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From a Straight Spouse: Some People are Gay…Get Over It!

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When I learned that the shooter in the Orlando massacre showed signs of being a latent or closeted homosexual my heart dropped in my chest.  It somehow hurt even more to know that part of what drove him to murder 49 innocent people was his own deep-seated self-hatred. I do not pity the shooter.  I pity a culture that reinforces the notion that being gay is a shortcoming, weakness, defect, perversion or a sin.  I pity his hateful father who admonished homosexuality days after the massacre.  The same man who used to insult his son by calling him gay and taught him to hate himself.   I pity him because he’s a pathetic excuse for a human being who will only be remembered for raising someone capable of such a horrific act.  My deepest sympathies go to the friends and families of the fallen, and every LGTB person who will feel less safe as a result of such an attack.

Despite the outpouring of support from people all over the country, I knew there would be a backlash.  It wasn’t enough that worst shooting in US history targeted the LGTB community, the critics of homosexuality had to get their digs in before the bodies were cold..  The first blow came in the form of a tweet by Dan Patrick the fiercely anti-LGTB Lt. Governor of Texas just two hours after the shooting.

Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.

He claimed the bible verse was randomly selected beforehand but he also posted it on his Facebook account three hours later even after numerous complaints on his twitter feed.

Then there was the video of a fringe Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez

‘What if you asked me, “Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” Um, no, I think that’s great,’ he told his followers, some of whom laughed. ‘I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job

Twitter was ablaze with homophobic rants and rhetoric.  ThoughtCatalog compiled a list of the worst.

One simply stated

At least it was gays this time and not innocent people

The blood of the victims was probably still fresh on the ground when these comments were made.  I get worked up about this topic because my life has been negatively affected by homophobia.  My ex-husband was a self-loathing closeted gay man who thought he could change himself.  I was unaware of his struggle with his sexual orientation and became collateral damage in his war with himself.   Instead of living his life authentically and honestly, he lived a miserable existence in hiding.  If he felt he could have lived his life happily and fulfilled as a gay man,  we both would have been much better off.  There are millions of other straight spouses like myself, and children who have been through the emotionally wrenching experience of a mixed orientation marriage. The hatred of LGTB people extends much further out than just the LGTB community.  It hurts their families, friends, and our culture as a whole.  Although LGTB men and women have made great strides in recent years, incidents like the massacre in Orlando prove we have a long way to go before true acceptance is possible.

I am not sure if I’ll reach anyone in my intended audience with this article, but I’m just so sick of the hate.  No one wins when LGTB men and women are shamed, labeled as sinners or treated like second-hand citizens. Homophobes use all sorts of reasoning to justify their hate, so I’ve compiled the most common ones here and intend to challenge all of them.

Homosexulaity and sin – Everyone has a right to their own religious views, but we live in a country with a multitude of faiths and belief systems..  I won’t break down every religion, religious text or reasoning for the condemnations of homosexuality.  That wouldn’t just be a blog article, it could fill several volumes.  In a secular nation, one person’s religion does not trump another person’s civil rights.   I don’t know how love can be sinful, and I know many loving LGTB couples.  Many of them are also devoted parents.  I’m agnostic myself, but it’s hard to imagine how any loving God would be against a healthy, happy, loving relationships between two consenting adults.

Gay people cannot be changed or converted through therapy.  – I could write several hundred pages on this, but instead I’ll just provide this handy link and quote about the widely derided conversion therapy.

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.

Being gay is not a sickness or a mental illness – The medical community hasn’t believed that since 1973.  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.

Openly gay people are not a sign of the collapse of society  – LGTB men and women have been around since the dawn of humanity and have always been a part of the spectrum of human sexuality.  LGTB people have existed even in places where the punishment for homosexual behavior was death.   In some Native American tribes homosexuality and gender fluidity was not only tolerated, it was revered.   To quote http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/

It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans, the caregivers They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies

Homosexuality is not unnatural. –  A common argument is that since homosexual sex does not lead to procreation then it must be against the laws of nature.  Homosexuality is also expressed in over 450 different animal species on this planet.  Obviously humans aren’t the only species that has non-reproductive sex.

HIV is not a plague sent to wipe out gay men  – Sexually transmitted diseases are not limited to the LGTB community. Although HIV rates are higher among gay men than the general population, anyone under the right circumstances can contract HIV.  HIV is also not the killer it once was, as most patients live long lives if they get early treatment.   Daily medications like PreP also can prevent the spread of the virus.   It’s also not the only potentially lethal STD. From the 15th century until the discovery of antibiotics Syphilis infections ravaged Europe.  Even today if left untreated Syphilis can cause disfigurement, brain damage, and eventually death.  HIV isn’t a plague to wipe out any specific group, it is simply another nasty sexually transmitted pathogen.

Gay men are pedophiles who abuse children and turn them gay –  Every time I hear this one I slightly lose my mind, so I’m going to write this in all caps!  THIS MYTH HAS BEEN WIDELY DISCREDITED MULTIPLE TIMES!  IN STUDY AFTER STUDY OVER THE COURSE OF DECADES RESEARCH DOES NOT LINK HOMOSEXAULITY TO PEDOPHILA!!!!!  To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

According to the American Psychological Association, children are not more likely to be molested by LGBT parents or their LGBT friends or acquaintances. Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

 

The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends, and the majority are men married to women. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

When children see a same-sex couple holding hands, kissing or locked in a loving embrace it won’t scar them or cause them to turn gay.  – If two adults are showing affection in a fairly conservative way – holding hands, walking arm in arm and kissing – it’s not going to harm anyone else around them.  A child is not going to suddenly think they are gay after observing two gay adults.  Sexual orientation is deeply rooted into a person’s psyche.  If you were to ask most LGTB people when they knew they were gay they would answer it’s something they’ve always known.  No event flipped the switch in their heads from straight to gay.  If anything young adults who come out sooner as LGTB are less likely to get married to a straight partner.  They are less likely to live a confused and tortured existence.   If a child who will ultimately grow up to be gay sees a loving same-sex couple together, they are more likely to grow up without self-hatred.

There is no “gay agenda” – I can’t even humor this one.  The only “agenda” LGTB people have is to live like anyone else.  They aren’t out to recruit the rest of the world or change anyone else’s sexual orientation.

Homophobia claims many victims –  LGTB youth are more than twice as likely to try to commit suicide than their straight peers. Studies have shown that 15 to 43 percent of LGTB people as well as 90 percent of transgender men and women have faced some sort of harassment or discrimination in the workforce.  In 28 states it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.  Even in 2016 children are still rejected by their families for coming out.

LGTB men and women are not going to go back into hiding.  No amount of hateful rhetoric, bullets or bombs that will stop anyone from being gay.  We need to come out of the dark ages and accept people for who they are.  I want to grab the father of the shooter and every other homophobe by both shoulders, look them dead in the eyes and scream

The real sickness in our culture is not homosexuals but the hatred and bigotry expressed towards them!

All the hate in the world can’t stop love, and sexual orientation is much more than just sex.  LGTB men and women love their partners with the same intensity and devotion as any straight person would.   Some people are gay, and the haters should just get used to it.

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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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Why I continue to write about Being a Straight Spouse

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Some people ask why I continue to write about this issue.  It’s been four years since I found out the truth about my marriage.  My ex-husband and I have made amends.  Although we didn’t go through every detail and every transgression on his part, we have reached a point were we accepted what happened.   He has admitted fault and sought forgiveness, I have accepted my codependency on him and my marriage.  I write about this because I know there are so many others like me out there, and because there is so much misunderstanding about these marriages.

Both partners suffer greatly.  We are left with broken trust, shattered lives and often broken families.  Many of us have great difficulty bonding with a new partner or marrying again.  Some are left to raise children on their own, many are financially ruined.  I have known a few stories where partners have contracted HIV from their spouses, or had to bury a spouse due to AIDS.    Some of us cut off our former spouses and try to rebuild our lives without them.

Our spouses have different repercussions depending on how much responsibility and accountability they take.  Some go even deeper into denial and refuse to accept themselves, and even marry another straight partner hoping to continue to live a lie.  A few partners decide that we caused their homosexuality or their infidelity and get vicious during a divorce.  I’ve heard absolutely horrific stories of long drawn out battles that are devastating.  Some regress to a more immature time in their lives and abandon their families, cut off all contact, even with their own children, a few completely disappear.  In one extreme case a man faked his own death, only to reemerge 16 years later openly gay.  Some spouses do everything they can to restore some type of relationship, they make amends, they ask for forgiveness, they remain positive parents to their children and do their best to rebuild trust.

In the most tragic cases both straight spouses and our partners have committed both suicide and homicide.  People are capable of doing truly horrible things, regardless of their sexual orientation.   There have been examples from straight spouses and their partners of self-inflicted violence, or violence towards their spouse.

For a lot of us, our situation lies somewhere between the extremes. a few couples even decide to stay together and redefine their marriages, although most of us separate or divorce.  The best resolutions usually occur with open communication and accountability for past transgressions.  Straight Spouse marriages are similar but they run the full spectrum of outcomes.

I still write about this because I know it helps other straight spouses find the help they need.  I still write about this because it could also help people who might be considering marrying someone to try to “fix” their gay tendencies or urges.  I write about this because I really don’t want it to keep happening.  I write about this because I’m sick of people making wild assumptions about us or our former spouses.

GLTBQ people should be proud of who they are, and should be able to marry whomever they want in an honest and open way. They should be able to be openly gay, and free to live happy and healthy lives and not try to hide behind a facade.   I do have empathy towards their situation.  But we can’t sweep the ugliness under the rug, and no one should get a free pass for abusive, neglectful, deceitful behavior because they were confused about their sexual orientation.  It’s not easy being gay, and the coming out process for many is long and difficult, but they should also come to terms with those they have hurt along the way.  The closet doesn’t just affect the person living inside of it, but everyone around them.   We all have suffered, but we will end the suffering if we all face the truth.  We cannot continue to live in proverbial closets where the dark sides of mixed orientation marriages are brushed aside or ignored.  The hate and prejudice directed at GLTBQ affects more than just the community itself.  The damage to those individuals and the self-hatred splinters outward affecting their families and loved ones – including Straight Spouses.

An invaluable resource for anyone facing this is the Straight Spouse Support Network.  There you will find access to local support groups in your area, chat rooms full of other straight spouses sharing their stories, literature and books written by and for straight spouses, literature and books written from our spouse’s perspectives and support for children affected by these situations.  SSN is literally one stop shopping for advice on just about every aspect of dealing with these revelations.   Author and therapist Bonnie Kaye has a blog for women who were married to gay men.  There are private groups on Facebook, retreats where we physically get together and meet other straight spouses from around the country.  You are not alone.  I might eventually just run out of things to say on the subject, but I will never stop supporting other men and women who find themselves in this most horrible shared experience.

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

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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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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.

Life as Straight Spouse: Living with the Scarlet G

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G (Photo credit: chrisinplymouth)

In the American classic  “The Scarlet Letter” Nathanial Hawthorne wrote about Hester Prynne, a woman who conceived a daughter through an adulterous affair with a minister.  Her community, in 17th century Massachusetts, forces her to wear a red-letter “A” upon all of her clothing as a constant reminder of her transgression, and to publicly humiliate her.

Since I left my closeted gay husband nearly three years ago, I can relate to Prynne all too well as I have felt like a giant “G” for gay follows me wherever I go.  But in my case the symbolic “G” I wear on my heart is bedazzled like a disco ball and surrounded by flashing lights.

This morning, on a dating website I get the following from a man who lives in all places Northern Illinois…I live in Brooklyn, NY so I have no idea why he wrote to me to begin with…

You seem to have a history of dating gay guys, at least that’s how your answers look to the casual observer. What’s up with that? You also said you just got divorced, is that what happened? I feel bad for you if that’s what happened… 🙁 Also, sex with the lights on should be a bit different than with them off, not exactly the same.

There is nothing on my profile that indicates that I divorced a gay man.  The questions section is a separate section that another user would have to dig deeper to read.  A few of the questions are about having sex with someone of the same gender or bisexuality, I did make some comments in that section but I never once say anything as blatant as…my ex was gay.  I write things like if you even think you might be gay, please keep looking I am not the girl for you.   The man from Illinois who sent this lovely email to me this morning…looked gay himself.  He had artificially streaked blonde hair, and a couple of modeling shots that looked straight out of a gay sporting magazine – hairless bare chest and all.

I debated if I should just delete the email and move on.  The last line about “sex with the lights on” really pushed me over the edge so I decided to write a response.  I basically told him he was projecting and that to most women he might appear gay himself.  I also encouraged him, that if he was gay that he should come out of the closet.  I even suggested he read a book about gay self-hatred called “The Velvet Rage”.   I know I should have deleted the email and not given it a second thought, but I sort of snapped.  And I wouldn’t normally try to forcibly “out” anyone but since he had done the same to me, I didn’t hold back.

I spend nearly every day of my life trying to talk myself down from the very things this stranger from Illinois put in his email.   Every day, I reinforce the sentiment that I am worthy of a normal relationship, that I am not defective or sexually inadequate.   But then something like this happens and I think to myself…

“Maybe that is why I have had such a hard time dating”

Maybe deep down that is how straight men see me, as damaged or frigid.  They may think to themselves what kind of woman would marry a gay man?

Because I have been so public and open about my situation I cannot escape my past.  A common saying in the straight spouse community is that when our spouses come out of the closet we retreat into our own.  In many mixed orientation marriages, a straight spouse is forced to keep secrets for months, sometimes years to protect their partner.  I understand why each situation is different, as there are no easy answers for many mixed orientation marriages on the right time to disclose the truth.   In my example I really didn’t see the need to continue the lies as my spouse and I had no children, and his sexual orientation would not affect his career.  When my spouse came out of the closet, I made sure the doors were open as wide as possible.

I don’t regret that decision, but there has been a cost.  By putting it out there, I can’t decide when I reveal this information to a potential new partner.  If I try to hide it and they find this blog or any of the articles I have written for the Huffington Post, I look suspicious.  Even if I wanted to delete every article that I have written about my marriage on this blog, the Huffington Post pieces remain, and I honestly don’t regret writing a single syllable.  And since I have been working on a memoir about my marriage for months, the topic dominates my thoughts anyway.

I assume that some men might think I am asexual, have a decreased sex drive or that I find them attractive because they read as gay.   I have no idea, but I know that since I have been single, I have had very little luck dating anyone.  I guess many think I must have had something seriously wrong with me to have ended up in such a marriage.

But what I have found when I have met other straight spouses is that the problem doesn’t lie with us, it lies with our spouses.  Most straight spouses are if anything, too loyal, nurturing and understanding towards their partners.  We attracted our spouses in part because they knew we were the type of people who would stand by them.  And then we get stigmatized when we did nothing more but to love another person unconditionally.  It hardly seems fair, but so much of being a straight spouse is not fair.

Since I started writing about my marriage I occasionally get insanely cruel comments from strangers who mock my circumstances.  I know I would have laid down my life for my spouse if needed, and that I put my entire heart and soul into my marriage.  I  believed that marriage was a sacred institution and did everything to keep mine intact.  But there was nothing I could do to keep a house of cards from falling over.  And now despite everything I have done to improve my life and move on, there are some that would still blame me for the lies of my former partner.  But thanks to the internet I know I am not alone and that straight spouses are some of the strongest people out there.  Eventually this will be so far in my past that I will no longer be defined by it, I will be in a loving committed relationship and won’t have to deal with random closeted men from Northern Illinois sending me hateful emails.

 

John Travolta – Gay or Not Gay? A straight spouse’s perspective

John Travolta

John Travolta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have so many mixed feelings about the John Travolta gay sex allegations it is difficult for me to write about this.  As any regular reader of this blogs already knows, I am a straight spouse.  A straight spouse is someone who married a gay partner.  In my case I was unaware of my spouse’s true sexual orientation when I married him.  For most straight spouses, the discovery of the true nature of their partner’s sexuality is devastating.

Accusations of John Travolta’s sexual orientation have dogged the actor for years.  Is he or isn’t he gay?  He has been married to actress Kelly Preston since 1991.  Publicly they have always maintained that their marriage was completely traditional.  So why do these rumors persist? Is it mere speculation?  Does he have a homosexual past?  Is he living a secret homosexual life now?  Is he an easy target because of the roles that he has played?

John Travolta is far from the only high-profile actor or personality that has dealt with these types of accusations, others have included Tom Cruise, Ryan Seacrest, George Clooney, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys and even Oprah Winfrey.   In the case of Travolta most of the allegations have been from men seeking monetary gain from sharing their experiences.  Although not all of them have sought money, as one man simply went to the press with his story.   Then there is the long-time girlfriend of the now deceased actor Jeff Conaway, Vikki Lizzi.   She has come out with a tale of Travolta sexually assaulting her partner while he was sleeping.  It is difficult to ascertain her reasoning for revealing this accusation now, as her deceased partner cannot corroborate the story.  But at the same time what does she have to gain from telling it?  Was she paid for her story?  Or does she feel it is simply the time to be upfront and set the record straight (or set the record gay, pardon the pun) now that multiple accusers have surfaced.

Ultimately someone’s sexual orientation is their own business.  Travolta should be free to love and have sex with whomever he wants and not need to broadcast it to the world.  Yet, if he is hiding his true nature and living in the closet, he is setting a horrible example for young gay men and women.  By using a straight spouse as cover he is sending the message

To survive you must hide and take others down with you. 

If he is using his wife as a sort of a prop and she doesn’t know it, she has my deepest sympathies.  Although if she entered this marriage with the full knowledge that her husband was gay or bisexual and his occasional sexual affairs were part of the bargain then none of this is our business.   It is not as if John Travolta is condemning the lives of homosexuals or working to suppress their rights.  Unlike the hypocrite Ted Haggard who was condemning gays from the pulpit only to later come out as a gay man himself.  But Travolta’s religion of Scientology,  has had a somewhat uneven history on the subject of homosexuality.  The church officially states it is one of tolerance toward homosexuals, but the original teachings of L.Ron Hubbard read as very homophobic.

If Travolta is gay, and he feels the need to hide is sexual orientation in order to have a successful acting career than it is a tragedy, for his family and for himself.  The closet is a suffocating vice, which forces the person living inside of it to constantly lie.  They must lie to their loved ones, lie to themselves and lie to most of  their partners. If he is gay, I would suspect that some of his homosexual partners might be coming out now out due to resentment towards him.  As a closet case he gets to have his cake and eat it to, live the life of a heterosexual free of societal stigma, harassment, bullying and discrimination while secretly living as a homosexual.  Yet if he is gay and living a lie, he is only encouraging more men and women to do the same.  As a straight spouse this cuts me to the bone.  Most of us don’t know the truth until we have invested years sometimes decades into a marriage, and we don’t have multimillion dollar estates to soften the blow.

With changing attitudes about homosexuality and the greater acceptance of homosexuals no one should have to live like this.  Other openly gay actors like Zachary Quinto, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Jane Lynch and Alan Cummings haven’t hurt their careers by coming out.   After all an actor is just filling a role.  We all know that Travolta is not the same man who was a hitman for hire as he was in “Pulp Fiction”, nor is he Edna Turnblad from “Hairspray”.  Plenty of women were swooning when Zachary Quinto portrayed Spock in the last “Star Trek” movie even though we suspected or knew he was gay.  I was completely in LOVE with Spock, not the actor, but the character created for the movie.    Travolta’s sex life is his own personal business, but if he is living a lie I wish he would come clean.  If more gay men were open and proud about who they are and who they love in this world we would have much less suffering, and no straight spouses.  And as a straight spouse, I would never want anyone else to go through what I have gone through.  Living your life as one half of someone else’s lie is a torture I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

On being a Straight Spouse – Broken Memories

Bride

I am normally a comedian, but anyone who knows comedians know we tend to be a little morose from time to time.  And for some reason it seems to help me get past some of these dark moods when I write them down and put them on my blog.  Don’t worry regular readers there are some things I wouldn’t never put on this blog, they are just too personal or might unintentionally hurt someone, so they stay on paper never to make it to cyberspace.

The other day a relatively new person in my life wanted to know the specifics of my ex-husband‘s realization he was gay.  Most people assume at some point in our marriage, my ex simply found the courage to finally be honest with himself and with me.  I wish that were the case, but I was not given that consideration.  Like many straight spouses, instead of the truth being revealed to me,  I had years of lies, excuses and finally betrayal.  It wasn’t until I found hard evidence of his true sexual orientation that I could finally move on.  Even with this proof right in front of his face, all pretense removed he still tried to deny reality.  In the weeks that passed he finally admitted his inner-deception.  I was then faced with the harsh realization that on some level my entire marriage was a fraud.   The depths of deep sorrow are hard to describe really, and the confusion of others towards me never really ends.  Many cannot contemplate how insidious the wound of being a straight spouse, cuts right through a person.  Meaning well they will flippantly try to reassure me with lines such as…

Well at least he didn’t cheat on you with a woman
 

All I can think is, well if he cheated on me with a woman at least I could understand that.  Infidelity is common in many marriages and some even survive the trauma.  If he had cheated on me with a woman we might still be together.   Depending on the specific circumstances I might have been able to forgive him and move on.   Marriage is a lifetime commitment and a lifetime leaves plenty of chances to make some fairly big mistakes.   As it stands I have to live with the knowledge that he never really wanted me.  That realization is horrifically painful.

You know he really loved you he couldn’t help he was gay

I guess but, if he really loved me he wouldn’t have used me in this way.  He knew what he was doing to me, he knew his was keeping secrets, he knew he was lying.  I don’t quite understand the concept of “The Closet” as he has admitted he has known since he was a child, and then in the same breath tried to reconcile his relationship with me.  So which was it?  I can’t help but think he was just suppressing what he knew was there all along and I was his collateral damage.  And what damage, nine years of a life, years of sacrifice and compromise, and romance that wasn’t real.

The suicide rate for straight spouses is three times higher than those in a traditional divorce.  A straight spouse has to deal with a lot: damaged sexuality, loss of trust, social stigma, and wounded self-esteem.  To make matters worse, a straight spouse cannot even look back to happier memories, as even they become tainted.  My happy memories, broken like crumpled photographs that cannot be flattened properly no matter what method I try.   As if the photographic images have scratches ground into them permanently across smiling faces.  The first time I met my ex, our first kiss, and of course my entire nine years of sex with a man who didn’t really want to be there.  Our first apartment, our first Christmas, every memory is now clouded and defamed.   And I wonder what are these memories like to him?  I can’t imagine and I don’t really care.  My feelings for him have changed so much, he was once so important so central to my being and now he is just someone who knows me so well but I really never knew at all.

My entire wedding haunts me now, as one big farce.  I had an absolutely beautiful ceremony, perfect weather, supportive families, and a wonderful, gorgeous celebration.  I look back at it now and want to erase it from my brain.  I am not angry anymore as I gave up on the anger a while ago.  The rage was doing no more than grinding me down, so I released it.  But I still feel a deep sadness that will flare up from time to time at times completely unexpectedly.  I will find myself staring off thinking about one aspect of it, and others around me will comment that I look sad or lost.  I don’t realize I am doing this, it is as if my mind just takes over for a few minutes and I sink back into the sorrow if only for a moment.  And the trust issues are tantamount, I can’t fathom being married again, it is just so foreign a concept after what I went through.

I could have chosen to keep it hidden, continued the secret to protect him and protect myself from judgment and labels but since “The Closet” nearly destroyed me I would rather leave its door in charred splinters and not continue the pretense one more day.

And now I live with the shame and the invasive questions along the lines of…

How did you not know?

As if there is something wrong with me, as if I somehow brought this upon myself with some type of shortcoming or character flaw.  Not that I was just prey for a self-serving person who needed, a partner to hide his secret life.  I know there are some that laugh at me and mock my situation.  They aren’t surprised that this happened to me, as if it is a joke, or I am not worthy of a normal relationship.  Or that my fiercely feminist bent lead me to a gay emasculated husband.  Even though my ex is an extremely strong personality that dominated our relationship and marriage.  He was hardly a push-over or hen-pecked wimp.  He didn’t mince about or act effeminate, he didn’t lisp or act in a flamboyant manner.  He was just a man who acted if anything somewhat asexual rather than overtly gay.  We had a sex life that was normal, but it slowly become dysfunctional.  And a decreased sex life is not unheard of in traditional marriages.  I begged my husband to seek treatment for what he claimed was erectile dysfunction, and the more I pushed the worse things got.

So I look for solace, calm, and peace and I am beginning to find it.  But in order to move on I have to wipe out whole sections of my past.  Every memory is now clouded and opaque.  I have to instead focus on how much stronger I have become after nearly being destroyed.  How I have gained compassion and empathy towards others and courage I didn’t know I had in me.  And learn to forgive myself for all the damage that I wrought in the aftermath of the fall.   If anything this personal hell has taught me that no one has it easy in life, even those who seem to have everything they want.  Their loved ones die for no real reason, they suffer loss, disappointment and tragedy.  We can choose to wallow in the muck or pull ourselves up out of it.  I strive every day now, to move forward.   As painful as it is for me to write some of these blog posts, I know it is helping other people.  For whatever reason when I throw these demons into cyberspace they grow quieter in my head.

One thing that has helped me in my recovery are the many straight spouses that read this blog and have shared their stories with me.  No one really understands this torture except someone who has gone through it.  And we will survive it, it just takes time, patience and a world of strength.  Solidarity to anyone who found this blog who is going through the same thing.  It will get better.  🙂

For more help a wonderful resource – Straight Spouse Network – Chat rooms, discussions, stories and you can even find local support groups in your area.  I am a semi-regular member of the NY city chapter.  You will rarely find people that truly understand our unique situation.  I can’t say enough good things about this organization.

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Dating After Divorce: NYC – Gay or European?

Village People Motorcycle Guy / Leather Man an...

Anyone who has lived in New York city for any length of time is familiar with the following expression.

“Gay or European?”

Before I start I want to say first that there are many shades of the sexual orientation rainbow.  Meaning, some gay men act, dress and look no different from a typical heterosexual man.  My ex-husband is an excellent of example of a gay man that most people thought was straight, including most gay men and myself.  At the same time some straight men act, dress and look more like a stereotypically gay man, and then we have the Europeans.

Due to cultural differences of men from one of the many countries in Europe, including the UK the distinction between gay and straight can get blurry.  Making this even more difficult is the rise of metrosexual men in New York.  That is heterosexual men who are openly into fashion, grooming, and their overall appearance.  I am not against any of this, but given my history I am a bit cautious about ending up with another gay man.  I have never been a huge fan of the super macho jock types so what is a girl to do?

If the man you are talking to has several of the following characteristics…pay close attention.  One or two may mean nothing, but several may be cause for concern.

  • Impeccable or trendy wardrobe
  • Especially tight clothing
  • Amazing shoes
  • Complicated haircuts
  • Bleached hair, tipped hair, streaked hair – always exceptions of course
  • Tank tops – Not the wife beater style but the skin-tight athletic ones
  • Skinny Jeans – a favorite of young men and hipsters too.
  • Feminine mannerisms
  • Bow ties – This one is tough as many straight men love bow ties
  • Leather pants, leather vests, leather clothing in general
  • Scarves worn indoors, not as outer-wear
  • Cute little hats worn indoors
  • Use of glitter, rainbows on clothing, makeup – foundation especially

The last one would probably indicate gay, I mean most straight men don’t wear foundation unless on a movie set or on stage and glitter is usually worn by teenage girls, burlesque performers and some gay men.   But expressing one or a couple of the above traits can mean nothing.  I knew one extremely straight individual who loved bow ties, amazing shoes and tailored suits but he was an upper crust academic so that could explain some of his fashion choices.   I also know many men under the age of thirty who fancy themselves rocker or hipster types who commonly wear skinny jeans, tight clothing or eyeliner.  And a man in leather pants, might just like leather pants…but if he is wearing a matching leather vest, no shirt and a leather cap, chances are he is gay.  Nipple piercings used to mean gay, but I probably know more straight men who have them now, than gay men.  Just as tattoos are sported in equal numbers by both gay and straight men and are hardly a good indicator of anything.  Now if they have a tattoo of a gay image or say the words “Gay Pride” then it might be safe to say they are gay. Earrings whether in one ear or both ears and nail polish don’t indicate anything either, as I know many men that paint their nails black or silver and earrings have long since become mainstream.

And of course none of these traits are inherently bad.  There is nothing wrong with a man who wants to wear leather chaps, or rainbow hot-pants, but they are probably not batting for the hetero team.  There is also nothing wrong with a straight man that loves fashion as I can think of several straight men that have an impeccable and creative wardrobe of absolutely stunning clothing.  We are much better off as a society with these gender distinctions murky with fewer people feeling trapped to adopt rigid gender standards.  Women have also blurred gender lines in dress and behavior.

I met a European man the other night who was wearing black skinny jeans, combat boots up to his knee and a form-fitting tank top.  He also shaved his head completely bald and openly admitted to photographing BDSM scenes of gay men.  Although he repeatedly claimed he was heterosexual I wasn’t completely convinced.  To prove a point about his uncircumcised penis he nearly whipped it out in front of me and a group of men.  I asked him not to as I didn’t really want to see it, and he didn’t but I think it was a close call.  He said dramatically

“Why not?  We are all whores here now aren’t we?”

To which I replied.

“Well, no we aren’t, so please, I don’t want to see your penis”

He obliged and it stayed in his pants.  The man lamented that since living in the United States many women usually think he is gay.  I explained to him that is wardrobe choices might be confusing things unless he was in a goth bar.   I wished him good luck as he accompanied a bunch of openly gay men to a gay bar.  I wanted to add that hanging out with a bunch of gay men at a gay bar is probably not the best place to pick up straight women, but I didn’t want to spoil the party.  The combination of his wardrobe, the near penis sighting, his profession and activities – going to a gay bar left me undecided on his true sexual orientation.  He was the living embodiment of “Gay or European”.

I wish there was a definitive way of knowing with absolute certainty if the macho baseball cap wearing man in khakis is on the down-low, or the man in the tight pastel shirt wearing is skinny jeans is hetero.  There is none, so you have to take everyone on a case by case basis.  And then of course there are bisexual men, which I just flat-out don’t understand and openly admit it.  But any man who admits he is bisexual, at least you know what you are dealing with, it is the men who claim they are 100% heterosexual, while having homosexual sex, that are the ones to avoid.  I am all for honesty, and if you know your partner is also sexually interested in men and you can handle that, then go for it.

Now you would think the best test of whether a person is gay or not is to have sex with them.  If it were so easy!  Most straight spouses I know had normal if not earth shattering sex lives with their spouses for at least part of if not most of their marriages.  Just because a gay man can have sex with a woman doesn’t mean he wouldn’t rather be having sex with a man.  The saddest part of all of this confusion is that any gay man wouldn’t want to live openly as gay, but would instead jump through hoops and pretend to be straight.  With the changing attitudes about homosexuality we might someday arrive at a time when the easiest way to find out a person’s sexual orientation will be to just ask them.  Until then, if the guy is wearing glitter….assume he is gay unless it is Mardi Gras or something and then…well…I don’t know, my gaydar is obviously broken. 🙂

Divorce – The Blame Game and the many shades of gray

Marriage

So I am starting this one worked up again, as that is usually what compels me to write.  One of the things that kind of drives me crazy with divorce is the “blame the victim” mentality.  That is, for some there is never a victim in a divorce, that both sides of the conflict must share the blame of the split and they won’t budge from that viewpoint.  Another blogger, who I absolutely won’t mention as I don’t want to give him publicity or attention cherry-picked one of my articles.

This is how he quoted me.

By her third sentences, she regrets having acted as she tells others they should not — “but not completely.” Why? you may ask. No need: Her run-on sentence goes on to say that she was “mad, extremely mad at my husband who had been…” blah, blah, blah.

Those blah, blah, blahs….that he left out were in fact quite important.  I wrote the following.

I was mad, extremely mad at my husband who had been lying to me for years and living as a closeted homosexual. I had nine years of sacrifice and struggle to keep a relationship together that was ultimately a fraud at its core.

My critic also goes on to criticize me for basically taking none of the blame of my divorce.  And to quote him directly, he claims

“I was 100% right and he was 100% wrong” story.

I hate to break it to this self-proclaimed divorce expert, but sometimes…divorces really are that lopsided.  I can think of my example, and most straight spouses.  A straight spouse is someone who was misled by a closeted homosexual into believing that they entered a marriage with a heterosexual partner.  In some cases, the straight spouse may know beforehand that their partner is gay, has gay tendencies or a gay past and they choose to marry them anyway.  However usually the closeted partner will go to extreme lengths to hide their sexuality.  When the truth is finally revealed what is the straight spouse to do to save the marriage?  Continue to live a lie?  Live a non-traditional marriage perhaps having new sexual partners, but remaining in a sham marriage? My ex-husband begged me to stay with him, work out an arrangement, live with him in a fraud, he was willing to do almost anything to keep me.  I didn’t want to live a lie anymore so I left him.

The only exception I can think of is that if a gay partner and a straight partner choose to stay in a relationship and everything is above-board and honest.  I know of a few examples of non-traditional relationships that work quite well.  But in my situation deception was the only thing keeping my marriage together.  And I knew that by keeping my ex-husband in the closet would ultimately destroy him.  Because “the closet” is a horrible, miserable existence.

If anything by leaving my husband I released him from this destructive self-loathing.   So I am not going to take half of the blame for my divorce.  I was fully committed to my husband, I never had an extramarital affair and that was even after my marriage became celibate.   I put up with lies and excuses because I was dedicated to making my marriage work.

There are other examples of blame not going evenly to both partners, such as

  • One partner is physically abusing the other or abusing the couples children
  • One partner is a serial cheater and has not been faithful to their spouse and cannot be faithful to any partner
  • One partner is leading a secret life that puts his or her family in jeopardy.  i.e. criminal activity without the other partners knowledge
  • One partner is mentally ill and refuses to get treatment
  • One partner has a substance abuse problem and refuses treatment
  • One partner marries the other for a green card or other fraudulent reason

I know it might seem impossible for my critic to admit that there charming yet nefarious people out there who have absolutely no intention of keeping their marriage vows, but these situations are quite common.  I blame myself for picking the wrong partner, but I won’t take responsibility for his lies.

In some marriages both parties have made multiple mistakes, or perhaps entered into the union before they were ready.  They may have both been emotionally abusive to one another or had extramarital affairs.  Financial or lifestyle issues and lack of communication might tear them apart.  Or they simply could have grown into two very different people than when they entered the marriage.  In these cases there are many shades of gray.  Even infidelity sometimes occurs because one partner simply wants out desperately and is looking for any excuse to end it.  They have an affair, admit it immediately and their marriage is over.  Not exactly a serial cheater who lied for years, but a desperate person looking for and end to a broken marriage.  I have had friends go through nearly every scenario, and in most cases the reasons for a split is very murky.  Neither side can blame the other without taking some blame themselves.  But when one spouse enters into a marriage with a secret and lies, there is little the other spouse can do to change that.

Human relationships aren’t so neat and tidy or democratic.   So to those who insist that I or any other spouse like myself should accept responsibility for a person who repeatedly lied during the marriage I say they are way off base.  The best thing we can do is avoid picking another deceptive partner and move forward.