Now, it is my ex-wife Anna’s turn to tell her story. This is her first post. She promises there will be more!
I’m on a plane. In a few hours I’ll land in the Caribbean and set off on a yacht cruise around some beautiful islands with a few other women. Would I have allowed myself such a luxury 4 years ago? No. Do I now feel that I need to enjoy life and make the most of every moment? Yes.
This trip is giving me a feeling of strength; it’s the first time I’ve gone on holiday alone, without my family, without a husband, with the new version of myself as an independent woman who pulled herself back together after her world collapsed.
Three and a half years ago, Adam asked me if we could stop to have coffee somewhere on our way home from work. A babysitter was waiting at home with our two young children; we had to make dinner, put the children to bed and prepare for the next work day… Adam’s invitation to have coffee aroused my suspicions immediately. On the other hand, I didn’t expect anything wrong from my loving, committed and family-oriented husband, the father of my children. And if he could have dealt with the problem on his own without burdening me with it, he would have done so. But he couldn’t. He didn’t know how to come to terms with the fact that he was gay and trapped in a marriage to a woman.
That evening changed our lives forever. A sack was opened and the truth that was so painful and destructive for our family was expressed, and for the next few years it hovered over us like a cloud from which sooner or later a torrential rain would fall and wash away any final delusions. Despite desperate attempts – by both of us at first, and later only by me – we never managed to push this uncomfortable truth back into the sack and tie it shut. A bitter and unwanted new reality began to creep into every nook and cranny of our everyday life which had been stable up until now, turning it into chaos; we were afraid of the unknown. And this wasn’t all just a theoretical question. The embodiment of Adam’s new identity was Daniel, my competitor, against whom I had no chance of winning from the very beginning.
Throughout the following year I struggled emotionally, fought desperately for my husband and felt afraid of our family’s future. During that time, I observed Adam’s social transformation. It soon turned out that in Poland it’s difficult to find any professional help in such a situation or even any reading material on this subject. We searched on the American market and found some information. A large number of books have been written on the topic in the USA and there are support groups; the subject is difficult and niche, but people talk about it. We felt relieved not only to find some information about gay husbands and wives, but above all to discover that we weren’t alone. We devoured everything that had been written about it. Soon we started to have a better understanding of the situation we found ourselves in. Did this relieve the pain and suffering we were living with every day? No, but it helped us straighten out our thoughts and gave us hope.
Statistics show that marriages like ours break up within 3 years of the truth coming to light, on average. We fit into the statistics because Adam moved out 3 months before the 3rd “anniversary” of our conversation on the way home from work.
Those three years were the greatest challenge of my life. It was a time of loss, almost unbearable pain, fear, resignation, struggles and aggression – but also love, learning, and a redefinition of values in life and relationships with other people. I’ll write about the children in a separate post.
During those three years, we fought for the future of our relationship and for our children, but also, perhaps most of all, for ourselves. Adam was fighting for his newly discovered identity, and I was fighting for mine. Redefining my life was a difficult lesson; accepting the new reality required an inhuman strength and an open mind. I had to go beyond the familiar patterns. There have been many setbacks, mistakes and painful disappointments along the way, but I’m pleased with the place we’ve managed to reach.
I still feel exhausted by the last three years – by the enormity of emotions, anxieties, changes and challenges. There are days when I think about the future and feel afraid. But at the same time, I feel richer and wiser. I would, of course, prefer to take a holiday right now with my family and read a romance novel, rather than write these words. But at the age of 36 my husband realized he was gay – this is what happened. After three years of hell, the time has come to accept this fact.
Today I’m flying to the Caribbean and the children are with Adam, at his home. They’ll miss me for the next two weeks, but they’ll also miss Daniel, whom they’ve grown to like and who also had to leave for a few weeks. We live close to each other, support each other and raise the children together. We spent last Easter together – all five of us. After breakfast we played a fierce badminton match with Daniel. It’s hard to say who won, but perhaps everyone did…