Writing whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, the whole point of reading or writing is to tell the truth. Even street signs tell the truth. I have signs that do not lead anywhere because I cannot tell you where to go if I do not tell you where I have been. So, in an effort to not further mislead you or myself, I will tell the truth. I will, at last, mention the pink elephant in the room. The pink elephant everyone can see but are too polite to mention.
The truth about my marriage, the divorce, why I left town, why I am running around looking for validation and comfort in any man’s arms that will hold me is this: My ex-husband is gay. When I reveal this to a close friend they often ask, “What happened?” or “How did you find out?” The thing is, nothing specific happened, just at one point it became intolerable. I think a part of me always knew.
Let me get this very, very straight; please pardon the pun. There was a time that he loved me. He loved my mind, heart, AND body. I believed he was my soul mate. Perhaps we still are soul mates, we just can no longer live together as husband and wife. He did love as a man would love a woman. We had sex, very good sex actually in the beginning. He loved me, thought I was beautiful, attractive, sexy, and made love to me. We did all the kinds of things in bed that a men and women who love each other do. Any other details on this matter would be uncouth and disrespectful.
That being said, now that I have been with “straight” men, I have observed my ex’s affection for me was perhaps more subtle, shall we say, than others. I could chalk it up to the fact my ex is more reserved and subtle in all he does. But now that I know the difference, at times I say to myself, “How did I not know?”
So, how did I know and what did happen that made the marriage no longer tolerable? Well, there were signs along the way. Signs I either ignored or pretended not to know. Signs I may write about at another time, but not at this moment. But what really happened was when we were trying to have a child. We were unsuccessful and trying became, well, trying. His appearance and demeanor started to change. He lost weight, started dressing differently, became obsessive about the gym; he started to spend less and less time with me even though we were in same house and still had the same circle of friends. Then I was so lonely and sex/love starved that I entertained the attention of other men that was probably wrong, although I did not act on these affections. The fact that I was at all susceptible to these attentions was dangerous and a real symptom that something was wrong. Then there was a point that he could no longer respond to me in bed. I am fighting off the affections of men that would love nothing more than to have me, and my husband, whom I loved most of my adult life and with my whole heart, would barely touch me. It became intolerable and I knew that we could no longer make each other happy, in or out of bed.
So, that’s the truth. That is the pink elephant in the room. My husband turned out to be gay. If not gay, he was not straight enough for me. He could not make love to me, could not give me a child, and although polite, friendly, and the consummate gentleman, I could no longer abide with a man who did not love me as a man should love his wife. The heartbreak is that I loved him as a man. I was still attracted to him and he could not respond to me. When I was with him, he made me feel ugly and wanton (for wanting to have sex in the first place), and it was dangerous that I would fall for any other man than showed me any interest. There was a point that I thought it would be more honest and safer to be divorcee than a mistress, because if I had stayed, I would have been so lonely and desperate, I would have sought the comfort and joy of another man’s bed. And I believed my husband would have done the same. That is no way to live.
Photo Credit: Sarah Lilburn.