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February 10, 2023 2:12 pm  #1

A Tale of a Long Marriage and its Impending Demise- Long Post

Update: May 1, 2023: My husband and I filed our Separation Agreement to dissolve our marraige last week. At the end of this month, the dissolution will be final. When I first wrote in Feburary, I noted that we intended to end the marraige amicably and with integrity, and I'm happy to report that we met that goal - but not without some very tense and challenging moments. Over the past couple of months, I've been brought to the depths of depair, and I have had moments of firm resoloution to move forward with my life. What a journey. I'm looking forward to a future without him -  he is moving into his own home very shortly - and then the challenges of being single and re-defining life as I know it will begin in earnest. 

I'm 64 years old and have been married for thirty-seven years; my husband is 69. This story starts all the way back in 1984 when my husband and I got engaged. We were planning to move to a city several states away for my husband's job promotion; I was finishing my law degree at the time. As I was packing up things at his house for the move, I came across a stack of romantic letters from my fiancee to a man. LGBTQI+ issues were not, of course, in the public sphere then as they are now, and I was 26, and madly in love. My husband assured me that he loved me, that the gay relationship had been over for about two years before we met, and that he was so happy with our relationship and was thrilled to begin our marriage. And so...to the altar we went. Over the years, we were a committed and mostly happy couple, albeit with some ups and downs. We share the same values, we like many of the same things, we both were deeply devoted to raising our children - two boys who are now in their 30s. We also have two fabulous grandchildren, ages 6 and 4. 
About four years ago, we joined a progressive United Methodist Church where nearly half the congregation is gay. No problem - I'm affirming and accepting. As it turns out, however, my husband became more and more connected with the gay men in the church. Fast forward to the present, he's about to turn 70, has retired from his job, and apparently has been thinking about how to spend the rest of his life.
Over the past year, he began exploring the gay lifestyle. For example, he scheduled weekly lunches with a gay man from the church who I definely felt was interested in him. I confronted my husband about it and said that I felt this man was a threat to our marriage (given my husband's history). He denied anything was going on, "can't I have independent friends?", but nevertheless promised me to not meet with this man apart from in a group setting. A few short weeks later, he went back on his word and met this man again for lunch. And then, early last summer, he spent the day at a clothing-optional, gay campground where women are not allowed, to visit another gay man from the church who summers at this campground. But my husband didn't tell me the nature of the campground before he went  (it's about an hour and a half from our home) even though he knew the kind of place he was visiting. When he got home, I had to drag out of him exactly where he had been. He told lots of half-truths, outright lies ("I don't remember the name of the campground.") and omitted key information (but funny thing about the internet - it has all kind of information that can be verified). We had a tense talk - I told him that campground did not honor me as his wife, did not honor our marriage, and that he should have turned around and come home when he knew the exact nature of this  campground. His response: "but I was just visiting a friend who invited me there." And get this- in the best non-sequitur I have heard in years: "they do such a good job with the landscaping - the flowers are so pretty." I was beginning to think I was crazy and that I was overreacting to these events. And now we come to early fall:  I noticed my husband  was constantly texting another gay man from our church. I talked to my husband about it and told him I thought he was becoming too emotionally attached to this man. His response: "I don't even know what you mean by that. He's my friend." Fall passes - I continue to have periods of anxious suspicion but then would receive assurances from my husband that nothing was wrong, that I was the most important person to him, and that our marriage was not in danger. And then another half-truth. Another chunk of time where he only partially accounted for his whereabouts. And my suspicions would rise again. Awhile later,  I again told my husband that his relationship with this man was too close. Again, a denial. And then....sure enough, he began an affair with this man- who I considered my friend as well - in December. This man has financial problems, and we gave him $1,000 early in January (obviously, I was played by both of them.) I found out about their affair in mid-January (just three weeks ago) when I checked his phone as he was wheeled away for an colonoscopy. I confronted him - he admitted the affair, saying he wasn't sure if he was bi or he was gay.
I was in a state of shock - that my husband would betray me like this, that he disregarded the "us" and our family we spent all these years building is astounding. For thirty-seven years, I was 1000% sure my husband would never cheat on me. I was 1000% sure that my husband was truthful when he told me where he was and who he was with. And the lies, the sneaking around, the half-truths, and the betrayal are devastating.
A couple of weeks after this disclosure, we left for our long-planned month-long trip to a southern state when our son, DIL, and grandchildren live. The time away from home has given us space and time to talk. My husband - my beloved husband of 37 years - now says he identifies as gay, and that when we return home, he wants to move in with his affair partner and live life as a gay man. When he said the words, "I am gay" out loud, I knew our marriage was over. I'm not going to run after him for the rest of my life saying, "here I am- choose me - be with me". As hard as it is, I'm preparing to live on my own. 
So now the task: to heal from this betrayal, to dissolve our marriage with integrity, to learn how to continue to be a "family" to our boys, and to put one step in front of the other day by day. This is the hardest thing I've confronted in my life. I have lots of questions, lots of doubts, but at the end of the day, I also have clarity of purpose and the knowledge that the road ahead will be amazingly hard but that it is amazingly necessary. 

Last edited by Onahealingpath (May 1, 2023 5:11 pm)


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