October 2, 2008 my husband and I made the decision to separate. It was a discussion that was several months in the making. I had known since about August that our marriage was not going to survive, but it was hard to admit to myself and to my husband. He knew too. We both are moving in different directions. He does not want to be part of the Church anymore and I do. He is angry with the Church right now over their treatment of homosexuals. I understand his anger and why he feels the way he does, but I can’t deny my testimony and give up the Church, which is one of things it would take for me to remain married to him. Even staying with him and going to Church by myself would be difficult, and hamper my ability to grow spiritually, and engage my children spiritually.
The other issue was his friends. He has a number of gay friends, and I understand his need to have gay friends, but he want to emotionally connect to them, and not to me. He wants to spend time with them, and not me. Every night he spends one to two hours doing IM with them, and I know he is also doing IM at work, so it’s not like he has not talked to them all day. He shares his feelings with them and not me, he hides things from me. He parties with them. At first I thought I could share him with his friends, but then realized I am not good a sharing…and his choosing them over me is a constant reminder that I am not enough for him.
As hard as it is, I decided that I deserve more in a relationship. I deserve to be with someone who want to be with me, who wants to share with me, who finds me attractive sexually, who wants to live the gospel, who wants to be emotionally and physically intimate with me. I realize I may never find that in this life time, but I also realize my relationship with my husband is not healthy for me, and being alone is better than staying. I fought so hard over the summer to try to stay in this relationship, I did not want to leave, but the more I fought to stay, the more physically and emotionally ill I became. Once I made the decision to leave a wave of peace fell over me, and I knew it was the right choice. I still love him and I know he still loves me, but it is simply not enough.....
Then the long a painful process began of telling those we love, including our children. It is a decision we both agree on, so there is no anger or hostility. We were friends before we got married, we have been friends during our marriage, and it is our hope to continue to be friends. After he first came out to me I elected to only tell my sister and my aunt. I did not know what future held, and I did not want a lot of "noise" from others while I was trying to decide. It was a heavy burden I carried in silence for six months. After we made the decision to separate, I knew I needed to tell my two best friends in my ward. They are two women I served with in a calling and we became very close, so much so I consider them my sisters. I knew they would be loving and understand. It was hard, there was a lot of crying, and one of the sisters has a son that is gay, which I did not know. I felt a burden lift as I told them and allowed them to help share my pain, and be a support for me. This is a new position for me. Usually I am the one giving service and relief. To be on the receiving end is a new experience.
Other than these two sisters, and my bishop I have elected to not disclose to my other ward members that my husband is gay. This is out of respect for my husband. He has elected to remain silent at work regarding the issue, and members of our ward know people he works with. I also decided it was the right choice. "Gay" brings with it a whole host of judgment, most of it unrighteous. No one knows my husband as I do, and despite his current choices, he is a good person, I still love him, I respect him, he is a good father to our children, and does not deserve the judgements individuals will place on him without a full understanding of him and our situation.
After he first came out to me, I spoke with my aunt who has been through two divorces and is a counselor. She gave me some of the best advice I have received. She told me to "be the teller of my story." I have been in situations when I have learned someone I know is getting divorced through the grapevine. It creates an awkward situation. You don't know what to say to the person, so you avoid them. I did not want to be avoided, I wanted to be supported. I made a list of those I wanted to tell personally and began working on my list. I started with my home teachers and visiting teachers. I have received nothing but love and support and it has allowed people to approach me and ask how I am doing because they know I am willing and open to talk about the situation. Since I am not disclosing that my husband is gay I have just said that my husband has made changes in his life that have made it impossible to stay married. Which is true, because had he stayed active in the Church and given up his friends I would have stayed in the marriage. I have also been very clear that there is no third party involved.
As wise as I believe my initial choice to stay silent was, I truly know that the Lord does not intend us to bear our burdens alone. By sharing my story and my trials and testifying to my friends the love that I know my Heavenly Father has for me it has given me the necessary strength to forge ahead. After the emotional lows of the summer to feel myself getting emotionally stronger every day is a blessing. I have no doubt that I have made the right choice for me.
Telling our children was something I dreaded. We elected not to tell them until my husband had a new house and a few things in the house. Our children are very young, 7, 4, and 18 months. I knew the seven year old would be impacted the most because she understands the most. I prayed that I would be able to say the right things to them to convey the love that both their father and I have for each other. We told them they had probably notice that both mommy and daddy had been sad lately, and that because of that we could not live together anymore. We, or rather I, told them because my husband could not speak, that we both loved them, and that it had nothing to do with any of them and it was nothing they did or said. We also reassured them that we both still love each other and always well. The seven year old was crying, and the four year old wanted to know if I was still going to live in our house. I assured the four year old I would still be living in our house. We then began to talk about "daddy's new house" and what the new schedule would be. I assured them that they were going to see their daddy two nights a week, and spend Friday and Saturday night every week with him, and would come home Sunday morning in time to go to church with me. Then I told them that they were going to go with daddy to see his new house. They became excited. I told them what an adventure it would be. I wanted to give them some control since they adults in their life were pretty much trashing their life without their permission. I told them they could choose which toys and books to take to daddy's house. I told them they could pick out new bedding for their new rooms. We also talked about some of the fun things they could do a daddy's house. They left to see the new house, and returned excited.
Since telling them I have been carefully observing their behavior in order to head off any problems. The seven year old has had a lot of questions, which I have tried to answer in a straight forward, age appropriate way. Both the seven year old and four year old have now moved into my bed and refuse to sleep in their own beds. Normally I believe children should sleep in their own beds, but given the current situation, I think and exception to this rule as long as they want is ok. Besides the four year old likes to sleep snuggled up right next to me, and I have to admit I need it has much as the four year old does.
There is so much more, but for right now I will pause.....