|Ilustration: Lo Cole for the Guardian|
The wife whose husband came out
Fri 6 apr 2018
y husband was always very tactile and loving but rarely wanted to have sex with me, even in the early stages of our relationship. He eventually stopped altogether after about four years. He was vague about the reasons and never brought up the subject himself. I begged him to have therapy, and he always agreed, but he never did.
I read a lot about sexless marriages but nothing seemed to apply. I felt undesired and undesirable. It was a use it or lose it situation; I eventually stopped thinking about sex and was fairly content. But then, after three decades, the penny dropped and the truth dawned; he announced he was gay, and left.
I had my explanation, but it was a bitter pill to swallow. And there was now a new puzzle: why on earth had he married me, been unfaithful and cheated me out of a sex life? It appears he does not know.
I’m 62 now and want to make up for lost time. I am pleased to be free to pursue new relationships and delighted to find that a long period of abstinence has not affected my ability to enjoy sex. I find the act itself easier to negotiate than when I was younger. There is less concern about appearance and performance and, surprisingly, no lack of willing partners. Is it easy to trust men again? Yes and no. It’s a simple matter to have sex but a huge leap to embark on another commitment.
My faith and delight in my body have been restored, and in my better moments I can feel sympathy for my ex-husband. But when married people in the public eye come out, I can’t help wondering about their spouses. And I feel cross, because in the “Isn’t he/she brave?” media coverage, they never get a mention.