tales from the surviving straight spouse

Archive for the ‘Pop goes the marriage!’ Category

Vagina Angina!

I was remembering again how much I love to garden.  It is strange that getting hot, sticky and sweaty in order to nurture growth makes me feel more feminine.  I was thinking about the woman who used the word vagina in congress.  I mentally applauded her.  We need to stop giggling over ‘girl and boy parts.’

I imagine that many women would say a manicure makes them feel girly or a pair of really high heels.

But do we really comprehend the girly vs. feminine?

To me girly does not mean fertile.  It means bang-able.

Feminine means fertile, nurturing and inspiring.

Right before the big reveal, DD was pulling over to the shoulder during his commute to and from work to cry hysterically.  He was falling apart.  I didn’t know.  I knew we had almost no connection.  Twice a month we met with other Marriage Encounter couples to work on our relationship and plan for weekends.  At those functions it was if I magically became visible to DD and he was attentive, reflective and responsive.  Then we went home.

DD had started therapy.  He had to because something was wrong, really wrong.

At dinner one night, he looked down at me from his end of the table – four kids between us – age 9, 7, 5, and 3.  I had dinner cooked and ready almost every night.  Family dinner at home is extremely important to me.

DD had a stern expression on his face, “How would you rate me in the bedroom department?”

I looked at him completely confused.  We had sex twice that year.  It was May.  He honestly didn’t know and he was asking me in front of our kids.  I have learned over the years what to be honest about and what to gloss over.  I didn’t flinch.

“You are the best I ever had.”

He exhaled a big sigh of relief and continued eating.  I smiled weakly.  If I had known that within the week he was going to tell me that he had been lying to me for almost 15 years and that he was sexually attracted to men, I would have told him the truth.

I would have said that watching him trying to find my clitoris was like watching a man grope around in the dark for a light bulb to unscrew.   Worse was looking at the expression on his face.  Unless he was receiving oral sex, he was bored out of his mind.   When we did have sex it was at night after his shows were over.  Afterwards, he jumped out of bed to clean himself off.  I felt icky – as if I had soiled him.  There was never any post coital bonding.  He was exhausted and needed to sleep.  I think the energy he expended to get psyched to have sex and then maintain that excitement exhausted him.  I can think of 3 times in the 15 years that we were married that we had sex during the day.  I lost track of the number of times he lost an erection.  It was frightening because he would get so angry with  me.  Any time I made a suggestion he would lose his erection.  Any time I initiated he would lose his erection.  It was so controlled and exact – there was not spontaneity possible.

DD had pushed me into therapy.  He said I was frigid because I am a rape survivor and I was impacting our sex life.

I look back and wonder at how stupid I was and how I believed that love would conquer all.  I was drawn to DD because his non-threatening ways.  He was not physically threatening at that point.  He was someone who I thought would be sexually safe for me.  He was right, my history of sexual abuse was a part of why I was with him.

The damage he wreaked on my self-image and psyche was slow and permanent.  As much as I say I want to be connected to another man at this point in my life, I am concerned about my ability to keep myself safe emotionally, mentally, financially and sexually.  I don’t trust myself to make correct decisions.  I don’t think I can reign in my desperation to be loved and discern between exploitation and genuine love.

So, I honor the feminine me – I plant, I grow, I clean, I decorate and I take care.  I am ‘nesting’ for me.

I have come to the conclusion that each new painful event is really ripping off the scabs of the past 22 years.  I won’t heal if I am still involved with him.   I have to stay involved with him because of our children.  So, I am developing scar tissue – at least it is thick.  It is the best I can do for now.

Day 1 began a long, long time ago.

I just don’t want to use my social media pieces to dump on my friends.

It was suggested by quite a few people that I turn to blogging again.  I am not sure how many followers I will have or how interesting it will be – but there is enough drama for three blogs, sometimes, I think.

I want to live with joy again.  I want to be as carefree as I was – not before my kids were diagnosed – but back in January 2004.  What was so good about that time?

  • son #4, who has Down Syndrome  was age 3 and  had just had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids – there were some complications – but he came home – he was healthy, progressing and my sweet baby.
  • son#3 age 5 was definitely NOT autistic – all of my daily hard work had brought him out of whatever maze he was getting lost in.
  • son#2 who has Fragile X Syndrome was age 7 and was starting a new program that seemed to be moving in the right direction.
  • son#1 who has Autism was age 9  and was working with a wonderful team who believed in him.
  • we had just participated in a documentary on care giving it was called Circle of Love, A Caregiver’s Story: Children with Special Needs
  • the Special Education PTA that I had founded was hosting a conference for over 200 people in early May.

Life was good, I was making a difference, touching lives and felt positive about almost everything.  Everything, except my husband.  He had been sleeping on the couch for more than two years.  I had resolved that this part of my life was awful, but manageable.  I took care of the kids, I took care of the inside of the house, I did all the minor repairs, all of the outside maintenance, paid bills, did the taxes, cooked, cleaned, shopped.  The rest of my life though – my friends, family and children were enough.  My marriage was in a holding pattern – “as good as it gets” and as long as we were in front of other people, my husband would be the most attentive, funny, loving man ever.  At home it was a different story – at home he sat in front of the television until he fell asleep and slept on the couch all night.  It was worse when he would ‘snuggle’ with the kids in bed and sleep with them all night.  Despite begging him to come to bed, waking up every morning alone and thinking, wishing, hoping for something that told me we were connected – he just couldn’t make that choice.  The fact that it became a choice instead of a loving, natural instinct – only broke my heart more.  To me, though, I had made a commitment.  Our marriage was a covenant, a living sacrament that I respected.

So, on May 18th, after he nearly had a nervous breakdown three weeks prior and had started therapy again, my husband came to bed with me.  It was 11 o’clock. What a momentous occasion!  I warm body in bed – a novel idea for my marriage.  He looked at me deeply, turned a bright red and said “I have something I need to tell you.  I sometimes see a guy – anywhere – at the park, in the store and I get feelings.  I am attracted to men, sexually attracted to men and I am bisexual.”  He emitted a little squeak and then hid  his head in his pillow and giggled nervously.  My head just exploded. I, I, I, I, couldn’t think.
I couldn’t believe it.  I knew, but didn’t want to know.  He admitted to lying to me for the past 14 years.  At that time  when we were dating I asked him if he had ever been involved with a guy.  He said no.  Actually, at that time he had already had at least 10 public sexual encounters with men he had just met.  In other words, blow jobs in cars with strangers, who had picked him up off the street.  He only had one relationship – in which he met a guy he knew about 3 or 4 times.

I cried.  I threw up and then I cried some more.

That night it was me who slept on the couch.

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