Life With A Gay Husband: Rachel’s Story
I grew up as the oldest of ten children. My parents were a part of ATI and the Quiverfull movement. My father was very controlling and my mother was neglectful and withdrew herself. We had to ask my father to go anywhere. He would say to clean something or weed the garden first and then he would say no many times.
I was the “second mom” the one who listened to what my dad said and took care of the house, the other kids, stayed home as a highschooler to cook dinner while the younger kids got to play sports. I had a really good guy friend who was the oldest of ten children himself and also played the violin. We used to write to each other all the time until the letters just stopped. This guy, Jacob, would give me butterflies and make my hands sweaty and I would dream of being with him. My mom came to me and said that we were the oldest kids, so a relationship would just not work. I was confused what she meant. But, I continued to “wait” for him.
Then, at the age of 19, I went to EXCEL, which I paid for by babysitting. There, I sought God each day and somehow ended up with the exact opposite beliefs as I was taught. There, I cut my long hair, stopped wearing skirts all the time, stopped arguing with everyone, decided I needed to go to college to become a nurse and I decided I was done with waiting for Jacob. I came home and signed up to start classes. I also looked for a job, which I got in a deli.
My parents were supportive until I actually started classes and then it was, “Rachel, come home and watch the kids,” and, “Rachel, come and take the kids to their games.” I, being a girl who did give everything to god and believing I had to obey my dad, would, but this jeopardized my grades. Here I am, a girl who has no understanding of any of my classes (all I knew how to do was read really well and basic math; I didn’t even know how to write a paper), looks very strange in mostly skirts, and thinking about sex all the time.
Then Ben entered my life.
A friend of mine told me of a homeschool debate site. I decided to join and decided to have a “gender neutral” name of “His child.” There was a guy there who wanted someone to do a bible study with him. I knew instantly that he was suicidal and I had to do it. So, I led a bible study and he eventually started asking me questions about myself.
We talked for an entire year before he decided to come to WA state to work at a camp and meet me. His parents tried to prevent him, since they ran a camp themselves, but then they found out the reason was there was a girl there and they excitedly let him go. He got me a job there as a store manager. I worked it out with my deli manager so that I could do it for the summer, but my father put his foot down and refused to let me do it. I had told him about Ben several months before which made him pretty upset. He unplugged the internet many times so I couldn’t talk to him.
I obeyed my father and did not go to camp. I picked him up at the airport with my parents and a very talkative me. But he was lost for words. The poor guy was so nervous and just grunted all the time. My father and I dropped him off at camp and my dad said, “Oh, you should exchange numbers.” We hadn’t even talked to each other on the phone at this point. We started to have phone calls during which I talked a lot and he said nothing.
I saw him again during that summer when he had a weekend break. He played with my siblings and this is when I knew that I would marry him. He had already told me I was the girl for him before I met him. I thought he was smoking hot and very excited that a guy this attractive would be interested in me. I was sad to see him go home on the final meeting when we dropped him off at the airport.
My father, realizing that I liked this guy, put a lot of pressure on me to get him to ask permission to court me. So, I did and Ben called up my dad and asked his permission to court. I got in front of our church and announced with my father that I was courting, which in my group of people meant we were getting married. We continued talking on the phone (which was awkward for us cause he barely talked) and mostly talking online.
Six months later, he flew to see me again. We were ready to hold hands and cuddle which freaked out my parents. My father gave him 50 questions to answer by hand and said we could not talk until it was finished. I was supposed to go and work at his family’s camp as a cook for that summer. This was his reaction to that. Instead, I threw myself into working 80 hours a week. Eventually, he finished the questions over that summer. I decided I should do nursing down in Mississippi because I could take a test and get into the program. (I struggled a lot with school because my father was constantly trying to get me to come home and babysit my siblings or take them to practice and I was balancing working full time and taking classes for which I had zero knowledge, so my grades weren’t that good). Extra bonus was that I was two hours away from him.
Our plan was that I would stay there six months and we would get married and I would go to nursing school on the same campus as his seminary. We spent a few hours together in person every other weekend or so.
Finally, it came to the wedding.
Our first kiss was at the wedding alter. Bad idea… I had no idea how awkward that would be and how it just felt…wrong, like it was meant to be shared in private. Then of course, to go further, my husband was incredibly scared and nervous. I thought the bride was supposed to be the nervous one!
It puzzled me why he seemed never to want to have sex. I thought this would be a phase, but it wasn’t. This went on for years — in fact, our entire marriage.
I had always heard that men liked a woman’s body, that it turned them on. I tried that.
It didn’t work.
We talked about this and both came to the conclusion that it was cause he was a lifeguard for years and was just used to seeing almost naked bodies. He always seemed depressed about everything. He would withdraw and not talk to me or even seem to want to be around me. This would frustrate me but I was busy with work and school. I just gave him space and hoped he would show interest in me. I worked hard to try to please him and to try to motivate him. But, he always seemed unhappy, no matter what we tried.
I put my energy in trying to become pregnant. (Believe me, that took a lot of work!). We had our child and I — doing what every other mother I knew did — stayed home with him. Our problems became stronger since now I had nothing to distract me, no school or work. We were trying to become missionaries. He got ordained and we were in the application process. I was highly involved at our church.
He seemed to withdraw yet again, like he didn’t want to do it.
I had been talking to my best friend who had just come out to me. She described how she felt — in a marriage with a man — being gay herself. I asked a lot of questions and realized she sounded exactly like my husband! I approached him and asked him if he was attracted to men. He said he was but tried not to think about it.
Everything made sense!
He was repressing who he was, which was causing the depression and the withdrawing. This is why nothing seemed to work or motivate him. We continued on, wondering what we should do next. He had already been having issues with god for years but also tried to ignore that as well. I began to question the bible as well. If it is wrong about homosexuality, what else is wrong with it?
I realized it was incredibly cruel to expect a homosexual person to either be single or to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. I know what that is like. This led to a spiraling amount of questions which I could not find answers to. I guess this was important to me being able to leave the marriage — and then divorce.
A couple months later, I realized there was no way to fix this. He couldn’t be who he was with me, and it wasn’t fair to either of us to stay together. So, the next six months, we made plans to separate and help each other be financially stable.
We are still friends, share custody of our son and live about a mile and a half apart.