I am an openly gay man that is married to another openly gay man. We love one another but we have both agreed that our marriage is over. We were one of the 18,000 couples legally married in California in 2008.
I’ve been having an affair with a man who has been married to a woman for 25 years. They were high school sweethearts. We’ve been seeing one another for a little over 9 months. I am the first man he has ever been in love with. There have been many other men that he had meaningless encounters with but with me he has done it all. He’s fought it because he didn’t want to be gay but he is.
Three months ago his wife found out and she confronted me at work. At first I didn’t know who she was but once I realized it (thankfully she had asked to speak to me in private) I nearly passed out. What could have been a horrific situation was turned into something amazing. She was kind. She was loving. She didn’t hate me. She embraced me. She came to me because she knew that her husband wouldn’t be able to tell her the truth. I actually thought about lying but looking into her pleading blue eyes gave me no other option but truth. We were both worried that he would harm himself. She asked me to go with her to talk to him. I did. It was awful but we got through it. She loves him and she will always be his best friend and she has more than proven that.
I was certain that I would have to walk away from him. I was wrong. She told me that she wanted me to stay because he needed me. I could give him something that she could not and she loved him enough to recognize it – immediately. She is amazing. I am in awe of her. She has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.
She and I have had coffee a few times. We have all gone to dinner together, and once to lunch. She has encouraged him to spend time with me. When she first found out, the sex between he and I stopped so that she could have time to adjust. It was far more important to do what was right than to do what he and I might have wanted. When she first found out and he wasn’t with me he would fight how he feels inside. I expected this because it is how he has always been with me. He doesn’t want “gay” he wants “normal” and she represents that for him. I represent “gay” and who he really is. I am not hurt or angry when he fights shutting me out. With her support he fights shutting me out less and less as time goes on. I expect that he will do that for a long time. They are best friends in the truest sense of the words. They will always be connected. It is a beautiful thing to see. But it is clear to her that they will divorce. He still tries to hang on to that but, deep down, he knows too. They are in no hurry to divorce and they still share the same bed. I think that is amazing and wonderful! They both seem to understand that there will come a day when they will have to let go of this part of their relationship but right now it is what is getting them through – although they no longer have a sexual relationship.
They have two children, 18 and 16. One is away at school. Their next step is telling the kids. He is terrified. He is working with a therapist on the best way to handle this. I am not as terrified for them to tell the kids. They have set such an amazing example of what unconditional love is that, in time, their children will adjust, as will their family.
She has asked me flat out if I would be there for him when they get to the other side of this. My answer was easy – yes – because I love him. I have told him that I don’t care how long it takes, I will wait. Not because he wants me to (he has told me that he wants me to) but because I want to. Because he is worth it and I never knew that I could love someone as much as I love him. The road has been rough and it will take time but I do see happiness for them both and for me on the other side. I am open to how that happiness comes but I know that it will come.
I worry for her. Her husband has a therapist, I have a therapist and she has no one. Not even a girlfriend to confide in. She leans on him because that is all that she knows and all she has. He has always been her ‘safe place.’ Now she is stuck. He wants to go back but she knows that can’t be. When she tries to move forward, he pulls her back because that is where he wants to be. She can’t move forward and she can’t go back. Her only concern is that he is okay. She has said that once he is okay then she will see a therapist.
Every day is a battle of emotions for all of us. She’s devastated at the death of what she always knew would be – but suddenly isn’t. He’s devastated because he’s the cause of the devastation that she feels and doesn’t know how he can ever forgive himself for “doing this to her.” I am devastated that he is in this situation because the only thing I ever wanted to do for him was keep him safe and make sure he went back to where he wanted to be – with his wife. As irrational as that sounds, I am having a hard time forgiving myself for having failed at that.
Now the holidays are here. Things will change for them, for me, for all of us, but my heart tells me that through honesty, compassion, and love we will all be okay. He is truly the love of my life and he is beginning to realize that this is the path he was meant to take. He is still scared and filled with pain and guilt. Each day the pain gets more manageable as does the guilt. The beautiful light of his soul is beginning to appear again. I have been writing a book about our story and would love to submit part of it for publication to The Advocate. It is ever-evolving but I have learned that this situation is far more common than I ever thought! What is not common is her – us – how the three of us have managed to move forward and stay close. It truly is an amazing story of love!