Annie's Story: How to Move Beyond the Pain of a Spouse's Homosexuality, by Annie Tulk
April 1, 2015
Writing a book was never a desire of mine and it certainly was not a goal to which I aspired. The reality of publishing a book was similar to my beliefs about divorce in that neither would happen to me. In both cases, I was wrong as life presented its challenges and opportunities.
I was a typical little girl raised in a traditional family in a small isolated community along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. My childhood dream was to be happily married with a family. At the young and innocent age of 16, I experienced love at first sight upon meeting a young man who would later become my husband. Our marriage was blessed with a son and daughter and my husband pursued his career as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Our military lifestyle gave us the opportunity to live in many different cities across our beautiful and expansive country.
I was in no way prepared for the unexpected and harsh reality of life on that beautiful and sunny June afternoon when my husband disclosed his desire to be with a man. My blissful married life of 23 years, 7 months and 12 days plummeted rapidly as my world spun out of control. I felt despair, as if floating on a raft in the stormy ocean without a paddle or compass to guide me. As I was forced to cope with the rollercoaster of emotions, I became determined to change my challenges into an opportunity. I would utilize my emotional pain in pursuit of higher education, intellectual knowledge, healing, personal and spiritual growth with a purpose and passion to help others. Hence, Annie’s Story was written to give a voice and offer hope to all straight spouses around the world who are devastated upon discovering that his/her spouse is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
While the “coming-out” of any individual is difficult, the disclosure or discovery of a husband’s or wife’s homosexuality creates a family crisis. The reality of homosexuality has a ripple effect that impacts all family members in varying degrees. The result is similar to the ripples produced when a pebble is dropped in a calm pool of water. Things are stirred up and the outcome is often far-reaching.
Homosexuality does not discriminate between age, gender, race, socio-economic status or religion. Large populations of society are simply unaware of the prevalence of homosexuality and how many lives are changed by it. I know from personal and professional experiences that homosexuality can interrupt anyone’s marriage and change anyone’s life, just as quickly as it did mine. I wrote Annie’s Story since many straight spouses will see a little of themselves in parts of it, and hopefully they will feel less isolated and alone. Far too often when a gay spouse comes out of the closet, the rest of the family go in their own closet of shame and embarrassment. Many prefer to keep their secret than risk the ridicule and often snide remarks from those who lack an understanding of the issues. The lack of compassion and support from family and friends is often very hurtful and damaging.
It is not the importance of my story but the psychology concepts and information presented to help you to have a better understanding of the complexities of homosexuality and society’s role in it. While the primary theme centers on homosexuality, the questions and quotes within the book are intended for your self-reflection and your self-discovery as I take you through what may seem like a therapy session. We all experience life’s challenges in some way, shape or form. It is only when you can see and accept your own situation that you can begin to change it. Transitions and transformation of any kind require time and work, and are never easy.
I trust that Annie’s Story will ignite positive memories of your story (we all have a story) and you will connect to what has meaning and value for you. Through my book and my professional and volunteer work, I hope to touch other human souls; to validate their feelings; to add value to those who find themselves in a similar situation and to help anyone in general. I aspire to inspire you to find your inner peace, happiness and success along your journey of life despite your challenges. Believe in self and seek to find your passion.
You Are Not Alone: stories of hope, by Lisa Browning