Here is my reason why:
I learned a while ago that a former girlfriend is gay and has finally come out, mainly spurred, I suspect, through society's increasing acceptance and support of gay rights.
And I am so happy for her. I was deeply in love with her - in fact, she is the only person I can say I know I loved.
But I felt that during our relationship she was always angry. More often than not this was passive aggressive anger, an art in itself, such as giving me the silent treatment or vicious looks when I tried to express emotions and feelings or playing mind games such as telling her friends in front of me while we were living together that she wanted them to set her up with someone "smart, cute and rich!" and then refusing to discuss that with me.
During the time we dated Leslie would spend every Saturday with her "girlfriend" Alice Riener. When I asked "Can't we just spend one Saturday together?" Leslie would respond: "What difference does it make? You get me Saturday evenings. Besides, Alice says she needs me."
She kept at the end of her bed a large framed photo of Alice so that Alice's face would be the last thing she'd see at night and the first face she'd see in the morning.
After Leslie moved in with me I asked her if I was her best friend (considering among other things that I had bought an apartment and put part of it in her name). She said "No," but when I asked who was, she refused to answer. I knew then the truth was that it was Alice, who appeared to be her first and last priority in life.
At that moment it dawned on me that Leslie Geddes was in love with Alice Riener.
They slept together when they visited each other (before we moved in together) but despite the obvious signs and my intuition, I continued to believe Leslie when she told me that Alice isn't gay. And, I felt I couldn't follow up with asking Leslie if she was gay, because she withdrew whenever I tried to discuss anything involving emotional intimacy.
When I saw the movie about the gay cowboys, the scene that really resonated with me was Anne Hathaway's confusion about being lied to while sensing the truth. I related because my relationship with Leslie was terribly confusing. The audience was supposed to feel sympathy for the gay cowboys who felt they had to live in shame, but I identified with the wives who were being lied to but who loved their husbands, and I knew then that the cowboys in my life were Leslie and Alice.
Ultimately, after almost two years of this, I felt that I was constantly walking on eggshells around Leslie, unsure of expressing my feelings and emotions so as not to say the "wrong" thing to her.
I unfortunately had a low sense of self worth due to childhood issues I hadn't yet come to terms with and living with Leslie's need for control brought me to my lowest level ever.
I kept seeking kindness from Leslie, but the more I tried the more disdainful she became. I felt like I was trapped in a rushing waterfall painted by Leonardo Da Vinci: beautiful but devastating.
I remember a time at Princeton when Leslie told me of a classmate who was in deep emotional pain. Leslie laughed and mocked her, and I knew then that if I ever showed any sign of emotional weakness, Leslie would take it as an opportunity to hurt me. I was right.
And that's how our relationship ended. My last memory is of Leslie giving me a look in Trenton, NJ of such searing hatred after I had poured out my heart to her that I felt the sting of bullets from a Tommy Gun and bites from the Daschunds of Hell.
After two years of telling me she loved me, Leslie kicked me when I was at my lowest point in life and asked for her help. At the time I thought she was a person incapable of empathy.
Upon reflection, my opinion has shifted. I think that if Leslie communicated feelings of emotional intimacy or allowed herself to feel empathy it would mean that she'd have to let go of the control she needed to hide her sexual identity.
Leslie and Alice are high achievers and despite their active involvement in liberal causes, both feel the burden of parental expectations and grew up with emotionally detached parents.
Alice was never friendly to me and I understand now that she encouraged her to end our relationship. To avoid confronting the emotions and identity Leslie was alienated from, I theorize that she directed anger at me, objectified men in general and lived in the closet for years beyond when the truth was obvious to her - and to me. Her anger was simply her coping mechanism, a means of avoiding looking at herself.
I wish I could have been there for her to help her work out her emotional pain, but I guess she had to ultimately work it out through her own path.
And, if I did talk to Leslie again, I'd tell her:
"I'm your ally and I always have been; my love for you was real. I support you completely. I believe in you and wish you happiness. I care about you more than you will ever know. I want you to be happy."
The sooner gay marriage is mainstream, the healthier society will be because even more gay people will feel supported and normal and free to come out and be who they are. To me, this seems a win-win for the mental health of individuals and thus society as a whole.
Living a lie hurts everybody.
And, now that Leslie has come out, I can sleep in peace, knowing that she likely has found peace too.