Saturday, December 17, 2016


Ladies, I’d like to wish you a holiday season. It would be a little silly to say “Happy” holiday season to the many of you who would feel I’m being sarcastic or insensitive during the worst months of each year.
For those of you who are still suffering in your marriages built on illusions and mirrors, there is no real happiness to talk about. Your future is in limbo, and you know that any moment your husband walks out the door some shoe can fall on your head.
For those of you who are newly divorced, this will be your most difficult year yet. All of those holiday traditions you celebrated together are no longer there. And as much as people like me advise you to “start new traditions” and give you “tips” for getting through the holiday, let’s be for real—it’s never, ever that simple.
For those of you in the early years of Gay Husband Recovery, memories of what you thought was yours forever will do the dance of the sugar plum fairies in your brain—no pun intended. They just make you wonder on what was real or not real for those years.
For those of you who are further into your recovery and still struggling with “issues” that create residual feelings of PTSD when certain triggers remind you of what you had, lost, or never had and lost—this is the time to expect those feelings to rise to the surface.
No matter what phase you are in, we are all struggling in this game of either GIVE ME BACK MY LIFE AS IT USED TO BE, or when you realize that won’t happen--TAKE BACK MY LIFE SO I CAN MOVE AHEAD. Unfortunately those pictures being shoved in our face every day and everywhere of families living out our fantasies that we believed to be our realities really tips our boat over making us feel like we are drowning or tilts the pin ball machine in our brain with bright lights until we are screaming “Tilt, Tilt.”
Personally, I think the holidays are a time we don’t have to be happy or even pretend to be happy. We’re not going to fool ourselves for sure. Maybe we can fool others around us, but do we need to do that? Do we need to pretend that our feelings aren’t really that important? Do we need to feel any more “minimized” than we already do?
Being in or ending a marriage to a gay man—whether he is open, in the closet, or somewhere in between—is a traumatic life event. Your investment of time and love into a no-win situation is your reality. In most cases, knowing that your husband was “exploring” his sexuality while lying next to you while he was lying to you and blaming you for the mishaps along the way is something you have to process. In over 20% of the cases of women who come to me, they have the received a gift from their gay husband’s indiscretions that never goes away—namely an STD that will last forever in some cases. And if that isn’t enough to kick you in the gut, people are praising him for being “brave” for coming out. Hello….what about us??? Is anyone praising us for the years we devoted to our family trying to be superwomen in hopes that our husbands would want us? Is anyone marching on a special day saying, “We are proud to be Straight Wives”? Do we get a special day of recognition or a movie about our pain?
And what about how we are portrayed by the media? First we had Brokeback Mountain that portrayed the two wives of gay men as idiots. Now we get a Netflix dramoedy with a real-life older out lesbian playing a straight wife. Oh—we also had Fran Drescher playing Nanny to her gay ex-husband on their double dates and a few Mormon women on TLC talking about how they are happy to marry their gay boyfriends. Is it any wonder that our ex gay husbands are the heroes? There is nothing real about how the media portrays our struggle—we appear as stupid bimbos who should have known better.
Yep. I’m angry. But I’m not bitter. There’s a line that separates them. A few people call me bitter—but that’s not the case. My life moved on, and I am living happily ever after. I’m angry because too many of you still suffering. Bitter would mean that I’m encouraging our women to stay angry. I don’t encourage it at all—but I do acknowledge it. I will validate every raw feeling that you have and make sure that you take absolutely NO RESPONSIBILITY for the demise of your marriage. I will not accept any man telling me, “Well, it wouldn’t have worked out even if I were straight.” That’s what I call denial. They just don’t get it because gay men don’t think straight. They don’t get that the way that you act is in response to the way they treat you.
Most of our women are wonderful women who want to be wonderful wives. Yes, some of us come from situations where there were “issues,” but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be wonderful wives—if we have wonderful husbands to nurture us and help us thrive. When we live a daily life of lies, confusion, and blame, we become different people. We become fearful, co-dependent, and suspicious because we are living someone else’s lie. This is the true shame of the holidays when you are a straight wife.
So, my message to you is to “just get through it.” It’s going to be a rough time until mid-February when all of those loving holidays are finally gone. Until then, it will be one reminder after another of what you thought you had but don’t have.
One of the reasons I get bummed out around this time of year is because I do know what’s ahead. I know that within the next 4 weeks or so, I am going to be meeting dozens of new women who will be hearing the news they never wanted to hear. This is the time of year that many married gay men wait for to tell their wives. They don’t want to louse up the holidays for the family, so they hang in there until January 1st or shortly thereafter. No comment. I’ll just be waiting for them.
Maybe it’s not the best time of the year for many Straight Wives—but it is a psychological time of renewal when January 1st comes along. The worst of the holiday season is behind us so things can get back on track. I was going to say “normalize,” but that would be misleading, wouldn’t it?

After 35 years working with Straight Wives, it takes a lot to inspire me to the point where I stand up and cheer. One of our sisters, Terri, shared this article by Kristin Kalbli with us. I was so blown away by the author’s writing that I wrote her a “fan” letter asking her to be a guest on my radio show on Sunday, December 18, 2016. After the article, I’ll give you the link to the show that you can listen to live at 9 p.m. EST or any time after that at the same link. Kristin gave me permission to share this article with you.

Frankly My Dear, I am the Victim of Homophobia Too!

Recently, author Rick Clemons published an article in the Huffington Post, ‘Frankly My Dear…Gay Men Marry Straight Women! Here’s Why!” 07/19/16 
In the article Clemons asserted “if you haven’t lived and breathed sexual orientation confusion, felt gay shame, or laid awake at night wishing that you really could pray the gay away, then honestly, you’ve nothing to contribute to this discussion.” As the ex-wife of a gay man (who was in denial during our marriage, but came out after divorcing his second wife), I know that I do have something to contribute to the discussion; and I have earned my place in the conversation.
It is an utter travesty that homophobia still exists in our culture to such a degree that self-loathing and fear still infect perfectly wonderful people who happen to be LGBT. Recently the Archbishop of Philadelphia said that gay couples should be abstinent. Preachers still promote disproven and insulting “reparative therapy” and advise gay men to marry straight women (as if our lives are suitable sacrifices on the altar of their religious homophobia). This is baldly discriminatory and deeply harmful to LGBT people.
But when my ex-husband chose to marry me (knowing he was gay), he compounded that harm, spreading the trauma and devastation to two lives, rather than confining it to one. I am the victim of homophobia too. Many LGBT people may not want to acknowledge this, thinking it detracts from their very real suffering. I certainly understand that they may not want to share that particular medal in the Oppression Olympics. 
I am not invalidating the brutal homophobia that sent people like my ex-husband so deeply into his closet that he had to use me as its door. I am saying that my life was ripped apart by that homophobia too. And I am in pain, and angry. Very, very angry. 
My justifiable anger should not be confused with homophobia. I am not, nor have I ever been, homophobic. I have officiated at LGBT weddings, and count LGBT people among my closest colleagues and friends. This shared trauma should make us allies against the injustice of homophobia and its consequences. But often, criticism of behavior like my ex-husband’s (deceiving a straight spouse into marriage) is spun as anti-gay rhetoric. And that is dishonest, dismissive, and divisive. 
I unequivocally sympathize with the struggles of LGBT men and women, although I don’t know what it is like to question my orientation.  But I do know what it is like to have my own sexuality deeply shamed, rejected and damaged. 
Let me explain: I was abjectly and repeatedly sexually rejected by my ex-husband, in the most intimate way a person can be rejected. But I had no idea why. I intuited that he might be gay; I even prayed that he was, because it would have explained the soul crushing rejection. I asked him on different occasions; he always denied it. He left me to guess, to ruminate, to wander in a desert with no answers, to live in an ether of doubt and questioning. And he left me to conclude I was the problem. My body image suffered, my self-esteem collapsed, my soul was damaged, my trust obliterated. I was devastated not to feel desired by my own husband; I was devastated my own husband did not want my touch. My sexuality was a threat to him, a reminder of his own homosexuality, which he was desperately running from. So he had to shame my sexuality and shut it down. 
He did the exact thing to me society did to him. And almost a decade post-divorce, I am still recovering from this form of sexual abuse, this gas-lighting, this mind-f**k. 
Clemons is correct that LGBTQ people are often cruelly “shamed and belief-poisoned” into hetero-normative marriages, but I take exception to his inclusion of the term “forced.” As the ex-wife of a gay man, I say with confidence that I was forced into a mixed orientation marriage against my will, without my knowledge or consent. I did not know he was gay at the time of our marriage, but he did. I would not have married him had I known the truth. was forced, not him. My ex-husband was not “forced” to lie to me, he was not “forced” to marry me, and he was not “forced” to stay in the closet. Not by me, at least. 
Because of my experience, I question Clemons’ narrative that gay men who marry straight women are merely the victims of cultural and familial homophobia and are entirely without responsibility or culpability for these deceptive marriages and their fallout. The homophobia of our culture, vast and grotesque as it is, is not an excuse to rob someone of agency, truth, and the ability to consent. 
It is the definition of entitlement for one person to use another as a beard, a shield, a prop. My ex-husband stole years of my life, depriving me of the love, sexual intimacy and pleasure I might have found with a heterosexual husband. And he did this knowingly. He is responsible for that choice.
In a somewhat cavalier tone, Clemons continues “So the burning question that some of you may still be asking is, ‘Why do gay men marry straight women?’ Frankly My Dear because, sometimes it takes time to live the life you’re meant to live.”  
Ok, fair enough. I get that. But what happens in the meantime to the straight spouses waiting for the truth while their gay spouses have “experiences not yet experienced,” as years of their lives are sacrificed on the altar of their gay spouse’s self-discovery? 
Is the straight spouse’s life disposable because it “takes time to live the life you’re meant to live?”  I cannot imagine anything so disregarding, so dismissive, and so self-serving. 
OH WAIT, yes I can, because I lived it
Yes, it is true, that “true freedom comes from trusting yourself enough to be yourself,” but let’s encourage each other not to learn that lesson at the expense of someone else’s life. 

Thank you, Kristin, for the beautiful words and thoughts of inspiration. To listen to more of Kristin’s thoughts on this matter, listen to our show live on 12/18 at 9 p.m. EST or any time after that at this link:

Patsy Rae Dawson is a Christian divorce coach who has helped many of our women of faith come to terms with the end of their marriages to a gay man based on religious scripture. She would like to help women in this situation with this very interesting survey that will help you make the right choice for your future and feel good about it. Here is what she offers:
FREE: Sexless Marriages & Without Natural Affection 4-Generational Survey by Patsy Rae Dawson
One unloving person without natural affection damages many lives over four generations or more. This survey helps you analyze your home of origin and marriage plus the effect on you and your children, and even your grandchildren. It helps you understand that a sexless marriage is not about you so you can make healthy decisions for your family. The survey is based on Bible principles. The most common remark I get is, “Being without natural affection includes much more than I expected.”

God doesn’t trap anyone in unloving marriages and provides many ways of escape including divorce that is as righteous as partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

When you participate, you’ll receive two free eReports: (1) Analyze Your Answers and (2) Everyone Is an Adult Child: God Doesn’t Tell Children to Love Their Parents—God Tells Children to Leave Their Parents.

Start the healing process today by taking this survey:

Each month, I receive letters with feedback from you, my readers. Those letters that I think will help so many of our readers are reprinted here with the writer’s permission.

Dear Bonnie,

First of all I want to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your friend.  True friendships are hard to find, and finding someone who struggles with emotions you know and share is even more valuable.  Know we are all here for you .
     As I read your letter today I had many emotions strike up.  The first being a WOW.. So true and I wanted to add so many exclamation points in it when you discussed the emotional pain we go through. The blame...the constant lies...the emotional DRAINING of myself.... becoming someone I was NOT.  It has been over 3 years since my divorce, 16 since I first found the emails and group chats, and less than 24 hours since I dealt
with my ex.  The pain never leaves, I think it becomes tolerable and you find coping mechanisms to deal with them.  When you have children you focus on them and often put your own emotions to the back.  My ex still has not "come out" but the rumors have!!! My children now deal with those, even though they know from figuring it out and me sitting them down all about the same time.  I waited for them to start putting the pieces together, then when I realized he would NEVER do it, I did. He is a political figure in our county and community so when the rumors surfaced...they spread like wildfire. Many of my daily acquaintances finally put 2 and 2 together on the divorce.  I won't lie, I did enjoy the thought that the "Oh poor XXXX" that everyone felt when I left him and all the things people said about thrown in some faces.  But you know
how people are. Only one apology was said to me about what people had said.  The worst issue was I WAS seeing someone else and I knew it was over...I just refused to put it in his lap and ruin him like I could have.                                                                           The road I now take... when I am asked I tell people yes, it is true. I tell them it is something he can't help and I know that if he could have made it work with us he would have and that I will always care for him because he is the father of our children.  I also remind people he and I are friends and will always be, and I sympathize with his issue because he won't face it.  Then I drop it.
     Is the pain still real??? YES !! Each time my current husband goes some time without making love…I have doubts and trust issues.  When you live a lie for so worry and those old fears and relationship issues surface.  I require constant assurance from my husband and luckily he is also my best friend because we can talk about it and discuss openly why our past was difficult and can trouble us today. is NOT meant to be difficult ...but it is.  I know I have become a different person because of this...but it was an event in my life…not my entire life.  I am a survivor and choose to continue to be one.  My children have survived and know there is a reason God gave us this path. They also know he will continue to guide us daily to be the people he wants us to be, just as he guides and loves my ex.  He will struggle forever until he accepts his life and I pray one day he will find the courage to accept who he is so he can be happy and experience true love the way it is meant to be..and how it is meant for. Unfortunately..that was not going to be with me as hard as he tried.

     All my love to all....Stay strong..this is an EVENT ...not your entire life!! Make it only an EVENT!!!  Choose to survive!!

Straight sister – Melinda

Dear Bonnie,

I would not 'feel better' if I didn't know the reason for my ex-husbands sexual rejection! The gay man 'happily married' to his wife keeps her in ignorance - which is selfish & cruel especially as she was abused in her youth, because the patterns of being a 'plaything' for the self-serving sexual needs of others is perpetuated. He may not be physically abusing or brutally raping her. But he is serving his own sexual needs by avoiding sex with her. He is depriving her of intimate touch. He is treating her like a china doll (not for her benefit, but for his) as if she has no mind of her own but were a fragile inanimate thing best left in a display cabinet - yet she is a living, breathing, thinking, sexually-rejected woman. If you accept the definition of rape to be 'sexually forced against your will' then she is being raped because he is forcing his wife into a sexless marriage on the basis that HE can't handle being sexual with a woman. Not her choice. His. And he is also choosing to keep her in the dark, in perpetuity. Keeping her in a gilded cage. Love is about setting people free! It is very patronizing to assume he knows what is best for her - that is a conclusion SHE needs to come to, but it can't happen when he is systematically lying by omission. Her entire marriage has been predicated on a lie. So in answer to the question posed in your November newsletter - I would need to know the truth. Only knowing the truth can I face it. Only knowing the truth can I make I informed decision about my future. 
Terri x


This month’s computer radio show links in case you would like to listen:

Author Tarra Helfgott: Author, Looking for Mr. Straight:

Coach Suzette Vearnon – inspiring us every month!!