Another reader shares her story:
Last Monday, six days after I voted against the amendment in North Carolina that would protect the sanctity of marriage by stomping on the rights of gay couples, I told my husband that as much as it saddened me, we needed to divorce. We’ve been married for nearly 25 years and have two great teenagers, but I found out seven years ago that he was gay. We have worked mightily to reach some sort of an accord that would keep our marriage and our family intact. But I just can’t do it anymore.
I knew he would never pull the plug on our marriage, so fierce is his guilt over what he’s done to me. Over the past seven years, I have passed through all seven stages of grieving that Kubler-Ross outlines, because I was in mourning for the life I thought I had and the future that I thought we would have. It’s taken this long for me to let go.
As soon as I told him that the end was here, the emotion in second place to our sadness was relief … for both of us. The day we had both been dreading but knew deep down had to come was finally here. We will tell our children the whole truth once school is over. We feel they are old enough to understand now, and it is important that they know why we are separating so the cycle of secrets can stop.
When we got married, he was sure that he had put "those" feelings behind him for good, relieved that he wouldn’t be disappointing his parents. He was optimistic about having it all: the wife, the family, the career – things he didn’t feel he could have had if he’d chosen to be openly gay in the late 1980s. So he pushed it all away until he couldn’t deny it any longer and he left enough breadcrumbs for me to figure it out.
And it is all just so sad. I have to part ways with the person that I thought I would grow old with, who knows me better than any human on earth, who laughed out loud with utter joy when our daughter was born, who read each Harry Potter book aloud to our son until he was old enough to read them himself. I’m not mad at him anymore. I’m just so very sad.
A son's perspective:
My mother started to have doubts about my father being gay 10 years into their marriage of 20. When my family moved to Canada in 2000, my parents split, saying they just couldn't get along anymore. A year later, my mother was bringing my sister to my father's place one night only to find my father kissing a young Asian man in front of the house. Both my mother and sister reacted very strongly, both in disgust.
My mother will never forgive my father, which I understand. She told me this terrible statement after it came out that my father is gay: "Your father never fucked me for 20 years and I thought it was my fault". For her, he stole her womanhood; he stole the possibility of making love and being loved by a man who desired her. That's what hurt me the most.