Last night I performed at Ramapo College in New Jersey. GREAT turn out including a large contingent of guys from a fraternity. This particular fraternity has a relationship with the very progressive women’s center. Mandy from the women’s center expertly developed this contact. Very cool.
After the show a bunch of us grabbed a bite at a dinner (NJ is famous for it many diners). To my great pleasure they served sweet potato fries. I not only had these with my veggie wrap, but had an order for desert. 🙂 We had fun talking and even Marvin showed up! (He is doing fine and looks good) I met and remet lovely folks I hope to see again soon. (Hey Kerry and Maya! and the rest of the gang–Chris, Will, gosh so many)
I also met up with Susanne, who recently contributed to my blog with My Gay Husband–A Spouse Speaks Out. In the hotel lobby we spoke until 1:00 AM about gay husbands, straight spouses and her story in particular. One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is our attention, particularly as active listeners.
As Susanne shared her story about discovering her homosexual husband who lived a double life with lie upon lie upon lie, I felt moved, sad, angry even overwhelmed. I hear so many vibrant joyful coming out stories of gay men who finally find a new life, one that fits. But I so rarely hear the wives’ stories, their pain, how they get left holding the bag and often blamed for how things turned out.
It got me thinking about how many gay men like me who have at times conveniently blamed the demise of our marriages on our gayness.
I was gay so the marriage fell apart.
But for many of us that is only partially true. Yes, the marriage was most likely destined to fail and should never had begun, but often the marriage ended because of infidelity, lies, recklessness and selfishness.
Sure it gets bundled up with what the world and the church told us we should do to be “normal” people. But if we never take responsibility for our actions, if we always blame our same-sex attractions and never own up to our disloyalty, we can never truly be free. And our ex-spouses, who we profess to love still, cannot find full freedom.
Seems one of the hardest things in the world for us, for me to say is, I messed up. I wronged you. I felt shame about being gay which then got compounded with behavior inappropriate for a person in a committed relationship. I cried a lot, said how sorry I was, but it has taken me a long time to begin to own up to what I did wrong.
Separating the harmful, dare I say sinful, actions from the normal neutral gay identity takes time and skill. But regardless of how coerced I felt by society to marry, how trapped in a situation that I could not fix, how inadequate I felt in a heterosexual marriage, my actions were wrong, dishonest and hurtful. That is hard to say but essential.
So is your husband gay? Do you suspect he might be? Or are you a married man secretly having sex with other men or looking at gay porn and meeting up with men on-line without your wife suspecting? Have you fallen in love with another man or another woman and found a soul mate? Or perhaps you have same-sex attractions that terrify you, attractions that you never acted upon, but you feel paralyzed to do anything about it? Can your marriage survive?
Hard questions all around.
Fox News NY did a piece on November 6 entitled Is My Husband Gay? Although it is evening news quality, they do give wives and husbands a chance to tell their stories. They even provide a Gay Husband Checklist.