After 10 years together, my fiance told me he was gay
NEW York-based journalist Kiri Blakeley was thinking about her wedding dress when her fiance said he had to tell her something.
Beautiful, blonde, thirtysomething bestselling author Kiri first met her fiance in an Irish bar in New York City. "We hit it off straight away. He was a musician and seemed like a sweet guy, so when he invited me to one of his gigs I said 'yes'. I didn't know if he had a girlfriend at the time, or if he just liked me as a friend, but that night he kissed me and we started dating.
"As a boyfriend, Aaron was a dream. We moved in together after about six months and I was blissfully happy. He was very romantic. On Valentine's Day, he'd not only take me out to dinner and buy me a card, but he'd also give me funny cards from our cats. He was perfect."
A year into their relationship, and when they were on holiday in London, Aaron proposed to Kiri. "I told him that I loved him and that I'd think about it. It's not that I didn't want to be with him, but I come from a long line of divorces and I'd never had any successfully married role models. For me, the idea of taking the legal step was scary, but I agreed to get engaged.
"Over the years, Aaron pressed the idea of setting a date for the wedding. There's a misconception that it's always the woman who wants to get married and the guy who doesn't, but this was the opposite. Then, after about 10 years, he asked me again and I said, 'Let's do it'."
Yet the engagement was soon under pressure: "Two weeks after we decided to get married, I was getting ready for bed one night, when Aaron said, 'Kiri, we need to talk'.
"I really didn't think it was going to be about anything big. I sat down and he said, 'I think I'm confused about my sexuality'."
It was the absolute last thing she expected to hear, so she started laughing because she assumed it was a joke.
"And then he burst into tears. At that moment, I knew my life was never going to be the same. All Aaron would tell me was that he was having fantasies about men. I thought, 'Well, maybe it's not that big a deal'. But over the course of our conversation it became apparent that it was something he wanted to explore and that we'd have to break up. I was devastated.
"The next day, Aaron went to work while I stayed at home. I'd never looked at his text messages, or spied on him -- I had no reason to -- but a voice in my head told me, 'Check the computer'. I had the password to his email and that's how I discovered he had been on a gay website looking to meet men. He also had naked pictures of guys and naked pictures of himself that he'd been sending out. At that point I knew that he'd been cheating on me."
She sought refuge in a friend's house.
"I called Aaron at work. As soon as he answered I said, 'You've been cheating on me'. He was silent. I asked him how long he'd been doing this and he told me two years, but I believe it was probably longer.
"When I look back now I realise I was probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after we broke up. I fell apart. I started drinking, going out a lot and having casual relationships.
"These days Aaron and I are still in contact; I'll always care about him. He's in a long-term relationship with his boyfriend now. As for me? I'm happily single. I don't think Aaron has ruined me for other men, but it's a constant struggle to trust people. It's something that I'm very actively working on. He feels terrible, and he knows what he did was wrong, but I don't think he'll ever understand the pain he's caused me."
Interviewed by Sarah Breen for Stellar Magazine. To read more of Kiri's moving story, check out her memoir Can't Think Straight, by Kiri Blakeley, published by Kensington Publishing, price €14.99