She Found Out Her Fiance Was Gay
Until the night her fiance cried gay.
And with one swift drop-kick into his sexually-confused reality, Kiri found her once stable life blurred into some kind of unrecognizable parallel universe she'd previously thought existed only in the tabloids.
Through all the ensuing heartache, however, this Forbes reporter somehow managed to chronicle her journey from total confusion to moderate clarity and the result is her newly released book, "Can't Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love."
So how does a gal redefine her life and the meaning of trust after learning that the person she'd loved the most had been living a lie?
MyDaily: How exactly did your fiance drop the "I'm gay" bombshell?
Kiri: So I'm getting ready for bed one night in my bedroom and my fiance Aaron* [name changed for privacy] called me into the living room and said we needed to talk. He said "I think I'm having confusion about my sexuality." I kind of went "Ha!" -- a laugh/scream hybrid because I didn't know if he was joking or what. But then he started to cry and I knew this was serious. We started talking about it, and the thing he told me was that he was having fantasies about men which I said I thought was probably somewhat normal but then it became clear that he wanted to explore these fantasies and all at once I got this sick feeling that our relationship was done. Needless to say it was an extremely difficult evening for me...and he definitely slept on the couch that night.
When the light of day hit, did you think maybe it had all just been a bad dream?
In the morning after he'd gone to work, I got it into my head to go into his computer to see what I could find. There was a part of me that still didn't believe this was happening. I'd called a friend of mine who was homosexual and he suggested that Aaron, who was 36, was a bit too old to "come out" and that maybe he just wanted to be single and was using this as an excuse. Plus, he just didn't remotely seem gay. So I needed proof to figure this out. He'd given me his password a long time ago, but I'd never used it. I'd had no reason until that day. Anyway, all of a sudden his password came to me and it worked and what I saw next was a flood of gay porn, naked pictures of himself he'd been sending to men, and in his browser history there were M-for-M Craig's List personal ads. I called him at work and said "You've been cheating on me!" and he was silent and that's when I knew he'd been answering the ads. I asked him how long this had been going on and he admitted for two years. That is a long time to have no idea that your fiance was cheating on you actively.
And really, you had NO clues...or were there some in retrospect you'd missed?
Well, it's like this...if you have back pain, it could be you worked out too hard the other day or it could be cancer. So, I suppose in retrospect there were a couple things that could have been clues but at the time I wouldn't have known. The first clue was that he'd started growing a beard and even though I told him I didn't like it and it was itchy, he wouldn't shave it. I couldn't have possibly known that him growing a beard meant he was gay. But later on I found out he'd been taking photos of himself with the beard and that there was this whole gay subculture of bearded gay men. And our sex life hadn't been what I would have liked, but honestly, it wasn't as bad as some of my friends who were also in straight relationships. Sometimes we'd go months and we'd even been in therapy about it but he would always say things like "Well, you could initiate" or "I'm ready when you are." Certainly he never piped in and said "Well, it's because I like men." And I don't know if I'd confronted him about it before that night if he would have caved and told me. I have a feeling people tell you these things when they're ready and not a minute before.
So why was Aaron suddenly ready to tell you that night?
We'd been engaged for a LONG time -- we got engaged about a year into our relationship -- and had just never felt a need to get married. I considered us married, he considered us married...but ironically he was the one who always talked about it. Just a few weeks before his coming out to me, he had started to push for a wedding date. And I finally had been like "Okay, let's do it. What the heck...I have no secrets" and he'd said "Me too." So we started to make plans and tell people and family members. So of course it shocked the hell out of me when I found out he had probably the biggest secret ever he'd been keeping from me. But I actually think us pushing forward in the marriage suddenly knocked him out of the denial he'd been living in and an impending wedding ceremony is what forced him to finally be honest with me.
Did you keep the ring?
My theory is that the person who turns gay, the other person gets to keep the ring. I still haven't sold it. Who knows, it may be the only engagement ring I ever get, so I am keeping it.
Did you two have a lot of gay friends and had you discussed homosexuality before that night?
Interestingly, we didn't have a lot of gay friends, not that we wouldn't have wanted them. There just weren't a lot of them in our circle. But we did go to see Brokeback Mountain together and we'd had this whole discussion beforehand where I'd said "Are you going to be comfortable with the movie...there is gay sex in it?" And we went to see it and when the movie ended I tried to engage him in some conversation and he wasn't like, "Oh, that was a movie I could relate to" but instead had simply said, "That was a good film."
When I found out he was gay, I then had to ask if he'd been turned on when we saw it and he said that not only were Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger not his type -- they were "too pretty" and he actually liked hairy men which was ironic since I'd spent years shaving his back for him at his request -- but that really he'd been too nervous the whole time to get turned on because he'd seen one of the guys he'd been having sex with from Craig's List at the screening! And this guy actually ended up becoming a boyfriend to Aaron down the road.
Oh, I did fall apart! I didn't kill myself, but I thought about it. It took a good two years to piece myself back together. I was so shell-shocked and numb my brain kind of shut down. I was walking into traffic...literally. That's how little I could concentrate. I got off the subway at a friend's house at one point and I couldn't remember how to get there, and I'd been there a million times. I called her and she told me to turn left,and I actually said "Which way is left?"
I didn't know up from down from right from left. When you realize the person you thought you knew the best you don't know at all, you then feel like you don't know yourself or anyone else. I was constantly wondering so what is everyone else hiding? What am I missing? Who else is lying to me? I felt as if I couldn't trust my own judgment.
And you were trying to date through all this?
Yes, and I handled it extremely badly. I began dating long before I was ready because I had been with someone so long, I'd forgotten how to be alone. So I would start getting very anxious and even a prescription of Paxil didn't totally take the edge off (though it helped me from stopping spontaneously crying all day long at work). As a result of the need to be with people though, I was always either on the phone with friends or out on dates. But because I was an emotional wreck, I would have too much to drink, give them too much information about my mental state and jump into bed (though not with too many men, it was still a change in behavior for me...I had lost my virginity late at 24 and was never someone to sleep around). I suddenly went a little wild...which was so not me.
Did you question all your dates about whether they were gay?
Oh, absolutely! I would literally say to a first date "Have you ever messed around with men?" - as if he'd tell me! My main criterion for a date was "Is this person sexually attracted to me? Does he seem straight?" If a guy wasn't all over me by the end of a date, I wasn't interested. Anything that turned off other women - like if he was an obvious player or a bad boy - was suddenly attractive to me because I thought he had to be a safe bet as far as his sexual orientation at least. I think I actually had a psychotic break with reality on that one.
A reviewer from Library Journal called your book a "slutfest." What do you think of that?
Misogynist, really. I slept with three men over the course of one year and had "intimate" encounters with two more. None of them were married or had a girlfriend (one was going through a divorce). The encounters were between adults and consensual and protected. It's extremely common to go through a bit of a bender after the end of a long-term relationship, especially one with a gay man.
Bill Clegg wrote about his drug addiction and constant cheating on his loyal boyfriend -- can someone show me a review where he gets called a slut? Also, she seemed disappointed that it wasn't "empowered" sex. Not sure what she means by that. Occasionally I got my feelings hurt and I was honest about that. I'm not some fictional character from "Sex and the City" who ploughs through men with no emotions about it. But I don't find it surprising that this review was by a woman. I'd love to get together with her and ask her more closely what she meant by it, and why it bothered her so much.
How does your former gay fiance feel about the book coming out? Did he give you his blessing?
He's not thrilled, but he did read the whole thing. I didn't want to surprise him. Once I knew the book would be published I sent it to him. He requested a few changes, and I made them. But it's not a condemnation of him. I don't agree with the way he went about things and he wishes he had handled things better too. But I now can realize it must have been incredibly difficult for him. He didn't want or choose to be gay. He wanted to be married to me and living a socially acceptable life. His sexual orientation was against his plans and wishes and I understand that. And he was still a person who was there for years who saw me through many trials, deaths of family members, 9-11, etc... He was always there for me during those times. There were lots of parts of him I loved and appreciated. There was just the one part I couldn't live with.
How on earth did you learn to trust again?
"Define trust" is what I'd ask anyone who asks me that question. I am well aware now that even those closest to you hide things and you are essentially taking a risk when you decide to fuse your life with another person. People are fallible. So when you say trust really what you mean is "Am I willing to hope that someone is who they are portraying themselves to be?" I don't believe everyone is lying to me all the time anymore but when it comes to "Okay, I'm going to build my life around another person" well, that is something that 4 years later I'm still working through.
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