_This is the second part of a two-part post written by my dear ex-husband (DXH). Before you read this, please check out the first part, below.
To be clear, this period of my life was not good. I was separated from and not talking to my wife (at the suggestion of her counselor), living on my friend’s couch with about a car trunk’s worth of belongings, starting a new job in a new profession, and incredibly isolated because nobody else knew about it.
I kept my back straight and shoulders square for two reasons. First and foremost, I knew that what ever I was going through, BDubs had it worse than I did.
She needed me. I promised to be there for her. As she has written about, though we had a great marriage, there were still problems and I just wanted her to be happy.
I was also proving something to myself. Years before I met BDubs, I let down somebody else to whom I owed support. I disappointed her and myself. It had deeply affected me. In fact, when BDubs called that first time, I literally thought, “Here is your chance.” This was my chance to stand tall during a crisis and to redeem myself to myself. I set out to do so.
In support of BDubs, I buried a lot of my emotions. I also buried myself in my new job because it gave me control over how I spent my time and did not highlight so clearly the fact the BDubs was not next to me. I kept such a tight grip on my emotions that I actually created a playlist called "Release" comprised of songs such as "Anybody Else but You" by the Moldy Peaches and "Troubled Mind" by Catie Curtis. I would listen to this list at night when it was quiet, away from work, and just cry. Then I would collect myself, go to bed, and start over the next day.
One of the places I found solace was a Yahoo group called “Men Married to Lesbians.” It is a hard place that is full of men in severe pain. The intent is to be a place where men can go to try to figure out how to make a mixed-orientation marriage work. It is also a landing spot for men whose world has been turned upside down. One man came home on a Friday to his wife telling him that she was gay, having an affair, and was leaving him and the kids. She moved out on Saturday. On Sunday she sent an e-mail to all their friends and family explaining the situation. It made me feel lucky.
I admired the way that BDubs handled herself through this process. She was always honest and earnest. She went out of her way to be sensitive to me and was deeply respectful of our marriage. She was a most reluctant lesbian. She is a woman of the absolute highest integrity and I cannot tell you how much I respect what she has done over the past couple of years.
More than one of you has asked whether I regret marrying BDubs. I have never regretted it for a moment. There were dark moments when I was angry about the unfairness of it all. But I always felt lucky to know and to have been married to BDubs. Living with her was like getting a graduate degree in critical thinking. She pushed and challenged me in a way that I had not been before. We had some great times together and some tough times, but I definitely grew and improved as a person through it all. We did great things for each other. She taught be how to use a semicolon and I taught her how to do shots and listen to music that was not created by her parents' generation.
In writing this entry I thought a lot about how alone I felt in the process. I was very scared to lose my friendship with DBubs and there was not a blueprint for how to keep it. We ultimately decided to dissolve our marriage in order save our health and friendship. It is heartening to hear that others have been able to do the same and I look forward to some random couple finding this entry in a Google search and hope that it will give them a little light.
Here, I need to stop for a moment and say thank you to my wonderful, extraordinary DGF. I could sing her praises in a lot of different ways, but I want to focus on one. My DGF and BDubs are friends. Actual, legit, not bite-my-lip-forced, friends. I really admire the DGF in this way because I can see the myriad of ways in which this would be difficult, but she recognizes the importance of my ongoing relationship with BDubs and accepts it as a part of me. That takes a lot of trust and a textured view of relationships. I admire her for that.
In the years since our divorce, I have watched BDubs's shoulders relax as depression and anxiety have loosened their long grip. Earlier in her blog, she described being with a woman as natural, like she did not have to pretend or guess. That natural ease has really permeated many parts of her life now in a way that is profoundly related to her being able to square her sexuality.
Where she once moved through life with sheer determination and grit she is now moving with purpose and self-awareness. It is a beautiful thing to see.
BW talking now: Thanks for reading this. Even though the DXH and I talked throughout the process, reading his story from beginning to end like this was newly powerful for me. I hope his perspective has been useful to you, too, and that you'll pass our story along to couples who might benefit from it.
And from the bottom of my heart (and I do not use sentimental phrases lightly), thank you to my DXH for sharing what he went through. Writing about my own coming out was incredibly tough, and I know you went through something similar in writing this, DXH. Without you, I would not be who I am now, and I doubt I'd be half as happy as I am now, either. You are a brave, strong, courageous man, and I consider myself damn lucky to have gotten to be married to you back then, and to still be in your life now.