INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST BOOK
I am excited to announce our new collaboration book has recently been released. Straight Wives: Shattered Lives Volume 3 tells the stories of women from around the world who are part of my support network. They share their stories of the effects that their marriages had on their lives. The proceeds from all of my books help to sponsor my healing weekends and website. You can purchase your copy at Amazon.com or all other retailers. The book is available in paperback or kindle.
The cover was designed by my friend Heather Pettersen, a wonderful artist in Mississippi. It truly depicts the reality of our situations. The proceeds from all of my books help to sponsor my healing weekends and website. You can purchase your copy at Amazon.com or all other retailers. The book is available in paperback or kindle.
WHEN DO THEY REALLY KNOW??
The cover of our new book reminds me of a topic that I would like to talk about. Often, our husbands have told us that they married us having no idea they were gay. They swear they loved us when they married us and found themselves attracted to us. They built a life with us, and in some cases, they really were our best friends. Okay, in almost all of our cases, the sex started dwindling with a short amount of time, but hey—you were both busy with work, raising children, buying a house, buying cars, going on vacations, etc. etc. etc. And of course—ALL COUPLES SEE THEIR SEX LIFE DIMINISH OVER TIME—DON’T THEY?
I have worked with over 3,000 gay married men over the last 38 years. They come for me seeking advice and help. To be clear--they don’t come to me for advice before they get married, but rather when they are ready to get un-married—from you. They ask me for help on how to move out of the marriage in the way that will be least detrimental to you—and of course, to them.
In the early years of conversations I had, I always used to ask the same question. But now I stopped asking if they knew they were gay before marriage because every one of them said, “NO—there was no way for me to know that.” At first I thought they were really lying to me, but then I realized they were being honest. They didn’t believe they were gay because they fell in love with you and married you. They couldn’t be gay.
Most of the women in this support network are 40 and older. Back in the 1970’s in this country, gay men did NOT want to be gay. In the 1980’s with the onslaught of AIDS, they DEFINITELY did NOT want to be gay. Even a hint of “gay” could destroy their reputation and families. Those who came from religious backgrounds were told quite clearly, “Gay is a choice. Put those ‘evil’ thoughts out of your head because you will go to hell.”
There were those awful stereotypes of gay men who were swishy in walk and lisping in talk. Some gays you just knew like Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reiley or they would see straight actors like Milton Berle dress up in a dress swishing his way across the stage. That is what they thought GAY was. What they processed was gay was “evil, depraved, and perverted.” They weren’t like those stereotypes that were labeled as “gay.” All they had to do was fall in love with a woman and those feelings would disappear for good. Or so they were told by their families, religious leaders, and anyone else they ran across and hinted about their attractions. And some of them were able to perform sex with women in their younger years which REALLY fooled them and gave them hope.
Enter kind and loving women like us. What did we know about gay? Oh, we did know some things—specifically GAY men wanted to be with GAY men. No one ever mentioned to us that gay men would be looking for women to marry, have children with, and then cheat on us until they were ready to leave—if ever. See, back in the 70’s and 80’s, your gay husband could be miserable living with you—but he wasn’t going anywhere. By the mid-80’s when gay could equate to a death sentence due to AIDS, no one was running around saying he was proud and gay. That was a definite no-no. These loveless marriages truly believed in the vow, “Till death do we part,” and that day-to-day death was killing both the wife through rejection and the husband through deception (living his daily lie).
People think I’m sympathetic to the gay husbands who marry you. In a minimal way, I am. They were the victims of our society that forced them to lead a life of torture. And yes, I even give them a pass on not knowing they were gay when they married you in almost all of the cases. Yes, they knew they had “male attractions,” but they were promised that those desires would fade after marriage. Why not take a chance?
Okay, I’ve heard that story several thousand times, and I get it. I really do. But that’s about all I get. I don’t get the fact that these men who are supposed to love and cherish us treat us like the enemy and look to trip us up and “gaylight” us on a daily basis. I don’t get it that they are cheating with men on a regular basis, bringing homes STD’s from their sexual encounters but blaming you for infecting them with STD’s. I don’t get it that they find fault with you in everything you do no matter how great it is because it is easier than accepting blame for their lack of being heterosexual and married to you. Yep, there are lots of things I don’t get—and after nearly 40 years of trying to learn and study this, I still don’t understand.
In our new book of Straight Wives Shattered Lives Volume 3, women tell the stories of how these marriages gutted them emotionally, sexually, and even physically. As with all of your stories in this series, it is painful to think about the collective years of abuse that we have suffered as straight wives. I think back to 20 years ago when I met a woman, Ella, from New England who made me cry. She told me the story of the man she fell in love with twenty years earlier. He was such a sweetheart. They had fun doing everything from dancing to going to movies to playing board games. She was so thrilled that she met her soulmate, and two years later when he asked her to get married, she was so happy to say yes and plan the wedding she had always dreamed of. Throughout the two years of dating, there was no sexual activity beyond hugging and kissing, but both of them came from a Christian background, so this was not a problem. Ella said she would be happy to wait until after marriage to make love—as it should be.
The wedding took place six months later on a beautiful spring day. The couple had over 100 people there to wish them good luck on their future. They quickly exited for their honeymoon in Mexico at a beautiful resort. Their first night together was spent hugging in bed—but nothing more. For the rest of the honeymoon, there was always an excuse: a headache, a backache, an earache, and exhaustion. But he would hold her close, stroke her hair, call her beautiful, and say that he loved her.
When they returned home, her husband told her that he had to have a talk with her. He seemed nervous and edgy. Ella had a moment of total fright wondering what kind of bad news he was about to reveal—because she knew it would be bad news from the way he was acting. He told Ella that his worse nightmare had come true. She panicked thinking maybe it was some catastrophic medical problem like cancer. When he said no, it was nothing life threatening, she breathed a sigh of relief. She could handle ANYTHING else after that.
He went on to say that he had never been intimate with a woman before. He had always had problems getting an erection even if he was excited by a woman. He had been to doctors who had tried various medications with him, but nothing worked. He was going to now go back to the doctor to see what he could do, but in the meantime, no sex. He begged her to stay with him and promised to love her in every other way. What kind, loving woman would say no to that? After all, in her wedding vows she did say for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Okay, this was sickness. She wasn’t about to give up her wonderful husband and dreams of her future for sickness.
Her husband went to doctors over the next year every month looking for a “penis cure.” They still slept close and near together—but a peck on the face was the extent of their physical contact. After a year of no luck, he told his wife the doctors diagnosed him as “asexual.” This was back in to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when so little was known about sexuality. People could title themselves anything and people of innocence or good faith just believed it—especially when you loved someone. Ella decided that she loved her husband enough to stay with him even though she remained a virgin. After all, love and marriage was about so much more than sexuality, and she didn’t want the man she loved to feel worse than he already did. She did EVERYTHING to build up his confidence as a man, especially when he begged her to stay with him even though he couldn’t perform like a man.
Fast forward twenty years later. Yes, it had been a decent marriage. Her husband was kind to her in many ways. He was a good worker, he bought them a beautiful house, they had friends and family to celebrate holidays with, and she learned to mute her desires as a woman through the no choice plan. She told herself sex was something people stopped doing after a while anyway, so what’s the big deal?
So now Ella’s husband buys a computer. He claimed that he really needed it for work because his job was being more technological. She was amazed at how much of her husband’s time was consumed by that computer. Ella used a computer at her job as well, but when the day was over, she was done. She couldn’t imagine why her husband had to work all day and now be on the computer at least four hours each evening.
One day, when Ella was off from work, she went to her husband’s office in the house and walked over to his computer. Yes, she was curious about his activity for hours each night. He had made it clear that the office was his PRIVATE room for work, and that she was not to go in there. On the screen she saw the picture of a young man—no more than 20 years old. Oh…let me add a young NAKED man. She was computer literate enough to know how to search his files. She was shocked. There were pictures of over 150 young guys. She searched his email for his correspondence with some of these men and after the first five or six, she ran out of the room to vomit.
Her husband wasn’t asexual—he was GAY sexual. He had lied to her for over 20 years about his life. When he came home, she was ready to confront him. She had seen enough and she knew the truth. Of course he was speechless. He began crying swearing he wasn’t gay. He swore that even if he had urges, he never acted on it. But she had the proof…and just like that, the marriage was over. She called me so depressed because she felt she gave her life away for nothing. All of those years she questioned herself as a woman and why she couldn’t turn her husband on. And although the at least took the responsibility for being “asexual,” she still felt it was her fault for not being sexy enough…pretty enough…appealing enough…oh, we all know the “enough” feelings, don’t we? Which leads to my next message.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ALL OF OUR WOMEN
When I lived with my gay husband, Valentine’s Day never ceased to disappoint me. What I was looking for was a romantic, loving evening filled with words of promise and…some sex. Well, romance with my gay husband was an oxymoron now just saying it…but not knowing it for the first few years made me wonder where I WAS GOING WRONG. My gay husband kept insisting that once you get married, you don’t need to make such a big deal about it. A card, a box of chocolate, and a kiss should do the trick. Well, they didn’t. They just made me feel worse. Think about all of the disappointing Valentine’s Days you had in your marriages, and you’ll realize that celebrating love was not the day your gay husbands looked forward too either. It was a painful reminder to them that they were married to a woman—a place they didn’t belong.
When you are married to a gay man, you need to sing that song Love Hurts. It starts out like this: “Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and marks any heart not tough or strong enough.” These words are so true for loving straight wives who are unable to have that love returned in a meaningful way by their husbands. They say, “I love you, “but those words fall flat when there are no actions to back it up.
Self-love is a cliché to many of us at this point, but the truth is—it is the truth. If you learn to love yourself, you don’t have to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day. Or think about the true meaning of the holiday and how someday, if you are ready to open your heart again, you can celebrate it in a meaningful way with true love and romance. I love Valentine’s Day for our women because it means we have nine more months before we have to be bombarded by constant reminders from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day of loving families who seem to be happy because they don’t have a gay husband in the mix. Ah, tomorrow is day one of those nine wonderful months of being able to work towards more healing. Look on that bright side!
Much love to my special women on this special day! Love, Bonnie