Monday, February 24, 2014

Your ex-wife says you're gay - but you're not

A straight wife says:
My marriage was "odd" from the wedding day forward, and I spent 20 years trying to figure out why. Then my husband got bored with the stuff he'd been doing on his own (which had given me an STD when we were young and I was pregnant) and started pushing HARD for me to have sex with other men for his gratification. He pushed for me to have sex with women, too, even though I have no interest in women. 
He manipulated me and insisted I flirt with, hit on and advertise online for men. Then he'd back off, and say it was just talk on his part and I should have known not to follow through on stuff he swore for weeks on end would make him happy and turn him on. Over and over again, he did this.It was a mindfuck of epic proportions, and it hurt like hell, and it also introduced me to the idea that some.men.are.users, and some men are not. Some men actually think women are equal to them, with rights and thoughts of our own that are just as valid as a man's plans for his wife. And some men like sex, and would like to try it with me. 
In the midst of all this, he was secretly recording my phone calls, tracking every keystroke on my computer, building a case against me with all of it that made it look like I was cheating on him, when I was not. I didn't realize that at the time. I thought he was just reading my mind. 
Eventually, I realized he was gay. I realized he was using me. And I realized I had to leave. Not all at once: It was like ripping my own body in in half with my two hands. Slow, agonizing, hard, but I did eventually come to those realizations. 
I also had a terrible self-doubt. What if he WASN'T gay? What if it was, as he insisted, all in my imagination? What if he was right, and I was just obsessed with sex and sexually aggressive toward him, and things would be the same no matter what man I might be with? What if, as he said, i was throwing away "a good man who loved me," because I was turning 40 and had no career because I'd raised our children, and I was just some silly woman regretting her life choices? 
I asked for a divorce. He refused. I asked him for space. I asked him to leave me alone. And he refused. He suspected me, and he imitated me online to get a man with whom I'd been having intimate conversations to send him a transcript of them.
He would call me from work, invite me to lunch, and pull out the transcript. "When you were talking to this guy, how come you said you think I'm gay? When you say here (and he'd point to some phrase he'd highlighted) that I am an abusive asshole, what did you mean by that?" and on and on, for months, going over those transcripts of my conversations line-by-line. He'd insist I get in the car with him and then he'd yell at me, and call me a whore. He'd threaten to leave, and tell me to go get his suitcases so he could pack, and then...the suitcases would sit at the end of the bed where I'd put them, for weeks, until i put them back in the attic. He had no intention of leaving. He was going to make ME leave.
 
"I don't want to be the kind of man who can't control his wife, so he has to kill her," he said. 
I started to distance myself from him. I stopped hitting on him. That meant we almost never had sex, but by then I didn't want it. I started wearing multiple layers of clothing to bed, hugging the seam on the mattress, and telling my husband i was too tired, too stressed, too whatever for sex---a lot of the same excuses he'd given ME, for the first 20 years of our marriage. And I went to the tamest of the online sites he'd showed me and I found men. I had a few sexual encounters with men, and it was a revelation, a confirmation of all I'd ever suspected. 
At the same time, after long searching (crap economy, BA in English, 17 years out of the job market raising kids, stuck in a small town with only one industry, and that industry is engineering) I finally found my first full-time job in 17 years. And then he started forcing himself on me. 
Being raped by a gay man is very weird. It is painfully, OBVIOUSLY only about control because it was not exciting HIM in any way (even though he managed to get off). It was just him forcing me to do something I used to beg him to do.
The second time he raped me, as I lay there quietly sobbing, he said, "Every time we make love, I feel like I'm raping you. How can you be so cruel?"
 
He finally accepted that I would not remain married to him, that I no longer wanted him or respected him, that forcing me to have sex with him was not going to make me love him again and that my repeated requests for divorce were not some bluff. He said that he would tell the boys that I was leaving. "You owe me that much, to let me be the one to tell them." 
And so he called all the boys into our dining room and said, "Your mom is leaving us because I used to drink. I don't drink anymore, so I don't know why she is leaving, but it is her choice, and as much as I want to save our marriage, as much as I love her and I always will, she can't forgive me for how I used to drink heavily in the past." 
Of course, he was still a drunk. He was also abusing both illegal and prescription drugs. But the boys hadn't seen much of that, aside from the drinking, which he can control if he wants to. It was all a lie, a farce, but when i started to speak he cut me off. He stepped up his gaslighting, and told the boys repeatedly that I wanted a divorce because I was 40, having a midlife crisis, emotionally unstable due to birth control pills, and that I was cheating on him even though he'd always been utterly faithful to me and treated me well. 
It was all lies, but I couldn't explain it to them. He is extremely articulate and cutting and fast on his feet. He can make anything you say sound like whatever he wants. I shut up. It seemed safer that way. 
I moved into our basement, and lived there for 19 months before I moved out. It took me that long to find a job that would, with my oldest son sharing the bills, enable the two of us to rent a small apartment. 
That was 10 months ago. 
I am moving on. I am dating a terrific (and straight!) guy who treats me with dignity, consideration, respect and love. I am in counseling. I am looking for a better job, so that I can afford this small apartment even when my son moves out. And I am counting down the days until the divorce is final. 
My sons don't know their dad is gay. Only the oldest sees that he is abusing drugs and alcohol. He figured my husband's constant "your mom is cheating on me!" was a lie, because he saw so many other lies and cruelties, big and small. But our attorneys insisted I not say anything negative about my ex-husband where the boys could hear it, so...I have not defended myself. I have mostly shut down, as far as those discussions might go. 
My other three sons, all late teens, live with their dad. The middle one won't speak to me, since I left. It breaks my heart, and it makes me angry that my husband can lie to him and use those lies to destroy my relationship with my son, because he is a fast-talker and I am only articulate in writing. 
A lot of people have said for years that I should tell the boys the whole truth. Others say I definitely should NOT, because it would be burdensome to them. But the way I see it, it is already burdensome. They have already been raised in an environment that looked like a marriage but actually was enslavement, that looked like heterosexual love but actually was me begging my gay husband to pay attention to me once in a while. 
Yesterday, I told my oldest son that if he wants to know the truth, I will tell it, even though it is ugly and complicated and doesn't always make me look perfect.
He's considering whether he wants to know.
 
Am I wrong to tell my son, and then his brothers (once the divorce is final)? I don't know what to do, and at this point I feel too tired to even think.
Kind of a crazy story...which is one of the reasons I'm sharing it.

Another reason is that I wonder what other people think about it, especially women and men in a similar situation - women who feel victimized by their gay husband - and men who feel unfairly scapegoated by their irrational wife.

There's also the matter of answering the woman's question: should she tell her children that their father, the parent they live with, is gay, especially when he insists he is not?

Her friends say the information would be burdensome.  I wonder if they meant that in the way she describes.  In my opinion it would be burdensome, mostly because I don't think children want to be put in the middle of their parents' divorce.

What about her point that her marriage was not a good example of heterosexual love and that's why she should out her ex?

I've thought about it...and I disagree.  There are plenty of examples of heterosexual love in the average teenager's life.  Yes, their parents' relationship is arguably the most influential, but their parents' bad example won't negate other positive influences, especially those of close family members and friends.

I'm sure there are situations where men in denial take out their frustrations on their straight wives and the women unfairly suffer.  I'm also sure there are situations where straight wives out their ex-husbands as gay and they actually aren't.

If I compare those two injustices, I'd guess that there are many more men in denial than women who falsely out their exes as gay....and yet...I still don't see how outing an in-denial gay spouse does the children any good.  If their dad really is gay, they'll figure it out on their own eventually.  Having the kids figure it out is probably better for the straight spouse in the long-run anyway.  Kids don't want to hear their parents bash each other, even if what's being said is true.  In fact, kids are more likely to resent being dragged into their parents' nastiness than they are to be happy to know the true reason for their parents' divorce.

I've never once said anything bad about my ex to my kids.  Instead I make an effort to be complimentary whenever possible.  That really annoys my 14yo daughter...but I don't think she knows how awful it would be to have her parents constantly insulting each other.

What do you think about this woman's story?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Talking about desire with my teens

If I was single and straight, and I was eating at a casual restaurant with my 20 year old son, and I saw a VERY attractive woman walk by, would it be appropriate for me to say to my son, "That is one hot woman!"?

What if I said something like, "Check out those legs!" or "Look at that sweet ass!" or "Nice rack!"?

How about if I said something crude, like, "I've got a big hard-on from staring at those tits," or, "I really want to fuck that girl"?

Another question.  What if my son was to say any of those things to me, how enthusiastically should I respond?  Would, "Yeah, I really want to fuck her too!" be OK?

I never had those kinds of conversations with my father.  I never wanted to.  As far as I was concerned, the more emotional distance between us, the better.

I don't know what a typical father/teenage son relationship is like these days when it comes to openly talking about desire.  What if my son was 17?  Or 15?  Or 13?  How much should his age affect my openness?

Once, a year ago, when my son was 19, he said to me, "Dad!  Check out that girl!"

I didn't know how to respond, for a few reasons.  First, I was driving and literally didn't see the girl.  Second, it often feels weird to me to ogle women, especially very young women.  And third, I was uncomfortable with my son's openness.  I felt like he was still at an age where he needed a father, not a buddy.

He knows I'm not straight and he claims to be bisexual (although I've never seen any indication that he's attracted to men, ever, in any way), so theoretically we could talk about both men and women....but I don't know...being that open, even about women, feels highly inappropriate.

I've also recently had a few awkward conversations with my 14 year old daughter about desire.

She's not one of those screechy early teen girls who "LOVES!!!!" Justin Bieber or Harry Styles.  She's actually a little dark and sarcastic.  One subject she talks about endlessly is the TV show "The Originals" which is a (horrible) spin-off of the (equally horrible) show "The Vampire Dairies."  Interestingly, what she likes to talk about the most is how badly the 1,000 year-old vampire brothers and sisters treat each other.
Daniel Gillies

Her favorite actor is Daniel Gillies.  A few weeks ago, as she was talking about him, she showed me his picture and asked if I thought he was good-looking.  The question caught me off-guard.  She'd never asked me anything like that before.  Mostly she prattles on (and on....and on...) about the characters on the show, not how they look.  I tried not to pause or flinch or blush or do anything that wasn't father-like.  Instead I gave her a very matter-of-fact, "Yes, he's good-looking."

Then she showed me a picture of a woman from the show that I know she despises, Phoebe Tonkin.

Phoebe Tonkin
The photo made Phoebe look slutty and strung out on meth, but even so, there's no denying that she's a beautiful woman.

I answered my daughter, "Yes, she's very good looking."

I wanted to be equally matter-of-fact about her as I was about Daniel.  That's how dad's are supposed to be, right?  Balanced and diplomatic.


Fortunately, my daughter's game of "Is this person good-looking?" ended there, which was a huge relief.  It would have been torture to dead-pan/be matter-of-fact about 10 or 20 different people.

Another awkward conversation happened just the other day.  With Valentine's Day coming up, my daughter decided to give me a lecture about how empty and pathetic my life is.  I've heard her lecture several times before, I know the drill.  Or so I thought.

This time, she really shocked me when she asked, quite energetically,  

"When's the last time you got laid, Dad?"

What the...??????  Did my daughter really just ask me that question??

That time I flinched...and paused...and blushed.

What kind of 14 year old girl would ask her father that question??!

The one I'm raising, apparently.

Needless to say, dear old dad wasn't about to go down that path.  Once I recovered from the shock, I gave her a disapproving look and said nothing.

The kid is a relentless broken record, however.  I just know it's only going to be matter of time before she asks me again.

Ah, the endless joy of being a single parent...

***

I'm curious about what others' experiences have been when it comes to talking about desire with close family members, especially between parents and their teenagers.  Please share your thoughts or experiences below:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What makes a bi man a keeper - or not

This comment deserves a post of its own:
As a straight woman, I periodically read these blogs because I've come to the realization a while ago that there are more bi men out there than I thought. I so appreciate the honesty that some men display when they let a prospective love interest know of their sexual orientation. There is a part of me that understands why some hesitate to do so, but honesty will save both parties heartbreak and stress.

I believe straight women should shed myths and innuendos and give a bisexual man a chance. I don't see dismissing a guy who is driven, honest, attractive , funny, and loving just because he's had relationships with men. I would screen him just as I would a straight guy.

I believe it's about the type of relationship. That's the focal point for me. Would he want to have sex with other people? Can he be trusted? etc.... same questions I'd get answers for from a straight guy.

What I would struggle with is him stating that he is with me for the emotional connection. Many people want a strong emotional connection with others....it's valid and it matters...but I would seriously struggle with my guy not feeling passion towards me....he'd only feel that towards his same sex attractions.....for me that would be an enormous hurdle.

I want to see my man look at me with love and passion and fire and I don't think that's selfish...if a bi guy can give that to me, awesome....if he can only offer emotional connection and he loves me and thinks of me fondly, he and I would be in each others lives forever as the best of friends... the last thing i would want to do is impede him from getting what he needs and I need to make room in my life for someone who can be both passionate lover and friend.
I think this woman speaks for her whole gender - or at least for those women who consider being in a relationship with a bisexual man.  She wants (and women want) love, passion and fire.

Men aren't any different.  We want the same things too.

Straight men want love, passion and fire with women.

Gay men want love, passion and fire with other men.

What do bisexual men want?

The many bi married men I know also want the same things...but they don't feel like they can get it from one person.  They want a primary relationship with their wife AND they want safe, sexually passionate connections with men.

Is there "passion and fire" in their marriages?  Emotionally, maybe, but sexually, not so much.  If the sexual passion was there they'd be much more content with monogamy.

Here's my question:

If the woman quoted above is more open-minded about bisexual men than most women are, and if the many bi married men I know are typical of most bisexual men, is there ever a time when a relationship between a straight woman and a bisexual man can work?

Yes there is!  When the bisexual man is essentially straight.

I think this woman's comment explains why so many mixed orientation marriages either don't last or are a constant struggle.  We all want the same things but when a bisexual man is pulled in two directions, love without passion is not enough for his wife.

That's certainly been my experience.