The feeling of betrayal that I experienced on that day has been unparalleled since. This is really saying something because I have felt betrayed since then by a different love in my life. Which is of course, another story.
But when I think about all that I’ve experienced since that day, there really is no comparison.
When I look back with hindsight, I think I handled myself better than some people might. I was completely floored, of course, but my love for my husband was put to a true fiery test in those moments, and I survived.
So did he, despite the fact that it was probably one of the toughest moments of his life, too.
I think the hardest part was knowing that when I got up that day to go to church with my kids while Devon was out of town once again with his friend Felipe, I didn’t have a friggin’ clue that my life (which was so beautiful and perfect) would be shattered into oblivion. No time to prepare myself. No room for speculation about what was up until the very moment I jokingly and sarcastically said: “So what are you, gay or something?” His pause spoke volumes, but until he said, “You knew this whole time?” I had no idea what was coming.
And in that moment, his burden was lifted and placed onto my shoulders. He had time to digest. Time to process. He ultimately had his entire life to work through everything that he could up to that day, within the bounds of still keeping it a secret.
His freedom turned into my nightmare. My heavy heart, mind and even my physical body was crushed under the weight of it. As I tried to make sense of my entire life from that moment backward, I received very little help from him, though I do know now that he did the best he could at that time. My questions, which seemed insignificant to him, were of utmost importance to me. I often received half truths, dismissals with a “none of that matters now” and stumbled upon things that I was never meant to see.
And honestly, things started to make sense. I had a need to review every little thing that transpired since I met him. Some of these things may have seemed insignificant to him, but I simply needed to know.
I don’t know what it is about our base need to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if knowing that information wouldn’t change a thing about the situation. But I needed it. All of it. And I began to get weary of asking things and not getting the truth I was seeking.I’m sure Devon justified not answering all of my questions because he thought, or knew, it would only hurt more. We all do that. We justify lying because the truth will hurt potentially.
But hearing the truth was usually not as bad as where my mind would trail off to. Many times it was a relief to hear the truth rather than believe what was in my noggin that kept spinning and spinning and getting worse with every turn. I needed the crazy to stop in my world so I could feel some semblance of control.
I came to learn the hard way that control is just a figment of our imagination. I have a hard enough time controlling my mind, my actions and my life in general. I cannot ever control what someone else does in their own life, let alone what they me do to me.
I learned how to accept. Which stunk at first, but it got easier.
If I could say one thing to the spouse who has come out of the closet to their straight spouse, it would be this: Remember that you have had much more time to grapple and figure out who you are as a member of the LGBTQI community. Give every amount of time, energy and truth to your spouse that he or she asks, without justifying that you would only hurt them more. And don’t put a time frame on it. While you may need to set up some boundaries for your own mental health and sanity, when the person who never expected this to happen in their lives is asking you questions, you owe it to them to give everything you have.
And to the straight spouse with the burden you never dreamed you would carry: Keep moving forward, even if you feel like you are going backward. You will make it through this. You will… if you expect to do so. Write everything down. Be as civil as you can while being real. Share your story with people you can feel safe with and free of judgement… toward you and your gay spouse.
Move forward as you look backward and remember: You aren’t alone.