September 20, 2011

No, not because I'm gay...

When I was five months pregnant with my youngest daughter, the doctors thought I had breast cancer.  They called a bunch of doctors into the room while my boobs were exposed for all to see (thank god they still pointed to the ceiling) and they started talking about terminating...the pregnancy.  If I had cancer.

As I walked into the hospital to get the results of a very painful biopsy, my husband called from Asia. 

"Good luck," he said simply.

I'm not saying he wasn't worried; I'm sure he was.  But he wasn't there.

He spent a total of about five years deployed while we were married. I sometimes waited four or five weeks between phone calls, and I had no idea when I would hear from him or where he was.  Submarines don't have telephones, and email was unreliable at best.

There was no 'just-wait-until-your-dad-gets-home' going on in my house...were we going to wait six months? No. That water bill wasn't going to wait six months either. So I did everything alone.  I had to.

In the beginning, I waited at the pier in my new outfit with the other wives, waving with excitement as I watched the sub pull in.  Towards the end, managing his life was just another household chore for me and I would ask, pen poised over my desk calendar, "When do I need to pick you up?"

When he finally came home, he would give me a coffee mug from another country and then retreat into his computer room (as small and dark as possible, a replica submarine really) to play computer games.  Totally checked out.

So, you see, I didn't really have a partner. I had no emotional connection to him; how could I?  He left all the time.  Out to dinner, sitting across the table from each other with nothing to say.  No romance.  No intimacy.  As soon as I made friends in our new duty station, the Navy would order us to move.  The overwhelming theme of ten years of marriage was loneliness. 

The Navy was his wife.

Now, every Friday we exchange children.  And when he asks me how and when to pay the water bill, I realize how much I was betraying myself by staying married to him for so long.


  1. wow, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you.. you had the strength to endure all that, so it def seems like you have the strength for this new life. no matter how scary it seems sometimes. wish I could borrow some of that willpower from you..

  2. Wow... alone indeed. No accidents in life, right? LUCK = opportunity + preparation. I wish you all the LUCK in the world.

  3. And might I also add that this isn't a lesbian or straight thing... it's exactly what I experienced (minus the military aspect) in my marriage, as a straight woman. I think regardless of sexual orientation, it takes a lot of courage for a woman to finally give herself the chance for real intimacy, real connection. It's ok to admit that simple incompatibility happens, and it's ok to demand more for yourself. Wuv you little girl. And miss you this much and this much....

  4. Of course honey in your sitch it was a bit more complicated than "simple incompatibility" ha ha

  5. Wow. Ouch.
    Sometimes it feels lonelier to actually be with someone... when the connexion's not there.

  6. I love this post. It's so honest and relate-able. Don't think of staying with him for so long as a betrayal to yourself, you got married and you stuck it out. The important part is that you moved forward and that takes courage.