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July 5, 2019 7:57 pm  #1


I Don't Know What to Think

Hi All,
I've been lurking here the past few days getting a sense of the forum and decided I should post something.  For the past several years, my wife has admitted to her bisexuality.  That hasn't really affected our relationship as she still wanted to remain married to me.  About a month ago she admitted to me that she thinks she might be a lesbian, and that her first sexual experiences were with females, and that she might have been a lesbian all her life but a combination of messages from her family, church, and community was that being a lesbian was "bad."  

I love my wife in every way I can.  She's not sure if she feels a romantic connection to me anymore because of her attraction to women.  She feels like she needs to figure out who she is.  I agree with her in that she needs to figure this out.  We've discussed separation while she works on determining who she is.  Our young children aren't happy about the situation at all.  

She feels some frustration that since I'm not agreeable to an open relationship that she has to make an "either/or" decision about our relationship and that she'll be out of luck if she determines she's not a lesbian.  

I don't know what to do or think.  I want her to be happy, even if that means she leaves me and begins a relationship with a woman.  I would much rather she decide to stay married to me, but if she's a lesbian she doesn't think it would be possible to remain married to me.  If she's not lesbian then there isn't a problem and we can move on with our lives and all the dreams and goals we've made over the past decade.  How is there any way for her and/or me to figure out what is happening? 

 

July 5, 2019 10:20 pm  #2


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Hi SB,

I am in a similar situation except my STBX wife has decided that she is a lesbian even before being with another woman.  She wants a divorce so she can get on with it.    

We have a 17 year old son and she is willing to walk out on both of us to make this change in her life.   Your wife is looking at the decision my wife was looking at either stay with the life you chose upon marriage or make a major change in her life for the chance to be true to herself and happier than she is now.    I've asked her what if you get the divorce and won't  like being a lesbian.  She says she has talked to her counselor and her friends and they all agree this is right for her.   I have no input into the discussion.  We straight spouses are a by product of Society's encouragement and promotion of homosexuality.    Children are more than by products they are casualties.

Gay pride my ass.  There is nothing proud in walking out on your spouse and changing the security of a sound family and leaving your children with an uncertain future.      Your wife won't be happy as a lesbian, she thinks she will but the damage to you and your children will cause great pain to her.    I can see it in my STBX she feels the pain as my son wants nothing to do with her but my STBX has backed herself into a corner where society (friends and family) won't let her go backwards if she wanted to. 

 

July 5, 2019 11:37 pm  #3


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

I don't know what to think either.  

I wish I could wave a magic wand and take you two into the future.  Feel the pain you're in when you're 60 and still married to a lesbian.  It's a growing debt.  You love your wife like that but she doesn't feel like that about you, not one little bit, and she never has.

We get it here, we get how much it hurts us straight spouses, we too have experienced the soul-wrenching pain of it, but your wives can't help being lesbians, they were born like that.  

At least they are acknowledging it now, not leaving it for even further down the track.  I think it is better for the children to know the truth too.

Should the divorce proceed don't forget to look out for yourself primarily - look at it this way - if you get more than you feel entitled to you can give her some back but do you think she would do the same for you?

Look after yourself,

all the best Lily

 

July 5, 2019 11:41 pm  #4


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Welcome SB and I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I can only think to say that you don't deserve to be an afterthought option for someone you obviously love deeply.

It sounds like your wife likes cake. It's a Chump Lady term (another website you might find helpful) but basically it means your spouse considers you in light of a commodity. You are a source of some kind of supply (money, security, etc.) but she isn't considering you as someone deserving consideration, love, and respect. She wants her cake (to be a lesbian) and to eat it too (keep you on the hook). That's so very unfair and unkind! You can't straddle a fence and not end up with slivers!

What would you say to a loved one if someone told them that they were an option to be considered? Would you say it's okay to come second as long as you can keep them? Or would you tell them they deserve more? You deserve more than this too.

If nothing else, find someone to support you. You need a friend who cares more about your health and welfare than your wife's debate about her smorgasbord of cake and how unfair you are to deny her chance to have it all. Take yourself off the menu.

 

July 6, 2019 12:12 am  #5


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Hi SilentBob.  I am so sorry to hear your story.  How incredibly gut wrenching.  This SSN is a good place to read.  There are so many people here who understand what you are feeling, and how confusing it is! The confusion is part of the pain.  And the confusion is not just about one thing, but about LOTS of things.  It is just overwhelming.   

So I have a few thoughts and questions:

First, you say your young children are not happy about this. I assume this means you or your wife—or the two of you—have talked with them.  Did you talk with them together? Did your wife talk with them?  Have things already moved to the point that you are separated?  Somehow the nature of how that all happened seems important to me.  Your wife seems willing to leave the children to figure this out. That is a pretty big deal, IMO.  Parents do not easily want to leave their children, especially young children.

Because I am concerned about you, especially during a time of duress and confusion, I hope you will not leave the house and the children with her there “while she figures this out.”  She should be the one to leave.  Please talk with a lawyer, just to know what the laws and customs are in your state so you can be wise.  Although I know it is like a bad dream, I think the writing is on the wall:  your wife is on the way out.  I would hate for you to also lose your children, house, and neighborhood/friend support system. 

No matter her confusion due to society’s or church’s messages, at this point in time, it is not the past, and you are a real person right there with her, who has been with her for a long time.  You have had children together.  Whether she is attracted to you or not, It is incredibly selfish of her to expect you to be happy about an open relationship “while she figures things out.”  It is incredibly selfish of her to dehumanize you this way—like you are her dad, not her husband.

I think this selfishness itself says a lot.

You are ABSOLUTELY right not to agree to an open relationship. 

Also: I do not mean this to be cruel at all. I know you love your wife and want to share your dreams for the future with her, because she was part of your dreams.  However, I hope you will sincerely consider how you are no longer really an essential part of her dreams. 

Also, because you have said you will not do an open marriage, I suspect you have thought this, but just in case:  I hope you have sincerely considered how you would feel about this if she just wanted to try things out with other men. Like: I think I want other men, so will you be a dear and wait here for me, suffering, agonizing about me being with other men, and you taking care of the kids, while I go play the field? And by the way, this is for an UNdefined period of time, Husband-o-mine.  But since you love me, will you just wait here for me, just in case?

Bob: remember that you matter.  And you should matter to her.  You should matter to the person who pledged commitment to you.  Even if she is not in love with you, she owes you the respect of being honest with you.  Just because she is unclear about her sexual attractions, does  not mean that YOU do not matter, and does not give her a free pass to do things that monogamous, committed people would not accept if she was asking to go out with other men. 

Considering it that way—from the view of of “does she love and respect SILENTBOB?” I want to emphasize how mixed up it is for your wife to essentially say, “hey silent bob, I want someone else not you.  At least, I think I want someone else not you.  I am pretty sure I want someone else not you.  I am actually so sure I want someone else not you that I now want to try it out, with people not you. I want now to be sure. And I want to feel secure and protected while I do it.  So, I want to spend a lot of time being with other people not you.  And “being with” probably means sex by the way, sex with people not you, and dating and really spending a lot of fun times with people not you.  I want to spend enough time, including enough physical intimacy time, with people not you that I can see if I can grow to feel connected to/emotionally close to someone not you, to feel more connected to that someone not you than I have felt to you even after all these years and our children and Home and shared dreams.  I just really really really want to try other people not you. I want other people not you more than I want you.

Whether lesbian or straight, she does not want you except as a backup option.  Do your dreams for the future include someone who thinks of you as Plan B? Do you want to be the consolation prize? If she decides she wants you as the backup option, how long does that last?

When I learned that my husband was (likely) gay, I desperately wanted clarity.  I prayed for clarity.  And then!  I found the Chump Lady web site!  Those on this forum who read Chump Lady know why it is a good place for clarity!  She speaks about cheaters, but the dynamics are a lot the same for straight spouses.  Head on over to the Chump Lady website, and read a lot of the “plan B”posts and be sure to read the comments—the comments are incredibly insightful.

Try this one from a couple of weeks ago:
https://www.chumplady.com/2019/06/the-plan-b-offer/

I re-read this after posting, and I really want to say I do not mean this unkindly at all.  This thought process above was a big turning point for me to understand what was happening in my marriage.  My love for my husband, my sense of the past, my dreams for the future, were all now blown up.  I desperately wanted them back. I love my husband! I love my children! I loved our dreams of being a happy family and growing old together! I loved my house and yard and every tree planted in it.  And every tree, every painting on the walls, every dish in the sink, every holiday decoration, reminded me of my love for all of it.  I could hardly bear it,  I am still so heartsick about it all,  for months, I hoped there was a way:  I was a hard worker!  I was committed! I was patient!  We could do this together! But that is the catch: was this “we are overcoming a problem together”? Or was it “I am willing to work so hard for my dreams and my love that I will give up myself entirely?  I had to figure out that I was worth being treated with consideration. I did  not want to be a consolation prize.  Once I saw that I was just a consolation prize, or just my husband’s ticket to the full retirement account and other amenities that had nothing to do with what was inside me, I gradually realized my husband did not love me as I loved him.  It was not reciprocal.  It was not love—what he felt for me, and how he was treating me—those were not love.  What was there to build on?  Just my love.  And there was no changing that.  What I loved—what I had worked for—my dreams for the future:  these were not real, not any more

Please take care of yourself. It is a grief and pain beyond telling sometimes.

Last edited by OnMyOwnTwoFeet (July 6, 2019 12:34 am)

 

July 6, 2019 7:35 am  #6


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Silent Bob,

So sorry this is happening to you. I've been there though my gay ex husband denied it to me despite evidence pointing to it.

I don't think an open marriage will lead to a happy or fair outcome for you. If I knew I was gay before the marriage or I couldn't push back the denials any longer, I would want to do the decent thing. I would apologize and have a frank discussion of what would be best for the children and the other spouse. I would accept my role as the instigator of turmoil to my family. I would not sugar coat it or minimize my actions. This is the correct, loving and moral thing to do. One must face up to their actions and take 100% responsibility.

I would hold suspect anything less than that. I would think I was being fooled if none of that came out of their mouth

The shock of this is bad enough. Take your time to think about this, and what is best for your kids so they have a good decent life. And the same for you - so you have a good, decent life.


 

Last edited by MJM017 (July 6, 2019 7:38 am)

 

July 6, 2019 4:50 pm  #7


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

MJM: I want to say how much I appreciate your paragraph about “this is the correct, loving, and moral thing to do.” 

It definitely is.  Anything less than that remains self serving.

I wrote a few days ago about a conversation with my therapist—am going into it with more detail here—where I said I had given my husband time —it was not an agreed upon time, but it is now a year—that would help him heal relationships as he sorted out his sexuality and supposedly during this time he was also especially going to try to heal things with me.  I had told my therapist I felt he was doing this with the kids although not with me, that I felt he was being a better dad, less critical, kinder, and doing things with the kids. There were other thing he was not doing, but lots of improvement, and in fact, I was feeling grief and fear about “losing my kids” in the future, because I felt that this time was a gift to him from me, and that it had come at significant cost to me as I kept his secret, and meanwhile that he had still treated me badly, and because I have been so traumatized, I have not been myself and not been the mom I usually have been, while he has turned on the charm.  (What on Chump Lady they call “DisneyDad.”)

My therapist asked me if he had told the kids what he had really done, and if he had told them he had hurt me, their mom, and taken responsibility not just for his own behavior, but specifically for the hurt to me throughout our marriage, and the destruction to me of the past year, and also owned how this had affected all of us for years. She said if he had not done this, then he was continuing the facade, and continuing the damage, and that this was NOT being a good father. 

I mean, yes better in that he is not actively criticizing and distancing himself from them.  But in some ways, it is worse, because it is a facade.  To suggest that the facade is real, and to blame mom (me) for being unhappy and suggest I am the one breaking up the family (husband saying, “I am so good! How on earth could she say I am not!)—this is destructive to the children in many many ways.

 

July 6, 2019 6:12 pm  #8


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Thank you all for responding.  It feels good to have some support throughout all of this.  

OnMyOwnTwoFeet here are some answers that I hope will help clarify the situation.

We had planned on talking together about how to tell our children.  Before we could have that conversation, my wife told the kids about all of this (she forgot that we were going to talk about it together first).  I was there when she told them.  Our oldest cried and refused to speak to her for several hours afterwards.  Things are better between them now, but he still isn't happy about the situation.  We haven't separated yet.  Financially we aren't in a position where she could move out, so she would move into our guest room in the basement if it comes to that, which I think it will because how else could she figure out what she wants?  Either way she says she still wants to do things as a family like camping trips, family dinners, etc.

I'm definitely not planning on leaving the house and kids with her during this time.  Mostly because I don't want to, and partially because I can't make it work financially.  Thanks for the advice about talking to a lawyer, I might just do that.

The open relationship thing has been resolved, and that almost led to divorce a couple of years ago.  It is definitely not an option for me or want I want for myself.  She knows this and understands that is a term of our relationship.  I am definitely feeling like a Plan B.  I talked to her about that this morning and she can see where I'm coming from on that.  She has a feeling of safety and security with me that she doesn't want to lose, but she feels like something just isn't right and she's noticing that she's only attracted to women now.  It really hurt the other day when she said that she wasn't sure if she loved me romantically anymore.  She says she still loves me, but that it feels more like the love one would have for a friend than a spouse.

MJM, I feel like she is being honest and up front with me at least.  She hasn't been in a relationship with another woman, and as far as I know she hasn't been talking to any potential partners.  She is owning that this is something with her and that there's nothing wrong with me.  I had been having a lot of issues with self-worth throughout my life, which was compounded by PTSD after serving in the Army that I have been working on with a therapist.  I still have a way to go with that, but I have come a long long way.  I know that there is nothing I can do to change the situation except to make the best of it and to ensure that my children and myself are taken care of.  Thank you so much for your statement "This is the correct, loving and moral thing to do."  I think my wife is doing the best she can with that part.

Again, thank all of you for your comments here.  You make good points about what I need to think about for me.  Lily, I think you make an excellent point about this being a growing debt.  How will it affect us in the future?  Where will we be?  Those are good questions.  Itsabouther, I feel for you.  I couldn't imagine what I would do if my wife was willing to leave the kids behind.  This isn't fair for any of us, it isn't what we signed on for that's for sure.

     Thread Starter
 

July 6, 2019 11:45 pm  #9


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

Hi SilentBob, I'm coming from the fact that she wants an open relationship to figure out if she's bi or a lesbian. It sounds from the message above it was decided a few months ago that it was a no go. The original message says she is asking to do this. It sounded like a new request, But it's actually a second time she asked. I would bet she'll ask this again after this second no of yours. She wants this period to test the depth of her intimacy, emotions and feelings for being with a woman/women.

She needs this to decide. And you don't want this.

Ok, I would suggest she interview therapists who deal with this specific issue. She sounds like the type of person who would work on this diligently. She loves and respects you and the kids.

Many cities have women's centers which are run by lesbians/trans/queer/bi. In my city they have dancing classes, yoga, political meetings -- in short a place where LTQB+ women can meet, do fun non-sexual activities and socialize. I bet some women are in the same boat as her -- not sure if they are bi, lesbian, trans.

I imagine it helps being with people undergoing the same life questions as you are. You don't feel so isolated. You can relax and be yourself. Many times I overthink and stress out -- it's impossible to decide. I'm relaxed and having fun -- boom, I know what I want.

I wish my late GIDXH was alive so we could talk. I would encourage him to seek these activities to help him make a rational and true decision. He probably would have still denied it. But your wife is not.

Taking this gentle route might be a big help to all. If it doesn't work, I think a decision to stay or separate/divorce has to be made fairly soon thereafter to bring stability to your kids lives and to yours.

Don't know if that helps but I wish you the best!
 

Last edited by MJM017 (July 6, 2019 11:47 pm)

 

July 7, 2019 12:26 pm  #10


Re: I Don't Know What to Think

I reread my post, too, and hope it didn't seem dismissive or unkind. I'm not always so blunt. It just seems very much like you are being accommodating and that your wife has poor boundaries considering the situation (many of us have experience with that). I feel for you.

It seems like although she is trying to detach that she still expects the benefits of her relationship with you will continue. This will make it harder for you to heal and move on if she continues this behavior once she exits.

As an example, how is this desire for family holidays going to play out if you marry someone else who has different ideas? I assume your wife is thinking long term and not just for the summer? Appropriate boundaries are kind of a big deal and it might be tough finding someone who allows a former spouse to be that involved regardless of their sexuality. Your kids would obviously be a consideration too.

Maybe you and your wife have discussed this but it is the reality of divorce that you are unlikely to maintain the kind of close friendship your wife probably has in mind. Not impossible! But probably unlikely. Especially if you find someone else you want to share your life with and they are looking to build something together with you that doesn't include your former spouse. Sorry, I know how painful it is to think about moving on without her and how you are hoping to keep her in your life in some way.

Anyway, just some additional thoughts. It's so exhausting to think about this stuff and worry about whether you are making good choices. Please try to take care of yourself as best you can.

 

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