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Husbands Who Love Men

Loraine’s Story: My husband of thirteen years died after a long illness. I was left with a load of debt and three children. I went back to school, prepared myself to earn a living, and managed to get my kids educated before I dared let any thoughts of men creep into my mind.

Through the years, I hardly had any social life and only a few dates. I did get a master’s degree and a position in management that paid well, so my life was busy and family-centered for many years. As the children left the nest, I began thinking of a life for myself.

I must admit that I was looking for that Prince Charming whom most women seem to dream up in the secret corners of their minds. A charming man did appear. Simon was handsome, well educated, hard working, and had been legally separated from his family for several months. He looked like the perfect mate. Granted, he had left a wife and four children, but I knew all the details and it just was not his fault.

Upon finalizing his divorce, Simon quickly plugged into my need for love and approval. As I now see in retrospect, he had found my vulnerable areas and cunningly played the long-awaited, perfect mate. Gallant friends tried to warn me. People risked our friendship to give me the “straight scoop” about this man and his lack of integrity. They told me of his questionable friendships with women, married and otherwise.

Friends of his former wife came to me to report how he had left her alone to cope with their four children. I couldn’t hear these terrible stories. I didn’t want to believe that they could be true. Instead, I sympathized with the unhappy years he had struggled to keep a bad marriage alive. He had finally found me, and I would make his life complete. Married to me, he would have no need to chase women again.

Simon’s mother soon came on the scene. She corroborated his story of an unhappy marriage. His mother was an influential person in his life, who wanted only his happiness, she said, but in reality, she was very possessive and domineering. She soon became obsessed with being involved in our lives. Both mother and son professed to a profound commitment to religion. Their devotion touched me deeply, for I also had strong religious convictions. In many ways, we seemed to be a perfect match. The marriage took place, and we sailed into the sunset with heads high in the clouds. We lived the enchanted life for a few years, and I kept telling myself how happy I was.

At first, I paid no attention to the disturbing signals. He spent more and more time away from home, opened questionable charge accounts, and attended dinner meetings alone that included an invitation for wives. He never invited me. In public Simon openly demonstrated his affection for me always hugging and kissing me but in private, he was the opposite. He would make it a point not to go to bed when I did.

When we did go to bed together, he would give me a quick little peck on the cheek, turn over, and go right to sleep. There was no loving or caressing. It became apparent, after a few months, that he had an impotency problem of some magnitude. After five years of marriage, I began to feel like a battered wife. I was not harmed by any physical violence; the battering was strictly psychological. He talked to me less and less, and when he did speak, it was always in a condescending tone. His lack of self-respect, I now understand, was being transferred to me.

There were other warning signs, if I had only been willing to acknowledge them. For example, he often played the role of the macho male who was quick with abusive remarks about the gay community (ironically, I had many homosexual friends). Moreover, he was into feely, touchy behavior with other women. He always had his hands on them when he was talking. Because of those mannerisms, he was considered by some of my friends to be a very sensual, loving husband. Also, he was very secretive.

What he did with his money or how much he had was never a topic for discussion, although he always wanted to know what I was doing with my money. Finally, he seemed troubled and unhappy most of the time, changed jobs and friends suddenly, and didn’t want to participate with the same group for very long. It eventually reached the point that my friends started telling me that they preferred to go out with me alone or to do things together that did not include my husband. Odd as it now seems, it was a close friend who first suggested the possibility of a sexual preference problem.

One day as we sat together in church, the one place we continued to go together, I looked over at him and realized that I didn’t know him at all. Then it suddenly all clicked. I saw the whole picture. His womanizing was a deliberate cover-up. I now understood his impotence and why he refused to go to a counselor.

His insecurity made sense. I could see that his mother’s constant defensiveness about him was, in fact, rejection and anxiety on her part. From Simon’s point of view, it was better to be considered a philandering husband than a homosexual man, especially as far as his mother was concerned. I realized how stupid I had been.

After ten years of marriage, I filed for divorce and left…

© 1998 Aileen H. Atwood R.N., M.S.N., Ed.D.

Excerpt from the book: Husbands Who Love Men: Deceit, Disease and Despair by Aileen H. Atwood RN, Ed.D.. This book candidly addresses the many problems that wives and children face when the husband and father is gay. By bringing the subject into the open, the author wants to help women to recognize the possible symptoms of a homosexual husband, to cope with the devastating results that typically emerge from such a relationship, and to move beyond the pain, anger, and self-blame toward a better future of forgiveness and hope.

Published by AMI Publishers, Providence, UT. © 1998 Aileen H. Atwood R.N., M.S.N., Ed.D.