Friday, August 1, 2014

Straight Wife Needs Help: How did this happen???

I recently received the message below as a comment from an anonymous straight wife.  In it, she tells her story and asks if anyone can help her understand her husband's behavior.  What would you tell her?  Please share your feedback in the comment box below.
I am 45 years old and been married for 25 years to the same man, we have two beautiful daughters. I have been faithful to him in every way. My husband is 46, a tradesman who worked away for much of our relationship. Just over a year ago he came home on his turn around, we were having a wonderful day and all of the sudden he said "I'm leaving, there is nothing to talk about and I am not coming back". He packed his car and left. One month later came back wanting to come home. He had been drinking excessively for the last 3 years and I thought that was the problem for his sudden mood changes. I would not let him come back but told him I was not giving up on our marriage. 10 months after our separation (we were on speaking terms some up and downs but getting along well) he was at our home, I had moved out with our 16 year old daughter, I couldn't financially afford to live there and he was giving me no support. I showed up unannounced which was not unusual but this time he had a man there. I come to find out that he has been living (not just dating, has a home) with this man for the past 4 years, we were only separated for not even a year. He admitted to me that day that he was having a relationship with this man but when I went back the next day he denied everything saying he was just someone to communicate with. He continues to put the blame on me and I can't understand why. So I thought maybe you or another gay husband could fill me in on how he justify what he has done. Was he gay from day one, is every memory and moment of my past just a lie? Was I just a cover so no one would know? Was my life, my happiness not important? Did it repulse him to be with me?
Here's my response:

Anonymous - I'm very sorry to hear about your situation.  You've been blind-sided.  Not once, but twice.

Blind-side betrayals are traumatic events.  The pain can be worse then getting run over by a truck.  At least with a truck you get taken to a hospital.  After a blind-side betrayal, you're often left alone, wondering what the hell just happened.

The most important thing for you to know is that what your husband has done reflects on him, not you.   Sexual orientation is not learned.  Your husband has always been attracted to men, although he may not have been fully aware of it.  The fact that he decided to leave after 25 years does NOT mean you are an undesirable woman.  All it means is that he couldn't hold back his attraction to men any longer.  It's like holding a giant inflatable ball under water.  You can keep it submerged for a very long time...but, inevitably, it pops up to the surface.

Love and sex can be very complicated, especially for men who are not strictly straight or gay.  I can't imagine that your husband doesn't love you.  You spent 25 years together and got along well.  That has to mean something.  People can be fake-nice or fake-loving for short periods of time but not for decades.  This means that every moment of your past was NOT a lie, it just wasn't the full truth.

Were you a cover?

It depends on what you mean by 'cover'.  Some women want to know if their husband had a premeditated plan to use them.  They imagine their husband saying to himself, "I'm gay, but because that's not socially acceptable, I'm going to find a gullible woman to be my beard."

I can only remember one man ever admitting he did that.  Every other man's story has been rooted in wishful thinking or denial.  Wishful thinkers say to themselves, "My attraction to men will go away or won't be important if I marry a woman I love." Deniers don't believe (or don't even comprehend) that they're attracted to men.  In their hearts, their decision to marry a woman is completely sincere.

Based on what you've said, I don't know whether your husband was a wishful thinker or a denier.  I'm not sure that it matters.  You can't fake 25 years of intimacy.  He cares about you...but sexually, he's more attracted to men.

Was your life and happiness unimportant? 

This is a difficult question to answer.  Yes, your life is important, but human nature makes us selfish.  A hungry man may be willing to give his food to his starving wife for a long period time, but when does he start to hold back because he convinces himself he's more hungry than she is?

Long periods of denial often play out like a dam breaking.  Everything is fine and then *wham* it's total chaos and disaster.  From your husband's point of view, that's why he blind-sided you.  He wasn't trying to be cruel, or to intentionally ruin your life.  What happened was that his interior dam of denial finally broke.  Once that happened, he basically said, "Your survival is up to you and mine is up to me."  That's a shitty thing to do to another person, especially to someone you've pledged to care about more than any other person, but breaking dams cause panic.  There's no reasonable excuse for what your husband has done, but, it also wasn't something he did out of malice.  Weakness yes, malice, no.

Did it repulse him to be with you?

Probably not.

Think about this: if you, as a woman, loved another woman, but were not sexually attracted to her, would you be repulsed by her?  Lack of attraction is very different from repulsion.  It seems to me that if your husband was actually repulsed he would've asked for a divorce many years ago.

Anonymous, you might not fully realize it, but you're in a state of shock.  It's going to take time for you to adjust to what's happened.  During this very difficult time you need to take care of yourself.  Don't worry about your husband - worry about you.  Toward that end, please know that you are not alone in this situation.  Sadly, there are many other straight wives out there.  Only they can truly know how it feels to be blind-sided the way you have been.  Don't hesitate to seek their support.  A number of cities have local support groups, and even if yours doesn't, there are several places to go on the Internet to talk to other women in your exact situation.

Again, I'm sorry about what your husband has done.  As painful as this is, you will recover.  In fact, it's very likely that you'll meet a new man who loves you both as a person and as a woman.  Then you'll find true happiness, as Michelle (another blogger) has.


Here's a link to a young video blogger, Ben Hobson, who came out to his wife after a few years of marriage.  He explains his thinking in several different videos.  She even appears in a few of them.

Here's a link to another young blogger who knew he was attracted to men, and had sexual experiences with them, but recently married a woman because he knew he couldn't live without her.