Note: This is the fourth installment in my coming out story. If you haven't checked out parts I, II, and III yet, you should read 'em below so that this makes more sense.
In the two months after I got back, my DXH and I talked ceaselessly about our relationship. We wanted to stay together, but we wanted to be honest with ourselves. We mulled over "mixed-orientation" marriages. We pondered polyamory. We read message boards about couples who had gone through this. Eventually, we decided to separate as a trial, and to give me a chance to figure things out. He moved about an hour away, but we kept the separation secret from nearly everyone who knew us (family included). And even the very few who knew we were separated didn't know why. I was deeply ashamed and didn't want anyone to know what we were going through—specifically, what I was going through.
Even now, it is hard to find words to describe how dark that year was. I remember very little of it. I remember endlessly long walks with my dog in the chill of November. I remember being depressed by the emptiness of the house that my DXH and I were supposed to live in together, but in which I now lived alone. I went to work, faked it, came home. I don't know if other people noticed anything different, but anyone who was really looking would have seen that I was just an uptight, anxious shadow of a human being. Every now and then, my DXH would come back and spend a couple of weeks living at home. It was fraught with all kinds of tensions, all forms of guilt and worry. I felt anxious when he was around, and destitute when he was not. Every time he left, I spent several hours crying. Each departure was worse than the one before it. I felt like my insides had been cut out of me.
At my DXH's urging, I started trying to date women. (One of my first relationships was with the wonderful woman who is now my DGF. But ours is another story, and I will tell it another time.) I was struck by how natural dating women felt. I didn't have to think about every little move I made; it just happened. Granted, I was awkward. Granted, I had no idea how to ask a woman out, or how long I was supposed to wait before calling her. Somewhat amazingly, the DXH coached me on these points. He wanted me to figure my sexual orientation out, while I was more reluctant--deeply afraid of what I would learn.
And yet, some things were clear. I was starting to dress in a way that was more natural for me. A few men's shirts and a sweater vest had wormed their way into my wardrobe, and I wore them with great enthusiasm. And kissing a woman to whom I was attracted made fireworks explode in my tiny BW brain. I'd always thought that this was something that only happened in the movies, or to hopeless romantic types--not to pillars of logical thought like yours truly! Uh-oh, I thought again. Uh-oh.
To be continued...
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