He was having sex with men and had known he was gay since high school. It was as though my heart had been ripped out of my chest and someone was punching me in the gut while doing it. I felt physically ill. My husband is gay?
Our story is what fairy tales were made of.
We met in January 2001 when I was on a six-week cultural exchange program in the Philippines. We fell in love and he asked me to marry him in May of 2001. After being approved for a visa to come to the states we were married in 2002.
There were cynics of my fairy tale, including my dad and one of my best friends, but I was so enamored and in love, that I wouldn’t listen. I was after all, over 30, well-read, and well-traveled. Surely if someone were using me I would know it.
Fast forward to this past December, we’d been married fourteen years and had a beautiful daughter of eleven. After being out of town for work, I came home to my husband, who said, “I want OUT. I don’t love you and I’ve been to see a divorce attorney.” I half laughed. “Oh really? Let me see the paperwork.” He marched out to his car, and when he returned, tossed the consultation paperwork at me. I was shocked, hurt, and angry. I thought we were building a life together. The next week, I went to an attorney and filed for divorce.
My husband stayed in the family house for the next few months, living/sleeping in the spare bedroom. He was cruel, saying in multiple ways, over this time, that he couldn’t be with someone as big as me. Yes, I’m fat. I admit it. It is no secret. I was fat when he met me, and fat when he married me. He had always said he married me because I was beautiful and would give him beautiful children. The fact that I was smart was just a bonus. But fourteen years later, he said he couldn’t be with a fat girl?
And then, I was faced with the terrible truth.
Something didn’t seem right about all of this, but I could never put my finger on it. I started investigating and found he had a secret life. He was having sex with men and had known he was gay since high school. It was as though my heart had been ripped out of my chest and someone was punching me in the gut while doing it. I felt physically ill. My husband is gay? It was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work. The anger, hurt, despair and hate all bubbled into a seething mass.
My friends were concerned for me, checking on me daily and trying to console me with words of wisdom.
“Just ignore him.”
“The best revenge is to be happy.”
“You are a vivacious, kind-hearted woman. Don’t let him turn you into something you aren’t!”
“Don’t go down that dark path. Focus on your daughter, be happy you are rid of him.”
But all I could think was what a fool I had been. How dare he make me feel like this was my fault? How dare he marry me knowing he was gay. How dare he pretend to have a life with me.
Last Sunday, I was at the airport and saw my husband and his lover exit the gate to make their way to baggage claim. (Yes, we are still married as he won’t fill out his paperwork.) I applied a fresh coat of bright red lipstick, marched up to the lover, greeted him with a hello and extended my hand. As he shook my hand I told him my name and said, ”It’s time we meet since we have been sharing my husband.” I was calm. I didn’t scream. I didn’t yell. Thank GOD, I did not cry. For the first time, my husband whispered the words that I’d been needing but dreading to hear for so long.
“Okay, you know I’m gay.”
After my encounter, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from me. I realize it is not my fault.
It does not matter what dress size I am.
It doesn’t matter how much money I make.
It doesn’t matter how pretty or kind I am.
I’m not the right gender, I don’t have the correct anatomy to please my husband. He was unwilling to admit it to himself, to me or to our child. I’ve felt humiliated and ashamed and wanted to sweep it under the rug.
No more feeling shame due to HIS lies.
Well, folks, this girl is not going to sweep it under the rug! I should not be embarrassed or humiliated. I am going to stand up, and take control my life. The media and society, forget about the straight spouses and kids that are involved. The person who has “come out” is applauded for “realizing” their identity and living the life they were meant to live. Everyone applauding them conveniently forgets about the devastation and destruction that was left in the wake of their coming out. The straight spouses need a voice, we need to be heard, we need to be recognized.
I’ve told my husband I will not lie for him. When people ask, I will be honest. I was not the one living a lie and I will not cover for him. I will tell how I was tested for STDs since I didn’t know who or how many people he had been with during our marriage.
I will tell people how he tried to blame me for the failure of our marriage because I was fat when in truth it failed because he is gay. I will tell about the money with which he has to travel, but how he cannot afford to help me with our child’s expenses.
I will speak the truth because being honest is part of the healing process. I want to heal. I want to move on. I want that vivacious, fun loving, kind, sweet girl back because she is pretty fricking awesome and my daughter deserves that mom. I am sure there will still be days when I cry and mourn for the fairy tale, but at least I know I am not at fault.
Tonight I pray, “Give me understanding that I may live” (Psalm 119:144).