How a man I met in a bar gave me back myself.
My first husband was gay. Okay, maybe bisexual, but just barely. Even when I divorced him after eleven years, he never told me face-to-face. Instead, he told my sister, knowing she would pass the information on to me.
Trying to understand the relationship, I had asked several times whether he preferred men. He’d always say no, though months would have passed with no suggestion of sex.
I finally got REALLY tired of being touched only after I had practically begged for it for weeks, and I let an older colleague pick me up in a bar and take me home. By that time, my sexual self-esteem was ground down to invisibility.
By allowing myself to get drunk and “mess around,” I had manipulated myself into a position where integrity demanded separating from the man I’d married between undergrad and grad school.
That colleague was a stepping stone, not a relationship, but another man I worked with quickly saw in me a way out of his marriage. With no reason I could then understand to reject the relationship, which had red flags and banners waving everywhere, I took him on and quickly married him.
That, friends, is what happens when your self-esteem has been destroyed. Virtually anyone who smiles at you is good enough to follow like a starving dog.
One of the red flags that I willfully disregarded was that this man was pretty clearly irrational. It would ultimately become clear that, when he hooked up with me and quickly insisted that we marry, he was in the manic phase of a severe bipolar disorder.
If you know anything about bipolar disorder, you know that hypersexuality often characterizes the manic phase. That made him appealing. After all, I had just gotten out of an eleven-year sexual drought the fault for which I assumed was entirely my own. Feeling sexually attractive again was like being reborn.
Naturally, when the manic phase passed, and the depressive phase loomed, the hypersexuality morphed into its opposite. Again, I was unappealing. Nothing I did could change that because the problem did not lie with me. But, as was my long habit, I assigned the responsibility to myself anyway.