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January 26, 2018 11:11 am  #1

Years of this...

For many years running, I have been one with a clock pendulum.   The constant back and forth was difficult to grasp.  Is H gay?  Was his sexual orientation messed up because of child sexual abuse?  Does he really wish to be with me?  Back and forth, back and forth...all of it connected by the uncertain mechanism surrounding HIM.  I learned some disturbing things many years ago.  My trust in him was shattered.  We immersed ourselves in therapy and I hung in there with the idea that if I were in his shoes I would hope that he would be equally as supportive in turn.

I did my absolute best to keep us all glued together.  We had children to consider....there was a bigger picture and I could not afford to react in a way that would hurt or harm them.  Despite my best efforts, this all did effect them in a huge way.  They grew up with a father who was here in body but not in spirit.  The disconnection to us, to a wife and family has been both frustrating and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Fast forward to present day, I am in therapy...I am working to plan the next leg of my journey.  The pendulum has shifted and the question has become, "is this how I want to live the rest of my life?  Is this what I want for retirement?"

IN hindsight, life is so with an unhappy person, a real waste of time.  No matter how you try to add the equation up, it never really does...unhappy spouse can only equal unhappiness.  This all goes much deeper than sexual orientation, this all is about living life to the best of our a way that brings joy in a way that love can grow.  

So now I'm working on my own answers and they are not coming from a place of whether or not "he is or isn't," they will be answered by what is in my heart and what I need from this day forward.  

In the end, we all do what we need to do in order to get through the day.  There are no instruction manuals for this sort of thing because what works for me may not work for you.  The best any of us can do is try....try to figure out what is what, who is who and what we need to do on behalf of ourselves and our life circumstances.  Years of this...yeah...



January 26, 2018 12:20 pm  #2

Re: Years of this...

Good for you, Detour. You've got the right mindset. What makes you happy? What do you want out of life? We spend too many years being the glue that binds things together for everyone else, we tend to neglect our own wants, needs, and happiness.

I started down that road. Our two year old son prompted the thoughts of binding, holding it all together, being the glue that made it work (it doesn't work, but we tell ourselves we can make it work). Then I realized I could not provide health and stability for my son in a sick unstable atmosphere. Could not model for him truth, integrity and a life well lived surrounded by lies and manipulation. Could not give him the best of me when that best was being spent on acting and covering misery. Ultimately I decided it was better for him to be from a broken home than forced to live and develop for 18 years within one.

I'm glad you are thinking about what you need for happiness. It's never too late. No matter your age, your placement in life, it's never too late.

Best to you.


January 26, 2018 2:58 pm  #3

Re: Years of this...

detour wrote:

....In the end, we all do what we need to do in order to get through the day.  There are no instruction manuals for this sort of thing....


So true

*no longer between a rock and a hard place*

January 28, 2018 8:30 am  #4

Re: Years of this...

As usual, jk, what you say strikes chords with me.
    A disconnected uninvolved spouse is what I experienced, too.  I, too, believe this lack of involvement and investment was a consequence of what were then his unresolved understandings about himself. If what he tells me is true, he always felt "different," and alienated from masculinity and male pursuits, but only at age 58 learned to name what he felt as "transgendered."  I have since learned that a characteristic of autogynephilia, the mental condition that produces his type of transness, one that pushes him to become sexually excited at the thought of himself as a woman/female, is self-absorbed self-centeredness. 
   This describes almost the entirely of my 35 year marriage to him.  He found ways to opt out, especially with me.  He spent long hours at work.  He pushed the responsibility for home/house/yard care and repair and maintenance onto me.  We almost never took a vacation together at his suggestion.  He didn't involve me in his interests--he didn't really have any, if it comes to that, other than playing the guitar--and declined to become involved in mine (like kayaking or hiking or even going for a walk after dinner or spending an evening around the chimenea on the back patio).  He had no friends, and we cultivated no friendships as a couple.  He excluded me from participating in the life of my in-laws.  He disliked my family and denigrated them.  But I told myself we lived a thousand or more miles away from our families, that he was steady and responsible about his work, that he had came from a damaged childhood and family, and I knew he'd said he didn't ever want to divorce because he came from divorce, so I thought he was committed to the marriage, in his own way.  And that, as it turns out, was true: he was committed to staying married on his terms because they served him well--he got a caretaker and he got a way to manage the discomfort he felt in himself.
    I, too, wish I had listened to my very first intuition after his disclosure, after 32 years of marriage, which was to say "I do not want to be the wife of a transwoman.  We must divorce."  Instead, I trauma bonded and worked hard to accommodate myself to what were ultimatums and conditions ("To the extent you can enjoy me as a woman we have a future together.").  It took three painful years to stop knocking my head against the wall.
    Last weekend, I said it's over.  Last night I raised the question of when we will tell our son and what his father will tell him--I didn't say, by the way, "What are we going to tell him."  I phrased it to him as "what you need to tell him." ( I can't remember who it is on this forum who said she told her husband he needed to tell their son the truth and if he didn't within a certain time she would, but it is the strategy that I found best for me--and I thank you for it.)  About his transness, he said, "I don't plan to tell him anything; I may never need to tell him."  What this revealed to me is that my husband intends to continue to live his closeted life, but that he also continues to hold in reserve the possibility that he will carry out his oft expressed desire for hormones (to try and encourage the growth of breast tissue) and surgery (to remove his testicles).  Just as he was willing to bind me to his closet for the rest of my life--until such time as he might change his mind, a possibility he would never close off in order to provide some stability in our marriage--and saw no problem with my living in a perpetual condition of "waiting for the other shoe to drop," he sees no problem in keeping his son in the dark, possibly for a decade or more, and then revealing the truth.  He has given no thought to what our son's reaction to this deception and dishonesty might be, the degree to which our son might feel betrayed by me and by his father for not telling him the full truth about our breakup.  Not to tell is to begin our new, individual relationships with our son on the basis of a falsehood, a lie by omission, and I told my stbx that I want an honest relationship with my son.  I have lived (mostly) in his closet and therefore dishonestly for three years. I have seen and felt the damage that dishonestly causes.  That he intends to continue living deceptively speaks volumes to me.  But I won't lie to my son.  You are as usual right, jk: make choices based in truth.  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (January 28, 2018 8:36 am)


January 28, 2018 2:24 pm  #5

Re: Years of this...

 I owe you a big debt for that course of action/solution to the problem.  
And yes, their reaction speaks volumes.  In fact, this morning, I "heard" this for real, not in metaphorical terms.
This morning I was faced with the shouts of the raging, wounded narcissist in fear of losing the protection of his closet. He railed at me for maliciously wanting to "out" him to our son, "even though it will damage him," implying that I don't care for our son and only want to hurt him (my stbx).  
  Because of what I've read here, and elsewhere, and all the time I've spent in processing this mess, I was able to stay reasonable and focused, and was unintimidated.  I told him that he didn't get to dictate to me what I could or couldn't say about my own life.  I told him that if he were worried about damaging our son, than he wouldn't keep our son in the dark, maybe for years, while holding open the possibility for himself of making physical changes.  I said if that were to happen I didn't want our son to feel betrayed by our deception. I reiterated that after three years of dishonesty and dissembling I wanted honest relationships.  He asserted that what he'd meant last night was not that HE would change his mind, but that he would only "have" to speak about it to our son if I revealed it to him.    
  He stomped out of the house, and made it clear the next two days before I move over to a temporary six week stay elsewhere are going to be both hot and frosty.  
  I did write to him this afternoon to say I do not and never had any intentions of maliciously outing him.  I said that my intention was to tell our son that although yes, over the years we've "grown apart," there's an additional factor that is his dad's to tell him about, and that it's up to my stbx whether and what he tells.  This solution, however, satisfies my need to be honest with my son.  
  I guess it's going to be a roller coaster for a while, until the final settlement.  I'll be trying to stay as no contact as possible in the next six weeks, although as we work together that will be a sticky wicket to maneuver.


January 28, 2018 4:44 pm  #6

Re: Years of this...

Thank you for the encouragement.
Yes, I think it's respectful to my son to be honest.  And I like Lynne's solution of asking her son, after a year, if he cares to know.  It's sure a lot more respectful to allow him to make a decision for himself than to have someone else make it for him.  As I said this morning to my stbx, you didn't prepare me, you didn't warn me, you didn't ask me--you just dumped it on me and then expected me to stay in your closet with you.

And here's an update: this afternoon my stbx wrote a conciliatory letter saying that in writing his sister about the events of the past three years, he realized that I'd bent over backwards for him and he'd put me in an untenable position.  Even if this is a different channel of the "I want to stay in the closet" network, I'll take it.


January 28, 2018 6:33 pm  #7

Re: Years of this...


Enjoy the feeling of releasing that huge weight off of yourself and putting it where it belongs.   You deserve to feel good.  


January 29, 2018 11:34 am  #8

Re: Years of this...

I think it's once we get to the point of the main question being "Am I happy this way?  Is this how I want to live out the rest of my life?", THEN big changes start to happen.

I think it's second nature for many of us to concentrate on our spouse's plight; it's what we'd like them to do for us if we were in a time of emotional crisis (for whatever reason) and told them about how conflicted we were.  And we figure that sometimes those sorts of emotional journeys take years (often it takes years to grieve a loved one's death).  But this is...... different.  We aren't talking about a decision about going back to school, or taking a job in a different city, or grieving.  We're talking about the decision being whether they want to be with us or not.  Or whether we can accept how little we feel they want to be with us, vs. just what they say.  We are being patient while someone figures out whether they want to be with us or not.  It's kind of..... ridiculous.  You want me to be there for you while you flounder about, deciding if what you really want is to be with me?  Ummmm,.... if it's coming up, the decision is that you DON'T - you're just waiting around in case the engines reverse.  You'd like me to go without what I need just in case you change your mind on what you want - so that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

I, like both of you, felt that my ex wasn't really emotionally there with the kids and I.  I thought it was just me, though - that I was used to very demonstrative family members, and was looking for more enthusiasm than this man could muster.  A lot of the time I just felt like the man was unknowable - that I didn't have a firm grasp on who he was.  But I felt that was acceptable, because HE didn't really know who he was.  But how can you have an emotionally intimate relationship with someone who doesn't know themselves?  The answer is that you can't.  And it wears on you.  You are trying to make a life with someone who's essence doesn't seem to be available to you or the kids - or even to themselves, for that matter.

And like both of you, I began to feel as though staying together for the kids' sake wasn't fair to them, either.  It gave them a model of marriage that I thought was very unhealthy.  It showed them that complacency was acceptable.  It showed them to take the easy way out because the way to happiness was too hard to do.  And that it's not worth it.  It showed them that not only was a bliase marriage perfectly acceptable, but it was a woman's obligation to stick it out in unhappiness for the sake of everyone else.  It told them that once you become a parent, your own happiness didn't need to exist any more.  And all of that sucked.  So did surrounding the kids with a lack of passion and gleeful happiness as their daily backdrop for family life.

I did the right thing.  I STILL feel like my ex is unknowable - not that I'm trying to know him any better now.  He is still f'd up - me staying with him wasn't solving it, and me leaving him didn't give him any clarity, either.  He's damaged in a way that's beyond anyone else fixing.  HE has to be interested in getting better.  And if he's unable or unwilling to do the work, that's just never going to happen.  He carries his baggage around with him - and it becomes a part of any relationship he's part of.  It will cripple every relationship he's ever in.  I, on the other hand - once released from those bonds - was set free.  I was no longer limited by his limitations.  I was made free.  And I could appreciate my freedom more than most others who'd had it all along.

It doesn't matter if they're truly gay, or what the cause is for them being so.  What matters is if things aren't at the place where you can ever achieve happiness, and you don't see any of those things changing, you come to a crossroads where you have to decide if this is good enough (and accept it) or if it's not (and leave).  Those are really the only two choices once you see that nothing is going to change enough to make you happy and healthy.  It sometimes takes banging our heads up against the wall for a long time to realize that things aren't going to change.  That's the part that can take so long.


Last edited by Kel (January 29, 2018 11:39 am)

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