Shattering the Clay

89 Flares Twitter 69 Facebook 20 Buffer 0 Google+ 0 89 Flares ×

I’m honored today to share a guest post with you written by a dear friend. She wishes to remain anonymous and I am over the moon to host her here. She will reply to your comments via my username. Please read and share. Her message needs to be heard. And do come back for more soon, as this is just the first installment of a series she will be posting here!

The week before my wedding, it rained.

Huge buckets of water fell from the normally blue sky. My mom, my girlfriends, my sisters, and my fiance worried the storm would destroy our outdoor wedding and reception. They watched me, anticipating a bridal meltdown.

I was in a bubble of peace, an oasis of calm. Nothing would ruin my dream wedding. I knew it would be perfect. After all I was marrying the perfect man.

I met Ford the day before Easter by accident. I was invited to a barbeque by his roommate, a man I’d met online and enjoyed talking to. After a few minutes of awkward chatter, Ford walked into the room. The moment our eyes met, my heart stopped, my mind silenced, and one thought became crystal clear, “This was him.”

I stayed until after midnight, talking to Ford, each topic we had in common making my smile and his brighter and brighter. By the end of the night I was already half in love.

He called and asked me out. Our first date was at a friend’s wedding.

On our second date, he arrived at my house carrying a bouquet of my favorite flowers.

On our third date, he told me he wasn’t good with words, but heard a song on the radio that described what he felt for me so perfectly, he’d searched every music store in the county until he found it. This was before iTunes, before Napster, before iPods. The fact that he’d driven from store to store made my heart beat triple.

And when Stevie Wonder crooned, “This time when I fall in love, it will be forever. God has answered all my prayers.” while we swayed slowly in the candlelight, I fell head over heels in love.

Ford was focused, serious, and determined in his pursuit of me.

I was flattered.

He asked, once, what it would take to keep me happy.

“I’m simple,” I said, smiling. “Buy me flowers just because, take me out to dinner on occasion, tell me I’m pretty.”

“That’s it?” he asked.

“Yep!” I laughed at the look on his face. “Do you need to take notes?”

“Nah. I think I have it,” he said, not cracking a smile. “Flowers, dinner, pretty. And you’ll be happy.”

Within six weeks we moved in together.

Six weeks later we were engaged.

Less than a year after we met, I stood alone in a room at the edge of a garden, taking a deep breath as I walked outside to where my father stood waiting for me. The day had dawned clear and sunny. A slight breeze lifted the edge of the lace trim on my veil. I walked around the corner of the building and there he stood at the end of an aisle strewn with daisy petals.

He looked at me and started crying, taking great gulping breaths while his brother-in-law clutched his shoulder and muttered, “Pull yourself together.”

I mouthed, “I love you.”

And he smiled.

I walked up the aisle on my father’s arm and took Ford’s hands in mine. I slipped a ring over his finger, the engraved words “Perfect for each other” touching his skin. Minutes later, we turned to face our friends and family as man and wife. As the music enveloped us with joyful piano and
triumphant trumpets, we stepped down from the gazebo, the train of my dress sending a flower pot over the edge, shattering the clay.

Looking back now, now that I know everything, there were warning signs.

I wasn’t oblivious, though I feel that way now.

I wasn’t stupid, though I feel that way now.

I was simply young and in love, blind to a truth that wouldn’t become evident until nine years later when the decay and deterioration of our marriage caused the facade to crash around us.

When I walked down the aisle that sunny spring day, I looked forward to growing old with the man I loved.

When he stood at the end of the aisle that day, Ford prayed to God I’d never discover he was gay.

89 Flares Twitter 69 Facebook 20 Buffer 0 Google+ 0 89 Flares ×
This entry was posted in Guest Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • birdonthestreet

    My heart goes out to you. And thank you so much for have the courage to tell this story–one that is so often kept a secret.

    • Erin Margolin

      There’s a sort of shame that goes with this. A feeling of being duped in a way that’s so basic, so elemental, you feel that you should have known. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  • Anonymous

    wow! very well written

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much.

  • Good Day, Reg People

    Oh my goodness.

    I don’t know what to say.

    My heart tells me to tell you to forgive yourself.

    You say you saw warning signals but went ahead anyway.

    Don’t blame yourself for what you decided back then.

    Forgive yourself: you wanted to marry him. You loved him. You wanted to love him and be married to him MORE than anything else.

    We all ignore our inner warning system.

    Some ignore it and marry abusive spouses.

    Some ignore it and give undeserved loyalty to parents that don’t deserve our time.

    Some ignore it and get coerced into bad financial decisions.

    The majority of us have done it.

    Yours was with marriage.

    But we’ve all gone against our guts.

    Forgive yourself. Take time.

    Realize this will hurt.

    Give time to heal.

    Surround yourself with friends, allow them to help you.

    Love yourself.

    Realize you are human.

    • Kim

      She said it way better than I would have.
      Sharing your story will not only help you heal, it will help others in the same position.

      • Erin Margolin

        I hope if there’s a man or woman googling gay spouses, they come across this story and know they’re not alone. Far from it.

    • Veronica

      Yes, I too agree with this. You sharing your story will not only help you move forward and heal but it will also help anyone else reading it too, whether it was the same exact situation or one similar in that they ignored signs and ended up marrying the wrong person .

      • Erin Margolin

        I hope it does. I truly do.

    • Erin Margolin

      This situation has taught me the gifts of humility and acceptance. I have been very fortunate in my friends and family. They’ve surrounded me and protected me when I broke. As I’ve begun to heal, I feel that I’m stronger, more assured, more aware. Ford was so good at hiding. When you are told you are looking at an apple tree bare of leaves, you expect it’s an apple tree. When it starts to bud, the leaves looking not quite right, you never thinks it’s not an apple tree, even if you think something is slightly off. It’s not until it produces pears that you can look back and say, “I knew something was wrong!”
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I can only hope I’m more in tune with my inner warning system after this.

  • Mrs. Jen B

    Oh my gosh.  Thank you for sharing this story with us. As another commenter said, this is the story that so often goes unspoken.

    • Erin Margolin

      I remember watching Oprah and seeing a man who had recently come out. He was sitting next to and holding the hand of his wife. I remember thinking, at the time, what must be going through her head. I now wonder how often those voices are silent in shame and confusion. I’m not ashamed – well, maybe a little embarassed I didn’t see it – but I am cautious. Ford will eventually find amazing support within the gay community. For the woman he married, there’s only an attempt to hide her.

  • Anonymous

    That was almost me, 18 years ago. My first true love – who I’d known in kindergarten and then re-met in high school, broke off our engagement while I was out of state for a semester, and left the university, without warning and without explanation. It wasn’t until a year and a half later that he had the courage to tell me himself that he and his boyfriend were moving to Seattle, where his partner was offered a job. The signs were all there…but he said he wanted *me* and why would you ever question that?

    • Erin Margolin

      Why would you ever question a man who is acting straight? Until Ford, I never thought to ask a man who invited me on a date if he was straight. I thought that was just a given. I’m so glad your fiance had the courage to break off your engagement.

  • LeeBlock

    She is very brave to share her story.  It happens more times than we know or realize, the shame of wondering if it is our fault for not knowing keeping us silent.  Bravo for her speaking out and letting others know that they are not alone. 

    • Erin Margolin

      Shortly after disclosure, I discovered an online support group. The stats were both chilling and comforting. The group is comprised of people from all walks of life who have one thing in common – they married a gay or lesbian person.

  • Margaret

    I like you now look back at my failed marriage and beat myself up because of all the signs I “missed”.  I have come to realize that I need to learn the lessons that could only be taught by me getting married to the wrong person. 

    • Erin Margolin

      That’s been the hardest part. Knowing I failed at marriage. I’m a little hard on myself about it even though I know there’s no way a marriage between Ford and I would have worked. I did, however, learn valuable lessons and have met some amazing people as a result of this situation.

  • Mrs. Wonder

    As someone who knew someone who had a similar experience, I know it wasn’t your fault you didn’t see the signs. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erin Margolin

      One thing I’ve discovered over the last few months is how good at staying hidden Ford was. He was so accustomed to denying who he was, it would have been more amazing if I’d recognized the signs at the beginning.

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for having the courage to share this story; you are not the only person who has ignored signs about something amiss when planning to marry the person they love.  Don’t blame yourself, though I am sorry you had to go through this.

    • Erin Margolin

      The signs were so easy to ignore. Little niggles of doubt that didn’t make sense with what I thought I knew. I don’t feel very courageous – I’m anonymous after all – but I do hope that perhaps my story will help someone else going through the same situation.

  • Robbie

    Wow…jsut wow! Amazing writing and what courage it must have taken to share your story.

    • Erin Margolin

      It’s amazingly easy to share when one is anonymous and being hosted by someone who understands the situation so well. Thank you so much for your words. Reading all of the comments on here today has been a balm to my soul.

  • Truthfulmommy

    I am speechless because I can’t imagine the betrayal that you felt after building a life with someone and then realizing that you really never knew the real person.We have a family friend who just came out to his wife of 20 years.Its a hard pill to swallow I am sure but if they stayed together, neither one would have truly ever gotten the relationship they deserved. I know it probably doesn’t feel like it now but his honesty now though late and hurtful is better than you both spending a lifetime together unhappy, right? Maybe?

    • Erin Margolin

      When Ford first told me his secret, he also confessed he’d originally thought to come out after the kids were out of the house – in another sixteen years. All I could think was how grateful I am that I’m still fairly young and can heal, moving on a happier person. If your friend doesn’t know about it, please refer her to the Straight Support Network. They’re an amazing group of people at different stages of this journey.

  • Denise (Universal Grit)

    I am so glad, Anonymous, that you shared your story. I believe that each time we share our story, the catharsis ripples and touches the lives of many. 

    • Erin Margolin

      Writing has always provided a release, a comfort to me. In writing out my story, I’ve felt the knot untangle and a breath of fresh air cleanse my mind.

  • alisha

    thank you, for sharing your story. it’s one that desperately needs to be heard, for many reasons.

    • Erin Margolin

      Which is why I felt I needed to write it. I’m not ashamed. At all. I am, however, cognizant of the fact that my journey through an amicable divorce requires I keep Ford in the semi closet he still lives in. After he revealed his “secret”, I searched the web for more people like me. And now, I hope those doing that same search find this.

  • Pam @writewrds

    Thanks so so much for sharing your story. 

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you for stopping by and reading.

  • From Tracie

    You are brave to share your story here – to delve through the memories in light of this new revelation. You weren’t (and aren’t) stupid or oblivious – just in love. Many of us have made what turned out not to be the best choices when love was involved. 

    • Erin Margolin

      I always thought I was so smart in choosing the men I fell in love with. I made sure they had good jobs, had good relationships with their families, were kind, caring. Funny. Maybe I should have added “straight” to that list. :)

  • Tammystwocents

    Beautifully written!  A fairy tale gone so very wrong.  I can’t imagine the pain you feel.  Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Erin Margolin

      What a wonderful way to put it! That’s exactly how I feel – like I got caught in a warped fairytale.

  • Julie Watson

    I’m already inpatient for the next installment…this was so well done.

    Thank you for your bravery and for sharing your story.  Looking forward to more.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you. Writing all this out has been an amazing experience. I’m so grateful to Erin for hosting me.

  • Gabriella Sannino

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting that ending…powerful. Odd, how I happened on this post, considering I just met and rented a house to a woman who had a similar story. She met and fell in love with her husband for years before getting married. They married and were together for over 15 years. She always sensed there was something just not right about her marriage. Without giving me too much information she told me how she beat herself thinking it was something she did. She went on diets, talked to therapists, girlfriends but no one could make her marriage happy until her husband finally came out of the closet. 

    They are still very close, but to her it was an awakening of self. She finally gave herself permission to grieve for a man she loved, (still loves) and for thinking it was her fault. She wasn’t pretty enough, she wasn’t thin enough. I can’t imagine torturing yourself for all those years. The good news is they are still good friends. But like you, we were not permitted to come out. I can’t tell you how many people I know are still living in the closet. I personally came out of the closet a month before walking down the isle. As an only child to Italian parents it was not easy. Especially back then, when it was still considered a “disease”. 

    I wish you all the love and joy moving forward… and thank you for sharing this very intimate story with us.

    • Erin Margolin

      Her story sounds so similar to mine – minus the number of years. The part that saddened me the most is that Ford felt he needed to stay closeted – even though his family is very liberal, non-religious, and accepting. Both his aunt and his grandmother are lesbians, his grandmother living with her partner for thirty years before their deaths. I still can’t understand why he would deny that part of himself. And he still can’t explain to me why he felt the need to do so.
      If you feel comfortable doing so, please refer your renter to the Straight Spouse Network. It has been an unbelievable sourse of support for me.

  • Jackie

    Wow.. great writing! And the ending…. yea, I didn’t expect that at all.

    I can’t read more!

    • Erin Margolin

      You and me both!

  • Stephanie

    I can’t wait for more installments.  This must have been difficult to write and I’m honored to have read it!

    • Erin Margolin

      When I started writing it, the words released a feeling of relief that made it all so worthwhile.

  • Galit Breen

    Your writing is stunning, your transparency is even more so. 

    {Thank you, for both.}

    • Erin Margolin

      It’s a story I needed to tell. Thank you for your sweet words.

  • Tracey

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an incredible writer.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much.

  • Lori Paquette

    Beautifully written … absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Jbswrker

    well done!  i have been there, and i have done that….
    i am so sorry for your pain, as i know that pain only too well…..
    i want you to know what helped me through (and still does): it’s keeping in mind all the good that came out of it; it’s keeping in mind the incredible children that came out of it;  it’s keeping in mind that what doesn’t kill you REALLY does make you stronger..
    i will never know what could compel someone to take, and use, another’s life in this must be very powerful and it must be very strong…it isn’t mine, and it isn’t yours
    what is ours is healing, and finding peace, and allowing the anger and the grief (for however long they hang around), and picking ourselves up and moving on…
    thank you for sharing this in such a powerful and moving way….

    • Erin Margolin

       I think, sometimes, what frustrates me the most is Ford has stolen my ability to regret marrying him. Without that marriage, I wouldn’t have my amazing children. I can’t regret and that makes me angry sometimes. I look forward and hope I’ll see good come out of this. I so badly want to see good. At the moment, I go between anger, grief, acceptance, and, sometimes, relief. Relief that the problems in our marriage weren’t about me. I met a friend through the Straight Spouse Network who told me, “Welcome to the club no one wanted to join.” I agree. But I also realize knowing I’m not alone in this crazy, mixed up situation is what gets me through. I’m so sorry you went through this pain. Thank you for your encouragement. This WILL make me stronger. Mostly because my mama didn’t raise me to be weak. :)

  • Ally

    Wow. Incredibly beautiful writing. And the story – the love and the heartbreak.

    • Erin Margolin

      They go hand in hand in my story. Thank you so much.

  • MommaKiss

    Wow.  I hope this friend is writing often, this is incredible.

    • Erin Margolin

      I do write. And often. It’s my solace and my release. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Kir

    This was simply engaging, from the love story of your courtship  to the Shatter of the clay pot.
     I have 7 ex boyfriends that have come out since we broke up. It’s actually a running joke in my family, but I also know the pain of wanting something so badly that you ignore that nagging at the back of your mind and the tugging at your heart. You are brave and strong for sharing this with us and I truly hope that in doing so you can come to a place of reconciliation with it.
    thank you for letting us in as you write. Sending you love.

    • Erin Margolin

      SEVEN??!! I can’t even imagine. I thought it was bad that my first boyfriend and first husband were gay. (Two different men, by the way.) I wonder what it is about those men that draw you. I wonder what it is about them that draws me.

  • Kimberly

    This just blew me away.
    I had a mad crush on a guy in highschool. We sord of dated on and off. I didn’t understand why I was so head over heels for him and he didn’t feel that way towards me. Then in college he told me that he was gay.
    I just went to his wedding last year.
    I never ever EVER not once suspected that he was. No one did.

    • Erin Margolin

       I think, sometimes, we’re so tuned into the stereotypes, we don’t realize there are a lot of gay men who look and act very straight. Ford told me he didn’t feel he was flamboyant enough to be gay so maybe he wasn’t. He struggled with his identity for years before finally starting to understand being gay doesn’t always mean pink shirts and show tunes.

  • Juliecgardner

    I read this yesterday and didn’t have the right words to respond. I still probably don’t. But I want to express my support of you (and your beautiful writing) nonetheless.

    I think this subject is hard for me because I’m frustrated that we live in a society where it’s still so hard to be who you truly are. I was surprised to read in your replies that Ford’s family is liberal and accepting. I’d expected the opposite would be true.

    So is this better or worse? His family probably would be understanding and yet. He wishes to remain semi-closeted. It’s a sad commentary on a prejudice that’s (unfortunately) alive and well in our country.

    Anyway, I didn’t want to be political. I just wanted to lend my support. And compliment your talent with words. But I can’t help myself sometimes. I wish EVERYONE were more tolerant and accepting. Because there are so many innocent victims as a result of the fear.

    So thanks for sharing and I’m sorry for your pain. Perhaps your story is a step toward healing for everyone.

    • Erin Margolin

      To me, it’s worse. I had a friend tell me, “Wow, gay marriage ruined your marriage.” She was joking, of course, but the fact remains: If Ford had thought he could meet and marry a nice man, build a life together, adopt children, and do so without anyone in our small town looking at him with disgust, he would have. His parents have been amazingly supportive, and, I think, saddened that he didn’t feel he could tell them earlier. He still wishes to be semi-closeted because he still doesn’t want to be gay. His is a path that will take him some time to adjust to. He’s not ready to jump into the gay community, even if he knows they’ll accept him with open arms. And he’s not ready for people who have known him for his whole life to know he’s gay.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. That’s incredible. I am sad for you. I am sad that he had to hide himself.  My cousin, who is like my best friend, did not come out until he was 22. It seems so unfair.

    Your writing is incredible. I wish you peace and love.

    • Erin Margolin

      Ford was 38 and my first coherent thought, after the storm in my mind settled down, was how heartbreakingly tragic that he’d hid his true self for twenty years.


    Wow, not the ending I was expecting. Is that why he was crying? 

    Beautiful writing.

    • Erin Margolin

      I think he was crying for mutliple reasons. I truly think he loved me, still loves me, but that he doesn’t really know what the love between a man and a woman is. His love has always had a basis in selfishness. I don’t say that with anger, merely that he loved me for what I could do for him – provide him with normalacy.

  • Alison@Mama Wants This

    I have no words, as yours are beautiful. My heart breaks for you.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much.

  • Carri

    Wow. Wonderful writing. Heartbreaking story.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  • Ellen Wonton

    Wow. Beautiful. Sad. Completely selfish and unfair of him to lead  you on like that and have you dream about that happy ever after with him. Yet I imagine you must be very forgiving. I wish you the best.

    • Erin Margolin

      I don’t know if “forgiving” is the right word. In the eight months since disclosure, I’ve been in shock, angry, sad, angry, optimistic, angry, frustrated, and angry. Now, I’m accepting and not so angry. :)

  • Leigh Ann

    This was amazing. My heart literally stopped at the end. 

    My husband’s father is gay and left his family when my husband was 7, his oldest sibling 13, with 2 in between. I often wonder if he always knew he was gay.

    • Erin Margolin

      My heart aches for you mother-in-law. I know her pain all too well. I asked Ford if he always knew he was gay and he replied he did, but he didn’t want to be. He thought he could just ignore it and it would go away.

  • Faiqa

    Thanks for sharing this, it was very brave as well as beautifully written.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you for commenting. I’ve been overwhelmed at the support from Erin’s readers. I’m so grateful that she’s hosting me here.

  • Nina Badzin


  • Nina Badzin

    Meant to say: Wow–POWERFUL

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much.

  • Elaine A.

    I can only imagine how you are truly feeling but you are so brave to share this here.  Thank You for doing so because I’m pretty sure it will help someone else along the way… Beautiful words but I’m sorry they come at such a painful price. 

    • Erin Margolin

      I hope, very much, that my story helps someone going through this know they are not alone. Thank you so much for your comment.

  • Sherri

    Wow…I can only imagine. What a huge deception, and hard on both parties.

    • Erin Margolin

      The deception is so deep, I still have a hard time comprehending all that must have been hidden. I don’t feel that I was lied to. I feel that he lied to himself and I was collatoral damage.

  • Karen Hammons

    This is a beautifully crafted work of art in words. My heart hurts for both of the individuals who were at the end of the aisle that day. The courage displayed in sharing this is breathtaking. Cheering both individuals on as they walk through this.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much for your very kind words. It’s an interesting path, one I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  • Brittany at Mommy Words

    Oh my goodness, I can’t even imagine that pain.  Beautifully written and heart wrenching.  I am so sorry you were mislead that way, and that he did not want to live as a gay man but get married and know that he may hurt you so deeply.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and him as this is such a difficult time.

    • Erin Margolin

      He says now that he honestly thought he’d be able to make it work. He swears he thought he could live with his secret. As for me? I think he was a little naive. The pain is still there, raw but healing.

  • Melissa

    Wow, what a beautifully written piece. I’m so sorry you went through this pain (I know how much divorce sucks and how much it hurts to watch your dreams fall apart). You write your heart so well. Mine goes out to yours. 

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I think you hit the nail on the head. The end of a marriage is really watching dreams fall apart – the dream of growing old together, of having your children live with you both, of sitting on the porch and watching your grandchildren live. I can only hope, after all this is done, I’ll be able to create new dreams.

  • Anonymous

    What an incredibly powerful story. I’m just so sad that this painful experience happened to you. Your talent as a writer is amazing. I want to see this whole story as a book someday.

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you so much. It’s an experience I never expected, but sometimes those are the experiences that lead us to new opportunities. It’s a wealth of material for a book, that’s for sure. :)

  • Dana Reeves

    I’ve been on ‘hiatus’ from social media for a while since my Mom passed away in November, and have just started getting back into it … so that’s why I’m a little late to this ‘party’…

    When I was reading your story, my mouth literally dropped open in shock. This is MY story – granted, with some different details – but the same. It was uncomfortably comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one to have gone through that kind of situation. I know it’s becoming a more common story, but it feels like you’re completely alone and isolated when you’re going through it.

    Like you, I believed I’d found the man of my dreams. Everything appeared perfect (first warning sign?) He said and did all the right things (another sign?!) We were married in May 1992 and he came out to me in mid-summer 1996 – three months after our son was born. I’ve read through all the comments and your replies on this post … and when I read what you wrote about regret, I literally exclaimed, “YES!” out loud.

    —> “I think, sometimes, what frustrates me the most is Ford has stolen my
    ability to regret marrying him. Without that marriage, I wouldn’t have
    my amazing children. I can’t regret and that makes me angry sometimes.”

    We finally divorced in 2001 (yep, long story in there), and I got married again in 2008 to an amazing man. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure, but the whole experience has had long-lasting impact in so many areas of my life.

    Thank you for sharing such an intimate look at your journey. Sending you lots of love.

  • Anonymous

    This is an incredible story, beautifully written, so heart-felt. Thank you for being braver than so many of us could ever be. Thank you for sharing. 

  • Liz

    Such a beautifully written post.

  • Ginger

    A dear friend forwarded me the link to this today… I could’ve written it.  You captured what I’ve been through (6 years & 1 child later) and how I’ve felt.  Thank you. 

  • Roland

    What a story…..and how unique she might have thought at the time….but not really…..and so we wonder why anyone would become involved and have children with a woman if the genuine desire is to be with a man…..what a dilemma….ending up with a double life…..lost in their own world of wanting the best of both worlds….and not aware of the harm and damage they are causing to others, to the ones they actually love. I have been in a relationship with a woman who came out of a long term relationship with a man who was gay, and they had two children together, and I have seen the damage, have done everything to help her to overcome this trauma, but I have failed… is sitting to deep in her…..