Thursday, March 15, 2012

Straight Spouse Essay

In North Carolina there is a ballot initiative to ban gay marriages in the State Constitution.  The vote is this May, the same time at the Republican Primary.  With no other reason for Democrats to vote, I am sure it will pass here even though polls show that a slim majority oppose the measure (i.e. support marriage equality).

The local NPR station is sponsoring a public conversation on the topic in 2 weeks.  I will be traveling back to the UK then so I won't be able to attend.  They do, however, have a place where you can send in an essay.  I wrote one and sent it this morning.


The Straight Spouse

On “Charlotte Talks” I heard a guest, who is opposed to marriage equality, say something to the effect of,  “Gay people can get married.  They just have to get married to a member of the opposite sex.”

This statement speaks directly to my personal situation and a never talked about group that is deeply involved in gay marriage.  The straight spouse.

I knew I was different from a young age.  As I got older, I came to understand that I had an attraction to men.  I also came to understand that that feeling was wrong and I should hide it.  I did have a secret relationship with another boy my age during my senior year in high school, but I knew that relationship was wrong.  We were both so fearful of being labeled “gay” we did not even admit to each other we were gay at the time.

When that relationship ended I made the determination I was going to be straight.  Looking back it was the same decision making process I used when I decided I was not going to smoke cigarettes.   I was not going to be a smoker and I was not going to be gay.  Simple as that.

At the time, I believed that being gay was about behavior.  Gay men have sex with other men and if I didn't do that, I was not gay.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that being gay has nothing to do with behavior.  It is only about feelings.  How you feel inside.

So, I hid my feelings.  From every one.  I had a two awkward relationships with girls in college and a lot of secret crushes on guys.  I did not act on any of those crushes because I was determined to be straight.  I worked hard to behave like all my straight friends.  Every day my feelings and my behavior were in conflict.

After college I met a girl I eventually married.  She fell in love with me and I loved her too.  At the time I thought I was “in love” too, but since I didn’t really know what that felt like, I was never sure.  I told her about the relationship with the boy in high school and she accepted me anyway. 

Were happy for a while, but eventually we had problems.  Because my feeling for her were different then my feelings for her.  Even though he loved each other, we liked being together and rarely argued about anything it was clear something was wrong.

It was not until I met that man who would eventually become my partner, that U understood what “in love” felt like.  I finally knew what it felt like to look into his eyes and see my feelings reflected back at me.  My wife was denied that feeling for 18 years because I was compelled by society to hide my true self and pretend to be someone else.

Today, my e-wife is remarried to a straight man.  Her and I are still best friends and we get along better now than when we were married.  We have more fun when we are together.  We are teaching our kids the importance of being who you are and being honest and accepting.

I was lucky.  My ex-wife and I were able to have a friendly divorce, remain friends and maintain a loving home for our children.  Most cases are not like that.  In most cases there is a lot of pain and destruction in the family.

The point is simple.  The “Charlotte Talks” guest is right that gay people are free to marry opposite sex partners, but what he fails to consider is that gay person will end up marrying a straight person.  This is a non-compatible situation and eventually it will fall apart.

If gay people were accepted and did not feel compelled to hide.  They would not feel compelled to get into straight marriages which are almost certainly doomed from the start.

Ask the straight spouses of gay people what they think.  I’ll bet they ALL support same-sex marriage.


Buddy Bear said...

What a powerful account! I hope that it will have an impact on those who read it.

TwoLives said...

Good for you!!!!!!

You're so right about straight spouses overwhelmingly supporting gay marriage.

jim said...

I hope they post it so someone reads it.

JFBreak said...

Great post!

Nenne said...

It would be great if your wife actually wrote to them, too.

Great post!

Anonymous said...


I never fully understand that feeling that your letter describes until recently. I truely believed that LOVE was enough. Safety, Security, Honesty, Trustworthiness, a GREAT friendship, two people who are compatible in ALMOST every way was enough. In the end the true "love" feeling is important. The awkwardness in the bedroom. SEX was great, sometimes passion was there, but in the end it was always somewhat forced, unnatural almost.

Jerry is now GAY, and enjoying the feelings he gets that he never felt with me! I am now having sex with a straight man, it is very passionate and fun, and I get how important that is. It is not just about the sex.

It;s feeling you get when the guy your physicall attracted to brushes by you, or grabs your hand, or says goodnight. It more than just a friendship no matter how deep that love runs between a gay man and his wife, it truely isn't enough.

I'm glad you wrote that article!!! Good for you for outing yourself again!!! Be proud!