I just wanted to take a moment and wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year. Remember, you’ll get through it, we all do, time is a great healer. Amazing things can happen after the darkest of times. You can’t have light without dark. Be strong and be yourself, everything will come together as it should, have faith and never give up hope. x
In my earlier posts I’ve talked about intuition and how I’ve learned to trust my own. Throughout my marriage things were often said or done that I intuitively felt were wrong or strange and didn’t quite fit into what I thought was normal or right. I ignored my intuition many times. My gut instincts were constantly telling me something was off and I just put it all to the back of my mind. I can go as far back as when I met my husband and even then I had this feeling but I didn’t know what it was. Over time these feelings subsided somewhat as I started to fall in love with him. He was very charming and charasmatic so any reservations I had were sort of blown sideways by all the proclamations of love. I was blinded by it all.
Being quite young when we met I hadn’t really figured out who I was at that point and so I was very easily seduced by his charm, his intelligence, his talents and his good looks. I was like a blank canvas that he kept throwing paint at and he turned me on to whatever turned him on. I absorbed everything. He also introduced me to the dark, muddy world of drugs. It seemed like everybody around me at that point in time was caught up in this lifestyle and to be a part of that scene meant you had to immerse yourself in it. I was never addicted to anything back then and taking drugs was of no interest to me but I did feel a huge amount of pressure to partake and not be seen as the wet blanket. I hated the way drugs made me feel and I found it very difficult to bounce back after I’d taken them. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for him to function the next day when I’d be lying in bed feeling suicidal.
I should have listened to my intuition telling me that this wasn’t the way I should be living my life. I sort of justified it with the silly notion that I was young and you only live once, that kind of thing, and he backed that notion 100%. I was trying to justify something I didn’t even approve of. I wish I had been true to myself and how I really felt instead of just going along with it to fit in. It’s fear. Fear of being the odd one out, the uncool one, the boring one, fear of disappointing people, fear of being alone. How weak of me.
When I talk about my gay husband, I’m talking about a person that I believe is a narcissist and a sociopath. It’s only after researching these personality types that I’ve come to recognize this, to be able to put a name to it. He was totally preoccupied with himself and his needs and completely paranoid about how he was perceived by others while pretending that he wasn’t. He was the center of his own universe and saw others as things to be used to benefit himself, hence me, the beard. I believe he was so afraid of revealing his true self that he decided very early on to adopt a false persona in order to hide something which he is ultimately ashamed of. Part of that false persona was having a wife, to maintain the pretence of him being a straight man.
He had the ability to change personas too. He could easily play the tough guy, or then Mr Nice Guy, the life and soul of the party, and then worst of all, the wounded child, when he didn’t want to face up to his responsibilities. He played that card regularly and used it constantly as a way to avoid intimacy. I would often find myself screaming inside ‘Man-up!’. It was excruciating to be around him when he was in this mode and I would often leave the house because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. And so he got what he wanted.
I put up with a lot of crap before I even realized he was gay and I didn’t listen to my intuition. It wasn’t like he was the perfect husband and then one day I discovered he was gay, that was just the icing on the cake, so to speak.
I will say though, living with someone like him and having to deal with their mood swings and complete lack of respect, for everything, it can grind you down. I felt like I was going crazy at times so I didn’t know who or what to trust. And it was all part of his plan. Then depression hit and I sank into it.
Those alarm bells didn’t stop ringing though. In fact, some of my darkest moments were the clearest. That niggling feeling that wouldn’t go away.
What if he is? It would explain this, and that, and why that happened, or didn’t..
I remembered things that I had buried away, weird instances that I didn’t know what to do with, things that made no sense at the time. Suddenly they all added up and it seemed so obvious.
Finally, after years of ignoring it, I trusted my intuition. I know it was right. It had been all along. I don’t really know what it is or where it comes from but I think it’s like a sense, built-in. Maybe it’s part of our souls, who knows. I know that it’s something all of us can relate to because we’ve all had that feeling in our gut. Whatever it is, I do think it has our best interests at heart.
Nowadays I think I’m much more in tune with my intuition. I still find it hard to trust it at times but I’ve realized that comes from fear because more often that not it seems it’s trying to tell me something that I don’t necessarily want to hear.
‘Trust your intuition’ has become a mantra of sorts for straight spouses because every single one of us has had that feeling in our gut and I haven’t heard one story yet where it turned out they were wrong. If you’re asking yourself could it be that my husband or wife is gay then that’s your intuition at work, it senses it. What you choose to do with it is important. Please don’t ignore it like so many of us have. If you feel it, confront it. You’ll either get a confession or a denial but either way you’ll get your answer because that moment when you confront it, it’s the most revealing moment of all.
Till next time.
In my quest to try and gain a better understanding of why this might have happened to me I’ve been thinking about my relationship with my first boyfriend, as well as my marriage, and looking at how I behaved in both. What I’ve come to realize is that I was codependent. I’m not ashamed to admit it because I don’t think I’m a bad person because of it. Many straight spouses will admit to being codependent in their relationship with their gay spouse. I think we tend to be of a certain type and it’s the type that our gay husbands and wives are attracted to because we enable their behavior, often to keep the peace, and we tend to be fixers, I know I was.
Narcissists and addicts are very attracted to codependent personalities because we are easily controlled and manipulated and if like me, tend to place more importance on their partners well-being than their own. My gay husband was both an addict and a narcissist and I believe he saw me coming a mile away.
Codependents have varying characteristics not all of which apply to me but I can identify with certain ones. The ‘mother hen’, always putting others needs before my own. A need for acceptance, approval. Feeling guilty over nothing, worrying too much, being afraid.
I was the perfect audience for a narcissist. He needed to feel important and special and I wanted him to feel that way. I just thought I was being a loving, caring, supportive wife… I didn’t realize that I was giving him any sort of power over me.
He lived as he chose to, without consequence. He was grandiose and self important, like the cat who got the cream. He said and did a lot of questionable things and put me in situations that were dangerous and disgusting, and I allowed him to. I felt pressured and I wanted his approval. How was I to know that I’d never get it? Meanwhile, I was dying inside. I’d lost all hope because I’d tried everything there was to make it work and blamed myself when it didn’t. I hated him and I hated myself for letting it get that far.
I think it takes a strong person to get out of a relationship like that. I don’t think I was a strong person then because I put up with it for so long but maybe their was a different kind of strength in putting up with it, because I wanted it to work. I don’t know. In the end I did find the strength to leave but it was only when I realized he was gay and that all my efforts had been in vain.
I had one other relationship prior to my marriage and looking back I can see that I was showing signs of codependency then too. He was nothing like my husband but he was controlling in some ways and I don’t think I always stood my ground. Having said that I was just a kid then, I didn’t even know who I was.
Still, he said jump and I said how high.
There are reasons why this happened to me and I believe that in some ways I’m to blame for allowing certain things to happen. I’m not excusing his behavior in any way, I think it’s a crime what he did. Discovering that I played a part doesn’t make what he’s done any more forgiveable, it just doesn’t. He was the master manipulator. However, I do think it’s important to learn from this and in order to do that I have to consider what I could have done differently.
I have changed in some ways. I have more respect for myself and a stronger desire to protect my heart. I know that I need to trust my intuition and express my feelings instead of burying them inside. I try not to worry so much about what other people think and I try not to be fearful of things going wrong.
I’ll never fully understand the reasons why it happened, why I was that girl. All I can do is use what I’ve learned to become a stronger person. There are parts of me that haven’t changed. I think it’s okay to be sensitive and loving, nurturing and protective. I just have to be careful who I choose to share those qualities with. The right people should embrace them, not take advantage of them.
In the Joni Mitchell song ‘Both Sides, Now’ there’s the line:
‘And if you care, don’t let them know,
Don’t give yourself away’
I love that song and that line came to mind as I was writing.
I was always very open and honest with him, he knew my strengths and my weaknesses, all my hopes and all my fears, I didn’t keep anything just for me. Maybe you’re supposed to.
To be continued..
“I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love” – Charles Bukowski
This just about sums up how I felt in that moment when I realized I wasn’t in love anymore.
Something I’ve learned about myself is that when I love I love deeply, too much perhaps, but how do you control love? You can’t help how you feel, there’s no turning down the volume, it is what it is, you either feel it or you don’t. I used to ask myself why am I giving this person everything and I’m not getting anything in return and I would excuse him for it with the notion that he just shows his love in a different way than I do. I started to think that I was too loving, too romantic, too idealistic, too hungry for love and passion. At the end of it all I actually felt quite silly for ever believing that those things really existed, those feelings and desires, and I was stripped bare.
At night when we’d go to bed I would lie awake staring at his back as he lay on the edge of the bed, this vast space between us. I’d cry silently, not wanting to make an already awkward situation even worse. That was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt. I wondered what was so terrible about me that he would rather cling to the edge of the bed than lie next to me, his wife. Eventually even that was too much for him to bear and he just stopped coming to bed altogether. Didn’t feel good.
The Bukowski line describes how I felt. After such a long period of time when all I felt was grief and despair there was a moment, a morning. I woke up and was lying in bed gazing out the window and it was the most beautiful morning, full of clarity, when the sky is that shade of blue you only see in the Spring and the sun was shining but it looked cold. The light was melancholy and matter-of-fact. I looked around me and I knew it was over. Everything felt foreign, the sheets on the bed, the paint on the walls, the books on the shelf. It was as if everything was stained. Those feelings of love and hope and desire were long gone. Instead there was just this awful, suffocating sadness.
Months later during my recovery I was sitting outside by myself and I had this incredibly strong feeling. It was a hot day and I was enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin and I was thinking about everything that had happened and I was crying sort of half happy half sad and I suddenly had this very strong feeling wash over me. I felt alive. I felt like the day had just hugged me. It was the most intense and beautiful and life affirming feeling I’ve ever experienced and I have no idea where it came from.
I’ve had my feelings hurt, I’ve hurt other peoples feelings. I know how it feels to show love and I know what it is to feel loved. I’ve felt angry (still do) and sad and hopeless, and I’ve felt strong too. Feelings leave scars on who you are, whether they be good or bad.
Intuition is a feeling. One thing this experience has taught me is to trust it.
It’s been some time since I’ve posted. For a while I was feeling like this whole thing was just totally consuming me, all of my thoughts and feelings were tied up in it and I was afraid of it, afraid of telling people, afraid of the future, wondering what will happen and how will I cope. In an earlier post I talked about truth and how I felt this overwhelming need to tell people my truth. I got to do that finally with the one person I needed to talk to the most and guess what, they understood. They don’t understand how or why it happened any more than I do but they were understanding of my circumstances and instead of being angry or confused or judgmental, all the things I was worried they would be, they just listened to my story. Relief doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I’ve realized that I don’t need acceptance or understanding from anybody, it’s my truth and that’s that but when it’s someone that you really care about and you want them to know everything about you then it is important to tell them, honesty is key. It’s different with friends, I’ve come to realize that I can’t make them understand and probably never will.
Someone said something to me recently which really made me think. They said that because I’m a good person and I believe in fairness and treating people kindly that I expect others to behave the same way. My first reaction was to think do they mean I’m too hard on people and have high expectations? What they meant was that I’m too trusting and assume that everybody will act fairly and has good intentions. I brought this up because I’ve started to really try and look at myself and try to figure out why this happened to me and see if I can learn from it in a positive way.
I’d always considered myself to be a pretty good judge of character. My parents used to always say to me that I should be wary of people so I was but I think to such an extent that I was wary of the wrong people if that makes any sense. I think I put my trust in the wrong people and perhaps missed the opportunity to get close to the right people. I’m not even a people person to be honest and yet I do worry what people think, although less so nowadays. But I did think I was a good judge of character and tried to be wary. Turns out I was a terrible judge of character and thus allowed myself to be manipulated and controlled by another person, and didn’t even realize it.
We’re all flawed, nobody’s perfect. Thank god because how boring would that be.
But we can all improve I think, as humans. I’m learning about myself and I know there are things I need to improve but also not to be too hard on ourselves, that’s important too, because life is hard and sometimes you have weirdness flying at you from all angles, things you never expected and you deal with it, what else can we do. Sometimes something greater than you ever imagined comes after the fall then you ask yourself was that just a test, that horrible experience, so that this could happen?
I know one thing for certain this experience has changed me and in certain ways, for the better.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift” – Mary Oliver
There seem to be many stages in this process, finding out you’re a straight spouse and having to live with it. You go through one stage and move onto another only to find yourself back were you started. Certain things act as a trigger, a memory, a song, situations, things people say, all sorts of things. This morning I heard a song and it threw me into a depression. I started to remember things about my life before, where we lived and what we were doing and how I felt then (happy) and how I thought life was great. Hearing the song made me sad because it reminded me of a time when I thought I was happy but in reality life wasn’t really how I thought it was so in a sense the memory is a joke and hearing that song opened an old wound.
Going back to the beginning I think the first stage was Suspicion. There were feelings of uneasiness, something’s not right, can’t figure out what it is though. Everything roused my suspicion, my senses were switched on but I didn’t know what to do with them, this seems weird, that seems strange, but why? This was a crazy- making stage. Something’s up. My gut and my intuition was telling me something that really scared me.
Next stage was Denial. I went into complete denial which in turn had serious repercussions for me. Depression set in, I became totally isolated from the world and my health and well being slowly deteriorated. This stage lasted longer than it should have and like I’ve stated before I think had I not turned to substances I possibly would have moved on from this stage a lot sooner, I’ll never know. I think a lot of straight spouses hang out in the denial stage for a long time and it’s totally understandable considering the circumstances. I wish I’d been able to handle this stage better but I got totally buried in it.
I think the next stage for me was Shock and Survival. I could see I was disintegrating and I was shocked to realize that if I was going to survive this the only person that could save me was myself. I think I was hoping some miracle would occur and make everything okay again, it felt like I was stuck in a waiting room and eventually my turn would come and somehow I’d be saved. Realizing that wasn’t the case and that I would have to take drastic measures to climb out of the hole I was in, that shocked me. But it was the most crucial step to my recovery. You’re stuck inside a burning building and you have two options: Burn alive or Jump. I decided to jump.
The next stage was Recovery and Delusion. The recovery part at this stage was physical and emotional. I was in a bad way physically from all the chemicals I’d been putting inside my body so it took me a few months to withdraw from all of that crap and start to feel human again. Emotionally I was broken and confused, I was still in shock and I was still in denial to some extent and slightly deluded. I was making excuses for his behavior and defending him. I was also saying things like ‘I have no regrets, I wouldn’t be who I am today had this not happened, it’s made me stronger.’
Which brings us to the next stage: Anger. Like a bolt out of the blue I was suddenly consumed by anger. I was raging. I had a lot of time to think and I was spending all of it dissecting the past, every aspect of it, big and small. I started piecing things together, making shocking realizations and then it hit me what a fool he’d made of me. It was all fake, all of it. I was a joke. All those years wasted. There was a lot to be angry about and I’m still angry today, it’s the stage I revisit the most, unfortunately.
I then entered a stage which I’ll call Rejuvenation. This is when I started to see the good again. Simple things. The world wasn’t completely dark like it was before. I could wake up and be appreciative of the world around me, my loved ones, I felt fortunate. I started to respect myself again and not take things for granted. I learned to laugh again and was able to have fun and even dream a little about a new life ahead. I got some confidence back.
These are the stages I’ve gone through so far. Lately I’ve been feeling angry and depressed. Depression has been an ongoing thing throughout this whole experience. I know it’s not unusual for straight spouses to bounce between these stages, it seems to be the nature of it.
I hope that one day I will reach the stage of Acceptance and Forgiveness. I’m not there yet. I have accepted a lot, I’m no longer in denial, it is what it is, though I may never fully understand it. By acceptance I think I mean bury it. For good. And move on.
I wanted to write this post because I know other straight spouses struggle with these feelings, you’re not alone. It is a process you have to wade through and I’m learning this everyday and trying to find new ways to deal with it. What a lot of people don’t realize is that these feelings are only one part of it. Some of us have health problems, financial problems: sometimes as a result of this situation. So it can feel overwhelming at times. I try to stay positive. Recognize the progress you’ve made so far, it’s not to be discounted no matter how small it may seem now.
I’m struggling with telling the truth to people about my situation. I’m so scared. I know I should just do it but I can’t get the words out of my mouth. I feel ashamed and embarrassed and I’m afraid they won’t believe me, after all I have no solid evidence, not really, it’s just my word against his at the end of the day. My story must sound ludicrous, I sensed it when I told one or two people ages ago, I sensed that they didn’t believe me, and these people are good friends of mine. They just said ‘Really? Oh okay, that’s weird’ but then that was it, end of story. What are they really thinking? I’m so tired of keeping all this stuff to myself I feel like I’m going to burst. I want to be accepted for who I am, part of which is all this bullshit which I never asked for or wanted but have been dealt -through no choice of my own. I know the answer is to tell people and be truthful but I cannot find the courage to make that step. It’s like I’m retreating inside myself right now. I know what I SHOULD do but actually doing it I’m finding very difficult. I don’t know why. Sometimes I just wish I’d had a confession, or that he was living his life openly as a gay man, then maybe all of this wouldn’t be so hard.