After a few dismally disappointing attempts at dating, and after watching some other women go through the seek-a-man process, I have a few observations to offer:
1. Women who’ve been married to a gay man are scared to death of having to go through that trauma again. For years, I looked at every man I met as “gay until proven otherwise,” and I’ve discovered I’m not alone in this reaction.
2. Women who’ve been married to a gay man have a hard time figuring out what is “normal” (whatever the heck that means) heterosexual male behavior and character. After all, we completely missed out on our ex-husbands’ homosexuality! Bad “Gaydar” and all that.
3. Women who’ve been married to a gay man agonize over #s 1 and 2. Agonize. As if our lives depended on it.
4. Women who’ve been married to a gay man are sexually vulnerable. Because our husbands were so stingy with affection, we become programmed to equate physical attention with affection. With Love. When a man shows a bit of sexual interest in us, we’re so damned affection-starved it’s really hard to recognize that he’s interested in sexual pleasure and not necessarily in us as human beings, as living souls. Sadly, there are some men who will exploit our vulnerability for their own pleasure, just as our husbands exploited our trusting nature in order to provide some sort of front for their own sense of inadequacy.
5. Women who’ve been married to a gay man have a hard time recognizing “Players” from serious men, in consequence of #4.
6. Women who’ve been married to a gay man appear to fall into one extreme or the other: either we marry quickly to cover up our loneliness and fear of not being good enough (and not always well or wisely), or we get scared of our own inability to recognize “healthy” or “normal” men from the jerks.
7. Related to several of the above observations, women who’ve been married to a gay man tend to be adapters, people-pleasers, accommodaters. A girlfriend and I spent two hours on the phone, one night, talking about a man we both knew, who was making overtures to her, dissecting some of his quirks and trying to figure out whether they were “normal” or danger signals. “Is this something I should just put up with?” she asked. We just do not know the difference.
We also struggle with basic friendships – the topic of my next post.