When Your Man Has Been Living A Double Life

April 12, 2011 60 Comments TAGS: Dating, Marriage, Relationships, Sex & Sexuality

By Guest Blogger Kiri Blakely

One night five years ago, I was getting ready for bed. It was about 11 p.m. My fiance, Aaron, whom I’d lived with for ten years, was in the living room. I could hear Sex and the City droning on the television.

“Kiri, come here,” he said, softly. “We need to talk.”

I padded into the living and plopped into a chair across from him. For an instant, it occurred to me that he might be about to tell me something horrible, but I just as instantly dismissed the thought. When you’ve lived with a man for a decade, you reside in a peaceful place of complete confidence that you know him thoroughly.

I was about to have that confidence forever stripped from me.

“I think I’m confused about my sexuality,” Aaron said. Then he burst into wracking sobs.

Aaron went on to tell me that he’d been “fantasizing” about men. Soon, it became apparent that he wanted to explore these fantasies, and that our relationship would have to end. After talking (and crying and screaming and cracking jokes at his expense) all night, I finally curled up into a fetal position on my bed and prayed for this surreal night to end.

Life as I’d known it was suddenly and without warning done.

The next morning, I would discover that my fiance wasn’t just “confused” and wasn’t just “fantasizing.” A little digging around in his computer revealed that he had long been cheating on me with strange men he found on Craigslist.

Here are a few tips for women who might be vaguely wondering if their man is secretly gay .

Tip #1 Get into his computer.

Tip # 2 Get into his computer.

Tip #3 Get into his computer.

If you do this, have an EKG first to make certain you don’t have a weak heart. Because when my fiance’s monitor filled with gay porn videos, pictures of muscular policemen in leather, and close-ups of his private parts, as well as listing after listing of men looking for sex, it’s sort of a medical miracle that I didn’t drop dead of shock.

It’s also good for him that he’d gone into work when I made my discovery. If he’d been home, he likely would have dropped dead of a lamp on his head.

My fiance had been cheating on me with men the entire time he’d simultaneously been encouraging me to marry him. We’d been engaged for about nine years. I had come from a long line of divorce and was wary that marriage might ruin our relationship. But I finally agreed that we should have a wedding. Aaron was so happy, he’d run into our local bar and whooped the news to all of his friends. Perhaps I should have known a man that excited to get married couldn’t be straight. ;)

So how did I deal with all of this?

Well I can’t say I dealt with this sudden turn of events in a way that talk-show gurus would describe as “healthy.” I didn’t sign up for yoga classes and check out every self-help book in the library. Instead, I numbed myself with alcohol and casual relationships. I recently read that this is a typical way of dealing with a traumatic break-up. Sociologists even have a name for it: anomie. It means embracing the breakdown of social norms and values.

Let’s get it straight though (so to speak): I didn’t fall apart as much as I could have. I didn’t turn to hard drugs or rob a bank. Nor did I prowl the streets at night looking for strange men to sleep with. I found them in respectable places—like bars.

But seriously, Aaron’s betrayal knocked me into another dimension. He and I had always had a close relationship. We had all of those things that successful couples are supposed to have. We “communicated.” We talked through our disagreements in a “healthy” fashion. Through every little trial and tribulation, as well as the big ones, Aaron had never let me down.

Beside the sweet little things, like never forgetting to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, he also was there for the big things. A year before he came out, I had two heart-breaking deaths in the family: my grandmother, whom I was extremely close to, and my young niece, who tragically died of a cancerous brain tumor at seven years old. Aaron couldn’t have been more instrumental to my hanging on to my sanity.

To realize this same loving man had for years been hooking up with men for random sexual encounters—putting my health, his health, and his safety at risk—was devastating. Not only to my sense of who he was, but to my sense of who I was.

Thrumming wildly around in my brain was the realization that if I didn’t know Aaron, I wouldn’t ever know anyone. How was I ever supposed to trust another man and commit to him?

I wouldn’t. This is what I told myself. Of course, I was a human being and had needs like everyone else, but I could satisfy those without the confines of another relationship. Men were too much of a high-risk proposition.

I now not only had a distrust of men—but especially men who reminded me of Aaron. That is to say of nice relationship-oriented men. For the first time in my life, I was attracted to the bad boys, the players. In my warped way of thinking, I reasoned that if I could see that these men were bad news, at least I wouldn’t be surprised when they screwed me over! Hey, I said I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I was basically suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. You know how a soldier comes back from war and can’t walk down his hometown street without fearing that a terrorist is going to blast him to smithereens? It’s because his brain chemistry and neural pathways have been altered. He now feels danger everywhere, even in his backyard. That’s how I felt.

The year I spent after Aaron’s revelation is the subject of my book, Can’t Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love. Mixed up it was. Although my fiance had betrayed me in the worst way possible, that didn’t mean I stopped loving him, nor him me. After his announcement, we still spent a lot of time together, which was very confusing and, as the title says, mixed-up!

I began seeing two men in particular. There was Rahil, a hot-blooded Indian playboy who made it clear from the get-go that he didn’t believe in monogamy (and who was also still hung-up on his ex-girlfriend). And there was James, a handsome and dryly witty man who, despite being rather anti-social, was catnip to ladies. Both of these men, despite their emotional unavailability, helped distract me from my emotional turmoil and made me feel sexy again. If it all sounds like a pulpy romance paperback, and I guess in some ways, it was.

Then the worst thing happened. I fell in love with James. It was involuntary on my part—I wanted nothing more than a bed warmer. But his wit and animal magnetism became irresistible to me. Unfortunately, he was a confirmed man-whore who slept with every young woman within ten zip codes. But James, who was as determined to avoid a relationship as I was, couldn’t seem to leave me alone. It became one of those protracted love-hate relationships that is sexually charged yet emotionally draining. Still, neither one of us could seem to let go.

I realized after some soul-searching and the healing powers of time, that the only person I needed was myself. That it is better to be alone than to live with dysfunction. Sure, it’s great to be in a relationship—fundamental for most of us. But it does not define us. People are fallible and your belief in them always runs a risk of being shattered. Betrayal will change you forever. But, if you work very hard, it can change you for the better in some ways. For example, I’m no longer the smug, judgmental person I used to be. I realize now that bad things can happen to good, smart people. And this happens as a way to strengthen our character and teach us a lesson.

I look back at that time with some bemusement, some horror, and some affection. I’d suffered one of the worst things a relationship can throw at you, and somehow lived to tell the tale. In the process, I discovered how strong I was, how complex people can be, and, yes, how we can endlessly renew our love in other people—and in ourselves.

What do you think?

~Kiri

BIO:

Kiri Blakeley is the author of Can’t Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love. She also writes about women and pop culture for Forbes. Visit her at kiriblakeley.com or at her blog at Forbes The Bold Type.

xoxEDxox

    60 Comments

    1. AmandaMcD says:

      Three months before my wedding the worst happened. Actually, in some way it was good (only in hindsight) , because for the first time in years I followed my heart and gut and found out the truth. He was sleeping with someone else … a man, shit. I had no idea how to deal with this information and was and am still mortified. How could I have never known, how could I have agreed to marry a man that wants to be with other men? I am normally a very extroverted person who loves being social and has made a career of it. I have since found myself hiding out in my little seaside home, alone most days, terrified to get back into a public life. I have thought at length about leaving my small, rural fishing village and even traveled across the country to test the waters on the other coast. But I just don’t want to. I am very slowly getting back the confidence I once had, but I am sure I will never, ever be entirely convinced of relationship security again. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is an incredible thing to know you are not the only gal going through a balls out hell of a time.

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    3. Cristi says:

      I was reading your pasted relationship.and im going thru almost the same thing. Ive been with my man for 4years now. And i came up where he goes to school without letting him know. That i had a bad feeling about something to do with him. While when i visited. Unannounced. He was in bed naked and he never does that. And he jumped up and proposed to me on the spot.( weird) his first mistake. And i used his phone to look up something and what pops up. A m4m site on craigslist. So being the persin i am . I asked what the heck is this? And he said he hit the wrong site. Well i said ok left it alone. The next morning he was leaving for school. I told him when he didnt have time to think about it. Cause he had to get ti school. My phones messed up can i use your phone today baby ;). Found out as well as he found out . Im a god of phone programming .lol and when he came home. We sit down and and said who ,what,when, and where. I know already proofs on your phone. All your deleted MESSAGES ARE IN YOUR INBOX !!! Now if you dont telle everything IM GONE!! He told me everything but one thing. He said i love you and want to be with you. I was curious and its not for me. So i gave him his ring back and told him curious George dies from HIV . I told him craigslist 101 most of the personals on this site are people looking to hurt you. And dont care about you or themselves. He still calling wNting me back. And the last thing i said to him was i love you and youll miss me when im gone.now my ex husband and my ex fiancee,can cry together. I deal with alot in a relationship. But i dont deal with cheaters,thieves or liers!!!! So what im sayn is if i can get thru my last 16years of lies and cheaters . Anybody can.

      • Lilly G says:

        I am going thru the same thing this week, he said he would quit but honestly after countless encounters with guys on craigslist I don’t think I can do it. doubting who he is on the phone with, where he is going too much energy wasted on that. I came to the conclusion that because I love him so much I should let him go. He should go find himself, what he likes, what he doesn’t. He wanted to marry me but that would be a selfish and too hard for me. Oh well we live and we learn. Sometimes you just have to accept it and take your loss with a grain of salt.

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    6. priate girl says:

      hey you guy’s
      I think it sucks, that girls like me don’t even no a guys gay or bi. cause i never had the chance to hang out with gay guys, etc… i feel like a dork, i feel like the bi guys are making fun of me in front of my face. sorry, but my experience just last year, has made me somewhat homophobic. i think im in love with a gay guy in the closet. help… i said i think… having a hard time with his gay porn and the mean degrading porn sites he watches and laughs at… this to me is a red flag, and not something i want to see, or deal with. this is not a normal male, female thing… its a gay, hate woman thing… that’s what i think.. almost two years into this and this guy has more sick problems than any person i know. and i am trying to distance myself from him, but can’t believe its so hard. i have no idea on how to compete with a dude.. and i do not want to or should not have to. i am a beautiful, smart, great body, no kids, no baggage, rich, 50’s and lonely. that’s the problem. i like myself, love men.. never even thought i would be in this spot. but here i am, still wondering about men

    7. priate girl says:

      hey you guy’s
      I think it sucks, that girls like me don’t even no a guys gay or bi. cause i never had the chance to hang out with gay guys, etc… i feel like a dork, i feel like the bi guys are making fun of me in front of my face. sorry, but my experience just last year, has made me somewhat homophobic. i think im in love with a gay guy in the closet. help… i said i think… having a hard time with his gay porn and the mean degrading porn sites he watches and laughs at… this to me is a red flag, and not something i want to see, or deal with. this is not a normal male, female thing… its a gay, hate woman thing… that’s what i think.. almost two years into this and this guy has more sick problems

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