Fact of the matter is that I married a gay guy. It wasn’t going to be smooth sailing, and we both knew that. At the ages of 22 and 26, we didn’t have much of an idea what our life together would look like. Marriage at its best is rocky, and I knew that I would much rather do the rocky marriage thing with him than any other guy I had ever met. (and I had met a lot.) What we did know- all those years ago- was that if our life even somewhat resembled the life we shared while dating, it was going to be very, very good.
Dealing with the gay thing is positively NOT easy when you’re not being gay. It takes a whole new set of rules, a set which has yet to be successfully written. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus just doesn’t cut it in this situation. Even others who have navigated these waters don’t have all the answers because each of us is so different in our level of need, our level of understanding and even our level of interest in making it all happen. Straight folks can’t possibly understand why anyone would want to live this way. Heck, even we wonder why we want to live this way some days.
However sensible it may seem to just give it all up and move on, it is not. There is this thing that Husband and I have that has saved us time and time again from throwing in the towel, and that is our friendship. Sometimes I wish I were less of a friend and more of a wife, but if that were the case, I’d no longer be Mrs. Jensen. I’d be Mrs. Somebody Else. We wouldn’t have survived year #3. When Husband comes to me and says, “hey, I’m wanting out right now” it isn’t as my Husband that he is saying it. It is as my BF, needing to let off some steam in order to bring in some perspective so he can face being Mr. Jensen again. Believe me- when he comes to me in those moments, it is anything but flippant. It is anything but carelessly tossing about his wiles and whims. If we knew of another way around it, we would do it.
You see, for the bulk of our marriage, he stuffed it. He played it “straight.” (For the most part. You really can’t hide his brand of fabulousness.) He kept his desires to himself, did all he could to keep me as sexually satisfied as possible, and quietly suffered. Maybe some guys can live that way, but he couldn’t. So we decided to try it this way- total honesty. So far, it is getting mixed reviews; total honesty piled on top of an already depressed wife is not a really great combination. But as I stated before, I’d much rather he let out his steam here with me, than in a sauna in a Chicago hotel.
This all sounds really horrible to an outsider. But those of you who know us, know that our life is so much more than gay husband/ put-upon wife. You see the love and utter devotion we have for each other. You see our happy and vibrant children, and the fullness we get out of every day- together. I see our marriage- our life together as more than fulfilling one anothers dreams and whims. It is working together to make something beautiful and positive out of what others may discard. It is soaking the good out of every moment and using the bad to develop qualities that would lie dormant otherwise.
I fell in love with Husband because he understood me in a way that no other even approached. I felt more beautiful with him because my beauty wasn’t merely a turn-on, but because he knew exactly why I was beautiful to him. I loved him because he would tenderly take my face in his hands and kiss away the darkness that haunted me. I love him for the way he treats others- the way that everyone he meets can sense the light and goodness that is in him, and then want to be more because of that. I love his energy- his fire and his passions for what he loves. I knew he would be an amazing father, and he is. I knew he would support me in whatever I desired, and he does.
Even through all of the clouds of hurt and sadness, these things still shine so brightly. We debate back and forth the wisdom of our union, but I cannot conclude that I wouldn’t do it all over again- even in the midst of the ugliness.
So when someone comes to me and asks what to do in their marriage, I simply cannot say. I may have my ideas, but I really don’t know. What I do know is that hiding who you are is different from hiding what you may want at the moment. Being open and honest is always best, but the level of honesty may need to vary based on the dynamics of your relationship. Only you can decide. When the dissonance of so many opinions becomes confusing rather than clarifying, it is time to step away from the voices and listen to the one that matters.
Once again, may I state that I am not a put-upon wife. The path I have chosen is not an easy one, and may not make sense, but it is the path I have chosen.