I do not know if you will ever see this letter. A part of me wants to tear it to pieces right now, before its finished, before its even begun. I don't know if I can make myself write it. I have stood and paced and sat in front of the keyboard and typed and then erased everything. I want, somehow, I want everything to go away. I want things to be what they were just a year ago. But they're not, they never can be, and I don't know how to deal with that.
Jim, you are my husband, the father of my children, the only man I've ever loved. I know that you have sensed something is wrong between us, growing more and more pronounced over the past twelve months. I see it in your eyes, I feel it in your touch. You are as hesitant as I have been to broach the subject. Like me, somehow you have hoped that if you ignore it, it will go away. It won't.
I am gay.
There, I said it. I'm a lesbian, a dyke, a QUEER. At least I think I am. And I can't be. I'm the vice-president of the PTA, I teach Sunday School. Women like me aren't gay. Nevertheless, the urge, the desire, the attraction towards other women has taken over me. It obsesses me. In the times when I can think rationally about it, all I can think of is that I am indeed a lesbian. I promise you I have never betrayed our wedding vows, but I have come so close to it I shudder now that I think of it.
How did this happen, you may well ask. Along with so many other things, I have no answers, only more questions. Slowly over the last two years I've stopped looking at men. Instead, I've been fascinated by other women. More and more my eyes would follow the curves of their bodies, linger on the slight gap of a blouse or the lift of a skirt. I found myself following a woman one day down the aisles of a grocery store, all but mesmerized by the sway of her bottom and the movement of her legs. When she suddenly turned around, I almost ran into her I was staring so hard. I was completely embarrassed but passed it off as "Not watching where I was going".
So the desire has continued to grow. Remember when we went to the Faith Hill concert about 6 months ago? I teased you that night about you making love to her. Well I was fantasizing about her myself.
Its made sex very hard. I don't want any man, even you, the only man I've ever wanted. You've noticed. I cringe at the knowledge that I have turned my head away from you when you kiss me. I close my eyes when we're making love. I'm sure its not escaped you that I now prefer oral sex. Isn't that a kick? I still love to suck your cock. I haven't lost that desire. I wonder why. I have tried desperately not to deny you. Not because "you're a guy and have to have sex" or because I think you are "entitled to it", but because for us its always been an expression of love.
So in one way I betray you. You know how strongly I like the doggie style intercourse nowadays. I'm sure the reason has occurred to you by now. I'm not watching you. I am pretending that a woman is using a strapon on me. How that could differ from the sex we've always enjoyed is another mystery to me. I only know when I imagine a woman at the other end of the cock, I get turned on. When I have to face the fact its a man, there is nothing.
A man. You, Jim. I know this can be nothing but agonizing for you to have to be told that I shrink from your body. But not your touch. Your touch still fills me with warmth. Sunday morning, before the kids were up, we were drinking coffee on the porch and holding hands. I wanted to disbelieve my other feelings. How could I be gay and still want you so near, love your fingers intertwined with mine? Shouldn't I be filled with revulsion at your nearness?
I told you I came close. Three months ago at the office cocktail party celebrating the fantastic sales for the quarter. You urged me to go, possibly hoping that something would snap me out of the mood I have been in. You've met Dee Archer. She's the blonde saleswoman that you had the great discussion about the Cubs with at the Christmas party. She's a friend. She's also gay. That night I had too much to drink, deliberately, to stiffen my courage. I got her off to one of the offices on some stupid pretext, and threw myself at her. I say threw myself. She didn't even understand what the hell I was doing at first. Do you know what happened when she finally recognized my halting attempt for what it was?
She turned me down. She told me there was no way she was coming between my husband and I. She wasn't going to break up a marriage. After getting all nerved up, the let down was more than I could bear. I burst into tears. She held me and I managed to tell her what was going on. She admitted that what I described appeared to be a woman trying to coming out. She urged me that before I took any further steps I needed to talk to you. God knows why she should have had to tell me that. I owe you that and so much more.
I thanked her for her words and I blushed and thanked her for refusing me. She waved her hand in dismissal. "I know you," she told me. "Even if you had become a card carrying member of 'Dykes-R-Us' you would have never had sex behind Jim's back." Oh God, she's right. I can't cheat on you, its just not in me.
Assuming that anything could possibly be amusing about this, do you know what is funny? I still love you. The emotional ties that bind us together are no weaker than they have ever been. I don't want a divorce. I can't even think of living with anyone other than you. The change in my physical desires hasn't changed that a bit. I don't find men sexually arousing, but there is still one that hold of my heart. You.
And what about you? How are you going to deal with this? I can't imagine. When we got married, we agreed to "forsake all others". I know that's still how you feel. You're hardly going to tell me "Hey Erica, its okay. Get a female lover. Just come home to me whenever you happen to come this way. the door will be open and the light on." If that sounds bitter and sarcastic, that's because it is. I'm bitter and angry at life, at fate, at God right now for placing this on me, and on you my darling.
I don't know the answer. I don't know ANY answer. We have to talk about this, because otherwise things are going to get more and more strained until our life falls completely apart. We can't go on as we are, but I don't know what direction to go forward in. I want it all somehow. I want what we've had for so many years and I want fulfillment of the desires I have now. I want to eat my cake and have it too. I want a lover, I want you, I want our children. I can't think of any possible way to have it. The thought of loosing you turns me weak.
I am waiting for the sound of your truck in the driveway. I've sent the children to your Mother's for the night. Tonight I lay myself open to you. But not with this letter. As much as my mind urges me to pin it in an envelope on the front door, I can't take the coward's way out. The wonderful man who has been my companion and lover for all these years deserves to hear these things from my lips, see my face when I say them.
I hear you outside. I'm taking the deepest breath I've ever taken in my life. I'm going to print this letter and clutch it in my hand, hoping it gives me the strength to go through with this. What the outcome will be I haven't the slightest idea.
One last thing, Jim.
I love you. I have since we were 17 together and after 4 years of dating and 15 years of marriage I still love you.
(As always, comments, suggestion and reasonable criticisms are always welcome. Thank you, Dot, for talking this over with me. You're the best.)