A year has passed since he confessed.
Late one night, after I had taken a shower, I found him sitting in front of his
computer. He didn’t realize I had come up behind him until I wrapped my arms
around his shoulders. He stiffened. Glancing at the website on the screen, I
knew why. As I stood back and stared at him in disbelief, he solemnly turned
off the computer and went into the kitchen. Confused, I followed and joined
him at the breakfast table.
Had anyone else told me something like that about my husband, I would’ve
laughed at them. Tom and I had been married fifteen years. A total surprise.
He’s one of the most masculine men I’ve ever known: six foot one, broad
shoulders, generally a no nonsense kind of guy. I didn’t have to ask why he
was looking at a film clip of two men, both naked, one leaning over the other
from behind—he simply told me in no uncertain terms.
Fifteen years. How could I have not known? I had never been so
overwhelmed by so many debilitating emotions: shock, disbelief, anger,
confusion. Then those agonizing next few days trying to talk to him, trying
understand exactly what I felt angry about. It finally came to me. Not so much
his errant sexuality as the fact he had not been honest with me. I had been
married all that time to a man I didn’t really know. Then another few months
worrying the confession was a prelude to our divorce. How could he love me if
he was attracted to men?
At first I thought an affair with another woman would have been easier to
deal with. At least that’s something I understand. I backed away from that
notion after thinking about it. Another woman would have left me feeling
inadequate as a wife, a torment I’ve managed to avoid, at least to some degree.
Though his eyes still followed me when I crossed the bed room naked, though
he still held me and draped his leg over mine when we slept, I often still
wondered if he’d rather be in bed with a man.
As I muddled through those first few weeks, most frustrating was his
reluctance to talk about it. He would listen patiently to my doubts and concerns,
or sit quietly through my anger and tirades, then reconfirm his love and assure
me he was the same man I had always known. Beyond that, getting answers
was like pulling teeth. Questions followed by quick generic answers.
“When did you first know?”
“In high school.”
“Did something happen?”
“No. I just knew.”
“Have you ever touched a man?”
“Was it a relationship?”
“We were close friends for a year before you and I got married.”
“I met you.”
“Did you sleep with him?”
“A few times.”
“Do you still think about him?”
“Now and then.”
“Do you miss him?”
He hesitated, then: “What does that have to do with you and me?”
“Yes. I still miss him,” he finally admitted.
I remember how this impacted me, this unsettling piece that complicated the
puzzle, that also served to evoke more questions.
“Have you seen him since we’ve been married?”
“He moved to New York.”
“Not if you didn’t want me to.”
Ah, so that burden would be on me. More weight on my shoulders when I’
m trying to reduce the load.
“Have you seen anyone?”
Relief. At least that’s what I wanted to feel. He had not been honest about
his sexuality, why would he answer me honestly now? When you discover
something totally out of character about your husband, you’re prepared for any
number of surprises. You have misgivings about him, and I hated suspicion—it
felt like bile rising in my throat.
Months drifted by. The hours of unsatisfying conversation followed by his
patient reassurance became less frequent. Eventually I realized his reluctance to
talk was linked to my emotional reactions. Leery of provoking an outburst, he
simply avoided saying anything that might increase my anxiety. He kept me out
of his head. To avoid hurting me, he downplayed his attraction to men. He
didn’t want to say anything that might ruin an evening, or cause doubt; even
though there were times I sensed he ached to talk about it. I also realized
nothing had changed: he still came home every night, we continued our routines,
and from time to time I’d wake up with him kissing my neck. The matter more-
or-less faded away; more-or-less I say—it never did leave the back of my mind.
Until recently I had avoided thinking about him actually being intimate with
another man. Raised with a clear definition of the American male, I feared a
negative psychological impact on my reverence for his masculinity.
Nevertheless, my frustration eventually evolved into curiosity. I wanted to
know more about male bisexuality; hence hours of research on the Internet. I
read forums, testimonials, studies on human sexuality and checked out an online
support group. I wanted to know how it affected him from day to day, how
strong his desire was to be with a man. He had only hinted at it; never anything
specific. With years of marriage ahead of us, I wanted to know if I could trust
him to never sneak around behind my back. And I wanted to know what two
men do when they’re intimate with each other. On the Internet, I found out.
I began picturing him with another man, my man with the hairy chest and
strong arms, naked, with another human being just like him; two pairs of hairy
legs, two strong pairs of shoulders, two penises. It was difficult at first, maybe a
little disenfranchising, trying to imagine him in an embrace, kissing another man,
touching another man’s genitals. It was difficult to imagine him with a cock in
his mouth, or another man’s cock disappearing in his anus. Difficult, yes, but
also, after a while, intriguing. In the past, I had wondered why men get turned-
on watching two women having sex. Eventually I found the nerve to take a
look at a gay porno site. Watching a clip of two men, I realized these images
were sexually stimulating. My perspective was beginning to change.