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NEXT HEALING WEEKEND: CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME!!!
My next healing weekend will be in Southern California in late September. If you are interested in receiving details, please write to me at Bonkaye@aol.com.
OUR HOUSTON GATHERING
On the first weekend of March, approximately 25 women together in Houston for a healing weekend. It was an incredible experience seeing my wonderful Texas friends and meeting new women who came from all over to bond together in this experience. We had two wonderful workshops. One was by Jeanine Finelli, our Straight Wives health consultant, and the other was from Jason, the leader of our Adult Children's group. Some of our women in the networked have been healed, but they are kind enough to give support to others who are still suffering. As my little adopted sister Debbie says, "Pay Forward." It means if you've received help, give it to others who are in need. That's how we recover and help others through the process. I miss my Texas ladies!! What an amazing group you all are!!
HAPPY 13 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO STRAIGHT TALK NEWSLETTER!!!
Can you believe it was 13 years ago that I issued my first issue of Straight Talk Newsletter? As I start my 14th year, I think back to how many of our women have found the road to sanity and light through my words and the words of my support network members who are generous in contributing their stories. There is little information available to women on an ongoing basis to address every possible issue that we go through. This newsletter has given me the opportunity to reach out to women all over the world who all share the same common bond.
My newsletter has grown from 30 people in 2001 to over 7,000 women in 2014. I try to send everyone the highlights from all the past issues when they first contact me because I'm unable to figure out how to do "less than more"! When women learn about this tragedy, they need to hear about what it really is all about. If one message doesn't get to them, hopefully another one will.
I would like to repeat one of my most important messages from those early days of my newsletters. This article was in the 2nd edition of my newsletter. Many of you read this first in my back newsletters that I send out, but it is so worth repeating again because of the importance of the meaning: (From April, 2001)
PROFOUND AND REVEALING WORDS FROM A GAY EX-HUSBAND
I receive several letters each week from men who are struggling to come out to their wives. I respond quickly to these men in hopes that my support and encouragement will give them the courage to be honest with their wives. I also receive several letters each month from gay men who find my website or see my book who commend me for the work I am doing in helping people understand the complexities of straight/gay marriages.
Two months ago, I received a letter from a man who was about to become an important part of my life. Jay is an attorney in Pennsylvania. He is the first man I have ever met who can write words in a manner that clarified all of my own thoughts and feelings allowing me to conceptualize a key to the problem of straight/gay marriages that I will share with you. Jay’s sensitivity and honesty reflects what most of us would like our husbands or ex-husbands to tell us. Too few of us ever get to hear these words. I asked Jay if I could reprint some of his thoughts because I believe it validates so much of what all of us feel and need to hear. After reading his words, I am sure you will appreciate not only what he says, but also the beauty of how he says it.
Jay’s first communication to me in early February stated:
I am a gay man who was married for 23 years. My ex-wife and I have two
children. I am writing to encourage you to continue the important work
you are doing. I only wish that in 1996 when I finally began to come
out that there had been resources such as yours to support our family
through our transition.
I thanked him for his kind words, and his response was this:
I think that both men and women in these circumstances must recognize that there are no winners but there are survivors who create new ways to relate, maintain, support and redefine their family. In the process of ending my marriage, I lost my best friend and the dream we had of growing old together. Slowly, we have worked to continue to parent our children in accordance with the many values that we continue to share. There are many things I would, in retrospect have done and handled differently, but my single largest regret is that I did not deal with the secret of my sexuality while still in my marriage and in the years of counseling before divorce. So to those men who you counsel , I would urge them to give the woman they chose to love and bear children the earliest chance to deal with the truth. They probably will not have a marriage together, but they will at least have a chance of preserving the love that once brought them together with hopes and plans for a lifetime.
More words of insight kept coming as the weeks progressed. I will highlight just a few of these pearls that will lead to my conclusion:
I keep reminding myself of the shame that fueled my own 'denial' and kept me closeted for most of my life, however I also know the damage that secrets do to those who keep them and would like to teach that lesson to my kids as well.
…my kids have always been a priority. I can recall vividly, my own frustration at seeking advice on how to come out to my kids and finding little support from the gay or straight communities. Of course, I was looking for the right way to do it and assure that the kids would not go off the deep end or reject me. No one could have given me the surefire approach. However, I think there is a real void. God knows there are self help books out there on everything else.
No woman deserves to be in this situation. In the past, I spent a lot of time searching my own soul, trying to figure out how much of the failure of my marriage was attributable to homosexuality and how much was the struggle for control, neediness and other dynamics extant in any couple relationship. My ex-wife and I hurt each other a lot. There are still things about her that I dislike, but I have concluded that the presence of my secret in that relationship was the primary poison. Much of the rest of our conflicts flowed from it....the absence of trust, the neediness, possessiveness, the anger and ultimately the conflict that I both created (even if it was not by premeditated design) and used to find the impetus despair and courage to leave. Accordingly, as painful as it is to admit, I know that the secret and immutability of my homosexuality is inextricably bound up in all that was wrong in our relationship. Yes, I had difficult issues to confront. As with any person facing difficult times, some of them I handled quite poorly. I could empathize with your own horror and dismay at how you thought and acted at various points.
I share your belief that bisexuality is often a transitional label and crutch used by homosexuals unable or unwilling to come to terms with their natural orientation. I lived that myself. After my separation from my wife, I woke one morning after a date with a woman and was appalled by the self discovery that I might do this to another woman because I hated who and how I was.
And the most profound words were yet to come:
I was much more demanding about the order around me when I was married to my ex-wife. While I still like a nice home, I find I am less compulsive about cleaning and demanding that those around me keep things tidy and neat. I believe that my need for external order in my prior life was a way of coping with my own internal chaos (and tension created by my attempts to compartmentalize my being.) Of course, my discomfort with disorder at home also served to legitimize my disappointment in my ex-wife as a homemaker. "If only she were a better wife.......we would be happy" was my mantra. Indeed, she was disorganized and sloppy, but as it turned out, I have realized that IF O
NLY SHE HAD BEEN A MAN, I WOULD HAVE BEEN
MORE TOLERANT. Ouch.
These words written 13 years ago still ring so true today. I think back to my marriage in 1978 and how debilitating it was to my personal growth. I spent most of my time trying to "protect" my marriage by staying locked indoors. I did that because I was so fearful of what would happen when I went out of those doors. There were guys popping in and out of my home when I was away, so maybe staying home would change things. Of course it didn't. My ex just learned how to go out of those doors to do his "thing." That led me to my part-time career of being a detective. All those wasted hours of trying to "catch him" and "stop him" could have been used productively to enhance my own life. Ugggghhhhhhh.
I think of how many of you are doing the same thing--trying to protect a doomed marriage. Maybe if you can investigate enough websites, emails, texting, phone calls, bank receipts, credit cards, car tracking--then maybe you'll have the evidence in hand that your husband can still lie about with some plausible explanation making you think that you really are going crazy.
When your husband tells you, "Don't be silly," you think, "Okay--so we don't have sex. Is that all marriage is about?"
You comfort yourself by justifying his bad behavior. In fact, instead of his feeling guilty for lying and cheating, YOU FEEL GUILTY for accusing him and not trusting him. Silly you--how can you do that to a man who is a good family man? Oh yes, you are in your 30's or 40's or 50's and now expected to live without the love that is due to you sexually.
Suppressing the need to be a woman is only fair, isn't it? After all, he is suppressing his need to be a gay man, so why should you be benefiting from his sacrifice? At least that is how he is thinking in many cases. One gay husband said to me during a counseling session: "I'm stuck here for now because she won't let go--but I don't have to try to please her that way. If I'm stuck, why should she get the "bennies? If I'm not happy, don't expect me to make her happy. If I can't go out and have sex, why would she expect me to have sex with her and make her happy?" Hmmmmm...that gave me something to think about! Okay, I thought about it. Tell me if you can follow this thinking or maybe I don't get it:
A gay man marries a straight woman by his own choice and feels "trapped" by her in marriage. She can't understand what is wrong in her marriage and keeps trying hard as hell to make it work. It's not working, but he's still stuck where he doesn't want to be. His lack of happiness is making him miserable to live with--and now she has to be punished more. She isn't getting any sex because she married him. Does that make sense? No--and neither does anything about this kind of marriage.
In my years married to my gay husband, I died. I was walking through the valley of death like a zombie, and I was "pulseless." My life became an illusion and a distortion. Tears fell down my face almost every day and night. I cried--he snored like a baby. Yes, he was sleeping soundly and didn't bother to hear my tears. On an occasional late night trip to the bathroom, he would wake up and be annoyed that I was crying. He asked me, "What's wrong?" When I replied something isn't right in our marriage, he would comfort me with words like, "Don't be silly." I didn't feel relieved at this point--I felt minimized. That is the best word I can describe about how I felt in my marriage to my gay husband is MINIMIZED. My feelings didn't count--I was just being "silly." Yep, MINIMIZED.
Finding the love of a straight man for the past 20 years has made me MAXIMIZED. You most likely haven't felt this if you have spent your life with a gay husband who can never love you "more" than like a family member or want you "less" as a lover. And guess what? The moment my marriage ended, I started "MAXIMIZING" myself. It took me eleven years to open my heart and want to see a man again. During those years I thrived because I was able to remove myself from "inside the box." The box meaning my little house of horrors. I could finally step "out of the door" and "into the light," and I found a whole new world waiting for me.
I did amazing things during that period. In addition to being a single mother of two little babies, go to college, earned my Bachelor's and Master's Degree, wrote articles for a local gay newspaper and a weekly column "Straight Talk," started my support network, designed programs for an accredited career school, taught at our local community college, and built new friendships. All of this self "validating" work helped me learn to love myself. Yep, I had to love me first before I could really learn to love someone else in a HEALTHY way! I was truly MAXIMIZED!!!
It is never too late to maximize your life. No matter how old you are or how long you've been married, you can always take those steps to learn to love yourself even if you have forgotten who you once were. Don't let the years of existing make you forget that you were once living--and you will live again!
UPCOMING BLOG TALK RADIO SHOWS
Each Sunday evening, I have a live computer radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com at 10 p.m. EST, 9 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. MT, and 7 p.m. PT. All the shows are archived, so if you can't listen live, you can listen to the podcast at your convenience.
In the search box, type in Straight Wives Talk Show.
March 16 - I'm proud to introduce guest Alexa Servodidio, a therapist in Westchester, New York. Alexa has her own radio show about relationship healing on Wednesday evenings. She is a dynamite lady who is dedicated to helping women in abusive situations.
March 23 - My dear friend Wendy from Houston, who with her great writing talent, helps us heal with her many lists and roads to recovery.
March 30 - There's a "doctor in the house" the last Sunday of every month with Dr. Brian Hooper. He always makes us feel better!
April 6 - The inspiring, ultra talented Coach Suzette Hinton inspires us by singing the sounds of her life that inspire her and us!
LOVE, BONNIE ♥