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April 3, 2020 12:41 pm  #1

I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

This is all very new to me and I’m terrified about even writing on this board. I have been married for 22 years. We have two children. They are age 19 and 16. I can’t even believe that I am writing on a board like this but I need help. I need guidance. I don’t know why I’m here. Here goes:
My husband is very religious. He used to be a pastor. His Dad was a pastor and so was his Dad. My husband’s father is very narcissistic and selfish. Everything is always about him and the family has always catered to his wishes. I feel like my husband was always seeking to gain his father’s approval.
My husband and I met in college. I have my own issues with my father and with men in general. I’ve always been a bit frightened by them. I was scared of my own father because he would often lose his temper around us. My husband, we’ll call him C was very unassuming and gentle.  I was a virgin when we married. My husband had had sex with one other girl (who he was engaged with at the time but it didn’t work out). This was mainly because of religious beliefs about sex before marriage. My husband and I had make out sessions before we were married and everything seemed normal. Things changed after we were married. This is something that even he will admit to. He says that I wasn’t interested in sex anymore, but the truth is, sex wasn’t what I thought it would be, but how was I to know what is normal or what isn’t when I’ve never had sex before. On our wedding night, I was so happy that we didn’t have to hide our bodies anymore. That we could finally be free with showing ourselves to one another without guilt. I remember the night of our wedding, taking my top off and dancing around and showing him my breasts. His response was, “Oh my gosh, is nothing sacred!?” I was shocked and a bit embarrassed.
Our sex has never been good. Several years ago, before children, he told me that he didn’t want to have oral sex anymore. He told me at the time that he felt like it was demeaning to me and he didn’t want to do that to me either. I brushed it off as nothing and we never did it again until recently.
I have always felt like there was something missing from our relationship, really even before we were married but I think I thought that I could make him love me more. I thought that after we had children together that there would be no way that he couldn’t love me the way that I needed. I’ve always been so in love with everything about him. His looks, his brain, his jokes. I’ve always complimented, encouraged, uplifted and supported him. I have never received any of that in return. It’s always been about him. His life, his goals, and what he needs. He never puts his arm around me, he never looks at me like Im the most beautiful person to him, he doesn’t support or encourage me and is definitely lacking in empathy.  He grows tired and loses interest in what Im saying if it is longer than a minute or two. He makes fun of me a lot, which I used to laugh at and take in stride, but now it hurts. He was always able to be that person for people in the church but not for me. I felt like I would get more from him if I was a member of the congregation rather than his wife.
I could wear anything around him and he never seems to be turned on by me. I am not overweight and I have aged well. Only if he can tell that I am actually trying to turn him on will he then have sex with me, but never unless he knows that is what I am getting at. For example, if I wear tight pants or short shorts or a revealing top-he wont notice or do anything or come on to me. One time, I put on a wet t-shirt for him when he walked in the bedroom, he smiled and his response was…something along the lines of …wow. What’s this? And we did end up having sex but he’s never like…Oh my God, I have to have you right now. We only have sex at night in the bedroom, lights off, unless I initiate it at a different time. He says, that it’s me that wants the lights off but I don’t care. I wouldn’t feel self-conscious if he didn’t make me feel that way. My self-esteem is shot because I know something is wrong.
The only time he seems interested in me sexually is at night right before we go to sleep. We are roommates or good friends during the day. One time he could tell that I was wearing a low cut shirt and my breasts were showing a bit..he pointed it out and said, “that’s cute”. He treats me in a lot of ways like a child or like a prized possession. I feel like he uses me and the children as his props for proof of a perfect life. He loves his kids, don’t get me wrong, and I even believe he loves me, but not in the way that he should.
He is very concerned about appearances and what others think of him. Some of this is from being born into and being a part of a pastor family.
We became busy with raising our children and I knew he wasn’t as affectionate to me as he should be, that he didn’t seem to desire me like he should (unless it was 5 mintues before we went to sleep) but I was tired from raising kids. I would bring up issues with him occasionally about not feeling appreciated or feeling used but we would fight and then maybe things would get better for a week but then they would go back to the way they were.
We always had sex the same way, unless I initiated something different. Occasionally he might try something, but those days were few and far between. We never had oral sex. He barely every touched my vagina and never wanted to go down on me and never asked to.
I rarely ever had an orgasm, but I thought that that was how sex was supposed to be. I thought that sex was mainly for men. He rarely looks at me during sex and in the moment of him having an orgasm, his head is buried in my pillow, while I stare at the ceiling.
A man at work started showing interest in me and I began seeing everything differently. My kids were old now and my daughter had just left for college. I had only been working full time for the first time in my life, for the past 4 years. I was gaining independence and confidence. The man at work, we’ll call him R was infatuated with me. He loved everything about me and looked for excuses to touch me. He wanted me to be happy no matter what. He encouraged me. He saw things in me that I didn’t even see in myself. He thought I was ridiculously beautiful and interesting and creative. He told me he loved me and I fell hard for him. He’s nothing like my husband. He doenst care at all about what people think of him. He’s short, overweight, and balding. He is not someone that I would typically fall for but he loves me like no other. He’s a man’s man. My husband is tall, thin, attractive, and has soft features.
I began to notice the differences in how I felt around my work friend and how I felt around my husband. I confided in my work friend and he was shocked to find out about my sex life and how I was treated. I began to see things differently and I wondered if my husband was gay or bi.
I noticed that he never checked out other women, but always nodded and met other men’s eyes. I thought this was out of respect for me, but now I don’t know. I told my husband that I wanted to have oral sex again. He was worried that I was going to leave him due to my suspicious activity so he complied. I gave him a bj but he would never reach orgasm that way. He would go down on me but it felt like he was so concerned with getting things out of the way, like a Dr inspecting things than actually enjoying himself. He would wash his mouth out with mouthwash afterwards.
One day we were on a walk and he noticed a man running in small shorts. He said, “Why do guys run around in such small shorts like that?!? I can see the white parts of his skin!” He meant that he could see the parts of his legs that were not tan. We saw him again later and I said, “I thought he was wearing red shorts but he’s wearing blue ones.” And my husband said “I think his underwear is red.”
My husband has always had strong male friendships and never close relationships with women, which again, I thought was out of respect for me. He seems to confide in them more though and tell them things that he doesn’t tell me. Like how he feels about certain things etc.
He has close friends that are gay. At least 3. One of these friends sent him postcard in the mail addressed to just him, even though he is a friend of the entire family.
My husband is constantly talking about the issue of homosexuality and religion and how to address it. We talk about it often-all the time. He recently befriended a gay man and they have been sending each other long emails (one email took my husband an hour and half to write). He says they are discussing the church and sexuality.
I have become recently depressed and my Dr put me on antidepressants. He knows this but never asks me how I am doing or how I am feeling. The other day he wanted to FaceTime his new gay friend because he is alone and depressed during this coronavirus quarantine. How am I supposed to feel about that?
He doesn’t watch porn to my knowledge and has only recently gotten on any social media. I have never suspected that he has cheated on me, or watched porn or had gay hook ups. I have just always felt like there was something missing from our relationship. When I explain this to him, he gets angry, and says that there is nothing missing. I know that something isn’t right or I would never have been attracted to this man at work. He’s not my type and if I was happy and fulfilled in my relationship with my husband I know I would not be tempted by him. Not that it matters, but I have not had sex with this man, because I can’t cheat on my husband but yet I feel like there is a whole entire life that I am missing out on. I am missing out on someone loving me entirely, desiring me, and being interested in me.
Do you think my husband is gay or bi? He’s always been interested in sex, whenever I want to, but he normally just never thinks about it until right before we go to sleep. He is still able to maintain an erection and an orgasm. We do not have anal sex but he does like to have sex with me from behind.
In a recent argument, I asked him if he was bisexual. He assured me that he was not but he wasn’t offended and actually almost seemed flattered. I told him that I wish he was because it would make everything make sense.
He has met another gay friend for lunch, about once a week. He said that they are talking about their dissertations etc. I really don’t have any reason to think that’s not true.
What do you guys think? I don’t know what to do.


April 3, 2020 1:56 pm  #2

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

One thing that I also forgot to mention:
There have been times where I have come on to him, for example, in a swimming pool and he has pushed me away. I would hug him in the kitchen in a sexy way and he would push me away. He never French kisses me unless it’s during sex and then it’s pretty awkward. One day, we were in the car by ourselves and I grabbed his crotch and started rubbing him and he pushed me away. When I bring these instances up to him he says, he does that because he doesn’t want to have a boner in front of everyone. That he’s like a little kid and embarrassed by it. But there have been time when he could’ve easily hidden it, or what about the time when we were in the car by ourselves?

     Thread Starter

April 3, 2020 2:42 pm  #3

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Hi Karis

sorry to say but having been in the same position of thinking my husband might be gay without any evidence to prove it I know how much it just comes down to wanting to know the truth of the matter whatever it is - and yes he sounds gay to me.  A lot of similarities to my ex.  It affects your self confidence doesn't it.  

One thing that stands out to me in your post is him moving onto FaceTiming his gay friend now he is stuck in the home.  To me that sounds like he has been doing more than just chatting with his gay friends and is missing it now.  He does not sound like he is being any kind of a real friend to you.  That was the most shocking part for me - realising how my ex being so friendly didn't mean he was actually being a friend.

Look after yourself, find someone you can trust to talk to.  If it is possible talk to a member of your family.

wishing you all the best, Lily



April 3, 2020 2:53 pm  #4

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Thanks so much for your response, Lily. Yes my self esteem is very low. I wish I had proof but never can seem to find concrete evidence but maybe everything I wrote in my post is concrete evidence. The thing that is so difficult is that he gives off this projection of being absolutely perfect and having the perfect family. That’s why I think he is so badly in denial. He refuses to believe that he could be “different” (I don’t mean that as offensive) in any way. I have shared these things with my family but my family lives out of town and really only see us together once or twice a year so it’s hard for them to see things the way they really are. Thank you again for replying. It means so much to me.

     Thread Starter

April 3, 2020 2:55 pm  #5

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Karis, there's no way you can answer the question of whether or not he's gay based on the information that appears to be available to you.  But, you are not in a happy marriage.  Everything you wrote about his lack of empathy, his indifference, his inability to show appreciation and spontaneous affection ... that was true of my marriage as well.  In my case, it was because my husband was gay and knowing that gave me something to latch on to, in order to understand fully that it truly was not my fault.

But if you don't ever have an answer to "why" I think you should know, you are not in a loving and mutually fulfilling relationship.  If you can get your husband to counseling, you may be able to draw out his true feelings and you may discover that he is gay ... but in the absence of that one piece of information, you still are entitled to more than this out of a marriage.

Personally, it sounds to me like he very well may be, but I'm deeply biased because of my own experience.


April 3, 2020 4:06 pm  #6

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Thank you so much Walkbymyself. That is probably what I struggle with the most. I feel selfish by wanting more out of my marriage. I feel selfish for wanting more for myself. I’m always concerned about others and looking out for what others need. In some ways I feel like I’m wanting him to be gay because that would give me a concrete reason to leave, and not just because of my own selfish needs and desires, but there are still signs that I cannot deny. I had started going to individual counseling when I started having feelings for this man at work and I thought I was losing my mind. I didn’t recognize who I was because this was so out of character for me. She suggested that C and I got to a marital counselor. We did and he hated it. He said he felt like it was putting more distance between us. He said he felt like a punching bag. I told him that he was free to bring up his issues with me (because I know I have them) but he did not. The marital counselor suggested he go to individual counseling which he did but they didn’t discuss his relationship w me at all. They only talked about his work and his studying. I know this because he told me. Thank you agin for your response. Any help or comments or guidance is greatly appreciated.

     Thread Starter

April 3, 2020 4:50 pm  #7

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

   This is a response to your first post.
     I see it this way.  You have observed for many years behaviors in your husband in your marriage that feel wrong to you, and you are now trying to find an explanation for them.  You have lots and lots of evidence, but you don't have a way to know for sure whether what you believe is the correct explanation is in fact correct.  It's as if you are building a case, but all the evidence is circumstantial.  Only you can decide whether you believe the case is convincing, and you're going to have to pronounce the verdict and apply and carry out the consequence stemming from that verdict. 

   I will say this.  A lot of what you describe in your marriage fits not only my own experience, but also fits the patterns of behavior learned and exhibited over time by a closeted gay man in denial.  They learn, as part of their effort to deny themselves and to keep us in the dark, how to manipulate us.  They deny, minimize, gaslight, subtly imply that all problems in the marriage are ours, and even that something about us is the source of the problem.  This keeps our attention on wondering what is wrong with us rather than what might be off with them.  It's a way to protect themselves, either from admitting to themselves that they are gay, or, if they do admit it but don't want to lose their "beard," to protect their closet.  At the same time, they manage to make everything in the marriage all about them.  As you say, we compliment, encourage, uplift, and support, all efforts they accept as if they are their due--and we do this from a sense of needing to do it to make up for our shortcomings.  And we feel we must be faulty, because they make it so very clear to us by their rejection of us that we are lacking in whatever might make them desire and love us.  There is no reciprocity in our marriages.  

  It seems to me that two things have happened that have changed the equation/status quo.

One, the attentions of that other man provided you a new and useful perspective or framework through which to see your husband.  People here talk a lot about "the difference" when they engage in a heterosexual relationship after being the straight spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage; you saw and felt that difference.

Two, lately your husband has found what he believes is a "safe" way to engage with other gay men, to do so in a way that affords him deniability.  He explains his interest "in the subject"  or as merely collegial, an academic interest or a religious debate about homosexuality and the church.  

Now to reply to your last post: 
You are not selfish.  You have simply been trained over many years to see any desire on your part for something more than the crumbs he is willing to dispense to you as selfish. 
I will say this, however: your husband is not going to end the marriage, and he isn't going to give you the acknowledgement you crave.  He is not, that is, going to give you that "concrete reason" to leave.  He is counting on your guilt and your uncertainty to keep you tethered to him and to keep his closeted self safe.  This, too, is part of the common experiences we straight spouses share. 

I would like to suggest you look at Kel's posts here.  You can search for them by her name using the search feature at the top of the page.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (April 3, 2020 4:59 pm)


April 3, 2020 5:02 pm  #8

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Yes exactly - I felt the same, though I knew I was unhappy in the marriage I would have stayed for the rest of my life but once I knew he was gay I no longer felt I had to.

What happened for me is that I finally wondered why him saying he wasn't gay wasn't enough - why did the question keep recurring?  and I looked online and found here, or the earlier version of this forum. omg.  by the time I'd read a few posts I knew - it was like a light going off - a massive lightning strike that was illuminating the landscape of my past.

And I learned a new term - gay in denial.  Denial doesn't mean doesn't know it means not telling.

I went to the doctor and he checked me out and gave me a referral for counselling and the counsellor suggested I ask my ex if he was bisexual.  He didn't outright say yes I am thanks for asking sorry I didn't mention it before.  But he started talking about it.  for two weeks.  I kept saying whatever it was it wasn't straight and he should have told me.  So he said after two weeks that he had changed his mind he was 100% straight and then he added if I thought different that would mean I wasn't right in the head.  I could not get divorced fast enough after that.  All rosy thoughts of maybe we could be friends now that I knew went away.

the first time I doubted myself I thought about it carefully.  The conclusion I reached was that I had been always giving him the benefit of the doubt, now I was giving it to me.  I just wasn't going to doubt myself - give myself the benefit of the doubt, not worry or pickle in it, I knew what I knew.

After I had divorced and left him I got my proof.  A friend who knew him from teenage years told me he had been sleeping with men before he ever met me and included some details that confirmed what I had already suspected as to who with.



April 3, 2020 6:52 pm  #9

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Thank you so much for writing. The comfort I have found in these words in astounding. I want to write more but as you can imagine it’s difficult without him knowing. He can be controlling. I hope to write back soon but know that I am so appreciative and so grateful to everyone.

     Thread Starter

April 3, 2020 9:31 pm  #10

Re: I'm lost and don't know what to do or think.

Take a look at "OnMyOwnTwoFeet"s and Leah's posts, too.  Leah has some links to things she wrote that are worth the read.


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