Monday, September 24, 2012

From Doomed Grooms

I mentioned I am in the process of updating Doomed Grooms. I want to share some of the excerpts with you. The book will be available by November. People who hear these stories but who haven’t lived them ask how stupid can we be. The truth is that it doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a process that happens over time. In the beginning, almost all of the gay men do have sexual relations with their wives. They may not be great, or very often, but they do happen. This is what confuses us. Our husbands are able to perform, have an erection, and in many cases, able to have an orgasm. At least for a while, that is. Some of them even find it pleasurable because after all, it is a sexual release. Therefore, these gay men can derive sexual satisfaction from a straight woman—but it is never going to be satisfying enough to keep away those nagging attractions and overwhelming desires for men. Some will give it their best tries, but ultimately, they feel they are missing something that you can’t give them no matter what you do to try to fix it. There are no fixes here. Their natural inborn need for men will eventually surface. Sometimes it’s in a year—sometimes it’s in 10 or 20 years. But the threat is always there, looming overhead. Numerous straight women also box themselves into accepting the decline of sexual intimacy in their marriages. They buy into their husbands’ excuses or abuses and let the sexuality part of them go into hibernation or wither and die all together. It is not unusual for a wife to blame herself for her husband’s homosexual thoughts or desires. Some gay husbands are cruel enough to blame their wives, stating that they weren’t this way before the marriage. Imagine how disheartening it feels when you think that you are so inadequate as a woman that your husband has to turn to men. This is when women start playing the dangerous game that I call 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 of men. And while we are playing the “If Only” game, some husbands are playing the other mind-twister game, which I call the “Blame Game.” This is where gay husbands come closest to revealing the truth by throwing in your face, “If I became gay, who could blame me? After all, you are too demanding…always making too many sexual demands…always complaining about something…gaining weight…acting jealous…being possessive …too sloppy….too suspicious…all consuming…and the list goes on. I mention these games because they hit directly into the sexuality issues. It is very difficult if you blame yourself for the sexual failures in your marriage to start repairing the damage to your sexual esteem. You feel unworthy of being a sexual being with normal needs and wants. You also doubt your ability to please a man because the man you have been living with makes it clear that you are not a sex-pleaser. Getting back into the swing of life after marriage or a relationship with a gay man can be very difficult.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Several years ago,I took a book I had written, Doomed Grooms: Gay Men Married to Women, off the market due to a conflict with the past publisher. I am in the process of updating it and re-releasing it with my current publisher. In proofing it, I was impressed by many of the points I made about these Mis-marriages, or mistakes for a marriage when there is a straight wife and a gay husband.These lines really impressed me (isn't it great when you can impress yourself?) I work with so many women whose marriages need to end, and yet they continue to stay in it year after year after year. When I think about all of the wasted time that women are spending in these marriages, it makes me very sad. These are years that lack affection, passion, compassion, and intimacy. These are years that drain away their sense of self-esteem and self-worth. These are years when these women are forced into celibacy exile because their husbands will not have sex with them. For many, it is years of stunted growth because without nurturing, people don’t grow to reach their potential. It’s like watering flowers so they can bloom. These are years filled with frustration, anger, self-blame, and tears. This is not the way life was meant to be. The point I really like here is that being married to a gay man means you can never reach your potential. There is no nourishment in these marriages. This causes women to wilt just like flowers that sit in a vase without water. Women live in psyche that isn't theirs. That's why always say it doesn't take two to tango in these relationships--just one--the gay one. I can assure you that how you have grown and progressed as a wife or partner in these relationships is not the way you would have grown if you had a husband who would have encouraged you daily, held you in his arms, cherished you with intimacy and affection, and told you how much he loved you every day. When you live with a man who resents having you there, you only internalize the rejection and start losing who you are. Ah, I can't wait for the re-release of Doomed Grooms: Gay Men Married to Women.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July Newsletter 2012

BONNIE'S NEXT HEALING WEEKEND My next healing weekend will take place on September 28-29, my birthday weekend, I am planning my seventh annual Philadelphia healing weekend for women who want to meet other women for a two days of sharing, healing, and caring. If you would like to join me and some other wonderful women, write to me at and put "Healing Weekend" in the subject box. This will be a great weekend with women from around the country joining in. There is no cost for the weekend other than the expense of travel, eating, and the hotel. The group rate at a new hotel is phenomenal considering how beautiful the rooms are. Treat yourself to the gift of healing. NEW YORK DINNER GET-TOGETHER On Saturday, September 1, I will be staying over in New York and getting together with a group of our dynamic New York/NJ/CN ladies for a long evening dinner. If you would like to join me, please let me know by writing to me at and writing "New York Dinner" in the subject box. I will fill you in on details. CHATROOM UPDATE For the past 10 years, I have been holding my online support chats on AOL. This is quite cumbersome for people who are not part of AOL and impossible for people who have MAC's and phone computers. I found a new chat venue that anyone can now access. If you are interested in joining me on Sunday evenings, please let me know. The chat room will be available to members for additional chatting as well. Please write to me at and put "chat" in the subject box. NEW BOOK - MANREADERS People on this mailing list received my recent announcement about ManReaders: A Woman's Guide to Dysfunctional Men. This book helps you understand why men who are not the right partners find us--and why we allow them to. Whether you are still in a bad marriage or post-marriage and looking for a new relationship, this book will really help you make better decisions. All of us are "prey" for predators. There are millions of men out there who are not gay, but unstable, controlling, narcissistic, and mentally unstable. It's easy to find a man like this after coming out of a marriage that was broken. These men can't make you happy--they will only break you further. Learn how to recognize them so you can save yourself more unhappiness in the future. See my site at: You can purchase the book there. If you feel you don't need it, think about buying a copy for a sister, daughter, niece, or friend. It's a guide that every female needs to learn about before it is too late. You can also read and add to my blog from that page as well. I had originally published a different version of this book back in 2006. I took it off the market three years later because it was based on a new group that I had formed with some friends that didn't work out. I reworked it taking out at least half of the previous material that wasn't relevant because the group didn't get off the ground and added new original material to replace it. I really liked the concept of this book because women are so vulnerable when they move into relationships after being married to a gay man. Some women are just so desperate to feel loved, they take the first man who comes along and promises them happiness. So often, this man is a straight version of their gay husband. Many of us had gay husbands who were narcissists or sociopaths. We learn the hard way that there are plenty of straight men out there who are the same. And guess what? It just doesn't happen to us, but to millions of other women who are married to straight men as well. The same prototype of a woman that a gay man looks for is the same prototype of a woman that a broken man looks for. In this book, I continuously discuss the issue of self-esteem--or rather the lack of it and how it drives us to make poor decisions in relationships in our lives. I do talk about some of my past pathetic relationships/marriages, and how in my desperation to feel love, I only destroyed my own life. Some of the stories in here were painful to tell and expose, but I believe all of us are connected by our pain and mistakes. I never want you to feel alone or stupid for making choices that you did. This book also gives you a list of things to do to check out a man before you get involved with him based on some of the things I should have done but didn't early on. I learned from those experiences including dating a man who lied about who he was and catching him . Like I said, so many of us are so vulnerable and believing because we want to believe. Don't be fooled! Read this book and learn from my mistakes rather than learning them on your own. And speaking about ManReaders, I've added a new Mantra to my website: You can never fix a broken man--but he can break you. Please make sure you engrave that thought in your mind! WISE WORDS FROM MY FRIEND NANCY IN GEORGIA When I went to Houston to meet with some of our women in March, one woman who joined us was Nancy. Nancy wrote to me: I pulled up something I wrote about October of 2010 that reflect the thoughts I had as I struggled with what to do about our marriage. I think you will find at the time that I felt like many believers that these urges should be kept inside and not expressed especially if married. I now know that this is impossible, but I figured many women like me may have these same feelings as they go through this painful process. This piece that Nancy wrote is followed by her new piece which shows how her feelings have evolved over the past two years. Nancy will be my guest on the Straight Wives Talk Show tonight. You can hear her by going to the following link at 10:00 p.m. EST or accessing the archive any time after the show is on: You can also go to and put Straight Wives Talk Show July 15, 2012 in the search box. Here are Nancy's original words: Reflections (2010) I come here today to begin to make peace with a new life that seems to be unfolding before us. Over the past few months we have been faced with many changes that rocked our world, and caused much tension, heartache, suspicions, and anger. On the other hand, it has caused me personally to reacquaint myself in the most intimate way to God, our creator. He has been there to provide assurance, guidance, and an unmistakable peace that can only be explained through His divine power. I have had much time to reflect since the news that came on that June 5, 2010, and although at that time, the details were sketchy and unclear, I was not surprised at the revelation, something I had suspected to be the case became a reality. The words:“ I am gay, and I was born that way” resounded loud and clear. I did not make assumptions about how this would all play out, but the foundation of a world that seemed so certain, was far from that. It made many things clear to me as we had grown apart over the past years, and I had felt a loneliness as a result of a lack of closeness in our marriage. But I quietly put away some of those feelings, and dedicated myself to the task of educating and raising our children, and in supporting my spouse in his career by managing our household. I know that as best he could, with an ever increasing struggle to disguise the feelings he always had, he tried to continue to be committed to supporting our family but ever increasingly removed himself emotionally and dedicated much more time to his own personal growth and development outside of our relationship together. On at least two occasions I initiated conversations about how I would like to see us develop a relationship that would help us grow together. These interactions got very little to no response, and I just quit trying.There seemed to be no room or common ground together for us to make that happen. I missed the relationship that comes from the dedication to grow closer in a husband and wife union. What I saw more and more was an association that regarded me mostly asthe mother the children, and a business partner as we managed our home. But here we are, and I have played out many scenarios in my mind. I have told Chuck that I believe God knew his struggles before we married, yet, provided a family relationship, children, and an extended family that loves and accepts him even now. I also believe he provided an environment at work of the highest caliber that gives him the opportunity to grow not only in what he does best, but an exposure to the top leaders and fellow believers . All of these serving as a hedge of protection from a life that may or may not be that which God intended. I do believe that not all gay men are intended to follow their attraction, any more than a gambler should live in a Casino, or an alcoholic a bar. Forgive me if this is a simplistic way to describe a very complex struggle. These associations can be destructive, and ultimately deceive one into believing that to follow this attraction is God plan for that individual. But ultimately, that is not my decision to make, and only Chuck and God know the answer. I just want to make sure that no stone is left unturned so that the decision is made assuredly and without regret. In answer to a question: “Can I be married to a gay man?”. My answer is no, I cannot be married to a man who is not dedicated fully to his wife at the exclusion of all others. This was part of our commitment at the altar in which we were to “forsake all others and devote ourselves” completely to each other. I know that the person that is gay remained hidden and the person I married compartmentalized himself to accommodate the different lives in an attempt at keeping the gay person out of sight while still giving the appearance of a husband and wife relationship. The events of recent months made that duality impossible to continue and what little was revealed to me about an ongoing relationship only led to more suspicions. The trust I thought I knew had broken. The frustration which I now face, is separation, and the enigma of that person continues. Our separation gave way to more secrecy and very little disclosure about where we were headed.. This is no longer acceptable, and I seek to know where we stand. I requested that we meet together before now, and it was rejected. I am now compromising by meeting with a therapist who already has a relationship with my husband, and try to initiate some dialog about our future. Perhaps in this meeting, knowing that he has revealed enough information, that together we conclude that divorce is the only solution. I am ready for whatever is or will be determined. This was Nancy's newest writing: Left Handed- Right Handed, Gay-Straight When driving home from work one day, I reached into the driver’s side door pocket to grab a pencil. I grabbed it with my left hand and held it as if to write. It felt awkward, uncomfortable, and out of place for me, a right handed person. I began to think how amazing it is that we come into this world with certain dominant characteristics that make us who we are. I happen to have a son who is right handed, and a daughter who is left handed. There was a time in history where a left-handed person was considered a nasty habit, a mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, rebellion, criminality, and homosexuality ( Fortunately we have abandoned such ridiculous misconceptions when it comes to our dominant hand, but unfortunately we have still hold on to misunderstandings about a person’s sexual orientation. I do not know why left-handed dominance previously got such a bad rap. Perhaps it is because 90 percent of all humans are right handed. It is customary to see something that is not the “normal” as unusual and a threat to the standard. We may look back at these facts and think them to be so ridiculous, archaic, and coming from people who are intellectually inferior. But as we explore the issue of sexual orientation, we still hear these same ridiculous “facts” that take us back to the people whom we now criticize about their views of right-left hand dominance. I cannot imagine if we had lived in a time where my left-handed daughter would have suffered such abuse, to the point where it would have been better to force her to write with her right hand to avoid the “label” and “abuse”. As her parent, desiring her best interest and protection, would have trained her to deny what was a trait that God had created in her, to be what our narrow minds considered the only acceptable way. ¬¬¬¬¬-Instead today, we speak of the left-right hand dominance as a natural inclination, and accept whatever way our children are “wired”. The explanation for which hand we will utilize is much more scientific, and we know so much more about the function of our brain and bodies. On the other hand, our sexual orientation, also a result of the way we are “wired” has not benefited from the same progressive thinking and acceptance. Although the implications of our orientation are more complex than manual dexterity, the reality of it being something we are born with has been a difficult concept for most to grasp. It is difficult for us to pick up a pencil to write, or try to work primarily with a hand that is not our dominant one. It is awkward and requires more effort from our brain to make it do what it should. It does not feel natural, yet with some training, we can improve the use of it, but never to the finesse of our dominant hand. Who can explain such a mystery? I cannot, but I see it in action. I am not here to explain these things, but I am here to say that we are born with certain traits, dominant characteristics, and yes, a sexual orientation. Knowing that 90% of the human population is right-handed, does not make it the only way, instead, it is the most prevalent. In the same manner, heterosexuality is the sexual orientation of the majority, but homosexuality cannot be denied as a real orientation by a smaller population of the world. We may not be able to describe how and why this can be possible, but it does not discount the reality of its occurrence. I speak passionately of these things out of personal experience in a brother (never married) and a now ex-husband who are homosexual. Through much research, counseling, and hearing from life experiences of other women like me, I have come to terms with the reality of their sexual orientation. Would they have lived differently if the “prejudices” or “misgivings” about homosexuality did not exist? If there are indeed four million women in this country alone who unknowingly marry gay men, I will have to say that the suffering from a “mismarriage” is carried on in the lives of the women children, and extended family and friends. The consequences of trying to live the most acceptable form of “family” can be devastating and painful to all those involved. In this country we have made some strides in accepting homosexuality as a natural part of human life and not merely a choice. There are places around the world where the consequences of such a revelation could result in death, and for this reason, the option of leaving a marriage would be impossible. I hope that we continue to open our minds to the complexity of life and become more open to the possibilities of just how we are “wired”. It will only make it easier for men and women to come to terms with their sexual orientation, and perhaps feel less pressure to follow the majority, rather than the person intended by God for them to be. Nancy from Georgia Thank you Nancy, for explaining this in a sensitive and understandable way. Part of our healing process is understanding that what has happened to us in having a gay husband has nothing to do with us as wives. We didn't create it or cause it--and we can't change it. We can accept it and move on in our lives. MAILBAG Each month I receive some wonderful letters after the newsletter is sent out. I always ask permission to print your comments here when I think it will really help others. Thank you all for sharing. Learning from each other is the best way to learn. Dear Bonnie, Often your newsletters prompt a flood of responses in me, as I’m sure many others can say. Your April and May newsletters did just that. Especially the concept of “waiting for the confession that will never come.” Over 40 years ago, just 2 months into married life, my newlywed husband sat crying on the bathroom floor after another of our constant fights stemming from the incomprehensible, humiliating reality that my young husband wanted nothing to do with me sexually. In that wrenching moment of honesty, the one and only peek under the heavy cover that was to become his life for four decades, he declared that, “we were DOOMED simply because we got married – and that if I ever repeated that he would deny ever saying it.” He wanted me to forget he said it, forget I heard it – and never to understand what he meant by it. Instead as if the words were seared into my brain, I never forgot them and spent 40 years trying to understand what he was saying so long ago. He never again spoke the truth to me about who he really was. I still don’t really know and probably never will. I didn’t at the time appreciate the full significance of what it was and how it would affect our marriage – or our entire life. But in our fourth decade together when his secret life began to unravel and reveal itself to me, I understood he had always held a secret. He married me knowing he had a secret that would doom our marriage. That when he told me way back then that he would deny ever saying it – he was telling me he would be deceitful in our marriage. That was something I would never have accepted or even allowed myself to see. Having come from an abusive childhood and having spent those early years clinging to the belief that my father was a “good father” – that same denial that served me so well swept me right into my marriage. My husband would rescue me, he would be the “good husband” and we would live happily ever after. For if I did not have the good father or the good husband, it must mean there was something so terribly wrong with me to make me unlovable. Now in my 60s I mourn the fact that I was never allowed the experience of feeling truly loved by a husband or even a father. My life was unknowingly confiscated to serve as the “everything’s normal” model of matrimonial bliss. The heavy cover he had placed over his life enveloped me. And in all that time I believed he loved me – deeply. That whatever the state of our marriage was, we were in it together. But when the truth spilled out, or just as much truth as he would allow to be revealed, he admitted to “allowing men to perform oral sex on him”. At first he said it was once, then twice, then five times, then fifteen, …he stopped at 20 years but I now understand it went back to before we were even married 32 years earlier. At one point he said he had lied his entire life, “Didn’t you know that?” he mockingly asked me. No I didn’t know that. What was wrong with me? How could I be so stupid, so blind? Was I crazy? I questioned him about a man that for 3 years was always phoning the house when my husband was not home. He said he thought the guy “was hitting on him”. In that moment I didn’t recognize him. I wanted to vomit. He denied being gay. He said under the circumstances he couldn’t deny being bi – but within a few weeks he was denying that too. He denied it right to the end. Maybe even to himself. I’ll never know – even though I was with him for four decades! During the unraveling, my life descended into a deep dark hole that lasted for several agonizing years and even still appears at times today. Sometimes I wonder how I survived. Throughout our marriage, I never understood what our “problem” was. I could never get him to open up. But I always believed that if I could just find the right key I could get him to and then everything would be fine. He would be able to show me he loved me. That denial, that naïveté became my way of life. In hindsight, control…control of his secrets, of my ignorance, of my sanity, of the truth - became his life. We never could develop any kind of a connection between each other, which kept me feeling continually shut out, never a partner, a helpmate, or a lover. That lack of connection never let him show any empathy. And still when the truth or at least part of it was given to me I still wanted to hold on to our marriage. It was all I knew. He was my life since I was 15 years old, 40 years earlier. I just couldn’t see how we would re-establish that life. By then he had told our children his “story” in detail unfortunately, and also his entire family. He was on an unburdening crusade. But before I could come to an understanding, he had found someone else, on the Internet, on a porn site chat group, and it was another woman. He told me repeatedly that he could tell her anything. I have a feeling he did tell her the truth – the truth that was continually denied to me – and that was devastating. I know it is not uncommon for men in this situation to marry another woman and continue the secret with a new “victim”, but I really do believe he confessed to her soon after “meeting” her online – or at least told her things he never told me in 40 years. I believe this because of where he “met” her – on a porn site. I think she was okay with the truth and probably promised him whatever he wanted. Immediately after the divorce was final they married and moved across the country to her home state. I have had nothing to do with him since. His grown children will never feel the same about him and seldom see him. It was all very sad. He ruined our family. He had lied to all of us for our entire lives. He may have lied to himself too, but it is undeniable that he knew he had a secret all those years. He knew something. Something that was toxic to us. And he never shared it with me. We were divorced 6 years ago. Being in a no-fault state, none of his discretions could ever be brought out, so the entire year long battle became solely about how as a free-lance artist I never earned a great deal of money, since we decided together that I would be a stay-at-home mom. One day he stood before me face to face, and wryly asked, “How will you survive?” Then shook his head, and walked away. By the time the divorce was over I was a shattered empty shell, no self-esteem, not even a belief in my own sense of reality or perception anymore, consumed with humiliation. It has taken all this time for me to begin to understand what happened to my life. I knew I was better off without him almost immediately. But it took me years to deal with the grief that the man I was so in love with all my life never existed. He was a myth… a figment of my imagination created by a man in hiding, feckless, preferring to remain incognito at the expense of my life and our family really. And the man, or the carcass that was left, was a complete stranger to me…a changeling. The fierce, abusive fights that ensued briefly soon after frightened me terribly. They gave me a taste of how dangerous those periods can be for women in my situation. I had descended into a very real place where I never before could have even imagined ending up. In time, I went from that horrible place into a new one. My sanctuary, my safe place, my healing place in the shadow of the Mississippi River bluffs. I have loved this home and grown here for 6 years. But the time has come when I have to move on again. There were only 4 years of maintenance payments from him before he retired. My small pension dropped drastically with the recession and my health insurance rates are continually on the rise so I can no longer afford to live here. I continually arrive at places in my life where I never dreamt I would be. And I move on. My daughter has finally convinced me to move to the city where she lives so that I can be closer to her, my son and grandchildren. My daughter and I have plans to buy a duplex together. I think I will be happier there, less lonely for sure. Most of my friends disappeared with the divorce. One was afraid I would go after her husband. Didn’t she know the last thing in the world I wanted was another man? I had just had one man in my life, but it seems he had many of them, countless really, so that revoltingly, I felt like I had had them all too, indirectly. That was more than enough. Several other “friends” left when they saw my ex’s wedding announcement in the paper, and thought I had lied to them about him – after all he was marrying another woman. Of course I must have lied. People are always telling me I need to move on, so much so that I get tired of it. They don’t seem to understand that this is what moving on looks like. Moving on does not mean just forgetting everything like it never happened. This was my entire life, my history. It was my identity. It held my hopes and dreams. Those things are all different now, re-created. It is a painfully long process. And it takes as long as it takes. I’ve sold my beloved house as I sold the one before this one – our house, our family home. I have to do it again and leave my hometown of 32 years, but I am learning to look forward to new hopes and dreams, and creating new memories, in the years ahead. But in the end, some questions will never be answered, memories never all extinguished and always that question – haunting as it is – of just what about my life was real? And what wasn’t? Maureen Hi Bonnie Thank you for your continued newsletters. I hope you're well. As you know, I have a good relationship with my ex-husband and reading the husbands' views still tugs at the ole heart strings. I still struggle with the, "I had to hide, I know it wasn't my wife's fault but I was miserable" bit. I struggle with it because of the gay husbands' words they hurt. I had the misfortune to read in our local newspaper a 'your voice' section where an ongoing dispute is going on between gay and straight people about gay marriage. My ex's partner wrote in a witty reply to one straight lady not at all insulting just nicely written. Then the following week some straight ex-husband now gay had to write "of course gay men can have children it's just the act that repulses us"..............omg I wanted to write a snotty reply and believe I may have called him a few rude words...but why had I reacted like this. Well that brings me back to feeling that I am being blamed for their miserable life and keeping him from what he was....even though I didn't know. I realize this is obviously this bit of it still hurts me and need to do more work on. The "my wife really loved me and did nothing wrong it was me (but underneath I blame her for making me be married etc)"......makes my blood simmer somewhat. As I pointed out to my ex and would like to say to the other ex gay husbands who say "If friends and family can't deal with it it's their problem not mine so I will distance myself from them. They're just narrow minded blah blah blah"......well my dear, you hid this from yourself for 20, 30, 40 years, however long you've hidden it - and now you're out and are happy with your choice and now get to live your life your way I say WONDERFUL. HOWEVER, it has taken you a long, long time to come to terms with it yourself you CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT expect family and friends just to go, "Oh okay then" there will be people you have in your life that can do. To the ones that can't, give them time, don't walk away and punish them for their misunderstanding and judgment just remember how long it took you to come to terms with it and then give them the same chance to come around even if it takes them years too. Anyway Bonnie all the very best to you. Jo Dear Bonnie, I wanted to share this e-mail with you and your organization. Thank you for providing information about what it really means to be married to a gay man, and what options are available. You did not offer the suck it up and try harder options, you just laid out truths that at times were difficult to read, but at the end of everything were not only correct but so empowering. I hope that women everywhere who are struggling with this challenge find your site, and realize that the options available to them are theirs alone to choose, but there is a community of women who have gone through similar struggles and are available to support them through this crazy, ugly, devastating experience with love and courage. Kyla Dear divorce busters: Several years ago I found your website and encouragement to work through my marriage difficulties and find a way to make my relationship last. I was your typical wife; I believed in forever, work through your problems, raise our child and find solutions to problems if they seemed too big for my spouse and I to handle. We went to counseling and our life as we knew it was unraveling. You see, my husband is gay. He was born that way but knew it was 'wrong', and he says he never cheated on me, but since we had not had sex since the birth of our daughter 9 years before, and prior to that very infrequently, STD's were not a concern. I told the counselor I thought my husband was gay, and he point blank told me I was wrong. So back to fixing, and working and feeling lonelier and more empty each day. There were great days and good days and really low days, but I had my marriage, and according to the church, and your website, and the counselor it was working. Then, we went on vacation and the family met a 'friend' of his. They held hands, and hugged and visited. Then later that night we went swimming and I snapped. He was watching his friend like a man who was in love, he smiled that sweet, 'I can't believe my luck' smile. He followed the movements of this man, and he forgot I was there. It was then I knew that he was gay. Three months later I told him he was gay and that I would be moving out. He assured me he was straight, and I told him if that was the case, in six months we would try again. 6 weeks later he wasn't coming home, and told me he had met a man. I am sharing this with you for two reasons. The first is because I believe in marriage, in the beauty and sanctity of it. I believe that you don't just throw things away when they get difficult, and we worked so hard to make it work. However, as I believed in marriage and my husband my soul were dying and the loneliness was heart wrenching. Your web site never mentioned that this could be something that was going on, or what to do. This leads me to the second reason; as you share the importance of staying strong in a marriage, and believing that a couple can work through anything with kindness and diligence, sometimes your soul being saved, and your gay spouse finding true happiness is more important. When you love someone, truly love them as a husband and wife should love each other then you must allow that person genuine happiness. I gained that happiness through heartache and tears. My ex-husband has found a contentment that eluded him for years because he was set free. Please remove me from your divorce busters emails and go out into the world with kindness...some marriages just aren't meant to be. Thank you, Kyla Thank all of you for sharing your heart-felt words. Remember--sharing is truly away to express caring. Have a great month. With love and hope, Bonnie :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

THE JUNE THING... For the past three years in June, I have dedicated my newsletter to the gay husbands/ex-husbands who want to share their stories and perspectives. I do this because I strongly believe we need to understand this situation better in order for us to heal. These newsletters also give courage to men who write to me for help to make the right decision about being honest with their wives. Several women have written to me angrily over the past three years after they received the June newsletter telling me that I am an apologist for gay husbands. I am not by a long-shot. I do have compassion for the pain that gay men face when they go through their struggle, but I am very clear in telling them that they need to take responsibility for their actions. I think that my writing throughout the years reflects that. However, that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge that there are some wonderful gay men who are ripped up inside because they are living a life that isn't theirs to live. I believe that almost all gay men marry their wives because they want to be straight. They are confused in many cases not understanding that they are gay because they fall in love with a woman and they can perform with her sexually--at least in the beginning. I believe that almost all of these men believe that if they love us enough, those gay attractions and desires will disappear. But we all know that doesn't happen. So, before you begin to read, if you think these stories will upset you, delete the newsletter. It's not my intent to upset you, but rather to bring some understanding. I think the brutal honesty of these men will validate all of your feelings. Many of you may NEVER get the truth, but at least you'll be able to appreciate it from these men. Story #1 James' Story My name is James. I am twenty-five years old and I am gay. I have one roommate who is also a very good friend of mine. Her name is Corrie and she is twenty-six years old. This year will be the seventh year that we have known one another. In a way, we grew up together, maturing out of our teens and into adulthood together. Many people mistake us for siblings when they first meet us, and in fact, I do consider her my sister. What many people often find strange however, is that Corrie and I were married for four and a half years. This will be the first time I have shared my experience with the public. My hope is that this story might help women and men alike understand, or at least gain a little more insight into a very complex and painful scenario, in which a woman is married to a gay man. Specifically, I would like to look at things from the husband’s viewpoint. My story may be a rare one, but I think it is important to point out that these situations do not necessarily always end in tragedy, but that happy endings do exist. Corrie and I were married after about a year of dating, and six months after graduating high school. I was nineteen at the time and she was one year older. From the very beginning of our marriage, things were not quite right. We had good communication and made a good team as we struggled to build a financially stable life. But our relationship was far from what you would expect from newlyweds. Corrie loved me with all of her being and I never once doubted that. But as much as I wanted to reciprocate those feelings, it proved to be a struggle. She wanted me to go places with her. She wanted me to spend time with her. She wanted me to hold her hand. She wanted me to kiss her. She wanted me to make love to her. She wanted me to tell her that I loved her back. These were all things I had no desire to do. I felt like she was asking too much of me. I felt like she was suffocating me. On the few occasions when I gave in to a date involving just us two, I inevitably turned the excursion into a stressful and negative experience that generally started and ended in conflict. I admit that I acted very selfishly most of the time, and a woman knows when she is loved and when she is not. After the first two years or so, we did very little together anymore. She had her friends and I had mine. We rarely had sex, and when we did, she was the one who initiated it. We would go for weeks, sometimes even months without being intimate. It hurt her tremendously to be so consistently rejected. She would frequently ask me if I thought she was pretty and sexually attractive. She asked me if I loved her. She asked me if I even liked her. She asked me if I was gay. These questions infuriated me. It got to where nearly every weekend, when we spent the most time together, these questions would surface, I would get angry and distant, we would fight, and there was no resolve. Actually, ‘distant’ perfectly describes my overall predisposition at the time. I was always distant. When she confronted me about my lack feelings for her, I denied her accusations and blamed her for making it all up. I did my best to make her feel stupid, and it worked. She would cry, and I would become cold as ice. Her emotions turned me away. I cannot count how many times she would beg me, in between sobs, to please just give her a hug, but I never did. She did not understand what was wrong with me, and neither did I. I liked her. I thought she was pretty. I had no problem with her body or sexual performance. For some unknown reason, I remained closed off to her. I simply could not bring myself to feel or express feeling. I kept my innermost self off-limits to her, and I actively shied away from any real emotional connection. Sometimes, she would try to convince me to go to counseling with her, but I was too proud and always declined. I hated myself and it was making her miserable. I did not know what to do. Why did she want sex so much? Why did she want to kiss me during sex…or at all? Holding hands was stupid. Kissing was too intimate (although I never admitted that). I had a severe distain for anything even remotely romantic (I have since realized that I am a complete romantic with men). To be certain, we hardly exhibited the characteristics of a happily married couple. I share these observations in hindsight. At the time, I was not aware of a lack of, or even a need for emotional, psychological or sexual intimacy. In the midst of my personal turmoil, I lost sight of the things that mattered most in life, as well as in my marriage. I downplayed these fundamental problems so much, that I failed to recognize the depth of dysfunction within our relationship. Every part of our relationship was unnatural to me. I became preoccupied, anti-social and increasingly unapproachable. I was so introverted and withdrawn, that I refused even to acknowledge what I was putting my wife through. Corrie has told me that those years spent with me, where the loneliest years of her entire life. I suppose this would be a good time to mention that during those first few years of our marriage I had no idea that I was gay. I did not “turn gay” at age twenty-three, but rather, I had always been. It was just the first time I had been honest with myself about it. I had previously never let myself imagine it, let alone consider it. It is important to know that I was born to a conservative Baptist couple. Not just any conservative Baptist couple, but a couple who dedicated their entire life (and family) to what they perceived to be God's ultimate will for their lives, which turned out to be pastoral and missionary work abroad. Growing up submersed in theology, I remained ignorant of the truths about human sexuality, knowing only what was written in the bible. Homosexuality was an abomination to the almighty creator whom we worshipped fervently – there was no question there. Despite harsh indoctrination, it seemed I could not avoid having attractions to the same sex. For as long as I can remember, I have had crushes on other boys. I had sexual fantasies and dreams involving other boys before I even knew that gay sex even existed. I thought that all boys thought about other boys. I thought it was normal – a normal sin that is. When you are taught that every human is born straight, that homosexuality is a sin, and that to sin is always a choice, then there is not much room for debate. I was straight, because god had created all humans straight. Being gay simply was not an option. Throughout my teenage years, other kids would use the word ‘gay’ or ‘homo’ as a derogative term insinuating weakness and femininity. My perception of gays evolved from a strictly biblical viewpoint, to one that included mainstream stereotypes, to which I did not belong. I was not effeminate, I did not play with dolls and I was not a mommas-boy. The subject held no relevance within my family, and was considered taboo. I grew up sheltered from education that might have helped me understand what ‘gay’ even meant, or what made a gay person different from a straight person. I knew I liked guys, but I had no reason to think anything of it. I never lied to anyone about being gay; I honestly thought I was a straight man, albeit an asexual and emotionless one. It was not until my late teens that it even crossed my mind that I might be gay. The realization that I liked men shook me to the core, and it took a lot of effort to rationalize my feelings and attractions and to convince myself that I was straight. I developed a secret homophobia, something everyone else seemed to notice at the time but me. My desire to be culturally accepted drove me to conform to a straight image. Even though I hated the mold I had forced myself into, it seemed I had successfully buried my “gay side.” After several years of living in denial coupled with a homophobic sense of self-loathing, I had reduced myself to nothing more than a shell of a person. This state of fear and self-deception kept me from being confident, kept me from enjoying life, kept me from being happy. I became more and more depressed, until I began having frequent anxiety attacks. I finally saw a psychiatrist who prescribed a mild anti-depressant. These drugs gave me more balance and stability, and helped me get my anxiety under control, but they only treated the symptom, not the cause. At this point, something had to change, and for a long time, it appeared as though our marriage would end in disaster. My inner relief began in an unlikely place: my being laid off from my high-paying job. I was forced to find new employment and took a significant pay cut at my new job. But the new work atmosphere by far made up for the loss of income. My previous job environment was high stress, abusive, degrading, and greatly contributed to my insecurities. My new job was the complete opposite. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who liked me. Over a period of a couple of months, I started to creep out of my shell and made some very surprising discoveries about my personality. As it turned out, I liked people and was a very outgoing person, not solemn and closed-off. For the first time, I felt confident enough to venture outside of my mold. Whereas not one year earlier I generally drove everyone else away, now it seemed I had found a friend in nearly everyone. I also began taking better care of myself physically and was able to lose a lot of unhealthy bodyweight, which helped contribute to my growing sense of self-worth and self-respect. It was during this period of self-awareness that my “gay side” began to emerge. I had gained a new sense of self-esteem and joy, and it was not long before I started letting out some of the long-buried parts of my person. The change in my demeanor was astounding. People who for years had despised me, now found my company enjoyable, and I started making friends. The more I paid attention to my own behavior, the more I discovered elements I felt needed to be kept secret. But these secrets where too big to keep, and very soon they surfaced. By this time, the porn collection on my phone consisted entirely of gay porn. On multiple occasions while intoxicated, I openly talked about homosexual urges and exhibited flamboyantly gay behavior. Even while sober, I would catch myself “acting gay” and consciously stop myself midsentence. Some of my friends as well as work colleagues discreetly echoed what Corrie had long suspected: was I gay? I told my closer friends that I could imagine being intimate with another man, but that I could not imagine an emotional bond, and that therefore, although I might not be 100% straight, I definitely was not gay. I was maturing in that I was starting to see things more clearly, and along with my newfound love for people, I began to rediscover my dormant emotional attraction to men. The company I worked for had just hired a new employee, and I was crushing on him hard. It was the first crush I had had since my teen years, and I did not know how to handle it. I became so infatuated with this stranger, that it scared me. This was not some drunken episode involving homoerotic comments about some hot guy on TV, this was every single day at work. This was real. One night while lying awake in bed lost in deep thought, I finally voiced what was becoming more and more apparent. I turned to Corrie and said, “What if I’m gay?” I told her about the new guy at work and about my gay urges and feelings that seemed to be growing stronger. What followed was a tearful “coming clean session” that lasted most of that night, and the next couple of nights as well. She looked back over our marriage and started seeing the indicators clearly for the first time. She asked me direct questions and I offered direct answers. While she was beginning to connect the dots looking back over our marriage, I was thinking back over my growing up years. I started to remember things I thought I had forgotten, and memories I had suppressed were suddenly staring me in the face. The pieces were starting to fall into place. She had known all along that something was not right in our relationship or with my behavior but since I consistently denied being gay, she felt she had no choice but to believe me. The more I told her of my childhood experiences and life-long feelings, the more our dysfunctional marriage made sense to her. She painted a picture for me that made me burst into tears: I was gay. It was as if someone flipped on the light in a dark room I had never been in before, but contained all of my things, including the things I thought I had lost. The room was beautiful. Everything was in its place and there was no more darkness, no more cobwebs and no more closed doors. I had finally found the strength to come out of my shell, only to discover that I had simultaneously stepped out of the closet. What lay ahead of me was a rough path of self-acceptance. I was homophobic and did not want to be gay. I craved a loving relationship with another man, but more than anything I just wanted to be “normal.” I had tried to be what everyone else expected me to be, and I was unhappy. Corrie knew me better than anyone. She had loved me for nearly five years. She had been the perfect wife, and I had been a terrible husband. Although I never cheated on her, her pain was not lessened. She had given me years of her life, and lived them in misery and loneliness. She deserved someone who would genuinely love her. Someone who would not only love her sexually, but with all their heart and mind. As much as I cared for Corrie, I could not bond with her on an emotional or psychological level, and would never be the partner she needed and deserved. Even though she loved me dearly, she would never be able to provide the masculinity I needed to establish a healthy sexual and emotional life. She would never be the man I needed at my side. It was obvious that we could not keep pretending that we had any semblance of a marriage. Out of a mutual respect for marriage, and a genuine love and respect for each other, we decided to get a divorce. Soon after our realization that I was gay, and long before the divorce papers would reach the judge, we went to see a counselor. The counselor was very compassionate and understanding. She told us that our greatest asset in this situation was our intellect. We had been honest and forthcoming with one another about difficult issues, and were seeking professional advice on how to proceed rationally. We were already making great progress in dealing with this multifaceted and seemingly unique problem. Getting through this would require a lot of patience on both of our parts. Patience with our emotions and ourselves. Naturally, we wanted to put everything behind us and move on to the good things that lay ahead. Nevertheless, we would need to give ourselves time to process our emotions. It would take time to adapt to a new reality, time to regain perspective and time to put our lives back in order. We also had to consider how to explain our divorce and the surrounding situation to family and friends. As it turned out, our friends were very loving and supportive and in the end, I believe that we gained a new level of respect from some of the people we associated with. Sadly, it was our homophobic, conservative-minded and deeply religious family members who expressed devastation and shame at what they considered a family tragedy. As much as it hurt to feel my family’s judgment and disapproval, I know that their reaction was rooted in ignorance as a result of decades of conditioning for which they were not responsible. Even so, they were entitled to their opinion and it was not my obligation to change their minds. I have ultimately had to distance myself from select persons of my immediate family because their presence in my life tends to bring out the worst sides of me such as resentment, bitterness, frustration, and insecurity. The negative repercussions of my decision to be honest with my family about my marriage proved to be a greater obstacle to overcome than the initial problems I was already dealing with. In the wake of one of the most positive life changes I have yet undergone, my family’s silent stigma caused more damage to the recovery process than any other factor. Even though they represented a small minority who disapproved of our situation, and were greatly outweighed by the number of loyal and compassionate friends who supported our efforts, their hateful words slowed the transition and added to the pain. Nevertheless, their grumblings were their own problems to deal with, and in no way stopped our lives from improving dramatically. If I have learned anything from my marriage, it is that you cannot hide who you are, and you are not doing anyone any favors by doing so. What should have been a personal revelation affecting only myself, turned out to negatively affect another innocent person. To be sure, I was still a kid when I married and did not know who I was or what I wanted at the time. I did share my childhood homosexual tendencies with my wife early on, but neither of us thought it would become a serious issue. That was our second mistake. The first was mine alone, which was to marry someone I liked instead of loved, and lead them to believe otherwise. I did not know what love was when we married, but the intensity of her love for me compared to my meager attempts at love for her should have raised a red flag. I may not have known I was gay, but I knew I did not love her the same way she loved me. Other indicators that we both missed along the way include my disinterest in her sexually and my ever decreasing sex drive. The fact that I required anal stimulation and had little interest in woman parts was yet another sign. My emotional distance towards her, and my closed-off attitude was another indicator of hidden problems. If only we had gone to counseling when Corrie first suggested it, perhaps some heartache could have been avoided. In the end the truth came out (as it always does), and her instincts and gut feelings proved to be correct. It has been a little over a year since I came out, and I can honestly say that for the first time, I actually like myself. My relationship with Corrie has never been better even though the situation has been much easier for me to overcome than it has been for her. What separates our new relationship from our old one is that our new relationship is built on truth instead of confusion. Now we sleep in different bedrooms. I have had men spend the night with me, as has she. We are very open about our personal lives, and talk about our individual relationship problems often. She is my best friend, and I know she returns the sentiment. I do not have to lie about loving her anymore. I can tell her that I love her, and mean it this time. We forged a strong friendship that started out as a weak marriage. I have learned that there is no black and white - no cut and dry way of understanding human sexuality. To be specific, I consider myself a gay bisexual, because while I am mildly sexually attracted to members of both sexes, I favor men and more importantly, I favor and mesh with the male psyche. However, I am not the only one in this story who made discoveries about the intricacies of their sexual identity: Corrie has come to terms with the realization that she does not fit the standard norm either because of the fact that she is bisexual. Oftentimes we are more complex than we like to think, but ignoring the parts we do not understand does not make them go away. Corrie and I make excellent friends, but we were not meant to be married. We have strived not to let our failed marriage affect our successful friendship. Only by being honest and patient with ourselves and with each other have we made this possible. Corrie and I know that in order for each of us to reach our full potentials and to find ultimate fulfillment, we will need to find individual living arrangements. As a married couple, we purchased the house we now live in, and we feel we owe it to one another not to leave the other person with unfair debt. Consequently, we find ourselves in a transitional state in which we will be selling the house and privately settling our collective debts before we part ways. In the meantime, we live as friends, roommates, and siblings. Story #2 - Kevin's Story I never dated very much in high school. I was always a little afraid of dates and it simply wasn’t something I was interested in. My only real concern was “why don’t I care?” I do recall in gym class checking out the other guys while changing in the locker rooms. Again, it never occurred to me that this was anything but normal. I figured that everyone else was doing the same thing. When I did date I only dared to kiss my date and nothing else being terrified to try anything more. High school came and went and in my college years I never even bothered to date at all. In fact my first real sexual experience with a girl was a total DISASTER! I couldn’t even get an erection and was horrified and humiliated. Of course she said it was alright, but it wasn’t. By this time all my friends either had girlfriends or were already married and preparing for a family. I wanted this too, in the worse way, but was feeling very lonely. I had always wondered and fantasized about sex with men. I was even hit on several times by other men but was too afraid to follow through. I was basically not out to myself and not willing to admit that I couldn’t have it all. I desperately wanted what my parents had, a wife, kids and a happy home with a picket fence. Back in the 60s and 70s wanting this and being gay were just not possible. But, quite honestly and even though it was men that caught my attention, it never even crossed my mind that I might be gay. Sex education was non-existent and people joked about gay uncles and fags and such. Any movies back then that addressed it always showed exaggerated characters with feathers and cigarette holders and a limp wrist and that simply was not me. There were no role models and never knew that I was gay. I met my future wife and we fell madly in love. In looking back, I now know that I am gay so, when I relate this story, it easy to ask how can a gay man love a woman? But I truly and honestly did. I felt confident that my curiosity in men was a passing thing and that my life would proceed along its merry way. This was the path of least resistance, and I felt relieved that things had seemed to somehow magically work themselves out. We went on to have two wonderful children and our lives seemed like any other normal family, not Norman Rockwell but good enough. We had lots of good times as well as bad. By and by Mary and I began to have trouble. We went to marriage counseling and in therapy it came out that, as a child, she had been sexually abused by her father. We worked out our issues at the time and moved forward. Approximately fifteen years ago that old monster reared his unwelcomed face again. I felt guilty about my feelings but I justified it since I never actually acted on those feelings. I resorted to visiting adult book stores and watching gay porn. I no longer enjoyed sex with Mary finding that I would rather masturbate and fantasize about sex with men. Not surprisingly Mary and I started having marital problems again about a year and a half ago. After an argument and out of frustration, I again went to a bookstore and this time I found that I was no longer too afraid to follow through on sex with another man. This scared me at first but I soon began to realize who and what I was. I began to actively seek out other men on the internet and I was able to arrange meetings with them due to the on-the-road nature of my job. As with other men, I met Steve on the internet and I fell in love with him the first time he and I spoke on the phone. The chemistry was instant. Talk about “love at first sight,” this was “love at the first word.” We finally met face to face over soft drinks at a local McDonalds and so began our fateful affair. Steve and I spoke as often as possible on the phone and met up whenever I could get away. Even then our time on the phone was limited because of the minutes on my cell plan. If I began to go over my minutes then that would raise suspicion. Eventually we switched to the same cell provider as me and so that problem was solved. Our time together was precious and our sex was perfect except that it wasn’t often enough. We resorted to clandestine meetings in Steve’s home and even resorted to the odd date in a cheap motel room. Again, due to the on-the-road nature of my job Steve would frequently take a day off of his job and spend it with me on the road. These days together as a couple were valued and mostly had little to do with sex. We would just spend the day together talking and relating as a couple reveling in the opportunity to express our feelings for each other. As I mentioned before, Mary and I began to have marital problems again which got more serious about six months into my relationship with Steve. I would lie in bed at night and hope that Mary would just leave me alone. “Please don’t touch me,” I would think to myself. I know she was trying to use sex as a tool to fix our 30+ year relationship not understanding that sex was less the issue than gender. I avoided sex with her as tactfully as I could often pretending to be asleep. When that didn’t work then I would climb on top of her and work at making her happy. I cannot remember the last time I had an orgasm with her. Basically I faked it so that she would leave me alone. Eventually I got up the courage to tell that I no longer enjoyed sex. She panicked seeing that the handwriting was on the wall and having no real understanding of the true reason behind it. She is smart enough to know that my admission of this was possible the beginning of the end of our relationship, and she immediately arranged for marriage counseling. Counseling began uneventfully enough and our histories came out including Mary’s history of abuse. Eventually I made an appointment with the therapist for a one-on-one session and I came out to her explaining that my goal in therapy was to come out to my wife, and I have to give the therapist credit for how sensitively she handled the whole issue. She must have felt awkward but, as the sessions with Mary and I went on, she gradually and caringly lead my wife to a point where she was as ready as she would ever be to hear the news. After many sleepless nights and countless hours of anticipation I eventually got up the courage to come out to my wife at a session with the therapist. It was extremely rough, especially at first. Thinking back I feel that the first two weeks after coming out to my wife was harder on me than when my parents died. Mary was enormously traumatized and, as of this writing, continues her struggles to adjust. I know this was the right thing to do no matter how hard it’s been. What were my choices? I could either stay in a lie of a marriage or move forward toward a life that was authentic at last. Steven and Mary actually spoke on a few occasions after I came out. He explained to her that the only thing worse than me telling her the truth would be not to have told her. When he asked her if she would rather continue on not knowing the truth and living a lie she replied, “Yes.” I think that’s true, and I only hope and pray that she can come to see that I had no choice. Steve and I have lived together now as partners and out to his family and mine for nearly six years. My children, both adults, are beginning to adjust and I strive to maintain my relationships with them. Steve’s children and I are also getting along nicely and I’m grateful that at least my children and his are able to bend and adjust their attitudes towards their fathers. This is especially important recently as the laws in Illinois changed this past January and we plan to get a civil union in a few months. I hope that someday my children, and even Mary, will come to a place where they can fully accept me and my partner for what we truly are. Until then I look forward to spending the rest of my life with someone who knows me and loves me for what I really am. Story #3 - Nick's Story I was born in 1967 the year of the Stonewall riots…I guess that should have been the first clue. However, ever since I could remember (perhaps age 8) I knew I looked at other boys differently that everyone around me seemed to, I didn’t know why, but I did know I was not supposed to and to be honest, I don’t even know why I knew that too. It was so confusing! I remember being excited as a teenager if I saw another guy naked in the locker room, or if I picked up a porno magazine with both naked girls and guys & of course I would look at both sexes, although I would always start by looking at the guys first. But I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. Then when a couple of other guys at school got bullied for being “gay,” I just knew that could not be me. They were feminine & dressed funny and listened to alternative music, all things that I didn’t relate to. Heck the only gay people that I’d ever heard of at the time were Boy George, Elton John & Liberace & again nobody that I could relate to. Therefore, I was sure I had to be straight and that these feelings would sort themselves out over time, I was sure everyone else also had to deal with them and this was just a normal thing that nobody talked about. So, I knew that I needed to date girls and put aside any thoughts about guys that would wander in my head and concentrate on being straight. So that’s what I did & like any other typical type-A overachiever, I did an excellent job of it. I had a few girl friends, experimented a little with sex and then I met an awesome girl, we clicked instantly, became best friends right away and I fell in love. There certainly was plenty of good sex going on as well. During this whole time of our courtship, I barely had any guy feelings left. So I considered myself cured, I really was straight, Hooray!! Then, as life settled in, houses were purchased, everything steadied to a nice comfortable existence, kids came along, life was good and my relationship with my wife became very easy, truly best friends. So why at this point in life did I allow myself to start looking at men again, which then started the same old urges and feelings to creep back into my head. As the years being married progressed these feelings would continue to get stronger, sometimes I would fight myself and push them back down, other times I would allow the thoughts to roam freely in my head and as every gay married man (in denial) will always experience, the ever increasing sense of doom continues to cloud your thoughts, until eventually you can no longer manage these feelings. You reach a point where you can barely function, you manage to just about get up, get to work, get home, you are carrying around a weight of demonic proportions, you don’t know what to do, but finally you know you just have to tell somebody. Because, the only other alternative is to give up …on life. I first “out-ed” myself to an acquaintance that I knew was gay. We had struck up a friendship as I knew I’d found a safe person to come out to (it’s much easier to pick off the low hanging fruit as we say). But I told him I was bi-sexual, I had feelings for men, but I also was very much in love with my wife and family. Thus started the slow and agonizing trip out of the closet. My friend's ability to make me be brutally honest about my feelings, to stop denying/lying to myself about just how deeply my feelings for men truly were, took me to the next step. I had to tell the person closest to me, the center of my world, my wife. She had no idea as I started to blow her world apart. Now this did not happen straight away, because I told her I thought I was Bi-sexual and with some help and counseling, we both felt fairly good that we could build something of this into a good relationship and future, albeit different. This was all because, if I was truly “Bi” then I could and thus would still want to be sexually with my wife. Not so!!!, with the friends involved and much advise from other professionals, they repeatedly and brutally forced me to stop denying and lying to myself. They called me out on my true deep feelings and inner thoughts for men. I know today that I can have a beautiful woman sexually available to me, and while I can certainly have sex with her, that does not make me bi-sexual, because if every man that has an attraction to another man is brutally honest with themselves in this situation, where an attractive man is also available, they will pick being with the man. This is what makes you gay and not bisexual. Until you realize you’re gay, you are still just covering up your deepest of attractions for men with societies programming you received growing up, making you think straight is still what you are. This is because you figure out the attractions you have are not all about sex, but about wanting to truthfully have everything that a normal relationship offers you, but with a man! When I finally came to terms with the fact that I was gay (about 3 months after initially coming out), my wife and I knew this changed everything. We talked and talked about how to make things work and hold a family together, but avoid the “D” word. But there just was no way around the fact that anything less than divorcing to release the bonds of marriage and allow both of us to pursue relationships with others that where of the sexual orientation we both needed. But how to preserve the family and friendship we had created for 20 years was something we equally felt needed to be done. My wife was adamant that she did not want to emotionally throw away the 20 year relationship we had, because it was good, we produced great kids and a great life, we both have very involved families. We also knew that hatred between us would destroy all of this and forever scar everyone involved. However, this is so much easier said than done. The burden was on me to prove I could be trusted and not abandon everyone, along with the overwhelming weight on my wife to try and heal from the devastation I’d caused, as everything she knew in her world was no longer a reality (or so she thought). I was not about to abandon any of the responsibilities I’d agreed to in getting married, with my family, kids, job, community, charitable organizations etc. But I was certain nobody would accept me as a gay man, however, I knew if they would just give me a chance to help them understand why I did this, why I’m not choosing to be gay, I’m just finally choosing to no longer deny it. But, I knew I would have to earn back everyone’s trust, starting with my wife. I was very clear although out this timeframe, that I was only choosing to be honest about being gay, and this was not something my wife had caused, I love her (just the same way I always have). This was not about finances and not being willing to support her and my family. My wife had asked that I stay in the house and as a family for a year, to help her deal with everything, to prepare her to deal with the world as a separated family. We spent a lot of time together, talking together with our counselor and both of our mutual families. We somewhat painfully took every aspect of our lives and very openly and honestly decided how we should separate things, spend time, honor commitments, be supportive of each other, handle finances and properties. All with the goal of preserving the friendship and love we always had for each other. I knew that if we set our goal of “being supportive of each other”, then everyone else in our lives would also adjust and “be alright” with the new relationship. This would start with our two children, if their mum and dad were seen as truly best friends and supportive of each other & not just for the kids sake, but because we do still care about each other, we are still a family with the same strong bonds, just divorced because Dad likes guys. This means that my wife had to deal with her anger and not focus on bringing hate into the relationship; this was where I had to spend a lot of time during the year of living together to help her with all aspects of her wide ranging emotions. But it was only fair; I’d had years and years to slowly come to terms with this, now my wife was thrust into having to deal with all of the same aspects, but in a much shorter time frame. Also, during this year, we would slowly begin to tell other family members and close friends what was going on and “out” me. I sat with every one of my family, my wife’s family and our close circle of friends and explained my story, and what we were trying to do as a family, also asking for their support. This process meant I was directly and indirectly coming out to several hundred people and I can say other than a couple of friends that disappeared for a few months only, nobody has abandoned either me or my wife. Unfortunately, my father (that I’ve had a very long distance relationship away) is disapproving of my choices, but as a family we have decided our new-style relationship is more important than just one person’s approval. Today, we are divorced and my wife and kids live in a new family home. She decided for the sake of memories and her future needs to move to a smaller more manageable home. Her father and I have worked a lot on remodeling projects on their home. We are still having some family vacation time away together, I hang out at their house on a weekly basis, and we have family style dinners. It should also be noted, that I was and still run my in-laws family business throughout this whole coming out journey and that my now ex-wife works directly for me in our business. It’s almost the two-year anniversary of my coming out and as I write this piece, I’ve just received a text message from my wife after she left her counselors office today. It said “counselor is proud of us and doesn’t know anyone else that has done what we have….Pat ourselves on the back…Luv Yah” …She’s an amazing woman. I write this at the request of Bonnie to help closeted married men face the reality of their situation and know that for yourself and for the sake of your wife, you need to come out and be honest. It’s ultimately not about whether you are cheating or messing around even if it’s in plain sight, trying to fulfill a sex need. It’s, also not about your wife wanting to hold together the family and not lose you. The reasons you’re in this situation are no one person’s fault; it’s also not that your being gay was a choice, or that it’s selfish of you to want to live as a gay man. It’s about being honest with yourself, as a man that has attractions to other men. Thereafter, staying in a marriage for any reason (and not coming out) is akin to “playing-house” but with one person at the party not knowing why things are never quite as they seem. I will assure you, as time continues to move, this demon within you, will slowly consume you, it will tear at everything until you can no longer contain it. However, once the demon is out, you will forever wonder why being gay was so scary. Then eventually it becomes your responsibility to help everyone else come to terms & accept that you are still the same person in almost every way. Now you get to live your life with the ultimate sense of “freedom” and to finally feel you have earned the right to be the person you were born to be. A very special thanks to all three of these men who were willing to share their stories to bring understanding to all of us. If you would like to email any of them through me, just let me know. Happy Father's Day to the wonderful fathers who are part of our support network. And I would like to send a special thanks to Doug Dittmer who is always there to provide support to men who are struggling. Doug does incredible work, and if any of you would like to write to him or have your husband write to him, let me know and I will send you his contact information. Love to all of you who are picking up the pieces.

Monday, April 16, 2012




Okay, I finally, finally get it. Although I’ve alluded to it numerous times in my writing, I had to really get this clear in my mind. Some of your husbands will never admit they are gay to you. You are standing around waiting for a confession so you can feel better about the void and lack of intimacy in your marriage. If only you could get a confession…if only you could hear him say those magic words…if only you found the proof you need…if only, if only….

Guest what? It is not going to happen. I wrote about this ten years ago when I described the Straight-Gay man. Since it has been a while since some of you have read it, I am going to repeat it here because I believe it helps you understand these men who won’t tell you they are gay because they don’t believe they are gay. This article is from my newsletter dated January, 2002.

I have coined a new term for another classification of gay husbands. It is “Straight Gay Husbands.” I hope you like it. It is my new reference to gay men who are permanently living the straight life, sort of like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are the husbands who will not acknowledge their homosexuality privately or publicly--ever. Some of them know that you know, but try to confuse you enough to put enough doubt in your mind to make you think that you are the crazy one. It’s the best defense to your “offensive” questions. These are the men that shut you up or shut you down the moment you think about making mention of the possibility of homosexuality. They know what they are, and they know what you suspect, but keep your mouth shut because they don’t want to hear about it--especially from you.

These men are different than the gay husbands that admit they are gay/bisexual but promise not to act on those needs while they remain married to you. (Like we really believe that story!) They are also different than the gay husbands who are leading very secret lives and not leaving a trail of crumbs for you to follow. They are not even quite like the Limbo Men I have described who are caught in between two worlds. These are men who are definitely not stuck. They are identifying strictly as straight. There is no way they are entering the gay world through the front or back door, or even through the closet. They detest the gay world and what it stands for which gives them even greater reassurance, at least to themselves, that they are not gay.

The Straight Gay Men are the ones who have to remain in total control of all of their physical motions lest someone should suspect they are not quite as straight as they claim. It’s funny how many women tell me how their husbands’ physical appearances, gestures, and movements change once they come out. I can’t even fathom how difficult it must be to have to go through life calculating every breath and step you take. It’s sort of like walking down a sidewalk and having to make sure that you “don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back” as the game use to say. My balance and coordination never let me win that game.

These husbands are quick to use you and the children as their proof that they are not gay to the outside world just in case they let their guard down and anyone might accuse them of the “unthinkable.” They honestly don’t identify as gay even though they have sex with men. They don’t get themselves involved emotionally with men, just sexually. That helps them justify the fact that they are straight, not gay.

Some women can’t understand this. If you look like a duck, walk like a duck, act like a duck, but have sex with a goose, are you still a duck or are you a goose? I say you’re a goose. I don’t care what you act like to the outside world; I only look at who satisfies you sexually. And if you’re a duck making love to a goose, your feathers have to ruffle in a different direction when you stand up and straighten them out. But this does make things that much more confusing and complicated. So, to simplify your confusion, let me say this—STRAIGHT MEN DON’T HAVE GAY SEX. You can call it whatever makes you feel better, but I still call it gay—all the way.

Women who live with Straight Gay Men and Limbo Men are often the most commonly emotionally abused women. They would have to be. Their husbands are truly living in a complex world that makes little or any sense. They are living unfilled lives because they don’t have any emotional connections. They don’t connect emotionally with their wives because they aren’t really straight. They don’t connect emotionally with men because they refuse to be gay. And so they function but don’t connect. This lack of emotional connection creates a sense of insensitivity when it comes to your feelings and your emotions.

It also closes them up as human beings. They are unable to connect with a wife because they are living an internal--and what seems like an eternal--lie. This lie keeps overtaking any sense of good feelings towards the person whom they believe is responsible for this state of living—namely you. Now we know it is ridiculous to think that you should be their reason for living this lie, but subconsciously, this is how they feel.

As much as they love to have you as their “cover” is as much as they hate to have you sharing under their covers. They resent your nagging demands for sexual intimacy because it “isn’t their thing.” It’s your thing. And why do you have to try to make them feel inadequate just because they are? Even when you stop asking for it, you are still thinking about it and they can tell. It means they have to come up with a continuous string of stories to account for their lack of sexual behavior with you. This puts pressure on these guys who feel you are being unreasonable. Why do you have to make such a big deal out of sex?

They feel that in all other ways, they are ideal husbands. They are there raising the family with you. They are helping to support your financial needs or at least sharing in them. They are taking part in the social activities that you have decided are important. They are doing lots for you—and how do you show your appreciation? By badgering them with little innuendos and questioning looks. This really shows a lack of appreciation on your part and so they get pissed.

The Straight Gay Men think they are Supermen. And to a degree, they are. They juggle, manipulate, calculate, and carefully plan out all of their actions. It takes a lot of energy to do this, and they marvel at their ability to pull it off. It gives them an air of smugness that shows in their personality. I’m not quite sure what they think they’re pulling off because they know that you are doubtful of their explanations. There are only so many headaches, backaches, depressions, and side effects from medication that you can keep relying on. But they feel confident if they use these excuses enough, you’ll give up. Most women do. As I’ve said before numerous times, no woman wants to feel like she has to beg her husband to make love to her. It’s degrading and demeaning. We get the hint after enough sexual rejection and stop asking. But it doesn’t mean that we stop thinking—and wanting.

Every time we see other couples holding and caressing lovingly together, this is a reminder. It’s a reminder of what we thought we should have had but never were able to achieve. It’s a reminder of what our hopes and dreams were for married life when we took that life-altering step and said, “I do.” We are momentarily reminded of what marriage was supposed to be, but never became. And this sadness shows in our faces, in our eyes, and in our hearts. When our husbands glimpse at us, they know what we are thinking. They know what we are wishing. They know that the words they don’t want to hear may possibly be coming out of our mouths at any moment. Rather than take a chance and have to come up with one more excuse, they find some way to knock us down and put us back into the non-assertive mental state that they so easily know how to do.

We are women who have been conditioned. Remember, Straight Gay Men remain in the marriages indefinitely and have years to erode your sense of self-worth. They are not going anywhere, and they want to make sure that you feel inadequate enough so that you won’t go anywhere either. I don’t know who could have taught these men about the facts of life and marriage, but obviously, they weren’t listening or didn’t have a teacher. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that sex is part of marriage? Didn’t they ever hear that intimacy grows from making love to the person who loves you? Do they really believe that they can sit for years in a marriage and overlook that little detail? Yes, they do. And we become their silent partners because we have been silenced on the issue of sex.

The irony is that even if you leave these men, as some women do, they will remarry again. Yes, they will remarry another woman. They will still do their occasional gay sex thing to satisfy their sexual need, but that goes with the territory. It is amazing to me how these men can live such a delusional existence until the day they die. And they will drag other women into their web of deceit. The next victim (and men who do this more than once are victimizers) will fall for it just like you did—but even better. Your Straight Gay Husband has a track record. He will still use you as his shield by telling his next conquest that he was married before, ergo, he is straight. And the woman who is in a subsequent marriage with this man has no reason to question his sexuality at all. He married before; he’s marrying again. Chances are his next wife will feel even more inadequate than you feel. He’ll make sure to tell her that the two of you never had problems in the bedroom before. And if she does meet you, she’ll be too embarrassed to ask you the truth. And you’ll probably keep protecting him.

So if you are in a long-term marriage to a Straight Gay Man, don’t plan on things ever getting better. There may be temporary second honeymoon periods, only to prove to you once again that you are crazy for even suspecting there is something wrong with your wonder man. But it’s guaranteed that things will resort back to the “normal” pattern of digs, harsh words, and put-downs. Count on it. Then decide if this is the most that you want out of life because as long as you are in this marriage, this is all you can expect.

Looking back over these words from ten years ago, I must say these words were right-on. The only difference is today I understand the concept better because there is a word that describes what these husbands do: COMPARTMENTALIZE.
For those of you who are not familiar with this phrase, let me give you a good definition:

Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves. Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states.

The Straight Gay Men live their lives this way. They are able to separate their need for sexual dabbling with a man from their “straight lives” as straight husbands. I do tell our women that as long as you allow your husband to live in his “compartmentalized closet,” he will remain there forever. The fact that you remain in the marriage to him allows him to justify even more that he is straight—especially in his own mind. After all, his wife isn’t going anywhere, right? This convinces him even more.

So if your happiness is waiting for a confession that won’t be coming, do yourself a favor and stop waiting for it. Take control of your life and GET OUT before you allow yourself to totally lose who you are. Remember—if your husband can’t admit he is gay to himself, he will never admit it to you. In his own warped sense of reality, he is a straight man.


I know that the news that your husband is gay is last thing you want to hear from your husband. Your whole world as you know it has fallen apart by those few little words that can never be taken back. I also know there are some women who are so in love with their husbands and so desperate to hang on to their marriages that they believe it won’t matter if their mates are gay or not. After all, they’ve been happy in their marriages up until now, and surely there’s a way to work around the “gay” thing. You can find these women in groups all over the Internet exchanging ideas on how to emotionally manipulate their husbands into staying instead of leaving. In fact, they could have their own pathetic sit-com television show right after Fran Dresher’s show and call it “Desperate Straight Wives.”

To these women, I say, “How long do you want to play the guilt card, ladies? Isn’t there something wrong with women who have to make a man feel guilty in order to keep him from leaving?” Boy, I thought my self-esteem was low when I was 21 and hanging on to the leg of an ex-lover and crying hysterically while begging him not to leave because I was so in love with him. Yep, at 21, that was my lowest point of life that thankfully, I never repeated this with a man again. I won’t say I had “low self-esteem” at that point; rather I had “no self-esteem.” I was pitiful for sure. And trust me, I know I’m not the only one out there who was in that position at one time or another. I learned to become stronger because I didn’t like that pathetic woman who lived inside of me. But that’s what life is—a learning and growing experience for most of us. I wish these women would learn sooner than later that emotional blackmail doesn’t make for a healthy marriage. Like I said--tough love. That’s the new me! And you thought I was tough before?

I know that the thought of ending a marriage is overwhelming, devastating, fear-producing, emotionally breaking, and bunches of more adjectives that we all can describe. But the fear of staying married to a gay man should be even worse. Imagine living with a man for another 10 or 20 years who only—at best—wants to be your friend. Imagine worrying every time he walks out the door that he’s going to meet a “hook up” that may turn out to be his true soulmate in life. I lived like that for a while, but it was very mentally wearing on me.

I know many of us play the game called “how much can I live with?” First we think, “If it’s only some gay pictures on the computer, I can live with that.” Then it’s, “If it’s just meeting some other gay people in his situation, I can live with that.” Then it’s, “If he has to go out and do his thing every six months and I don’t have to know, I can live with that.” You know how the story goes. And trust me, while you are “living with that,” whatever that may be, it is very debilitating. I used to say when I offered my ex-husband an inch, he looked at it as an invitation to take a foot.

The problem is that a lot of these men can’t live with just that—especially the ones who are coming out to you and being honest for the first time in their lives. They know that they can’t keep living life as a straight husband. Why? Because they are gay. And although these on-line groups will teach you how to come up with every manipulative trick to keep your man at home, you are only deluding yourself by believing this will work itself out. It doesn’t—it can’t. You can delay his departure by using all the guilt you choose to use, but it is going to backfire in your face. He will grow to resent you for trying to keep him where he doesn’t belong. He will feel more trapped in a cage than an animal. And he will respond by running harder and faster leaving you behind in the dust.

By the time a man comes out to his wife—it’s not about just sex. These guys are not the Straight Gay Men or even Limbo Men or Bisexuals. They are gay. They have accepted who they are and need to re-create their destiny. Sure, it hurts like hell, but you will survive. You can still stay a family unit at times when the willingness is there on both of your parts. There are some decent divorces that continue on with the friendship and even love as a family member—just not as a husband. But holding on to something that you can never really have is destructive to you and your children. Listening to others who teach women ways to “hang on” to their gay husbands is not going to ever result in the happiness you deserve to have.

A RECOMMENDED BLOGI was so lucky to meet my wonderful friend Debbie when I went to Texas. Debbie is like an angel--kind, beautiful, caring, and compassionate. Debbie has been working through her own terrible times, and yet, she always has time to help other women. She has a wonderful blog that you can visit and join. She writes about feelings that affect all of us.
Take a moment a pay it a visit. Here is the link:


Several weeks ago, I posted this note on my blog.

This week, there were numerous advertisements announcing the return of Fran Drescher’s sit-com Happily Divorced. I could not believe it. Do you mean to tell me that there are enough people watching this comedy series about the painful marriages of over 4 million straight women to renew it for another season? Who would believe it?

As a counseling authority in the field of straight-gay marriages for nearly 30 years, I find it so offensive that Fran Drescher cannot see the lack of humor that over 4 million women in this country suffer from when they find themselves in a doomed marriage of distortion for 10, 20, 30, and 40 plus years of their lives because of their husbands' lies. None of them are making jokes about their marriages or the years that follow as Fran does in her show. They have suffered humiliation for years that were stolen and can never be returned. When a woman of 60 plus years writes to me to tell me that the only sex she had in her life for forty years was the dozen or so times with her gay husband who found numerous reasons to say “no” to her requests because she now discovered he is a gay man—it really makes me ill. What gives a gay man the right to do this to a woman? How selfish can a husband be to withhold this truth from the woman he vowed in front of God to love and cherish? Is this love? I don’t think so.

I have worked with over 75,000 women through the years. These are women who have lost all sense of who they are because they are living in a marriage to a gay man—but the joke is on them because their husbands hardly ever tell them the truth. Their marriages lack the real ingredients that marriage is about—trust, honesty, passion, making love, showing devoted love to the woman who is devotes her life to a man who can never treat her like a straight husband would. Let’s not even get into the tens of thousands of women who are now suffering with STD’s like AIDS/HIV, herpes, syphilis, and gonorrhea because their gay husbands were having unprotected sex with anonymous sex partners.

In an interview with Fran in the Huffington Post this week about her support for gay marriages, she reminded people that she was raped in 2002 in her home as well as her best girl friend by a black man. Her point of bringing up the race issue was that she doesn’t hold it against black people that she was raped; therefore, she doesn’t hold it against gay people that her ex-husband is gay. That gave me a new idea. Maybe Fran should consider doing a comedy about her rape for a next show. Since she does such an excellent job at making jokes at her misfortunes, maybe she can try that angle for her next show. She can call it “Unhappily Raped.”

Straight Wives don’t feel the same impact as a rape victim which is a heinous crime—but they do feel extremely violated and betrayed. Some of them are physically abused throughout this ordeal and the vast majority of women are emotionally abused by men who feel caught in their own web of deceit of marriage. This leads to continual mental abuse on a daily basis because the gay husband feels he is stuck in the marriage muck when in fact, he chooses to remain there because he is too much of a coward to get out. It’s easier to beat his wife down blaming her for his unhappiness than to take responsibility for his actions by telling her the truth. And please don’t tell me he’s staying there because he “loves” her. Most of these men have such contempt for their wives that love isn’t a factor by the point they realize they can’t get rid of those nagging attractions to men.

In my book “The Gay Husband Checklist for Women Who Wonder,” I have a chapter on the prototype of a woman that a gay man marries—and in Fran’s case—stays with even though the marriage is off kilter. One of those categories is about women who were victims of sexual abuse. When women have been sexually abused or raped, their desire for a healthy sexual relationship with a man is often damaged. Perhaps that is why Fran felt relieved when her husband stopped having regular relations with her. She may have been just as relieved as her husband was when she backed away. And maybe this is also why she can be so forgiving to her ex-husband who didn’t tell her that he was gay until after the marriage was over.

The problem with Fran passing off her life with a gay husband as “funny” while she continues to make a joke out of the struggles of those whose lives have been shattered is the public will never be able to understand the reality of how our lives have broken us mentally, emotionally, and sexually. The public will continue to view us as unsympathetic whiners when we should be double-dating with our husbands’ new boyfriends. After all, Fran thinks it is a laugh. When are we going to learn to lighten up a bit and make fun at our own misfortune? I say never. I don’t believe in laughing at the pain of others. But that’s me.


Dear Bonnie,
I am writing you to thank you for the ongoing support you continue to give thousands of women each month through your newsletters and radio show. I live in Montana—home of the Brokeback Mountain gay men—and there is very little support for women who learn their husbands are gay.

My story is so similar to the stories I have been reading about in your newsletters for the past two years. I married at a young age, I was sexually inexperienced, and I came from a family where there was abuse by my father. Actually, I didn’t expect very much for myself except not to be as unhappy as my mother was.

When I was in my last year of high school, I met a guy, Don (not his real name), who was a year older than me. He paid a lot of attention to me and made me feel really special. I didn’t feel very special in my own house where my drunken father would often degrade me and my siblings making us feel worthless. My mother was so beaten down from living like this for years that she didn’t have the strength to stand up and stop my dad.

On my 18th birthday, Don proposed to me. He was 19 and about to join the military. He promised me that he could give me a better life—and that he loved me. I believed he did love me. He never pressured me for sex, and I thought that proved he really cared. We were married in a private ceremony three weeks later. Don was due to leave any day, and at least this way I could move into an apartment away from the chaos I knew.

Our honeymoon was a 3-day trip to Las Vegas. We didn’t really consummate our marriage until we returned home. Don admitted he was also a virgin, and he wanted the moment that we had sex to be perfect. I will say that our first time wasn’t good, but I wrote that off to the fact that neither one of us had any previous experience. I would tell you about our second time, but it didn’t happen before Don went overseas about two weeks later.

Don was deployed overseas for a year. I heard from him every few days. I felt so bad that he was taken away from me before the marriage even began, but I understood this was for our future. When he did return from overseas, he spent a second year in the military, so we were separated throughout most of that time as well.

When he returned, it was a hard adjustment period. After all, we had been married for two years but only been together for about three weeks. Don was having “adjustment” problems, but he said that is normal after men come home from a tour of duty. Part of that adjustment problem involved making love to me. He did hold me and snuggle with me, but to get much more out of him was really difficult. Amazingly, I got pregnant the first year he was home—amazingly because we were only together a half a dozen times. And those times were always a struggle.

Don was working on a ranch in our area. He was a very manly kind of man which always appealed to me. He wore a cowboy hat and boots for his job, and in my mind, I was so lucky to have someone who loved me so much. I know our relationship wasn’t “blazing with fire,” but I also knew I felt safe and secure. In our third year of marriage, I was pregnant again. Our sex life had been reduced to three times that year, so I really felt lucky that one of those three times produced my precious second child.

After that, we really didn’t have sex anymore. It was okay with me, because when we did have it, it wasn’t that exciting for me. There was no foreplay or passion—it was just kind of “obligatory” sex—or at least it felt that way.

I suppose I didn’t complain because my life was so happy with the children and Don.
He still held me at night when we went to bed, and he always told me he loved me. He was a good father to the children who loved playing with him. It was so different than living at home with my parents which was always chaotic and nerve-wracking never knowing when my drunken father would target us. My children would NEVER grow up in a home like mine.

About nine years into the marriage, Don said he was switching jobs from one ranch to another one. He explained he would make an additional $200.00 a week which would really help our bills. The only problem was that sometimes he would be required to stay there overnight in case the boss had to go away on a business trip or short vacation. I wasn’t happy about that, but I did know the extra money would help since I was a stay-at-home mom.

From the beginning of that new job, Don was away once or twice a week a night sleeping over at the ranch. He would tell me ahead of time and pack an overnight bag. This went on for the first year at the job, but then he seemed like he was changing. He wasn’t holding me anymore when we slept, and he didn’t even want to sleep in the same bed. I became extremely frustrated and didn’t know why he was emotionally distancing himself from me. He came up with reasons like he was “depressed” or going through “post traumatic stress” from the service.

One day he came home and said he had to talk to me. He told me we had been married for ten years and that he didn’t feel it was working. He didn’t blame me—he told me that I was a very good wife—but he had gotten married too soon, had a family too soon, and that he felt like he was “missing out in life.” I was devastated and had no clue what he was talking about. Maybe our life wasn’t perfect, but it was good. I always tried to make him happy and put his needs before my own. I never brought up the fact that we didn’t have any intimacy left in our relationship. Maybe that was bothering him so I asked him if I failed him in that way. He swore to me this had nothing to do with his problem.

Don said he wanted to take a “break” from the family, and he asked me to please be patient. He would send me money each week to keep the household going, and he would call me a few times a week to check on me and the kids. I admit it—I didn’t get it. I was reeling from the hurt and felt so alone.

Then something very bizarre happened shortly after his “break” began. I received a phone call from a man named Cliff (also not his real name.) He told me that Don and he were lovers and that I should not stand in their way of finding true happiness. I was so shocked and started yelling at this man asking him why he was playing such a horrible joke on me. He told me that Don and him were supposed to live together, but because of my constant “threatening” him, he wasn’t able to do it. He then asked why I was trying to hold on to someone who didn’t want me anymore.

When I hung up on Cliff, I was crying hysterically. I called Don who explained that the man was mentally imbalanced and a “homo” who had a crush on him. He constantly rejected the man because he didn’t want to be friends with a gay man. It made him ill to think about it.

I felt as if my world was falling down around me. First Don needs “space” to think about his happiness, and now this man is calling and accusing me of stopping Don from finding his happiness in the arms of another man. What was going on?

Sadly, I had no family support. My family was such a dysfunctional mess that I had no one there to turn to. That is when I wrote to you and you made me feel that I wasn’t alone—anymore—as you said. After reading all of your information, I realized that I was married to a gay man. I saved the number from the caller ID of Cliff’s phone call and called him back after reading your words. He was very happy to talk to me and explain how they had been seeing each other for the past three years. They were supposed to move in together, but Don kept explaining that I would never let him go. He was quite shocked when he found out that Don was gone.

The story ends with a twist—Don was gone, but he had met another man. Cliff didn’t lose him to me—he lost him to a new gay lover. It has been just over two years since he left our family. He still sends money every week, but he rarely sees the children. He refuses to discuss his private life with me telling me that it is none of my business what he does. There is no real remorse—no truth—and no apology. This has definitely made me stronger. At least I understand why my marriage was filled with a void and why sex was never what it should be. I am now going to school part-time so I can become financially independent. The dream of a stable home that I promised to give my children has had to be “redesigned” not to include a father. I am still hopeful that someday I may meet a man who can love me for me and not feel used. I am sure if Don would ever do the right thing and tell me the truth, I would feel differently than I feel now. He knows I know the truth from Cliff, but he still won’t admit it to me.

Bonnie, thank you for being there during my darkest days, and thank you to all of the women who tell their stories so courageously here. I hope my story will help some woman realize that she doesn’t have to do this alone. There is always support.
Elizabeth (this IS my real name!)

Thank you, Elizabeth for sharing your heart-felt story.

Until next month—
With love and hope,
Bonnie Kaye