This week an online friend said to me:
I don't even know you and I worry about you. It seems from your blog that you are so focused on defending your ex-husband. Which is ok. But taking care of yourself is important too.
I take this seriously, because sometimes I wonder if I take too much time to write and monitor the blog, and I ask myself if I'm too involved with GLBT issues. I acknowledged to this friend that I needed to consider my focus, evaluating what I do.
I know that blogs made such a difference and HELP in my life since 4 years ago, and I feel that it's important to make the new connections that I am making. I LIKE that, and I feel it's important. It has meant a difference in going forward to make new friends, and many of those I've made online, then later, in person. When so many of my formerly close friends don't or won't understand, it has been critical to make new ones! So, I don't just defend my former husband. I'm defending MY life, validating it, and finding support with new friends.
From an anonymous writer, who has written to me several (at least 8, maybe more) times, one of his messages said this:
I entreat you to email me regarding the biology of sexual orientation. Orientation can be in some cases quite fluid and in some cases not. There is a genetic basis for this. I am ex-gay but I do not foist my opinions on my gay brothers. I cannot determine who can and who can't change with a simple glance. However, biology does indeed not preordain sexual orientation. Email me at ***************** if you want to hear more. I've changed but Ray doesn't have to.
And yes, I am happily married with a son with special needs. I cannot and will not leave the side of my wife and my child. There is too much at stake in my son's precious life.
I replied to his e-mail with this:
Hello ***** (and by this time, he had given me his name, but I've omitted it),
I have received all of your messages, and I have also decided to reject your comments that assert that gay/lesbian people can change their orientation. If it were true, that would be great, but for Ray it was not possible. I know there is nothing in the world that would have caused Ray to leave MY side, and your repeated assertions don't make it any easier.
It is my position that to tell people, most of whom cannot change their basic sexual orientation, that they can change, is to do them a disservice. If you have such information, then by all means, submit it to the medical and psychological authorities, so that they may help people.
If you left homosexual behavior and are happily married to a straight woman, then I hope that you are fully up front with her, and I would hope that she knew the truth about your sexual orientation before you married. So many straight spouses hold out hope that their loved one is not really gay, that they might be bi-sexual, or have a sexual addiction, or some other not-so-gay problem, and it causes more pain, of which you may have heard.
Maybe you think that you can solve this, but we have sought professional help. We are doing the best we can with this difficult situation. I do not see a need to seek your advice. Although you think you are being kind, this is not something we want to pursue with you.
Yes, I hear defensiveness in my reply. However, I hear from many gay/lesbian married people, saying that they truly love their spouse, but that they are not able to share the intimacy (emotional connectedness, if you will) demanded in a marriage. This is due to the fact that they are critically wired differently, and it causes intense overload to their system. It's not that they are selfish, it's that they are self-preserving. To not recognize this on my part was to cause even more harm, both to my husband, and ultimately to myself.
As much as I wanted things to be different, I could not return to something that didn't exist. I could never again believe that I was the first choice. That is very hard to accept, but it is how I feel. I still, though, refuse to throw away the good memories. And if that seems defensive on my part, so be it.
In my search for help after I found out my husband was gay, I tried to find other straight spouses. Many were very angry for how their gay spouse behaved - and they were absolutely justified in their anger. Many saw that they'd been lied to and felt deceived, and they resented it. The despair in not knowing what to do is sometimes overwhelming. A lot of us straight spouses feel terribly overwhelmed, without the words to describe the pain we are going through. These are just PARTS of the ordeal that straight spouses face. Added are the questions one has to face about faith, self-worth and value, money problems, children, legal issues, health concerns, and all the day-to-day, ongoing problems of living. And then you hope - hope - hope - that there is a solution. And you will try just about any snake-oil product on the market. And reality sets in that there is nothing you can do, nothing you can change, nothing but to accept the truth.
Along the way I have considered every possible solution. If I had turned over one in my mind, I've pursued another. And every "solution" brings me back to this reality: I know the truth. I know the truth about Ray. I know the truth that he tried everything to change. I know the truth about our life. And, yes, I will defend what I know.
I now have had over four years to deal with this, but only recently have been able to express the feelings that I've gone through. Some of the feelings and plenty of the opinions have been simmering for most of that time, and I am now finally putting forth what I've processed.
Every time someone tries to tell me that they changed, or that they know some secret way to change, it is like pushing me down some dark, basement stairs in a dream that I can't wake up from. It is like holding out candy for a baby, then taking it away. I don't want to do that to people. Not to another wife, not to another spouse.
In closing this long post I want to be perfectly clear: I will not hold out false hope for "change." I know some still want to try, and that is fine. I am not for breaking up marriages, and I still wish things were different. For couples who opt for various arrangements, those are not options for me.
Thanks for your comments and e-mails, as they mean a lot to me. (I might even post some for the heck of it!) Thanks for reading!