Emily’s Post

The understanding wife

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DEAR EMILY,

My husband is gay, and we’ve been married 25 years.  It took a lot of pain and adjustment to be where we are now. His family knew this open secret—everyone except me, initially.  I just knew I fell in love with this handsome, soft-spoken, well-dressed, rich single guy, and I thought I died and went to heaven.   I was a probinsiyana with a very ambitious mother, and my parents-in-law couldn’t have found a better match for their son than me.

We made all the noises befitting a young, newly married, good-looking couple in love.  We had a big church wedding, a trip abroad for the honeymoon, and a baby within the first year.  Our three children came in a row, which made my in-laws delirious.  They all thought I had changed him.  In three years, we’ve done our part as a married couple.  My husband, that poor guy who had to fulfill a role, told me the truth and gave me the chance to escape to freedom.  Or, as he suggested, keep up the pretense until one of us got sick of it.  His honesty and kindness won me over, and we’re still here.

We live in a beautiful house, attend parties as a couple and travel abroad with our kids—together. It’s a given that he’d be going on “alone,” attending to his other businesses later on. What is not known is we live separate lives.  He has a little place he goes to for his dalliances.  He tried hard not to be absent too much from home when the kids were growing up.

For my part, I’ve had my own flings, but few and far between—just enough to fill my own needs and not cause a scandal.  I knew of the rumors circulating in our circle, but nothing flared up because we lived a simple and unpretentious life.   Our children grew up in this kind of atmosphere, so we never had a problem.

The secret to our relationship could be that we never tried to change the other for anything.  My husband is what he is, and I love him.   Many will condemn our arrangement, but what of it?   This is the life I’ve chosen.

THE UNDERSTANDING WIFE

The problems between married couples start when one tries to change the other into what he/she envisions a wife/husband to be. What starts as a wonderful fusion of differences that attracts them to each other in the first place is forgotten over the years, and what takes over is that need to change.   One is almost never allowed to blossom on his/her own terms.  There’s always that suggestion for that small change, a tweaking of a little habit,  a nudge to go this way rather than that—all in the hope of finding that supposed harmony and perfection in the relationship.

You must be truly in love with your husband to have such an overwhelming understanding and acceptance of his nature—with nary a tinge of regret or jealousy anywhere in your words. For you to accept what he truly is—that is indeed a gift.

There’d be no marital problems, if only couples considered putting on the shoes of the other for size, so to speak.   And the knowledge that you don’t worry about how tongues wag is another plus in your favor.     To paraphrase the late humorist and social commentator Will Rogers:  You’re already living “in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

Carry on, and may your tribe increase.

E-mail emarcelo@inquirer.com.

ph or emarcelo@gmail.com, Subject: Lifestyle

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