This post is not about gay marriage or gay divorce in the traditional sense; although I am so glad that New York passed the bill allowing homosexual’s to get married. It is about time, and it is well deserved. This is not about what happens when two gay people who love each other and sign on the dotted marriage license line decide to get a divorce. This post is not about two gay people fighting over assets, children and who gets the house.
This post is about when your husband or wife comes out to you that they are gay and you get a divorce. This is about how it affects the children and the self esteem of the person you come out too. This is about a different type of anger and devastation that comes from divorce.
You might have been married for 20 years and not had any idea, or you might have been married for 2 years and always had a niggling doubt in the back of your mind, but when your spouse tells you they no longer want to be married because they have realized they are gay, is just as bad as if they had told you they never loved you. Because, you will wonder and think, did they ever love me? Did they have to think of the opposite sex every time we were intimate? How can I change to change them from who they now know they are?
You will start to doubt yourself and your own sexuality and attraction. Your children will feel embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated. They might not want to have anything to do with you for a while. They will gather around the other parent and shield them from the harsh reality of a world that will wonder how did you not know?
And, you will wonder yourself, how did you not know? Were there signs? You will start to doubt the entire foundation that you built your life on with this person. You will look at every detail and pick it all apart, until it is lying in ashes around your feet, and you will still wonder how did you not know?
Here is the thing, you didn’t know, and probably no one else knew either. No one will fault you for feeling the way that you do, but it is important to look at the feelings on the other side.
Being gay is not a choice. Was it a bad choice to get married if your spouse knew they were gay? Yes. Was that choice made with the best of intentions? Most likely. It could have been self preservation or really thinking that marriage might change their sexual orientation. Whatever the reason, it was not to hurt you or the children.
When going through this, as much as you want to tear down the spouse that has betrayed you or the parent that has betrayed you, try to look at it from their perspective. They have had to live a lie for years. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you as much as they did before they broke this news to you, it just means that they have decided that they need to find their own happiness. More importantly, they are giving you a chance to find yours, and that is a gift.
Because this type of divorce is not caused by a breakdown in the marriage, but a reason that is truly beyond the control of the spouse that is gay, once you do get over the pain and anger of feeling betrayed, you can become friends and have a very good co-parenting and post divorce relationship. Although residual feelings of love and/or anger may remain, remember, this is not something that was done to hurt you, and that the spouse that has come out and admitted to themselves their true self is just as hurt as you are.
If you are going through this type of divorce or post divorce life, think of how it is possible to have a better relationship that is now honest with your ex spouse. Become friends and stay parents to your children. Always look for the gifts and for the good in everything that life hands you. Although they are sometimes hard to find, if you look hard enough and long enough you will find them.