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?