May 9, 2022
EP. 318 — Mixed-Orientation Marriage
After 20 years together, her husband told her that he was attracted to men. Now they’re in an open marriage and still best friends. A woman opens up to Geth about being honest with their kids, sex after menopause, and her husband’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.
318 — Mixed-Orientation Marriage
Chris [00:00:05] Hello to all my tornados. You’ll see what that means towards the end. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
Theme Song [00:00:30] (THEME SONG).
Chris [00:00:30] Hi, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to Beautiful/ Anonymous. Before I say another word, I want to send love to the strong women in my life. I want to send love to all the strong women who have been callers to the show over the years, and to the the large number of women who listen to this show and who have supported it and who made it what it was and who have allowed it to be my life for many years. It’s a long, hard week. I’ve been horrified at the news as have so many of us and I just want to send love. Love and appreciation and thanks for all the listeners. And especially the women out there. Hard week. Long week. And who knows how it’s going to end, but I plan on digging in my heels and being part of the fight. Okay. In happier news, my tour has resumed. Oh boy. Do I feel like a tool saying it. Even more so than usual. Thanks to everybody who came out to my shows in Florida last weekend. And guess what? Those were stand up shows. Our first live, Beautiful/ Anonymous tapings are back this weekend, May 13th, Durham, North Carolina, at the Motor Co Music Hall, May 14th, that Saturday at the Gray Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina. And then next weekend, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids. Okay, we’re getting back out there. All of those will have Beautiful/ Anonymous live tapings. Come on out. Have some fun. Forget about your problems for a while. Come together as a community. ChrisGeth.com for tickets. This week’s episode is a wild one. I have to say,n I saw some comments in the Facebook group. I saw someone saying, like does anybody feel like the show’s been on a hot streak recently? Just like killer episode after killer episode. Thank you for expressing that. All the people out there going, yeah, it show’s hitting a hot streak. I think that hot streak’s been six years long, personally. And I think this call is only going to raise the bar because this is real life. I don’t- sometimes I say stuff in the intro, I don’t want to spoil anything about this. I just want to say that marriage can be complicated. The dynamics of a marriage can be complicated. And this one is just about as complicated as any of us will hear. But I bet there’s stories like this all over the place and we just don’t talk about them. And this is the show where we talk about them. I am fascinated to hear your reactions to this, and I applaud the caller for telling this story. This was really gripping and really eye opening, really shocking and surprising, and ultimately very human. And outside of all those feelings, we got to remember people are people out there living human stories. This caller is a great example of that. Enjoy the call.
Voicemail Robot [00:03:24] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:03:32] Hello?
Chris [00:03:34] Hello.
Caller [00:03:36] Hi. Can you hear me okay?
Chris [00:03:39] Not only can I hear you okay, I would say this is a shockingly clear connection. I’m impressed.
Caller [00:03:44] Oh.
Chris [00:03:45] I’ll I’m impressed.
Caller [00:03:47] That’s great. I am happy about that. You never know.
Chris [00:03:53] Can you hear me okay? I never ask.
Caller [00:03:55] Yeah, I can hear you. Crystal clear.
Chris [00:03:57] Good. People always ask if they- if I can hear them. And then I never return the favor. So I’m glad to hear that it’s going both ways right now.
Caller [00:04:06] So how are you today?
Chris [00:04:08] How am I today? I’m pretty good. I will tell you, it’s a beautiful day in New Jersey. It feels like one of the first real spring days. I went on a little walk. And and I’ll tell you another thing that’s put me in a good mood is my son is in like a preschool now. And he hates it so much. And they have an app where you check them in. Everything’s app based now, so you check them in and they send you pictures throughout the day. And he was smiling in all the pictures today. And it made me feel like maybe we’re turning a corner where he’s actually starting to have fun around some other kids, which- it was getting scary. It was getting scary because he’s grown up in a world where he doesn’t really socialize. So we…
Caller [00:04:49] Yeah, I, I can imagine that is tough.
Chris [00:04:55] But these pictures, he had a big grin on his face and every picture they sent today. I said, oh, that feels really good as a dad.
Caller [00:05:02] Oh, that’s great. You know, the separation anxiety is a thing at that age.
Chris [00:05:07] Yeah, we we went on a little RV trip down the coast, I think I’ve mentioned on the show, to see my parents. Felt like a safe way to travel. We were out at this playground at a campground in North Carolina, and this other kid was trying to play with my son and, pardon my French, but Cal was just being like a dick. He’s like rolling his eyes at the kid and like the kid would walk up and try to talk to him and he’d go like, Ugh, and like let out a big sigh. And the kid kept looking at me and I’m like, Yeah, I’m really sorry. And then I was like, Cal, what was that? And I wasn’t mad at him. I was really confused. And he was just like, Well, kids are bad. Kids have to stay away. Kids are bad. I was like, Oh, we’ve raised you in a world where it’s like ten, six feet separation, put on a mask and stay apart. And now he’s been taught that and I don’t want to ever sound like an anti-masker because I really do believe in science, but I’m going, okay, I as a parent am officially at the point where I’m balancing what’s the bigger risk? We have low number. Is it riskier for him to have the mask off? Or is it riskier for him to learn that humans are bad as his baseline as a two year old. Anyway, that’s how I am. I’m in a good mood. How are you?
Caller [00:06:22] I’m okay. You know the news is just a lot to take in at this point in history.
Chris [00:06:29] Right. You and I are speaking as as everything is unfolding in the Ukraine in a way that’s very scary and disheartening.
Caller [00:06:38] Yeah. It’s just- and some of the people’s courage is just amazing. The woman that went on the news the news program in Russia.
Chris [00:06:50] Oh, yeah.
Caller [00:06:52] I mean.
Chris [00:06:53] Held up a sign that said stop the war? My understanding of the Russian media is that if you do anything unplanned like that, you know that you might you might be putting yourself in actual harm’s way. That’s like actual actual heroic behavior.
Caller [00:07:08] Exactly. Yeah. Or 15 years in prison.
Chris [00:07:12] Yeah.
Caller [00:07:13] Yeah. It’s just. It’s just sad. But, yeah, it is a nice day here too, where I am. So that’s, that’s a good thing.
Chris [00:07:27] Good.
Caller [00:07:30] So. If I want to just dive into what I wanted to talk about? Um.
Chris [00:07:38] Sure. I also have to wonder, have we spoken before, you and I?
Caller [00:07:43] No.
Chris [00:07:44] Okay.
Caller [00:07:45] First. First time.
Chris [00:07:47] All right.
Caller [00:07:49] By the way, I watched your the movie you helped out with. Action Park. I loved it.
Chris [00:07:55] Oh, thanks. I curse a lot in that one.
Caller [00:07:59] That’s okay.
Chris [00:07:59] I said the F-word a lot in that movie.
Caller [00:08:05] Anyway, so I wanted to talk about my situation, relationship wise. And I think this is something that more people are in than people realize. So I am in what’s called a mixed orientation marriage. I don’t know if you know what that means or the general public probably doesn’t know what that means quite, quite yet.
Chris [00:08:36] No. A mixed orientation marriage. That one’s new to me.
Caller [00:08:41] So it basically means one partner is heterosexual. The other is either bisexual, homosexual, or pansexual. And I was married over 20 years before before my husband told me. Which, you know, was quite a shock. Did not see it coming. And I guess it’s just been a journey. It’s been a few years. We’re still married. We have an open marriage. We’re still best friends. But definitely is not what I signed up for when I got married. So.
Chris [00:09:35] Wow.
Caller [00:09:37] And you can ask any questions.
Chris [00:09:39] Yeah. I mean, I’ve got a I’ve got a lot. So one of the big ones right out of the gate is do you have kids with your husband?
Caller [00:09:48] Yes. Yes, we do. And weirdly, one knows, one does not.
Chris [00:09:57] How does that happen?
Caller [00:10:00] Yeah, well, one found out. And I know this sounds crazy, but… It’s- even though I’m talking about it, I feel like it’s something my husband and I, between my husband and I, really, if we are just still married… You know, it’s one thing if we were getting divorced, but, you know, it’s kind of between us. And if we decide to separate or divorce, yes, we would be really upfront. But right now, we’re just going day by day and, you know, still have a great marriage in a lot of ways. Probably better than, I would say, most marriages. The trust, the openness. It is all there.
Chris [00:11:08] So you said you were married over 20 years.
Caller [00:11:12] Yes.
Chris [00:11:12] Your husband comes to you and says, I have a side to myself I haven’t told you about before. It involves being attracted to men as well, is what it sounds like.
Caller [00:11:23] Yes, and he- yeah. When he told me, he had cheated on me. Now I, I knew there was something off in our marriage, I would stay for ten years. But, you know, not suspecting that. But… uh, just- we went through some stuff, too, that we had to deal with… That caused a lot of stress in our marriage. I don’t want to get into that right now, but um… A loved one’s health, health problems. So that that put a lot of strain on our marriage. Also, as you know, if you have a kid… And we have two and we did not have much outside support family wise, like someone taking care of the kid once in a while, you know, you just get caught up in child rearing and your sex life and relationship kinda take a backseat. So, you know, that was part of it. I thought maybe we were just growing apart, you know? Quite frankly, sex was never a problem in our relationship. Which, I think that would surprise people. You know, I think the cliche is, you know, you never had sex or it sucked or, you know. That wasn’t the issue. But you know, the last, I would say five or six years before he told me, you know, and quite frankly, not to make jokes, but once once a woman has gone through menopause, your sex drive drops.
Chris [00:13:13] Let’s pause right there. It’s time for some ads. I don’t know who we got on ads this week, but… That sentence, Once a woman goes through menopause, your sex drive drops. I feel like, come on, can we please head up the ed team? Because I feel like there’s any number of products and services that would hear that as a (UNCLEAR) and going, here’s this new vitamin line, whatever it is. Hey, let’s get cracking over there at Earwolf HQ with the ads for this for menopause sex drive products. Okay, let’s see if they pull through. And we’ll hear all the other ads from our fine advertisers. And we’ll be right back… Thanks to everybody who advertises on the show. You allow the show to exist, and I appreciate you. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
Caller [00:13:59] Once a woman has gone through menopause, your sex drive drops. I mean, I’m not just, you know, I’m stereotyping, I guess I’m a menopausal woman. But if you ask women that have gone through menopause, I mean, it’s just a basic fact. Not that you can’t help it come back or work on it, but without the estrogen pumping into you, it’s, you know, you’re not as horny as you were when you were 20.
Chris [00:14:36] Mm hmm. That’s fair. That’s real. So when he when he told you, was it born out of a desire to be honest, or did you catch him in in something? You said he had been stepping out. Where did that conversation come from?
Caller [00:14:58] We were talking- can’t remember what we were talking about, but we were, you know, then we started talking about our relationship and he started he broke down and, you know, said, there’s something I need to tell you. And he said, I’m questioning my sexuality. And, you know, he really wasn’t questioning it. He knew at that point but I think I think it was just he was still in shock himself, I think. Being raised in a rural area where it wasn’t an option, quite frankly. I mean, you know, growing up in the, you know, 70s, 80s. You know what I mean?
Chris [00:15:51] I do. I do.
Caller [00:15:52] It just wasn’t it wasn’t even… Even if you had those feelings, it just… I don’t think it wasn’t an option in your own head. To a lot of people. So I think he but he did act upon it. He was frank with me. I was almost relieved because I knew there was something off. And I know that sounds crazy, but I- there was some relief there for me, like, okay, it’s nothing I did. There’s nothing about this that I could control.
Chris [00:16:34] Right.
Caller [00:16:35] Yeah. Which was a little bit of a relief for me. I mean, you know, I mean, we make jokes now, you know, if we’re watching a movie or something, Oh, do you think that guy’s hot?
Chris [00:16:49] Yeah.
Caller [00:16:50] You know, so we we we do have fun with it at some points, but with COVID and everything going on in the world, yes, we have an open marriage. Is either of is seeing anyone? No. So. But he has dated. I dated a little bit. And uh I just don’t know if I want, you know, a relationship right now besides the one I have with him.
Chris [00:17:25] And okay, this is this is really fascinating. It’s really- I’m sure the people you have talked to about this, it sounds like they’re you know, you say this is your business. You keep it private.
Caller [00:17:37] Well, yeah, that’s the other thing. I haven’t. I’ve only told. We’ve only told probably about five people.
Chris [00:17:47] I’m sure everyone’s as fascinated as I am right now. And probably one of the biggest questions is… Because you sit here and you go, okay, some of my initial reactions. To hear you say like, okay, he grew up in a rural area, he grew up in the seventies and eighties, didn’t even seem like an option. That, I mean, look, I think I think people get that. I think anybody who was raised- I was raised in the eighties. There’s so many situations now where people my age and older will go, Oh, that movie was so funny when I was a kid. Let’s throw that old movie on that we haven’t seen. And then you look and you go, Oh, good God, it’s like a hate crime. Like, you know, the the way that gay jokes are tossed around and the way that there’s language used as an insult, that today you’d sit here, you’d go, man, a kid would get expelled for saying that. And it’s like a punch line in every movie in the eighties is homophobic language.
Caller [00:18:46] I know. I had I had St Elmo’s Fire on the other night. It was just on TV.
Chris [00:18:50] See, I don’t even remember that one. I remember that. I remember loving that one. Yeah, but that one will break my heart if I go back?
Caller [00:18:57] Yeah, well, it’s just the fact that the only black people in the movie are like a waiter and like a cleaning lady or something. And, yeah, you know, gay jokes. Yeah. It’s just amazing. And at the time, they just didn’t think about it.
Chris [00:19:20] Yeah, and-
Caller [00:19:21] But now seeing it. Wow.
Chris [00:19:24] It stands out so much. And it’s crazy, too, because when you and I are like, we’re on the same page of like, yeah, you really didn’t think about it. But it’s because you look back and you realize because we were bludgeoned with that language. Like it was, we were hit over the head with it to the point where we didn’t even realize that we were being conditioned to use language that was hateful. And then there’s still this whole school of thought of people going, Oh, well, I say that word and I don’t mean gay people. It’s like, well, that, in my opinion, and I think about language a lot as as someone who speaks into microphones for a living, I go… Now, you may not have the intent, but isn’t even that a problem? That you could take hateful language and convince people that as long as their intent with it isn’t that, that it’s okay? I go, oh, that’s that is in effect in and of itself is an effect of hate. You know what I mean?
Caller [00:20:20] Yeah.
Chris [00:20:20] Like, oh, I’m not saying it in a hateful way. Well you, you are using a hateful thing in a non-hateful way. In a certain sense, that means that there are hateful people who are winning because blah, blah, blah. Anyway. Point being, it’s speaks very highly of you that you’re able to even say that to me right now. You know? Okay. So he was conditioned to not accept this side of himself. It doesn’t sound like this is a shift that happened over the course of your marriage. It sounds like it was going on for a long time. Have to imagine, and correct me if I’m wrong, your husband has probably had these feelings from a young age and was unable to embrace them or unable to accept them. And how… Gratifying of you to be able to do so. But there has to be a journey for you from him telling you to you being able to say that.
Caller [00:21:08] Oh yeah. I mean, I, I yeah. I’ve had my days of pissed off, why didn’t you tell me years ago? You know, just regret, you know, regretting my decision to marry him. You know, a lot of that, a lot of that. You know, everything from, you know, being really angry at him to self hating myself. It’s the range. But I I have a couple good friends that I confided in that know both of us and have been great. I did make the mistake of telling one person that really doesn’t talk to me anymore. So that was that was really strange. And I’ll tell you, this person is super liberal, you know, super LGBQ, sorry, I’m not getting those letters right, but, you know… And after I told her, our relationship totally changed. So I’ve learned it’s really not that I can’t tell people, but it’s just really not people’s business. And my husband also got diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Chris [00:22:38] Oh, wow.
Caller [00:22:40] Two, two and a half years ago. So he’s had a lot to deal with. You know, it’s just and it’s funny, when he got diagnosed, I went to the appointment with him and his doctor said, Have you seen any personality changes in the last few years? And I just, you know, I wanted to blurt ou, well it turns out he likes dicks. But I didn’t. But he’s quite healthy. He works out a lot. He’s handling that well. But, you know, it’s it’s been a lot for him to deal with. But at the same time, it’s been a lot on me. But, you know, I guess to everything going on in the world, it makes this seem so minuscule a problem in some ways. You know, it’s something we’re dealing with. It’s something we have accepted. And, you know, he may leave me in five years or we may still be married, but we always will love each other. Which, you know, is the basic need for a relationship. So it is definitely a journey.
Chris [00:24:14] And remind me, I know I know that you’ve said it. How long ago did did everything get put on the table?
Caller [00:24:20] Uh, four years ago.
Chris [00:24:23] Wow. So you’re in it. You’re making it work.
Caller [00:24:26] Yeah. And it’s funny. I joined I joined the forum. Like an online chatroom. And there’s a new person every couple days. I get emails. I mean, there’s thousands of people in this situation. And I think sexuality is fluid. I mean, I’ve had conversations with my husband like, I think you’re bi. You know, more than gay. But I have heard that men that are bi, often in older years are more prone to be just gay. I don’t know if that’s… That’s true. But, you know, I sometimes think he probably is bi more than gay. But he he did he said he remembers sneaking watching a like a French channel. You know, I, you know, when I was a kid, we got like four channels in. But sometimes you could get a channel with an antenna, you know, it’d be snowy but he got the French sex channel from Canada. And he said he remembers being turned on by the men. You know, as a kid. But, you know, he had girlfriends before me. And, you know, I have read many women get married to someone that they think is heterosexual and then… into the marriage, right off the bat, they don’t want to have sex. So that was not my husband. So it’s just very interesting, the fluidness of of sexuality, which I think is more common now. I mean, I think with the newer generations, it’s definitely not a big deal. You know, and most most young people I know some that are still very right wing, very conservative. For instance, Mormons. And I don’t think that many men would admit they were fluid in that religion. But it is it is very interesting because I think if, you know, I’m heterosexual, never been with a woman. If I was a kid now, I don’t know, I might be not really care who I fell in love with. But it’s a very, very interesting line blurred between sexuality these days. It’s more accepted.
Chris [00:27:28] I will tell you, I think it was last summer, my wife and I took our son and we were we went to a town nearby, um, Morristown, New Jersey. If there’s any Jersey people, they know this town is kind of famous because it has it’s called the green. And it’s like a small city built around this big park. And we’re in that park, there were bunch of skateboard kids. And my son was loving it. These kids were like, you know, kind of like, you know, setting off, giving themselves like 30, 40 feet and then trying to do, you know, trying to do tricks and crashing out and cheering each other on. And it was kind of like there were a lot of people kind of sitting around and they were right in the center of the green. And everybody was kind of, you know, they just had focus. And Cal loved it. He’s watching these older, cool kids do skateboard tricks. And there’s a bunch of kids, they were all teens, a bunch of them sitting together and watching, kind of like gathered. And I remember my wife just went, Chris, look at those kids. And I looked over and she was like, and my wife, I think anybody listening knows- but just in case anybody is a first time listener, like my wife and I, we’re both artists. We both have spent a lot of time in art scenes. We are, I think, very proudly open minded people. So this was not said with any judgment. It was actually said, pointing out that it was pretty beautiful. My wife goes, Look at those kids. And I’m like, Yeah, what’s up? And she goes, I challenge you to tell me which of those kids are guys and which are girls. And you looked at this group of teens and she was right. I was like, Oh, here and there you could tell. I would say the majority of these kids, if you had say to me, like, was this kid born a guy or girl in the sense that we would have called it when I was a kid? I wouldn’t be able to tell you because they were all dressed in this sort of like beautifully similar, androgynous way. And we were just looking going like, oh, this is a real- this movement and this attitude is very real. Young people think a lot differently about this than we did. And they don’t care. They don’t care the way that we all were trained to care so hard about this stuff. It is different for them. And I say that to both echo what you just said and also to say… I have to imagine that there are other couples in the position you found yourself in where… Those of us in older generations, the conversations that the young generations are having are absolutely moving the goalposts in a way that I think are a positive, especially for young people. But it’s really fascinating to think, well, what about older people who are maybe embracing themselves for the first time because the conversation feels safer? Or even realizing things about themselves now that new terminology and language has come out? Like, I wonder if there’s just got to be people all over the place hearing stuff and going, Oh, that rings true for me. And we literally didn’t have that terminology when I was young. That explains feelings that I have. And I have to imagine the conversation becoming so much more prominent and shifting as far as it has.
Caller [00:30:34] Yeah.
Chris [00:30:35] You’re definitely you can’t be the only couple where your husband now goes, Okay, this is now a conversation that it seems much more acceptable to have.
Caller [00:30:43] Yeah. And it’s funny, someone said to me once, or I heard it on the radio or something, that in a good relationship, sex is 10%. In a bad, it’s 90%.
Chris [00:30:58] That’s- that is wild. I will say, I’m not going to be lascivious about my past, but when I was a dating man, I can remember a couple relationships that were very driven by sex and they were not the healthiest relationships. Percentage wise. Yeah yeah.
Caller [00:31:23] I’ve been there. I, yeah. I had a history of having- I think I was a commitment phobia person. I had a little problem. And you know, I dated some people that were in relationships because it was safe. And my husband and I were friends first. And then and then he asked me out and I said no. And then about six months later, I asked him out. I was kind of in a relationship when he asked me out. And I just I think I knew if we started dating, it was going to be serious right off because we were such good friends. So, you know, in in the few people I’ve told just are blown away because they just, first of all, did not think he was gay. And… just couldn’t imagine him being unfaithful and lying to me because he’s just not that type of person. So it just proves how hard it was for him. And, you know, I don’t know if his diagnosis played a role. You know, he probably had this disease for 15 years. It takes a long time for it to manifest and show itself. And interesting enough, if it’s not genetic, it’s environmental. Huge pockets of Parkinson’s in near farmland. It’s the fastest growing neurological disease. But anyway, you know, who knows?
Chris [00:33:20] The layman’s guess there is that has to tie in to like pesticides and chemicals used in farming stuff, right?
Caller [00:33:26] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it’s not that he was never a farmer, but.
Chris [00:33:31] No, I mean, they drop it from planes, though. It’s-
Caller [00:33:33] Oh, yeah.
Chris [00:33:34] And let’s be clear. Let’s just also be clear, just so we’re wanting to present that you and I are on the same page. We’re talking about the Parkinson’s diagnosis. We are not trying to claim that pesticides made your husband’s sexuality shift.
Caller [00:33:47] That’s correct.
Chris [00:33:48] Just before before the Internet comes after me on this one. I’m not saying that if you spray Roundup in your yard, it it shifts your sexual orientation or preference. And let’s pause. Can I reiterate that, everybody? It sounds like I could be saying that pesticides can can make you have different sexual desires. No. Studies on Parkinson’s is what the caller’s referring to. That it seems like maybe those diagnoses are higher in areas with high pesticide usage. Just to be clear. Okay. I think I’ve successfully avoided looking like a bonehead. I think it’s time for some ads… Thanks to all our advertisers. Now we’re going to finish off the phone call. I’m not saying that if you spray Roundup in your yard, it it shifts your sexual orientation or preference. No, we’re talking specifically about Parkinsons.
Caller [00:34:44] Like what was the- what was the claim someone made about the vaccine? That it made their balls swell?
Chris [00:34:51] Oh, there’s so many claims. These people. Now, I gotta- I’m going to say a couple of things about it. First of all… Kudos to you for enduring something that was hard. At the end of the day, I have to imagine- there’s a cliche thing to be said that’s very true in your in your situation, which is you have clearly doing a very admirable job hanging on to the love of your husband while having your view of him shifted while having the foundation change. Those are beautiful things. But you were also cheated on. There was unfaithfulness there. That stings no matter what, no matter how accepting and open you managed to be in the course of it.
Caller [00:35:37] Oh, definitely.
Chris [00:35:38] It’s brutal. That’s brutal. That on its own has to be brutal. The fact that.
Caller [00:35:47] It fit him.
Chris [00:35:48] Yeah. Talk. Walk me through that. Walk me through that. That’s got to be one of the hardest parts before you even sit here and go, how do I become an accepting- how do I handle this in a way that’s open and accepting and born out of love? First of all, though, there was there was a lack of faith. So talk me through that.
Caller [00:36:06] It was yeah, it was not so much he cheated on me, but couldn’t talk to me about this before.
Chris [00:36:12] Yeah.
Caller [00:36:15] You know, years ago, talk to me about feelings, you know, and I addressed that. And, you know, oh we were busy raising kids. That’s not an excuse. Like, you should have talked to me years ago. So that that was the hardest part, I think. And, you know, yeah, thinking about him cheating. It was it was tough. And, you know, one of the first things I did is… Went out and had a relationship, you know, sexual relationship with someone.
Chris [00:36:59] You did, you said, I’m just going to go get one back. It sounds like pretty basic. Just on a basic level, you’re like, I’m just going to go get mine then.
Caller [00:37:08] yeah, and it was not great. And, you know… Guy had some issues and I mean he knew the drill. It was just, you know, just about sex. But that, that I soon figured out wasn’t for me. And you know, I have a lot of close friends. I know, oh, you’re still young. You can find someone else. But uh you know, I have my family, I have my friends, I have passions. You know, and honestly, I think some people would be like um you’re not- you’re with your living with your best friend. It’s not bad. Without the feeling I have to, you know… It’s just a different level of relationship than when you’re married. It’s definitely different. The close- some of the closeness isn’t there. But yet I don’t… I’m not expecting sex from him. He’s not expecting sex from me.
Chris [00:38:27] So is that side of things now turned off now that you have both said, well, let’s go find that elsewhere?
Caller [00:38:33] Yeah, I don’t have any- I don’t have any desire to, you know, try for him to have sex with me again. Like I haven’t. We haven’t had, had sex since he told me.
Chris [00:38:48] So he, he is married to you, and you are finding a way that that can function. And he- on the sexual side, he fi- does he have boyfriends or does he go on apps and find hookups? But he’s exclusively now is sleeping with men…
Caller [00:39:02] He has but since since Covid, it’s kind of very sparse.
Chris [00:39:09] Sure.
Caller [00:39:10] I think it’s just with that and his diagnosis, it just, you know, I think he’s not as… he’s not- I think the first year it was like, wowee, you know, here I am! But since then, since the last two years, I think… He’s content right now. I mean, I don’t know. And I’m not holding him back. But right now, our relationship works.
Chris [00:39:49] And when when you have this open situation, is it- do you expect each other- you know, people set different parameters for those. Do you expect him to tell you who he’s hooking up with? Are you expected to tell him when you’re dating somebody? Or is it just we will have our marriage and our dating and sex lives will be separate from that. Good luck to you.
Caller [00:40:11] I think it’s a little in between. Yes, he will tell me, you know, is it okay if I go out, you know, I’m going out with so-and-so. But and I honestly haven’t in two years. So. I, you know, it’s not an issue with me, but in in like I said, the last two years with him, he’s seen one person on and off, but not anything, you know, super serious. And I don’t want to- I don’t want to know the gritty details.
Chris [00:40:52] So there’s no- because I have to imagine… Just a question that- you said I could ask any question. And you are, you know, you said you’re part of forums where there’s more and more people joining and more people in in their version of the situation. I bet there are some people who start to say, well, okay, should we be bringing people into our bedroom and experimenting together? There’s some people who I would imagine might say, Oh, I actually find that kind of hot. That’s not your reaction.
Caller [00:41:22] You know, maybe if I was 20 years younger.
Chris [00:41:27] How old are you? Can I ask? Just because it’s come up…
Caller [00:41:29] I’m in. No, I’m in my fifties.
Chris [00:41:32] I have to. Can I just say one thing?
Caller [00:41:35] Sure.
Chris [00:41:35] You’re here talking about having grown children, and then you’re saying, like, you know, I had relationships in the past where I dated people who were in relationships and I went out and had this fling that was all about the sex. And you’re dropping jokes like, oh, have you noticed any personality changes? Well, actually, he likes dick the past couple of years. I’m like- I’ll just say this to you. When, you know, you described yourself as menopausal. Like when people hit a certain age, we stop thinking of them as having sexual sides to themselves or sexual histories or being able to throw down. And there’s a part of me that really loves that you’re going, if I was 20 years younger, maybe I’d be down for him to bring a guy into the bedroom, figure it out. We forget. We forget. People hit a certain age and we go, Oh, these are people who are purely traditional, right? You’re of a certain age. And that means- it’s like, no. Some of these people were throwing down and they’re open minded people, and let’s not forget that either. So I just want to put that out there. You don’t, because you also you speak very softly and very quietly and it is continuously surprising. So 20 years younger, you might be open minded enough to try, but at this point you’re not looking to learn any new…
Caller [00:42:47] It’s it’s funny because, you know, in your twenties you think, oh, I’m going to meet someone and fall in love and everything else will be perfect. And, you know, it doesn’t always work out that way. You know, and monogamy, sometimes I’m not sure if it’s that natural in humans. Birds maybe, but I’m just not sure most people, you know, it’s just not natural for them. You know, maybe being in a relationship, but being you know, I found out these two people I knew that we lived near were swingers. No idea. Thought they were the perfect married couple. And then I found out they’re swingers. Now, that’s, that’s an interesting lifestyle. So you just, you just don’t know. And every relationship is different. You know, what works in one doesn’t usually work in other. And I just guess I wanted to come on too to say, you know, like the person that doesn’t really talk to me after I told her… You know, I don’t know why people care. If someone’s relationship’s working and they’re working it out, who cares what they do? I mean, as long as they’re not hurting anyone and… But I think people just need to be a little more open minded. And support a friend if they come, you know, if someone comes to you and says, my spouse just told me they were gay, this is what we’re doing. It’s working. More power to ’em.
Chris [00:44:46] Well, yeah, that’s. That’s what upsets me, is that you went to this friend and you said you’ve only shared this with maybe half a dozen people. And it’s one thing if your friend goes, you know, I think he’s playing you. Or another thing if a friend goes, I think you’re deceiving yourself into being okay with this. Let’s talk about why. But for someone to just cut you off, it denotes a judgment or that you’ve been cast out or, you know, deemed weird. And you sit there and you go, well, what does that get- and that’s that’s that person wanting to carve anything out of their life that makes them feel threatened in some way, in a way that’s judgmental and that’s not cool, is the short way to put it. That’s not cool. It’s not it’s not a kind way to be.
Caller [00:45:31] Yeah, exactly. And like I said, there’s two- there’s three women that I’ve told in particular that have been phenomenal. And one of them lives near me. She loves, you know, loves my husband, loves me. She’s been she’s been great, supportive. You know, when it first happened, I felt like I needed to talk about it. And, you know, she had to deal with me. And one of my sisters, I have quite a few sisters, but I only told one. And I don’t know if that was the right thing to do. It’s a lot- it’s almost a lot for someone to burden some people. You know, it’s it’s a lot to handle having that secret. Now, you know, now it’s been a few years and it’s not a big topic of discussion for me all the time. But when it first happened, I needed, you know, a couple of people to help me process the whole thing.
Chris [00:46:40] Of course.
Caller [00:46:42] Yeah. So, you know, it’s and I think this forum online is for people to to process. And, you know, there’s a lot of anger and it’s mostly women that there husbands have come out. There’s, there’s some men on there but but it’s it’s it seems mostly women. I don’t know if that’s true in life or… You know, maybe men are more of like their wife’s a lesbian or gay, they’re, they’re fine with that. I don’t know. It’s interesting. Or maybe women are more prone not to, you know, maybe society- I mean, little girls can wear pants, but little boys can’t wear skirts. You know, I mean… I think women are little easier accepted as being more gender neutral than men at a young age.
Chris [00:47:44] Well I think. I think, you know, certainly since the nineties, there’s been that cliche of, you know- and I’m speaking in very, very broad strokes here and not speaking for everybody. And and the details of actual human experiences go way beyond this. But in the most broad cliches, I feel like it was around the nineties you started to feel like, oh, lesbians. Hot. And that, you know, certainly flavored…
Caller [00:48:16] Yes.
Chris [00:48:17] The acceptability of different.
Caller [00:48:20] Exactly.
Chris [00:48:21] Certainly in like pop culture, for example, and things it was could be deemed quote unquote, easier to be a female who who wants to experiment with your sexuality um versus a guy. But again, that is also very reductive in its own right as far as real world experience. But in the broad strokes, that’s the old cliche, right? That guys will go, oh, your wife likes to hook up with other girls? That’s awesome, dude. Whereas, oh, your husband is hooking up with other guys? I’m never going to talk to you again. Right? Was your actual experience. So yeah, I see what you’re saying.
Caller [00:48:54] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It’s funny when you were talking about, you know, acceptance. When we were younger… It is interesting, like in the 70s, 80s, people, people almost looked more gender neutral than today.
Chris [00:49:17] Right.
Caller [00:49:18] I mean, Duran Duran.
Chris [00:49:20] Rod Stewart. All those tough heavy metal guys with their makeup. You watch a Twisted Sister video.
Caller [00:49:26] Yeah. It’s weird. Yeah, it’s weird because… I don’t know, it seemed more, in some ways, even though it wasn’t accepting in some ways… to look like the other sex wasn’t a big deal. It’s very interesting. And now people have gender reveal parties when we’re not supposed to care about gender.
Chris [00:49:49] Right.
Caller [00:49:51] Now, what is that all about?
Chris [00:49:52] Yeah.
Caller [00:49:54] It’s. It’s I think it’s just because people are so, I mean, everywhere it’s just people are either one way or the other. They’re so divided. You know, it’s-
Chris [00:50:11] I have to bet, too, there’s well, there’s got to be some part of this that goes, well when, like Reagan style Republicanism took over, you start to get all this pop culture where, yeah, you get like all of a sudden The Cure and the Smiths are on TV and Michael Stipe is around, like, all these, like people who walk an androgynous line. And then, yeah, like tough heavy metal guys who are wearing makeup and walking around in high heels. And you start to realize, like, Oh, and then now we’re coming out of the heels of, you know, a… Of of Trumpism, which is again like real fervent conservatism. And you start to see conversations where it begets a fever pitch surrounding all this stuff. And it’s like this pendulum. It’s it’s uh.
Caller [00:50:54] Yeah it’s interesting. I know a friend of mine, and I said, Did Putin have a video of Trump doing something?
Chris [00:51:02] Well, that’s the rumor, right? That’s the rumor is that he’s got a pee tape. There’s- the rumors are that there’s a tape of him getting peed on. And that’s what it all comes down to. Which at this point just put out the pee tape so we can all move on. Please. People are into golden showers. It’s fine.
Caller [00:51:16] Yeah.
Chris [00:51:17] I think people would still vote for him anyway if he’s like, yeah, like getting peed on. Piss on me. I like it. I want to feel your golden warmth all over. You know, like, even that wouldn’t stop this guy. So, anyway, let me ask you, because I said a couple phrases a few minutes ago in relation to like that one friend’s reaction who has kind of cut you off in a way that doesn’t feel good. Now, it’s been four years.
Caller [00:51:40] Yes.
Chris [00:51:41] Two of them are Covid, which kind of puts the whole thing on ice as far as dating. But it’s been four years to think about this. I had said before, like, if you had a friend who told you, Hey, I think that you’re rationalizing this or he’s playing you or he’s getting away with something… Are there- those are thoughts you must have had or there must have been people who have brought those possibilities up? Do you still struggle with that or do you sit here and go, No, I actually think this is working?
Caller [00:52:12] For now it’s working. Ask me in two years. I don’t know. But… If you knew my husband, you would say… He’s just not a player. I’ve dated players. But he’s just not that personality. Yes, he could have told me sooner. And he understands if I want to kick him out at any time, that’s my decision. So and yeah, Covid has definitely in put a damper. Will I want to have another relationship? I really do not know. Right now, no. But that could change. You know, it’s just the world right now is just… I don’t know. It’s scary in a way to even think about for me. Doing that. But like I said, in a year or two, that might be on the table for me. I mean… It’s hard to know. And hard to, you know, know if he if we will break up. Or continue this open marriage. No easy answers, I guess.
Chris [00:53:53] Well, yeah. And COVID is such a monkey wrench, right? In the sense of well, when you when we’re living in a world where he can go out every night, what if he starts to? And then the writing becomes on the wall, okay, he just his head is someplace else. And it’s- the balance has now shifted. Or, or, you know, you said that you’re not necessarily interested in dating right now, but then there’s the chance that maybe you’re out one day and you meet somebody… And you go, Oh, this guy is something special and he totally understands where I’m at and he’s he’s filling in those- okay, there’s some balance here where my husband can go out as often as he wants, and I feel like I can get what I want and that and right? What a, I mean, a remarkably intense thing for a relationship to go through and then immediately enter a period of history where it’s like, and now you can’t go really find- you can’t really go figure out all the implications of what this means because the world is shutting down. So as far as meeting other people and having an open marriage and seeing what that’s going to be. Good luck. But now you’re just kind of on ice.
Caller [00:54:57] Yeah.
Chris [00:54:57] Strange times in your house, huh? Strange times.
Caller [00:55:01] Yes, it is. But like I said, our our relationship is better now than it was, you know, six years ago.
Chris [00:55:11] I get the sense-.
Caller [00:55:12] I know that sounds strange.
Chris [00:55:14] No in some ways it really doesn’t, because you’ve laid it out so- like, it sounds to me like even if you wind up separating someday, you and your husband are still going to be parenting together and texting and around each other a lot.
Caller [00:55:29] Oh, definitely. And I’m close to his family and he told one sibling. He has two others that he hasn’t told. And again, you know, there’s reasons for that. You know, he’s a pretty private person. So it just makes sense to him.
Chris [00:55:55] Yeah.
Caller [00:55:56] You know, right now, you know. But I think at the beginning it was the big thing in the room and now it’s like, who cares, oh, you’re gay. And if you want to see someone, go ahead. I think it’s not such an issue now. And I think I’ve gone through the stages of grief so to speak. So, you know, talked to a counselor. We talked to a counselor. And I think I am a lot more accepting than many people would be, but that’s in my nature. So, you know, I think a lot of it, you know, the forum I read, a lot of people are really pissed off. And I get it. And maybe their relationship wasn’t great to begin with, where ours was always built on friendship first. So that may be different than someone else’s.
Chris [00:57:05] Let me ask you something about that. Now you’re the person I’m on the phone with. So my allegiance extends to you, right? Like, that’s kind of how the show goes is I’m hearing your side of the story and I got your back. And also you were the person who had the rug pulled out from under you and you were the person who someone stepped out on. Like, I’m on your side. That being said, hearing you say all those things you just said, which are really beautiful and that I feel like a lot of people would not be able to have those same reactions, is there a part of you… Simultaneous to finding this out, kind of having your world rocked… Are you also able to look at your husband as this friend? You’ve always had this foundation of friendship. Is there any part of you that goes, that must have been really lonely and hard to be living with secrets? Like, do you have to be there for him as a friend at the same time that you’re being there for yourself as this… As a as a as a partner who has been, you know, I guess deceived is the easiest way to say it.
Caller [00:58:13] Yeah. It’s like I’ve been deceived. And he deceived himself. So yeah, I have, you know, I definitely have empathy for him at times. Sometimes not so much, but, you know, since this has been a few years, I definitely, you know, get his thought process in some ways. I don’t think I would have handled it the same way he did, but um, you know, who knows? It’s it’s hard to judge someone when you haven’t gone through the same thing. And, you know, he said you’re not going to have to take care of me, you know, if his disease progresses. You know, he’s upfront about that. He doesn’t want to feel like a burden, I think because especially he did this to me. He came forward to me.
Chris [00:59:19] He knows that.
Caller [00:59:20] Yes. But again, he’s healthy. He’s dealt with it very well. You know. More so than other other people may have dealt with it. He’s accepted it. He doesn’t dwell on it. You know, I think a lot of people, when they get a diagnosis, it’s all they can think about. So he’s a he’s a strong person. I mean, I think we’re both strong people, and that’s what’s getting us through all these obstacles. But again, you know, listening to the news today, like… It’s it’s not that. Yes, it’s it’s been hard. But then I think geez, you know, I’m not being bombed on. You know, I have a lot of things going for me. So that’s what I try to focus on.
Chris [01:00:23] And I have to ask, you mentioned that one of your kids knows and one of yours doesn’t.
Caller [01:00:29] Yeah.
Chris [01:00:29] I have to wonder how that came to pass and what the reaction was from your kid.
Caller [01:00:37] I think… she was fine. They have a really close relationship. And I think wasn’t such a big deal to her after the initial shock. My son… He’s been through some things and I just- he doesn’t need this right now. And like I said, I think if we were to divorce, that would be another issue. But, you know, our relationship is the same, really, in his- for our kids, as it was. It’s actually better. You know, I say better just because the lines of communication have strengthened. You know, acceptance and openness is it is better now. Yes we, you know, the sex is gone, but… you know, not- it’s not he worst thing in the world right now. So. I think, you know, in some ways it just brought us closer together. I know that sounds crazy.
Chris [01:02:08] No. It sounds like very real life. It sounds like…
Caller [01:02:13] Yeah,and like I said, we had a we had a great sex life, like, for years. So that’s why I sometimes think he’s bi. Or I’m just that amazing that I can…
Chris [01:02:28] There you go. There you go. When you throw down, it must be you’re, over you’re overcoming someone’s biological instincts. Damn, getting the brag in at the end.
Caller [01:02:41] Well, why not?
Chris [01:02:43] Well, let me ask you. I mean, we got 2 minutes left. Because you’ve said you said, you know, when you hit the age and menopause is coming, you start to slow down anyway. It’s this and that. And you there is also part of me that is realizing, though, like, let’s be honest, you’ve mentioned a few times like your sex life was great. You’ve mentioned yeah, 20 years ago, I was ready to go. Like, you sound like someone who- I say this just piecing together what you’ve put out there- you sound like somebody who is, you know, pretty into being a sexual person. It sounds like it was a healthy thing.
Caller [01:03:18] Yes.
Chris [01:03:20] There’s a part of me that goes- for you to make jokes like that tells me that you’re very in tune with yourself sexually and wonders how much you really are saying like, well, I’m not really into sex any anyway. That is a part that I go to- it would be a shame if that went away.
Caller [01:03:37] Well, if I could find someone that wanted to have sex, like once every three weeks with no strings attached, that’s a hard that’s a hard find.
Chris [01:03:48] I feel like I feel like they’re out there. I feel like those people are out there. You’re looking for a guy who wants no strings attached sex once, once, once maybe twice a month.
Caller [01:03:56] Yeah, but when- when you say that, they think they want that, but when they can’t have the other… It’s like a, you know, they want what they can’t have.
Chris [01:04:17] Now you’re once again indicating that you’re so amazing sexually that these guys just can’t play by the rules. You’re like, they just need it and they crave it. You turn gay guys straight for decades. You’re offering no strings attached sex to men, and they’re sitting here going, No, I want to be in a committed relationship. You’re kind of once again quietly indicating that you’re a sexual tornado.
Caller [01:04:39] Oh, I don’t know about that, but thank you. Maybe I should get a bumper sticker.
Chris [01:04:47] That’s. That’ll solve all your problems. That’ll solve all the problems, I’m sure. A bumper sticker that proclaims I’m a sexual tornado. That’s all you need. I’m glad that we solved it. And our time is up. We just we just hit 60 minutes on that, which I think is one of the better ending in the history of the show.
Caller [01:05:07] It was so great- It was great talking to you. I listen to your show all the time. So I think it’s a great thing you do.
Chris [01:05:16] Well, listen, it was really great talking to you, and I thank you for listening. And I have to say… You’ve been through something that’s head spinning and not easy. And you’ve indicated, you know, you said you went through all the stages of grief, but you also have done your best to be an open minded and understanding person to someone who you care about. Like, seems to me like wherever this lands, you have done everything possible to be an above board person trying to do it the right way as you sort it all out. So I want nothing but the best for you no matter where that lands. And I hope in a year or two we can do a follow up call and get updates on that.
Caller [01:05:55] Oh definitely.
Chris [01:05:56] If you find out if you’ve if you’ve found… You know, a rhythm with your husband or if you wind up separating or if you wind up finding the once every three weeks booty call that could solve it all. I want to know where this one lands, because you’re in a very, very interesting place, both in life and kind of, you know, in in American cultural history with how we’re all redefining how we think and talk about this stuff. So I want to hear from you. I want to I want to make sure we follow up down the line.
Caller [01:06:30] Oh, definitely. Definitely. Thank you so much.
Chris [01:06:38] Caller, thank you so much. For real, we need to follow up in a year or two. Hear where things are at. Because you are a truly good person trying to handle a confusing situation in a way that is rooted in kindness and empathy and love and redefining what love might mean for you. It’s fascinating. It’s absolutely fascinating. I feel lucky that you shared it with me. Thank you. And thank you to our producer, Anita Flores. Thank you to our engineer, Marcus Hahm. Thank you to ShellShag, who wrote our theme song. And sincerely, support ShellShag. You’ve been hearing their tunes for years now via this show. Go throw ’em some cash. If you want to throw me some cash, come out and see me on the road. ChrisGeth.com has all my touring dates. And hey, wherever you’re listening, subscribe, favorite, follow. There’s a button that says something like that. It helps us so much when you hit that button, so please do so. Find our latest merch at PodSwag.Com. There’s mugs, T-shirts, posters and more. And hey, if you want ad free episodes of the show and tons of other shows, Stitcher Premium has got you covered. You can use the code stories for a one month free trial at Stitcher.com/premium.
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