He looked me right in the eye and said he and Roomie were just friends.
I asked him again, last Sunday night, after something One said that made me uncomfortable. "No!" he said.
He took the kids out for dinner on Tuesday, and I went over a friend's house to drop off some dresses I had hemmed for her, and to hang out a bit. And when I got home, the children told me he told them over dinner that he and Roomie were more than just friends. "Dad's GAY!" they chorused, thinking it all very funny.
I felt as if ice water was being dumped on me. What kind of a chicken shit coward makes his children proclaim the news that he was too ashamed to say? What kind of a man uses his children in that way? I could have freaked out. I could have been in a rage. I could have seriously unhinged, and they would have taken that heat. And he let them. I have no words vehement enough to express how I felt.
And let me make this point very clear: my issue is NOT with him being homosexual. There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with being homosexual.
I have huge issues with cowards and liars, however.
Rule number one of the divorce handbook says: "The children are never to be used as messengers. " and yet he does just that, again and again. And no matter what anyone says, he keeps right on doing it.
In that moment I wanted.....Oh, I wanted.....I don't know what. I wanted to make sure the kids were okay. And they were! Third looked at me with giant, troubled eyes and said "Mom, it's worse than you think. Dad smokes!" and I laughed a little, then. I have done a really, really, really good job raising these kids. They think it is worse to smoke than be gay. And they are right. It is.
They think it's HILARIOUS. One said "oh, please! With all the chrome in that house? Totally gay!" A little stereotypical, but basically well adjusted. And I feel glad about that. I really do. Growing up, we had one girl in school who's dad was known to be gay, and the scars across her wrists will serve as a lifelong testament to what her childhood was like. That will not be my children's experience, and for that I am grateful that we live when we do, and where we do. If my people had settled Texas or Nebraska this would be a much different story. But we live here in liberal Massachusetts, where this just won't be a very big deal. At best a curiosity, at worst, a predictor of how ignorant others are. Nothing for my kids to lose sleep over, anyway.
But I have lost sleep. I sent him an email with no body text, just a subject line "Explain yourself, please." No response. He did phone later in the week, to speak with the kids, and it did not go well. I told him we needed to have a conversation, and he refused. It seems we are NEVER going to discuss it. Ever. But I have some legitimate questions. How long? Was everything we had a lie? Was my health ever compromised? Was it happening when I asked him to tell me the truth? How is it that he looked at me and lied? If he knew this was his situation, why make the divorce so acrimonious?
If he had come to me years ago and told me, I would have been hurt, sure, but I also would have been his biggest ally. I could have been his friend on this path. We could have told the kids, together, could have worked out an equitable settlement for both of us, could have come up with a parenting plan that suited all of us. Instead, there has been anger, secrets, and lies. My older sister was shocked. Not that he was gay, but because he is such an incredible asshole, and continues to be so.
I am supposed to parent with this person for the next 60 years, and I cannot believe a word that comes out of his mouth. What do I do with that? What do I do with the dark, dark feeling that my whole life has been a lie? I remember at my wedding, how no one could believe a girl liked me had landed a guy like him. Handsome, wealthy, that whole European thing going on, so charming and sophisticated, and clearly going places. What was a guy like him ever doing with a girl like me?
Well, now I know. It was all a lie. A girl like me could never land a guy like him.