I am writing this gem because I can tell what people type into a search engine to find this blog. Today someone wrote the following.
Juliet Jeske – Why it was wrong of you to out your husband on Facebook
I could reply simply with….
Why it is wrong for gay men to marry straight women under false pretenses
It’s difficult to even know where to start with this. It is true that in most circumstances a person’s sexual orientation is their own business. I have no right to publicly declare the sexual orientation of a co-worker , neighbor, a relative, a friend or casual acquaintance. Whatever they do in their personal life is of no concern for me, unless of course they are actively working against LGTB rights. In nearly all circumstances, it’s just not my place to share such intimate information about another human being.
A marriage is something entirely different. My marriage did not exist without me. It was a shared experience between my ex and myself. Does his right to privacy trump my own right to be honest about my life? The only way I could have avoided “outing” my ex-husband was to create an elaborate lie. I was robbed of an authentic union with an honest partner, I don’t know why I was supposed to create a false reality to further protect him. I was paranoid that he would entrap another unsuspecting woman into a sham marriage, and I was not going to let that happen.
When we announced we were separating I was hit with overwhelming criticism for breaking up a “perfect” marriage. I could continue the lies, and enable my ex-husband’s denial, or I could force him to deal with the reality that he had brought on himself. If he was going to destroy our marriage and make my life a living hell, he was going to have to take responsibility for his actions. He also desperately need to truly embrace his sexual identity. A life in “the closet” is a life unfulfilled.
Most of my critics don’t know all the details of my marriage. They don’t know that he was in the room when I said,
“You’re out and proud now, so I’m going to put this on Facebook. Are you OK with that?”
He agreed, so I posted the status update that changed both of our lives forever.
My husband and I are getting a divorce. I’ve just discovered that he is gay. He is now living openly as a gay man. I did not know this when I married him. We are not getting back together.
To anyone who should judge me, I would urge them to see my perspective. Try telling everyone you know that you married a gay man, not all at once but one at a time. Imagine having that conversation 50-60 times. Think of running into people six months, seven months, a year or two after you have left your husband and have them ask “How are you two doing?” and then have to re-live the entire saga again. By doing it all at once, and so publicly, I helped both my ex and myself deal with our new reality. I’ve never seen any shame in being gay. I knew it would not hurt him professionally, and that New York City was one of the most open cities for LGTB people. I also knew that his brother had been living as an openly gay man for over 20 years and was accepted by his family. My ex and I had no children to consider, so it seemed like an easy solution for both of us. We were both exhausted from the emotional turmoil disclosing this information was taking on us. The status update was like one big emotional band-aid to rip off.
What my critics also don’t understand is that I could have been much worse. Most of the specific details are still not publicly known and will probably never be disclosed. All I really declared was that our marriage was over, and he was openly living as a gay man.
There is a phrase used in the straight spouse community that goes along these lines.
“Our spouses come out of the closet and we go into one”
Many straight spouses, especially those with children, find themselves having to lie for months sometimes years after disclosure. The irony is that the spouse who was loyal and honest now has to keep secrets for their ex. They have to keep track of lies and live a paranoid existence to cover up false realities their gay spouses have perpetuated.
What did the straight spouse do to deserve such a punishment? They mistakenly married a person who in most cases lied to them from day one. Although mixed orientation marriages run a spectrum, many closeted spouses have problems with narcissism and self-centered behavior. They think nothing of forcing someone to act the role of a human prop. In most mixed orientation marriages rampant infidelity, lies and betrayal are part of the fabric of these unions. Some closeted spouses don’t cheat. A few are open with their partners about everything. A few marriages even survive disclosure and some figure out a way to stay together. Good outcomes though are rare.
My critics also don’t realize there is a stigma living as a straight spouse. People wonder if there is something wrong with me for having married a gay man in the first place. I have to live with judgment for something I had no control over. Some have claimed the only person suffering in a mixed orientation is the closeted homosexual. I wonder if those people have ever been married? If they had, then they’d know that both parties suffer greatly when they realize their marriage is over, regardless of the circumstances. I do know of a few examples of mixed orientation marriages that are thriving and strong, but in all of those cases both parties knew what they were getting into from the beginning. Yet even in open and transparent marriages, many cannot handle the many challenges that come with it.
If I were to turn back the clock to three years ago, I would indeed change many poor decisions I made in moments of extreme duress, stress and depression. I made countless mistakes, but I am never going regret telling the truth. At least now there are no more secrets and lies, and my ex and I can both live honest and authentic lives. I also know that sharing my story helps many other straight spouses. Sometimes the truth hurts but I would rather live an honest flawed life than be in a phony “perfect” marriage.
- On Being a Straight Spouse: Broken Memories (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Straight Spouse: When Your Life is Not Politically Correct (julietheskeblog.com)
- Signs of a Gay Husband (Signs of a Gay Husband.com)
- Homophobia – An Equal Opportunity Destroyer (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Gay Husbands, Straight Wives (www.gayhusbands.com)
- How to Find Support (www.straightspousenetwork.org)
- Sean Saves the World A Straight Spouse Perspective (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Chick-Fil-A: Do Your Really Want to Run your Company on Biblical Values? (huffingtonpost.com)
- One ‘Straight Spouse’ for Marriage Equality (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dating After Divorce: Why is it so Difficult to Date in your Thirties? (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Why I keep Writing about Being a Straight Spouse (julietjeskeblog.com)
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