How did you move on? I know how hard it is to move on after a longterm relationship, no matter what the reason was for the breakup. What tips do you have for getting back in the dating world?
I hate to agree with those stupid rule books that tell women not to sleep with men on the first or second date. I understand what it’s like when you are hurting or horny or both. But study after study has shown that women are much more emotional about sex than men are. I will not deny I had some hot sex after the breakup– and I would not take that tback– however, there was an emotional pain that accrued as a result, because I got attached when I did not want to. So be careful.
Also, forgive yourself if you do things you wouldn’t normally do– drink too much, smoke, sleep around, whatever. You are in pain and have a little free pass right now. Just don’t give into the temptation to do something you can’t take back – such as take revenge by destroying personal effects, posting TMI stuff on Facebook, calling his new girlfriend (or boyfriend!). Resist that very overpowering desire, because it will hurt you more than him. Try not to let your anger over a breakup show in your new dating profiles, ie “Don’t be a jerk or a cheater LIKE MY EX!” No man wants to step into another’s man’s mess. By all means talk to your girlfriends, though. Talk their ears off!
Would you have been more upset if Aaron had left you for another woman? Or did the news of his sexuality compound how you felt about the breakup?
Everyone asks about that – even Aaron asked me that question. I would say it’s equally upsetting in different ways. You are upset that the person is cheating on you, but if it’s with a man yopu don’t get competitive. You know what he has that you don’t. You don’t try to look sexier and win him back. But in another way there’s no hope. You can’t go to therapy for being gay. The big thing is that he had hidden something so integral about himself from me. It’s hard to know why someone hides their sexuality when they’re simultaneously pressing you to get married.
We told our family and all our friends that we were engaged. He ran into our bar and announced it to all our friends. I called my sick elderly grandmother and she was so happy to hear the newsthat she burst into tears, and he allowed me to do that. We had been engaged about nine years. He asked me to marry him not long into the relationship. We moved in together after six months.
Do you still keep in touch with Aaron at all?
I will always care about Aaron until I die. If something happened to him, I would be devastated. But I had to begin to realize that we would not transition into being best friends. We tried that, and it didn’t work for me. I had too much anger and hostility because of the chronic cheating and lying. We keep in touch, mostly by email, but we don’t hang out. He lives with a man and he has been with him for a few years. And I am in a relationship.
I got a lot of shit for keeping the engagement ring – “whoever turns gay, the other one gets to keep the ring,” that’s how I feel. I got so much shit for that online. I kept our apartment because I paid for it. Of course I was keeping it. I did make him pay because we had to get a lawyer to make sure I owned the apartment myself. He was sleeping with men when were buying it; he was lying to me then. I was the one who put 100 percent of the down payment.
Even though your book isn’t just about what happens when your partner tells you he’s questioning his sexuality, that seems to be what most people have responded to the most. What kinds of comments have you gotten from people who’ve read the book?
I was shocked at how many women emailed me. I got emails from women who said things like “I have been married for 30 years, we have three kids, and last week I went online and found out he has gay porn and is writing to men.” [These women are] not like me, in a position to get out and be financially independent. It is heartbreaking to hear all those stories.
People also want to know how you learn to trust again, and after anyone has been devastated in a relationship it is always difficult to get back to that sense of innocence and optimism. I still struggle with it.