The Last Tear

I still cry every time my kids leave to visit their dad. It’s a total breakdown complete with the sobbing kind of cry. Then every time, I say with conviction, “This is the last tear I will cry. No more tears because it is not my fault. I did nothing wrong and I have so much to be thankful for.”

Then, I dutifully count all my blessings and wipe my tears away. I have so much to be thankful for, but what I really want is my family whole again and I can’t help but feel angry and sad. I am still grieving for the life I will never have. Yes, I know I need to ‘get over it’ and move on. But the tears keep coming. I want the father of my children back in my house. I want him to not be gay and to love me like he promised he would. But the thing is, he was always gay.

From the start, our life together was a lie. I am sure he wanted to love me. But what he wanted more was to have children and to return to his home, near his mom, sister and friends. I went along for the ride, replacing my individual dreams with dreams of our new life and his family. Slowly I gave up who I was and blended into his family, his town, his friends. Never really feeling like any of it was a sacrifice because I wanted my husband and children and me to have a shared story.

I traded in the dreams I had for me for dreams of ‘we.’ I cry as I grieve for the loss of my dreams, my spouse, my family as I knew it.

Not a single tear will erase the pain. I take a deep breath, wipe my eyes and grab my yoga mat and head out the door, knowing that in a matter of time, I will have some peace and my practice will help me balance the pain and loss I feel with the uncertainty of my future.

In time, my grief will be balanced with the joy and gratitude I have for the wonderful opportunities and friendships that would not be present in my life if it were not for these circumstances.


I Want Dorothy’s Shoes

The universe has made a giant mistake. Giant may be a bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps it’s just a stutter. But, I am now living in some strange parallel universe that makes no sense. How can it be that my children are not allowed to leave Mapdot and live a normal, stable, and enriching life with me back East. I just want to go home.

I am grieving all over again. This time it’s because of the death of a dream. I wanted so badly to leave Mapdot and to escape and just move on with my kids. I wanted to be granted sole custody and go home, to my family and friends. I had a home waiting for me and a really good, high paying job. I was so sure that I would be allowed by the courts to go.

After all, the Gay Husband doesn’t not exactly participate in the day to day life of our children. He doesn’t tend to their basic needs like feeing them or providing them with a safe home. His mother prepares all the meals and the GH has a shanty in the country that serves as a place to sleep. In my option, its in the best interest of the kids to be far away from the ridicule of having a gay dad, be with their primary care giver, be removed from an environment where they are exposed to a lot of adult behavior. I wanted my kids to attend schools that are some of the nation’s best and be near the museums, art, culture and diversity that is offered in a metropolitan area. I want my kids to have every opportunity and not deny them the relationship of their dad. My offers for visitation were generous and I offered to foot the bill to ensure that the kids and their dad stayed close.

My job, which is located in the Northeast, is a good high paying job that is in my field. I have been doing it since prior to the discovery of The Gay Thing and prior to GH moving out. So it is not as if I planned to have a job where I would want to run away to because after all, I didn’t know I would want to leave.

Can I work at that job from Mapdot? Yes, sort of. I can work here, but not efficiently and there will be travel, which means my kids will be in the care of their grandmother and with GH. My job is at risk, and while I may be able to technically work here, I don’t see it being a long term solution. By not being physically located in the East, my job will be redefined and possibly eliminated or re assigned to someone else.

For the past several months, I could see no other solution than living back East. My dad has a rental home that I would rent. I envisioned myself waking up with the kids, packing lunches, sending them to school on the bus. I would go to work and come home. I have friends who I would work out with, run with, and who have kids that would be my kids’ friends. In my mind, it all seemed so real. So real that in fact, there were days I’d wake up in Mapdot and be actually surprised that I was here instead of there. It just seemed so right, so perfect and such the obvious solution. But then I’d realize I was still here.

The Guardian assigned to evaluate our custody case and make a recommendation on my request to leave thought differently. Her interviews and visit revealed no surprises. I scored high in the ‘better parent’ category and GH was caught in lies and told he ‘has his head in the sand’ when it comes to the risks and dangers he presents. I was granted residential custody and GH is to have visitation. Most importantly, she noted that the kids are attached to the farm, their friends and family and she thought it in their best interest to preserve status quo with their living situation. My request to leave was denied.

My employment and career, in her mind is replaceable. While she made not inquires or calls to my employer, she felt that I should be able to replace my job locally. Clearly she missed the memo about high unemployment and lack of high paying professional jobs in my field in this area.

My career and the way that I earn a living and will support the kids is at risk.

The farm and physical surroundings of the kids will change as GH and I have decided to sell the farm. We will have to move and  the kids will be moving and changing schools.

The reasons that my request was denied are no longer relevant. I am challenging premise for her findings and asking her to modify her findings and recommendation. I simply cannot accept that my kids and I are to be held hostage here to preserve a set of circumstances that have irreversibly changed. I am begging the universe to put me back on the trajectory I was on before meeting GH. Or, can I please have a pair of magic red glittery shoes to tap three times?

Getting there from here

I drive along and that the lyrics from Talking Heads song, Once in a LIfetime  pops in my head, “And you may ask your self, well, ‘how did I get here?'”

How did I get here here to Mapdot, USA? There are generally three categories of people who live here. Those who are from here, those who are from near here and those who relocated.

Those who are from here have family that goes back generations. Family friendships go back far and regardless of how old someone is, they talk about high school, going so far as to pull yearbooks out to reference the subject of the current gossip. GH and his family are from here.

Those who are from near to here relocated to the area because the may have graduated from the regional university or they found some reason to escape their own home town and this was a safe and comfortable distance.

Those who are not from here usually got here the way I did. By marriage and subsequent relocation. The area is very rural and has very little industry other than the regional university, a couple of junior colleges and the regional hospital which tends to draw professionals to the area.

With beautiful rolling hills and a large national forrest and lakes, the area is ideal for outdoorsy hunter types and as a result draws some tourists to the area. Other tourists come to enjoy wine from the local wineries. The area is ideal for growing grapes and a couple decades ago there were some pioneers who blazed a trail and created a new industry. And that is how I got here.

GH and I bought a vineyard and grew a small regional farm in to a large tourist attraction. He was responsible for all the farming and viticulture areas of the business (the outdoor/man work) and I was responsible for the branding and sales channels. Our business grew and now is an established stop for many tourists in the area. It is like our third child that he will get custody of. I will not be engaged in the business or able to benefit from it financially. And I don’t want any part of it because it is the symbol of deception and the place where he would court and entertain his prospective partners. It makes me sick to see our dream as the backdrop for his fantasy land.

As a result, my time here is over. I need to get my life back, the life that was on course before I took a detour and trusted the GH to lead us here into his web of lies. I don’t want our kids raised in this environment and I’m ready to fight for my rights to leave.

The next place I go will be intentional and I will know exactly how I got there.

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.

Gay trumps bitch

Always. No matter how much of a mean, evil bitch I was (and I wasn’t always evil). I might have been a bitch at times. I know I was, but not on a daily basis. He however was gay. Gay every single day. He wasn’t just, “I think I may want to explore these feelings I have” kind of gay. No – he was full on gay. He had gay affairs throughout our marriage. He posted and responded to Craig’s list ads and was active on gay internet chat/hook up sites. He wasn’t of the “I found my true love and it’s a man” gay. He was a man whore.

We didn’t have a perfect marriage (in retrospect, that seems like an underwhelming, yet obvious fact) but sexual orientation and his sexual exploits aside, the other aspects were good, even great. We were great friends, great parents, great business partners and great in our community. So I thought.

All the things that make a good marriage were present, well except for one major thing. THE BIGGEST thing. We just didn’t have regular sex and I chalked it up to low sex drive on his part or exhaustion from work. Possibly his lack of desire was due to health issues. Maybe the kids and our business and our general day to day grind was too much for him. I never considered that the reason we were not having sex was because he was gay and having gay sex.

I know gay men. I have a gay brother. I had a gay roommate in college. I have had many gay friends. I thought I had pretty good gaydar and could sense a gay man. What I was not good at sensing was the ‘masc’ gay man. The gay man who looks, acts, dresses and speaks like a straight man. This was a new category of gay that I was unfamiliar with, and perhaps I was being shallow and stereotyping gay men. But I never saw any gay tendencies in my husband. He chopped wood, built things, was sort of athletic, he was a guy’s guy who enjoys redneck things like car-camping and riding four wheelers. He was a terrible dresser and his appearance and fashion choices would leave me wondering if he ever used the mirror. I assumed he was straight.

And why wouldn’t I assume that he was straight? Our courtship seemed like normal courtship: flirting, going to dinners, going to bars, drinking, an having sex. It wasn’t frequent, porn star lusty sex, but it was sexual affair that lasted for about 2 months before  I got pregnant. 2 years later, we got married. Why would I ever think he was gay? He had every chance to dump me when I was pregnant or even after our son was born.

It is still a mystery to me how I could not have seen this.  Gay definitely trumps bitch. I am absolved of the guilt here – I get a pass on this failed marriage because you just can’t fix gay.