When you marry your partner, there is the expectation that you will love each other for the rest of your lives. But when I married my wife, I knew we wouldn’t be together forever. You see, my wife was hiding a secret from me but I knew what it was all along.
I met Tess when I was in my early 20s. She was the local butcher’s daughter and I would regularly see her helping her dad with the cuts as I rode past on my way to school. She should have been in school too but sometimes, demand at the butcher’s was too much and she would skip it. We got talking once when I went in to get some lamb for dinner. She was radiantly beautiful, with long red hair that she would tie up in a loose bun. She was a diamond in the rough, I thought. I was pretty smitten from the first meeting, and would find excuses to go to the butcher, and would sometimes buy bits of chicken for the dog just so I could go in. Tess was feisty and I was attracted to her because she was different to everyone else.
I finally convinced her to go on a date with me, and since then, we were inseparable. My friends would always comment on how close we were and I knew how lucky I was – I’d found my best friend. We would ride horses together, throw a line out and could drink one another under the table. I was so in love with her, and so, after 2 years together, we got married.
One day, Tess came home with very short hair. I couldn’t believe she would just cut it all off like that. It was short and spiky but it was clear that it was something I just needed to live with. Tess was a very independent woman, and she never wanted to conform. For our wedding, she had to be convinced by her mother to put a dress on. She couldn’t wait to get out of it later on and put on her shorts and singlet. She was never a girly-girl, that’s for sure. But deep down, I knew this all was building up to something. That it meant something.
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We never had children and Tess insists it was a decision she had made when she was in her 20s. She’d had her tubes tied at 25 and never wanted to get pregnant, but I did often think about what our life would be like with kids. Nevertheless, we were great companions. Then one day, it happened. I came home from work and Tess was sitting at the table, waiting for me. It was odd because she worked at the local mower shop and would never knock off before 4pm. She said, “Martin, I have something to tell you”. My heart sunk… I already knew what it was. Sometimes I’d denied myself for many years, as had she. Tess said the words I dreaded to hear for the whole 30 years we were together: “I’m gay”.
She explained that she had always felt very attracted to women but couldn’t be, she just couldn’t be a lesbian. Yes, despite the independence she had, she wanted to fit in as well. She didn’t want to be a lesbian, so she got married. Try as she might, she couldn’t become someone she was not. We just held each other and cried. It felt strangely good to have it all out in the open but I was terrified that it meant I would lose Tess forever. We loved each other, but she just didn’t love me in the way a married couple should. We had an active sex life for many years but I’ll admit, it never did feel quite right and it was heartbreaking to connect those dots together when it was really something I’d always suspected.
When Tess came out to her friends and family, no one was truly surprised so they were very supportive. Her mother was initially distraught but came around after weeks of intense conversations. Her father had passed years before but she believes he would have been supportive of her. We made a decision to stay together. Yes, I know that some will think that is insane or delusional or that I’m robbing myself of another relationship but truly, being with Tess is what makes me happy, even if it’s just platonic. We officially divorced but we still live together. She has partners from time to time but after it’s all said and done, we are life partners, and our sexual preference doesn’t come into that.
Have you ever known someone who was gay but who hid it for many years? What would you do in this writer’s situation? Tell us below.