Why I stayed with my gay husband by Georgia Lynn Pine


I officially divorced my gay husband in 2013. People who hear my story often ask the same few questions. The first, of course, is how I knew he was gay. Debra’s posts and Bonnie Kaye’s gay husband checklist are great resources for women who question their husband or boyfriend’s sexuality.

Once they know that I am not just an angry ex-wife trying to make up something outlandish to beef up my case in divorce court, they move on to the second, most logical question: If he did all those things, why did I stay?

Why did I stay? I made my bed, and thought I had to lay in it.
Why did I stay? I made my bed, and thought I had to lay in it.

Obviously, when you stay in an unsatisfying marriage for two solid decades, there are reasons. Looking back, four main reasons kept me there, until one day they finally didn’t.

First, well, I believed him. I believed him when he said he loved me, when he said it was all my imagination, when he said he was faithful. All of it. I gave that man the benefit of the doubt, until I doubted myself thoroughly. I was also isolated from a lot of outside input. I didn’t have close, male friends I could talk to about what my husband was saying and doing, to see if they thought it was unusual. I lost the ability to trust my own judgment.

Second, I meant my vows when I said them. Not only my wedding vows, but any time I committed to something, I made the best effort I could to fulfill my word. I did not enter marriage lightly, or thinking it would not have challenges, and I did not think of divorce as a live option. But even before we married, when he asked other things of me, I meant what I said. I was a “make him happy or die trying,” kind of wife, until I realized, eventually, that I might be speaking literally.

Third, I learned to fear his wrath and avoid it. Once I realized my marriage was a sham, I wanted to leave. But by then I also knew that he would do whatever he could to make my life a living hell, if he thought his secret might come out. When he said he would never share custody with me, never pay alimony, never pay child support, never accept a divorce, I knew he meant to stop at nothing. When he said he didn’t “want to be the kind of man who can’t control his wife, so he has to kill her,” I feared for my life. When he said he’d ensure I never saw my sons again, I froze. Nothing meant more to me than those boys. For so many years, they were the center and focus and greatest joy of my life. I was terrified that I would leave him and lose my sons in the bargain.

Lastly, I was financially trapped. After just three years of marriage, while living overseas, I quit work to stay home with my sons. I stayed home, educating and raising them and eventually doing some low-paid, freelance, part-time work, for the next 17 years. It took a very long time to find a full-time, paying position with health insurance. it took even longer to find one that would enable me to afford an apartment. When I did move out, I shared an apartment with my oldest son, who had a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. Between the two of us, we could pay most of our bills, most of the time. Living in a suburb of one of the most expensive cities in America, housing was hard to find–and the wait lists for rent-controlled housing were, when I signed up for assistance, more than four years long. Given a choice between moving into a homeless shelter or sleeping in my car, I knew I could not get a better job if I didn’t stay in place just a little longer. Staying in that house, living in a doorless, basement room which flooded after rain and featured only a single, tiny window far above my bed, was a nightmare, but as I fell asleep each night I reminded myself that it was the only way I could see my sons. It was worth it, for a long time, and even after it wasn’t worth it, it was all I could afford to do.

I had a lot of reasons to stay. None of them meant that I was happy, that I consented to being used as his beard, that I liked being married to a gay man or that I was aware that he was gay before I married him. I was just, by turns, naive, misled, confused, frightened, self-doubting and broke.

For my next post, I’ll talk about why, eventually, I left.

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15 thoughts on “Why I stayed with my gay husband by Georgia Lynn Pine

  1. I can sooo entirely relate. I remained with my gay in denial husband for quite sometime because I believed in my vows, even after I knew he was a lying liar who lies. I just thought it was what I had signed up for . . . until I finally agreed with the voices in my head that it was NOT what I signed up for. Thanks so much for posting this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t think we need excuses. As honest people with morals and integrity, why would we suspect our ‘straight’ husband, who has fathered our children and had sex with us over the years, even if not as much as we might suspect other men do it, is gay? It would have been completely bizarre to think my husband was gay. How could he be? The thought never crossed my mind until my daughter found the evidence and had the awful task of telling me. As a young woman I had several close gay friends and I knew they would never contemplate sleeping with a woman. It’s also why no-one (apart from the few friends I’ve told) has any idea now that he is gay. Like you said in your earlier post, the men themselves convince themselves that screwing men doesn’t make them gay.
    And yet we do find ourselves defending ourselves, like we’ve done something wrong.
    The thing is that they seem normal at the beginning, even for several years, but then slowly they start to turn, we see little flickers of their rage, they get into moods, but I just thought that was normal – as who’s perfect? You don’t walk out of the door for that. Something cataclysmic would have had to have happened for me to finish the marriage – and it did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, like frogs in water, in a way—things get worse, over time, but it’s all so slow and creeping and hard to understand. I needed a cataclysm, myself!

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  3. My 17 year-old son just tried to talk through a misunderstanding with me. Even though he was expressing himself well, and had obviously thought a lot about what had happened, I wound up feeling criticized, not appreciated, embarrassed, and worthless. Nothing HE said was shaming. But I AM BROKEN. Still divorcing his gay dad, I find myself doing too much to assure my kids I love them and I am stability for them.
    I’m not sure if gay husband broke me over those 20 years, or I broke myself by being the one to always give in to what he wanted. He wore me out with his persistence. He won every argument (discussion) because I was too tired to argue any more, and it seemed to give him more energy. I know to give myself compassion and time, to talk to my inner child and LISTEN to her, to soothe myself. I am doing those things.
    All to say, I can relate. I believed him, I meant my vows, I was scared of his anger and tried to avoid it, and I stayed home to raise my kids, so I lost 20 years of work experience (even though I have a master’s degree). But most of all, I wanted my kids to have an intact family. I knew divorce would traumatize the kids. Only when I realized the kids were ALREADY SUFFERING in an INTACT family, was I able to make true what our family had turned into. Their Dad is a gay LIAR. Their Mom is a straight woman, UNLOVED. That is TRUTH.

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    1. Yes, I came to see–and am constantly reminded–that they are worse off with a lying, closeted father and an unloved mother than they would have been, from a “broken home.” Their home was broken before they ever entered it.

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      1. I assume you left? How old were your kids, how did you know? I’m still in the denial stage. It’s been almost 16 years that I’ve slept alone and basically been a single mom. I want out, but am struggling

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  4. So many women are trapped, Georgia. For many, it’s not so easy to just say “goodbye” and leave. As you mentioned–the continual beating down and pushing buttons emotionally drains you. If my husband wouldn’t have walked out on me, I most likely would have stayed for years longer just out of my own big peel down of not knowing who I was anymore. As long as you can be honest with yourself that the situation has to change, it will one day. There is no time line–just the desire to take back your life. xoxo

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  5. Jar32015 Yes, I left in 2012. I had been planning for years, and as soon as I found an affordable apartment I left. Best decision ever. My kids were in their late teens by the time I left. And I knew because of a million things, small and large. Once you know, you know, and there is no more need for evidence. What you need, after 16 years of limbo, is to figure out–not anything about HIM–but why YOU are staying “married” to a man who hasn’t been the least bit interested in sex at home for 16 years. There is no way that is a straight man. So, find a lawyer and get out while you still can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jenn– One thing I can say is, this experience definitely lets you know what you’re made of. A lot of us women are much stronger than we know.

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  6. Yes, one can never criticise women for not leaving. I was blessed really in that I didn’t know and then was suddenly presented with incontrovertible and damning evidence that was impossible to deny – texts that he had already met men in the nearby town, with these men asking when next they could ‘hook up.’ I also didn’t have the financial problems, which is a real biggy. That made it very easy and I didn’t leave – I told him he was leaving. But these men are not all the same ‘types’. I made nearly all of the decisions throughout our marriage – to move in together, to get married, to have two children, where we lived, to move to Spain, to move back to the UK, how our business should start and develop. All he ever did was try and block my entrepreneurial spirit – and still does – he’s a very scared sort of person.
    It turns out that his main aim was to not be found out and keep me and the kids as cover. He’d have done that till the day he died. But he was also going into a kind of melt-down – he tried to claim the office in our house as his ‘den,’ but I wasn’t having any of it – I just looked at him like he was off his head. And he was having nasty snaps at me every day – once at least, and then would be all pleasant and smiling like nothing had happened. I just thought you have to take the rough with the smooth… I’ve read about this – he ‘managed my expectations down.’
    But despite the emotional damage he has inflicted on me and the children I just thank God he’s out of my house. I have to see him very regularly because of the business, but our house has become a haven of peace now we’re not treading on eggshells. My great fear that I would feel sick with loneliness hasn’t transpired. And my fear that I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep in a bed on my own has also been groundless; it was tricky at first and I slept in with my daughter, but gradually we’re all getting sorted.
    And I seem to have so much time in the day now – he somehow took all my energy off me. My next aim is to write a screenplay about what it feels like to be the deceived and broken-down wife of one of these weird men. Watch this space.
    Also: hello Bonnie! I read your newsletter every month and did try and comment once, but something went wrong and I gave up. I’m hoping to come over to one of your weekends some time. Have you got any planned, if you read this?
    Love to everyone. We are the good guys!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Becky I’m so happy to hear you are adjusting. I like you wondered what it would be like to sleep alone, but have to say I never missed sleeping next to him. I realized I had been sleeping alone for 22 years. My gay ex was a helpless sort as well, but very angry all the time. I took care of him, the house, balancing the bank account, paying bills, making his doctors appointments. Your screen play sounds great.

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  7. It would be great to have a screenplay about this! Being married to a man who is preoccupied with his same sex attraction has to be one of the weirdest, most painful experiences ever! How asinine to marry a straight woman, to use her as a cover, to bear children together, and then to think that that woman who dedicated her heart and life to family should actually help her husband with “his issue” once he finally admits he is attracted to men! Often this admission comes between years 22 – 28 of marriage, and it is often admitted only because the husband is finally caught somehow. The straight wife discovers that she built her world upon the basis of truth and her husband built their life around his lies!

    My husband actually thought I failed him for not being supportive and at his side with his struggle once he acknowledged his same sex attraction and use of gay porn for most of our long-term marriage. He actually wanted me to help him cope with his same sex attraction after he hijacked my life by pulling me into his lies while I put up with his moods, frustration (usually about some cryptic thing), rejection, and anger? I was in agony for years about what was wrong with my marriage while he kept a strategically conniving advantage over me by leaving out the most vital information for me to understand our marital dynamics. I asked him all the right questions, but I was fed a pack of lies, including that he would never even think of watching porn. He led me to believe that he was asexual when he was actually obsessed with sex – just not with a woman! When a piece of the truth was admitted (that he has same sex attraction), I knew through evidence that he was still lying about how much he had immersed himself in it. Yet, he still expected my unfailing support!

    Humor though…please add some humor to your screenplay. I guess some of their excuses for not wanting sexual intimacy with us could be on that list! Not one of us has probably ever heard, “I don’t want sex…cause I really want male body parts and you don’t have them!” Most of us straight wives have heard some pretty pathetic excuses to refuse us like, “You’re so demanding!” even though it was hardly once a month!

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  8. Well, I do have to admit that after his orgasm, he would often say, “Sex would be so much better if you had a penis. Then you’d understand what men want in bed.” He could admit he wanted me to have a penis, but he framed it to mean that he wanted me to have a penis so that I could understand men’s sexual needs (needs I had obviously just met, because I had just swallowed the evidence). It was a way to tell the truth with plausible deniability, and while using that truth to make ME feel at fault. Genius.

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