IN her book Man’s Best Kept Secret In The Church — On The Down Low ,Very Down Low, Lecei Wright tells of her struggles coping after discovering that her husband had not only left their marriage bed, but had done so to engage in sexual activities with a man.
“I was in denial for the fact that I saw my husband kissing this man. I would leave for out of town and these men would answer my phone and be in my bed, but I stayed in the marriage and that was only after five years of being married,” said Wright, an African-American who made Jamaica her home.
Wright told All Woman in a previous interview that even though her husband died after contracting AIDS, it took several years for her to get over the devastation of his betrayal.
While many wives may not have written books about their own experiences, they live with doubts and fears for years.
Julia R, says she first suspected something was ‘off’ in her relationship when her husband stopped showing interest in sex completely, choosing instead to fixate on bashing homosexuality, even while commenting on other men’s looks in the way a woman would, and spending most of his free time with friends she wasn’t allowed to meet.
“I’m very perceptive and all the subtle things raised a red flag,” she said. “I knew he wasn’t cheating on me, at least not with a girl, but there was nothing I could do to entice him. I could stand naked in front of him and all I’d get was a hug — in six months I counted that we had sex two times, and it was fast, unemotional, he wouldn’t look me in the face and I knew he was wishing it would be over.”
There was no doubt of his love for her, she said. She got pampered, he bought her gifts, they had a bond, But missing was any real affection or real romantic intimacy as husbands and wives share.
“Then I remember walking with him one day and he was hailed by this man, this very effeminate thing who totally ignored me, and he became flustered. But the man knew his name, they were friends, they hugged.”
She said she questioned him soon after that and he confessed that “maybe” he was bisexual, but he hadn’t gone as far as to definitely find out.
“I didn’t believe him though. He was gay, I knew it in my heart. He was a great friend, one I could labrish with. But I didn’t want that. Whether he had just looked or imagined or kissed, whatever it was, in my book just thinking about someone else is cheating, so we parted ways amicably soon after.”
Marie P, though divorced now, said for years after being married, she suspected her husband was gay. Ninety per cent of his DVD collection was of man on man intercourse, and whenever they were going out he would insist on a male friend coming along. Worst of all, he would always insist on non face to face intercourse when he did accommodate her in bed.
She discovered soon after their parting that he was living as a couple with another man.
Craig McNally, counselling psychologist at WIRED Counselling Agency in Papine, said before wives take action, they should first determine whether or not their husband is gay or same-sex attracted, as there is a difference between the two.
“When somebody finds out that their partner is dealing with that issue, the first thing is that there has to be a whole lot of clarification that takes place and one clarification that has to take place is, ‘is this person same-sex attracted or are they gay/homosexual?’
“There is a difference with being same sex attracted and being homosexual,” he theorised.
McNally said everybody who is homosexual is same sex attracted but not everybody who is same sex attracted is homosexual.
“In other words, not everybody who is same-sex attracted is living the lifestyle and has taken that on and has held on to that as an orientation,” he explained. “If the person is homosexual, which means that they are living a homosexual lifestyle, it kind of implies that they have been living a lie. If they are same sex attracted, meaning that they are sexually attracted to persons of the same gender, that does not mean that this is something that they want to embrace or something that they want as a part of their identity. This is something that wives need to clarify,” he said.
The psychologist said too that wives would also have to clarify whether or not this is something that just occurred and is a one-time episode, or if this is something that has been happening for some time.
He said though that when a wife finds out that her partner is so affected, she will experience a loss and will begin to grieve.
“It is a loss,” McNally said. “Of course the person is thinking ‘how do I compete with this person? What is it about me that led this person to go and get with somebody of the same gender? Is something wrong with me? What is it that I am not doing? What is it that I am doing? And how do I compete?’” he said.
“And they feel helpless because if it was another person of the opposite sex then probably they could try, but how does one compete for their partner’s affection when those said affections are turned towards somebody of the same sex?”
McNally told All Woman that 95 per cent of the cases he has seen, were cases where the person was dealing with this tendency before they got married.
“In most cases, while they did not do anything intentional and specific to resolve their same-sex attraction issues, such as counselling or a support group or some form of intervention, while they did not do anything to work on that, their symptoms might have minimised, but they did not do anything about the issue and so they think everything is OK and some people believe that if they get married it will solve the problem — it doesn’t solve the problem — because same-sex attractions are really symptoms of deeper issues, they are not the condition.”
He advises women who find themselves in the situation to get some support, get friends to rally around them as they begin the grief process.
“Just as with the death of somebody, she is going to need a lot of emotional support,” he said.
McNally said marriages can sometimes be saved after this discovery if one partner is willing to work with the other in seeking counseling.