Read an Excerpt
You Celebrate ... You!What Do You Do When You Find Out Your Husband Is Gay?
By Carolyn M. Brown
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Carolyn M. Brown
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat's It All About?
There is much discussion and media attention on why, or why not, same-sex marriages should be allowed. It should be noted that homosexuals do marry; many, over the years, actually marry straight spouses. It has been presumed that if homosexuals were legally allowed to marry each other, it would alleviate the number of homosexuals marrying straight spouses. I'd like to believe that if society were more aware of these situations, maybe attitudes would change.
We cannot deny that homosexuality exists, and we cannot deny that children have been, and are, being raised in families where one parent is gay. Understandably, sexual orientation does not have a bearing on parenting ability. Homosexual as well as heterosexual parents have the ability to love and nurture children. A home where there is harmony and love is where a child will thrive.
Children are highly attuned to tension and stress; where sexual incompatibility exists, there is often tension and stress. When a straight spouse erroneously believes her partner is straight, inevitably the relationship suffers, and that adversely affects all those involved.
What most people are not aware of is that in today's society, there are a significant number of married men who are gay, who have children, and many who lead a double life. More disclosure and open discussion regarding gay-straight marriage relationships would, in my opinion, help alleviate the latent secrecy that currently shrouds this not-so-uncommon phenomenon.
When a gay man marries, there will come to be some point during the marriage when the fundamental nature of his orientation will begin to emerge. As the conflict of emotions increases within him over time, he will begin to feel constrained, and tension will build. At this point, if he has not already done so, he will start to look outside of the marriage for some form of acknowledgment or relief. This may be on the Internet or with casual social exchanges. As he begins to feel more comfortable in his other world, the conflict within himself and within the marriage will increase.
Movies such as Brokeback Mountain portray these circumstances as tragic love stories. The tragedy is seen as a love story, with the main male characters arranging secret rendezvous because society denies them the opportunity to openly express their sexual identity.
I agree no one should be denied their identity, their lifestyle, or the benefits of living in a free society. To my mind, the questions that really need to be addressed are: "Does the tragedy lie with the gay married man or does it lie with the wife and family he has deceived?" and, "Do these tragedies have to exist at all?"
Homosexuality itself is a multifaceted issue, but part of its "coming-out" process entails making the plights of the women and children suffering the deception of a gay spouse or father known and recognized for the often avoidable tragedy that they are.
As stated in the following excerpt used by permission from Iyanla Vanzant's book, Until Today, in the devotion for February 11:
I will know love when I realize ... people will come into my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime!
Leaving just isn't easy! It is unfortunate and it happens. When it does we fight it because leaving someone you have spent time living with and loving is no easy task. In every relationship, regardless of how it started or how it is ending, there are so many good things you have convinced yourself could and should keep you together. They do, until the day you wake up and realize the things that once worked no longer do.
You know you've changed. You've grown. The little things that once brought a smile to your face are now a burden in your heart. You know what you have to do. You just don't know how to do it. You don't want anyone, especially you, to get hurt. You know that if you could just say what you feel, if you just move beyond the fear, the guilt, the anticipation of anger, you could close the door. It wouldn't be easy, but you could move on. You know you have done the best you could do. You know you have given all that you have to give. Yet for some reason, you keep on trying to make it work. Well, here is something you may not know—when you have learned all you can learn in a relationship, its season will end. When you have healed what you can into the relationship to heal, its purpose has been fulfilled. When a relationship is over, it's over! Hanging on will only make the days ahead darker!
Until today, you may have thought that ending a relationship was a difficult, challenging, or unnecessary experience. Just for today, be devoted to acknowledging and accepting all that you have learned and all that you have healed. When you can be grateful for those things, it will be easier to let go. Today I am devoted to acknowledging lessons learned, blessings earned, and wounds that have been healed.
The Phoenix Rising—Coping with Change
According to Egyptian sources, a sacred bird was occasionally seen at the temple in Heliopolis, the city of the sun god. The bird symbolized the rising sun (i.e., the day and eternal rebirth). According to an Egyptian myth, Osiris transformed into a phoenix bird in Heliopolis. The bird was, from time to time, depicted sitting in a tree next to Osiris's coffin, thus symbolizing Osiris's—the dead man's—resurrection after death. In Greek sources, among others, Herodot, the phoenix bird's cyclic renewal, is a core theme.
Later authors have developed the story about the phoenix bird. Ovid and Mela told that the phoenix bird built itself a nest of incense and died in it. According to Artemidor, the bird burned in its nest made by incense and myrrh, after which a new phoenix bird emerged from the ashes. This story about the phoenix bird was spread and has lasted until today. Christian monks in the middle ages employed the phoenix bird as a symbol of Christ because of its voluntary death, its rebirth after death and its pure way of coming to life.
In the late 1980s, my ex-husband and I attended "The Phoenix Seminar" presented by popular motivational speaker Brian Tracy. This seminar was our introduction to being responsible for our lives. We learned about self-fulfilling prophecy and visualization and how to recognize and deal with our limiting beliefs.
This process did change our lives, for a while. There was a period where, as a family, we would rise every morning and listen to Brian's affirmation tape. We were aware of the power of visualization. We discovered how our past had influenced our present.
Then, somewhere along the way, we went back to living by default. We experienced life as it happened, falling into the rut of reaction instead of action.
Upon discovering my ex-husband was gay, I realized it was again time to become an active creator of my life. We are women who, like the phoenix bird, find rebirth and rise after the death of our marriages as we believe them to be. We are renewed in our faith. We have learned to let go of the situations in our lives over which we have no control. We understand we have no control over the actions of others. We will accept that others may, or may not, be there to support us. We take responsibility for our lives and only our lives. We acknowledge there are some things we will never understand. We address the pain we are feeling. We let go of our grievances. We forgive ourselves, and we forgive those who hurt us. We forgive, have closure, and move forward. We turn to our faith and our spirituality. We learn to become active creators in our lives.
Somewhere in your past, you met, you married, and you vowed before God, "Until death us do part ... forsaking all others." You may have had children. You may have experienced "through sickness and health ... for richer or poorer, for better or worse," finding out that "worse" is much more than you expected. You married, assuming and expecting your husband was heterosexual.
You believed the circumstances surrounding your dating relationship and marriage were as they appeared. You believed your love was based on heterosexual love. Then, one day, the facts were exposed, and your life was forever changed.
We are all familiar with the midlife crisis—the forty-something man who needs to reinvent his life where, all too often, reinventing means searching for new sexual excitement with other women. We do know if we awake one morning and find the love of our life is having an affair with another woman, as shattering as this may be to our self-esteem, there are avenues of support available. The tides are turned when, however, your husband not searching for another woman but rather for another man. Where do we turn to then?
As wives, we often feel ashamed to tell anyone.
Let us reflect on the word "shame," which is defined as "a strong emotion encompassing guilt and embarrassment." As women who discover our husbands are gay, we should not feel guilty or embarrassed. Now you might say, "I do not feel guilty." However, if you are asking yourself, "How could I not have known?" that signifies guilt.
When we allow others to ask us that same question, we sometimes do not know how to respond. I have been asked, "How did you not know?"
My answer is, "Why and how would I have known? Our life together was sexual and mirrored that of other heterosexual couples around us."
Others also ask, "Are you sure? He can't really be gay." Again, this focuses responsibility on us. We hear how dreadful and sad it is that they (gay men) must suffer and hide their true selves, conforming to what society deems acceptable.
What is sad is that society does not seem to grasp the gravity of what such a lie and such betrayal does to the straight spouse. When a gay man marries a woman, he is not honoring himself or his wife. This is not to say that he does not love the woman he married but rather that the union of marriage with a woman is not what is compatible with his inner feelings.
Once a woman becomes aware of his sexual identity, she then knows what the issue is and that something needs to change. But what do you do? How do you do it? As Elisabeth Fayt states in her book, Paving It Forward: "In looking for externals to change, we often fail to see what inside of us needs to change. When you ask that no circumstance in your life be changed ... but rather for yourself to be changed ... whatever inside of you needs changing will become known to you."
You may say, "But it's not me who needs to change!" I suggest that by looking into yourself and what you need to change, you begin to heal and grow. You cannot change the circumstances, but you can change you.
Too often we fear change; we sometimes view the changing of ourselves as a negative, thinking something is wrong with us. The truth is, it is all about perspective. Change can be exciting and liberating. Change is one of the laws of the universe. The seasons change. People change. Change is constant, for everything is always changing.
When we grow up and leave home, we know going back will never be the same. When we left, we changed, and home changed.
And even our relationships change. Sometimes we grow together in our relationships, and sometimes we grow apart. The growing apart can be painful, but it does not have to be. We can choose to dwell on pain, or we can choose to take it as an opportunity to re-create our life. Change can be exciting, and change can be about growth; it is all about how we choose to look at our circumstances. Our attitude and our thoughts determine the path our future will take.
We alone choose our thoughts; we can choose to be happy no matter what the circumstances. We are the active creators in our life whether we believe it or not. You might ask, "How can I feel happy with what has happened to me when my life, my world, has fallen apart? I thought I would be married forever."
The stark reality of today's society is that, for so many, marriages do not end in "happy ever after." Whether these relationships were heterosexual or not, they, too, have their story of pain and deception.
Many people are forced to deal with the death of a relationship. Yes, it is okay to mourn; it is necessary to grieve, to go through the process. The key is to go through the process and not to get stuck in the process. The longer you mourn and the longer you stay hurt and angry, the more imbedded these feelings become inside of you.
When you feel yourself wanting to cry, when you feel yourself wanting to tell your story, and when you feel yourself wanting to yell, take a moment and think about what made you happy in the relationship. Maybe it was the birth of a child, a wonderful vacation you shared, or a special holiday moment.
We can choose to remember the good or remember the bad. Happy thoughts serve you better. If you are not able to think happy thoughts, do something that makes you happy; find something that will make you laugh. Go to a movie, listen to a joke, or play some favorite music; notice how your energy shifts when you smile, when you choose to think happy thoughts.
We attract into our lives that which we think about. We can choose to think positive or negative thoughts, and our lives will reflect those thought patterns. Our thoughts are energy, we are energy, and we are surrounded by energy. The energy that surrounds us attracts circumstances and people of the same energy level. That is why your experiences reflect what you are thinking about.
So why not choose to think happy thoughts? Reflect on what was good about your relationship. Since we are constantly learning from our relationships, have appreciation for the lessons you learned from this one and know it served to make you a better, stronger individual.
There are many things I can look back on with gratitude. I have a family that I would not have had if not for this marriage. We had family vacations, holidays, and family experiences that provide us with fond memories. We can choose to focus on the good memories or the unpleasant memories. But why consciously choose to focus on what was unpleasant?
Remember the good! I am grateful for this marriage; if I had not experienced this event in my life, I would not be where I am today. This event caused me to expand my knowledge and to view the world in a different way. I am remarried and growing spiritually with my new husband, John. We have learned a great deal from each other and with each other through our ongoing studies and experiences. The phoenix rises to live again!
"I honor in you the Divine that I honor within myself and I know we are one." —Deepak Chopra
Friends and Lovers
"I love you."
"You are my best friend."
"You are the most important person in the world to me."
These words are easy enough to say, but what do they really mean? Do they mean the same to both of you? Are the meanings harmonious with the roles in your relationship as you have defined them? I often hear women say, "He is my best friend. I love him so much."
Love is meant to be joyous, to enrich our lives, to enrich our spirit. Love is what we all search for. Love connects us. Does your relationship feel connected? Do you feel you are growing together or growing apart? Do you feel like best friends? Does your love feel spiritual?
Words like "best friend" are often used loosely. You may have thought you were best friends; however, best friends do not knowingly hurt each other. They are supposed to cherish one another, not hurt each other. Often, when the relationship is full of tension, neither person is treating the other like a friend.
I grew up under the auspices of the Golden Rule: "Always treat others the way you want to be treated." I applied this rule to my marriage, always giving to the relationship what I wanted to receive. What I found was that the more I tried, the more tension resulted. I was pushing the friendship, the lover aspect, too hard.
I realized that the more I tried to make situations romantic, the more tension developed. The more tension developed, the more we were not able to communicate. The energy level in our home became very low, with the vibration of tension permeating our relationship. There was a point where we probably were neither friends nor lovers.
We later became friends—people who share a past and a family. Because of that, we do care about what happens to each other. It is possible to maintain a friendship when you are able to let go and let your partner be who he is.
Excerpted from You Celebrate ... You! by Carolyn M. Brown Copyright © 2011 by Carolyn M. Brown. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.