Jennifer Hunt: How Did You Not Know?

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“How did you not know?” The million dollar question. Still brings a twinge of pain every single time, even all these years later. Maybe I did, somewhere in the depths of my mind, know that something about the man that was first my best friend, my husband, father of my children and now soon to be “ex” was different.

I am the spouse of the “father who came out” or at least I was for twelve years before one life altering day, cornered in our bedroom, when he finally decided to tell me what had been eating at him for months. It really is just that simple, “I am gay” came blundering out of his mouth and just as quickly the very solid materials holding my home together began to break apart all around us, as if the ending of a scene in a movie. This was a man I had known since the sixth grade, no one could ask that question of me more than I was asking it of myself. How did I not know?

I made peace with the question and found comfort in knowing there isn’t really an answer. My kids were so much smaller then, we went through the paces of our marriage for several years to follow holding on to the idea that our friendship was enough. We didn’t love each other anymore the way we should, we loved the idea of what we were. A few years ago the father of my kids was ready to come out, our three beautiful children had to be told and the little secret I had hidden so well for so long began to ooze like drano down a clogged sink into every orifice of my life. I struggled for such a long time, I fit all the stereotypes from angry to devastated. My kids’ dad had met someone new and it was time for me to meet him. I realized that night as I walked away from our first meeting that this was really happening, my “husband” was gay , I was single and my kids now had a gay father. You’d think I would have dealt with that all those years ago, somewhere in my mind I think I really believed I could “busy” it away.

I took a deep breath and as I exhaled I cried, with the tears I let go of all the anger, I reminded myself that gay or not, he was my best friend and that meant more to me than a piece of paper that bound us and I let go. It’s been almost a year since he moved out and in with his partner.

The kids are so much more mature than I am. They have moments of struggling to figure out how to handle new situations, like explaining dad and his “friend” when friends sleep over, but overall they have adjusted to dad with such grace it makes me so very proud of them. The oldest is almost 17, our middle is 14, and the youngest is 12 now. They love their dad and any time I feel weak I only have to look at them to remember this is so much bigger than just my feelings.

Funny isn’t it? I started this life altering journey feeling so abandoned and alone. I was so angry at him for not being honest but we all know had he been that would mean I wouldn’t have my babies. Had he not married me, loved me, supported me, held me and stood by me, I would not have the absolute best gay father for my kids. I made a choice that many have questioned and few understand. Rather than hate the man that destroyed my little world, I choose to love him even more. That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry and that we don’t disagree, this is after all a divorce and neither of us own any rose-colored glasses. All it means is at the end of each day, I know he will always fill a small piece of my heart with love. I even gained a very dear friend in all of this. I would never have believed I could come to care so much for the man that stands next to the father of my children in my home, but here we are! We share family dinner as many Sundays as we possibly can. The kids and I, their dad and his partner all eating dinner under the same roof, how can that be? I don’t know. Like all the other questions without answers, I have learned to just listen to my heart and right now, sitting here alone in my living room, typing this story, thinking back on all the years, I find such comfort in knowing even though I couldn’t give my children the perfect traditional family, what I could give them is one kick-ass blended family. I know there is nothing their dad wouldn’t do to make sure I am okay. I know there is nothing his partner would not do for our children and I know I share my kids, not with another mom, but with another amazing man that one day I know they will want beside them just as much as their father and me.

Jennifer Hunt

Jennifer Hunt

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  1. david taylor says:

    Thanks for sharing your story jenifer. As a child of a gay father and a father myself I can relate to your story on both levels. I split from my partner two years ago after finding out she had numeous affairs it made me mentally unwell at the time, but it was having my girls that gave me strength. I worked though things with my ex and I don’t blame her for what happened. we where so young when we got together. we where thrown together with a child when we where just kids ourselves…I guess the excitment of the grass being greener on the other side was too tempting for her but needless to say I don’t hate her, in fact I still love her as the mother of my children and would defend and care for her when needed even though we are no longer together.

    The most important thing I learned was that it takes just as much energy if not more to be bitter and hatefull as it takes to turn the other cheek and forgive. We have moved on with our lives now and we maintain a happy friendship.
    My dad left my mum when I was a baby and up until my first daughter was born lived with his ‘flatmate’ which when he came out to me told me was his partner. my response was “tell me somthing I don’t know!?”
    He explained that because I came to tell him he was going to become a grandfather he had to tell me.
    although I was still young at the time I was old enough to spot the signs as I grew up, that my dad was living with his partner, so it came as no surprise to me.
    Now as a dad myself I make sure my kids see my dad and his partner as their grandads.
    Family’s come in all shapes and sizes…it’s Love that binds us together.

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