Learning my husband is gay was awful. More horrific though is it wasn’t my husband, Rainbow, that told me he was gay. It was my friend.
This is the recounting of the night the “G” bomb exploded in my life.
A Little Background
If you recall, Rainbow shared with me his mixed feelings about his sexuality in written form. Via journal writings, he expressed to me his desire to be with other men. For a blog he writes, we jointly fleshed out a more solid post from his journal. The post details his feelings and how he arrived at this strange juncture in his life. When the post is finalized, he is bisexual.
The response Rainbow receives from the post is overwhelmingly positive and loving. People from the kink community are accepting and supportive as always.
Roughly six weeks after the post and the visit from The Other woMAN, Rainbow’s sleep has not improved. He informs me he is more torn up inside about his feelings than ever. As such, he decides to seek help from a kink aware counselor with the goal of figuring out who he is.
Throughout his sessions with the counselor, Rainbow shares with me some of the things discussed. He mentions concepts like the Kinsey Scale. He shares questions the counselor asks like, “If you could only be with a man or a woman for the rest of your life, which would you chose?” He tells me he feels himself “sliding” on the Kinsey Scale. However, he stills wants our life and enjoys being with me.
About three months after seeing the counselor, the counselor informs Rainbow that they feel he knows who he is. They are happy to continue to see him, however they are confident that he has figured out who he is. Rainbow continues to go see the counselor sporadically. Our physical life continues as normal.
My internal life is developing a sharper emotional edge.
Life On The Edge
This emotional edge is best demonstrated by a conversation we had while taking a walk with our kids.
It was an unusually warm spring day. The kids were walking the park trail in front of us. We meandered behind chatting quietly. I am describing the life that we had always discussed together. The life where we retire early, move to a maintenance provided townhouse, and travel.
I vividly recall the spot on the trail. The trees fifty yards ahead are just getting buds. Lots of grunts and cheers are heard from the soccer field to the left. The kids are attempting the fitness challenge exercises along the trail.
Holding hands with Rainbow, I probe him for an affirmative that he still wants those same things in life. I lean in, bumping his shoulder with mine, turning to see his face. Waiting for a response to my chatter about the future. I remember this conversation so well because silence was the only thing I heard. Then Rainbow scolding the kids about safety and skipping out on my inquiries.
I am left dangling over a precipice. I’m not sure where I stand with him in our relationship anymore. He is no longer verbally affirming his desire for life with me. Not even affirming his desire for the future we had always planned on. After The Other woMan’s visit, he had tearfully assured me that he never meant for me to question our marriage. Those assurances have fallen silent now.
Lunch With A Friend
Jump forward a month or so.
Unbeknownst to me, Rainbow reaches out to the husband of a mutual couple friend for lunch. Adrian is always happy to do lunch with Rainbow. After all, these friends are our personality twins in many ways. Adrian and his wife, Samantha, are listed as guardians for our children should something happen to us.
The lunch is no big deal. The news Rainbow shares at lunch is.
Rainbow texts me later that afternoon. He tells me that he shared with Adrian the sexuality changes he has struggled with over the past year.
I am happy for him. This is a huge weight that has been hanging around Rainbow’s neck despite the warm response from his blog post. Sharing with close friends tends to make heavy burdens lighter.
Before supper that night, Rainbow also tells me Adrian asked if he could share with Samantha. Rainbow gives the green light for sharing. Adrian asks if he should record the reaction. Rainbow declines.
The first cocktails of the evening are being consumed. Rainbow and I lightly chuckle imaging the look on Samantha’s face when she hears the news.
The next morning, Samantha reaches out via text to Rainbow. She wants to know if she may reach out to me. Again, Rainbow gives the green light.
Samantha wastes no time contacting me. It is a huge relief for me that someone I know knows. The weight I too had been carrying is lifted. I cry when texting my friend. I would call but I know nothing coherent would come out of my mouth.
We arrange to meet for wine followed by dinner that Friday evening. It’s the first time in a long time that I have gone out by myself; no husband or kids in tow.
The Quiet Drop: Learning My Husband Is Gay
Friday evening starts out fabulous. It’s so nice to be out by myself with no expectations to take care of another person; just me!
We meet at a lovely wine and cheese place that we have visited before. Tucked into a quiet little corner, we drink our wine and enjoy light appetizers.
We catch up on life and she asks, “How are YOU doing?”
I realize this is the first time since Rainbow’s revelation that someone else has asked me that. Up to this point, the focus was on Rainbow.
I explain that I am just holding on to the merry-go-round as it spins faster and faster, praying that he doesn’t let go. I am hoping this is the “worse” part of the better or worse vow that I made almost 14 years ago.
The conversation wanders from topic to topic. She tells me about her brother. I explain my new business venture. It’s been a long time since I have seen my friend uninterrupted by husbands or kids demanding attention.
Soon the lovely wine place is closing. We chat with the owners. Pre-kids, Samantha and Adrian were regulars at this cute little place. Exiting the building, we step onto the quiet tree-lined street. We decide to walk down to the pub on the corner. Being a bottle of wine in, it is the safest and easiest choice.
There is a slight chill in the air and the smell of fresh earth teases the nose. Neighborhood sounds are muted with the decent of the sun. It reminds me of closing scenes from a cheesy ’80s movie.
Walking along, we pick up the conversation about Rainbow’s sexuality and our life together. Side by side, we stroll on the cracked sidewalk down the gentle incline to the pub.
Samantha rambles on about life, but all I hear is, “….with Rainbow being gay….”
The world stops.
So do I.
Samantha takes a few more steps before realizing I am no longer beside her. She slowly turns and looks back at me.
I am stunned, frozen in place, “What did you say?”
The next few moments are blurry.
The next clear memory I have is looking back up the gentle slope at Samantha.
She is flinging her overly large designer bag to the ground, declaring, “I wanted to be mad at Rainbow, but didn’t have a reason. He just gave me a reason to be mad at him.”
This is the image burned to my brain from that night. Samantha standing in the glow of a street lamp on the edge of the sidewalk. She was just past an alley, shadows of parked cars crowding her from behind. Her beautiful bag in a heap on the nasty ground, lying next to the light pole.
We embrace. The tears flowing down my cheeks. I’m am only standing because she is supporting me.
Samantha’s earlier confession of making herself physically sick thinking about me now makes sense. She even told me she went to see her doctor for strep because she couldn’t swallow. She knew what I had not.
Sure Rainbow had told me about “sliding” on the Kinsey scale. However, Rainbow always used the term homosexual. He is, “more homosexual than bisexual.” Intentionally or not, he never used the term gay with me.
But, for me, it is the term gay that brings with it the harsh reality of his sexuality. It is the term gay that I have familiarity with. A word I know and have assumptions and connotations linked to. A word that makes all the difference in my understanding.
Rainbow’s repeated comments about me “deserving more” and my reassurance back that “he is what I want” and “enough for me” mock me from the darkness. The light in the sexuality room has gone from a dangling 40W bulb on a string to floodlights at a red carpet event.
I can see clearly now the picture of the room that I am standing in. I don’t belong in this room any more than a deer belongs in a lion’s den.
Samantha and I finish our evening out at the pub. The tone of the discussion shifting from light-hearted to gloomy. I note that I left my wedding rings on the bedside table at home.
Samantha voices that she doesn’t think she and Adrian will be coming to visit us at the house three months from now as planned.
Sober now, we part ways. Hugging in the street next to our cars. Samantha thrusts on me the bottle of wine she got earlier in the evening.
“I have a feeling you will need this more than I,” she explains.
I drive the hour home. I note the shine of the moon on the little residential pond a couple of miles from the house. The stillness of the world outside the car windows is in direct contrast to the rave occurring in my mind and heart.
I walk into my kitchen. Rainbow is sitting on the couch; waiting up for me to make sure I got home safe.
Like a well-done movie plot, I once again stick my head around the kitchen wall, flames bursting from my mouth and demand to know, “Are you GAY?”
Little to no sleep occurred that weekend for either of us.
By the end of the weekend, Rainbow sent a text to Adrian explaining that he was “mostly gay” and still fully committed to me and our family. We further clarified that we never intended to place them in the middle of our turmoil. That by no stretch of the imagination had Samantha been “set up” to be the one to tell me.
That weekend thrust us into a race around the mulberry bush.