49. Forgiving Truth

49. Forgiving Truth

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiving Truth

The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.

~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Jenny, I think I am gay.” There aren’t even words to describe that moment. My eyes filled with tears and I pulled away from my husband, quickly moving down the hall of the home we had bought together a few years before.

“Gay!” I screamed. “What does that mean?” I was balled up on the floor crying. He tried to comfort me; he reached for me as he had all the years of our marriage. This was different. As he reached for me, I had suddenly forgotten how to let him hold me, love me. It felt like I was dying inside.

Weeks passed. We talked endlessly, stayed up all night, yelled and cried. We numbly tried to pass the days and care adequately for our three children. Would I throw him out? Did I love him? Should we divorce? We kept it all secret as we celebrated holidays, watched fireworks, buried the ones we loved, waiting for peace and clarity to come.

After months of talking, we decided that we had to try, that maybe being honest about who he was would be enough, that we could continue as we were. We moved, got our kids settled, focused on everyday life and spent the next year and a half fairly happy. From the outside, no one knew. From the inside, it only seemed slightly different. We loved hanging out, fought about very little, and our routine worked. We made a great team, but we both knew our marriage had changed in ways sometimes unrecognizable. I loved my husband. I always have and I always will; he is my best friend. He has seen me through the birth of our children and been a wonderful father to them. He is the rock in my little world.

I realized I wasn’t angry with him because I understood what he was going through and could relate to his emotional struggle. Then one night in our new home, where our kids were doing well, where we were settled and happy, he said, “Jen, I’ve been talking to a man and I would like to meet him.”

This time there was no anger. I was just confused. Why had he not told me? Why had he pretended everything was fine? Why had he not trusted me or our friendship? I knew then our marriage was unraveling, and I was afraid. Who was I without him? Could I start over?

I had no answers. All I felt was fear and confusion. That night he held me on the couch. Tears ran down his face, something rarely seen since we had met in the sixth grade.

“My god, I never meant to hurt you Jenny. You’re the one person in my life that has been through all of it with me, and look at you, I’ve hurt you.”

I realized that I was more worried about being alone than about our marriage. I didn’t want my kids to have a part-time dad, and I didn’t want to lose my best friend. With a lot of anxiety, I agreed it was time for him to meet this new person. We loved each other and we both wanted to be happy, together or apart.

Our story is difficult, unusual and scary, but our love is made of something stronger. I forgave my husband and I set him free. I made peace with my husband’s truth, and I stopped blaming myself. It was only in forgiving him that I was able to move forward and find a new kind of happiness for myself. I did not lose my best friend—in fact I gained the friendship of the man he fell in love with.

~Jennifer Hunt

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