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Dear Chump Lady, Did my being controlling make him gay?

Dear Chump Lady,

I need some serious help. My story is unique in that my husband cheated on me with a man. 15 years ago, he left me because I was “impossible to live with” and went to live with a man from work. It should have been my first sign. He swore he was just a friend (and swears to this day). He said I was controlling and smothering and he needed out. So he left.

I pick me danced, and after some couples therapy, and a promise to be nicer to him, he moved back in. Things were never “great”, but we ended up having a son, but after that point we lived mainly as roommates. Sex was rare if any. Until one day, after getting suspicious and snooping around his emails I found he was on gay sex groups.

I confronted him, he said he thought he may be gay and needed space to figure out who he was and he left. Little did I know, he has already been seeing someone much younger than him for several months before me confronting him. He and his “friend” moved in together and I started the divorce proceedings.

We decided to go to therapy to at least try to get along for our son’s sake. That led to me doing another PICK ME DANCE and him back to denying his sexuality and brushing it off as “experiemental.” I foolishly accepted that lie. ONLY to have a TEXT MESSAGE, yes a text message sent to me last year on our 20th wedding anniversary reiterating once again, “WHO HE WAS”. I filed for the divorce AGAIN, and it should be finalized in 2 months.

My issue is, he still blames me. constantly. Blames me for trying to always control his life, and for smothering him for the last 20 years, and for being a horrible person to him. And then when he’s done blaming me for all that, he tells me that he could have “lived with his secret forever” if i wasnt such a controlling person having to know every little thing about him — like if he was gone from the store too long or late from work. (Yes, things he actually did and later I had found out when he’d meet up with his “friend” for sex in their car).

While, I know I’m not blameless in a sexless marriage and while I know I am a bit of a controlling person, I didn’t cause him to be gay or to cheat or to lie or to be deceived by who he really is. Did I? How can I ever move on to MEH when I’m constantly being blamed for everything that ever went wrong in our marriage?

Please help me. I just want to forgive myself and get to MEH.


Dear Kathy,

You don’t get to meh by listening to what your closet-case ex thinks. Really? You’re going to listen to the person who’s been conducting an “experiment” on his sexuality for 20-plus years? Is there a research grant for that?

Kathy, your situation isn’t unique. It’s just another flavor of cake — the I-fuck-whomever-I-like-and-you-be-my-beard cake. His Schmoopies of choice are men. Different smorgasbord, same shit sandwiches. He extracts value from you, you make your needs invisible, thank him for this atrocious inequality, and it all works for him quite nicely. Welcome to the Chump Club.

I suppose if there is any balm in being the straight spouse is that it’s so very much NOT about you. Well, gee, I don’t have a penis!

Yet he’s trying to flip the script and make it about you anyway? Listen, you could no more make that man gay than a whole world probably tried to make him straight. Controlling people are having no effect here, as is evidenced by how many family values politicians are caught with rent boys.

Fact is, inauthenticity works for your husband. He chooses it. He’s an insult to every out gay man and woman. He’s a cheating creep. Which is the problem with full humanity — some of humanity are assholes. He’s gay AND he’s an asshole. The gay thing doesn’t make him an asshole, using people makes him an asshole. Don’t confuse things, just because he’s confused.

The real question here is why you thought ANY of this was acceptable to YOU? When you find your husband has been “experimenting” with men, why aren’t you making an immediate exit? That’s the skein you need to untangle — why you made yourself so small to be with such a person. No judgement. This is work all chumps need to do.

Now, about that meh — go no contact. Begin at once. (And if your son is still a minor, no contact plus parenting software.)

Let your husband find a new idiot for his laboratory.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Exactly. Spot on advice from CL.

    Hey, he doesn’t tell the truth about anything else, so it’s reasonable to conclude that he isn’t telling the truth about you. Which, of course, he isn’t — he’s saving himself and shiftimg blame to you to do it. It isn’t that you’re controlling, it’s that you get close to unraveling his master plan and he has to get aggressive to back you away from his secret closet. Observing his unreasonable behavior and catching him in lies as a result isn’t controlling, nor is expecting him to keep the agreements he makes.

    I am glad you and your son are in the process of getting away from this abuse. Faster the better. Get the help you need to process and grieve — you will need support and a place to vent without filtering it, and therapy is a great place to do that without compromising privacy or existing relationships — and keep moving toward your future.

    • “he doesn’t tell the truth about anything else, so it’s reasonable to conclude that he isn’t telling the truth about you.”

      This is exactly what I need to keep in mind when I hear him call me controlling, belittling and a bully. I catch myself actually questioning if I was. But why am I believing a man who had lied about so many things. He couldn’t even tell the truth about filling the gads tank up, why do I continue to believe what he is saying about me?

      • Them calling you controlling seems to be a favorite. My serial cheater called me controlling because I wasn’t okay with her spending the night at the affair partner’s house and I wanted to her cut off contact with affair partner when it became crystal clear to me that any continued communication was just continuing the affair. Serial cheater then told all of her friends how controlling I was so that these friends would then help her get away with her cheating. Clearly I’m the controlling monster here. *Sarcasm* No matter that she unilaterally controlled our relationship decisions and kept me in line with her rage and accusations…

        • This is it.
          I was controlling because I wanted a heads up if he was going to be late for dinner. I wanted him to cut back on happy hours, not just because of drinking but also for financial reasons.
          I was controlling because I wanted a household budget.

          But instead he refused to participate in a budget, went to happy hours never giving me a heads up even though they were planned well in advance and well eventually had an affair. No the real control was held by him by refusing to be a partner in a relationship, guilting me for trying to enforce my boundaries. Belittling = voicing concerns/feelings Bully=enforcing boundaries/voicing my needs

        • Sounds like my STBX. I was “controlling” because I objected to him being an alcoholic. His AP (also a drunk) used that to try to get him to leave me.
          After Dday I found out he had been DWI on several occasions.

          Sounds like your ex may have a drinking problem as well. That many happy hours is more than just social drinking in my experience. They spend as much money as they like on boozing and womanizing while expecting you to cut back on household expenses.

          At least The Asshole has stopped drinking and dumped his boozy paramour. For how long, who knows.
          Does your ex still drink a lot?

          • I’m not sure is mine still drink s a lot. He still drinks for sure and was going to at least once a week happy hours until he got a new job a few months ago. The OW has told me he is reformed and now knows what he needs to be for his family. He skipped a major annual drunk fest for work but in July he dropped $500+ in Vegas on a work trip (for what exactly I do not know) so the jury is still out if he still drinks a lot or has just gone more covert or has a trusting partner (as I was for years)

        • Yep, they love to classify your perfectly reasonable expectations as control. It’s a rationalization for their disgusting behavior.
          She sounds like a flaming narcissist.

          • “She sounds like a flaming narcissist.”

            I’m pretty sure her photograph is actually right by the definition of narcissist in the dictionary. 😀

      • YES. I just made a Post It Note…


        Thank you! This site is the ultimate infidelity first aid kit!

    • You are NOT alone for sure. Straight Spouse Network has been a huge healing place for me after my ex came out as gay in 2010. I also back up that gay and asshole are separate. Even if they come out after being married, while still traumatic for the family, it can be less so if everyone can move forward and heal. Unfortunately, too many closeted ones don’t want to take responsibility for the pain they’ve caused and often make their straight spouse the villain. My ex and I work well together to raise our four daughters. We still care a lot about each other. We have a more unique situation where we prioritized our children and helping each other heal. It helped a lot that he took full responsibility for what happened also. While no one is a perfect spouse, any fault of mine did not make him gay. Please visit to find others near you to connect and chat.

      • Also, Carol Lynn Pearson has written a book or two about her marriage to an (honest) gay man. It is called “Goodbye, I Love You” and it is quite touching. (I think it’s out of print, though.) And, to the letter writer, your situation is far from unique.

      • I am happy for your situation. But not everyone has an ‘honest’ gay ex partner that owns up to everything, takes responsibility and then proceeds like a grown up for the sake of the children.

        Every person who found that my marriage had ended because my husband cheated asked the very same question, “was it with a man”? He came out of the closet long enough to tell me what he had done, eight years of cheating with multiple partners, as I look back with clarity, I know it goes well beyond that. But once he told me he went straight back into the cupboard with the assistance of the church elders who are massively homophobic. They insisted they could fix him, that he had cheated with men because he had become lazy in his christian walk, they even offered him deliverance and he was willing to follow their lead as a way of spackling that closet door so no one noticed it. Initially, this has worked for him as he is now married to a woman they helped him groom though for very different reasons. They think his being married to a submissive wife someone not like me he will have no need or desire to cheat. He knows being married to someone who does not question him allows him to resume his old ways no questions asked. While the whole time he remains an asshole because gay or straight that is just who he is.

    • I admit to being biased here on being ‘closeted.’ I’m pansexual, poly, and kinky. None of my orientations give me a license to cheat, because I honor and value my commitments.

      For some reason, manipulative people often latch on to the idea that announcing they’re ‘gay’ should excuse them from honoring their commitments to people of the same sex. That’s just a ploy for cheaters. Being sexually attracted to a person does not give a cheater the license to cheat just because that attraction is not the norm.

      For that matter, ANY sexual orientation can and is used by manipulative cheaters as an excuse to cheat. That includes being polyamorous and kinky.

      Remove the gender (or any sexual orientation like polyamory, fetishism, kink, paedophilia, bestiality… any preference) factor and your cheater was basically saying, “I believe I have the right to violate my promise of monogamy but still enjoy the benefits of being monogamous with you who relied on and honored that promise. I’m trying to get away with exploiting you by trying to imply that you aren’t supportive or tolerant of my orientation. Do you buy it? Gimme cake!”

      • ^^^This^^^

        because my Cheater cheated with men and not women it was viewed by the elders of the church we attended that if they stepped in and assisted him back on the path of righteousness than all would be well and I needed to get over my emotional response to him being unfaithful because in their view his actions were purely physical not intimate such as that between husband an wife. My response to his cheating was also seen as a moral failing (being angry and upset as I discovered the lie my life was) because in their view it was not his fault, because he had become lazy in his chritian walk he had in their words, which he adopted too because it beautifully minimized his action, He had ‘fallen’.

  • My exH might be gay. He might be bi. He might be anything that gave him what he needed. He certainly never wanted a happy normal sex life.

    It does not matter. I have not seen or spoken to him since I threw him out three years ago. I still am working on WHY I made myself that small person who accepted/spackled/tried to explain decent behavior to a man who was just a broken selfish asshole, who controled everyone around him to keep his secrets hidden, cared not who he hurt. Blame flew from him like snowflakes in a blizzard.

    Sweetie, start working on you. It is a long path to understanding why his antics worked on you. Let him fly away to crash and burn in his own hell. Don’t go with him.

    Happiness is NO CONTACT. Growth is NO CONTACT. Sanity is NO CONTACT.

    • Been there, too, although he still won’t tell the truth. He will go to his grave before telling the truth of his sexuality.

      Kids and I always thought the AP was a lesbian so she might be his beard.

      I remember the shock of reading a previous post about Preparation H!!! I never realized that most men in their 40’s didn’t need tubes and tubes of the stuff (especially with normal colonoscopies)…but men having lots of anal sex do. Well, he wasn’t getting that from me. So she’s either wearing a strap-on or something else is going on.

      His issues are his and have NOTHING ago do with me! A liar is a liar and it doesn’t matter if the infidelity, lying, stealing, gaslighting is from a closeted homosexual or a heterosexual. It sucks and we have ZERO to do with all of that.

      Trust that he sucks and don’t think about who or what he’s sucking. Your son will do just fine with a parent who loves him enough to be honest and there for him.

      • Preparation H.

        Say a man had some kind of consensual same sex encounter in his early twenties like oral sex.
        Does that mean anything in particular.
        Like is it sexual experimentation or is it definitely meaning something like homosexuality?

        • It depends on the individual. Does it matter? I mean, if someone has lied repeatedly about (topic) and then blamed you for their “need” to lie, does it matter what they’re lying about?

          Watch the walk.

          A proven liar is someone from whom I would flee. I hope you have done so.

          Plus STD testing now and in 6 months.

    • I know exactly Diane all my ex husband cared about was satisfying his OWN sexual needs. He’s not Gay but only cares about his own needs!

  • “Fact is, inauthenticity works for your husband. He chooses it. He’s an insult to every out gay man and woman. He’s a cheating creep. Which is the problem with full humanity — some of humanity are assholes. He’s gay AND he’s an asshole. The gay thing doesn’t make him an asshole, using people makes him an asshole. Don’t confuse things, just because he’s confused.”


    Pattern – Find faulty wife appliance, blame shift, guilt free cheating for the cheater.
    Pattern #2 – WHY, WHY, WHY is it that the cheated on spouse has to file for divorce? That’s calling the lawyer, paying thousands in retainer, filling paperwork…. Oh, I remember. Because filing an court case is an ADULT solution. Cheating is a CHILD solution

  • I’ve seen this with some of my clients–this is the guy who is writing his big identity search story and cast you in a certain role so who you actually are has no impact on the role he assigned you. By making infidelities and abuse of you about his search for his identity he tries to make it honorable, and often something “you couldn’t possibly understand.” This is how he will tell the story of your relationships–as his struggle to be who he really is, the drama of confusion and exploration, his attempts to be fair to you and enlist your support, and your incapacity for this journey so that you try to control and punish him, and so your relationship ends. But his search is sacred. You just couldn’t live up to it.

        • Pretty familiar with this. As CL and you point out, it has nothing to do with the sexual preference of the cheater. Heterosexual cheaters employ it, as well.
          And, in spouting this stuff to people as justification, they do, indeed, find cheerleaders. They gravitate toward others like themselves who have similar values( if you can call them that) and who seem particularly enamored of the “finding oneself” Eat, Pray , Love type of lifestyle and its associated gibberish.
          I love how they are so comfortable with portraying themselves as victims, and highly evolved, spiritual types. They love folks like Esther Perel.
          My first XW was like this, still is. She will go to her grave blaming me, her alcoholism, and anything else she can, rather than facing the fact that she had cheated on others before me, and has cheated on the men she has been involved with since the divorce. What is the common denominator: HER.

          • Hey Arnold!

            Glad to see you chime in today. You have helped me so much through the years.

            Anyways…..Yea, they never understand the concept: “Wherever you go, there you are!”

            Love to you as we continue to ForgeOn!

            • Thanks. We have a great group of really smart, funny posters who can really write well on this forum. Ever read the stuff from cheaters and notice, in general, that they are deficient, comparatively, in these qualities?

          • “Eat, Pray , Love type of lifestyle and its associated gibberish” <—- My xw#2 had this crap everywhere in our home. I left it there.

            • My ex’s schmoopie spouted this sort of nonsense and my ex ate it right up.

              Our 18 year old saw it for what was – he called it “fortune cookie bullshit.” A phrase well-coined, if I say so myself.

              Btw, any idea why I can only post if I DON’T log in? If I log in, I have forum access but get error messages on posts?

      • Yes Yes Yes — thank you Diane.

        And the beauty of this is, it’s not gender and sexuality specific. You’ve described the Kunty Kibbler to a tee . . .

        – Tried to make it honorable: “I’m finally becoming the person I was always meant to be.” and “I’m learning so much about myself.”

        – Something I ‘can’t possibly understand’: “Don’t you dare judge me — you have no idea what I’ve been going through.”

        – Attempts to be fair to me and enlist my support: “I’m going SO out of my way to be decent about this” and “I’m not just happily skipping down the lane — I’M hurting too, you know”

        – My incapacity for this journey means that I control and punish her: “You’re SO mean!’ and “Why are being such a dick/baby/asshole about everything?” and “I’m not letting you make my decisions for me any longer!!”

        – But the search is sacred. Her “boudoir photos” pics posted on instagram came with a narrative: how she’d been a fat child, teenager, college student. She was picked on and made to feel small for it, even by members of her own family. Then she met a “nice man” and married him — why not? Who else would have her? She had two beautiful daughters and made changes toward a more healthy lifestyle and for a better self image. Unfortunately those changes were not in sync with the nice man she’d married. So they split, and that made her even stronger. Now she’s the sexy woman she always knew she was inside, with a new purpose and a new life, and she wants the world to see it.

        Diane, you made my day in a short paragraph.

        • Her “boudoir photos” pics posted on instagram.
          Oh please no, not boudoir photos on social media after a divorce. That woman has no sense is an understatement. But the narrative fits nicely in polite society. UX, this is a great interpretation and example of what Diane is saying about the narrative.

          • I threw her books in recycling. I don’t think lying and cheating are spiritual principles or part of a path to enlightenment. “Husband” bought the cheating accomplice a necklace made with sacred mala seeds because they are so deeply spiritual…..

            Maybe from Satan’s point of view?

            • Above was in response to Eat Pray Love conversation below….I posted in the wrong spot!

        • Ugh.

          The last thing the LGBTQ community needs is just another asshole who blames their orientation for their abusive behavior. Anyone fooled by their lies may have an understandable distrust of the whole community. LGBTQ people are just as likely and capable of honoring commitments.

          Cheaters have no qualms about victimizing and blaming minorities, loved ones, children… anyone can be a target and the cheaters feel perfectly justified so long as their needs are met.

          Of course, they won’t take accountability for hurting others and they sure as Hell won’t accept consequences for what they’ve done.

          There is true evil in this world. Abusers are evil incarnate.

    • >By making infidelities and abuse of you about his search for his identity he tries to make it honorable, and often something “you couldn’t possibly understand.”

      Exactly. Like the “Eat, Pray, Love” lady who was cheating on her husbands.

      • indeed! That was my take on her story, too. I never bought in. The noble quest for authentic identity is not built on the backs of people you use and abuse along the way.

        • THIS^^^

          This is a quote from a letter the X sent me 2 months before he wanted out.

          My accident with my foot has had a huge change on my health and how I view being healthy and has definitely made for a lifestyle change as well as goals. It’s changed my mental outlook as well, which has a lot to do with me writing off Jed and Kelli. Life is too short to allow people to walk on you and make you miserable, and that’s what I feel they were doing to me. The way I even view my own children has changed and how I deal with them. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, it’s just me, my view/feelings, and who I’ve become.

          He broke his foot, while jogging, and it required surgery to fix. I can tell that he never was used by people as much as he used them. And he used them to gain something, and they were no longer of value, he discarded them, just like he discarded me.

    • Yes, and the larger culture will agree with him, and we straight spouses are written off as collateral damage in the celebration of his “finding the courage to be his authentic self.”

    • Oh, yes. Thank you, Diane. The OW opened up a whole side of him he had squelched presumably because of ME. I just wanted to control him, and he is just too free-spirited! How mean of me! How wonderfully the OW understands him! She is a free spirit, too!


      Hey, ask the gay asshole if your controlling behavior could also cause him to change his eye color. It makes about as much sense.

    • Oh, Diane…nail on head, as usual. This is my story, and I am one of those who has told you the beginning, only to have you tell me the end. Thank you for your comment. It is so validating. Most “sex addicts” went to therapy and learned about their shame, or their childhood pain. Mine went to therapy and learned about “sexual identity,” and how his epic quest for the same should not include me. Turns out it was the best gift that nincompoop therapist could have given me.

      I’m free, but the mindfuck of his quest still haunts.

      Thank you for sharing. Your words are, as always, solid gold. With love from your rotund, purple-skinned friend.

  • Hey Kathy
    When you say you “can be a bit controlling”, think about that. I mean, maybe you are, I have no clue. But by whose yardstick are you measuring? I wonder if you’ve had your head so truly messed with that you have let him define you – and you have a bit of the old Stockholm going on.

    Btw, same same. 22 y married, last ten+ gay saunas. Plus female hookers. And it wasn’t a sexless marriage, but he hardly ever touched me. What’s a middle aged woman who’s had 4 babies to think? Like you assumed that you are “a bit controlling”, I assumed I was simply not very desirable. Turns out, I “wasn’t there for him,” so he “did what was necessary” so the family could stay together. And he’s bisexual. Oh but, after Dday, tells me he thinks I’m “sexy as hell”. Then manages to seduce a dear (female) friend of mine and they are dizzyingly in love 6 months after pleading with me to stay in the marriage. Go figure.

    Fuckwits be disordered fuckwits. Bring on Tuesday and meh.

      • I think everyone who is chumped hears that they are either “too controlling” or “too trusting.” It could not possibly be the cheater’s fault–just ask them!

        • Yes I was told I was too trusting. He said it was easy to lie to you, because you believed everything I said.

          • MMB, here I thought married couples were supposed to trust each other. What the hell were we thinking? (eye roll) There’s no “too”, you either trust or you don’t.

        • I was too controlling, except when I was too trusting. Go figure. If the shoe fits, I guess buy it in every color they’ve got.

          • I am a work in progress and there is always room for improvement. I try to be accountable. But the only thing I think I am “too” of is LOYAL.

    • Mama Meh

      It sounds familiar….
      Beginning of our relationship- endless talks about needs and wants in relationship, sexual as well.
      I’m very open minded, I can find male, females, trans etc. attractive…. so what does it make me?
      It makes me a person who devoted her life to her family and chosen partner- my husband. That was my decision and regardless of my attraction to so many people, I stil follow the moral code .
      The whole “ exploration “ is a crap…. being gay, bi or whatever they are is one thing.

      Cheating lying gaslighting is a sign of having fucked up character and not following values that they preach.

      I could cheat with a male, female etc. but I won’t.
      ( sucker and chump… I know)

      Ugh… they mess up with our heads so much…. and the narrative of being controlling?
      Well.. I was controlling ( when asking questions, when demanding changes) at the same time i was an open minded wife ( when doing my job of being quiet)

      I wasn’t giving him enough attention and smothering him at the same time ( wow I was a true gem to accomplish that)

      I was stressing too much about keeping house clean, while being lazy wife who didn’t clean enough…. etc

      Big BS on all fronts

  • Also, don’t feel obliged to keep his secret (he’s gay and he cheated on you) or minimize the terrible risks he took with your health for the sake of appearances.

    You didn’t cheat. Cheating and lying about one’s sexuality isn’t brave.

    He happens to be a gay lying cheat.

    Don’t let him lie to your son about why the divorce is underway. “Your father has had boyfriends throughout our marriage without knowledge or consent.”

    I hope you can get to the wonderful world of Meh soon! It starts with NO CONTACT if your son is 18+. If not, it is GREY ROCK when absolutely necessary.

    Mostly it involves hanging up the phone when he starts blaming you, particularly for his sexual orientation.

    Good luck!

  • Oh honey. My heart goes out to you. Here is the paragraph that broke mine (heart) for you…

    **And then when he’s done blaming me for all that, he tells me that he could have “lived with his secret forever” if i wasnt such a controlling person having to know every little thing about him — like if he was gone from the store too long or late from work. (Yes, things he actually did and later I had found out when he’d meet up with his “friend” for sex in their car).**

    Yes, how dare you, his life partner, ask for accountability on the fact that he’s not around and won’t make love to you. For wanting a full, genuine life instead of this half-way, twilight existence he has mind-warped you into.

    One revelation for me when I started reading Chump Lady was how we chumps “make our needs” smaller and smaller to try to keep the leaky boat from tipping or sinking. If, in my terror, I just curl up in the corner and freeze, everything will be…fine?

    It’s no way to live. Listen to Tracy, and take back your life.

    Jedi hugs to you!

    • Yeah, that ‘he could have “lived with his secret forever” if i wasnt such a controlling person having to know every little thing about him’ bit is gold! “If you had just been a useful little wife appliance and asked no questions and expected no accountability from me while I fucked my way through the male craigslist section, this totally could have worked out! Why do you have to be so difficult – you don’t see the toaster asking where my hickies came from, do you?”

  • Guaranteed he told his male APs who were looking for a commitment from him that they are “so controlling” and that they “smother him” and that is why he never left his wife until recently.

    Number one rule of fuckwits: it is Never, Ever, Their Fault.

  • I’d be very interested to find out if his “mommy” was controlling. In my own experience my ex symbolically turned me into his controlling mother.
    I also heard “you’re controlling” What I’ve come to see through this divorce process is… he’s actually the one who’s controlling. He controlled the bank accounts, college funds, life insurance, credit card accounts, etc. He controls the kids choices by threatening to cut them off financially “If you don’t go to x,y,z college I’m not paying for it.” He coerces through bribery “If you tell your mom you want to go to this event with me during her parenting time, I’ll buy you x,y,z.”

    Listen, I thing the majority of chumps go looking for answers as a logical response to red flag cheater behavior- that doesn’t make you controlling. Safety is one of our most basic human needs. When a person experiences a deficit in these basic needs: protection, security, order, law, or stability, the result is fear. As a consequence of having their reality denied or withheld, a betrayed spouses inability to identify a truthful reality adequately, causes a deep sense of confusion and impending danger. The betrayed spouse is often only supplied with information the betrayer wants to relinquish, leaving the betrayed spouse staring into a dark chasm of the unknown and ensuing chaos. An adequate grasp on reality is essential for psychological health and stability, and after months or sometimes years of having ones reality denied, betrayed spouse are left with the overwhelming impression of defenselessness to direct the outcomes of their lives. Seeking the truth about the reality of your life IS human, not controlling.

    • yes! this is ‘persecuting from the position of the victim’ which is absolutely what’s going on here. I found understanding how XH used the victim identity to draw people in and make them afraid of challenging him crucial for disengaging from the mindfuck. The LW should look up the drama triangle.

      • My ex was good at this. Any time I had a complaint about anything he did he would turn it around and make me out to be the bad guy for having brought it up. I always ended up apologizing to him for being bothered by his inconsiderate actions. After DDay when I was upset I wrote “do you even have a heart?” in a text conversation. He responded with “How can you say that? I was hurting so much before I strayed”. I am sorry to say that worked on me and I softened my stance immediately (old habits die hard). It wasn’t until much later that I stopped to consider that his “hurting” had nothing to do with me. I didn’t make him hurt, he made himself hurt and his then turning around and hurting me to try and make himself feel better really does show his lack of a heart. I was fully justified in having made that comment.

        • Exactly.

          My ex also turned all of my complaints around on me. The problem wasn’t his actions, it was my response to his actions. I believed it for SO long. Now I see it playing out with my daughter. Ex recently didn’t show up to her soccer game. No notice that he wasn’t coming, just didn’t show. No one was supposed to say anything I guess. Daughter asked why he wasn’t there. He would only respond that he would see her Tuesday. She asked over and over and he would not reply. She finally said she would be angry if he didn’t tell her why he didn’t come (also he didn’t even apologize for not being there). He said don’t be angry. To which she replied you can’t control my feelings. I was so proud of her, but 2 days later she saw him in person and he made her feel bad so she apologized for telling him that he couldn’t control her feelings. It was so sickening to watch it play out.

          • This is the part I struggle with the most–watching the EX manipulate the kids. I’ve learned to step back and help them negotiate the emotional man-traps he sets for them after the fact rather than jump in to the fray myself, but it is still terrible.

            Your daughter sounds like she’s lucky to have you.

          • My X still considers my reactions to be the bad part of the marriage. If I got angry, it was my fault. I believed it for so long.

            Not anymore.

        • Yes. You summarized my experience as well.
          So sorry you had to deal with this. Hugs.

  • — And then when he’s done blaming me for all that, he tells me that he could have “lived with his secret forever” —

    Kathy, big hugs!! That statement tells me that he was using you as a wife appliance. He wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He wanted to have it all without any consequences.

    You are doing the right thing for you and your son. The right thing isn’t always easy or pain-free, but it’s the way to the truth. Believe in your strength and don’t second-guess yourself.

    Here’s the thing – your husband is gay and him trying to hide his ‘secret’ affected the manner in which he treated you and your marriage. Him not being forthright affected your marriage more than you being ‘controlling’. Stop blaming yourself and look at him, really look at him. Like CL said, he’s an asshole because he used you to his advantage. Don’t let him continue doing so.

    • My STBXH told me that soon after marrying me, he realized that he didn’t even really like me, that I’m not someone he would even want to be friends with. He said he married me because I checked all the boxes of a really great wife – smart, educated, good job, hard-working, ambitious, moral, religious (which his family would love). He said that he would be a fool to not hang on to me, but then he regretted marrying me shortly thereafter (oddly enough it was when we started having kids and real adulting began). He went on to tell me that he resigned himself to living his life with me because he made a commitment. He convinced himself that he could be satisfied with living his life with me, but then I got too controlling, too busy, too many responsibilities, too critical, too emasculating.

      Now he tells people that staying in the marriage was affecting his health badly. The stress of staying with me was causing him so much stress and anxiety that he lost all kinds of weight, wasn’t eating or sleeping properly. He needed to get away from me for his own health. I was too controlling and did nothing but make him feel worthless.

      His self-discovery is that he needs to have fun. He needs to be with someone who is less strong, less busy. He wants to be with someone who can sit down, drink wine, and “talk about anything” because conversations with me are all about responsibilities and duties. Well gosh darn it, I would love to have had fun conversations too, but life with him hadn’t exactly turned out to be fun.

      The OW is first woman in his life that he can be his real self with. I’m not the only controlling one in his life, his family was also really controlling who always made him feel like he was less than. He was always the black sheep.

      But, now he is free. He’s having fun again. He’s gained his weight back because he’s away from me. He’s quit smoking because he’s not stressed out. A whole new lease on life because he is with a woman who hangs on every word as he “helps” her restore her life after she left her controlling husband who “took her children away”. Umm…okay. Let’s gloss over the fact that she cheated on her own husband for the last couple of years of her marriage, was arrested for assaulting him in front of the children when flaming drunk and taunted the police to arrest her, was issued a peace bond and no contact order, didn’t make arrangements to see her children until six weeks after the arrest which resulted in the husband getting de facto custody, etc. Hey, she’s a “nice person who has just made some mistakes in her life,” just like he is a “good person who has just made some poor choices that has hurt me.” Shhhh everyone, don’t question the authenticity of their self-discovery. Her regular visits to a psychic confirms their wonderfulness as meant to be in the cosmos.

      • What a train wreck. You got out alive, thank God. Hey, if he wants to be caretaker to Ms Loopy Loo for the rest of his life, good for him.

        You can take your competence, excellence, faithfulness, adulting and skills somewhere where they will be loved and appreciated, and I really hope you have done this.

  • It’s not you. It’s him. Projecting and DARVO and the whole damn thing.

    I have been there with a closet case myself – in fact, more than one closet case, I suspect. I – ahem – bring a lot of masculine energy to the table, and that has made me superficially attractive to some guys who weren’t quite sure about the whole woman thing in the first place.

    And this means that … I continue to bring a lot of masculine energy to the table, and make it do good in the world. I don’t try to morph into a fainting southern belle just because some closet case or misogynist or random dude thinks that might work better for him.

    But I did have to get to the core of what was attracting ME to these closet cases:

    *The unavailable-man vibe?

    *Being flirted with, and falling for it, and thinking, wouldn’t it be NICE to be with a sensitive guy for once?

    *Being able to hide in his flamboyant ‘shadow’, and be the plain little peahen to his strutting peacock?

    Finally, no, you didn’t make him gay. Hence the old joke:

    ‘My mother made me a homosexual’
    ‘If I gave her the wool, would she make me one?’

    • Yes, Kathy’s X is a prototype case of DARVO.

      George Simon says the two things that motivate the character disordered are Power and Impression Management. But I now think Avoiding Responsibility is waaaay up there in their motivations. The unhealthy triumvirate of traits.

  • When you think about it, this is just a variation on “the muffin top that launched a thousand affairs.”

    Your X made me Y – the battle cry of the blamer, the world over.

    It’s really the siren song of the determined responsibility-avoider, and should be recognised as such.

  • Kathy,
    This comment
    “if i wasnt such a controlling person having to know every little thing about him — like if he was gone from the store too long or late from work.”
    gives the game away. There should be no secrets in marriage. “The problem, your honor, isn’t that I shoplifted all that stuff from the store, it’s that the store has security cameras.” Please. It’s not your fault that you just want to know what he’s up to, or why he’s late. That’s what normal married people do. People who aren’t sneaking around illicitly don’t have reason to hide these facts.
    I was accused of being “nosey” when I asked basic questions about what she was doing after work. “What is this, the inquisition?” she’d yell. Later, I, too, was accused of being “controlling” because I was unwilling to do any reconciliation until there was proof that all contact with the AP was done and gone. She promptly left, doing me a giant favor.

    • I hope all goes well. The indignity of this is horrible. I cried in the gyno’s office for 2 hours as I relayed the tale of my abandonment and why I was requesting the testing. Again.

      Let’s all drop a line to Ester Fucking Perel when we have to put our feet in the stirrups, shall we? Being tested twice in my 28 year marriage to my one-and-only lover was enough for me. I can’t believe I took him back after OW#1 and realize it was a huge mistake.

      • I was pretty upfront with my physician. I told her my ex was cheating and I wanted an STD panel. I got the whole thing and was luckily clean. My ex isn’t gay–or at least not exploring on that side of the aisle–but his Schmoopie was having sex with pretty much anything with a penis. Later, I learned that even as he was cheating on me with her, she was cheating on him with some other married man.

    • Best of luck.
      My Dr.’s office handled the whole thing beautifully. They really did. Later that saddened me because I knew I was not their first sobbing, post D-Day mess of a human. Take the kindness and know that you are never alone.

      • Wishing for the best outcome for you. I now have a high-risk strain of HPV, thanks to Mr. Cheaterpants, who had the gall to tell me that my cancer risk is low, what is the big deal. Since I could only have gotten it from HIM, I wonder if he will be upfront with any future partners?

  • Put me down as another chump who was labeled “controlling.” I’ve come to understand that what that really means is I’m an adult who had expectations that my partner and father to my children also act like an adult. And cheater’s response to that? “You’re not the boss of me!!” The more I detach, the more I see the kind of person he truly is (not the person who I wanted to see), the better I feel.

    • Me too. I am Judgmental and Controlling. Which means that I insisted he show up to his life every day and be a grown up at age 49. The 25YO sparkletwat makes no such demands. No one is the boss of him.

      Well, she didn’t make demands but she will because she will likely become very frustrated with his failure to be around when life happens. Cue the discard and declarations to her that she is Judgmental and Controlling and that he Never Ever Loved Her.

      Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • There is no way to win. I wasn’t controling enough which lead my ex to believe that I didn’t care what he did or who he did it with. He felt unloved because I had the nerve to trust him.

    • I’m also accused of being “controlling”. Funny, he had control of the money, I didn’t spend a dime without his knowledge and consent (I was the primary breadwinner). It would drive my parents crazy when I’d ask him for money. Not sure exactly what I’m meant to have had control over. Certainly not his dick. Not his marathon running. Not his floundering career.

      Funny, I was never “controlling” until he was dick deep in his whore. So happy for XH that OW’s rancid vagina has granted him the gift of clarity.

  • Controlling? As Luziana said, if he was able to fuck around with guys for 20 years behind your back I guess you need to “work on your iron grip.” CL points out that if we truly had the super powers the cheaters attribute to us it would not be rejection.

    Sigh…. nope, you did not cause him to be this way.

  • Image management. Even gay narcissists do it. He wanted the world to see him as a married family man which is respectable in his mind, while hiding the fact he wanted to hunt strange, putting you and your child’s health at risk (please tell me you have had sti screening done). That isn’t very respectable. I doubt very much you are controlling at all. He has just convinced you that you are. What he thinks of you no longer matters. You danced. That shows your son, that you tried to give him father a second, And third chance. You filing for divorce also shows your son, that you have had enough. You have been pushed to your limit and have enough self respect to walk away. This makes you the respectable parent. The same one. You show your son how men should treat people they love.
    You can do this!

  • It doesn’t matter who his AP’s are. Cheating is cheating. He chose to marry you and he made promises to you in front of many witnesses. He broke those promises. If he decided at some point that he couldn’t follow through on those promises because of his sexual orientation then he had an obligation to end things with you in as respectful a way as possible before moving on to other lovers. Acting as a cover for his sexuality is not the relationship you signed up for and it isn’t what you were promised. Also, don’t let him get away with painting you as a homophobe who is trying to repress his sexuality. He had affairs and you have a right to be upset about that. Your distress over his lying to you, devaluing you and betraying you has nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

    When I saw the movie “Battle of the Sexes” is was very triggering for me. I had no idea what the movie was really about. I was disturbed that the protagonist (the one we were all supposed to be rooting for) was having an affair. I didn’t care about the lesbian nature of it but I did care about the selfish self-centeredness of it and I felt for the husband. I also felt rage every time the OW’s face came up on the screen. I wanted to claw her eyes out as she was every bit as vapid and selfish and unconcerned with the trouble she was causing as any of the OW’s we complain about here. My daughter tried to tell me “this is different, this is repressed sexuality”. I called BS on that attitude. Cheating is cheating and you don’t get a pass just because you willingly chose to marry and make promises to the wrong gender. It may be a valid reason to get a divorce if you realize you made a mistake, but it doesn’t justify having an affair (or two or three etc).

    • Thanks for this! I now know to skip watching this movie as any affairs are triggering to me.

      Ever watch that movie with Richard Gere and Diane Lane? She was cheating. He, in a rage, killed the AP. I remember when it came out thinking how awful the husband was, but rewatching it…I totally get it and felt sorry for him. I don’t condone murder, but I understand how he felt. He’s made out to be the bad guy, but its much more complicated than that.

  • Kathy, there are lots of comments validating how awful your STBX is (lying scumbag!)

    But here is a shout out to acknowledge how horrible it must have been to be a beard all those years and never really valued or desired as a woman…. W.O.M.A.N

    Margret Cho does a bit how everyone should be in a relationship with someone who is batsh!t gaga for what is going on between your legs.

    What a loss for you


  • I just had a great conversation with my BF about this: his ex-wife of 18 years was a raging alcoholic and bento user. She accused him of being “controlling.” I didn’t know him then but since we’ve been together these last 3 years he’s never crossed my boundaries and tried to interfere in my life or tell me what to do. My take: he was never toxically controlling, she was just blameshifting and projecting. Likewise when my X was caught cheating he tried to say I was “controlling” which “made” him desperately unhappy (he kept this totally hidden so I don’t believe him) and he just “had” to have an affair (no, you could have said something, got MC, ethically left the marriage… and, come to find out you were a serial cheater…. so, no. Just no.). I interrogated him on this “controlling” accusation back before I went NC — never try to untangle the skein! He said I was controlling by “never letting him go on golf trips” with friends (no! I actually planned several golf trips for him and friends and never once said no if he wanted to go). How absurd cheaters’ accusations are with the lens of no-contact time.

    If my controlling abilities were strong enough to make him cheat, I would have used them to make him stop cheating once I found out. BOOM. I couldn’t.

    • Ah, gotta love revisionist history. Mine brought up an example of my controlling ways by saying that I made him put the babies to bed every night, and if he didn’t the wrath I would make him suffer would be awful. He had just told this the night before to the neighbour while hanging out for a beer. His wife came in with the baby to bid good night and she went off to put the baby to bed. My STBXH was wondering why he didn’t get up to put the baby to bed because I would never let him get away with that. Poof! My ex had something else to use against me and brought it up to me.

      It was one of many twilight zone moments. I flipped out. I pointed out to him that there was no way he could have put the babies to bed because I nursed them. The only way those babies would get to bed is if I breastfed them – my son for 13 months and my daughter for 17 months. Thirty months total where I was putting my babies to bed every single night, no break, no going out to have fun. Then, I pointed out to him that for six years he commuted for work which meant that he didn’t usually get home until about 6:30. That meant that he had about an hour with the kids before they went to bed. If he was to spend any time with them, it meant following through on the baths and bedtime routine. Then, there were many nights he put the kids to bed because that was the only time he would see them in the week. Not because I was some controlling shrew cracking a whip over him.

      His response to my logical and honest explanation. Nothing. Speechless. No willingness to renege on the absurdity of his claim, just a vigorous search for him to latch on other sins that I committed in the marriage that then went on to relay to others.

  • I am in the process of divorcing a man who after 32 years of marriage came home one day and announced that he’d decided he was transgendered. Once he realized that he’d never pass, and that life as a transwoman wouldn’t be an endless version of the the sparkly, sexy party he was already having with himself when masturbating wearing women’s lingerie and taking selfies, he decided to stay in the closet. Naturally he wanted me to stay in there, too–for the rest of my life! He also wanted me to keep cooking all the meals, doing all the yard work, taking responsibility for home repairs. Because HE was fine with a life in which he got everything he wanted: at work, the respect a man gets by virtue of being a man, and, at home, the fun and satisfaction of appropriating all things feminine. Me? Not so much. The only one making any kind of adjustment at all was me. Meanwhile, while living for all the world as the man he’s always been, he started considering himself three times oppressed: as a woman, as a lesbian, as a trans person. And complaining that I wasn’t 100% enthusiastic (including re-making my own sexuality to suit his new needs), although he wasn’t willing to own himself.
    It’s nothing you did. It’s all on him. Someone who is willing to sacrifice his wife to his closeted, cake-eating life has nothing of worth to say about you and to you. He’d rather blame you for his cowardice than own himself.

    • Omg. Three times oppressed.

      For get trying for mighty you are already there. How can he even think that is acceptable.

    • I hope he’s in the rearview mirror of your life! What a schmuck.

      Not because of the transgender/lesbian thing, but the entitlement. So. Much. Entitlement!

    • Lesbian my ass. People with penises don’t get to be lesbians.

      This does not in any way diminish genuinely confused and unhappy people with gender dysphoria, who need all the help they can get.

      In fact, people like your (hopefully ex) husband enrage me, because rampant misogynists like him give the whole thing a bad name.

  • I hope the original poster will get some therapy/counseling at the very least so she can understand how people become gay (at least the psychological theories of why people are gay). FYI, sexuality is formed between the ages of 0 to 5. He was already gate when you met him. Going to therapy will help you shrug off that shame mantle he’s dressed you in for 20 years. Also, he can’t possibly be truthful with you when he’s can’t stop lying to himself.

    • So much this!!!

      Kathy, you cannot MAKE someone gay. They’re either attracted to the same sex or they’re not. It’s that simple.

      Now, gender and sexuality is a bit more complicated than the above, but the fact of the matter is that sexual orientation is very much wired into your being. You can’t switch from straight to gay to whatever.

      Therapy will help. You’ve had a double whammy. First, you’ve been cheated on and emotionally abused. Second, you’ve been relegated to the discard pile because you’re the wrong gender. That hurts, too. And you do need to internalize that you can never MAKE a person gay or straight; that’s how they are. His trying to blameshift shows he’s yet another cheating asshole.

      Trust that they suck.

      • Sexual orientation isn’t hardwired, and can change quite spontaneously, more than once. Our categories might be a bit rigid for the whole business, that’s all.

        But that’s not even the point. The point is that he’s cheating with multiple high-risk partners, which should be enough to get her packing.

        Staying is just enabling. He wants to bang men in toilets? Have at it. But not on her time, or her dollar.

        Worrying about when and why he became gay is just untangling the skein.

        • I agree. The real point is not whether he’s gay, straight, or whatever. The real issue is that he’s a liar and a cheat.

  • Kathy and all My Fellow Citizens……Thank you for sharing your stories, your hearts and your wisdom!

    We all know that ‘you are controlling’ is just part of “The Script” that the devil wrote for them, that they gleefully read from and think they are soooo clever for thinking up some new and unique ‘reasons’ for betraying their families.
    I believe all of us had this spewed at us in one fashion, form or other, as is evidenced from the comments thus far today.

    We are all ‘so controlling’, yet we ‘failed’ to control where they went, who they banged, what they said, how they spent the $$, etc.
    Once such spew has been analyzed by Tracy and/or put thru the UBT, then we see it for what it really is…….Spew, stupid spew!

    As always, you all made my day. Love to you as we all continue to ForgeOn!

  • “…if i wasnt such a controlling person having to know every little thing about him — like if he was gone from the store too long or late from work.”

    If this is his definition of controlling (and maybe yours too, if you bought this crap, because he said it a few times and managed to convince you), it’s complete b.s.

    Wanting to know where your spouse is? Normal!!! NOT controlling!!! It’s only “controlling” to a narcissist who feels entitled to keep secrets from you!

    Please do not accept this label. He tried to make YOU feel bad, to make you question yourself, to distract and deflect attention away from his lying, cheating, secret-keeping ways.

  • Kathy,

    It is not you, it is him. My ex is in the closet, on D’day confessed to having had 20 male partners beginning with an affair, his hookups spanned eight years. The whole time he lied, questioned my sanity and my Christian walk when ever I confronted him as I never had proof. Our sex life was awful we could go months and often only had sex because it made me question if he had been with someone else. So I would get the robotic sidetrack and shut her up sex. When proof came to light and D’day hit he hid behind our church. He initially told me it happened because as was curious and it had nothing to do with me. But the church wanted to portion blame to is both for his actions. By the time I had filed for divorce (it takes 12 months to file here) he was claiming his cheating and preference for men was the result of an unclean sexual spirit that the church had delivered him from and his marriage was over because I was a controlling bitch with unresolved anger issues who had prevented God from working in our marriage due to my issues that had nothing to do with him. It helped that he had hooked another woman and the church was helping him groom her. They have been married two and a half years and I would bank that he is still cheating because his attitude towards anyone who holds him to account is horrible. Getting to Meh, my personal experience and journey to meh has lead to the discovery of what is referred to as covert narcissism it has helped in understanding how I got to being a shell of a person while he managed to live this secret double life. You can get through this. And as I did when I first found CN you will find your situation is not unique and you are definitely not alone.

  • “I didn’t cause him to be gay or to cheat or to lie or to be deceived by who he really is. Did I? ” I’ve always loved one of Tracy’s metaphors, I think from the book: That us chumps have Superpowers! We use our insidious mind-control superpower of Awful Wifeness to force our cheaters to cheat, and, in your stbx’s case, to be gay!

    See how stupid that is? The idea that you caused that man to hurt you is ridiculous. The idea that you have ANY CONTROL WHATSOEVER over what he does is absurd. You can’t make him hurt you. You can’t make him NOT hurt you. All you can do is GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HIM and PROTECT YOURSELF. As Tracy said, he’s an asshole. He’s an asshole who happens to be gay, but what really matters here is he is an asshole.

    Go no contact! The more “no-contact” time that accumulates, the clearer this will be to you…

  • Controlling, yeah, I see the women who are betrayed dealing with this, a lot. On the male side, I think we deal with the “emotionally unavailable” or “neglectful” allegation or failure to “make me feel special”. A large portion of our society , actually, believes these weird allegations that men are poor communicators and are unable to be in touch with their emotions, despite all the male poets, artists, philosophers, authors etc.
    Hell, even a lot of men buy into accepting this version of masculinity and this oppressive patriarchy narrative. So, women cheaters use it, just like male cheaters claim nagging, weight gain, failure to worship them etc. as justification.
    Many of these cheaters are not dumb. They know their audiences and the stereotypes they can use to convince people they were victims and justified. Wonder what they say about their kids, who they also betrayed. Did the kids contribute, too. Maybe that two year old was controlling or emotionally unavailable.

    • “Wonder what they say about their kids, who they also betrayed. Did the kids contribute, too. Maybe that two year old was controlling or emotionally unavailable.”

      See yesterday’s topic starter. Yes, apparently for some cheaters, they are the reason!

    • The best excuses cheaters can use for their crappy behavior are ones that have a nugget of truth either for the chump as an individual or based on their gender. Other people can then nod and say, “Aaah, wll that makes sense,” so that a cheater is granted validation for their cheating.

      Women cheaters can say “my man is emotionally unavailable,” or “worked too many hours;” men can say, “My wife was frigid, ” or “spent too much time & attention on the kids instead of me, ” and people will nod knowingly. Most of the time their excuses are just that–excuses, but untrue; but even the excuses that fit that particular chump do not justify infidelity. They can either fix the problem (I wanted to shout at Hannibal Lecher that he could have attended children’s functions WITH me instead of pitting time-with-him against time-with-children), or leave honestly. But they don’t, and most members of society allow them to get away with their feeble excuses for cheating.

    • My ex accused me of being “emotionally unavailable”. That is kind of a feminine complaint to have for someone who was so darned concerned about his masculinity. It wasn’t true either of course. I was emotionally available. It’s not my fault he failed to take advantage of that when he needed it. I wasn’t very good at reading his mind and anticipating his needs, but I was always available for him when he could be bothered to come to me with his problems or concerns.

  • It is my opinion- and NO you don’t have to agree with it- that many men question their sexuality. I certainly did at one time in my very young life. I was not married at the time. The saying I heard and adopted was, “I was Young, Dumb and full of cumm”. In hindsight, I think it takes awhile for Agency to manifest and prerequisite to that- is sober introspection when conscience dictates, self-honesty and life experience.

    I’m sure there are women here that found that they too questioned their sexuality. Experimentation therein generally points us all in the correct orientation/ destination.

    In an ideal world, the marriage is the one place where there should be absolute honesty between spouses. Specifically the long term committed marriage. Now, I’ll be the first to call anyone a liar that can honestly say, “I’ve always been truthful with my spouse about everything”. Am I dismissing the injustice of what this chump’s husband did based upon the rational argument that his humanity and his journey into his sexual identity should be considered? You know, the Uncertainty in our heads and hearts?

    Absolutely NOT. Especially after the first cover-up and subsequent lies. When routine deception is needed to carry on the lie.

    When I was married, the priest asked the question, “If anyone present knows of a reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him/her speak”. If we were absolutely honest with ourselves, both the bride and groom should speak up. But Alas, Hormones, Pheromones, biological clocks, great financial futures,youth, you know that happy ever-after theme… Hopefully, we’re self-aware enough to know the answer to questions of this nature at that time. I didn’t get married till I was 31. So the ones that get cold feet and walk out of the ceremony are the smart ones perhaps…or the honest ones.

    In my mind and heart, I think I’d made all the mental adjustments and trade offs about the things I could tolerate with my chosen mate(s) at the ceremony and took a “We’ll work through in time”. There has to be sacrifice in marriage (with RECIPROCITY). Chumps know this. Cheaters Absolutely know this. So, the(my) skein is there for me. WTF did I sacrifice anything for my spouse(s)- and I sacrificed A LOT? Thus comes compromise. Why did I choose to Love someone who did not show me Reciprocity from day one? Use of the word ‘controlling’ to me red flags a total lack of agency in oneself relative to their partner. Thus the CL corollary of… “they had a whole decision tree of options to consider and act upon” …but they chose not exercise nor act on to mutual benefit of the two flesh become one.

    So hopefully some chump out there will see my point. It’s not at all about us. Broken, character deficient people exist. I married two of them. What can I do now to insure that I don’t let another one into my rotations around the sun? Step 1 Cut bait. Step 2 Heal (NO CONTACT). Step 3 Rinse, lather and repeat-once per rotation.

    To Thine Own Self Be True. The rest will work out just fine.

  • It was in the back of my mind that my cheater XH could be gay. He certainly couldn’t bond with a woman. Of all the women he has been married to or involved with I’m the only girly girl. ALL of his other women including the skank look like male. None of them wear makeup and have super short hair and little boy bodies. He had an affair with a German work study student where he worked and confessed that his main attraction to her was that she didn’t shave under her arms or her legs and was very hairy. He found that very sexy. Hmmmm.

  • I don’t come here much these days, but had to comment on this one. Most of you veterans already know my story.

    My ex admitted to having sex with HUNDREDS of men during our 20-year marriage. Most of these encounters were strange men in gay bath houses, but some were acquaintances and friends who were also married. I found gay porn hidden in his closet several times, and once caught him Googling “guys fucking.” When I confronted him about that, he looked at me with ice cold hatred and replied, “So what?” He’s kind of swishy in a stereotypical gay male way, as well.

    Towards the end, he was also having affairs with married women. I think once he started fucking other women, he realized that he no longer needed me as his beard because he could find another woman to take on that job, and that was when he discarded me entirely.

    Of course, despite the fact that he started having sex with men BEFORE HE EVEN KNEW ME and continued fucking men long after we divorced, he claims that his sex with men was because he just “didn’t feel enough passion for me.”

    Anyway, he spent a few years after our divorce moving from one gay man’s house to another, sleeping on couches or anywhere he could crash for little or no rent. I guess he paid with a different currency, LOL.

    He’s now engaged to a woman who is reasonably well off and has been supporting him financially. I believe she knows about all of his craziness but is either desperate enough or disordered enough herself to not care. I assume he still fucks men on the down low, but no longer my problem. As far as I’m concerned, the fact that he never gave me any STD or AIDS is a miracle, because no way was he using protection every time he boned some strange dude or let them bone him.

    He also spouted the controlling, negative, critical, boring, blah blah blah excuses for ending the marriage. That one just goes with the territory whether they are straight, openly gay, or on the down low. Cheaters have to make you feel bad about yourself so you’ll take the blame for the fact that they are pieces of sparkling shit in human form.

    • Gladit’sOver,

      Please let me say a big thanks to you, one of my early memories of finding CN several years ago was reading one of your posts and realizing my situation was not unique. That my husband was not some spiritually afflicted person who had fallen, but was just an entitled tool who wanted his family life and the freedom to have sex with men with the entitled expectation that the two words remain separate. Your honesty at times put things into perspective in a way that only someone who has been through it can do and for that, I am forever grateful.

  • CHuPs, Oh please. Controlling? That’s all he had? That sounds so… nice. I lived through finger pointing and accusations for YEARS. Mostly behind my back. I will not justify these with counterpoints, I’ve worked a union (healthcare) job my entire adult life, I covered all child rearing/home maintenance/household running for 30 years. The list changed depending on the day. I lived through accusations of being:

    Pill popper, ?
    Physical Abuser ?
    Emotional Abuser ?
    Psychological Abuser ?
    Bitch 🙂
    Mean 🙂
    Spend all the money whole marriage?
    Non appreciative of him?
    Do not add/contribute to household?
    Not a good wife?
    He was miserable for 30, 20 then 10 and 5 years.
    I never forgave him? I couldn’t forgive?

    He would bring home “male abuse survivor” guides from his counseling. When I asked him what they were about, he said “He didn’t know why therapist would give them, she just wanted him to read them”.

    Two fucking faced snake can rot. Shitty husband, shitty provider and a shitty father to boot. He voice recorded, copied sent my emails to his family, ho worker, sent my medicine list to people. He was a total piece of shit. He described this all in counseling as “trying to help me get better.” Then narcissistic rage at me and the kids when he was called out on his shit. How I put up with this is beyond me. Why it is so hard to let the past go is puzzeling, too.

    It was not until much later after the divorce that it tumbled.
    His approach to ho workers was to have them “counsel him” on his marriage problems. Then come home with a big smile and “Hello!, Gorgeous!” walking through the door. He told his divorce attorney we were “sexless for 10 years.” 6 weeks before the affair we went on an second honeymoon to Iceland to see the lights.

    Compulsive liar fucked in the head. OH please, oh please oh PLEASE let the scumbag OW get this treatment with both barrels…..someday.

      • Oh, Magneto you covered it nicely. Fucked in the head, the lot of them. I’m RELIEVED and grateful the list is no longer my problem.

        • Mt intended point was chumps are often blamed for any and all of the cheaters issues. Mine just took it to a high art level. I’m really pro gay. I’m not really a fan of being the beard to a mis matched couple.

          It’s insulting to be labeled “the cause” of another persons behaviors, thoughts or maladies. Unfortunately, that’s just how some people roll.

  • There is no way to get to Meh if you think the map to that destination lies in what your lying, cheating spouse thinks about you or your marriage. Or for that matter, what his family or friends think.

    You know the truth. You tried to keep your marriage going in spite of mounting evidence that your husband is gay. And in spite of the obvious FACTS that he lies and cheats. You had some help in this delusion, given that you reconciled after couples’ counseling. But still, the evidence you have is that he got value from not deciding, from going back in and out of the closet, and for having you provide a cover for his sexual preferences. CL nails it when she says the issue for you is not what you did to make him gay or cheat but why you tolerated his abusive behavior. It’s abusive for him to know he’s gay and then blame you for blowing up his little secret. It’s abusive for him to cheat and then assert it’s your fault. In truth, he found it “impossible to live with” someone who knows his secret and expects him to be an adult and be truthful about his sexuality to his spouse.

    We always counsel “no contact,” and that starts with blocking his access to you by phone or text. Use scheduling software or email to communicate about custody and issues with your son. Do NOT use minor issues with kiddo to create a pretext for making contact and don’t let him do that either. What you need is a long time when his disordered thinking isn’t poisoning your own common sense and intuition. That will also mean re-training your mind not to dwell, what’s he done or what he’s doing now, who the new AP is, or why he’s gay. It doesn’t matter. You didn’t make him that way anymore than you could change him to straight. What matters is that he is a liar, a manipulator, and an abuser.

  • He can’t tolerate the idea of being gay so he uses that tired excuse that “you made me do it”. The next time your hear that just roll your eyes and say, “Whatevah”. He is just another obnoxious person using too much oxygen.

  • On my mind this morning…RESPECT.

    There is NO love without respect.
    There is NO respect in an affair….therefore, no love.

    The cheater is showing the highest disrespect for the spouse, in the same league as physical assault. And not even being up front about it. My “husband’s” father was very abusive, emotionally and physically…but at least he was acting in plain sight! At least you’re given fighting chance to defend yourself. Affairs are like shooting someone in the head while they are sleeping next to you. Major major evil and chickenshit.

    And the cheater ALSO does not respect the cheating accomplice. And the cheating accomplice donot respect themselves. There is NO self-respect in getting involved in an illicit relationship with a person who is in a committed relationship and lying to their partner.

    There is NO WAY I can stay in this relationship. My husband has modeled to our most precious blessing, our daughter, that this is how you treat your partner. With cruelty, abuse, disrespect?!!
    This is NOT what a good parent does. It is my job to model to her “NO!!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!! I AM OUTTA HERE!”
    No effen choice.

    Every week I hear from people in Al Anon who would give a right arm to have a spouse who was sober. I have been clean, sober, and active in recovery for 33 years, and still am. He and I are definitely NOT united in recovery! I know people who would give anything for a spouse who was willing to work through the inevitable conflicts of being in a relationship. I created a safe place in therapy to deal with the hard stuff, and showed up with integrity, for the entire 27 years of our relationship. We have a beautiful little girl, a successful business, and had a circle of really nice friends. We are lucky enough to own our home, vehicles of our choice, a sailboat, and the buildings and equipment related to our business. So many blessings, inside and out.

    And he threw it all away for a Craigslist Casual Sex personal ad trawling active alcoholic, married man fucking woman he can’t even talk with and doesn’t have a chance at real love (respect) with.

    Anyone reading this today witnessed the very last finger of hanging onto this relationship coming off….I am at a full gallop not looking back as of this moment.

    • “I am at a full gallop not looking back as of this moment.”

      I’m betting on you because your workout times look to be outstanding!

    • Ride ahead, VH. The path may be bumpy but it’s cheater-free and it’s your choice where you go.

    • “My husband has modeled to our most precious blessing, our daughter, that this is how you treat your partner. With cruelty, abuse, disrespect?!!”

      Yes, get out, leave, run away with your precious daughter. I am currently paying a heavy price for allowing my sons to witness their father’s example. At 32 and 34, they treat me with absolutely NO respect. It hurts, but it was what they were taught.

    • I am getting my hair cut right now. My hair stylist just said, “Don’t be a cheater; use your words!!”

  • I’ve been in a lot of disordered relationship in my life (#notwinning), and one thing that hindsight has made clear (#thankyounocontact) is that every time I would try to have or enforce a boundary, out would come the accusations of ‘controlling’ or ‘bullying’.

    The disordered like your boundaries porous (but only to them).

    This is an especially insidious type of gaslighting.

  • One thing I’ve learned from CN is my narc experience was NOT unique!

    Mine too was a closeted gay man. I don’t even think he was bisexual. I think his interest in other women was just a cover. Lost interest in sex with me early on. Blamed me for being mean, unattractive…All BS.

    Found him on Craigslist casual encounters (men seeking men) and Adult Friend Finders. Said he was just curious. Tons of email correspondence, phone sex, etc. I divorced his ass. Still have copies of the emails and screenshots of when he was going to meet up with a Craigslist guy for sex.

    I know it was petty but I still relish in the fact that I figured out his AFF password and changed his profile to gay.

    He’s now remarried and professes to have found JESUS! We all know what that means. His new wife’s profile came up the other day on the Facebook algorithm that suggests new friends. I thought about blocking her for a second and then decided not to…just in case she someday wants to seek the truth.

    • Your ex sounds much like mine. We also rarely had sex, although it was fine when we did. He also claimed that Jesus had cured him of his homosexual urges via his affair with the married woman at the end of our marriage. He truly did not appear to see any sort of problem with that logic. Of course, he was still having just as much sex with men as ever. These guys are nuts.

  • Roll on Divorce.

    I applaud all those who extricated themselves from the tangled web of the relationship between a straightspouse and gay/bi or ‘other’ person who seeks an alternative reality. Some are still caught in that web

  • He’s cruel. I thought my ex-husband giving me this for my birthday was cruel, but your husband wins the Sparkly Turd award.

    On a coffee mug.

    “Consolation Wife

    The opposite of a trophy wife. This is the wife you are sent home with when you lose at dating. These women might have been trophy wives if the trophy was given merely for participation rather than performance.”

    I looked it up on Urban Dictionary – here’s the part that was left off of it:

    “My buddy said it was the trophy wife table, but when I turned around every single woman was past her prime, assuming they even had a prime. It was the consolation wife table.”

    I enjoyed smashing it in the fireplace.

    • Yeah, well, I opened up the box, saw it and then looked at the card. At least he had the good sense to give it to me AFTER we got divorced. I wondered if his latest was in on it then decided it didn’t fucking matter.

      I took a photo of it before I smashed it to smithereens. It’s in the manila folder entitled “saving myself”.

  • For anyone who finds themselves in this situation, the Straight Spouse Network has been a lifesaver for me, especially the online and in person support groups it offers. It’s so helpful to connect with others who have been there too.

  • I left my ex husband when I found out he was going on gay chat lines. Everything clicked then for me. All the lying, disappearing and sneaking around. All the times he was “working”, on a golf trip with the guys, over night business meetings and no business to meet about, befriending flamboyant gay men and then making fun of them (behind their backs) for being gay. He’s a sick asshole for sure. Wasted 20 years of my life. I didn’t sign up to be his beard – I wanted the fairytale that he promised me. He can go fuck off with my replacement “beard”. I pity her -she thinks she found a prince.

  • He probably wanted the respectively of a family, but wanted his secret life, I don’t know how you coped for 20 years, his sexuality has nothing to do with you, blaming you, was or is, is a cop out.

  • Definitely not a unique situation. BAM cheated on me for 30 years with his secret high school boyfriend. And now he has a new girl friend he met on who has absolutely no idea that he continues to see his boyfriend quite regularly. I feel sorry for her, but I don’t feel it is my place to out him as a cheating asshole. She wouldn’t believe me anyway after all the lies she has been fed about me. BAM would have been very happy to have his cake for life … it is a minor inconvenience to switch beards midstream, but off he goes to continue using others. Sad. Not unique.

  • Ugh, that word! Control ; gotta be in the top-ten on the Cheater word-play vocabulary list.
    I’m sure there are controlling spouses out there But they don’t become that way overnight…either the red flags were ignored or events trigger it.

    When that event is cheating, God forbid the Chump stand up for her/himself and the marriage. Suddenly the scrutiny & accountability of putting the pieces back together is twisted and morphed retroactively into the very thing that broke them in the first place.

    Here’s a fun example from my own trip down Reconciliation Road:
    I did my due diligence & had the goods on exH before D-Day. When it finally came, I sat back & listened to his list of everything he’d do to save the marriage ( i.e., his ass). I had a list in my head but made no demands. Everything was his own offering without any prompting from me. Counseling, STD testing, less travel, schedule transparency & frequent check-in, etc. Last but not least, turning over his Viagra for me to keep.
    (Previously hidden, he thought).

    Fast fwd. Things were going south & I found a bottle of Viagra he hadn’t given me. It had come in the mail. I Waited a few days to give him the chance to tell/give them to me.
    Instead, it disappeared. When confronted about it during the course yet another argument, he admitted he had hidden it from me because he knew I had seen it, and “wanted to make me mad”. That he hadn’t used any of them, and he” was going to put them back.”
    Okay, show me, I said. Where are they? He wouldn’t produce them. Said he’d bring them downstairs to me later. No dice, I said. Show me now, prove what you’ve told me, or this will get ugly.
    He proceeded to reach into the back of a drawer, pulled out a tiny little box of mechanical pencil leads stuffed with Viagra.
    Where was the bottle they came in? Gone, thrown out & already hauled away by the garbage truck.
    BUT HE WAS GOING TO PUT THEM BACK. Suuure you were, darlin’.
    But, he stuck to the story, becoming increasingly righteous and indignant, blurting out he needed to teach me a lesson for being ‘so controlling’ with the pills.
    And there we had it, the triple Lindy with a Twist. Contorting his own offer of what he knew to be the right thing, into an excuse for bad, deceptive Behavior. All My Fault! – for accepting his offer as part of Reconciliation.
    Nope, things were just getting rough and he decided to pack rat his boner pills away for the next adventure. If he knew I’d seen them and intended to put them back after making me mad ( bad enough on it’s own), why destroy the bottle?
    This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I kicked him out after promising to make a scene worthy of neighbors calling the police if he didn’t go quietly.

    Bottom line, he was resentful of any and all transparency & accountability to me and the marriage. He pathetically stuck to his story despite even the marriage counselors and his best friend calling him out on it.
    Sure, I took control eventually. Afterward. After he blue trust, his integrity, and our marriage all to hell.
    I took Control back AFTER he put everything at risk. Including my own sexual health. Funny how their lack of control gets blamed on us having too much. Pathetic.

  • You’re not alone! My “straight with an attraction to men” ex-husband told me he never would’ve answered those craiglsit M4M ads if it wasn’t for the stress I put on him… that he could’ve lived happily as married straight man forever if I had just let him. In fact, I was going against GOD’s plan for all of us by not accepting and helping his cope with his “addiction” to dick. Cognitive dissonance, my friends! Not only is your ex cray-pants, but he’s abusive.

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