My wife and I started dating when we were in college. It was an amazing romance, and a few years later we got married. We have been married nearly 15 years and have three wonderful children, ages 11, 9 and 6. We are both successful professionals, have a beautiful home and live in a great neighborhood. Our marriage seemed great — great sex life, friends, supportive families and extended families, pets, and incredible friendship between my wife and me.
Except… about a year ago, my wife started acting weird. More drinking, socializing, reckless behavior. And hanging out entirely too much with the mother of one of our daughter’s friends. At first, I thought that this was just a really good friend my wife had made. But then, they were up late drinking, hanging out on days off from work, took a weekend trip together to a national park. (Could I be any more obvious where this is going?)
During spring break of this year, I had finally had it and searched my wife’s mobile phone, only to discover that my wife and her friend had been using WhatsApp (clever!) to assist in carrying on a sexual affair. I confronted my wife about this, and she claimed (at first) that they were just very close friends. But then I asked about the details in some of the WhatsApp texts that I read, and she had to retreat. At that point, she started reading a laundry list of all of my faults and mistakes that drove her to have a lesbian affair, including that I am a “homebody”, work too hard, don’t throw enough parties at the house, and am too narrowly focused on our nuclear family. Let’s just say that the last three months have sort of sucked.
My wife and I are at a point where we are going to spend some time living apart over the summer. My wife also admitted to me that she has fantasized about women for the last “15 to 20 years”, and has suppressed her thoughts given that she grew up in conservative Texas, had a father who threatened to disown her or her brothers if any of them were gay, and we actually did have a pretty great marriage. But this new person just flipped some sort of magic switch for her.
My wife’s goal over the summer is to figure out how she feels about this woman and to analyze her sexual orientation as either bisexual, lesbian or straight-with-a-sprinkling-of-experimentation. Frankly, I need time to process this independently myself and to focus on our kids.
I’m very supportive of the LGBT rights movement, but it sucks to be a “victim” of it as a straight spouse whose LGBT spouse is coming out a bit later than optimal. What’s your take here?
Boy, imagine the answers to What I Did On My Summer Vacation. I just used to have reading assignments. What a project! Does it require posterboard? Glitter glue? Are you a data point for her science fair experiment?
My take is she sucks. (As fully human people sometimes do. You can be gay and still be an asshole.)
I see your dilemma (apart from heartbreak). You’re supposed to contentedly play the role of supportive partner to the nascent lesbian. Because anything less than full you-go-girl would be homophobic, and you’re a progressive man, so be a dear and watch the kids.
Will she emerge from chrysalis a Sapphic butterfly? Or will you continue to yoke her to homebody oppression?
I don’t even know how you’re supposed to perform this pick me dance. Promise you have no dick? Schlepp the kids to summer camp while she explores the Grand Canyon? (Pervy chumps, keep your naughty double entrendre thoughts to yourself.)
The I-Think-I-Might-Be-Gay thing is just another flavor of cake. She’s happy with both her girlfriend and her staid straight mom life and those three accessory kids. She knows you value your family and it would about kill you to hurt the kids. So in that vacuum of indecision, she gets to fuck around.
Note that she is NOT racked with guilt, agony or indecision. She’s alive and forming full sentences about your numerous faults. (I expect the sad sausage channel to begin once you impose consequences like lawyers and separate finances.) This tells us everything we need to know about her character.
Let’s say we’ve concluded the experiment — she’s gay. All she did was take the pain she feared from that discovery and pass it on to you. You get to carry it. You get to invest in her and three kids and a shared life. And you get to suffer that loss, of the partner you thought she was (no mention of the woman attraction in 15 years?) and of your family, because of her cowardice.
Do we live in a homophobic world with real costs for coming out? Absolutely. But you still did not consent to being her beard. She had difficult ethical decisions she could’ve made — beginning with ending her relationship with you respectfully and honestly. Also, she could’ve done what many, many generations of gay women did before her and not marry. Live with your queer roommate and become botanist librarians or something. She didn’t do that. She let you invest deeply.
People break up over orientation, and that could be sad and overcome were it not for her blameshifting and her entitlement at cake. That speaks to her character (shitheel) not her orientation (fluid).
You matter. You deserve a partner who is not conflicted about their attraction to you. She may not be straight — but she should be straight with you.
Lawyer up and all the usual just-found-out advice. Also Straight Spouse Network. ((Hugs))