Closet Case

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I feel sorry for Kris Jenner.

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I don’t “Keep up” with the Kardashians.  I’ve never watched a single episode of the original or the many spin-off shows about the most obnoxious American family.  I purposefully try to ignore any Kardashian news entirely but it still seems to filter through.  I know it all started with an “accidentally” leaked sex tape, a friendship with Paris Hilton and the O.J. Simpson trial. There was also a wedding and brief marriage that may have just been for the endorsements and publicity.  The family is rich, shameless and made their fortune by doing not much of anything.

Kris Jenner is the woman at the helm of this narcissistic empire, and she’s not exactly likable.  In some ways she’s the ultimate Disney villain – an aging yet glamorous woman obsessed with looking youthful, concerned about style over substance, dressed in the best clothing money could buy, and paranoid that her star will eventually fall.  I will confess I’m not a fan, but I can’t help but feel a kinship towards her.  I’m not rich, I don’t have reality show or any plastic surgery, but my ex-husband was a closeted gay man.  When I made the discovery six years ago, my sanity, and financial wellbeing fell off a cliff.  I’ve since met countless other straight spouses and some of them, like Kris, found out their husbands were secretly transgender.  For many they discovered their husbands wanted to change their gender, but had also changed their sexual orientation and were now having sex with men.  To use the word devastating to describe such situations would be a huge understatement. Even phrases like ‘soul crushing’, or ‘life destroying’ don’t really capture the personal torment these women go through.

Now before you exclaim “BUT KRIS KNEW BEFORE THEY WERE MARRIED!” you might want to hear what she had to say about it.

“Why would you want to be married and have kids if this is what you wanted since you were a little boy? Why would you not explain this all to me?

 

“He was married to me, and he wasn’t who he wanted to be, so he was miserable,” she said. “It was the most passive-aggressive thing I think I’ve ever experienced.”

 

“This was a conversation that took place in the early ’90s. So, what he was telling me happened a decade earlier, and he never really explained it,” she said. While Caitlyn said she had B cup breasts at the time, Kris said she thought it was a “man boob situation … there wasn’t a gender issue. Nobody mentioned a gender issue.”

According to an interview with Buzz Bissinger Caitlyn insists that Kris was very much aware of his struggle.

“Jenner is emphatic that he told Kris he had taken hormones in the late 1980s up until the year they met, and was equally emphatic in saying there were other side effects besides breast growth,” Bissinger writes.

 

“He finds it implausible for her to suggest she was not aware of his gender struggle. But he does concede that ‘probably a mistake I made was maybe not having her understand—not the severity of it but that this is a condition you cannot get away from. From that standpoint maybe I blew it away a little bit, sort of ‘This is what I do.'”

From my experience, I’d say with full confidence, that in about 90% of these unions the straight spouse had no idea their partner was gay or trans before the marriage..  Caitlyn’s second wife Linda Thompson revealed that Jenner also didn’t disclose her dysmorphia until after their two sons were born.  Caitlyn may have believed that she could control her inner conflict, or that it might eventually go away.  Being transgender in many ways is much more difficult than being gay.  A gay man can have sex with another man, even if he hates himself for it, or has to lie to do it.  A transgender person looks in the mirror and sees a stranger staring back at them.   It would be quite difficult to remedy the disconnect in your mind, especially 30 or 40 years ago when less was known about transgender people, and the topic wasn’t openly discussed.

I’ve seen the press bash Kris Jenner as being selfish, emasculating, narcissistic, and cruel towards her former spouse.  Some of this might be true, but no one but the two people in the marriage have any idea what really happened.   Most of what we know about their marriage is from a highly edited, manipulated and partially scripted reality show.  The tabloids also chime in and they have never been known for their accuracy or ethical reporting.

Caitlyn has publicly said that her divorce was 80% because of poor treatment by Kris, and 20% because of her gender identity.  I’m sure Kris would most likely have a far different opinion.  It’s common for many closeted spouses to say very similar things after a split.  They rarely blame their orientation, even though living a lie or in constant psychological torment is definitely going to affect a marriage.   Kris didn’t marry a trans woman, she married a man.  It’s incredibly difficult for the wives and husbands of transgender people to suddenly accept their partner’s new identity.  For some it does work out, and both spouses learn to love the new normal, a few marriages even grow stronger.  But for the vast majority of marriages it’s just too much. A straight woman may no longer be attracted to her husband now that she’s a woman, or the transition could be so overwhelming the marriage just can’t handle the strain. Transitioning is a long intense and expensive process that puts both partners on an emotional roller coaster.   When a trans woman also proclaims she wants to date men, what’s left for her straight wife?  I know infidelity did not play a role in the divorce of Kris and Caitlyn but I bring it up, because it’s so incredibly common in these situations.

We can celebrate Caitlyn for her bravery and strength without trashing her ex-wife.  I’m not here to demonize Caitlyn or minimize what she has done for the trans community, but I get sick to my stomach when I see people dragging Kris through the mud over this.  I can’t help but see my own divorce and remember the misguided nonsense I endured.

  • You turned him gay. (No one can turn a person gay)
  • You need to have more compassion for your ex-husband. (After 9 years of lies and betrayal)
  • How did you not know? (Because he lied to me from day one)
  • I can’t believe that you didn’t know you had to have known. (I had to assume my husband was a liar?)
  • You used your ex-husband (My ex-husband used me)
  • Your marriage was an arrangement (Yes, and that’s why will pulled our families into it, just to hurt as many people as possible)
  • You somehow prevented him from coming out sooner (His struggle was his own, and had nothing to do with me)
  • You are still using your ex-husband for publicity (No I’m actually doing this to help other straight spouses)

The tabloids will continue to rip into Kris without much concern.   She’ll return to play the part of the over-bearing matriarch of a self-obsessed brood.   We can’t forget that she’s not a cartoon character, but a human being.  She just found out her former husband of 24 years is now a woman, and that’s never an easy thing to go through.  Ironically thanks to the actions of Caitlyn, we might be closer to a world where a transgender person can be open and honest about themselves well before three marriages, 10 kids, multiple grandkids and their 65th birthday.  As much as I can’t stand the Kardashian empire, I do have empathy for Kris Jenner.  Caitlyn needed to come to grips with her identity by herself, and Kris had no control over any of it.  Maybe they had a bad marriage, maybe they didn’t, but it has nothing to do with Caitlyn’s decision to live an open and authentic life.  We can celebrate Caitlyn Jenner without trashing Kris.  It would make a great reality show plot to have the straight person as the evil oppressor and the trans person as the ever suffering hen-pecked victim, but reality shows are not real life.  In actual marriages things are far more complicated.

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Dear Rick Perry, Being Gay is not a Disease

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Rick Perry, you really don’t understand homosexuality.  To quote you directly.

Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.

You also advocated for the widely discredited, reparative therapy for homosexuals.  To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

Conversion therapy – sometimes known as reparative or “sexual reorientation” therapy – is a dangerous practice based on the premise that people can change their sexual orientation, literally “converting” from gay to straight. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

People who have undergone conversion therapy have reported increased anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicidal ideation.

You might also think that homosexuality is a disease, but the medical community would strongly disagree with you.  To quote psychiatrytoday.com 

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition (DSM II). The action was taken following a review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts in the field. The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.

I hate to break this to you but, gay men and women have existed in every culture on the planet, long before a few scant condemnations in the Old and New testaments of the Christian bible  Despite the importance some Christians have placed on the evils of homosexuality, Jesus Christ didn’t think it was worthy of discussion.

Rick, do you ever wonder what happens to gay men and women when they try to force themselves to live a lie?  Do you think that it’s just a matter of self-control?  Do you think once they get married, settle down and have a few kids that those urges and attractions will vanish?

Well Rick, I’ve got news for you.  Most mixed orientation marriages end catastrophically with both partners greatly damaged.  I was in one of those marriages.  I had no idea my husband was gay when I married him.  He was full of so much self-hate about his sexual orientation he thought he could change himself.  He was basically lying to me and everyone else close to him in his life for years.  He tried desperately to change, but realized he couldn’t.  He is gay.  He was gay before we got married, he was gay during our marriage and he’s gay now.  It’s a fundamental part him.  It’s not a weakness of moral character, it’s not a lifestyle choice and it’s not an addiction.  He lived in misery because he was desperately trying to be something he wasn’t.  Now that he is out and proud, he’s a much happier person.

His self-loathing and shame came from the false belief that being gay is a fault or shortcoming.  When I first confronted my ex-husband about his sexual orientation he would have given anything to change it.  Luckily for both of us, he has grown to accept and love himself.  We are both better off now living authentic lives and not trapped in a sham marriage.

There are millions of other straight spouses like me all over the country.  Most of these marriages leave a path of destruction in their wake.  I know women who have buried their husbands with full-blown AIDS, others who have contracted the virus from their spouse. I have heard of suicides and even homicides when these marriages disintegrate  Parents who lose access to their children, and children who now have to split time between two homes.  I’ve met damaged and broken men and women on both sides of these doomed partnerships.  I suffered from a massive depression, I was nearly financially destroyed, I’ve had to accept that I’ll probably never have my own children and at my worst I was suicidal.  It’s hardly been an easy road for me, and I know it’s a daily struggle for many of my straight spouse counterparts.

If our spouses were happier in their own skin, if they could envision a happy and healthy life for themselves, they never would have entered into these fraud marriages.  If you claim to champion family values, you would never encourage a gay person to try to force themselves to be straight.  You would never expect someone to try to change something so fundamental about themselves.  Rick, do you think you could force yourself to live as a gay man?  Do you think you would be happy if every day you had to live a lie?

Your words have consequences.  You lead a state with over 26 million people.  Every time you condemn homosexuality you reinforce the bullying, the discrimination and hate that leads to misery, self-destructive behavior and even suicide.  LGTB youth are more than twice as likely to try to commit suicide than their straight peers.  When you call for medical quackery like reparative therapy you cause more suffering.   Homophobia affects more than just the gay people you target.  The hate splinters out like broken shards of glass cutting into everyone around the intended target.  Relationships between parents and children are destroyed and families are torn apart, and all for something that cannot be changed.  My own life was greatly harmed by this nonsense and I’m not going to be silent when you perpetuate myths and misinformation.

Homosexuality is just another way of being human, and there are a lot of beautiful LGTB human beings in your state.  They just want to live their lives authentically and without shame.  They want to raise families and grow old with their partners.  They just want to live like any other Texan.  You can remain in the dark ages as states around the country legalize same-sex marriage and end discrimination against LGTB people.  I know not every Texan agrees with you.  Hopefully more and more of them will speak out against this bigotry.  Which side of history do you want to be on?

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Straight Spouses: Homophobia – An Equal Opportunity Destroyer

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I have a litmus test that I use when meeting new people.  When I reveal why I got divorced – the way a person responds tells me all I need to know about them. Because of this blog, and my advocacy for the straight spouse community, my story is extremely public.  I’ve gotten comments like:

  • That’s impossible, you had to have known he was gay.
  • Then he was bisexual because no gay person can have sex with a straight person.
  • Homosexuality is sinful, disgusting, immoral, against God.
  • What an asshole – I hate f*ggots.
  • You turned him gay.
  • So do you hate gay men now?

Many who start trashing LGTB people expect me to chime right in.  It usually unnerves them when instead of joining them I immediately defend the LGTB community.  The gay haters expect me to agree with them because my life was negatively impacted by a gay person’s actions.  What they don’t understand is that I believe that my ex-husband was born gay, and that his sexual orientation was in no way shape or form a choice.  I also understand that if he wasn’t filled with so much self-hatred about being gay, he probably wouldn’t have married a straight woman.  He was desperate to try to suppress his sexual orientation and a lot of his motivation was due to self-loathing.  I also know that my ex-husband does not represent the entire LGTB community and his actions are his own.  The factor that indirectly lead to our marriage was – homophobia – the fear and hatred of homosexuality.

At the same time because I keep writing about the topic of Straight Spouses, some LGTB people have accused me of being homophobic. Some comments I’ve gotten:

  • Mixed orientation marriages are very nuanced.
  • Gay issues have nothing to do with you.
  • You are not allowed to write about your marriage – only your own experience.
  • It’s impossible for a straight person to be victimized by a gay person, because gay people have such a rough time of it.
  • You have no idea how hard it is to grow up as a gay child.

These same people will also say I’m playing the victim, yet in their own statements they are proclaiming their own greater victimization.  I admit I don’t know anything about growing up gay, but then a LGTB man or woman doesn’t know anything about being in a fraudulent marriage or living as a straight spouse.   Trying to compare each other’s personal experience or pain is a circular argument that gets both sides nowhere.  We have both suffered and the cause of our torment is from the same source – homophobia.

I could show the people who accuse me of being anti-gay the stacks of hate mail I’ve gotten when I’ve been published in support of the LGTB rights.  I might show them screen shots of the pure vitriol on my twitter account when I’ve dared to speak out in support of same-sex marriage or criticize a company like Chick-Fil-A for it’s anti-gay policies.  In fact my destroyed marriage has made me even more passionate about gay rights.  Homophobia is an equal opportunity destroyer, it hurts not just LGTB people directly but radiates out to negatively affect loved ones, family members and of course straight spouses.  My ex-husband’s self hatred and fear of his sexuality is exactly what motivated him to enter into a sham marriage.

No two straight spouse situations are exactly the same.  Some met their partners at a young age before either one of them truly understood their sexuality. Others are so deep in denial that they truly can’t comprehend their own sexuality and have no intention of misleading their spouse.  Some closeted partners remain faithful and do not have any sexual encounters outside the marriage.  However in the majority of cases our stories are far more tragic.  Many of our spouses had homosexual encounters before marriage and hid their background.  Lying about one’s history is a form of deception or fraud, regardless of the circumstances.

A few Straight Spouses I’ve known have had to bury their husbands with full-blown AIDS, some have even contracted HIV from a cheating spouse.  Others find themselves embroiled in vicious custody battles which drag on for years.  A few are completely abandoned physically and emotionally once their spouses are finally open about their sexuality.  Many Straight Spouses are financially ruined.  In the most twisted cases a closeted spouse will retreat even deeper into denial and marry another straight partner.  Many won’t even identify as bisexual but will insist they are straight, despite hard evidence of numerous affairs and sexual trysts with same-sex partners. Some create complicated lies to push all responsibility and blame on their spouses.  A few even claim their former spouses made them gay.  All of this behavior is a direct side effect of the hatred and fear of homosexuality.  Without homophobia there would be no reason for a LGTB person to enter into a mixed orientation marriage under false pretenses.  These marriages often leave both partners extremely damaged and is hardly a victimless crime.

When people in the LGTB community want to negate what happens in mixed orientation marriages they are hurting their larger cause. Straight Spouses are living proof that the hatred of homosexuality impacts more than just LGTB men and women.  If anti-gay forces could actually see what their policies were causing – divorce and broken families – they might reconsider trying to pressure LGTB people to live as heterosexuals.

Every group of human beings includes a few narcissistic, selfish and even sociopathic individuals.  Many people who marry others under false pretenses tend to share some of these personality traits.  It is not to say that these few represent the majority of the LGTB community.  Most LGTB people would never marry a straight person.  A generation ago it happened much more often, because hatred towards LGTB people was far more pronounced.  Hopefully as LGTB men and women are more accepted, and have equal rights, fewer LGTB people will feel the need to live a lie.   I have empathy for those who hate themselves so much that they enter into these marriages, but they lose my sympathy when they will not take responsibility for any harm they caused.  In many cases the deceptive spouse refuses to take any accountability.  Being gay and having a difficult childhood does not absolve anyone of the responsibility of hurting other people. Just imagine if every minority group tried to argue that every individual in their group had immunity for their actions due to their oppression – no one would buy that argument.  Homophobia is a mitigating factor, but a liar and a cheater is still responsible for his or her infidelity and deception.  Of course some mixed orientation marriages are open and honest.  If these marriages work for the two people involved in the partnership, good for them.  Unfortunately most mixed orientation marriages are based on massive deception.

I can’t speak for all Straight Spouses.  I’ve met a few who for religious or personal reasons, do no agree with homosexuality.  I can say though with some confidence most Straight Spouses want what the majority of LGTB people want – a culture that accepts being gay as normal as being heterosexual.  By speaking our truth and sharing our stories we are proof that a life inside “the closet” has real victims. Both spouses are harmed by these sham marriages as are our families.  It would make my life much easier to hide and not speak about this, but people need to know the ugly reality of what happens when LGTB men and women try to force themselves to live a lie.  There is nothing wrong with being gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any of the many varied forms of human sexuality between consenting adults.   Straight Spouses do not hold the entire LGTB community responsible for the actions of our spouses.  We do NOT condemn LGTB people for being authentic and living their lives openly – no matter what their orientation.  Deception and lies, however wreck nothing but havoc and the reality of our situations needs to be exposed.  This is not a Straight Spouse vs. LGTB situation.  We’re really on the same team. Straight Spouses shouldn’t be forced into the closet our former partners just left.  As uncomfortable as our stories might make some people, they need to be heard.  A gay person may have hurt us badly, but that doesn’t mean we are against gay people.  In fact we want LGTB men and women to live as normal a life as anyone and for all marriages to be based on love and honesty – not deception and fear.

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Sean Saves the World – A Straight Spouse Perspective

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NBC’s new Thursday night comedy, Sean Saves the World stars Sean Hayes as a gay single dad who suddenly finds himself the full-time parent of a teenaged girl.  I’m excited about any show which features a gay parent.  It’s also great to see another show tackle a mixed orientation marriage, like Fran Drescher‘s “Happily Divorced“. As a straight spouse myself, it’s good to see anyone telling our stories. Many straight spouses continue to hide the sexual orientation of their former partner or at least stay private about the reasons for their divorce.  Most people have no idea around 2 million straight spouses live throughout the country, in every economic, racial and cultural background.

Sean Saves the World has only aired one episode, and here is what we know so far about the characters:

Now that she is living with her father full-time, his daughter Ellie suddenly thinks to ask. “If your gay, how did mom and you have sex?”

To which Sean responds, “Gay, tried not to be, was, was again, was one more time because it was not unpleasant…am”

So the character knew he was gay before he entered into a marriage with a straight woman.  He either misled his bride about his true orientation, or she knew and thought they could work through it.  Their specific past is left ambiguous.  He never once says to his daughter that he hurt his ex-wife, or that he made a mistake when he married a straight woman.  I guess no child wants to hear that she is the product of a mistake, but he could have shown at least some empathy towards his ex.

Sean’s ex-wife Jill decides to take a job out-of-town, and Ellie makes the choice to live with her dad full-time to stay in the same school.

So far the premise is perfectly reasonable although most single parents would at least wait four years until their kids are out of high school.  Relocations are a common issue with shared custody agreements.  The point where the show started to physically hurt me came early when Sean’s mother played by Linda Lavin exclaims, “She (Ellie) has been abandoned, she has no one.”

Sean then tries to defend his ex-wife “Jill didn’t abandon her, she took a job.”

Later in the episode the daughter laments, “I was abandoned, and she sucks (Her Mother)”

I know these are fictional characters but I couldn’t help but think of the same woman, watching her marriage dissolve soon after the birth of her child.  That is hardly an easy situation under any circumstance.  So far the viewer knows very little details.  We know their marriage ended soon after the birth of their daughter but that’s about it. Did his ex-wife know he was gay?  Or did she have to find out the hard way?  From the character’s own admission it would seem infidelity had something to do with it.  There is also no mention of a second husband, so we are to assume, Jill is still unmarried and raised her daughter as a single parent.  Unfortunately for most straight spouses we find out the true sexual orientation of our partners after years of betrayal, secrets and lies.

Television producers have long been obsessed with single dads.  Although in reality, most primary single parents are mothers, network executives can’t get enough of the fish out of water scenario of the harried father trying to raise children.  Notable examples include such classic shows as, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Full House, Different Strokes, Blossom, Punky Brewster, My Two Dads, Two and Half Men, Full House, Silver Spoons, Who’s the Boss, The Nanny, Arrested Development, and Louie.  So many shows feature single fathers a comprehensive list is at www.TVDads.com

My hunch is that NBC wanted to give Hayes his own vehicle, and decided to go with the popular single dad storyline.  I get it, and again I’m glad to see a positive portrayal of a gay single parent.  Sexual orientation has nothing to do with anyone’s parenting skills, and it’s about time another sitcom followed the lead of the extremely popular Modern Family in which two gay men lovingly raise an adopted daughter.

I just wish the straight spouse wasn’t vilified.  Many of us have gone through absolutely dreadful experiences, especially with divorces involving children.  In some circumstances when the gay half of these mixed orientation marriages comes out of the closet, they find themselves eager to re-live the years they lost.  Some regress so strongly, they quickly forget about the responsibilities of parenting altogether.  Others might fight viciously for full custody when they were the ones who lied, cheated and may have even exposed their spouses to STD’s including HIV.

Sean Saves the World is extremely formulaic and over uses canned laughter throughout. Hayes is a likable actor with great comic timing, physical comedy and intensity.  The writing is nowhere near the level of Will and Grace the long-running hit that made his career.  Chances is are, Sean Saves the World won’t make it a season as it scored a 43% on Metacritic and has had disappointing ratings. Despite its name, a television sitcom isn’t going to change the world.  I just wish instead of showing a warped, biased view of a mixed orientation marriage they might have made a show about a gay parent in a loving relationship, or at least made his ex-wife an actual character on the show.

I can’t help but think of the fictional Jill holding her newborn daughter and hearing the following words from her new husband, “I’m gay.” Instead of raising her child with a man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with, she is going to have to raise her with the part-time help of the self-admitted “fun weekend dad.”  Most of us don’t immediately bounce back after finding out our marriages were fraudulent. Many straight spouses continue to have a strained if not openly combative relationship with their former partners, and a few are flat out abandoned.   Maybe the show will turn around and become a huge hit, but if it does I would love to see more equitable treatment of one of the few straight spouses on television.  Reality doesn’t make for a fun wacky sitcom I guess.

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Life After Divorce – Do you feel Worthy of Love?

Broken Glass at Work-6

Broken Glass at Work-6 (Photo credit: akeg)

As in all my blog posts, I have changed a few details and left some things vague to protect the identity of others.  If you think I’m blogging about you, I’m probably not!  There is a lot to my personal life that I don’t share on this blog or with anyone.  I’ll just let that be a mystery to everyone but me.

A man I was casually dating made a comment that stuck in my brain a few months ago.  He is dealing with his own major breakup, one that I suspect also has elements of fraud.  He lamented that one of his other lovers might be falling in love with him to which I responded, “Well you have nothing to worry about with me, I’m not.” and then he bemoaned “Why not?  Am I not loveable?” and I thought, “No it’s because you have multiple lovers, why would I bother investing in you.”  I knew enough to not get too attached to him, but my heart broke a bit for both of us when he said it.

His comment haunted me.  Not because I was really in love with him, but because on a very primal level I feel that way about myself.  Even though I don’t want to admit it, and I try to suppress it, I still feel – I am not worthy of love.  My actions only feed the beast of self-doubt and insecurity.  For whatever reason since leaving my husband, I have fallen into a pattern of dating men who aren’t really there.

Most of my partners are deeply in love with someone else, and it’s extremely painful to go through this again and again. It just supports my fears of not being good enough, maybe if I was younger, taller, thinner, made more money, had a more traditional job, didn’t write this blog, lived in a better neighborhood….someone would cling to the hope that I might return their devotion. I almost feel like these women have something magical about them that makes men become obsessed, or maybe they are masters of manipulation.  It doesn’t really matter, as I seem to have the opposite qualities.

There was the intellectual who secretly pined away for the woman who broke up his marriage.  He was beyond emotionally distant with me and I found out the truth through basic cyber sleuthing.  Then there was the man I met online who was also a straight spouse, who was still madly in love with his now openly lesbian wife.  He basically vanished after an intense date with me.  Another man who cursed his cruel and manipulative former spouse yet also openly worshiped and praised her for her beauty.  Even during my most intense post-divorce affair, my boyfriend would openly talk about a woman who had dropped him unceremoniously.  I resembled her so much we could have been sisters, yet she was the one who still had his heart.

In all of these relationships, I am never enough.  My body is always used as some sort of band-aid until they can get their true love back, and so far none of them have succeeded. Why do they get so hung up on women they can’t have?  And why do I keep falling into this pattern?

Do I feel that I am not worthy of love?  I think deep down I must.  I try every day to quiet these monsters in my head who reinforce this.  The number one question I’m asked since my breakup with my husband is, “Is he seeing anyone?” and I always respond with “Hell if I know, it’s not my business.”  I honestly don’t want to find out.  One of the tragedies of mixed orientation marriages is that although these splits are quite hard on both spouses, one half deals with a deep betrayal.  The betrayal erodes self-confidence and trust, so we are left somewhat shattered at the end of it.  Many straight spouses have problems forming bonds and relationships post-divorce.  We are so damaged we can’t have anything but superficial connections.

Am I unworthy of a loving relationship?  I don’t think so, but why can’t I make anything work? Why do I waste my time on lost causes?  Why do I run from nearly every possible scenario that might lead to a stability?  How can I lie down next to a person and feel absolutely nothing?  Why do I become fixated on men who don’t really want me?

My relationships aren’t real, they are just slivers of human connection that I build up in my mind.  I’m stuck in this horrible repetition that doesn’t seem to end. Things have improved. At least I know I have a problem with this.  I no longer kid myself that is always the man’s problem.  It’s my problem, as I’m the one wasting time on them.  Over four years and I’m still trapped by these circumstances.  I focus on what I have – amazing friends, a loving family, and my health.  I hope I won’t become one of the permanently single.  I don’t want to live alone for the rest of my life. This will not always be the new normal. I am worthy of a loving relationship.  With the exception of a few demented souls or sociopathic personalities we are all worthy of a loving relationship.  I’ve got to break this cycle…I’m just not sure yet how to do it.  I know I’m broken, I just have no idea how to fix myself.

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Dating Online: What’s in a Name?

Hello my name is

Hello my name is (Photo credit: maybeemily)

Dating profiles are little windows into a person’s psyche.  They say so much while saying so little at the same time.  I’ve tried nearly every service from eHarmony, match.com, OkCupid, chemistry to even Jdate.  I’m not Jewish but I live in New York City so I thought – why not?  So far nothing has worked.  I’m like a curious bystander staring at a crime scene or car accident, no matter how pathetic my online dating experiences have been, I just can’t tear myself away from the sites.  Pursuing profiles is like a huge sociology experiment.  If I have any advice on here to ANY MAN it would be this.

PLEASE HAVE A TRUSTED FEMALE FRIEND, WHO IS NOT YOUR MOTHER, LOOK OVER YOUR PROFILE BEFORE YOU PUBLISH IT.

I would repeat that three times for emphasis but I like to keep my word count under 1000 on this blog.

One of the things I learned quickly in regards to emails on OKCupid – A guy’s name says so much.  I get email all day on those sites. If a guy has a crazy name, I know it isn’t even worth opening anything until the next day.  Sometimes a name can actually ruin everything, in one case a man emailed me with a name that was a creative spelling of spermbank, yet when I looked at his profile he seemed perfectly normal.  I just couldn’t imagine though, going out on a date with a man who thought SPERMBANK was an appropriate name for a dating profile.  I write this with the intention of helping guys who are well intentioned but have no clue about how a name like, HappyHuggerGuy might come across to a woman.  The more extreme names like Slave4URFeet or BigSugarDaddyLvr will always be there, and easy to disregard.  But if you are a guy and you aren’t sure why your profile isn’t getting more email, or if your a woman and want to see some of the most tragic names I could find…this article is for you!  Most names fall into the following categories.

Sexy Names – must contain one or more of the following

  • 69
  • Deep, Long
  • Big, Huge,
  • Pulsing, Thorbbing
  • Girthy, Girth, Thick, Wide
  • Xrated
  • NSFW
  • Beast
  • Pervert, Perv
  • Naughty
  • CunnyLover
  • ThreeWay
  • Casual, NoStrings, Discrete
  • Honorable Mentions:
  • SpermBank
  • WellHungForFun
  • Youlllovemy
  • NiceGuyButNot
  • Longrider888

I Think the only thing I have to offer is MY MONEY 

  • SugarDaddy
  • Richboy
  • Ferrari, Lexxus, Porsche, Benz
  • HighRoller
  • BigPlayer
  • $$$$

I’m a Sensitive guy – these made my skin crawl more than any other category

  • Cuddles
  • Snuggles
  • Sweet4U
  • SensitiveLover
  • Sweetboy
  • Gentle
  • Lover, Loves, Lovey
  • Friendly
  • Huggs, Huggable, Hugger
  • Kisser, Kisses, Kissy
  • Lonely
  • Honorable Mentions
  • GentleLover4U
  • Mr.Cuddles
  • SnuggleBearLover
  • Soft_N_Gentle

The following are subcategories that depending on the woman could work.  After all, we are all quite different and if a woman specifically seeks a squirrel loving guy who is into BDSM and has a foot fetish – A name like SquirrelDomFootLuv – might be just the thing.  If you are into kinky and this is what you are looking for, by all means don’t hide it.  It’s always better to NOT surprise a potential partner

I’m Kinky or a have a Fetish

  • BDSM
  • Kinky, Kink,
  • Slave, Master, Slavery
  • Submissive, Sub, Dom, Dominant
  • Beat Me, Wimpy, Wimpee
  • LoveFeet, LoveBig, LoveCurves, TallChaser
  • Fisty – Couldn’t make that one up
  • Honorable Mentions
  • SlaveMasterDomme69
  • Mr.Wimppee
  • McFisty
  • WhipMeGuy4U
  • SlapSlaveAssMan

Spiritual – Again these would repulse me, but if you are a mystical sort seeking a similar type of gal, they could be perfect

  • Soul, Soulmate
  • Peaceful, Peace
  • Spirit, Spirit Guide, Searcher
  • Hippie
  • Mystical
  • Seeker, Visionary, Visions,
  • Dreamer, Dream,
  • SunGod, Goddess Seeker,
  • Healer
  • Evolved

Alternative Lifestyle Names – Again for the right girl, these could be just the thing

  • Vegan – probably the #1 I see in theis category.  I get it, as they are probably seeking another vegan.
  • Veggie, Veg
  • Yoga
  • Meditate

I might be Dangerous!

  • Rebel
  • Rogue
  • NoRules
  • Fire
  • Danger
  • Animal
  • Pirate
  • Spicy
  • HarleyMan888
  • Untamed
  • Maverick

Proud to be me

  • Geek, Geeky
  • Nerdy
  • Treker
  • Trekie
  • Robot
  • Gamer

The Classics – These are total cliches.  They aren’t terrible, just massively overused.

  • Guy4U, Guy4Ya, YourGuy
  • Mr.RightNow
  • PrinceCharming, Knight, Prince
  • GreatCatch
  • StopLooking, SearchEndsHere
  • I’mTheOne, TheOne
  • Popeye – I have no idea why this one is popular but I see it a lot
  • NormalGuy, GuyNextDoor, FavoriteGuy, Regular, Average
  • Smiler, Smiles, Smile
  • Boy, Boyz,
  • Johnny or Joe – both extremely popular
  • Happy, Nice, Fun
  • MacGyver – A LOT of guys make variations on that joke
  • Honorable Mentions
  • AllUNeedIsMe
  • AverageJoe4U
  • FoundIt
  • DoneSearching

Animals – Used a lot, not sure why.  

  • Ram
  • Tiger
  • Phoenix
  • Dog or Dawg
  • Monkey – extremely common – I have no idea why names like MonkeySmiler would help a guy out, but to each his own.

Inexplicable names – I have no idea what they were thinking…honestly I don’t.  These are all real names, I’m not kidding.

  • TurtleLover
  • SquirrelBoy
  • Beeswax
  • FrankenChicken
  • BreadPudding
  • BloodDonor
  • PumpkinHeart
  • Mudrunner – Could mean you’re into off-roading, but a woman probably won’t get the reference – this one is iffy.
  • Plopgasm
  • PappyAss – Personal favorite, as what the hell does it mean?  And how would it attract women?
  • MarriednDating

Boring Names – Include things like

  • Occupation
  • Hobby
  • Location – NY, SF, ATL
  • Age – 1973, 1984, 1968

I usually get attracted to a photo, and then I read the profile.  Those are the two things that grab me, a boring name will NOT turn me off.  My own name on the site is fairly boring.  However a super cheesy, overly sexual, creepy, cuddly name could hurt you.  So when in doubt just call your self NYCGuySohoDentist – You’ll probably get more email!

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How did you not know? – The worst thing to ask a Straight Spouse

Wedding Cake

It’s the one question we all cringe when we hear it.  The one thing that brings more resentment and anger than any other.  The one inquiry that if people stopped and thought about it before they said it, they might not even think to ask.

It starts with the obvious

  • How did you not know he/she was gay?
  • How could you not tell he/she was gay?

The there is the mildly accusatory

  • He/She must have given you signs.
  • Didn’t you always have a suspicion from the start?

To the downright shaming

  • I just don’t understand how a person wouldn’t know their spouse was gay.
  • Didn’t you guys have sex?  How could he/she have sex with you if they were gay?
  • You knew before you married him/her right?

Straight spouses are men and women who end up in a mixed orientation marriage.  For the vast majority of us, we had no idea that our partners were homosexual or had any gay tendencies.  There is a saying in our community.  When our spouses come out of the closet we go into one.  Many straight spouses don’t want to bring added shame and stigma to their kids.  They also don’t want the judgment for something their spouse did.  So most straight spouses don’t openly talk about what happened to them.  It’s estimated that there are about 2 million straight spouses in the United States.  It not that we were all so sexually repressed we didn’t know the difference, we just married liars.  Our sex lives started out normal, and became dysfunctional.

Would anyone think to ask these types of questions to someone who had a spouse who was a serial cheater?  Would they think it was appropriate to blame a person who married a charming and habitual liar?  Would they assume that a person somehow should have seen signs of a well orchestrated cover-up?

Another one we get is along the lines of logic

  • Well I just don’t see why logically he/she would do that
  • That just doesn’t make sense, no one would care if he/she was gay

When anyone uses logic in the same breath as human sexuality I have to laugh.  Did it make any logical sense for Arnold Schwarzenegger to cheat on his beautiful, well-connected wife with the family’s average looking housekeeper?  Did it make sense for Anthony Weiner to repeatedly send explicit text messages and images to women he didn’t know, AFTER he had to resign from congress for the same behavior?  Did it make sense for Rhianna to date Chris Brown again AFTER he brutally beat her?  When it comes to sex and relationships, people act illogically all the time.  Gay men and women who marry straight partners are absolutely desperate to live what they see as a normal and healthy life.  Deep down they hate themselves and will do anything to try to fix what they see as a major flaw.  In most cases, our spouses viewed us as little more than props for their illusion.  They might have cared for us a great deal in their own twisted way, but ultimately we were means to an end.

Sex is relatively easy for most adults to pull off.  If we felt like our lives depended on it, most of us could stomach having sex with just about anyone.  We probably wouldn’t really enjoy ourselves, but if the alternative meant losing everything we held near and dear to our hearts, we might be able to find away through it.  That is basically how a lot of our spouses compartmentalized sex in our marriages.  As harsh as it may seem, most of our partners admit to fantasy, imagery and role-playing in order to have sex with their straight spouses.  The entire time they really wished they were with a same-sex partner.  For some of us, our partners could only pull off the charade for so long until our marriages basically became celibate.  Some used excuses such as past sexual trauma, erectile dysfunction or lowered hormones.   Meanwhile most if not all of these closeted gay men and women were actually having some type of homosexual sex outside of the marriage.

What is even worse is the assumption that sexual orientation is always so obvious.  Not every gay man speaks with a lisp, swishes when he walks, or spends an inordinate time on his appearance.  Not every gay woman dresses in a masculine way, has a short mannish haircut or refuses to wear makeup.  In fact, very few gay men and women act like a two-dimensional stereotype. There are many shades in the sexual orientation rainbow.  For a lot of straight spouses, our partners would appear heterosexual to most people.

When my ex-husband officially came out of the closet, even his close friends were in a state of disbelief.  Some even thought I may have started gay rumors to slander him.  My ex was notorious for leaving our apartment in shabby clothing, cheap shoes and looking generally disheveled.  He also aggressively pursued me and had multiple ex-girlfriends.  His last was a long-term relationship with a stunningly attractive Asian woman.   I didn’t know until I was many years into the marriage that he had sexual dysfunction or lack of sex in all of his previous relationships.  I didn’t know until after our divorce that he probably had same-sex relationships or at least homosexual sex long before I met him.  My case is typical, not exceptional.  Most straight spouses really do have no sign that their partners are living a secret life.  Much like the spouse of a philanderer is often the last to know that their spouse has had multiple affairs outside the marriage.

Ultimately people want order and rules in life.  They want to believe that bad things don’t happen to people without a reason.  They also want to think that somehow if they were in a terrible situation they would figure out a way to get out of it.  Well two-year olds sometimes get cancer while a few horrible people live well in their nineties.  The wealthy are sometime the nastiest most undeserving people, while some with very little have no limits for love and compassion.  Bad things sometimes happen to good people.   A wife or husband might be betrayed by the person they most adore.  I know these concepts might seem fairly obvious but I honestly wish more would think of them before asking:

How did you not know?

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Divorce: When One Half Wants Out

Divorce Cakes a_005

Divorce Cakes a_005 (Photo credit: DrJohnBullas)

Someone told me a story about a woman who refused to admit that her marriage was over.  It was before the “no fault” divorce laws in New York state.  She decided to legally contest her husband‘s petition of divorce.  The woman felt that her husband had no right to leave her.   In her mind shhe had been a good and loyal wife, and he had no right to end the marriage.  She was also Catholic and believed that divorce was immoral and a sin against God.  A few years later, after spending a small fortune on legal fees and lawyers a judge agreed with her.  The court denied her husband’s petition for divorce.  Even though they were physically separated and no longer a couple they remained legally married.  Desperate, her husband moved to New Jersey with his new girlfriend and started the process all over again.  They couple is now divorced.  As much as my heart goes out to the woman, she should have just let him go.

A failed marriage is kind of like our own personal fairy tale but with a horrible twisted bad ending – one we never would have expected.  Most marriages end when one half of a partnership wants out, not with both sides sitting down and coming to a mutually agreed upon separation.  Sure, those amicable divorces are out there, and some couples have literally tried everything to make their marriages work before they decide to end things.  But since I started writing about divorce I have gotten an avalanche of stories from readers about their own divorce related battles.  In most situations, one side simply wants out of the marriage while the other spouse fights desperately to keep things together.  In some cases the spouse who wants to remain married is simply crushed by the split.  It might take two people to get married, but it only takes one to force a divorce.  Not every marriage falls apart due to constant fighting, any number of things can lead to a divorce:

  • Rampant infidelity – sex with multiple partners over the course of the marriage behind their spouses back
  • Falling in love with a new partner
  • Midlife crisis – suddenly they want to completely rebuild their life – including their spouse
  • Substance abuse – spouse refuses to seek treatment
  • Untreated mental illness – spouse refuses to seek treatment
  • Massive deception – leading secret life
  • Fraud – married for a green card, inheritance, money, etc.
  • Closeted homosexual – married to have “normal” life

What is tragic is that I have met so many men and women who are not accepting that it’s over.  What they tend to say repeatedly are things like:

  • I don’t want to give up on this marriage
  • I grew up in a broken home and I vowed to never let this happen to me
  • I thought if I just worked hard enough that I could avoid divorce
  • How can he/she do this to our family? – It’s not fair

Relationships involve two people, and no one can control the behavior of another human being.  If your spouse wants out, there is not much you can do about it.  We all think if we just sacrifice enough, give up more and more of our happiness we can make it work.  I put up with an emotionally distant man in a celibate marriage because I refused to give up on my vows.  I believed in the sanctity in marriage and believed with all my heart that if I loved him enough and gave up my own hopes and dreams for his, that we would be together forever.  Somehow along the way I missed the point that the marriage was not the source of my happiness.  Just being with another human being does not always give the greatest fulfillment or joy.  I know this now because four years after leaving my husband I am much better off emotionally than I was for the last few years of my marriage.  Unwittingly we buy into the hype that romantic love is the greatest thing in the world to achieve, when I would argue it’s not.

Life isn’t fair for many of us.  Time and time again I have heard stories of one partner horribly betrayed by another.  We didn’t sign up for this.  We didn’t stand in front of our families and vow to give up on our version of a happy ending.  One of the most difficult realities to face as an adult is the willingness to admit we are powerless in certain situations.  No matter how hard we work, we cannot fix something that cannot be mended.

It’s awful and the pain is real and devastating, but just because that our original dream didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we can’t find a new one.  If your partner wants out and you have tried everything to make it work – let them go.  They might have a change of heart and realize their mistake, but do you really want someone who left you in the first place?  No one is perfect.  There is no single human being on this planet who can complete another.  Even if they are the parent to your children, and even if you thought your life would work out differently.  As hard as it is when our marriages fall apart, we have to forget about the life we envisioned married to our spouse.   We have to instead learn to cherish and love our new reality.  It will get better, every day, week, month and year…just hang in there. 🙂

One Straight Spouse who supports Same-Sex Marriage

Same Sex Marriage

Same Sex Marriage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The current court struggle against the Defense of Marriage Act  in the US Supreme Court  could help decide the fate of same-sex marriage in this country.  If the federal government decides that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is unconstitutional, opportunities for same-sex marriage legislation could open up in states that have banned such unions. Any laws currently on the books in states that violate the US constitution will be basically nullified.  We have seen examples of this same thing in regards to civil rights and access to abortion.  The marriage equality battle has in many ways reached a tipping point.

Opponents of same-sex marriage claim that letting gays marry will cause some sort of destruction of our society.  If we allow gays to marry the institution of marriage will erode and locusts and frogs will drop from the sky, maybe the rivers will run with blood.  Biblical plagues aside, preventing gays and lesbians from entering into legally binding marriages does have real life consequences.  Marriages that are not recognized by the state face all sorts of legal obstacles – child custody, inheritance, citizenship, tax penalties even health insurance.  One group of collateral damage that is largely ignored – straight spouses and their families.

When I use the label straight spouse, most people have no idea what I am talking about.  As a group we are mostly hidden.  A common saying in straight spouse groups is “As our spouses come out of the closet, we go into one.”  We are not small in numbers, according to many sources including the Straight Spouse Network there are approx. two million Americans who end up in a mixed orientation marriage.  It might be hard for many to believe that the problem is so prevalent, but straight spouses exist in every region in the United States crossing every racial, cultural and socioeconomic boundary.  We are everywhere, and a direct result of prejudice and hatred for homosexuality.  Ironically we were all one half a traditional marriage that was wrecked by homophobia.

In most situations a gay man or woman enters into a marriage with a straight partner under false pretenses.  They want children, a stable home life, white picket fences and apple pie dreams.  What they usually end up with are broken families and deeply damaged relationships.  No one can live a lie for an extended period of time and not do great destruction to themselves and everyone around them.  Some are in denial of their true orientation for years, while others actively pursue a full-blown homosexual life for the duration of their sham marriages.  A few mixed orientation marriages are successful.  However they are the exception not the norm.  In most cases both partners knew they were entering a non-traditional relationship.  The vast majority of mixed orientation marriages leave a path of destruction across generations.

No laws are going to stop human sexuality.  Even in countries where homosexuality, promiscuity and adultery are punishable by death the behavior still occurs.  Homosexuality, bisexuality, transgendered identity have been around as long as humans have been on this planet.  Instead of subjugating GLBT people into second class citizens and forcing them to live a life of shame, we should embrace them as they are and end this insane marginalization.  Sexual activity between two consenting adults should not be an issue of the state or anyone.

Had my former spouse, and countless others felt they had the option to marry and raise children with a same-sex partner the plight of many straight spouses like myself, could have been much different.   When opponents of same-sex marriage cry that these partnerships will be a threat to traditional marriage, I have to think of my own wrecked life and question their logic.

The damage that I have suffered as a result of my marriage and subsequent divorce has been devastating.  Even four years after the fact I have difficulty trusting and bonding with intimate partners.  I have yet to have a decent, stable relationship for any length of time.  Yet I am one of the luckier ones: I didn’t contract HIV, I didn’t have to go through a divorce with children, I didn’t lose everything, I didn’t have to bury my spouse from AIDS, and I didn’t commit suicide.

We need marriage equality NOW, so that in a few generations there will be no such thing as a straight spouse.  Every man or woman should have the same expectations for a loving legal partnership that is recognized by the state and society.  Forcing people to live in rigid narrow constraints leads to nothing but suffering.  Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people are simply part of humanity.  It’s about time we accept them as full-fledged members of the human race and not buy into bigotry and superstitious nonsense.

Huffington Post Readers – Some Questions Answered

So I didn’t want to get into it with the article that I just posted on the Huffington Post, but I am so tired of all of the “blame the victim” comments in regards to my divorce.  Maybe 5% of the readers will end up at my website and then actually go to this blog, but I still want to print this as the Huffington Post doesn’t let me respond to comments.

I plan to take this post down in the next couple of days, as it really doesn’t serve much of a purpose but I would like to clarify one thing before everyone jumps down my throat about how I should have stuck around and tried to make my marriage work.  First off, you don’t know much about me and you don’t anything about my marriage, so it is extremely presumptuous for you or anyone to tell me what I should have or should not have done regarding my divorce.  But I have the absolute best reason to have terminated the marriage.  Drum roll please….

My husband was a closeted homosexual.  I had no idea and he was in denial when we got married, and after nine years together I found hard evidence to the fact and left him.  We are on good terms, all things considered, and he lives openly as a gay man now.  He is much happier living as a gay man, but it has been hard on both of us for obvious reasons.

So to the strangers who feel compelled to lecture me on “giving up on my marriage”…you don’t know enough about my situation to tell me that.   And I mean that with the deepest sincerity.  If the hell that I have been through for the past two years has taught me anything it is to be less judgmental of other people’s divorces.  Because no one ever really knows what goes on in another person’s marriage, and I am living proof of a marriage that most people deemed as ideal, was in reality a total fraud.