NEXT HEALING WEEKEND
My next HEALING WEEKEND 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.
AT LONG LAST—REASONABLE COST FOR LEGAL MATTERS
I am so excited about a service that I would like to present to you—one that I have used for the past year and LOVE. One of the most difficult problems for our women is having the financial resources to hire an attorney to learn about your rights during the divorce. Sometimes just a first consultation can run $1,000.00, and then several hundred dollars per hour. Even when you have a phone call, you’re billed in time slots of 15 minutes which can mean $100.00 or more for a short question. When you have limited resources, this may seem impossible.
Now there is a solution. JustAnswer is a service that can save you a lot of money and give you peace of mind. They cover family law in the US and in Canada, as well as medical problems, computer problems, home repairs, and veterinary problems. I have never had to wait more than an hour to get a response from an expert, and most of the time, I get a response within minutes.
I pay $36.00 a month for peace of mind, and there is no time limit. You can order the service for a month or keep it on-going like I do. I’ve asked legal questions for a number of you already, but I always advise our women to get the service. You can ask as many questions as you like. I have asked many questions about medical problems in my family as well as computer advice. I think it’s so wonderful to have your own team of experts for such a wonderful service. The link below will take you to the Family Law link, but you can ask any question to try it out yourself. Give it a try—and let me know what you think. There’s no cost to try it out on any topic—legal including divorce and custody, medical (live doctors on line!) or computer problems. This can be a deal breaker. At least you can get a lot of preliminary answers before you have to get a lawyer to go to court which will save hours of time and hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Click into this link for your free question from any of the experts! Then bookmark the page for the future.
And you can ask any question on the topics listed—not just the legal ones!
VICTIMS OF SOCIETY
Last month, I was corresponding with a gay man who had never been married to a woman. He was comfortable with his life as a gay man. He was interested in the information on my website at www.gayhusbands.com. We had written back and forth a few times, and I know that he truly did sympathize with women in our situation. He also understood gay men who married us based on the pressures of society especially during the times when homosexuality was not an option.
I am very clear—always—that I do understand the reason why most gay men who marry women do so—especially during the “dark ages” when gay was considered to be a death sentence. I do believe these men loved us to the best of their ability as gay men—but it wasn’t the love that we needed or deserved. I do believe they were hoping against hope that loving us would push away that need for sexual contact with men—but it didn’t. It just got worse. And the worse those feelings became, the more frustrated our husbands became and took it out on us. We became the keeper of the prison key to the prison that they set up for themselves. Don’t forget—we went into these marriages with true love and pure hearts. Most of us didn’t marry out of “desperation” like some gay men claim. We were kind and loving, and these men were counting on that.
In time, rather than doing the right thing, these men just keep doing their thing which means going out there and cheating on you. Yes, call it compartmentalization or any similar word which means separating your realities from each other, but they do it.
They are not willing to do the “right thing” by being honest with you, but rather they make you think that you are the one with the problem—not them. That’s where the abuse begins.
Okay, I’ve stated and overstated this enough time over the years. So when this gentleman told me that he understands that there are victims on both sides—I appreciated the fact that he acknowledged our pain while so many others don’t. However, the more I thought about it, I couldn’t let it just stay like that because the “victimization” here is definitely not the same. This was my response to him:
I understand why these gay men get married, but I don't think they understand what they do to an innocent person when they do that. The same sense of societal rejection that he (the gay husband) feels is the same kind of personal rejection she (the wife) feels from him. I don't know if you're in a relationship or not, but I assume that at some point you've been in one. Imagine how you would feel if you partner kept sexually rejecting you and then started blaming you for "smelling bad" or "having such bad breath that he couldn’t kiss you" or "being too dull in bed." Worse yet--what if he told you your penis size wasn't large enough for him? What if started to criticize how you look, how you clean, how you cook, and anything else he could criticize because the truth was he had a lover he wanted to be with--and it wasn't you. Then you may have a slight insight into how women feel. Women love their gay husbands and married them for that reason. They don't stop loving them when they start feeling the sexual and emotional rejection--rather, they try harder and harder to be better wives.
I have seen women spend thousands of dollars "improving" themselves with breast implants, breast reductions, liposuction, gastric bypasses, plastic surgery, and lots of therapy to see why they aren't making their husbands happy. I personally feel so saddened when women try everything when they can't win a battle that can't be won.
Then there's the social "stigma" of having a gay husband. People ostracize you for marrying someone gay--or worse yet, claiming you must have lacked the ability to be a good wife because he wasn't gay when he married you but became gay later. Certain religions and cultures keep their children away from our children because they find out the father was gay. About 20% of my women have some form of an STD from their gay husband's indiscretions. Do you think this is fair?
In the late 1980's, I had approximately 11 women whom I supported call me that they were dying from AIDS. They had no idea their husbands were gay up until this point. Back then people didn't live with AIDS--they died and their husbands died leaving the children with no parents to raise them. Was this fair? Today you have to be happy if you have herpes or syphilis. At least they’re treatable--but how many men want to date a woman with herpes--the "gift" that lasts forever.
So, I have to say that women truly are the victims of our society that "pushes" gay men to marry. And there are plenty of younger people in your age bracket that I am STILL working with.
There are some gay men my age and older who never married. They didn't come out, but they never married. You don't have to "come out" to be gay. You can live your life with dignity and still do the right thing. No one has to know about your sexuality by covering it up with a woman. There is a different choice that gay men could make. It wasn't get married or come out--it was come out or stay in.
I stand by those words. I am tired of people making heroes out of gay men who 35 or 40 years later “did the right thing” and come out. There is hardly a mention of the straight wife, and if there is, she is not the hero. She is reduced to just a by-product.
One woman who knows how to articulate the pain we face is Kristin Kalbli. I found Kristin several months ago and had the pleasure of having her as a guest on my radio show. On Sunday, January 29, Kristin came back to my show for a second time and promised to do it on a regular basis. The link to the show is here:
Last year, Kristin wrote an excellent article that she allowed me share with you here. I know you will feel her heart-felt words that express how almost all of the women in this network feel. It concerns NY City Councilman James Vacca.
By Kristin Kalbli
Jan 28, 2016
James Vacca, a New York City Councilman who represents the 36th district of Brooklyn, came out as a gay man on Twitter this week. According to the New York Times, “the post was marked with the hashtags #outandproud #comingout and was greeted with a flood of online support and praise from city and state political figures.”
It is undoubtedly a good thing for Councilman Vacca to be out of the closet, and I congratulate him on his choice to finally live his truth with integrity. Yet an important part of this story is being overlooked: his straight spouse, his wife. While the congratulations and public support for Mr. Vacca pour in on social media, his wife will not get the spotlight, or the same level of public support. Not even close. In fact, she receives no mention in this article; it is merely noted that councilman Vacca is "getting a divorce." In this story, she is not even a person.
But she is a person in the story, and she has every bit as significant a part as Councilman Vacca. Hopefully, if this experience (being married to a closeted gay man) is as traumatic for her as it was for me (my ex-husband is now out after two failed marriages to women), she will still receive a lot of support, although that support will likely be privately and discretely shared away from the op-eds of the NYT.
Before we jump to praise and congratulate Councilman Vacca for his “bravery” upon coming out, I would ask him a few questions. How long has he known he was gay? Or when did he first begin grappling with his sexuality? Did he confide in his wife immediately, as soon as there was a question? Or did he dissemble, equivocate, and lie to keep her from intuiting the truth? In short, did he do harm to her to keep himself safe?
You see, many gay spouses spend years intentionally lying to straight spouses, covering up the truth, throwing up smoke screens in ways large and small, so as not to be discovered. There has been gaslighting, script-flipping, evasion, denial, diversion and deception. Much of this is consciously and intentionally done. These tactics, designed to throw the straight spouse off the trail, severely damage the straight spouse's sense of reality, sanity, and often, their sense of self. Lying and denial on this scale, and in a relationship this intimate, takes enormous effort, and therefore the damage done to the victim-spouse (yes, victim), and the sense of betrayal is proportionally enormous. Especially when the blame for the lack of physical intimacy in the marriage is laid at the straight spouse's doorstep, as it often is to deflect suspicion. It is crazy-making. In the face of such Herculean efforts to make the straight spouse doubt herself instead of her gay husband, she will begin to doubt everything else: including her own sanity, her goodness as a person, her ability to assess reality, her capacity for trust. The very air in her home doesn't seem to be made of oxygen, because it is made of a lie. It is the carbon monoxide of lies; you can’t see it, smell it, taste it, but it still there, killing you slowly. You can intuit something is “off”, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. And when you get “warm,” (you find gay porn or some other evidence) your spouse will tell you are so, so, so cold (“I don’t know what you are talking about! It’s not mine! You’re crazy!”). Because they are still in the closet, and they are using you as it’s door. It is a personal betrayal on the most intimate of human levels. And yes, this is a high level of using another human being. And no, no one gets to do that.
While the reasons for the gay spouse's hiding and deception are complex and nuanced, and often understandable, they are NOT noble, and they are never excusable. And sometimes, they are downright unconscionable. If two people are in a Mixed Orientation Marriage, then both people in that marriage have the right to know that. There is no excuse for robbing someone else of the ability to consent to the kind of marriage they are in. When one spouse unilaterally decides the other spouse does not need to know they are in a MOM, they have unjustly robbed their spouse of informed consent. From personal experience, being unable to consent to the kind of marriage I was in constituted a deep violation of trust and bodily sovereignty that took nearly a decade to come back from. (I would never have consented to marry him had I known my ex husband was gay). It’s was a violation of my sexual agency (I would never have consented to have sex with him had I known he was gay). It was a violation of human decency (I was deprived of the potential for a loving, sexually fulfilling, mutually nourishing marriage with a straight man for 2 decades).
The consequences of these violations of the straight spouse’s life are severe: PTSD, Major Depression, anxiety disorders, a deep sense of alienation from the self and from reality, and when it all comes crashing down when he finally has the “courage” to come out, a deep sense of betrayal because your whole life together was a lie.
I know none of the private details of Councilman Vacca’s life and marriage to his wife. However, we have to stop seeing only the side of the story that indiscriminately celebrates a gay spouse when he/she finally has the “courage” to come out. Before that, there was a husband or wife who may or may not have been traumatized, cruelly sexually rejected, deprived of consent, gaslighted or used as a prop in a play of the gay spouse's creation, or worse, used as a brood mare to produce children.
I promise you, it is beyond devastating to find out you, a human being, were merely used as a prop, a bit of set dressing, a trompe l'oeil, a "beard." It is beyond enraging to learn, as we eventually do, that someone you loved and trusted felt your life could be sacrificed for their illusion, a mere currency they exchanged to buy and build a decoy life. It is a kind of psychological rape that someone felt entitled to unilaterally decide what kind of marriage you should be in, and you weren’t given a choice, because of their fear (legitimate though that fear may have been). That a choice was taken away from you each successive year you were kept in the dark and deceived about the kind of marriage you had, each successive year you did not have knowledge and did not give permission. Your spouse commandeered your life, and didn’t tell you what you were being used for.
Gay columnist and sex advice podcaster Dan Savage is famously unsympathetic to closeted people, stating about one closet case in one advice column: "He is being dishonest, and his chicken shit closet-case games require you to be dishonest, too." This is what many straight spouses experience, only without their knowledge or permission.
This is not about demonizing closeted gay people. Many straight spouses stay quiet about their pain and trauma precisely because we don't want to hurt or offend our LGBT loved ones and friends, and we don't want to seem "too angry" or too unsympathetic to the gay spouse's coming out journey. This has to stop. It is nothing less than a form of violence to a soul to lie to another person so thoroughly. A gay spouse is not excused because they are a persecuted minority (and yes, they are a persecuted minority). You are not granted permission to lie to someone on the most intimate of human levels, to shatter someone else’s life because yours is hard.
This is an acknowledgment that wherever homophobia permeates a society, forcing people into a closet so deep and so dark that they themselves cannot bare to leave it, and will conscript non-consenting partners to maintain it, no one, not even straight spouses, are left unscathed. There is real, and lasting trauma. Let us acknowledge it.
Thank you, Kristin, for your beautiful words. No writer moves me the way you do!
If you missed any of my recent radio broadcasts, here is a link:
On 2/12/17, one of our favorite guests, Dr. Margalis Fjelstad, spoke about our roles as caretakers with men who are narcissists or have borderline personalities. I am so excited that Dr. Fjelstad’s newest book Healing from a Narcissistic Relationship: A Caretaker's Guide to Recovery, Empowerment, and Transformation will be out in late April or May. I’ll announce when it is out, and Dr. Fjelstad will return to the show to discuss the book. To listen to our show from the 2/12, here is the link:
Dr. Fjelstad has a FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER to help you set better boundaries. You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org to get on her mailing list. The words of this woman will definitely change your life—for the better by giving you the tools to take back your life!
I’d like to send a special thanks to my dynamite monthly co-hostess Coach Suzette Vearnon. She inspires us every single month. Here’s a link to her February show to help you through the Valentine’s Day holiday:
Ladies, this marks the official end of the holiday season. Life can start resuming now without facing the daily pain of family and lover holidays. It’s time put the past few months behind you and let the sadness go. Happier days are ahead. Just write to me at Bonkaye@aol whenever you need support.
Love, Bonnie <3