Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Distorted Perceptions - 2003

This is an article from my newsletter from 2003 that still rings true.

Distortion Perceptions - May 2003

I’ve written about this before, and probably not too long ago. But I could never write about this enough, so I’ll talk about it again. It’s what I call “Distorted Perceptions.” It’s an important part of understanding the whole concept your marriage and why it failed.

I think I’ve gotten most of you on board with understanding that you had no influence on your husband’s homosexuality. No matter how easy it is for us to fall into the trap of believing that we were not “good enough” or “smart enough” or “pretty enough” or “sexy enough” for our husbands, I hope after reading my constant reassurances, you finally understand that your husband’s homosexuality was there long before you were.

The next concept of why your marriage failed is a little more difficult for you to understand. You are still looking at your marriage as if it takes “two to tango” as the saying goes. I often hear women say, “He made mistakes, and I made mistakes,” or “We both had faults,” Let’s acknowledge that no one is perfect. Yes, we all have faults. But it is not your “faults” that created the problems in the marriage. On the other hand, it is very possible that the problems in the marriage intensified your faults.

Example? Okay. Let’s start with me revealing to you some of the problems I had in my marriage. Because of all of the erratic behavior and inconsistencies in my marriage, I was overly suspicious of my husband’s actions. Whenever I couldn’t account for his missing time, I believed he was out cheating on me. I made an automatic search of all of his belongs when he wasn’t looking. This included all of the pockets in his clothes, his little black phone book, and his wallet. I looked in the car at the mileage gauge, looked under the seats for clues of unfamiliar items, and went through the glove compartment for any suspicious papers, matchbook covers, or receipts left behind and haphazardly thrown in there. As soon as I would find a possible incriminating piece of evidence, I would confront my husband. He would get angry and yell at me how I was neurotic and ridiculous. He always had an explanation of whatever evidence I found, and he did his best to convince me that I was the one with a “vivid” imagination that was always in the overactive mode.

From where he was sitting, I looked like the overly nagging wife. Snooping didn’t become me. But I became obsessed. Once the trust was gone, there was no way for me to regain it, especially when his patterns of suspicion continued. As much as I tried to ignore what kept hitting me in the face, I was unable to do so. As time progressed, my obsession deepened. Every time he left the house, my imagination took over and images of young men jolted out in my mind. Every guy my husband spoke to became suspect to me. My reactions to people were totally different because of this. No doubt, there were many innocent people who became victims of my unfounded hostility, but I was unable to distinguish fact from fiction because of the ones who were my realities and nightmares.

Now, my husband blamed me for overreacting to almost everything. And maybe in many cases I did. Bottom line: This was not who I was, but who I became because HE WAS GAY AND LIVING A LIE. And that lie infiltrated the darkest part of my soul turning me into someone whom I didn’t recognize or even like.

There were days when I woke up and didn’t want to live any more. This was NOT ME. The real me had a passion for life that had been temporarily snuffed out. I didn’t know it was temporary while I lived it because my life was now on another plane—somewhere between the Twilight Zone and death. I say death because on three different occasions I attempted suicide. It seemed like an excellent alternative during those moments that seemed so inescapable and hopeless. This was NOT ME either. Prior to my marriage, I was so high on life. I was active, sociable, surrounded by high self-esteem, and very independent. I turned into someone who was depressed, scared, insecure, co-dependant, and crying constantly from being hurt.

The decisions and the moves that I made during my marriage were based on the mutated perceptions inside my marriage. Before I suspected that homosexuality was the cause of my unhappiness, I came to believe that it was me who was causing the problems in my marriage. If I told my husband that our marriage had problems, he would reply, “We don’t have problems—YOU have the problem. I am happy in the marriage. YOU are the unhappy one.” Many of you have written to me that your husbands tell you the same thing. The problem is YOU—not him, not the “marriage.” And naturally, my husband, as well as yours, never looks beyond the fact that YOU have a problem, because it’s always all about them. I guess I was falling into a darker hole each day so it was easy for me to believe that I was the one with the problems. He wasn’t falling into a dark hole. He seemed content, and why not?  He had a wife and a life outside his wife.

He was living his lie. And it was a big lie. Not a little white lie. Lying about your sexuality is a really very big lie. VERY BIG. What is a little lie? A little lie is taking money and buying something and not telling your spouse. A little lie is getting a couple of drinks at the bar with some friends while you tell your wife you are working. A little lie is not revealing that you broke your diet, smoked a cigarette after you quit, or paying more for something than you’re supposed to but keeping quiet not to start a fight because you’ve unbalanced the family budget.

It’s not like I’m condoning lying, but I certainly do understand it. I’ve lied myself when the thought of revealing something is going to result in an unnecessary argument that can be avoided and has no real effect on the state of a relationship. To lie is human. To live a lie is different. It’s not something that is inconsequential. When you live a lie, there are always consequences for someone. In our cases, it ends up being our consequence.

The basis for a relationship should be one built on give and take. When a man stops having sex with his wife because it’s too much of a burden for him because he is gay, you are giving wrong information to your wife. I don’t hear too many men take responsibility for their lack of sexual activity other than made up stories about being too tired, too overworked, too depressed, too headachy, too sore from exercising, etc. When those excuses run out, then the tables turn. Then it’s—YOU. You are too heavy, YOU are too naggy, YOU are too unsympathetic,
YOU are too demanding, and of course…..YOU ARE A NYMPHOMANIAC or something just as insulting. Because YOU now think YOU are the problem in your marriage, YOU are the one who tries to change YOURSELF. So, now you are changing yourself to become the ideal wife of a man who doesn’t want to make love to you no matter how good you look, how nice you act, how talented you are, or of course—how devoted you are to your gay husband. Ouch! That hurts.  

Eventually, after your husband rejects you enough times, you stop expecting sex, and you also stop asking for it. He breathes a deep sigh of relief. Whew!! “She finally gets it. Stop asking because you’re not going to get it.” Once your wife stops asking you to have sex, she has resigned herself to living an unhappy life with you. How happy to do you think she’s going to be? And when she’s not happy, that’s her fault too, right? Wrong. It’s the husband’s fault.

Some gay husbands believe that money is the key to happiness—YOUR happiness. They will try to compensate for their sexual inadequacy by buying you gifts and trinkets, as if that will do it for you. It’s the same pattern as the physically abusive husband who beats his wife, begs for forgiveness, tells her that he loves her, and goes out to buy a present to prove it. HYPOCRITS. Like a bracelet is going to make you feel better about yourself. “I don’t think you’re good enough to make love to, but I think you’re good enough for a bracelet.”  Thanks pal—but no thanks.
I know they say that the failure of a marriage is the fault of both parties, and maybe that’s the case in functional marriages. But guess what? I don’t think it’s that way when you live with a gay man. You aren’t happy. He can’t be happy. He is saying that you are making him unhappy because of your own unhappiness. But if he would have been a straight husband, maybe you would be happy. Perhaps you could have met life’s challenges as a team instead of being on different teams. And not only are you both on different teams, but you’re both playing in different ballparks. If the pitcher for the New York Yankees throws the most perfect pitch in NY, the best player in Boston standing hundreds of miles away can’t hit it—NO MATTER WHAT. You are in two different cities on two different teams. Two different places in two different spaces.

The same goes for straight wives with gay husbands. If your husband is telling you that the lack of sex in your marriage is YOUR fault, and he is a gay man, no matter what you do to make yourself more physically attractive, and some of you have gone to the extremes of breast implants and liposuction, it’s not going to change anything. You are playing in the wrong ballpark. Or shall I say, you have the wrong plumbing.

If you think I’m saying to all of you that you are perfect and without fault, well, I’m not. No one is perfect; we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all have bad days. We all have human traits, and this is fine. And no husband—straight, gay or otherwise is perfect either. I don’t think any of us are seeking perfection. We are seeking husbands who are playing in the same ballpark. And although many couples who are STRAIGHT couples grow apart, they do it in a more honest way. They don’t always look to place the blame on your lap. They take some responsibility for the marriage unraveling. And you can make sense of those marriages that don’t work without feeling that you are responsible for their failure. In a marriage with a gay husband, you don’t even know what is real and not real. You are living in a labyrinth that has only twists and turns. There is no way to ever find a way to the end of the maze. The twists and turns go nowhere except in vicious circles. 

And so, when you sit back and recount the years that have passed and try to figure out what went wrong in your marriage, do yourself a favor--stop thinking about it. When you live with a gay man who is parading in disguise as a straight man, nothing can change the circumstances. Or shall I say, only you are capable of changing them—by leaving the marriage and moving on to a life that makes sense. What’s really so amazing is that life can make sense once your marriage is over. No more mazes to run through, no more Twilight Zones or Outer Limits. No more trying to solve the unsolvable, no more fighting against the unchanging tide. When you live like this, you zap your mental and physical energy because  spinning gold out of hay only happens in fairytales.