I’ve been a father for four years. I’ve been happily married for almost seven years. My wife and I have been living together for almost eight years. We’ve been best friends for nearly nine years and friends for more than 10.
This begins like a fairy-tale, happily-ever-after story. But there is a plot twist. My wife has fallen in love with another woman.
At the beginning of their relationship, I thought in typical male fashion, “okay, my wife has a lesbian lover. I’m fine with this. Maybe we can * all * have a good time.” That’s not how this story goes. I first knew this was more than a dalliance when her wedding ring was suddenly replaced by one of the matching silver rings they bought together while in Austin. Now they intend to move in together and marry – which means I get a divorce.
As you might imagine, this situation has caused lots of tears, talking and introspection. We examined past relationships, our relationship, our behaviors and preferences. In fact, we’ve always joked about how we’ve reversed the traditional gender roles in our family in many ways; for instance I cook and she hogs the TV remote. I didn’t take long to realize that we should have known years ago that she is a lesbian. It explains quite a bit.
Then she drops another bombshell on me.
She says she has always suspected that I was a latent homosexual and I should explore my sexuality.
I love my wife dearly. She is my absolute best friend. I can think of few things more pleasant than drifting off to sleep with my arms around her or, even better, her arms around me. That being said, she is right.
How, you may ask, does a couple get to the advanced age of 32 before they realize they are gay? Here’s our story:
My wife and I both grew up in religious, conservative families. Hers was Southern Baptist; mine was Pentecostal. We thought the Baptists were too liberal. Growing up, it never crossed our minds that we could be anything but heterosexual. We met each other during college at Texas A&M University when we were 20 years old. Like many others that age, we were rejecting some of the dogma we were raised with and discovering our own truths. For me there were many beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices that had to be faced. Getting to and challenging my sexuality was way down the list.
During this tumultuous time, we became close friends. This was due in no small part to the fact that we were the “oddest” two in our group(s) of friends. At that time there were very few openly gay people at TAMU and none in our circle of friends. Lacking the proper exposure, it still hadn’t occurred to us that, although we recognized that we were the odd ones, we might be different in “that” way.
Close friendships like ours are a manifestation of true love as surely as the steamiest expressions of Eros. In our case, it even created Eros, at least sometimes. After various failed relationships for both of us, we let our love grow, moved in together, got married, had a kid and embarked on “normal” life. All along, though, there was a feeling of something missing.
She discovered what was missing when she met the “other woman” – her new life partner. I first began suspecting what was missing about three years ago after we moved to Dallas.
While out looking for lunch one day, I came upon the Cedar Springs area and, in particular, Hunky’s Hamburgers. Although I was an ostensible straight, I wasn’t a homophobe and I am eternally on a search for the World’s Best Burger so I stopped in. I fell for the joint. I went back at least once a week, usually more often.
I soon developed my first acknowledged crush on a man there. In the ensuing months I found myself fanaticizing about him. Although I never acted on those feelings, I still think about him months after leaving Dallas. I can look back on other friendships that I now recognize were crushes. My wife says she’s always known that one in particular was a crush and not a simple friendship.
Even after accepting the man-crush and realizing that special postcards in the Off the Street store caused a stirring in a certain organ on me, I wasn’t ready to admit to myself that I was gay. After all, I thought, I’m a father and a husband. And I deeply, honestly love my wife. How can I be gay if I can still perform with my wife with no problems?
But now the stark reality is that my wife wants to live with her lover and I face being single again. Only this time I know more about myself. This time I know that my inability to connect with most women is not an inherent character flaw, but a result of misplaced effort. I went to the local gay bar recently and felt more comfortable than I ever have in a straight bar. I never before knew why I felt awkward cruising around a bar. Now I understand I was in the wrong bars.
After eight years out of the dating scene I’m a little rusty. But I’ve dusted off the treadmill and bought some new clothes. I’m facing this with my head up and, hopefully, a smile on my face.
So hello world, I’m back and I’m Queer. (Just don’t tell my father, yet)