Kiri Blakeley’s memoir, Can’t Think Straight, could be subtitled “how to get back in the dating game after your fiance tells you he’s been cheating on you with dudes.” Though the first chapter of the book is about how she dealt with her boyfriend-of-ten-years’ revelation, the rest is about getting back into the dating game and going on with her life, with alternately sad and hilarious results. She talked to TheGloss about how she moved forward.
I think the first thing everyone wants to know is: did you have any clue that Aaron [your former fiance] was gay?
I was getting ready for bed one night and Aaron – who I had been with for ten years – called me into the living room and said we needed to talk. I thought he would say “You need to do the dishes” or something, but I sat down and he said “I am confused about my sexuality.” I didn’t know if he was joking, but I know he is not a prankster. I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream, so I did both. I just stared at him waiting to hear what would come next, and he started to cry. Then I knew it wasn’t a joke.
I was asking him, “Why do you say this?” He told me he was fantasizing about men and I thought ‘well, fantasies happen, maybe he had one or two and is just freaking out.’ I said, “Hey, it’s normal, don’t be ashamed, it happens.” But then it became clear as we spoke more that he wanted to explore the fantasies and that it was a serious thing and that our relationship would have to end. Then years of my life came to a screeching halt – no foreshadowing. I almost had a psychotic break from reality. I was awake in a nightmare, a weird waking nightmare.
I went to bed eventually and in the morning I called a gay male friend and told him the story. He didn’t quite believe it; he thought was it was a weird excuse. I went into [Aaron's] computer thinking it was about something else and there I saw gay porn and pictures he took of himself and sent to other men. I went into his browser history and saw Craigslist ads, and that’s when it came out that he had been cheating on me with men for two years.
Did I see any signs? No. if I had had any inkling he was gay I would not have been so shellshocked and bowled over. It was like a summer lighning bolt out of the blue.
Once you have knowledge of something you can go back and look and say “Oh, okay, that makes sense.” The main thing was that our sex life had dwindled pretty considerably. We’d gone to therapy. But he didn’t have trouble getting it up. He went down on me. I figured it was normal, because lots of couples have their sex life slow down. The other sign was that he grew a beard about a year before he told me, and he wouldn’t shave it even though I asked him to – he was very attached to it. Turns out he was taking pictures of his beard and sending them to other men who sent pictures of their beards. It was telling that his beard was more important than my opinion. But he was such a great guy in every other way – he did household chores, he was there for me through traumas, he was always sweet and told me he loved me.
Lately, a lot of people have claimed it’s a trend for people to come out as gay later in life, often after being married for years – take Meredith Baxter or Portia de Rossi [both of whom were married to men], for example. What’s your take on this?
My best friend from college – her parents divorced after years of marriage and her mom came out as a lesbian. You hear a lot about women leaving relationships and then coming out as lesbians. Men do it when they are still in relationships. Maybe women are more honest? Maybe women are more concerned about fidelity and the kids and keeping the marriage together? I don’t know. Also, I think in our society it’s more acceptable to be a lesbian than to be a gay man.
This isn’t the 1950s. We have a long way to go, but I don’t think people look at the woman as the ogre who turned the man gay. I will say that since the book came out it was interesting to see the comments online when people saw my picture and how insulted people were that a guy would leave a “pretty girl.” I thought that was odd. People actually got hostile about it. “How could you prefer men over that hottie?”