While the media focuses on the men, I watch their wives standing next to them and wonder about the suffering, lies, emotional confusion and rage that they may be living through. Because I've lived it all. There are so many obvious questions for a wife like me: Didn't I realize he was gay? Did I ignore red flags?
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And if I had suspicions, why didn't I confront him earlier or divorce him? I suppose I was always suspicious, but I was in denial. Early in our relationship, Chris told me he'd had homosexual experiences as a teenager but assured me it was youthful curiosity. I didn't think there was anything wrong with being gay — I have an openly gay cousin. And I didn't care what went on behind others' closed doors. But I also didn't believe that a gay man would ever be attracted to a straight woman, and I was naive — too naive to see why a homosexual man would marry and spend years lying to his wife, his friends, his family and himself.
The beginning I was a year-old college freshman in Kentucky when I met Chris.
He was 22, a senior and a talented musician who could sing and play brass, keyboards and woodwinds. I'd never had a boyfriend before, and I felt incredibly flattered when this popular, good-looking guy asked me out. I was also pleased that we had a similar religious upbringing. I grew up going to a Methodist church, and I've always had a strong Christian faith. Chris's father was a Southern Baptist minister who preached fire and brimstone, and Chris was taught that being gay was the ultimate sin — an absolute sentence to hell.
Two unusual things happened on our first date. Then, after he kissed me good-night, he shocked me again, saying, "No matter what you hear, I'm not gay. But in the world we lived in, people often claimed a guy was gay if he wasn't a jock or really macho, so I didn't want to judge someone because of who his friends were and what he did. I decided to take Chris at his word.
Besides, he'd taken a girl — me — out on a date, so how could he be gay? Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring. We immediately started seeing each other exclusively.
I thought it was a storybook romance for nine months — until Chris abruptly said, "I can't do this anymore. A few weeks later, over the holidays, we met to talk. We obviously still had feelings for each other, and without explaining why he'd split up with me, Chris declared, "If we're going to be together, let's make it official: Will you marry me? It was a dream come true. Of course, I could have asked more questions, but I convinced myself that Chris had gotten cold feet because we had become serious so quickly. I also had a stubborn streak, which I practiced as a child and maintained throughout our marriage.
I was determined to make our relationship work. I wanted to show Chris that I would stick with him through everything. I didn't believe in premarital sex, but once we were engaged I went on the Pill and told Chris I thought we should make love. He refused, explaining that he respected me too much and that sex had ruined his previous relationships.
Frustrated, I kept reminding myself that, as he said, "We will have the rest of our life together. This pronouncement made me feel more secure, but I shouldn't have ignored my nagging intuition that something was seriously wrong. I was a year-old virgin on our wedding day and a disappointed bride when Chris couldn't get an erection that night. I retreated to my side of the bed and cried myself to sleep, wondering, Is this what our life together will be like? The next morning, we decided to start our marriage on the right foot — by going to church. We had sex that afternoon.
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It wasn't as passionate as I'd hoped, but I convinced myself yet again it would all be fine. Chris had won a prestigious position in a military band, and we moved to the Washington, D. A lonely wife After Chris's boot camp, we settled in as newlyweds, but we never achieved the "happy couple" life I had envisioned. We rarely spent time alone together because Chris preferred to have dinner parties, go to parties or play cards with friends. I returned to school, and he had rehearsals, and we were with other band members and their wives on most of our weekends.
I missed the intimacy I was certain other married couples had. I also expended a lot of energy trying to keep Chris interested in sex. After we got married, I wanted to have sex every day, but he told me I was a nymphomaniac. I learned to do whatever I had to do to make it happen, because sex reassured me that I was loved and wanted. We probably had sex three or four times a week, and I felt as if I was constantly pressing for it.
In "Brokeback Mountain," there's a scene when Ennis flips his wife over on her stomach when they have sex. I got very emotional when I watched that because it was the position Chris and I often used for intercourse. Even though it wasn't as physically or emotionally satisfying to me, it was as intimate as we were going to get — and I wanted children. Questions about Chris's sexual preference didn't disappear. At a party with his work friends, I got into an argument with a woman who'd been drinking, and she said, out of the blue, "Well, at least my husband's not gay.
Later that evening, when I told Chris what happened, he reminded me that he'd always been teased about being gay, but he assured me, "It's not true. I defended him to others, but our marriage was often tense.
He toured with the band, and when he came home, he'd sometimes stay out all night without telling me where he'd gone. Assuming he was having an affair with a woman, and feeling insecure and unattractive in the middle of my third pregnancy, I became hyperinterrogatory and angry. It didn't help: Chris became even more distant, and he started drinking heavily. It's easy to say I should have left him, but the choice wasn't so simple. We had virtually no savings, and I couldn't afford to take the children and raise them on my own.
I also still believed that the marriage could weather such trials, in part because he was such a good father. He took us camping, played with the children, planned holiday celebrations and even baked the kids' birthday cakes. Chris was percent better at parenting than my own father, and I got used to the idea that my fulfillment could come from the family rather than the marriage. My shocking discovery That thin fantasy crumbled on my oldest son's third birthday, well before my chlamydia diagnosis. That day, I caught Chris hiding cash in a desk drawer. What is the money for? He became defensive and announced, "I haven't gone to bed with anybody, but I've been going to gay bars.
How one woman recovered from a heartbreaking deception
As the puzzling pieces of our marriage flashed through my mind — the lack of physical affection, his preferred position for sexual intercourse, his disinterest in spending couple time with me — I started sobbing and asked, "Are we getting a divorce? Are we going to counseling? Is this something you're going to pursue? I desperately wanted to believe him. He agreed to go to counseling, but we had to pay in cash and keep it quiet because of the U. If anyone found out that Chris was gay, he could be fired.
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This sort of normalization is good news. Friendships between gay and straight men have always existed. But there have also always been roadblocks to their formation. Many straight men hesitated to befriend gay men , fearing harassment, rejection from their straight friends or being called gay. The growing acceptance of homosexuality , however, has allayed some of these fears. There are still barriers. Gay men — particularly those in conservative and rural environments — remain wary about trying to befriend straight men, fearing prejudice-fueled rejection.
Of course, the traditional notion that gay men and straight men cannot be close friends is inherently homophobic and untrue. We propose gay-straight male friendships are not only possible, but that they can grow to be extremely rewarding. So which straight men are the most likely to befriend gay men, and vice versa? And what determines whether these friendships prosper? For one, the timing of when these friendships form may be crucial.
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We know that gay men are now coming out at an earlier age. Gay men who disclose their sexual orientation to their straight male friends earlier in life may be able to build more open and honest friendships with them into adulthood. Second, recent research has argued that gender and sexual orientation might not be as black and white as previously thought , which opens up new avenues for exploring how gay and straight men can relate to one another.
These discussions are particularly important because they normalize same-gender attraction.
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Friendships also strengthen when each side discloses personal information , which can include discussing sexual experiences. Recent research has suggested that advice sharing could be a crucial reason that straight women seek out gay men as friends. We believe that this same sort of unbiased advice sharing might also foster friendships between gay and straight men.
However, straight women do tend to trust the dating advice of gay men especially more than advice from straight men or women. Accordingly, straight men could get a leg up in dating from becoming close friends with gay men.