tales from the surviving straight spouse

It was Never About The GAY.

I have a brother who is gay.

I once wondered out loud to one of my other brothers if he knew that this brother was gay.

He was always different – this brother said, his face looking like he smelled something foul.

I was young and didn’t know anyone who was out (though, I am sure I knew many people who were gay then).

Like my ex husband, I know my brother grew up with many fears.  It is common knowledge that my brother got the brunt of my father’s anger.  The family joke is that if we were a  young family today – Child Protective Services would have taken the kids away from my dad.  hahaha ho ho hee hee, what?!  that’s not funny.

Once my dad gave my brother a black eye.  Another time he broke a cutting board over his head.  I wonder if my father saw that he was different, too.  I wonder if my father thought he could change my brother’s course in life.

How vain we parents are!!  Thinking we can mold and shape people into what WE think is best.  Really, we should be teaching our children how to be the best THEY can be, how to love themselves completely, wholly, joyfully.

It’s about the Lying, born from Fear.

My brother lived in fear.  He had a fear of being hit, a fear of continuous rejection and don’t forget the fear of  hell.  My brother and DD were both raised Catholic.  My brother and DD both learned at a very early age that lying would save them from pain.

My brother made some bad choices – but what did he have to lose? – he was already rejected by his father – he never felt quite like he fit in with the rest of the family – but the best choice he ever made was to bravely come out to my parents!

Then they sent him to a therapist to be cured.  Not just any therapist, but Dr. Money of Johns Hopkins.  That didn’t go so well.  Then my brother disappeared.  He has been in and out of my life – but currently for the past seven years has been in.  I am very grateful to have him a part of my life.  I love him more than I can ever explain.  He is a beautiful person – I wish he could see what I see.  I am the only one in my family who speaks to my brother.  Through a series of manipulations there was a final falling out between my brother and my parents.   It breaks my heart.

DD, however – did everything by the book – almost.   He grew up with a distant, abusive father who had his own sexual identity issues.  DD was an altar boy – he knew what happened to people who were gay in the Catholic faith.  He grew up thinking he was evil and he was going to burn in hell.  He tried to fit in, tried to be straight and he lied his way through our initial meeting and right through our marriage.   He got married, went to church, had kids and every social event he was the doting husband and father.  I loved going out – because then I was married to the man I thought I had married.  At home he was a stranger, unhappy with everything, not interested in anything.  It was as if I was in his way.  He wouldn’t speak to me if the television was on.  He waited until there was a commercial break.  He lied until he couldn’t take it any more.  Then he expected me to stay by his side while he figured out who he was and what he wanted.  Coming back from our honeymoon, I knew something was very wrong, but hoped it was just an adjustment period.  Two years into our marriage – I knew if something didn’t change we would be divorced within 10 years.  I was off by 2 years – but sadly correct.

A person can’t change who they are, they can only change their behaviors.

Yet – People Still Don’t Get It

Equality for same sex couples is a vital step to preventing the tragedy of lying, manipulation and anger.  It is the only way we will begin to erase prejudice and hate.

DD is still wrapped up in the fact the I “outed him.”  He has not placed the blame where it belongs – on his family, on society, his religion and his inability to accept himself.  Until everyone who is a consenting adult is accepted for who they are and not judged by what they look like and who they love, we will continue to see families torn apart like mine.

My heart breaks for my parents and my brother.  My brother is funny, interesting, creative and kind – all of the things that my parents are – because they passed that on to him.  He also is gay.  It is who he is, not a choice, not a sin.

My parents don’t see the strength in my brother living the truth.

My parents are quick to point out the cowardice of DD’s lies and manipulation – insisting he should have been truthful.

I once tried to point out to my parents the odd coincidence of my brother’s choices vs. DD’s choices and how their lives played out – they looked at me quizzically what?  one has nothing to do with the other?  what are you trying to say?

I am a living irony.


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