not removable. This really takes its toll when you are trying to start a new relationship. You really have to scour the earth looking for a man that doesn’t mind that you have HIV and says he couldn’t care less. Those kinds of guys are really like finding needles in a haystack.

Getting back to my story of Margie, let me say this. There were no movies made about her and the other number of women who died as a result of their gay husbands’ infidelity. Those women were heroes in our midst who were never acknowledged or even spoken about. I haven’t seen any movies made about them, or heard much discussion.  Many of them died with no peace of mind like Margie wondering who would raise her children. They had the double blow of learning their husbands were gay and then learning they were dying because of it.

In my research, I did find that the actress Amanda Blake, best known as “Miss Kitty” on the show Gunsmoke, died from AIDS in 1989 which was a gift from her “bisexual” husband who also died from AIDS. I didn’t see any tributes or movies made about her. My point is, until women are treated with the same respect and admiration as their gay husband counterparts, we will never achieve the recognition we deserve.
Straight Wives DO Matter even if we don’t talk about it. Society continues to make heroes out of the gay men who come out late in life or pay tribute to those who died during the AIDS crisis, but there are no tributes to the Margie’s of the world. And so Margie, today I salute you and pay tribute to you and the other women who live with the infections bestowed upon them by men who just didn’t care enough to do the right thing.
HAVE A HAPPY MONTH. Spring is on its way!

Love, Bonnie