A Case of the Clingons

You’ve built a life with someone; a life financially, with offspring, social circles, extended family, memories galore.

And then they come out, rarely willingly. It usually happens because they get caught. Maybe a Craigslist ad was carelessly left open on a computer screen. Maybe some texts or dirty pictures from an iPhone were downloaded to an iCloud account. Or maybe they were caught in some other red-handed way.

No matter how you find out, your world as you knew it, as you planned it, explodes into chaos. Nothing makes sense, and things make sense, all at the same time. The truth was right in front of your schnoz, sometimes for years, but you couldn’t, and sometimes wouldn’t, see it. This Truth is something you want to know all about, but don’t want to know, simply because of the pain it brings.

Earth shattering, gut wrenching, baby-barf in your mouth…painful Truth.

How could this have happened? I loved my spouse. What did I do wrong? How could I be so stupid? What did I do to deserve this? Was anything real? Was my entire marriage simply a sham?

Can I fix it? I need to fix this. They are saying some of the right things, like:

I love you and want to make this work. I won’t do it again. I am not really gay. Please forgive me. I will change. Don’t tell anyone. I want and love no one but you.

We cling to those words. We are afraid of what lies ahead, the unknown, without them.

I can’t make it alone. Our kids will be devastated. I have invested my best years in this marriage. Who am I without them?  I love him/her enough to stand by them, help them through this…believe them.

Actions speak louder than words, and their actions don’t match. Not even a little. Sure, there may be a few times where they hold you, listen to you, send you flowers…but those are not consistent. They distance themselves emotionally and physically, sleep in a different bed, do irrational things like make a large purchase without telling you, secretly spend time on the computer doing God knows what…and the whole time you try to cling to what they say, not what they do.

Your whole focus becomes them, changing things to keep them close, and keeping your marriage intact. In fact, maybe even your dual-life spouse revels in that. They see that they’ve got some control over you and milk it for all it’s worth. They don’t want to change things either, but from an even more selfish standpoint. You, your family, the life you have built is their beard, their cover. The idea of giving that up is painful, just as it is to you.

You both have so much to lose. So, you get an acute case of the Clingons.

I mean, who wants to believe that they made such a life altering mistake? No one. Not a single one of us.

This is not about divorce, even though you may be considering it in some fashion. This is actually about finding yourself. Really knowing who you are apart from anyone else. The major portions of your identity are wrapped up in your spouse and this life you have made together, which actually is turned on its head.

It comes down to taking care of you. Sure, you need to think of your kids, your finances, your friends, your extended family. But…

If you aren’t taking care of you, apart from anyone else, those things are going to crumble anyway.  Depression is common, and if you don’t seek professional help and others who have been where you are, you will be eaten alive.

The overwhelming panic is the toughest thing to deal with, it seems. If you aren’t taking care of you, standing up for yourself, facing things as head-on as you can, then this ship you are sailing on is going to sink, fast.

So, what are some things you can do? I can give you a random list, but I would LOVE to hear from others who have been where you are, in the comments below. Comment anonymously if you would like, because I know many of you will read this and have some practical advice for people who have found this blog, desperately searching for answers.

Here is a small list of my own. Again, add to it, readers, so you can help those who need it.

  1. Find a good counselor that isn’t there for saving your marriage only. Find a personal one just for you and your needs.
  2. Find time to journal.
  3. Go someplace quiet on the regular, by yourself, and cry.
  4. Read uplifting quotes.
  5. Find a confidante who will not try to fix the problems you face and won’t get annoyed listening to you.
  6. Take bubble baths.
  7. Watch funny movies.
  8. Read funny books.
  9. Take a daytrip somewhere that you have always wanted to do.
  10. Stay away from negative people or triggers, as much as you can help it.

Above all, find the things that you cling to and move toward reality, which is who you are at your core. Get to know yourself. Forgive yourself for mistakes. Allow yourself to feel. Try not to beat yourself up for not seeing the truth. And if you do beat yourself up, keep telling yourself that you are loveable, you aren’t alone, and you are worth so much more.

The more you get to know and love yourself and your core, the easier it will be to make seemingly polarizing decisions.

Cling to those things that are wonderful, praiseworthy, beautiful, and lovely. Eventually you will find yourself transforming from a Clingon to a Superhuman. One who can hold their head high and move forward in life with the confidence of a powerful, loveable and dignified individual…

Apart from anyone and anything.

Not A Clingon Anymore,

Emily

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22 thoughts on “A Case of the Clingons

  1. Don’t feel indebted or obligated to keep your spouse’s secrets. This is your life and your story too. The secrets will keep you feeling alienated, alone and afraid, in a time where what you need is understanding, comfort and support.

  2. I agree that learning to consider your own needs and wants is a HUGE and CRITICAL step. I did things a little bit inside out because my husband was so far in denial that he had built a bomb shelter inside his closet in which to reside. I knew he was gay . . . but simply did not believe I should turn back on my own vows. There was no disclosure and no “admissible in a court of law” proof. I clung to my vows, my loyalty and my commitment to him… I created boundaries, I journaled, I created more boundaries. I resisted his control. Guess what? Covert narcissism became bullying. He hated that I resisted his control.

    I had to force myself to realize that I deserved mutual respect in my marriage. I had to decide that sex wasn’t the only thing I was giving up in my marriage. I had to put me and my kids first instead of protecting him from his own internal war. I had to realize that nothing I said or did was going to cause him to be honest on any level. I had to move forward without him.

    Once I told him I needed to divorce him, he did pull out all the “I don’t want to throw away all we have worked for ” and “I would never DO that”. He went on to accusing me of being the devil’s spawn for accusing him of being an abomination. He played martyr for anyone who would listen and they believed that I was the evil wife for giving up on such a perfect specimen of a Christian straight man. Nothing he said ever indicated his love for me. Thank goodness I knew what to expect because I would have been so lost if I didn’t

    Keep telling your story. Keep sharing ours.

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for your transparency. I believe your story will inspire others.

      Your are a very strong woman. You have my admiration.

      Hugs,
      Emily

  3. My wife left me a year ago. She came out gay. We have three children. One 16 which has had counciling since then, but now fine.

    I have been struggling with everything that has been thrown at me. Life became very hard.

    The downfall I had was rather than dealing with my emotions, I started gamberling, the feelings were great I didn’t think about losing my wife, but more interested in winning. Obviously over time I’m still getting very low with the wife plus losing money now.

    Some times I think I need help, but being a father and a man, you think why should I, I never asked for any of this. Why should I waste any more time on the situation. I pick myself up for two days, I feel great then. Bang back again.

    Out of all of this is though it’s the finiacial situation that your not ready for. The loss of your children in your life every day and the whole concept of your marriage was a lie.

    Time is the biggest healer, but boy doesnt it take time.

    1. Wayne,

      I hear the pain in your words. I wish I could hug you right now. I, too, used some “vices” to help me temporarily forget the caca, especially in the early days.

      But one thing is true that you said: time is such a huge factor in moving forward and healing.

      I am sorry that you don’t get to be with your kids as much. That is one of the suckiest things about a marriage breaking up. Please take time to heal during the times you don’t have them.

      Much Love,
      Emily

  4. Telling my story to my pastor. He gave me this advice.
    1–You didn’t cause this situation
    2–You are not responsible for it.
    3–You can’t cure it
    4–get yourself out of it.
    I did just that and I am happily leading the rest of my life without Mr. Wonderful.

    1. Maureen,

      Simple but sage advice. I wish my pastors had been so direct. That isn’t as common, at least in my own experiences with the church.

      I am thankful that you are happy with your life and with yourself. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Love,
      Emily

  5. A year ago my husband of 38 years-39 now suddenly told me he didn’t love me and never did and was leaving to live a simple life. Now I know his simple life was that of a gay man. I was so shocked at this news that I had a heart attack. It’s called broken heart syndrome brought on by a sudden shock. At first he refused to take me to the hospital as he thought I was faking. I don’t drive at night, but that night I tried. I couldn’t. I went back home and told him if he didn’t take me I was calling 911. So he took me. Called my kids and walked out of my life. Didn’t even stay to see if I made it through the procedure. To this day he refuses to see me. Since then I have found gay porn on the computer, some toys (Ick) and dvd’s he left. It all makes sense looking back. I am still hurting because I loved this man even though he was not always very nice to me. He was a good father for the most part and the family was important to me. The kids an I learned to stay out of his way when he had a temper rage. When he was no angry, things were pretty good. Anyway, I am going on a year of being alone. I still hurt knowing that someone I loved could be so cruel. But I am getting better. I’ve lost my home, my business and my family unit is forever broken. I have found such comfort here.

    1. Judy,

      Thanks for sharing a snippet of your journey. Sharing gives us comradery with each other by encouraging others that they aren’t alone.

      I am thankful for you as a person and for giving ME encouragement!

      In Unconditional Love,
      Emily

  6. It’s good advice but easier said than done. Bob and I were incredibly close…high school sweethearts. I started suspecting something when we were in our 30’s…maybe 15 years ago but he was a great father and husband. We just seemed to ignore it. We had great kids and a decent social life. He officially came out 4 years ago and it was devastated. He was really open…moved out, found a boyfriend a little older than out oldest child, joined the sisters of perpetual indulgence, got involved in leather and bondage events….he loved every experience and it nearly destroyed me. So, it became a living hell. I suffer from depression and anxiety and this put me over the top. You can’t just “find” a good counselor. The good ones are booked. You end up with a guy looking at his watch and shaking his head at everything you say. Shared friends don’t want to deal with this train wreck so they start to disappear. People are interested in your story at first because it’s so odd but they aren’t going to stick around and let you vent. As far as going and doing things on my own…I HATE it. It’s a constant reminder of how broken my life is at 51 years old. Despite everything, Bob and I were able to maintain a friendship but then he died last year so it’s like losing him twice. My inability to figure out how to be alone caused me to jump into a relationship that isn’t right. We moved in together too soon and have struggled through that. Now we find out he has stage 4 colon cancer and are dealing with that. I’m actually a very intelligent person but dealing with all of this has pushed my self worth to zero and obviously affected my decision making ability. I’m sure your suggestions might be helpful to some but I’m in a nightmare I can’t leave and no number of bubble baths will make it better. Take a trip? When Bob left, I was freaking out about finances. He handled them and turns out, he did a really poor job. I struggled financially for a couple years keeping a roof over us and stopping my car from being repossessed. So, yeah, no time or money for a trip. At that point, even if I could afford a counselor…insurance doesn’t pay all of it, still couldn’t find a good one. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t want my old life back…the sham…the one I had before I knew Bob was gay. Maybe your ideas will help some but there aren’t any easy fixes.

    1. It is easier said than done and there definitely aren’t any quick fixes. I certainly would never want you to think I have all the answers. I definitely don’t. I make meaning for my own life to offer encouragement to others like us, so we don’t feel alone.

      All’s any of us can do is share our experiences. That is what we have…the only thing.

      You have a lot of pain, and I wish I could take it from you. I really mean that, too.

      I do want to thank you for sharing your heart, though. Maybe someone reading my blog will be in the same place you are and will find some sort of comfort in your sharing. Feel free to email me to vent, anytime. I also really mean that.

      My heart aches for you about you losing Bob, twice. I have little to offer in words for that, except that I love you, even though we haven’t met.

      Thinking of you,
      Emily

  7. I am on round two of my story. I discovered my husband’s attraction to younger men 5 years ago and only stayed because he begged me to ( plus I didn’t want to break up our family at the time). We both sought therapy: however, our marriage has never been the same, Now, 5 years later, I realize the huge mistake I made. Not just for me and my marriage, but on my kids, my husband is up to his old tricks again. And despite many heart to heart conversations we have had lately, it just breaks my kept that I know in my gut he can’t change,

    After reading your blog I felt so connected to you. That is my plan. I sent my husband to the movies tonight with our 16 year old daughter ( she was anything but pleased with me) as a father-daughter bonding time for Father’s Day, so I could think, and it’s as if you read my mind. I see my therapist on Tuesday and I am asking her to help me build my strength and confidence so I can finally make that final move and cut the ties with him and start the life I deserve to have,

    Thank you for writing such an inspirational piece,

    Ilene

    1. Ilene,

      I am thankful you found encouragement here.

      Please keep me posted on how you are doing, maybe through email. I will be thinking about you.

      Your journey is unique. Try not to beat yourself up over the last 5 years and not doing something sooner. Hindsight will be clearer, so focus more in the moment and on yourself…because you deserve that.

      Love,
      Emily

  8. ** This is the corrected EDITED version of the previous email.Please do not print or use the one I mistakenly sent earlier or include my full name. Please respect my right to privacy . Thank you.*** } I have so many questions and am at the very start of my discovery journey of seeking the truth. I‘ve been married for 29 years to a man that I now think may be gay. I just saw a therapist for the first time last week and she brought this up within the first 10 minutes of minutes of meeting. While I am not shocked, I just don’t know how I can be sure, and I doubt he would ever admit it (IF it is true). Is it possible for a man who is very homophobic, very ‘straight’ in his actions, behavior and interests(sports, etc.) very conservative, etc. to really be a closeted homosexual.?? IF he is, I can not imagine he has ever acted on these feelings OR even admitted it to himself. How do I know & what do I do?? I would love your opinion. I believe my new therapist is well qualified with many yrs of experience, but is there any other explanation for my husband’s behavior? My husband is a good father and hard worker/provider. My parents divorced after 30 yrs. of marriage. I didn’t think I ever wanted divorce. It breaks my heart to imagine my family torn apart. I sought therapy to deal with my husband’s constant anger and explosive outbursts. He is extremely Type A, very controlling and negative. He blames the anger on work and stress. However, he has always had some degree of this behavior and it has been a struggle for me to deal with. I am positive by nature and hate conflict & confrontation. While I don’t like being yelled at or sworn at, I have learned to deal with his behavior and am now better at expressing my feelings. I have never really understood where all this anger comes from. Most of the time, he is a loving father and husband, with strong morals and principals. Our other issue is lack of intimacy. I have always been very comfortable with my sexuality and I have a strong desire. My husband’s ‘needs’ are not at the same level. We married when I was 27 and he was 34 and, to be honest, it has been a problem from the start and I think I instinctively knew something wasn’t ‘right’ but was overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and rejection. When we dated, we saw each other on weekends only (due to distance) and sex was 1x only..I thought it was strange but ignored my own feelings and thought he was being ‘respectful’, had a lower libido… I rationalized the situation. I wanted desperately to be loved,to marry & have a family, After we married, sex became even less frequent quite quickly, I was almost always the initiator and often was denied or rejected because he was ’tired’. When we did make love, it was typically very ‘basic’.. one position; (with one exception: during the first 3-4 yrs he often wanted to role play with me tying him up). HE was always repulsed by the act of performing oral sex, so I have gone without something I really enjoy for over 30 years. Giving him oral sex was usually part of our lovemaking, but just recently he stopped me and told me “ I don’t want you to do that. I think it is degrading to women and it repulses me when I think of what that part of my body is for & where its been and hate the idea of you putting it in your mouth.” I was shocked & confused! I reassured him I truly enjoyed it and was disappointed.Over the years our sex life has dwindled from 1-2x a month to a few times a year at most. I have put aside my needs and desires and learned to accept this and focused on the positives of my husband, marriage and family. PLEASE share any opinions you have. I really value any insights or thoughts you might have. Is the ONLY explanation for this behavior the fact that my husband is likely a closeted ‘straight/gay’ man? Any suggestions on how I proceed? I really appreciate the confidentiality & anonymity of your site. Thank you so much.

    Reply

    1. Confused Reader,

      Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for a reply. I generally reply to everything right away. However, because I was gone and the nature of your email, I needed some time to think about what I would say.

      First of all, you are a loving, committed wife and partner. That is commendable. He is blessed to have you and your love.

      As far as if he is gay or not:

      It is uncommon for me to meet someone who has no evidence, other than what you have described. There is always some sort of clue, it seems, especially in today’s technology age.

      But it does appear that he is hiding something very big. Even if it isn’t homosexual issues, it is something. And yes, being homophobic and controlling is indeed a sign that someone could be gay. I would say that perhaps your therapist is right, especially because they are trained to understand the human psyche. But without hard evidence, I can understand your misgivings at believing them. I mean, what wife would ever want to believe that? It was the furthest thing from my mind when I discovered it, and it was difficult to believe. But once I did, things fell into place.

      That isn’t exactly the scenario you have here. So now what? That is a tough one.

      I would say your therapist is right about one major thing, and it is very important: that you need to focus on YOU. I fully believe that as you do so, your husband will, from a secondhand response, be forced to shed some light (even if it is faint) on what is going on with him. If you continue down a comfortable road of how things have always been, he will have no reason to deal with his own stuff. I am proud of you for starting to stand up for yourself…because no one can do that for you except you.

      These acts of figuring things out for yourself will cause what I call “disequilibrium” for him. When we are placed on shaky ground, we are forced to find new ways of coping, and that also includes his comfort zone. Things may get possibly ugly between the two of you as you find your voice and strength apart from him, and true colors will come out. He will likely do one of two things, but maybe even both: go to greater lengths to hide whatever it is that he is hiding about himself and his story and/or leave obvious markers as to what you are dealing with.

      And while many of those things will be painful for you (more anger and blame from him or even irrational behavior), in a sense, you are still winning. This is because you are finding your own inner strength and voice and core of who you are apart from anyone else. The years you have been married has caused your own identity to be wrapped up in others. That is not a bad thing, because you have a family. But…who are you apart from your family? That is your core, and discovering it is very important. At least, it was for me and many others like us.

      So, with all of that, my main point is to continue to take the recommendation of your therapist and focus on yourself. Some of focusing on yourself is of course your marriage and family, but some of it is about simply knowing and loving yourself apart from anyone else.

      The things you described about him and his interactions with you and sex life do appear to be markers for the potential that he is gay or something that is not purely straight. However, all of it shows that he is hiding something, and without proof, the best thing you can do is focus on you with the expectation that somehow, someday, his true issues will be revealed because you are bettering yourself.

      I am unsure how helpful this is. I know you were probably hoping for some direct answer that will tell you definitively if he is gay or not. I wish I could.

      Above all, love and know yourself. The rest usually follows. When someone is being truthful and genuine with themselves, others see that and people’s true colors are usually easier to spot, including your husband’s.

      No matter what, I will continue to think of you, and I would love to continue to hear from you. You are loved and important, apart from anyone or anything you know or don’t know about your husband.

      Let me know what you think. Feel free to post here or email me for further conversation at contactsamesides@gmail.com.

      Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,
      Emily

    2. Your story is so much like mine. My husband will never admit to being gay. When he left me I asked him if he was gay and he only said “maybe I am.” We were together for 42 years. He too had angry outbursts and the kids and I learned to stay out of his way when that happened. He would swear and throw thing, but was never physically abusive. Words can break your heart though. Things changed for me almost immediately after we married. I think he only married me to look normal and have a family. I too avoid confrontation and just stayed away until he calmed down. Your husband will probably never admit to being gay. Mine won’t. But the evidence was there, and he is. I’m trying to go on, but I understand your hurt. The only advice I can give you is to keep on plodding away. The days are hard, but this is not your fault. You didn’t make him gay and you can’t fix it. Some days are really hard and my adult children think I should just get over it and move on. No one gets it unless they have lived it. I find lots of support online. Fell free to contact me sometime if you want to talk to someone. Emily has been a great help to me. Read her blog and glean what makes sense to you. I’ll tell you what everyone has been telling me. It gets better with time. I used to hate people telling me that, but it is true. It’s not a straight up recovery. It’s a roller coaster. Ups and downs.

      1. Judy- thank you for your kind, thoughtful comments and support. I told Emily this, as well, in an email and feel relief already knowing I am not completely alone. I have decided to take this slowly and not drive myself crazy with mixed up thoughts . I am feeling frustrated over the uncertainty of the situation and find myself thinking over and over “what is so different now than a few weeks ago, when everything was status quo?” Having a professional, experienced therapist point out something that I have considered a possibility DOES make a difference, though. But I have decided to stop putting pressure on myself for now. (Interestingly, my husband prides himself on total honestly at all times in all situations. But, as I said before, I don’t think this is something I will ever really know the truth about.) I would love to contact you privately as well if possible. .Thank you & take care-
        Carey

      2. I will hook you up with Judy. I just met with her personally last week while in Iowa and it was wonderful chatting with her.

        Much love,
        Emily

  9. Emily, another A+ post. I learn more about what my wife has gone through every time I read your posts. Thank you.

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