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May 2, 2020 4:16 pm  #81

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

Years ago a minister from the Metropolitan Community Church was a guest preacher at my church. He talked about how he fell called to the ministry from a young age but also knew that he was attracted to men. In seminary his mentor told him that he should marry a plain woman because she would be happy someone had chosen her and would be supportive if she figured it out.

I am not saying that you are plain. Your husband may be feeling a push - externally or internally - to have a wife because that is what ministers in what I am sensing his a conservative denomination are expected to have. The looking at female porn is actually advised by certain counselors to condition the man to what he should want. If he has been raised where porn is bad certainly he will feel guilty and sinful afterwards.

Your husband seems to be struggling a lot with his religion. When he gets his PhD that is not the end but a beginning and if he is struggling now he will be under more pressure in a parish. It sounds as though your religious beliefs are no longer what you were raised with. Being a minister's wife is not easy under the best of circumstances. If his beliefs are no longer yours it will be difficult to make it work.

Rather than waiting - hoping - that he will come out of the closet and give you a reason to leave perhaps you should look at whether you are living in a closet spiritually.    

Try Gardening. It'll keep you grounded.

May 3, 2020 11:16 pm  #82

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

Karis, you said: “”Our conversation got pretty in depth. He referenced a time when I had asked him before if he was bisexual (a few weeks ago). When I had asked him before if he was bisexual, he had said he was relieved that I had asked because it proved that we have irrational fears””

<<< Ok; his statements terrify me. It’s so belittling and gaslighting of you. See what he’s doing?
1) He makes you feel bad for asking a perfectly legitimate question
2) He very eloquently uses it to insult you and call you “irrational”
3) He turns it around and accuses you of an affair, in such a sneaky way that you can’t even refute it
4) Then he disarms you and takes you for a spin by saying he HAS looked at women ((By the way, pay close attention to how you felt when he did that. Get familiar with the feeling of someone spinning your reality. That’s a signal to protect your own mental health and get away from the conversation, FAST))

See how he spun you until you were left with two options in your mind:
“”Part of me wonders if he just said that to confuse me, but the other part of me feels like maybe Im just wrong about everything.””
Either he is an EXPERT manipulator, or you are crazy.
“”I don’t know what is wrong with me. I’m back to feeling lost and confused.”” 
You are a successful and intelligent person. Right? You are not confused. Your brain just can’t let you accept the horror of the fact that your husband is so deviously using you.

You say your husband is a narcissist, but honest. I used to think my husband was NOT a narcissist, because he’s soooo nice. But, like your husband, he hates that he has a penis, and his whole life is about hiding that fact, as well as the fact that he likes other penises. Someone who is hiding the deepest, darkest part of themselves at ANY cost, is constantly lying. His whole persona is a complete lie. I’ve had the “opportunity” to see my husband’s alter ego... the one that is exuberant, passionate, excited, and completely opposite from the pious, depressed shell of a man I’ve spent my life trying to make happy.

Your husband said he tries to make it about the relationship? How exactly does he think he’s “making it about the relationship”? When he has sex with you without even meeting your gaze? When he is only focused on his own ejaculating? When he only talks about himself and demands your attention and enthusiasm, but then expects you to keep quiet about any of your interests that bore him?

“”He said he has struggled with separating lust from sex””
The only reason to separate lust from sex is if the lust is not for your partner... right? I mean, I know in the Bible it says not to lust, but dang, Song of Solomon is filled with stuff that would make anyone blush... and verses in Proverbs that say things like “...rejoice in the wife of your youth....Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.”
The only holding back he would have to do would be from imagining a different person... and really, if a man is imagining a different woman, he would just close his eyes while feeling your body all over... right?

If your friend from work really does love you, he will wait, very patiently, and give you all the time in the world to figure things out. If he pressures you, if he gives you any guilt trips, or if he makes your life harder in any way, he’s not worthy of your love.


May 4, 2020 6:39 pm  #83

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

To both Abby and OneDayAtATime both of your posts hit me like a ton of bricks. It's been difficult to find the time to write because I have so much to say and this has to be done in private (of course). Abby, I do feel like my husband felt pressured to find a wife when he found me. He had graduated college, and both his parents and his grandparents had met their spouses in college, and of course, they were ministers also. The push to find a wife must've been very strong. He was actually engaged before he asked me, and she ended it. I do struggle a lot with the spiritual side to all of this. I do believe in God but I don't agree with a lot of the beliefs of our particular church.

OneDayAtATime, your words brought me extreme clarity. I was like, holy shit, she's right! How does she know?!? Of course, I am sure that the way that you know is because you are in the exact position as I am. Thank you for being a voice of clarity to me during a time of great confusion. I do feel like it was a legitimate question to ask and I didn't realize he was actually calling me irrational until I read your words. You are right. He also did spin my reality when he talked about the women online. I did feel that feeling of utter confusion and the feel that I must be crazy and what is wrong with me?! It was definitely a spin of reality-perfect choice of words. I have lingerie in my dresser. He has asked me to wear something different here and there but not on a regular basis. He doesn't act like it's that big of a deal. So why is it suddenly a big deal? 

My husband is also very pious and very depressed. He is always moping or angry or withdrawn. You are also right that he hasn't been trying to make it about the relationship. He says that he is working on it inwardly through prayer and fasting but why wouldn't he just reach out to me? The one he has the relationship with? The part that you wrote about how he said he is struggling with separating lust from sex...what you wrote....was so insightful. You are right! Who is he lusting after?!?!? I know it isn't me because the only time he thinks of me is when he wants sex. He says he thinks about having sex with me all the time, every day, but if that's true, then why does he never touch me?!?! He never touches me sexually during the day-only at night. He knows we are having difficulties in our marriage. He knows that I am depressed and struggling, so why can he not empathize and reach out to me? But instead its like he sees it as a threat and gets upset or angry.

During one of our talks, I suggested that we take a break from sex. I am definitely not enjoying it. I told him that there had been times when we have had sex, that I didn't really want to. He said, "I know". He said there have been times where we are having sex and he said that I looked like I was in pain. Why would he continue then? Why wouldn't he have stopped? I said that if he is struggling with separating lust from sex, and with me going through what I am going through, maybe we should just take a break. There as a moment when he said something to the effect of "well, but then its kind of completely in your hands, like you have the say." Then he realized what he was saying and said, "I mean, I know you should have a say in whether or not we have sex." He asked me how long of a break I was thinking, and we agreed on a month. Then on June 2, we will regroup and talk about what to do next. Knowing that I wont be attacked in bed each night has been a relief and a blessing. I love going to bed and not having to wonder if he will be all over me. However, since that was the only time I received any sort of loving touch from him-we are now basically only roommates. No affection, no empathy, no love.

I also told my work friend not to text me anymore. It's heartbreaking for me. He was the only one that assured me, uplifted me, encouraged me, and loved me. It's extremely difficult to not have him to reach out to. It was becoming difficult for both of us. He wanted more from me than I can give right now and we both needed to step away, so that we could think clearly about what we wanted for our future without having each other clouding our judgement. I am definitely devastated and sad though. I miss him.

Thank you again for helping me think through all of this. Thank you for helping me not feel crazy and to see this manipulation for what it is. I know he's lying to me. I can feel it. I know something is wrong, something is off.

     Thread Starter

May 4, 2020 7:39 pm  #84

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

Karis, Over on the Chump Lady site she has a saying, "talking with a cheating narcissist is like sticking your head in a blender."  You cannot have a real conversation with someone who is trying to spin you and control your reactions.  
Your husband may not be physically cheating, but you could learn a lot about "word salad" and "gaslighting" from her site.  
You ask why "it is suddenly a big deal?"  It's a big deal because your husband is engaged in damage control; he is protecting his closet.  He's afraid you will leave him and say, when you go, that it's because you think he's gay.  He is terrified of this.  And so he is trying very hard to corral you, to go back to being the one in control.  
  He has a lot to lose if you go, from his relationship to his parents, his standing in the church, and his financial support while he's in grad school.  And, by the way, why isn't he receiving a fellowship or grant, or taking a loan for his studies?  Why are you the one who has to finance his studies?  
  Also, I think many of us can tell you that our closeted and in denial spouses were "depressed," "moping, angry, and withdrawn."  Trying to suppress your sexuality and to live a lie will do that to a person.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (May 4, 2020 7:41 pm)


May 4, 2020 9:42 pm  #85

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

Hi Karis,

Still so sorry this is going on.  You may want to ask yourself what keeps you with him. You have the financial means to leave.

Sorry if this is a repeat to you, but the late Thomas Merton was one of the more liberal Roman Catholic writers of the 20th Century. I’ve read many of his books, including The Seven Storey Mountain. I think he would be supportive of LGBT if he were alive today. Many Catholic clergy are. 

I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, your husband had conservative religious beliefs. If so, could he be finding a way to be Christian and come out as gay? Perhaps this book is required for his PhD program. Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree.

Have you ever asked him if he’s gay? He may tell you the truth. If not, it does help to see his reaction and hear the denial.  I asked my GIDXH umpteenth times & he always denied it.

No - It's not too late. It's not hopeless. Even there, there's something I can do. I just have to find the will. Ikiru (1952), film directed by Akira Kurosawa 

May 5, 2020 6:33 am  #86

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

    It did occur to me that he's engaged in a PhD level effort of trying to "pray the gay away."  He certainly has found an acceptable way to channel his interest, in this question of gayness and the church he's exploring via his gay classmate who sends him presents in the mail.  

   Karis, as a self-proclaimed people pleaser who can be easily swayed by the arguments of others, you might benefit from these books:  Adelyn Birch,  "Boundaries" and "30 Covert Manipulation Techniques."  They are short and to the point, with great checklists for assessing yourself and your relationship, and with concrete suggestions.  Both are available on Amazon (I put them on my e-reader), and the prices are quite reasonable.  Lundy Bancroft's "Why Does He Do That?" might also be useful.  




May 5, 2020 12:09 pm  #87

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

I do think at times that he is trying to "pray the gay" away. His PHD is not in religious studies though. It is in history but I feel like religion and history are closely related. He is unsure if he will pastor again after receiving his degree, although I am sure he will do some sort of religious work because he is consumed with religion. Literally consumed.  

OOHC, to answer your question about financials, it is a mess. He does receive a fellowship but it is about the amount of a part time job, so it helps but it isn't much. He is also unable to get a job or he will lose his fellowship. I won't go into all of our financial struggles but trust me, when I tell you that they are a mess.

 I visited the Chump Lady website and she does have a lot of good information. Thank you for suggesting that site. I read a journal entry of his where he was apologizing to God for replacing Him as the primary object of his love. I know he wasn't replacing God with me, so I wonder, what was going on. He says that he feels hurt and disappointed but that God has given him friends to sympathize. I don't know what he has shared and to whom. In some ways, I think he would like for me to divorce him because when he was pastoring, I was needed. He needed me to complete the picture but now that he is almost done with his PHD and can pursue teaching or writing, or whatever, I am not needed as much. He has made this clear to me by, now that sex for us is off the table, we merely pass each other in the house. We have a hug and a peck kiss before we go to sleep and when we wake up, and that's it. It feels like he's given up. Maybe we both have. If he is scared to lose me, he definitely isn't reaching out to me. His journal entries are like long drawn out King James versions of prayers. He uses words like "thee and thy". I should stop snooping and reading them because it is starting to creep me out. 

MJM017, Im not sure what keeps me with him. He has had such control and dominance over me and in the relationship, that I honestly feel scared. I don't know what he would do or how he would react if I asked for a divorce. I am not afraid of him being physically abusive but I am afraid of the psychological damage, to me and to our kids. I know that I would bear the brunt of the blame. I don't know if my kids can see or understand how he is. He is a good father but if they were to look at him as a partner, they would see differently but of course I am sure they don't look at him that way. 

He was brought up conservative in his beliefs but has since changed his position on a lot of things. Thank you for referencing Merton. I was hoping that someone would chime in who had also read him. He has lots of underlined quotes in the book, with stars by them. Quotes like "What an idea! To deny the desires of one's flesh, and even to practice certain disciplines that punished and mortified those desires." I also wondered what Merton's ideas would be on LGBT today, so thank you for answering that. I have asked him if he was bisexual, and at the time he told me that he was relieved that I asked him that because he said that it proves that we have irrational fears, because he had feared that I was having an affair. He had also told me that he thought it was funny that I had asked because he had been mistaken as a gay man before, and he referenced a time when a couple started attending our church because he reminded them of their gay son, who had passed away.

But then in a recent argument he brought up me asking if he was bisexual, and said that it really hurt him that I asked and that he is not interested in men and has in fact been looking at images online of women in lingerie. So I don’t know if that is true or just a distraction for me.

 OOHC, thank you for the suggested reading. I am sure these will help me a lot. I will check them out. I know I definitely need boundaries.

My husband came home from a trip the other day and when he was driving down the road to our house, he saw me and my son taking a walk around the neighborhood. He stopped the car to say, hello and I said hi, and that we were glad that he was back home. Then my son and I finished the rest of the walk and headed home. When I got home, he was upset that I didn’t go straight home and instead finished the last leg of the walk with my son. Then he was angry that I didn’t immediately run and hug and kiss him when he was home (because I used to do those things but I cant anymore), then he told me that he was upset that I went on a walk with my son at all because I should have known that he would have wanted to go on a walk with us when he got home because he’s been in the car all day. But honestly, I thought he would be too tired to go for a walk, He said that he specifically told me what time he was getting home, so that I would be aware. I don’t know. It’s all so ridiculous. 

Thank you to everyone for your posts and help to me.

Last edited by Karis (May 5, 2020 12:14 pm)

     Thread Starter

May 5, 2020 4:42 pm  #88

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

OutofHisCloset wrote:

   Lundy Bancroft's "Why Does He Do That?" might also be useful.     

OOHC, I can’t thank you enough for recommending that book to me when I first posted here about my violent late GIDXH.

The period after my divorce was final was acutely painful. The doubts kept crept back if I had pushed back too hard. Maybe his excuses were partially true. I was driving myself crazy.

Bancroft taught me to think rationally and logically about his reasons for abusing me. No, my instincts to withdraw empathy from GIDXH were correct. The ex was a liar. High five to you OOHC!

Edited for clarity.

Last edited by MJM017 (May 5, 2020 4:52 pm)

No - It's not too late. It's not hopeless. Even there, there's something I can do. I just have to find the will. Ikiru (1952), film directed by Akira Kurosawa 

May 5, 2020 4:56 pm  #89

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

 You're welcome, and, of course, someone recommended it to me before I could recommend it to you.  We help each other and keep it going.   


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