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July 1, 2019 1:47 am  #1

Feeling Broken

I’m feeling completely overwhelmed right now.  This is a pretty long read, but it’s all happened in a short period of time, so it’s left me with almost no time to cope with each new development.  So here it is.  My wife told me she is a lesbian a little over a month ago after over 21 years of marriage.  She told me just before going on an 11-day business trip (and the day before my birthday) and she was not prepared to tell our kids (we have a son who is 29 from a previous relationship of her’s and 2 daughters together who are 13 and 15).  So I kept her secret while she was gone and tried to act normal in front of our daughters who still both live at home. 

Now, I’ve been with my wife since I was 18 and she identified as bisexual at the time, which didn’t bother me as long as we were in a monogamous relationship and she was with me.  She was my first real love and this breakup has left me feeling completely heartbroken and sadder than I ever imagined possible.  When our daughters weren’t around, I was a total mess.  I went through a complete meltdown when they went on a school trip for few days and pretty much just cried all day, every day.  I’ve never been one to cry much in my life, so it’s no exaggeration to say I cried more in the first 2 days than I had in my entire life combined... and I still cry every single day, albeit for less time than I did at first. 

When my wife returned from her trip she wanted to immediately tell our daughters, despite having a meeting that night that couldn’t be rescheduled.  And so we sat at our dining room able as she told them that we were breaking up... and exactly why.  We sat and all cried and my wife told them that we were still best friends and we still loved each other and everything would work out.  From talking to my wife on the phone during her trip (of which there were VERY few opportunities) we agreed that “everything working out” meant working together to eventually live separately (mutual decision), but it was not urgent.  She looked up at the clock and left for her meeting while my daughters and I sat and cried.  Both of my daughters really surprised me by being very supportive of ME and saying they were sorry I was losing their mom (they didn’t seem to think it would change their relationship with her much).

Two days later it’s a Friday and my wife tells me and my daughters that she’s going to the pub with her friend for a burger but that she’ll be back by 7 or 8 and that she was looking forward to playing a game with us.  We say ok, but after a bunch of unsolicited texts from her she says around 7:45 that she’s still visiting with her friend and she’d be a little late.  Still ok.  Around 9:30 my younger daughter is asking when her mom will be home, so I text her asking if she’s coming back soon.  And there was absolutely no response.  By 11:30 I was concerned because in all of the years I had known her, she’d NEVER done this.  So I ended up going to the pub to see if maybe she was there still there.. but she wasn’t...  so I went to her friend’s house to see if she’d just gone there afterwards...  but her friend told me my wife had left the pub with another woman at about 9pm and that’s the last she saw of her...  And then...  nothing.  At this point my daughter was really freaking out because I had no answer where her mom was or when she’d be home.  She kept saying things like “but she promised she’d be home by 7 or 8” and “she said she was going to play that game with us” and “what if something happened to her?”  So my daughter sent her a text asking when she’d be home...  and got no response whatsoever.  Hours later I sent her a text saying that if she needed a ride home, I’d pick her up so she didn’t have to drive with someone drunk...  but she never answered.  When I woke up at almost 7am and realized she STILL wasn’t home, I tried calling...  and got no answer.  So I contacted her sister who also was concerned when I explained the situation because she knew that didn’t sound like my wife at all, so she called her...  and got through immediately.

Soon after that, my wife walked in with about the guiltiest look imaginable on her face and the excuse that cabs weren’t running and she was drunk and couldn’t drive.  It was total nonsense and I said so.  As if that stopped her from saying she was safe or prevented her from answering her phone.  But in talking to her it seemed like she recognized that it was wrong and that she needed to watch her drinking and she promised to never do it again.  Over the course of the next week, there were more tears and my wife and I talked about what we did or didn’t do during our marriage and it seemed like we were moving toward a different type of relationship that was at least a strong friendship.  It was a sad situation, but I was learning to accept this new her.  But when I had to go out of town for a medical test, I’ve since learned that she had a woman in our house literally within HOURS of me leaving.  I didn’t know the woman well, but I knew she was the only openly gay single woman in our community (it’s a small town) and that this was the woman my wife had left the pub with before.

While I was gone, my daughters were calling me up and complaining about this strange woman (who they didn’t know AT ALL) being in the house EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for dinner and staying until the small hours of the morning.  And my older daughter was upset because my wife told her to march in the local gay pride parade with her and this new woman...  which was on Fathers’ Day... and my daughter felt that was disrespectful to me.  According to my daughter, my wife told her “your dad isn’t even in town, so what does it matter?”  And so I told my wife over the phone that having her “friend” over (yes, my wife still insisted this woman was nothing more than a friend) was upsetting our children and she got very defensive and said our children LIKED having her over... but she eventually said she would think about what I said.  For the next 2 days she seemed nicer and there was no mention of the other woman.

Near the end of the long drive home, I called ahead to say I was on the last stretch of highway (letting someone know when you are traveling this stretch is important because it is relatively desolate and there is no cell coverage for about 2 straight hours).  And that’s when I heard the other woman in the background...  talking about preparing dinner...  and I asked my wife if that’s who I thought it was...  It was.  I told my wife to make sure that woman was gone by the time I arrived, and that I didn’t want to see her at all.  When I hung up the phone, my mind broke all over again and I started crying, but I started driving anyway...

One of the dangers of driving that stretch of road is that buffalo wander into the road and hitting one will total your vehicle.  So you learn to slow down on curves and especially when you see them near the road....  I’m not proud of it, but I was completely distraught and crying and when I saw the first buffalo, I realized what I wanted to do.  So when I saw the next one, I accelerated until I was going over 140km/h.  I was ready to die in a car accident.  I didn’t aim for it, but decided that if one happened to wander into the road that it would mean it was just meant to be.  I saw 4 more, and made no attempt to slow down for any of them.  And then I saw one crossing the road ahead.  It was obviously going to be in my lane when I reached it... and so I accelerated more.  But then I saw two pictures in my head: my younger daughter crying and a birthday cake (her birthday was 2 days away).  I hit the brakes and swerved around the buffalo (there wasn’t enough time to stop completely).

When I got back into town, I went to the hospital and told them what I had tried to do.  So they decided to keep me overnight and I texted my wife to let her know I was admitted to the hospital, that I wouldn’t be home that night, but I wasn’t injured. 

The day after, It was a Friday again and my wife told me that I should spend time with the kids and that they needed it after me being gone.  She said she would be back “in awhile”...  after what happened the last time, I asked if she would be back at all that night.  After a very long pause, she said “we’ll see”.  She didn’t. 

The next morning (the day of my daughter’s birthday) my daughter woke up to find that her mom was missing yet again.  So we planned her birthday party by ourselves, went to the store for snacks and ingredients for the kind of cake she wanted.  And at about 10:30 in the morning my wife finally called looking for a ride home because she had left her car somewhere else.  I was fed up at this point, but I kept my mouth shut only because it was my daughter’s birthday.  I baked my daughter’s cake, mowed the entire yard, got balloons, helped pull the camper trailer into position for the sleepover party, and bought and picked up pizza for dinner for the kids.  When my wife said we needed ice and then proceeded to put on makeup, change into different clothes, and take a series of selfies with her phone before going for some, i realized her purpose wasn’t to go get ice, so I told her that I’d prefer to go get it, if she didn’t mind watching the kids instead.  She looked shocked and disappointed, but she agreed.  From that point forward, my wife was in a sour mood and finally ended up yelling at me over a misunderstanding that really felt totally manufactured.  So I said goodnight to my daughters and I calmly left before it got worse.

The next morning I went home and she accused me of not helping with the birthday...  Yeah... Sure...  She said she was up until 1am setting up the camper...  except she conveniently left out the part my daughters told me: that she went to her “friend’s” house immediately after I left...  Call me crazy, but I think that probably contributed to how late it was when she finished what was realistically not more than a 15 minute setup.  She took off yet AGAIN, this time not telling us she was even leaving...  and showed up 24 hours later with her “friend” to give the dog her medicine and then immediately took off for another 12 hours.  My older daughter said “you know, if the dog didn’t need that medicine, I wouldn’t have even seen her.  She doesn’t even care about us.”

Since returning, my daughters keep coming to me, telling me about other things that happened while I was gone.  The worst was my older daughter crying as she said she couldn’t keep it a secret any longer, that my wife went to her while I was gone and said to her “you don’t mind if I sleep at [woman’s] house, right?”  What kind of a parent does that to their child??

This week my wife has told me numerous times that she wants me to get out of the house (I refuse to leave without a finalized separation agreement and a place to go where my children can stay with me), and she gets angrier and angrier with me.  And now, just this morning, she’s informed me that she is going on a vacation getaway with her new girlfriend sometime this month.

I just feel like “who the hell is this person and what did they do with my wife?!”  Everything she is doing flies in the face of anything I ever would have thought she was capable of before this.  There are numerous instances I haven’t mentioned here where I’ve caught her lying and all the things over the years that we said we’d never do to each other are now apparently fair game in her mind...  Everything just feels surreal.  Every morning I still miss waking up beside my best friend, and every night I miss going to sleep beside my best friend.  And that’s the hardest part of all of this: losing my best friend of 23 years.  She’s just gone and I’m left here with this imposter.

Just to add to everything, the way that she admitted she was gay has left me questioning everything.  She said she’s known for a long time.  She said she felt like she was living a lie and “I guess I felt like that was one of the only things I controlled over it, was when I would tell you” (which I think is really messed up).  She’s said that she has books she bought for her Kindle over 9 years ago about how to come out to your spouse and family...  I don’t know what was real and what was a lie anymore.  I feel like she felt like she was living a lie and now she’s free of it, but for me I feel like I was living her lie but didn’t know it at the time.  And now I don’t know how to separate fact from fiction and I question how I’m ever going to trust someone ever again when this lie was being perpetrated right beside me and I didn’t see it.

So those are the highlights of my last month.  I feel completely stressed,  burned out, and lonely.  The one good thing I’m holding onto is my relationship with all of my kids.  My top priority right now is being the best dad that I can be and it seems to be helping.


July 1, 2019 6:41 am  #2

Re: Feeling Broken

Dear Sad Dad,

Welcome to the club no one wants to join.  I’m sorry to hear how you are suffering.  I hope you can find comfort here and that some of the information available helps - the first aid kit is a good start.  It must be so hard when she is obviously so callous towards you and your feelings after such a bombshell. 

Be gentle with yourself.  And mourn your loss.  She is not your best friend.  What best friend treats a friend like that?   You are not broken, but your relationship is.  You are a good person struggling with a very difficult situation and so try to be kind to yourself first.  Children are resilient.  You need to focus on your needs and how to get them met. 

Wishing you the best.


July 1, 2019 6:54 am  #3

Re: Feeling Broken

I'm so sorry you're here, but you have found a wonderful community.  Reach out for support on the Support Groups and Support Contacts page, check out the recommended reading under resources, keep posting, and give yourself some slack.  Our partners are master manipulators, they've been manipulating themselves for years.

Take care



July 1, 2019 7:14 am  #4

Re: Feeling Broken


Those are some good daughters you have...   my kids could have cared less where their mom was ...she also did a good job of coming in at 2am and being up at 6 to see them off to school everything was normal..

Sadly.  if you read folks stories here , you will see it's quite typical for these spouses to be in their gay adolescence teenager  phase.. where you and kids are discarded while they center their world around their
new gay lover..   Its a scary thing to watch them throw away decades of friendship and trust..breaking morals, taboos, oaths, trusts...

"She looked up at the clock and left for her meeting while my daughters and I sat and cried.  Both of my daughters really surprised me by being very supportive of ME and saying they were sorry I was losing their mom...."

Like I said.. those are some good daughters you have...  and they will need you.   They will need a strong dad that puts them first over some woman..   I especially liked how they felt for you.     Your wife is cheating... and,  like my GX,  she has chosen...she has chosen this gay woman over you, your daughters,  the family unit .     Your daughters will need an adult   that puts them first and is home before 2am  etc.   And, sadly you can see yourself what she has become...  able to discard you and the kids in one moment and go off to a meeting  (more likely her gay lover) in the next...without an once of regret, compassion, empathy.    Scary qualities..more scary than same sex attraction to me...

Gather strength,   know that this is not your fault..   I can tell by your story how loving, responsible, and dependable you are..  your wife rejecting these resources/qualities does not make you broken.   It makes you far from broken... give those qualities/resources/love back to your daughters and show them how fierce and strong your love of them is.     Your wife?..   she had forfeited all rights and privileges to your resources/qualities/love/etc...   she had chosen  this woman..   Wish her well,  protect yourself and the kids.
But don't for a minute think you are broken.      

Last edited by Rob (July 1, 2019 7:19 am)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

July 1, 2019 8:22 am  #5

Re: Feeling Broken

Good for you for not leaving your house; do not let her bully you into it. You are the only sane parent your daughters have right now, and they need you there--plus legally it could be a huge, costly mistake.
If you haven't seen a lawyer, go see one.  Part of being "the best dad" you can be is protecting them, and it's pretty clear that you'll be in that role for quite some time.  This may seem a bit heartless, but your wife's behavior now, leaving and leaving them alone, might work in your favor in that regard: your daughters may choose to live with you.
Also, I suggest hopping over to ChumpLady, whose site is devoted to remaking your life after a cheating spouse upends it.  Gay, straight, it doesn't matter--they all have a similar playbook.


July 1, 2019 10:43 am  #6

Re: Feeling Broken

Yes, it is a bit surreal when the mask is finally dropped and the world turns upside down.

I am glad you reconsidered your intentions on that highway and then did the right thing, sought help. Right now you are in the midst of a storm but this will pass in time.

As OoHC says, you need to educate yourself on how things like separation, divorce, property division and child custody work in your jurisdiction. Finding out the process and your rights will help you later. Also by speaking with a lawyer now, they won't be able to represent your spouse later. Since you're in a small town you may want to do this asap. Don't be bullied but don't be drawn into reactions that can be used against you later.

Counseling is a great idea, if it's possible where you live. If not, the online version here can be valuable. You might also gain some insight from single-parent groups and resources as it sounds like that is, essentially, your situation now. Reading your post, it is obvious that your spouse now has only herself as a priority. You know it, so do your daughters.

Finally, you should consider making notes of these incidents. They may be important if custody and access become a contentious issue.

Hang in there and don't neglect your health, mental and physical.



July 1, 2019 2:47 pm  #7

Re: Feeling Broken

Welcome to our Forum

I'm so angry for you SD. Reading your story and the manipulative way your wife treated you and your girls I had to stop because I had tears in my eyes.

But I'm also pleased you've found Straightspouse because this is a Forum where everybody knows your heartache.

"If the mountain seems too big today
then climb a hill instead....."

July 1, 2019 6:39 pm  #8

Re: Feeling Broken

Sad Dad,

I'm really sorry you and your kids have to go through this. As someone said above, it's a club no one wants to join.

I hope you post here as often as you need to. I am a semi-new member but not new to a closeted gay spouse. (I divorced a few years ago and the ex spouse passed away last year.)  It has helped me tremendously.

Stay strong.


Last edited by MJM017 (July 1, 2019 6:40 pm)


July 1, 2019 6:44 pm  #9

Re: Feeling Broken

Oh, SadDad:  This is one of the saddest stories. I can feel your grief and shock and also feel your children’s suffering, and it is so obvious what a caring father you are.  Please please take care of yourself.

We all understand the inability to do anything but cry.  For a few weeks after discovery, for me, I would actually call a friend and ask her to sit with me to help me write a to do list.

Have you confided in anyone? Please find a trusted friend to confide in immediately.  There will be much more to talk about than you can cover with a therapist.   Choose a friend who will not judge you, who will listen and allow you to search and change your thoughts and feelings.

If you are crying so much that you cannot bring yourself to call an attorney or doctor, then ask your friend to set up appointments for you and take you to these appointments. It is time to call in all favors.

I agree you should see an attorney immediately.  I agree you should not leave your house, no matter how hard.  Your children need you, and you do not want to risk your wife claiming you have abandoned the family.  Absolutely get legal advice on this right away.

Also:  remember those children.  They need you alive.  I am so glad you made it through the buffalos.  I believe that you will have many buffalos to dodge these next months, but you will make it through.  Your love for your children, plus the grace of the earth, and a good friend or two—will help you through the maze.

I am so glad you found us here.  Honestly, we understand.  I want to go have a good cry for you now—and for me too, as your story reminds me how raw it has all been, and how I never thought I would make it through.  I am still getting there, but stronger, and especially stronger for the support here on this forum.  You will get through it, and you will be stronger than you imagined.


July 1, 2019 10:36 pm  #10

Re: Feeling Broken

Thanks for all of your kind words and advice.  I really needed to reach out to others who have an understanding of what this is like.  Reading your stories in other posts, I see there are a lot of similarities, which is both sad and comforting at the same time.  Sad because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but comforting to know that I’m not alone in this experience.  This is definitely a club no one wants to join, but I’m really glad this place exists and I’m sure I will be posting here often.

I have contacted a lawyer and I’ve convinced my wife that we should have a mediator help us draw up a separation agreement as soon as possible (she was screaming at me that we could draw one up ourselves, but I refused, as neither of us has any legal expertise and she has finally relented).  I’m already working on buying a different home nearby once that agreement is completed so I can leave here and my kids can stay with me as much as they like.  When I told my younger daughter this (who has said she wants to spend an equal amount of time with me and her mom) she looked visibly relieved.  She told me “oh, good! Then if [wife’s girlfriend] comes over I can just leave and go straight to your house until she’s gone.”  And my 15yo daughter has already told me she wants to live only with me (just so this isn’t misinterpreted, I did not ask either of my kids where they wanted to live, they told me this completely unsolicited).

I’m currently in therapy and so is my 15yo.  My 13yo daughter is not interested right now and about to visit her grandparents for awhile anyway (she’s happy about this).

And as for my daughters being good: hell yeah they are!  I haven’t even scratched the surface here on how independent and resilient they have been.  Their willingness to say what they think and stand up for what they feel is morally right has been downright impressive.  I’ve seen a different side of them both this past month and while I never doubted their intelligence and willpower, they have shown that they will definitely grow into very ethical, strong women.  I’m proud of them both.  They don’t deserve the total disregard that my wife has shown them lately.

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