S6 EP 8: Facing the Second Half of Life Alone with Arti O’Brien

Guest: Arti O’Brien

In our most raw and vulnerable interview yet, guest Arti O’Brien shares what it was like to discover only a year ago that her soulmate, best friend and husband of 30+ years had been cheating on her with men for the entirety of their marriage. They were the perfect couple: compatible in multiple ways, mutually affectionate confidants, and looking toward a happy retirement. It all changed when Arti noticed a romantic text on her husband’s phone that wasn’t from her…

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17 responses to “S6 EP 8: Facing the Second Half of Life Alone with Arti O’Brien”

  1. Peg says:

    Arti- my heart breaks for you & for me. My husband came out 3 years ago just shy of our 37th anniversary. It’s been 3 1/2 years and we are beginning divorce proceedings. Much of what you said resonated with me- just when I thought we would retire & travel together I am so alone. I too will never trust anyone again because – to know my husband is to trust him. If I was so wrong once, how do I ever take that chance again? I can not imagine doing so. In ways out stories are not similar is that I never felt a “soul mate” connection-or, maybe that’s just not a term I use? We certainly did lose our friendship through the years and we are working on that aspect now & trying to regain it for ourselves and for our family. I wish both you & myself peace and joy and happiness. I wish both you & myself the joy of finding and knowing me again. I signed up for an upcoming Grief Recovery class and on the signup questionnaire they ask “who did you lose?” And I said …. Myself. I lost myself. I lost my self confidence, my joy, my ability to believe in my choices. I lost my soul I feel your pain to it’s very core -because that is my pain too.

  2. Ekta says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I can very well relate to every word you said.

  3. Kelli says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Arti. I understand your grief and pain. It’s been over seven years since discovery for me. There are still some tough days but they have gotten better. Give yourself a lot of grace and I hope in time you will see the sun in the middle of this terrible storm. My your new home become a safe place for you of hope and healing.

  4. Ruth Bowman says:

    Oh sweet Arti, I have been there. 31 yrs when my husband came out as a transgender. He always knew. Consider it a death process. I hope you have a good counselor. Don’t be afraid of using an antidepressant to take the edges off. My husband actually was very active in our church. I stayed for 5 years. I told know one. I had a major breakdown. Horrible time. Volunteer, get a puppy. They have much love to give. Wishing you the best.

  5. Michelle says:

    I thank Arti for telling her story, as I too have just gone through the same trauma except we had kids. 30 years of marriage gone down the drain along with our family being broken because of his actions. Some may disagree with me but my husbands selfishness destroyed a family. I agree with Arti in that he not only took my 30 years of marriage he took however long it will take me and my children to heal from this deep hurt and deception. I, like Arti didn’t see it as I thought I was in a good marriage with a few hiccups. Since this all came out many signs have presented themselves which I never saw because I “TRUSTED” !

  6. susan relic says:

    This is useful for new members because it shows so clearly that they are not alone in their pain and suffering. But it is also a useful wakeup for old hands like myself, who have a happy life now, and are prone to forgetting just how awful those first months were. It gave me a timely empathy injection. Wishing her all the best for her new life.

  7. Stephanie Tutenshiem says:

    Another amazing podcast. Every one of these is so helpful even when they don’t speak to my exact situation. Please tell Aarti how much sharing her story helped me. I wanted to cut out clips- especially the part about nobody understanding why I still love him- and send to my family. It’s such a confusing thing- to love someone who stole your life from you. To look around and wonder what parts of your life were really real? To love someone who treated you this way. To love someone who, at least on some level, doesn’t exist.
    As I’ve listened (and relistened) to all of these podcasts, I’ve wondered if you’ve thought about doing one with someone who is grappling with the fact that their husband is still in denial about his sexuality? I know we have the ones from Ryan King as the man formerly in denial, but there’s a level of confusion and uncertainty about what you aremdoing that comes from not having the spouse come out. From having therapists tell you “if he says he’s not gay, he’s not gay” even though he’s cheated for years with men. From walking away from a marriage from a man who is begging you to stay and who says he loves you- and who you still love. From the twisted way your brain gets thinking about what parts of your life were real. When he says he isn’t gay, but your intimate life was non-existent… Is that because he’s actually gay or because you aren’t desirable? I have been digging and digging for a resource for someone going through what I’m going through. It may be helpful for others to hear from someone in that same situation.

  8. MARLENE says:

    Artie has artuculated bravely and succinctly what I am not able to do myself. It was humbling to hear her story which is a near carbon copy of my own experience.
    I am further down the road but I remember the rawness all too well and I could completely empathise with Arties depth of hurt.
    My husband is still in his closet until he “comes out to play”, which is why I asked him to leave.
    Thank you, Artie.

  9. Denise Miedema says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Arti. I very much appreciate hearing your story. Best wishes with your upcoming move, and I hope you can find hope and happiness in your new home.

  10. Joan Pailhe says:

    Thanks much for sharing your story Arti. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. And, thank you for joining the “Our Path” board. Thanks for supporting the rest of us. I was married for 28 years. My ex-husband has never come out to me. My daughters disclosed his betrayal to me while he was coming out to all of our friends. Like you, my husband cheated the entire length of our marriage, but he pretends that he lived in hell married to me, and finally heroically came-out to live authentically. You and I know, as many of us sadly do, that it’s the years of deceit that compounds our grief. I’m sorry that both of us experienced a ton of it, and as Kristin says, we don’t think the way our former mates think about truthfulness and fidelity. We can’t imagine that a person could live a lie so comfortably for so long. I have a couple of friends who are widows and they told me for years that losing a mate through death or cheating in a heterosexual relationship, is the same as our experience, and it’s not! It is a different kind of pain, perhaps more complex. Be good to yourself as you move. It’s very hard, it’s another necessary step. You are stronger than you think.

  11. Ann says:

    Arti, I just finished listening to your podcast. I too was very happy in my marriage. He was my best friend. Many people admired our marriage. We were together 43 years and married for 37 years before he came out to me in July of 2017. I can totally relate to everything you said. It turned out that the cheating had gone on for decades. The rawness with which you expressed our situation was very much like mine. The rage, the trauma, the grief for someone who may never had existed.

    My friends and family have had enough and have distanced from me. As you said they are ready for me to get over it.

    I’m 6 years out from DDay and your podcast reminded me that I’m not lazy. I’m still grieving what I lost. I don’t cry much any more but I put on that face, and am trying to heal. Thank you for reminding me that what we each and all went through and are going through is lonely and very very hard.
    I know you need to be where you are in your process of going through all of this.
    I thank you for words.
    And my heart goes out to you with compassion.

  12. Cindy says:

    Arti, I like you divorced the man I Loved. I was happily married for 43 years before I discovered my husband was a closeted gay man. We had just moved to Florida, ready for retirement, ready to travel and my life was shattered. He was my best friend, but I knew instantly that I had to divorce him. I experienced more than anger, it was overwhelming sadness. The life I thought I had was not my reality. I realized the man I loved was a man he pretended to be, not who he actually is.

    It is a process, but I am living a very fulfilled , happy life . It has been five years since my divorce. It does get better, so much better. Onward, my friend, Onward. You will get your happiness back. ONWARD

  13. Elliecat says:

    Dear Arti, I listened to your podcast only today. I really admire your courage in sharing your story while it’s all so new. I’m sure there are lots of us who identify with your deep feelings of grief and loss.
    I hope you landed well in your new home and I wish you all the best in your next steps.

  14. Sallie Taylor says:

    Dear Arti, Thank you so much for your courage to speak about your marriage tragedy. My experience with my gay husband after almost twenty years of marriage and a business together was 100% the same path you have walked! Unfortunately, he remained silent after ten years of marriage as we welcomed a child, which has made this worse still. The only difference for me was it happened in 1996 and this website and podcasts did not exist then and I had absolutely no one and no place to unload and have others to validate my feelings of grief as you have done for all of us. It has been 27 years since my discovery and I have carried his shame for him and lived in silence, supressed rage, and pain alone after our divorce. I remarried after our divorce after five years of being single but unfortunately this experience affected my choice of mate to the extent that I chose a person so opposite of my former mate ( who was my soul mate ) in an effort to never be around a man who was gay again and managed to remain in misery with him for ten years. Thank God I found the website Our Path today, as I’ve been alone again for seven years. I am sixty three and fully intend to spend the rest of my life alone, as this experience of gas lighting and emotional abuse was so traumatizing that it has taken SO LONG to try and heal from it. Your sharing has been tremendously helpful and I am forever grateful for your courage! I wish you well, and hope that your sadness can be lessened with the support of your friends and family. I had no support and now I feel like I do. People who have not walked this path cannot possibly understand what we have been through. I truly hope your move to your new home has been a positive one and wanted you to know that I fully sympathize with your pain and pray for your healing!

  15. anon says:

    Arti, I want to tell you how much I understand what you are going through. I wish I didn’t. Married 27 years, raised 2 kids with him. Still in shock and emptied out for sure. You are so bright and correct in everything you have said in this podcast. I am going to my first our path zoom meeting tonight.

  16. Terri says:

    I am at the beginning of my journey of finding out that my husband is bisexual, but more likely gay. There is so much of Arti’s story that I can relate to. We are about 3 yrs. away from retirement. I haven’t talked with my spouse about what U know, but given hints. The look in his eyes is fearful. Icould write the entire story, but really just want to say how much I appreciate Arti sharing her experience and how deeply grateful I am for this site, this group. This is such a personal loss filled with pain, but it isn’t something where, even if people knew, they would come around to share condolences. It is a very lonely and heartbreaking experience. There are times when I wake up and think I just want to pretend everything is OK. Thank you again for this podcast

  17. Amanda says:

    Thank you for this!

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