If wishes were fishes, the sea would be full

I feel better if can categorize and distill my thoughts. The throbbing and nagging lessens when I can see in black and white the idea that is causing my heart to race or my mind to churn. There are times too when I feel an overwhelming rush of peace or gratitude and am so thankful for the life I have, my friends, and my good fortune. The lists of things I am grateful for spans many pages but most are too personal and too revealing. Rest assured, the things I am grateful for and truly appreciate far outnumber the items here. One thing that has taken me almost 8 months to realize that I am glad GH left and I actually thankful for being set free to no longer have to live in his closet or be subjected to the lifestyle that being lied to creates. I am sure that anyone who has had a spouse who was unfaithful can relate!

Now that you’re gone…

  1. I can leave the bed unmade
  2. I can eat what I want and when I want
  3. I don’t have to cook your favorite foods that I hated
  4. I can enjoy meals in the company of our children
  5. I can have a discussion with the kids without the TV blaring at dinner
  6. I no longer have to hear you yell out letters at Wheel of Fortune
  7. I don’t have to watch you pick your teeth
  8. I don’t have to hear you fart
  9. I always get a hot shower
  10. I don’t have ask permission to go running or work out
  11. I don’t feel anxiety when the house isn’t picked up
  12. I can stay in bed late or get up early
  13. I can stay up late and read, watch a movie or TV show that I want to watch
  14. I feel good enough and at peace with me
  15. I am happy

Things I think of that make me want to vomit

  1. You sucking another guys dick
  2. You coming home and kissing me hello, I now wonder where that mouth was
  3. You missing out on time with our kids because you wanted to hook up and have gay sex
  4. You having so much pent up anxiety and anger about your double life that you took it out on me
  5. You having men in our home and at our store
  6. You wishing you were somewhere else or with someone else when you were with me
  7. You staying late at work to hook up
  8. You lying to me about the reasons we didn’t have sex
  9. You letting me think that there was something wrong with me
  10. You manufacturing problems and causing fights to avoid intimacy
  11. You making me distrust men and think that they are all gay
  12. Your ability to create and destroy a whole family by your lie
  13. You have a support system and group of people who have embraced you in YOUR difficult time

Things I wonder about

  1. How many men did you really have sex with
  2. Did you take it in the ass or give it up the ass
  3. Did you like the way a guy sucks your dick better than the way I did
  4. Did you ever have some kind of gay sexual encounter and then have sex with me
  5. Where in our house or store did you have sex
  6. Did you have your mom watch our kids so you could hook up with men
  7. When I was traveling, did you look forward to my being gone
  8. Did you lie to me when you said you missed me
  9. Did you ever really love me
  10. When you did errands for the store and stayed over night at a hotel did you hook up
  11. How many people did you meet on the internet that you invited to or told about our business
  12. How many people knew
  13. How many people kept your secret for you

Things I am sad for you about

  1. You had to live a lie
  2. You didn’t feel like you could trust me with your secret
  3. You feared your parents reaction
  4. You had stress about living a double life
  5. You are so narcissist that you can’t think about anyone’s feelings
  6. You are so ungrateful for all that I have done for you
  7. You are resentful towards me about our divorce
  8. You were not able to live an authentic life
  9. You were not able to enjoy your children and wife as a father and husband
  10. You don’t even know what you are missing

I wish you would….

  1. Tell me you are truly sorry for everything
  2. Be honest with your children, parents, and friends about who you really are
  3. Realize that people would have loved you and accepted you for you
  4. Understand that the lie was the worst of it all
  5. Take the blame for our failed marriage
  6. Figure out how to make up for all the damage you have caused
  7. Take responsibility for putting the fork in the road and causing our paths to change
  8. Realized that you can’t have the best of both worlds and that I now deserve to live a true, authentic life
  9. My dreams were wrapped up in you, the family we created, and our business that we create
  10. I can’t ‘just get over it’ and ‘just move on’ while living here
  11. Be charitable enough to figure out to help me right my life and get back to where I belong
  12. Not be gay
  13. Tell me that this is all a terrible, mean joke and that you are not gay and you want to come home and fix it all

But if wishes were fishes, the sea would be full.

Happy in the Eye of the Hurricane

GH and I relocated here to Mapdot, USA because his family was here.  We thought that with two small children it would be better for us and better for our kids if we were near family.

People don’t move here for career advancement. They live here because this is where they are from.  Or to flee where they are from. Or perhaps it is because they want frequent visitation with a loved one who has a life sentence and is penned up in one of the many prisons in the region.  For me having to live here without family, close friends, and a meaningful and rewarding job, reasonable access to a mall with escalators, and access to a major international airport is like being in prison.

The nearest city is two and half hours away. The City is not exactly what I have in mind when I say City – sure there is a collection of home team sports, universities, some arts and theater. The opportunities for fine dining are few, but they exist. When I think of City, I think of abundance. Bright lights. 24 hour diners. I think of the neon lights of Time Square. The City is not THE CITY.  And I am a CITY gal. I like funky boutiques and ethnic foods from locales that require knowledge of world geography to understand its origin. I like theater and dance. Outside music performed on street corners or subways. I like public transportation that has multiple lines and transfer stations. I like hearing foreign languages spoken and a diversity of fashion. I want THE CITY that never sleeps. Before marrying GH and being transported to Mapdot, I had the best of both worlds. I grew up in the suburban, countryside with easy access to Gotham.

But here in Mapdot, my desires have been ratcheted back a few notches and I have grown to appreciate the tranquility. Growing the business, maintaining a corporate job and raising two small children distracted and exhausted me so that there was not an ounce of energy to even entertain the notion of building my own social network or even miss what I didn’t have. Owning a business that is a tourist attraction and getting away from it just doesn’t happen. Five hours of  round trip car travel to experience fine dining and Midwestern diversity was difficult to justify.  Thankfully a network of his family provided entertainment when I wasn’t working.

The sole reason for being here was for family and to run a business that GH and I started.  My contribution to the business for first part of us owning it was to provide an income to support our family and the business and ensure we had healthcare (which came in handy when GH had a heart attack and needed triple bypass surgery as well as a pacemaker; hiding secrets can be stressful!).

Each corporate job I had was for a company that required some travel, mostly to its corporate location or to trade shows. I had a reputation for being a stellar employee and one who had earned the reputation for getting a job done. However, as our business began to grow and it became more successful, it began to get the best hours of the day and the most mind share. My performance was suffering in the virtual cubicle and that with a bad economy made me a candidate for getting laid off.  It makes perfect sense and I hold no ill will toward my former employer; in fact, I am surprised I was able to even perform at a marginal level at anything.

After being laid off, I was unemployed for over two years. I searched for a job with varying degrees of success but identified with my role in our business and dedicated myself to growing our sales and increasing revenues so that I did not need a job to supplement the business. All parents want their kids to grow up and be self supporting and a productive member of society. Our business was like our third child and it was so close to being self supportive. When I dedicated myself to it, I saw it mature and finally got to a point where it was a responsible grown up and supporting itself and a small staff.  I was quite proud of the work I had done and felt like I was contributing. My role in our family and business had been redefined; I was comfortable with it and content.

GH was less than enthusiastic about my involvement. He resented that I was ‘around all the time.’ Since the business was doing well, he was nagging that I “get a job and get off the farm.”  I didn’t think of myself as a dutiful wife, but I did see the value in getting off the farm and earning more and getting benefits again. So, half heartedly I continued to knock on doors and I had several interviews. Most of my connections knew from my corporate days were aware that I owned a business and were reluctant to take a risk with me working remotely. Additionally, the cost of travel was becoming an issue. Unemployment was high and there were many other local resources available to fill the openings that I was applying to.

Locally, I discovered that it was difficult for me to obtain a job with my skills. The kind of work I do isn’t done here and the kind of work that is done here, I am either under or over qualified for. The main industries here are Healthcare, the University, Hospitality, and the Prisons. There is also the lucrative, albeit illegal and dangerous meth industry. After submitting many applications and interviewing, I found a job at the university. The salary for that job was not what I was used to making and there was not a career trajectory for high performers. At a state job, I learned that pay is not tied to performance. If I busted my ass and was a rock star performer, I would get the same percentage of increase that I would get for just showing up and not screwing up. All and all, I was grateful for the job.

GH and others told me, “It’s a good job for the area.” People who knew me knew that it was a consolation. I wanted more in a job. I wanted a good job for me.  I identify greatly with my professional success and felt like even though the job at the university was good job, it would not be a job that I would have chosen given other alternatives.  But after over two years of looking, I had no other alternatives and felt lucky to have found any job. I no longer wondered what the term ‘underemployed’ meant.  My role had always been to have a challenging, high income job. This  job was not particularly challenging nor high paying. Its redemption was that I got to meet interesting people and provide health care benefits to my family.  From that perspective, it made me feel useful again.  Most importantly, I met some amazing members of the community and developed a sense of camaraderie and admiration for those who were in that office.  GH was happy because his escapades could now resume without the high risk of getting caught and he could be confident his healthcare coverage and supplemental income would resume.

When GH found he could be covered on a State plan and didn’t need me for healthcare benefits, my role in his life was diminished. Because the business was successful and no longer in need of a supplemental income, I was made irrelevant. The reality of my financial future terrified me. My prospects for long-term and lucrative employment in and around Mapdot are slim. I realized I was spiriling towards a midlife crisis and trying to figure out who I am and what my worth is in this family. I needed more.

I called a former colleague who knew me well and knew my situation. He had just started a company and could not offer me a paying job but I could help him out. I was ecstatic! I ran to GH and said, “Steve started a company, and because I have experience in the industry, he asked me to help him grow the business!!” His reaction was somewhere between interested and annoyed. Then I went on to tell him that there would be no pay, no benefits, and that I could work part time in between my university job hours.  GH didn’t get it. He didn’t care that I found something that made me happy.

After having been emotionally beaten, my ego and self-esteem were knocked down. But at the last second, I scrambled and was back on my feet., I was finally finding peace and balance with my role in my family, my role as provider of healthcare benefits, my professional circles were expanding again and I was finally looking up.

I recognized this familiar feeling. I was happy.  I was content and at peace.  In retrospect, it I was in they eye of the hurricane that would up end my whole life.

Playing for fun isn’t fun …unless you win

As I was driving my children to the sporting goods store for yet more baseball equipment, my 8 year old daughter and 10 year old son were having a conversation about his season’s first baseball game. He’s gloating about the fact that his team slaughtered the other team. I, while beaming and proud of their win, am obligated to say something parental that will instill a sense of humility in his budding ego. I don’t want to squash his spirit, but I want to temper what could become an egomaniacal ass in the future. After all, they say, it all starts in moments like these.  So I say, “I am glad you won, but you know, you could lose the next game.” Then my daughter chimes in, “Right, it’s not about winning; it’s about having fun.”

Actually, personally I disagree. It is about winning and how you define winning is what it’s about. I have to respond and I pull out the parent voice and say, “She is right you should be having fun.” Oh the pressure I feel to tame and shape an ego without encouraging the dreaded “everyone’s special” and “you are all winners” rhetoric.

Then my son astutely says, “Playing for fun isn’t fun. The fun part is winning otherwise why practice?”  I smile. That is my spirit. I am competitive. I am an athlete and I sweat and bust my ass in the gym and running not just because winning is fun but because losing sucks. It is not just losing on a scoreboard that sucks but losing because I didn’t try hard enough or I gave in. The worst kind of loss, for me is being unprepared. When game time comes, either on the field, at the track or in life, preparation is the key to winning. Knowing that I could have done something to improve my game and my outcome and for whatever reason made a choice not to – that sucks.

My kids are young and I want them to be good at sports. I think kids who participate in sports and have attained a level of proficiency have a competitive advantage in life because they have learned basic life skills early on that become ingrained into their being. These are skills that are transferable to relationships and jobs. Skills like knowing the rules, knowing who the leader is, how to lead as well as follow. Lots of smart people have done lots of studies to prove this concept so I am not saying anything radical but there are others out there who try and dispel the theory. My personal experience is that organized, competitive sports have helped prepare me for life in a positive way. Therefore, I want my kids to have the same experience. Science and social studies aside, I’ll liken it to a family tradition.

Statistically it is improbable that my son will win every game, so part of practicing is learning how to lose with grace and not give up. Wins and losses come big and small. Over a lifetime my child athletes will be celebrating small wins, and letting little losses be instructional. Wining big and losing big then should feel familiar to the little wins and losses; this is one important lesson that competing has taught me.

I begin to think about the major loss I have suffered. My marriage and all the dreams I had; the business GH and I started; my definition of family; the connections I had to Mapdot, USA and my entire vision of my future has been lost. All of it is gone. Lost in a single realization and discovery. Before now, I have never suffered such a catastrophic loss in my life. Now I am fighting to reclaim my life and redefine my future. Competing and the little losses I suffered along the way could in no way prepare me for becoming collateral damage in a war brought on by GH’s deception. But I will not roll over and give up. No way. Losing sucks. For this competition, though, there will be no clear winner.

Last night I made my way to the baseball field to watch my son’s second game of the season. His confidence is infectious; the whole team is pumped from the last win and that emotional energy carries them to the start of the game. They had a solid practice since their last win and are confident in their skill. They are competing as winners.

I make my way to the stands. From my vantage point I see GH and his posse; nearly every child on the team belongs to parents that grew up with GH. Since our separation, only a few people know why we are divorcing. But regardless of the reason and the fact that he erred in our relationship is irrelevant. He has the home field advantage. I am seen as the opposition and the enemy because I have launched a fight for custody and the right to relocate and get my life back to where I want it. I am a team of one.

I take a cue from the team who started the game with a 1-0 record and act like I belong and that I have already won. I am physically strong. I am emotionally strong and I am confident that I have done nothing wrong. I am prepared and have documented a laundry list of facts and a few silver bullets that I may have to use to to win. I have my game face on. While I have no fan base to cheer me on here, I fall back on the lessons I learned while competing. I suck in my breath, hold my head high and visualize my win.

I cheer on my son and his team and watch them progress the score each inning. The team wins and are now 2-0. They are really having fun.

Not ready to hang up

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about GI Joe. Let me be clear, I think about him every day, but that particular day, I was occupied constantly by a nagging in my core. Ok obsessing about him on that day. It’s been 5 months plus a few days since I saw him and felt connected to another human being who ‘gets’ me and who can also fuck my brians out, leaving me feeling like a truly sane and desirable woman, which I have regular doubts about. I wonder about him every day. I hope he is safe. I hope he is comfortable. I hope he’s happy. Or as comfortable and happy as a military contractor in Afghanistan can possibly be.

So, as I often do when I am alone with my thoughts, I googled. That day the question was, “When will I see GI Joe. He’s in Afghanistan and I miss him.” GI Joe is  a very private person and has disappeared himself from all social media and websites. Very little public information exisits. I know this of course because I’ve googled before with other questions. This time however, my heart stopped beating for a second and I was left breathless and paralyzed. There it was, in the list search results. His name with some headline with 2 videos of him.

The feeling of shock and disbelief came over me. It reminded me of the time I first saw internet proof of GH’s gayness. To click or not to click. I am a curious sucker and I clicked. There it was, in full color and sound. GI Joe doing what he does with a bunch of other GI Joes. The other video was an awkward interview style video of him answering questions; I can tell from the video that he loves doing what he does and that he is equally uncomfortable with video interview.

I touch the screen and am so grateful he is alive. He looks well, meaning he still has all his limbs and appears to be fed. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have seen him and heard him. A wave of gratitude for him and all our service men, women and families just rushes over me. I think of all the military spouses who cry for their loved ones every day and wonder about them; I wish them peace and try and send them good energy of thanks because they all have made so many sacrifices. I have mixed feelings about our involvement in global social politics, but without a wavering thought I support and send love to all the families who have a loved one involved and who are left alone with their own needs and unanswered questions. Since GI Joe and I don’t really have a relationship, I am not angry he hasn’t called or emailed me back. I don’t expect him to; I would like him to, but having seen him and heard him, and knowing he is still physically on this planet is enough for me for now.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I almost know every word of his interview by heart. I have watched countless times as it is the only way to really see him. I miss him and look forward to the next time I can see him or hear his voice. Selfishly I need him to tell me that I am ok and that my life will settle down. When I found out about GH, GI Joe held me up. It might have been some special forces mind trick that he played, but he would hold my face in his hands and look into my eyes. He saw me. He would tell me that I am beautiful and smart and that I was important to him. When he held me like that and our eyes locked, the world and the voice of fear and doubt in my head were silenced. I truly felt he believed what he said and if he saw it, I could see it. I need that lift again. I need him to hold me again and look into my eyes and feel his belief in me. Plus I want to fuck again.

Yesterday I was out with my kids at a local farm stand getting strawberries. This farm stand reminds me of the farm stand I worked at when I was in high school. My mind started drifting back to those days, the friends I had and the simplicity of it all. At 17, I really did have all the answers – I was a know it all because life was simple. It was exactly how it seemed on the surface; my boyfriend was honestly heterosexual, my friends were true to the core and my future all a beautiful promise. I wanted to go back to that time and visit the simple feelings of security again…. My phone rang and snapped me back to reality. I felt it. GI Joe was on the other end of the line. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and the caller ID said, “restricted.” My heart skipped 2 beats. If he would call me, it would be on skype or from a restricted phone. I quickly answered it to hear airport noises and loud sounds, but no voice on the other end of the line. I felt like it was him and couldn’t hang up. I said, “hello?” but knew there would be no response. The line stayed open for a few seconds and I strained to hear the sounds on the other end.

I needed to say goodbye and hang up to both this call and the hope that he is out there, waiting silently for me. I hung up and my daughter asked, “who was that?” I answered her honestly and said, “I don’t know. It was probably a wrong number.” My heart sank with the possibility that I probably told her the truth and that as much as I need and want to hear from GI Joe, the odds are slim. I am glad google showed me the videos but it would have been better for my mental health if it just responded, “Better not tell you now.”

Drinking the weather report from a fire hose

“Why are you getting divorced?” he asked. It is such a simple yet intrusive question. I just met Paul and he is a friend of a friend, we have no history and I have nothing to hide or prove for that matter. Most people, when making small talk start out with simple topics. The weather, sports, travel, etc. I always felt like it was good to establish some sort of common base with someone to get to know them a little on the surface before going in for the kill shot. But I feel like playing with this person a bit, so I’ll bite. We’ll have the conversation. Bring it on!

“My husband cheated on me,” I tell him. This is where I feel bad because I know how the next few moments will go. Paul will seem sympathetic and will want to relay a similar story. I will chime in that I had no idea. Paul will appear stunned, shocked, and get defensive for me. The conversations wanders to “You are an attractive woman and you have it all going on! He obviously didn’t know what he was giving up!” Now the road will fork a little as I offer, “Yeah, I know. I was totally blind sided.” Paul then feels bad and continues to talk some about his friend who had a ‘similar’ situation. The conversation is amusing me because it is so familliar. Maybe this is the small talk that he’s used to and from the banality of it, it is kind of like talking about the weather. It’s simple, predictable and since I was not the one at fault it’s an easy conversation to have.

Up until recently this is where the conversation would end. But as of late, I’ve been letting the line out a bit and seeing how far I can go with people. I don’t trust people with my story and feel like it is my cross to bear and that I don’t want to out GH. I’ve been comfortable in his closet, but I am getting ready to move out.

Paul blathers on about his friend who “knew someone” who set up a fake profile on match.com and used to hook up with people and had an affair. “Match.com?” I ask. I guess I asked it in a way that made him think I had never heard of it so he proceeded to explain to me that it is, “just an internet dating site.” “Oh, right. I know all about match. My husband was on dating sites looking for partners.”  Paul missed that I didn’t say “women” so the conversation then goes on for a bit about how those sites operate and how easy it is to be anonymous.

This conversation is starting to tire me. If I met this guy at a cocktail party, I’d find a way to walk away, but my friend left us alone for a bit so I have nowhere to go and neither does he. I am a cat bored with the mouse. Time to pounce. “My husband was on Craig’s List, in the casual encounter section.” Paul’s reaction makes me think like he has not heard of that section.  I am doubtful, but it’s the right response because to be familiar with it puts a whole new spin on the conversation. So, I carry on as if to enlighten him about this unknown area of the internet. “Yeah, you can pretty much post your desire and someone can hit you up with a response. So my husband was out there creating postings that said, ‘looking for a NSA blow job tonight.” I could have swore I thought Paul’s eyes kind of lit up a bit at just the prospect of being able to summon a no strings attached blow job. Then, I offered “He got a lot of responses.” Paul’s voice said, “Oh that is awful… just disgusting!” but his body language could not masquerade the curiosity of it all. Perhaps he really hadn’t seen this area of Craig’s list. I made a mental note to tell my friend that he’s a good catch.

I am ready now. “Yes, it is awful. especially because the responses he was getting were from men.” Crickets. Silence. No reaction. Bet he was sorry he asked why I was getting a divorce. So, he wants to know, I’ll give him the weather report and he can drink it from the fire hose.

“Yup. Men. My husband is gay. He’s been gay his whole life and has been having affairs with men since as far back as he can remember. I found out by accident. I got to see some photos that were hard to ignore. I’ve since learned that he’s met, over the course of our marriage, hundreds of men on the internet. Craig’s List is just one site. There are others that allow you to set up profiles.” I can see that I am loosing Paul and I have to reel it in a bit. “Just like on Match.com.” He nods a little, I’ve brought him back to some familiar territory. Now, back down the rabbit hole, “but unlike Match, you can post pictures of your dick, your balls, your asshole. You can post pictures of anything you think will make you appealing to someone. You can also indicate what you like: are you top or bottom.” I guess I paused like I wanted him to answer so he volunteered, “I don’t know. What is that?” I shake my head. This is actually kind of fun. I say, “do you like to give it up the ass or take it up the ass?” He just shakes his head. No answer, which is good. Again – mental note to tell my friend he may be a keeper.

Then I proceed to tell him how this all works tactically. He’s not had any time to process it all, but that is ok. I open the flood gates. “So you can go to the men seeking men section of Craig’s List and post your desires. Once you decide what you want, you get to decide who you want to give it to you, if your a bottom that is. If you are a top, you look for a bottom. There are some who are ‘vers’ which is short hand for versatile, meaning top or bottom. Then you get to read through ‘stats’ which are statistics. On Match, these would be things like eye color, height, weight, religious preferences, etc.” Poor Paul. He is glazing over but there is no stopping me now.  After all, he did ask why we got divorced. I am going to answer his question. “On these sites height and weight are equally important to dick size, whether it’s cut – Circumcised.”

I barely pause for a breath. I am on a roll!  “So My husband, for example would post something like, ’38 year old 6’1 220 top 6 1/2 cut looking for bottom to play with. Safe DF and DF only. Can host. Send your stats and a picture.” This would translate to 38 year old (which is just one of his many lies, he’s 45 and looks every bit of it), 6 foot 1 220 pounds. with a 6.5 inch circumcised erect penis. He’s a top and wants someone who practices safe sex  and is HIV negative. Drug Free and Disease Free. Hosting means he will entertain at our home or business. He wants to know the statistics of the responder, which typically means, ‘just tell me how big you are and how big your dick is.’ Sending a picture can be what ever the responder wants it to be. The majority of the time, the first round of responses get a dick-pic.” Oh he is so lost, I think. I carry on though, “A dick-pic is a picture of an erect penis. If that is palatable, then they’ll exchange a few more messages coordinating a meeting time then at the end of the conversation, they may exchange face pictures. During this time neither really knows or needs to know the other person’s real name. They arrange a meeting place to decide if there is chemistry. This translates roughly to, ‘lets meet and check each other out. if we like the looks of each other we can go back to the host’s place and fuck’.”

Silence. I have to take a breath and just let him marinate in that for a minute. My friend comes back and Paul reaches out for her hand. “Are you two getting along?” she asked.  Paul smiles uncomfortably. “He asked why I was getting divorced,” I tell my friend.  Paul nods like a trauma patient who can’t speak but know he needs to communicate.

Mission accomplished. I told my story. Clearly I have some work to do on refining it, but Paul was good practice.

Charity work

It’s bad when the 80 year old mother of one of my friends says, “Well, I always kind of thought so.” Really? Why is it that many of the people who find out my husband is gay are not surprised. Not only are they not surprised, some people have even said to me that they thought we had an ‘arrangement’ of sorts because they just assumed that I knew.

Our son was 18 months old when we got married, so realistically, I probably would not have married him if I knew. I wanted to marry the father of my child, who for all intents and purposes lived a straight life, and who, I thought, acted straight. He gave me no reason to believe that he was anything other than who he presented himself to be.

GH liked liked sweaty ‘man’ work. He used power tools and climbed trees with chain saws. He did lots of outdoor chores and was a bit rough handed when it came to an insubordinate power tool. He had a strong build, over 6 ft and 220 lbs. He was a muscular and athletic. We road mountain bikes and hiked. GH liked going to bars and drinking beer.

Stereotypes exist for a reason, and when I think of a gay man, pictures of my gay friends come to mind. Most of them fit the stereotype to some degree. There are some full out and out queens and others who are just a bit feme.  GH flew under my gay-dar.

Now I wonder, what is it that other people saw in him that I missed? Were there mannerisms or behaviors that were so obviously gay that an 80 year old picked up on. What is it that makes gay G-A-Y. I need to know so that I can identify and avoid this character trait in any future.

Being that I am pretty deft, unless he wore a sign that said, “I am gay,” I don’t think I would have recognized it. But there were physical characteristics that when I think of them, they make me pause and wonder if any of them were clear indicators of gayness. Were the hazard lights blinking and I just missed it? Clearly there was something  about him that made other people consider the possibility that he was gay. Was it the way he ran with limp wrists and a tilted head? Was it the fact that he loved to go shopping for antiques and refinish them. With his mom. Could the sign have been that he was impeccably clean and not only knew how all the attachments on the vacuum worked but used them regularly for their intended purpose? Was it the way he was so meticulous with the yard work?  He didn’t have a lisp. He didn’t listen to show tunes. He didn’t have a great sense of fashion. All the “gay things” that he exhibited were counterbalanced by the traits he didn’t possess.

Now that I know he’s gay, I can’t help but see gay. Everything he does is gay. His clothes, his voice, his mannerism. Was it there all along or am I seeing what I know to be there. Last time I saw him he was at work talking to a potential vendor. He wearing a aqua blue shirt that was a little too tight around the chest and biceps. He was being overly animated and using a lot of gestures and tipping his head to punctuate each sentence. His facial reactions were overly animated and as he spoke to the vendor, he kept reaching out to touch his arm or shoulder.  I shook my head and thought, “you are SO FUCKING GAY.” Then I thought, why did I not see that before? How could I have NOT seen it?

Maybe I am a little late to realize what so many have recognized. I do fancy my self quite progressive and possibly would have entertained the idea of marrying my husband had he been out. Reflecting on the comments that were made about us having an understanding or an arrangement, I am flattered. Really. I was flattered that people thought that I would marry a gay man to keep his secret. That is awfully generous. Perhaps that gave me some extra goodwill in the community – people think I am a good, caring, humane charitable person!  Perhaps they saw me like Angelina Jolie and he was my personal charity case. The cat’s out of the closet now and my social charity is limited to organizations that have a tax exemption.

Turn the Page

His leaving was the best thing that ever happned. I just am beginning to realize that.

Now, when I look back at our 11 years, I try and think of the good that came of it. Aside from producing two children, I have to say that I would gladly trade every good moment for the truth and the right to decide how to live my life. His lies robbed me of the life I set out to live. That is what makes me angry. I made decisions and compromises along the way that if it were not for our marriage, I would not have made. Decisions I made for our family were done, on my part, for the good of the family and in the interest of our business. Trying to cope with my anger is a new skill that I am working on developing. It isn’t going as well as I would like.

Countless people have tried to make me feel better by pointing out all the good that has come of our relationship and how much better I am / he is / our community is /etc. I am truly grateful for all the experiences I had and the opportunities that those experiences have afforded me. I NEED to believe that every experience I had is somehow preparing me for my best life. Yet there is a nagging I feel. It is like the whining child inside me screaming, “BUT I NEVER WANTED THIS FOR ME!”

There were truly wonderful parts of our lives. But then I start to dissect them and wonder what about it all was so wonderful. It was all based on a lie. Our relationship and our family and our dreams for our business were all tied up together and inseparable. The financial investment that we both made to move and buy our business. Would we have done that had I know he was gay? NO! Would I have moved to Mapdot, USA had I known he was gay? NO.

But the past is the past and I want to move forward. So, with each wave of fury and anger for decisions I made for him, I will try and balance it out with a life lesson that is positive and will have a greater, positive impact on my life going forward.

So here goes: Point / counter point for angering thoughts of the day:

Point: I had a stressful job and traveled a lot, which gave GH lots of opportunity to ‘play’
Counterpoint: He was gay, my being gone didn’t turn him gay. Plus since I was gone, it was less likely that I would find out. I got to see some great places, stay in fabulous hotels and eat amazing food that I can’t get in Mapdot, USA

Point: I worked very hard to earn a lot of money to support our new business
Counterpoint: It is an investment and I will get my return on the financial investment

Point: We moved to Mapdot to be near his family and friends who are very different from me and I felt very isolated
Counterpoint: When we split up, I didn’t have to see them anymore and I learned how to be more tolerant of people I genuinely dislike

I could go on for a while but this is a useful exercise and actually makes me less angry and more hopeful that I will be equipped to turn the page to an amazing next chapter.