A Reader Writes…
I have been married for 15 years and have 2 children. 7 years ago I found out that my husband was having affairs with men.
We tried counselling but the counsellor did not know how to help us. My husband says he is not gay but I think he is.
I think about this everyday of my life for the past 7 years. I am finally ready to separate from him but am very scared for my kids.
He is a wonderful father and we have a good life except for the marriage part, we are best friends.
I have a few friends that know about the history and they say that I am crazy for staying married to him. I am only married to him for the kids.
We have not had sex in years and do not sleep in the same room. Please offer some advice for me.
Your husband has affairs with men but isn’t gay? Does he just help out when they’re busy and need an extra pair of hands? OK, so enough of the old jokes. I’m sorry to laugh but the only alternative is to cry and I bet you’ve done enough of this already.
I would like to think that we live in a tolerant enough society that young men who think they are gay are allowed to experiment and find if that’s their true path. Unfortunately, our culture is still full of poison—debates about gay marriage are full of hatred and some churches promise eternal damnation. No wonder lots of potentially gay men find a nice girl, have a family and pretend to live happily every after.
But this is what makes me want to scream WHAT ABOUT THEIR POOR WIVES? What you must have gone thorough for the past seven years, I don’t think anybody else can really understand. And it probably has been pulling you down for even longer, wondering what’s wrong with me, why doesn’t he want to touch me?
I wish that we could have been having this conversation seven years ago. I would have explained that your husband is so full of self-hatred—through all those negative images from the pulpit and the press—that he can’t love himself let alone other man. Gay is as much a lifestyle (with loving another man at the centre) as a sexuality.
Your husband would be categorised as a ‘man who has sex with other men’ (and in his case not his wife). Effectively, you had two choices at that point. You could have decided to separate or that you loved each other enough to stay together (but that he would have occasional discreet liaisons on the side—within agreed limits—and put you and the children first).
Unfortunately, these issues were fudged at the time and we’re seven years down the line. My suspicion is that the second option is no longer viable and why should it be? You need love, affection and to feel special. I doubt your husband can do that or perhaps he’s trying but you are full of bitterness yourself.
So please feel free to shout: IT’S NOT FAIR. Life has dealt you a horrible set of cards. However, if you hold this pain too close, it will destroy you and your family.
So my advice would be to start to mourn, for the marriage you wanted, thought you had, and the nice guy you married. My book Heal and Move On will help explain the grieving process. There is also a short section in How Can I Ever Trust You Again? for women who find their husband is cheating with other men.
I would also look at the websites on the internet to help women like you—rather than talking to friends because how can they understand? Finally, I would have a bit of counselling to help you move forward.
It might seem bleak but you have made a difficult decision and it is start of your recovery. Don’t rush into leaving, because handled carefully over a few months and lots of talking, I would hope that you and your husband can learn to co-operate as co-parents.
Finally, I would like you to be kind to yourself. My guess is that you’re beating up yourself for making such a bad choice of husband but I think you probably made a great choice of father for your children.