Truth lies

Truth lies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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23 comments on “Why I Outed my Husband using Social Media, and why I would do it again!

  1. Blaria

    Bravo! Good for you. It seems like you did all the appropriate things before revealing this information to the public, so I’m not sure why people have such a problem with you openly discussing this. It’s not like you have ripped him a new one. You’ve written about this in a very honest and direct, yet compassionate way. Don’t let the haters fluster you too much. Keep on keeping on. xoxo

    1. julietjeske

      What is funny is that most of them have no idea what I COULD have posted. Honestly…they really have no clue…and it would have been perfectly legal for me to do it. Most of his “team” including many that used to hire me have deserted me anyway, so I could have gone to a much darker place than I did.

      1. Blaria

        Yeah, you kept it classy. People just like to have an opinion on everything (like us, ha!), but the only difference if we provide a reason for our opinions. Most other people are just trolls. Trying to stir up drama.

  2. tropicaltheartist

    Juliet, this is another deep;y honest and moving post. You know, though, that at some point the healthiest thing for you will be to let this all go. I doubt the time for you to do this is right now, but the time will come and I’m sure it will feel liberating. I hope you reach the point where you can look back with healthy distance and point toward the future, embracing all the wonderful qualities that you are so fortunate to have. All the best and take care.

  3. DystopiConvert

    Great post. I cannot imagine what you had to go through. There are still a lot of people who are living this farce that certainly did not choose to do so. In the end it sounded a bit like you did him a favour. Was that your intention in any way?

    1. julietjeske

      I was in fact trying to help him, I pity him more than anything else. A life lived inside the closet is no life.

  4. Lisa Stephanie

    The real question is – when will you finally move on? It seems your whole life is focused on this one event. How many years has it been?

    1. julietjeske

      Three but I am writing a book about it do that might answer your question. Don’t know if you have ever written a book but it is a rather all consuming process. I also consider myself a straight spouse advocate other than Fran Dresher we don’t have much of a voice yet there are millions of us. I also write about plenty of other things but these are the posts that are read the most, other than the Adam Carolla piece. So my readers obviously like these pieces because they are the most popular my political posts are largely ignored.

    2. julietjeske

      And now to even prove my point that much more…I posted something that was non-divorce related, non-dating in New York related and…it has a fraction of the readers that my usual posts get. So I could write to please you, one reader who doesn’t even have a blog herself and comes across as a fairly judgmental person. For all I know you are one of my many MALE critics that have actually harassed me online in various forms including this blog. That’s right although I make very little money I get harassed by angry males in my inbox, facebook, this blog, twitter and even dating websites. It comes with the territory I guess but it is really annoying and pointless. Some of these men have used aliases before, I have no way of knowing if you are one of them. Or if you are a friend of my ex-husbands when I googled your email address absolutely nothing came up, which is extremely rare. Most people have links associated with their addresses.

      Or I could give the people what they want which is…articles about divorce and dating in New York. I think I am going to continue writing what people actually read, and not try to placate every single critic I have out there.

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  6. Straight Wife

    I announced on facebook that we were splitting up, but I didn’t say why. I said that the people closest to me have known for a while and know why – others would just have to trust that we know what we’re up to. The reason I posted – like you, I don’t want to have to explain my life to those casual acquaintances we connect with on facebook – co-workers past and present, old friends from school, distant cousins, etc. Let the rumor go around now that husband and I are breaking up. So sad, yes, tragic, they seemed like they were in it for the long haul.. No one will question me now. (Actually, one twice-divorced high school acquaintance immediately posted that we should not do anything rash..)
    As you said, he came out.. to me and his parents and a few others on a “need to know” basis, but he pushed us all into the closet at the same time. Fear of homophobia in his workplace and his community means that at the moment he can’t just be who he is. I don’t really mind so much (at this particular moment) so I won’t out him. OTOH, my sudden vehement opinions about the Boy Scouts or Chik-fil-A might have some people wondering what *I* am up to!

  7. Sue

    Kudos to you……BIG time, been there, and I can honestly tell you the pain lessens HOWEVER never to be forgotten!!!! It will be with you ALWAYS, and in some way (other relationships) will effect every male/female relationship you ever get into. You will always be looking for the signs you obviously “missesd” the 1st time around. Trust me it wasn’t you, it’s just because they are such good liars. I will tell you something that a very wise woman told me during one of my darkest moments though this, and it was……..My name, you’ll only ever know a person as much as they want you to know them………..Truer wors may never have been spoken!!!! Here’s wishing you the best, and please know you are NOT alone.

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  9. Bonnie Kaye

    Juliet, thank you for reiterating what I always say–it is not our secret to keep. It was bad enough having it as our secret to live with. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops, but you don’t have to hide in the shame of it. They live their lives when they move on–we need to live ours with the integrity of being honest–about them! xoxoxo

  10. Susan

    I think it’s a dangerous business to be mixing terms the way you have. You did not “out” your husband using social media. “Outing” occurs when you don’t have their permission to do so, which exposes them to many risks and harms.

    You had your husband’s permission to post the change in status publicly. That is “Announcing” your husband publicly, not “Outing” him. You did the most sensitive and courteous thing you could have done…you asked him if he was okay with it first. And to his credit he said yes.

    That doesn’t make pain of the past go away. That’s got nothing to do with forgiveness. That’s not about exploitation or anything. You were considerate enough to ask.. he was considerate enough to say yes. And ta da! You announced it to the world. Brava! Bravo!

    The real question is…what would you have done if he said “No”! defiantly. Or if he said “please don’t”? What you would have done in THAT moment would have defined your character just as much as the fact that you were considerate enough to ask him first also defined your character. Again, Brava!

    Your situation may be atypical, I can’t say one way or the other, but your situation was ideal. At least in that moment. Im willing to bet that most straight spouses would have liked the truth to be known far sooner than the gay/bi spouse was ready to announce. That’s a tough situation and there is no one size fits all in that instance, but unlike the irresponsible comment above, ‘it may not be our secret to keep”, but most definitely it is not our secret to expose either!

    By outing someone against their will or without their knowledge can only do harm. There is almost no good that can come of that. I have been there too..I was in his closet with him for a long while, far longer than i would have liked. While outing him might have given me some piece of mind, perhaps even a feeling of justice or vengeance or something..

    But that does not justify it no matter how much we believe we have the right. Because it only takes one little negative consequence to cause a cascade of negative outcomes…and it almost always has negative consequences for the straight spouse and family as well. Without going into detail I will just say that if I have to enumerate the countless negative consequences that are likely to happen…then your blinders are on too tight.

    Outing only has negative consequences. Even in the case of pastors and politcians and other public figures who publicly denounce homosexuality and are living hypocritically…it’s much easier to rationalize why its okay to out them against their will.. and I’m not saying it’s not right for that person, that moment, those circumstances… but let’s not make believe that there arent many known, unknown, seen, unseen negative consequences resulting from that outing.

    Rationalize however you want that you might be justified in outing your husband but know that you will be inflicting more harm and pain than is currently being experienced..even for yourself.

  11. julietjeske Post author

    I honestly wonder if you actually read my piece or if you’re just reacting to the title of it. I wrote the title of it as I did because I was responding directly to a critic who posted that exact statement. My ex-husband was OUT. I didn’t actually out him. He was telling everyone that he was GAY. Not, “My wife and I are separating because things are bad.” No, he was telling people “I’m gay. I’m a gay man” I know he was doing this because several of our mutual friends then contacted me to ask, “Is he really gay?” To which I answered “YES!”

    Was I supposed to create some type of elaborate lie to “protect” a man who had lied to me for nine years?

    Why would I lie when he was telling people himself that he was gay?

    Why should I have to lie to people when it’s my life and my truth?

    When I heard rumors that were blatantly false about why we were getting divorced….why would I not tell people the truth? Should I have just let people spread false rumors about both of us? Not sure what I was supposed to do there.

    We live in New York City a city with a large LGTB community, and his sexual orientation would not negatively affect his career, in fact his career skyrocketed right after he came out. It had nothing to do with his orientation but being openly gay didn’t harm him.

    My ex also had a brother who was openly gay and had been for over 20 years. His brother was NOT rejected by his family, in fact he was quite close to both of his parents, even took vacations with them and emailed or called his mother every day.

    Why was my ex-husband living a lie? You’d have to ask him. I have theories, but he still lies to me and others so I’ll never really know what was going on in his head and at this point I don’t care. But he was OUT. OUT with a capital O. It wasn’t ambiguous, he wasn’t even identifying as bisexual, he was telling people he was gay. He left out the many details of infidelity or the fact that he had gay experiences before our marriage…..but he was truthful about the gay part. He was telling his friends and our mutual friends that he was GAY! Not bi, not bi-curious, or confused, he was saying he was GAY.

    I put it on social media, to save both of us the grief of having to tell everyone in our lives separately in a long-drawn out process, which was rather awful. He hated it as much as I did, because at the time most of our friends were telling us to stick it out, go to counseling, do whatever we could to save our marriage, etc. So that meant we had to tell each and everyone of them the whole long story, which came with any number of questions, and going through that over and over and over again was hellish for both of us.

    Life is not politically correct. These situations don’t fit into nice little boxes with instructions on the right or wrong thing to do. If you’ve lived this yourself, I’m surprised that you’d be so judgmental towards another straight spouse, but then again straight spouses tend to have problems with codependency and I’ve met a few who will bend over backwards to justify and defend their ex or current spouses behavior regardless of how badly they are treated. I have no idea who you are, or what your situation is so I won’t make that call, but sadly codependency and denial are two afflictions that tend to plague straight spouses, myself included.

    This was my life, and I have every right to speak my truth. Being one half of a mixed orientation marriage doesn’t mean I have to create elaborate lies to cover up for lies my ex told me and everyone else in his life. I was one half of that marriage and I have every right to speak my truth about MY LIFE. My marriage equals my truth. I’ve got stuff on him I haven’t shared publicly, I’ve even got evidence that would greatly embarrass him that I’ve never revealed here or anywhere. I actually kept it as proof because I didn’t want him to go back in the closet and do this to another woman. So far he hasn’t, and has been living openly as a gay man, as he did four days after I found out the truth. He’s even published a children’s book with his partner, so he’s out and proud 100%.

    I really don’t care what some random stranger thinks about it. It’s easy to judge as I didn’t follow the politically correct narrative on what to do when you find out your spouse is a pathological liar and a closet case. All I know is that I wasn’t going to lie for him anymore. I wasn’t going to perpetuate the closet that was killing us both. There was no joy in living a lie for him, and he is MUCH BETTER OFF now that he is out and proud…..and again, he was OUT publicly four days after I found out the truth. I outed him on social media a couple of weeks after the fact, we were both tired of going through it with everyone we knew.

    Again, I don’t care what you think. I just wrote this to FURTHER clarify my position on this.

  12. Debra Sutton

    It is your life, your business and you told the truth. They take us into that closet with them. You are both free now. You had his permission you did what was right for both of you. Making up lies to everyone about the divorce would only lead to more pain and more lies.

  13. Paul

    Being only 8 months post disclosure on a 17 year relationship/marriage I am still raw and reeling. She has not fully come out to her entire family or mine, and for reasons important to both of us I remain a “closeted straight spouse”. I’m also located in NY, have tried the dating scene and realized I’m really not ready, but am lonely due to the isolation I created during our relationship/marriage by not maintaining friendships(big mistake I know). I am so looking forward to the day when this nightmare is over and I can feel good about myself again. Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration.

  14. TGirl

    I am strong a woman ( or at least thought I was), that found out one night almost two years ago that my husband has been having sex with countless random men that he met on adam4adam, craigslist and countless other websites. Throughout the past 17 years (only married since 09), he always had sexual issues and things never worked or stayed working for very long. He always made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Always (mentally). I have his emails, his photos that he sent to Random men. The scary thing for me is the STD factor, he met up with several other married men and non married gay men. After his afternoon meetings, he would bring his dirty penis home to me and beg me to give him oral sex. He had sex during his lunch breaks with the randoms and some regulars. He met them during business trips, after work, on the weekends when he said he was at work, etc.. ( saw those emails too). I was the true wife, had NO IDEA about his behavior and am now at a HIGH RISK for ADIS, HEP, AND COUNTLESS other STD’s – BECAUSE OF HIS BETRAYAL. He married me as a front, so no one would ever suspect his secret identity. After discovering his disgusting and dangerous lifestyle, I LOST IT. Felt like I was absolutely crazy. But, the discovery allowed me to put all the puzzle pcs together and then thing started to make sense. We are still living together, in HELL. Trying to make a fresh start (BUT NO SEX – NO PHYSICAL CONTACT – I CANNOT STAND THE THOUGHT – IT SICKENS ME), but, cannot stop thinking about the betrayal. He turned absolutely everyone that we know against me by spreading lies, to prevent me from telling them all about him – EXPOSING HIM for the PIG LIAR that he is. I am stuck – no job, no money, no joint anything. I want to file for divorce and sue him for half his income (the only thing that will ever hurt him is money). My family is far away and I am alone to deal with this. How to leave and be free of this?
    I really want to educate women on this. I felt like it was my fault (because he TOLD me it was). I’ve taken responsibility for his disgusting actions and lifestyle because he can’t and lives in denial. It’s my fault – I chose to marry you. LOL

    1. julietjeske Post author

      I’m so sorry. Your story is just so horrible. I’ve heard similar ones over the years. My ex was bad but he was as cruel and reckless as your soon to be ex-husband. If you are not on therapy yet, get into therapy as it will help a lot. You should also try to find local straight spouses you can talk to and share things with in person. Check out the straight spouse network online. I’m sure there are others who are near you who would love to sit down with you and talk it out. I refused to lie for my ex and you shouldn’t either. Fight back with everything you’ve got. You have a right to be mad. You e got a right to get what you deserve in the divorce. Stay strong. You didn’t deserve what happened to you, none of us did.

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