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January 12, 2020 1:17 pm  #1

New to SSN, divorce in progress

I am so grateful to have found SSN.  I wish I had found it years ago because this is the most painful and lonely experience of my life.  Knowing all of you are out there now gives me hope.

I'll try to make a long story short here.  In 2011, after two and a half years as a couple, I gave in to my husband's insistence that we get married.  At that point I was 57 yo and I had been single for 23 years.  My husband is 8 years younger than I.  We were introduced to one another by mutual friends in the small ski community we both frequented.  Over the years we became better acquainted as we moved in the same circle of friends, but we were both committed to our then longterm partners. By 2009, after several years of infrequent social contact, we had both left our relationships.  We skied together one day in early 2009, had a great time, and our relationship took off.  After two years, he began to talk of marriage.  I questioned the need to marry because we seemed to be doing fine the way we were.  We owned our own homes and and were employed in school systems 50 miles apart. We looked forward to our together time and it seemed like a relationship that was built on a preceding friendship and shared outdoor activities. I envisioned the relationship lasting for the remainder of my life. Thinking I was in the only relationship I would want for the remainder of my life, I finally said yes, and we married in late 2011.  Though we had a robust sexual relationship in those two and a half years, I shared my concern that as I got older less frequent sex would become my norm because I had already identified that when I didn't have it, I really didn't miss it that much.  In fairness to him and his statement that infrequent sex was one of the reasons he left his last marriage, I expressed my concern to him.  He assured me that he wanted to be with me regardless and that our relationship was built on so much more.  
About 4 months after we married, we were enjoying our Saturday morning coffee-in-bed snuggle and conversation, when he slowly revealed to me that he had occasionally taken pleasure in cross-dressing.  He claimed not to have done it recently, but there were several occasions in the years between this marriage and his last.  I was surprised of course, but not alarmed ..... yet.  He seemed so vulnerable as he shared this information and I was touched by his trust, his honesty, and what seemed his genuine concern that I would still love him. For several weeks following that day, we returned occasionally to the topic, as I tried to understand the behavior, how important it was to him, and what role if any he saw it playing in our lives.  Slowly, almost precisely, he added more information to this picture.  He told me it would make him happy if I would dress up with him as an erotic adventure.  I told him honestly, but with great concern for his feelings, that it was his masculinity that I was attracted to, and that I thought it would be hard to respond sexually to him pretending to be a woman.  He next tried to lure me into encounters with him and other men playing on my admission that I had fantasized about such things.  I was reluctant.  He returned over and over to this topic and wanted me to sit with him while we looked at profiles of men on Adult Friend Finder.  I tried to please him by engaging in talk about it during sex, but he made it clear he wanted the real thing and we needed to find someone.  Slowly and painfully, the pieces of the puzzle began to come together.  I read AFF messages exchanged between him and a man where he told the man that he was working on me to comply, and asked if the man was open to contact between them.  I realized that he was pushing, actually almost bullying, me to do this because he wanted to be with a man.  Here I was, 58 years old, six months into a marriage that I had thought was safe, suddenly married to a man that had become a complete stranger to me.  I was scared and bewildered.
In the ensuing 7 years he constantly declared nothing was more important to him than our relationship, but was seemingly obsessed with being in his words, a cum-sucking slut.  I told him that I needed to know who I had married so if he needed to try out this behavior, go ahead.  Only then could we both assess whether we had a future.  This has been repeatedly thrown back in my face as "You told me to do it." He began spending hours exchanging pictures and plans with men on craigslist. He had a couple hookups, but always acted disappointed in them.  He regularly woke early in the morning and watched a couple hours of "sissy" porn before going to work.  The path forward only became more unclear.  His frustration intensified, and he was constantly angry with me. I was dying inside because our marriage was clearly failing and I could not tell anyone what was going on. 
Having no real idea how to start, my exit began in August 2018 when I spilled my secret to my gynecologist.  She sent me to be tested and made me promise to confide in a friend.  I kept that promise and took the first steps into the light, so to speak. I told my husband that I planned to seek help in my struggle to deal with our situation, and I requested that he find a counselor for himself by a given date or I was prepared to separate.  I also told him that unless he was tested, our sex life was finished.  He didn't follow through with these things which said much about his regard for me and our relationship.  In April 2019 I found elaborately handwritten porn stories addressed to a woman he had worked with in the past.  He had once described her as an attractive lady with an abusive husband, and had even asked if I minded his taking her to breakfast on national secretary day.  Seeing that as nothing more than a kind gesture I said of course.  I wonder if the erotica was his way of grooming a replacement for me as we began to grow further apart.  I've come to believe that I was "the closet" for him.  The day after I found the stories, I packed my things and left our ski home, returning to my home an hour away.  Over the summer, he removed his belongings from my home, and stopped speaking to me.  Mutual friends who have seen him say he acts very sad, but his email communications to me as we negotiate the terms of our divorce have been very angry.  We managed to reach an agreement and the divorce hearing is next month.  The cycles of grief and anger that defined the early days of my separation from him have finally given way to a reduction in stress, and some hope for the future.  I still struggle with how to explain this to our mutual friends, many of whom thought we had an ideal relationship.  I've told my whole story only to my adult sons, and my 2 female best friends who are not invested in a continuing relationship with him.  And like many of you have stated, I have blamed myself for not seeing the reality of my situation sooner, and for being a poor judge of character. And I still don't know who he really is.  I just know that he is not the man whom he has portrayed himself to be for the last 40 years.  I feel sad for him because maybe he doesn't know either, and given how he has treated me, I am unable even to offer him my friendship and support as the only person with whom he has spoken of these issues. He has referred to himself as bi-curious, but could he in fact be a deeply closeted gay man?  The journey to understanding, acceptance and peace continues.  


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