You don’t have to get divorced…even if he is gay.
A Friend Set Me Straight …. So to Speak.
We all need friends to keep us to keep it real, don’t we? I had a discussion with a friend lately who knows about my blog. She thinks that I am under-representing other options when one partner is bi. She thinks I am not addressing other options like open marriage or that loyalty and marriage is more than sexuality. It does not have to be an all or nothing kind of thing. Each marriage is unique. Each divorce is even more unique.
I think people get married because of the hope of future happiness. People get divorced for the same reason.
I feel like I should be clear about something…
You do not have to get divorced. Even if you find out that your spouse is gay, you do not have to run to the lawyers. Most people do, most people should, but you don’t have to.
Reasons I Got Divorced That Had Nothing to Do to His Homosexuality
Let me be clear about something up front. The following are the reasons I got divorced:
- He was sterile. I had a few miscarriages and one really bad one that required surgery. Through a few years of infertility, we discovered that he could not produce any healthy children. The four or five sperm he could produce were all malformed. So, basically, I could get pregnant, but the embryo would not survive and it just made me sick. If it were just his sterility, we could have got through that.
- There was cheating… on both sides. My end, it was mostly towards the end during the death rattle of our marriage. I would like to make myself feel better and say that it was after a “gentleman’s agreement” to have an open marriage, but I kept is secret and therefore I knew it was wrong. I was so unhappy through most of the marriage, any man that was even polite to me was a threat for infidelity. I am sure it was the same for him too. I have reason to believe he was cheating on me as early as year three when I wanted a divorce in the first place.
- We had both outgrown the marriage. We married when we were very young. I was still in college when we got engaged. It was the Midwest in the late 1990’s, so that was not that unusual. I would probably talk a twenty-one-year-old out of getting married now. I would encourage her to live a little, to know herself more. I’d say the same to a guy. Marriage is like joining a team, or in less romantic terms, a corporation. You have to know what you are good at and develop some skills before you get hired and have other people rely on you. I was lost, pretty much homeless, and had little family support. He took me in and gave me some security. I gave him a good cover, was long suffering in his travels and his indifference to me while he built his career. I kept him from being lonely. You add on some one-sided infertility and that relationship was going to end anyway. Looking back, other than movies and music, we had little shared interests other than a willingness to get along by two very eager, nice people. That is just not enough. Loving “Fight Club” and “The Matrix” hardly makes us soul-mates. Every cool person loved those movies because they were awesome…and had a lot of hot guys like Keanu Reeves, Edward Norton, Jared Leto, and Brad Pitt.
But here is the real reason…. I have found peace in my heart and my soul. I have forgiven him… kind of, but at times I am still angry about the way he made me believe I was crazy.
- My ex-husband emotionally abused me. For years, he was manipulating doctors, that should have known better, to put me on a bunch of psych meds I never needed. I was situationally depressed and a mild anti-depressant, some counseling, a divorce, and a new career and I would have been fine. I was all scared and insecure so instead of pursuing a graduate program in speech therapy, I tried becoming a high school English teacher instead. It was a disaster and I don’t like to talk about it. He needed me to be crazy and be an unreliable witness to my own life to cover up his sexuality that he was not ready to face. Fuck him for that, seriously. If he were just gay, or even cheating on me, it would have been okay. The emotional abuse and drugging me up, that was just wrong and I hope karma eventually catches up to him for that.
Yeah, his closet homosexuality was a problem. It probably contributed to the cheating, the lying, and the emotional abuse. He couldn’t do anything about his sterility. I am not a monster. The time and relationship never presented itself to have a child of my own. It is one of those circumstances that just was and I am at peace with it now.
If He Were Just Gay….Or Sterile…. Or Something…
At the time of the divorce, if he were just gay OR just infertile, we could have worked something out. We would have done IVF or something. If he were “just gay” we would have an open marriage of some kind but keep it kind of quiet (because that works). I’m not saying that open marriages don’t work, just that they would not work for us. We were too used to lying and keeping things from each other. It is my understanding that basis of an open marriage is openness and trust. Yeah…. We didn’t have that.
Open Marriages, Bisexuality, Unicorns, and Other Things I Know Little About
I know people who are married to gay men or lesbian women or one or both are bisexual in some way and their marriages work. There are couples who are very loyal to each other, but have “special friends” that everyone knows about and everyone is cool with it. Good for them. In some ways I am jealous. It is very hard for one person to be everything for you. Sometimes you need a little “strange” and do not want to wreck your entire lives to get it.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have friends I went to high school and college with that saved themselves for marriage and have known no other lovers. Good for them too. Perhaps life is simpler not knowing or seeking anyone else’s body but your spouse’s. I believe that you can go through your whole life never wondering about anyone else and be happy because I believe in magic and unicorns. Maybe they are fulfilled sexually. Maybe they giggled while they read a book given to them for the wedding, by that one “weird aunt” who lives in the mountains with her lover and nine dogs. I foresee myself being weird aunt living on the beach with her lover and maybe two dogs that would give a “special book” to newlyweds. But really, I suspect one or both of them have bouts of “curiosity.” Perhaps they don’t think of it at all. Perhaps….but I doubt it.
If we were to “keep it real” I must confess something about myself when it comes to fidelity. Being faithful in my twenties would not have been all that difficult. My husband was my world. I was still uncomfortable with sex, although I liked it. I did not know my own body. I didn’t trust it. I was always afraid of my own fertility (this was before I knew that my husband was essentially sterile). I was forever checking the calendar and other “symptoms” of ovulation so I would not get pregnant. I did not tolerate the pill well, so that was not an option. Then, when I wanted to get pregnant, I was checking the same symptoms and calendar. I could come, but not in the earth shattering way I discovered I could come in my thirties. That deserves its own post, believe me.
In my thirties when that “peak” hits in women…yeah… I don’t think I could have been faithful. It was like I woke up one day in a world where I became aware of men. It would have been hard to be faithful to just one man during this “era of the ovary” as I like to call it. Of course,I was sleeping with a closeted gay man who treated making love to me as just “one more thing on his to-do list.” I think most of us have a “season of the slut” period in their life when they are somewhat promiscuous. If you don’t get it out of your system in your late teens and twenties, it will happen eventually. Like your mid-thirties after a divorce, or in your fifties, after divorce and your kids are grown, or even in a “retirement village” in you sixties after your spouse dies. It happens.
I’m forty now. I am in a secure, happy, monogamous relationship. My boyfriend and I will eventually get married, I am rather certain. I don’t have a ring on my finger, but I still think it will happen sooner than later. He works from home and I have a pretty short commute to work, so we are together a lot. I feel more married now than I ever have before. He is home so much that we have had to work out a schedule where he leaves every once and awhile so I can have the house to myself. Writers need some solitude. As far as “exploration” in an open marriage or cheating, it does not occur to me. Yes, we are still in the “honeymoon” years of the first years of togetherness. We have been dating for two years and have been living together a little more than a year. We have a lot of common interests. He is good and kind. He keeps me happy in and out of bed. I do not cheat because I do not want to. I am clearly not morally superior to it. I think morality attached to sexuality does more harm than good. I really don’t have the time for a second lover and certainly not the inclination or the energy to lie about one.
I do not know a lot about open marriages. I say, to each his own. As far as the contract of marriage, shared property, and the raising of kids are concerned, one must weigh heavily the pros and cons before getting divorced. Love is more than sex. Loyalty is more than just keeping it in your pants. Loyalty is about having someone’s back when they’re down, believing in them when they try something new, not getting threatened when they succeed. Love is more than sex, but its a pretty big factor in romantic relationships. If you are being lied to, cheated on, or completely ignored by your spouse, is that any way to live? If he were fucking you, and fucking you well….would you be so bothered if he was fucking someone else to? Would you be as angry if you knew about it up front?
If someone is bi, it is probably very difficult to get what you want in life let alone a relationship. If my ex-husband’s ONLY problem were that he was bi or even “kind of gay” I might not have left, or at least not in a big hurry. I left because of his abuse and I thought I would never have a baby if I would have stayed. Even if I did have a a baby, I did not want it to be raised in a home where the father makes the mother hate herself. Honestly, I am pretty awesome. I always was.