Meet Carol Grever

  • Carol Grever has been a successful businesswoman and English professor. From personal experience, she's authored two books and produced a documentary on straight spouse recovery. A recognized spokesperson on straight spouse issues, she's appeared on major network TV shows, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Good Morning America." You can read more about Carol here.

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« WHY DO I CARE? | Main | GAY OR STRAIGHT: NOT A CHOICE »

May 28, 2008

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Hi, just wanted to say, I loved this article.
It was practical. Keep on posting!

This is in response to Sofia’s comment about her confusion and anguish over her husband’s sexual ambivalence and his demands that she satisfy him sexually in ways she finds distasteful. Sofia, you are in despair because you can’t satisfy your husband’s needs, and he continues to find satisfaction from others. His pattern of infidelity hasn't changed, but you are held hostage by your desire to keep the family together. My question is this: How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice in this relationship? More questions: Given the tension between you and your husband, how healthful is the atmosphere for your children? What if you become pregnant again? Perhaps it would be useful for you to seek a counselor of your own to talk through all these issues with a professional. It can be a huge relief just to tell a trusted person exactly what is happening and exactly how it makes you feel. A clear, cold bath of reason can open our eyes to reality in new ways. You are obviously miserable, perhaps desperate for this kind of counsel. I’m so sorry for your pain and sincerely wish you the best outcome for all involved. Thank you for sharing your story here.
Carol Grever

My husband and I have been married for 8 years. During the first year of marriage (we were just about 19 years old), he told me that he was gay and that wanted to be with transgenders. We got separated for 9 months and almost divorced. He came around and told that he had said all that because he wasn't sure if he wanted to be married. He said:" I am being immature and I am not gay. I just said that so that you would live me". He said he loved and wanted to be with me. .We got back together. Three years later, out of the blue he started talking about the things he did while we were separated. I told him that I did not want to know but he insisted that I had to know. He told me that he had homosexual encounters with men and transgenders and that he liked it and was missing that. He said he was confused and craved having sex with transgenders. I felt devastated mostly because a had just found out that I was pregnant. I did not know what to do so we talked for hours and he came to the conclusion that he did not need to leave me as long as I could do certain things for he during sex. I agreed because I love him and he was the father of my baby. I did not want my baby to be born into a broken family. Everything seemed getting better. We would do his thing every now and then but not too often because I do not really like to do that. However, there was always some problem that would bring us back to arguments about his sexuality and what he wanted to do about our relationship. This year the arguments got worst to the point that he was breaking walls and doors because he was so frustrated. I asked him to go to therapy and he agreed. Today, the psychologist told my husband that he is gay/bisexual. My husband says he is not attracted to men. He likes transgenders because they look like women but they can return the favor. He tells me that he is not gay but that he likes and wants to have sex with transgenders or even any body that can return the favor. He says that he wants to stay with me. He says that he loves me and wants to raised our two sons with me. However, he wants me to do certain things sexually that I don't feel to good about but I feel that if I do not do them he is going to leave us. I love this man. I don't know what to do. I feel very sad and frustrated, angry, and helpless. I have nobody to talk about this. I feel as if I am in a big whole and nobody can help me. My kids are so little and fragile only 2 and 1 years old. Please , somebody have some advice or something that would help me.

This is in response to the anonymous comment of August 5. Your situation is particularly complicated--the STD, your daughter's car crash and alienation, the possibility of abuse of children by your husband, the pain of divorce. So many layers of disappointment! You are wise indeed to work with a counselor to help you through this challenge. Please visit this site often to draw strength from the information here and from the stories of others who have survived similar crises. You can get through this, and you can thrive again on the other side of it. I'm pulling for you!
Carol Grever

i am so glad I found this site. I have felt for the last 5 months that I was the only one dealin with something like this. I was married 23 years. The divorce will be finall at the end of August. My 20 year old daughter discovered her fathers relationship via text messages left on an old phone. After much research we learned he has been posting craiglist ads - men seeking men for three years. I was horrified as I read these ads. He stated the younger the better on some of his postings! This has been additionally troublesome since he is a vice principal at a middle school. I am also a teacher in a neighboring school district that works closely with his district. What do I say when people ask why we are getting divorced knowing it will get to his district? One of his encounters was with a 19 year old. Has he been with younger? I am having my computer searched to see if there is any evidence of child porn and have not heard anything yet. It kills me to think he is in an influential position with young men. He also spent many years in cubscouts and boyscouts.
He adamently denies being gay although he has had sexual encounters with men. He has given me an STD. His family is adding to the stress.
The daughter who found her fathers secret recently crashed ber car on purpose resulting in serious injuries. And has since decided to spend a lot of time with her father. She is angry with me and I am not sure why. My other adult children co ti ue to struggle as well.
I finally started going to therapy and hope it will guide me in my future choices.

I am more than sorry for ever doubting you. I should have know you possess true powers when you accepted my case. I am now a believer of what you do and that there are powers we normal humans can not understand. Thank you for bringing my husband back to me. if you desire help contact this real spell caster on Templeofloveandmoney@gmail.com

Jessica, I'm so moved by your pain, your shame, your loss of love and trust. It is an echo of hundreds of other women's messages through the years. I'll remind you that this is not your fault. It isn't that YOU were lacking or blind to his unfaithfulness and deception. It was that he successfully hid his true self; he successfully lied. This is nothing for you to be ashamed of. Instead, take whatever steps necessary to move into the next phase of a good life where you can breathe, love, and trust again. Others have done this and so can you!
Carol Grever

I can't describe how relieved I am to know that I am not as alone as I feel. I discovered last summer that my husband was cheating on me with men- several of them, often in "group" situations and exposing me, while pregnant with our son, to serious STDS. I confronted, he denied and finally, a month later, confessed but said it would stop. I love him, so I tried to get past it. Tried to learn to trust again, but it never really came back. A month ago, after many months of trying to make it work when it couldn't, we finally separated. Ironically, even though I KNOW this is what is best for all of us, it still hurts like hell that I wasn't enough, that our family wasn't enough, that I wasn't astute enough to see this before I married him. Why couldn't he be honest with me? Didn't I deserve to know this about him before we married? What about our children? It has been devastating and I don't know who to talk to about it because I feel ashamed of it. How do you tell other people that your husband left you for other men??? How do you come to terms with this new life, with all of the lies and secrets? How do you learn to breathe, to love, to TRUST again???

Siddhartha, your pain is palpable and understandable.  You are in the shock of discovery and it feels like a giant trap right now.  Now is the time to seek joint counseling with a therapist, preferably one experienced with mixed-orientation relationships.  Explore your options together to make a decision that will be best for all concerned, including your children.  None of the choices will be easy, but a trained listener should help you reach an acceptable decision.  Best wishes in your difficult process!
Carol Grever

My wife had been under a great deal of work related stress and started channeling it into exercise often worked out with a close family female friend. I encouraged it, thinking it would be good for everyone. Time passed and they were spending more and more time together. She was constantly texting. It was becoming disruptive to our daily family life. I didn't like it. The kids didn't like it. I started snooping on her email accounts. Yes, they were having an affair. Triple whammy. Betrayed by my wife. Betrayed by a close friend. And my wife of 22 years now tells me she doesn't know who or what she is. I guess the options would be gay or bisexual! I've lost a wife and gained a roommate who I often times want to strangle. But, yes, I do still love her and I really don't want to destroy my kid's lives. I feel trapped. Obviously betrayed. Disrespected. Lonely. We're going out tonight with friends....won't that be lovely. Even if she decides, with counseling, that she wants to stay together and rebuild our relationship...will it be because she loves me...or the life we built? Will it be because of the kids or the fear of coming out to her friends and family? And would I want her back? Could she earn back my love and trust? I get angry for so many reasons. Often times I think that I feel more compassion for what she's going through that she feels for me and my plight. I torture myself with what I've missed out on. A real honest loving relationship. Intimacy. This is a horrible place to be. Thanks for your blog. It feels good to tell your story.

I'm so glad I finally found this site. Ten days ago, my husband of sixteen years told me he was gay. My world crumbled, plain and simple. I had absolutely NO idea. I never saw anything on his computer, I never heard outside suspicions. Nothing. So to say I was shocked was the understatement of the century, and now his coming out has shoved me into a tiny little closet of my own.

With his permission, I told one of my closest friends yesterday, and as I expected, she's understanding and there for me. Some of my colleagues know that he and I are "in trouble", but they don't know why.

We are still living our "normal" life, and I'm so thankful to see there are others on this board who have experienced the same. I don't know where it will lead; I just know right now I'm simply not prepared to make any decisions. My husband has agreed not to take his coming out "to the next step" (he swears he has not had any outside encounters and won't while we are married), and we are seeing a therapist - together and separately. It's all just so overwhelming though.

Hi, I'm Amanda.

I am just so glad I have found this site. It has really been so therapeutic to read everyone's stories and feelings, because I feel so many of the same things! I just read and nod and cry, and I think heal a little. My husband just came out to me two weeks ago, a month after our five-year wedding anniversary; I'd like to share my story as well.

I have been feeling unhappy for a while with our relationship because my husband was always so angry and just unable to be happy about anything no matter how hard I tried to make the conditions perfect. We would get a sitter for the night, go out for an hour, and he would pick a fight with me and say he wanted to go home. I would feign illness with the sitter because I felt very embarrassed we couldn't even make it through one night together. After an argument about his anger issues, I told him I was considering whether we'd be able to get through this without some outside counseling. A few weeks later, per my suggestion, he went home for a few weeks to kind of give us a little break, though it seemed as though we were really starting to get along better, and I felt some of those feelings of young love again.

He came back, and after the initial happiness of being reunited, I could tell something was still seriously wrong. After asking what was bothering him, he told me he had come to the realization that he was gay. I was in shock, but initially very supportive. I can't even imagine how it must feel to keep such a secret; I never doubted that he loved me but I do believe you do not have a choice in your sexuality. But since the shock has worn off, it has just been a roller coaster of emotions! I have been financially supporting my husband and family (we have a 3-year old) for the past year while he went to school. With this revelation of being gay, he has quit school and feels that he will not be able to find a job. It took me years to even think I could trust someone enough to take care of them in that way and not get screwed...the plan was for him to get his degree and start working, me to get out (I'm in the military) and for us to live happily ever after. The pain from realizing my future I had so carefully crafted in my mind is completely shattered still hits me like a brick every day. I actually considered trying to stay married, but I can see I would fall into the same hurt if that were to happen as a lot of the other stories I have seen on here and other sites. My love for my husband is so complete that there really is no option for us to remain in the same home or for me to remain "technically married" to him, it would just continue to break my heart. I just want to be able to support him emotionally while I figure out how to support myself and my daughter emotionally, while building a new plan of success for my future. For now, I let him know when I am angry or sad, and when I feel at peace. I tell him how I am finding solace through some close friends and through these posts. I tell him what I am looking for from him in terms of the next steps for moving on while trying to create a good, lasting non-romantic relationship so that our daughter will hopefully not have to see us hate each other, I really don't want that. I have said from the beginning, "I don't want to be angry," and I don't, but I know there are times when I will be. This, along with some of my friends, are how I can let the anger go so I spend more of my days feeling like a normal person. Thanks for reading and writing everyone.

In response to Julie's update, I would like to reassure her that she is still on the path to full recovery. It is natural to lose our balance during this process. Her friend is wise to say that now her information matches her intuition. The latest episode that made her husband's long-term deception clear is an example of how straight spouse recovery unfolds: A period of calm interrupted by stark glimpses of reality. Anger is definitely a repetitious stage of recovery. Don't try to repress it; let it out so that it dissipates. Under the anger is grief over loss of trust and the comfort of the past. Under the grief is deep sadness. Of course you're confused, tired, pissed, Julie. Feel your feelings and then move on. This truly will pass.
Best wishes,
Carol

It's Julie. It's been a long time since I've written and I've changed my name to "Anonymous" on here as I was able to google myself and find this -- not for my employer or peripheral friends to see, although I do not have shame...it's just personal.

That said, I want to follow-up with all of you. My husband and I separated in Jan 2010. It has been a long year or so. Also during that time, my mom was very sick --she passed away this February. A lot of loss...

I have two daughters, 4 and 11. I told my 11 year-old daughter that her dad is gay when she spent a couple of weeks with him and his boyfriend. She knew intuitively and I could tell, so I told her when she was hinting about it. She is devastated, disgusted, confused and most of all, she was very, very angry that it was kept a secret from her. She doesn't understand why we got married.

Since the divorce, I've been holding him in my heart with respect and honoring that he is our kids' parent. It is SO HARD to be kind to him sometimes. SO HARD!! Somehow I've not screamed at him since we've separated, but I'm not promising I won't!

Just this Friday, he made apologized to me for all that he did to me -- tried to control me with money and my life choices (going to school, working, etc.). He also apologized for cheating on me the entire time we were married. The WORST, WORST part of this is that during the time that we were married, he lied through his teeth to me, telling me that he "wasn't sure he was gay, maybe bi but not gay." He contracted Hepatitis B and put me at risk for a deadly disease, telling me that he must've gotten it from bad sushi. UGH!!!! I believed him!! We had two children together. We lived under the same roof for 12 years and he lied THE WHOLE TIME!

The healing I've done so far is great, but I am so enraged, the wound is reopened, the grieving will have to happen, and I am furious and sad and confused and cannot believe it...but then, of course I knew!

My friend said yesterday, "Your intuition is matching up with information now, and it's going to line up all over the place for a while." Yes.

I am committed to healing, committed, to hope and faith that this will pass. It is how I go on...and I know that with enough screaming and crying that I will get this out and I will be able to love and be loved in a way I've never known.

Until then, I'm in pain. I'm tired. I'm PISSED!!!

I'd like to respond to Trisha, because so much of her story sounds so familiar to me. I, too, stumbled upon my ex's sexual preferences on the computer. He never planned to tell me about it -ever. In fact, he is still somewhat resentful that I ended the marriage because he was willing to continue to live the lie he had created.

I feel for you, Trisha, and the pain you must be feeling right now. I remember so clearly the agony of realizing that my family and my future was a mirage... My ex didn't want anyone to find out he was gay for a while after I knew, and that was tough for me. It is no longer a secret now, thankfully. Being able to share that secret is an important step in healing, and it is one I hope you take very soon. Just because he doesn't want to share the news with the world doesn't mean you can't talk about it with people who love and support you.

Perhaps it will help you to see the other side of all of this... A little over a year and a half has gone by since I discovered my ex's homosexuality and he finally admitted it. I can honestly say I am happy now. I spent over a year on my own with my girls, building a life. I bought a house of my own. I struggled with all the emotions of a broken relationship. I mourned the death of my marriage. I grieved over the man I thought I had married, my 'best friend'. I questioned myself for getting into the relationship without realizing he was gay. I got angry about the years I had lost and the love I didn't have. I cried. I laughed. I gained and lost weight! :) I turned 40. I leaned on my good friends and my family. I spent a lot of time alone. By the end of that time, I felt strong and beautiful. I knew who I was more than I had in a long time. I know that I am whole again.

It is a struggle, there is no doubt, but the struggle is so important. I don't know if this will help in the darkest moments, but it will get easier. So much of what your husband is doing probably makes this seem like it is all about HIM, but this is your life, and it needs to be about you! You need to take care of yourself - and your children!!

I know you already know this, but the "roommate" is disturbing. You are right to be concerned - and your kids definitely need to be protected.

I wish you the very best in your journey, Trisha. Just know there are people out here who understand and who are rooting for you. I can relate so well... I am glad you shared your story, and that you are reaching out. This wonderful website is a great place for support.

Hang in there and know that you are strong enough to get through this - and remember that you are not alone!
Helen

Dear Trisha,
Your message echoes those of many other straight spouses, but each time someone writes of these events, it is no less painful. I want to respond to several points and I hope you'll find these comments helpful. First, it is good that you are in counseling and have talked with your priest about this situation. You will need support like that to get through the transitions before you. Don't be shy about telling your own truth to trusted friends and family, regardless of the lies your husband is spreading. There is no reason for you to be in his closet of secrecy since he has left the family and is already living with another man. His hatefulness toward you may be an attempt to validate his blaming you--a kind of prop for the falsehoods he's telling. His denial of his homosexuality, given the evidence you have to the contrary, will not hold up for long. It's not surprising, in light of his other actions. Most disturbing is your discovery that his "roommate" is a sex offender. You must protect your children! Tell them as much as you need to in order to keep them from harm. Don't ever "feel stupid"; you were simply duped by a facile liar. Though it seems like this episode in your life will last forever, it really won't. You can recover in time, so please take heart. Grieving the end of a long marriage is indeed similar to grieving a death. In a way, that's what it is--the death of the future you had planned. But a better future is possible after you've had time to adjust and heal. Please browse the articles in this site and the resources on my Website to find help with your recovery. Be brave, Trisha. This isn't easy, but you'll learn many valuable lessons in the process and really will be better off in the long run.

I'm pulling for you!
Carol Grever

I dont even know how to start this post... except I feel alone and afraid.. at times I stop and think "this is not my life" Im living a nightmare. Unlike many of you whose spouses told you that they were gay or struggling, mine didnt. I found out by accident and my life has been shattered. We had been married 18 1/2 years and happy so I thought, we have three wonderful children, and did everything as a family. I came home from work one day and my house didnt feel right - the kids had gone away with my sister and my husband had been layed off from work. We were going to go out to diner and I just happened to check the recent items on the computer and a photo came up - which was disturbing - I called him into the den and asked him about it.. He lied and said it wasnt his - that he never saw it before. Upon further checking the next morning I went into his email and saw that he had been on Craigs List "men seeking men" and had been inviting people into our home for "hosting". When confronted he denied it and left our home, he checked himself into a mental ward - stayed for seven days - and said he was having a nervous breakdown. Upon his release from the mental ward - he has told his family that he had a nervous breakdown because I was a controling wife and that I had locked him out of the house. Nothing about the emails, photos that he sent over the internet, hosting the sex parties,or the fact that he lost his job for internet porn. He tells the children that the reason he doesnt call or come around much is because of me.. I tried in the begining to have a relationship with him for the sake of the children even did some counseling - but, it all comes back to this happened because I was controling. I filed for divorce upon the advice of my priest and the fact that I feel like my entire life was a lie. He continues to lie and most recently moved out of his apartment and into a house with a "Room Mate" as he calls him. I know otherwise. His only focus is on our youngest child.. Im not sure why he has no interest in the other two - this worries me.. and hurts them deeply. I have not allowed the children to visit his new home, nor do I plan too. He said in counseling that his relationship with his children will not involve others - however, he took the youngest to a family party of the "Room Mate". Two weeks ago he invited the youngest to the Cider Mill and I asked the older two children to go with the youngest for safety concerns. He was surprized to see that the older two were there.. when they arrived at the Mill his friends were there also. He visited with his friends more then the children, and they came home very sad and upset. The children do not know about his life style and really why I filed for divorce, which makes it seem like I am living his lie as well. Most recent I found out that the "Room Mate" is on the State Register as a Sex Offender. How troubling to me that my husband would feel its ok for the children to be subjected to someone like that. Im scared for them. This is not the love of my life.. he blames me for everything.. and I really am starting to feel as if he hates me because I found out about his double life. At times its to much to handle. I do go to counseling and its helpful but, I feel as if my life has spun out of control. Im heartbroken and feel as if I wont recover from this. He pawned his wedding ring and basically every gift I have ever bought him. He told the counselor it would be better for him if I hated him. He will not admit to me that he is gay - he says he doesnt know. Just wondering if this is the normal reaction of a husband that does this to a spouse - to blame them for it. Which doesnt make sense because he told the counselor that the children are struggling with the divorce because we had a good marriage. Yet Im to blame that he wanted to have sex with men, that he broke our wedding vows, trust, and that he continues to tell lies about me. I feel stupid for not knowing and so weak. What a blessing that I found this web site on a post from Oprah.com. Hoping that I will find some peace in telling my story and get some feedback to help me. Thank you for listening... so many different emotions to handle.. I feel as if my best friend,the love of my life has died. It is just so sad. Please comment if you feel you can help me.. thanks...

It can sometimes help to contact a sexual health agency or gay men's health / Aids organisations or even women's health centres: as they often respond to requests. i.e. if a number of women state they want a group or network or even ainfo/ 'sharing our stories' evening, they might arrange it and then advertise it more widely in the community :)

Dear Michele,

Since only a week has passed since your discovery, I think you're remarkably clear-headed about your unexpected challenge. It's good that you have a quiet place to gather your thoughts now, but it's also extremely important to find a trusted friend, relative, or counselor in whom to confide. You always have this site and other online resources, but you also need a safe place and a balanced listener with whom to converse. You have already proven how strong you are, celebrating four years of sobriety, and I congratulate you heartily! Don't let this crisis push you into a relapse--that only makes everything worse. Take comfort in the fact that many other women have experienced a similar shock and have recovered and reconfigured happier lives. You can read many of their stories here, and do avail yourself of the books and documentary and articles on this blog. They offer information and encouragement in this critical time of need.
Best wishes!
Carol Grever

Like many others, this site has been so helpful to me. It was just a week ago I found out that the man I have been with for 30 years, more than half of my life, is gay. It is good to know that I'm not the only one who has that continual hangover feeling going on in my stomach. I am a recovering alcholic with over 4 years of sobriety so I am not too happy to have that feeling again. I know I am still in a state of shock. I have left my home I share with him for a while. I am staying at my family's vacation home on the ocean so I am finding peace for the moment. I know that I am just escaping and still have to go home and face reality. I am hoping that I can gain some strength before I face the daunting challenge of trying to break up a home of 22 years. I have told my family that I am splitting up with him but I have not told them why. I feel he needs to decide if and when he wants to come out. Again, thanks for giving me a place to express myself and to realize I am not alone.

Candice, you asked about possible alternatives for your relationship with your husband. While it's obvious that you both love each other, it's also clear that "once you know, you can't 'not-know'" that he is gay. One of the earliest reactions to discovery is clinging to hope that life can continue as usual. For most couples that's not the case. Approximately 15% of mixed-orientation couples stay together for up to three years, while 85% split up. The best way to decide what's best for you is to find an experienced counselor to help you sort through various options. (See the article on this blog called "This Therapy Worked!" as an example.) Finding a counselor who meets your own needs, with whom you are comfortable, is essential. There is no one solution that fits everyone. If no professional adviser is available to you, at least find a trusted friend or relative in whom to confide. You must work out your own solution, but you don't have to do so all alone! Best wishes in your search and in finding your way through this challenge.
Carol Grever

NOTE: I received the following message from Candice, who asked me to post it here on the blog. She would appreciate advice from other straight spouses about her next steps.
Carol Grever

I'm at day 13 after my husband told me he was gay. This is something I NEVER suspected. He is my best friend, my soulmate, the most amazing father to our children, and someone I feel I still have a "crush" on, although we've been together for 16 years (married for 13). My heart would lift whenever I saw him. I've always felt so blessed to have him as my husband, and have often shared that sentiment with others. People have often complimented us on our connection, what an involved father he is and how we work so well together to do what's best for our family.

Since he told me, I've been through many emotions. In our life together, I've made many sacrifices (that I WANTED to make for our family), including putting off getting my (work paid for) Masters degree to be with the kids in the evenings and eventually giving up a good career in international public relations to be home with our daughters four years ago. We have four girls ages 3-11 and we homeschool (past 2 yrs). They have so many changes ahead of them. They need to return to public school and not see their homeschooled friends anymore because of schedules, find out their dad is gay, possibly leave our church where they have so many friends and are involved in activities and alter serving (depending on how the gay news is handled there), go through the break up of their parents (Because I truly believed that nothing could ever lead to it, I regularly told them we would NEVER get divorced as their neighborhood friends were going through it in their homes), and move out of the home they've known for 10 years (with the friends, parks, and all else they love around them).

I'm not ready to let my husband go, but I don't want him to go back to hiding it. That's not fair to him and way too much stress for him physically (he has frequently had medical issues related to stress). He said it's only been the last year he's even considered that he was gay. Prior to that, he was fully committed to me, in love with me, turned on by me, and wanted to be with me. I don't understand how a switch could be flipped like that when he goes from getting aroused by a really good kiss from me to wanting to be with men. He said there are times in his past that in looking back, he can see where he had a thought about a man (seeing an Ambercrombie & Fitch ad, for example), but he would just dismiss it and not really think about it again. That changed for some reason a year ago. (He's 43, which for some reason, is around the most common age guys come out.)

While we've not had sex since he told me (I REALLY want to - at least for closure), he has not strayed from our marriage at all. He's been with no men in any way since we've been together. I know this is very different from the experience of other wives and I feel extremely lucky not to be dealing with the trust/betrayal/health issues that confront so many others. He did start seeing a counselor about 2 months before he told me and had attended a gay support group for about three weeks before he told me. He's an honorable, wonderful man who says he would turn it (the gayness) off if he could and keep living our life together, the way we planned. But, we both know he can't do that.

I'm looking for alternatives for us to stay together in some way, in part because I can't imagine being without him, but mostly for our girls. I read of many couples staying together for a while, but does anyone stay together for a long time? How does that work? I don't know if I'll be able to handle all the possible alternatives, but I certainly want to explore the options. I don't think it has to be either we're married and committed to one another full time... vs we're divorced, living in different houses, splitting time with our children. While at first, he seemed to think option two was the only way, after talking, he's more open to seeing what else is possible in future arrangements. Although he has said he wants me to be able to move on, find the love I deserve, someone who is committed to me 150%, and not be held back (including by false hope) in a relationship/arrangement with him.

We still sleep in the same bed, cuddle and hug at night (which feels good to both of us), kiss (just pecks), and say "I love you" often. He comforts me and cries with me while I cry on him and tell him everything I'm thinking and feeling. He has an incredible amount of guilt, love for me and our children, and says he is also confused on what he's feeling and what to do next.

I can count on one hand the number of arguments we've had in our relationship. We had an emotional discussion the other night (not a screaming argument), involving the pace of this process (he's been in it for 1 yr, I've been in it for 12 days), and we went to bed feeling worse than ever in our relationship. We slept in different beds for the first time ever. I left him a note about it in the morning saying how bad it felt and in his written response in the morning (he had left for work already), he agreed how awful he felt too and told me he loved me.

Sorry about the length of this. It's the first time I've shared it with people who can relate... and there is no straight spouse group in my area for me to meet. This appears to be my only shared outlet.

I need perspective, support, and options. Help.

Kelly, your confusion at this point is entirely understandable. It appears that you are experiencing the emotional ups and downs, hopes and fears of the early stages of discovery. It's really good that you and your partner are already seeing a counselor, who may be able to relieve some of the pressure you both feel. My greatest concern would be your mate's rages, which sound dangerous. Be cautious for your personal safety as the two of you work out your next steps. It's obvious that you aren't the only one in denial!

I'm glad these blog posts have been useful to you. Visit the site often and know that you are not alone!

Carol Grever

Hi there everyone, It has been so helpful to read your posts. I don't know if I'm in the same boat, as I'm not sure my husband has actually cheated per se but I've def got one leg in. Approx 2-1/2 years ago I discovered his account page to a "dating" site and all of his "friends" were men. When I confronted him , he first denied it but then admitted it after I didn't believe him. Then he tearfully confessed to using the site for masturbation only, never to hook up, never to contact and that he was "maybe" bi-curious. He seemed genuinely contrite then, perhaps because he was so shocked at getting caught and because he was suddenly confronted with the reality of his behavior. The site is designed for hooking up and I learned later he paid for his account so that he could contact people, he claims he never did but sadly I don't believe him. I was in "shock" and "denial" for a good 2 years. I convinced myself he was just "curious", the pictures helped him get off, the way womens' pictures or looking at myself in the mirror excite me sometimes while masturbating. After all, when we masturbate we are making love to our own bodies, and must enjoy them in that way. This was my rationalization. The shock of the discovery led to a chronic illness which surfaced just a couple weeks after and which I can never recover from, only control - I'm still blown away that my body reacted so strongly to the discovery. I stayed in shock and denial for so long because I didn't have the strength to deal with the situation. We had an argument a few months back, during which I suggested he was bi-sexual. He exploded with rage and even threatened to kill me for saying it (he has always had a problem with anger and rage, along with self-loathing and feelings of guilt, which all "clicked" when I discovered the "secret" - he has never, however, hit me during these rage episodes but he certainly breaks anything in sight). I realized then there was so much more going on inside him and his reaction reopened the whole thing for me. I took my head out of the sand and started doing some internet research. What I discovered sent me into despair, because I knew I could not pretend everything was "no big deal". A strange series of events and experiences seemed only to reinforce my doubt and suspicion and lead me down a path of discovery. I have several times tried to bring it up in a gentle way only to be confronted with an explosion of anger and denial from him. He says if he had been gay, he would be gay, as if it were just an easy choice or acceptance, then he says things like I'm not "fag", which clearly shows how homophobic he is, and why he can not accept bi or gay as a label. We just started counseling but yesterday he picked a fight with me which led down the same bloody path and after I used the term "gay porn" he exploded into the upper reaches of the stratosphere. He packed some clothes and left the house this morning telling me he would meet me at the counselor tomorrow. Even with all our fights, he has never packed and left, so I know we have reached our limits. I am not religious and have had many gay friends in my life. I understand the biological mechanisms behind our sexuality and have no prejudice against bisexuality or homosexuality. Despite that I am of course hurt and angry for the deception, lack of trust (in me! for not sharing his feelings then or now) and destruction of future plans. Like many of you, I just want the truth, so I can decide if it's worth staying and working out (is he incidentally bi-sexual or predominantly bi-sexual or is he really gay and pretending to be straight, etc. - these are conclusions that can only be determined after lots of honest conversation) or leaving and rebuilding my life after so many years into this relationship. A sense of closure or the platform to rebuild our relationship is all I crave. I can't help despair that I am clinging to false hope. He was my best friend, my confidante and my life partner. I made the mistake of building my world and my future around him, rather than me, and am now, 15 years into the relationship, emotionally and financially dependent on him. He just can't admit to anything at this stage and feels I'm playing the "victim". I can see he is more and more emotionally detached, trying to spare himself the painful reality of facing his greatest fear, and continually breaks up with me because he thinks I'm punishing him for something he did years ago by ever wanting to talk about it. I don't know if I'm fooling myself by leaving the possibility that he is just slightly bi-sexual, has never physically acted on it and can be monogamous. I am just so confused, lost and scared, which is why reading these posts helps me to realize I am not alone, and I can rebuild my life after all. Thank you all!

Helen, thank you for responding to Lara's plea for help. Your advice is excellent, drawn from your own hard but successful experience. This positive peer support fulfills the very purpose of this blog. I appreciate all who comment and respond to others on this site.

With hope for the best outcome for all concerned,
Carol Grever

Lara -

I completely understand the feeling that you are in a nightmare... I have felt that way myself over the last year or so. I confronted my husband a couple of times before I had actual "proof" that he was gay. Each time he laughed off my accusations, saying I had made the whole thing up. He tried and tried to make his homosexuality seem like a figment of my imagination. When I finally had email correspondence that was undeniably to and from a man (and quite explicit!), he still tried to say that it was just a joke! I wasn't laughing.

Everyone is different with different needs, but I can share with you what worked well for me. The key for me was to remain calm when I finally confronted my husband. The other times I had confronted him, I had been upset, often in tears. In hindsight, he was in charge those times. During that final confrontation, I finally knew the truth without his confession. I had already decided that my marriage was over before I spoke to him, but you said you "can't just up and leave." If that is true for you, then I would recommend having a plan for what you hope to accomplish by confronting him. Then, when you are ready, you can be as calm and in control as possible. You will know what you need to say and why, and what the next step needs to be.

I feel for you, Lara. I was in the same situation almost a year ago. I wish you all the best, and I can tell you that my two young children and I are doing really well in spite of all that we have been through. It is not all easy, but it gets easier all the time.

You are going to get through this - and there is life on the other side!! Hang in there - and please do be careful...

-Helen

Dear Lara,
Wow! This is a difficult spot for you. You've been wise to gather proof of his activities that will counter denial. If you think there is any chance that he might react violently, be sure that you confront him in a SAFE PLACE. Protect yourself against any possibility of harm. Perhaps you'll choose a public place like a restaurant or have trusted friends or relative present. Be matter-of-fact and clear. It's hard to advise you about specifics, but take care of yourself above all. You can't hide from the truth and the sooner it is all out in the open, the better for you. Be careful!

Carol Grever

I just found out my husband is sleeping with men.
I found condoms in his pocket and his truck so I knew he was having an affair. I didn't say anything because I knew I would never find out who it was if I accused him right away. I found and HIV test and at least that was negative. But I guess that means he had unprotected sex if he felt the need to get tested. I did some detective work and am shocked to find out he is having sex with random men. I haven't confronted him yet. I know he will deny it. He's never been violent but I am afraid of how he will react when I confront him. I have recorded evidence so my proof is undeniable. We've been married for 10 years and have 2 young children so I can't just up and leave. How do I confront him? I haven't told anyone else yet. I keep thinking maybe I am having a bad dream. Then I listen to the recording and it hasn't changed. I have to confront him soon. He keeps trying to be intimate with me and I just can't go there after what I heard him say on that tape. What do I do first?

Dear Prof. Grever.
I came across your blog looking for sites that could help me overcome the emotional impact of confirming that my ex-husbandd was gay since we got married ( 15 years). Although I had many suspicions and questioned his one manfriend. Finding out just last week from someone else, put me in a state of various emotions. I felt betrayed, lied to, belittled, used, angry, and resentful. I guess my question right now is "Wasn't it easier to just tell me???"
After my divorce of 20 years ( eventhough it was a long time ago I had unanswered questions untl now) due to the lack of intimacy. My children want me to take care of him now that he is sick and won't let me move on. He has always played the role of the victim.
I feel I don't have to break the news to them. thanks to your blog, I was able to get this off my chest and I hope I can move on and forgive him. I want to be myself again.

Thanks.

Thank you for your response. It really meant a lot, and it really made me think. The idea that my husband did not marry me knowing that it would all end up this way is something I have struggled with. Intellectually, I know he didn't do this to me or to us on purpose, but I am very, very angry when I think about it sometimes. I often sink into feeling like a victim - whether he intended to make me one or not.

On a positive note, I have truly never wondered if I did anything wrong - and I realize that there is nothing wrong with me as a woman. I basically try to tell myself that I am so amazing that he actually tried to change his sexual orientation for me!! :) It makes me feel better on my worse days anyway!

Hearing you say that you believe that "gay men who marry really do love their wives," just makes me take a deep breath and relax a bit. It feels so much better to believe that I gave my heart to someone who wanted it - and not someone who meant to trick me. In the long run, I think it will make the healing process more comlplete.

Anyway, thank you so much for your words of confidence and inspiration. I continue to grow and heal every day.

I hope the same is true for everyone reading this and grieving their own situation right now...

Helen, your story is touching and familiar in many details. Feeling that years of your life were wasted and experiencing wide mood swings are both typical for straight spouses. You're right that these ups and downs are part of this particular challenge. If it makes you feel any better, I'm convinced that gay men who marry really do love their wives; they really do want children; they really believe that marriage will make their desire for men "go away." If we can begin to understand that they didn't enter the marriage to make us victims, then we can also understand that we are not at fault, that there is nothing wrong with us as women. That realization frees us to start fresh to rebuild our lives alone or with another (straight) partner. To live a lie must be hell. In my opinion, you and your husband are both better off living your truth, and you will heal your wounds and go on with a happier life. You've already proven how strong and capable you are. You can do this!
Carol Grever

Hi - I am reluctant to post for some reason... I am not embarrassed I don't think. Maybe it is because all of this seems so unreal to me. I am sure everyone here can understand that feeling!

I "outed" my husband last April after I discovered a string of emails he had written in response to a gay personal ad - several ads actually. He wrote them from an email account I had never seen before, but sent them from my computer. I had my two children with me when I read them, and I thought I was going to throw up... The girls and I were on our way out the door to a birthday party, so I couldn't go drag him out of bed and scream at him, which was appealing on one level. Instead, I forwarded the email back to his usual email account with a note from me saying we would need to talk about the emails when I got home later that day. I figured that would get his attention!

About 8 hours later, he called me on my cell phone and tried to play the whole thing off as a big joke. He said he only sent the emails because he thought a friend of ours (a stright man) would think it was hilarious. I told him it wasn't funny and that we would talk about it when I got home. He continued to try to deny it. Sadly, it wasn't the first sign. I had found pictures of young men on the computer just after my oldest daughter was born in 1998, when we lived 2000 miles from our family and close friends. He and his therapist told me that it was nothing but "normal" comparing of penis size. Thatseemed odd to me, of course, but I had just had a baby and was so far from home. There was even something at a party before we were married that infuriated my brother - I remember crying then and asking him if he was gay. He told me in no uncertain terms that he was NOT. I told him I did not want to get married and have kids and end up divorced from a gay man some day... He laughed, as if what I was saying was absurd! He assured me that he was straight and that he loved me. That was over 15 years ago...

He loved me. He was so sure of it that he asked me to marry him!! I was delighted. He was the love of my life. I felt like I had won the lottery - until I found those pictures of naked men on the computer... And later more pictures... and finally the ill-fated emails.

I surprised myself by not yelling at him when we talked about the emails. I told him I thought he had probably always been gay and that I was really very sad for him because he wasn't being honest. I told him I thought it was terrible that he had been denying himself true happiness all these years. He denied it, and denied it until he finally started to cry - and began nodding. He said he had always hoped those feelings about men would go away. I had that feeling I might throw up again, but I was actually relieved to finally know the truth.

It has been six months now since he moved out and started officially dating men. The girls and I moved, too, and I bought a house of my own. I would like to say that we are the best of friends and that everything is fine, but that wouldn't be the truth. I think about my 21 year relationship (13 of it married) every day. Some days are better than others. Some days I cry a lot. Some days I feel like I can conquer the world on my own. I would like to have all those years back. I would like to have my 19-year-old body back to share with someone who would appreciate it! I feel like he stole a huge part of my life from me... But, like the victim of a crime, I can either give up and be miserable or I can choose to take charge. I have decided to try to push through these emotions so I can reach the other side.

Thank you for the opportunity and the forum to work on some of that today.

It has really hit me hard about the old boyfriend. He left behind a really nice wife and a 10-year-old (+/-) son. I have relied on the memory of that relationship as a reality check, that I really am desirable, pretty, and worthy of love. Now the fantasy has fizzled with his death.
I can be in the same room with my husband now without steam coming out of my ears. He can still ruin the energy of a situation, though, just by walking through the door. When I asked him how it felt to hold a secret for thjat long he said, "Well, I was lonely." And another one: he says he doesn't want us to get divorced "because I don't want you to get hurt -- there aren't any good men out there. They are all married. I pointed out that my (fantastic and sophisticated) brother lost his wife 4 years ago, and now he has a new girlfriend. When I saw the smile on his face in the picture I knew he was happy because he looked like he was 16 again. But my husband insists that it could never happen or me. "Why can't we just be friends and parents together, and get through our life quietly?" BECAUSE, jerk, that's not what I signed on for. The proest says that if he had prior knowledge before the wedding, the covenant doesn't count. The lawyer said I would "get everything" and it could be settled quickly out of court. I don't know what to do. I am trying to figure out how having my husband leaving would affect my son, who does emjoy him mostly.He is a pretty savvy kid.
OK I just fell asleep on the keyboard. Time for a nap!

Astraea

Julie,
It's Astraea. I love what you said about miracles in your next-to-last post: "I have been standing still, waiting for a miracle, and the only thing I know for sure is that sometimes in life, a miracle doesn't come unless you do the work to get it." I am in a stage now where all I want is for this never to have happened: not the disclosure, but the whole reality of it. My husband is very depressed, but still very self centered, like when I asked "What was it like to keep a secret for so long?' he said, "Well, I was lonely sometimes." And when I asked how he felt now, he said, "I'm embarassed, and I feel humiliated." I, I. I. Not once did he say, "How are YOU feeling now?" or, "What has this devastation done to you?" or, "How did YOU feel all that time? Did it feel like something was wrong?" Of course I have offered some of that information unasked on several occasions. He is narcissistic and incapable of empathy. I have gone through periods when I hate him, periods when I realize that I will never be attracted to him again, and times when I am not sure if I love him even, though I still do, on some level. Certainly not a romantic one. A while ago, when we had been fighting pretty steadily ("You stole my life" vs. "Why are you making such a big deal of this?") With my consent, and only because I was curious--and hopeful--and lonely...he used some Viagra and we tried to make love, but it was awful. I felt like I was being violated. I wondered if I were overreacting, but honestly that's how it felt There will never be a physical relationship between us again. That has become a definite factor in making decisions. The next day I asked him why he had initiated the sex. You won't believe what he said. He shrugged and said, "Well, we've been fighting a lot and I wanted to do something to change the status quo."
It's impossible. Now I am working on accepting it and getting on with my life. Your husband's selfish, disdaining and thoroughly unfair behavior, however, seems to me much worse (not to compare). How can he even THINK of telling you to leave, or fighting you legally? He's wrong. Just wrong. And you need to stay in your home and take care of your children. If he had a caring bone in his body right now he would see that minimizing change and trauma would be the best thing for the kids, let alone you. Wow. It's been more than a month, I just saw, since you wrote your last post. I certainly hope that things have gotten better for you. And by the way, getting with the "life is real" program, my name is Nancy. There is a bond between us that I cannot explain. I feel like I know you. So out of respect I wanted to tell you who you've been talking to. -- Another thing...I was on the computer one night and wondering what became of my first serious boyfriend. The only time I was ever happy in a relationship and felt like a woman, empowered, loved, was with him. Well, I found him, on a public site where he said he wanted to contact old friends. I was millimeters away from the
"contact this person" button when I realized that I still really care about him and would not want to do ANYTHING that might disrupt his life. So I stopped. A few weeks later, against my better judgement, I googled him again and the first hit was his obituary. He died about five weeks ago, which was about a week after I didn't contact him. They didn't say what happened, only that he died ""suddenly and unexpectedly." I obsessed about that for a while then finally was able to drop it and just grieve. I cried till I almost couldn't breathe. Deep moans that didn't even sound like me were coming up. I wondered brifly before this happened if I were thinking about him because of my husband - wishing I had married him, etc. (he asked me, but I was on my way to Germany and he said he couldn't wait.) SO as I wailed I wondered if I were really crying, grieving about my husband. But I wasn't. The old boyfriend felt real, and the loss of a friend was real. My current situation feels surreal so it is harder to grieve for this loss. What a mess. Well, let me know what's up and if I can help in any way. Greetings to other readers, too, if there are any.

Julie,
It only gets worse. I am so sorry that your husband is being so difficult. Our situation has changed, too. He finally admitted that he is homosexual--but then the next day he's bi--oh, and the next day it's all my fault (all what?) He admitted that he knew that he was bi before we got married and ever since then. I said, "OK, so you married me knowing you were bi and just planned to give me half of yourself?" He answered "That's about it." AURRRRGH! Frankly, I don't believe the bi stuff - I don't know why. I think he is gay and used me as a cover to have a lovely life, wife, & child to go along with his professional life. He admitted that he still watches gay porn, even after he agreed not to. I saw a lawyer and she said I would get alimony and child support. Our priest said that prior knowledge of his sexuality (before marriage) renders the marriage null and void, so to speak. I pointed out to him that I was beautiful and powerful and strong when he met me. He put on the charm to get me to marry him, then turned into a frog. I could never "seduce" him, nor did he ever take the initiative. Both things killed my self-esteem. Now that I know I am trying to lose weight and regain my self dignity. I am worried about our teenage son, though. What to do??
I think that your husband might be a narcissist, which would explain his mercurial changes in his realtionship to you. Read up on it - narcissists change like the wind to keep people off guard which allows them control. It IS crazymaking. Check out http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/index.html. "Narcissitic Personality Disorder: How to Recognize a Narcissist. It is the best explanation I have ever read. Oh Julie, we've been in this so long, even with gaps in blog entries. What did your attorney say? It may be that you have more leverage than you realize. Good luck!
Astraea

My husband came out to his parents this weekend. I told him that he had to "go big" in order to move forward in any way -- with me, with life, with all of it. (Coming out to his family was the most difficult part of this process for him.) He said that he finally felt free, that he was finally able to live fully, that he feels he's changed completely by telling them. What he doesn't realize is that it didn't help me to feel better about the hell I've lived through for all of these years. Now that he is a changed preson (???), I am still here with the pain of being put inside his tiny closet with him and my children all these years. He doesn't want me to feel pain now, just as he hasn't wanted me to feel pain in the past. He wants me to be "happy!!!" and free for him...once again, doing for him. I am so angry about that.

After much outpouring of rage and tears on my part, I finally got through to him, finally helped him understand that I have been suffering for YEARS, holding his fear, anger, guilt, shame, resentment that I've been wanting the truth to come out...name it, I've chosen to hold it for him in order to keep our family together. I have wanted him closeted, and conversely I have pushed him to come out. I have supported him. What about me? Well, I have gone to therapy, been paralyzed in fear, mourned the loss of our marriage as I wanted it to be, been set free, been angry, been sad...I've gone through so much pain. Now, once and for all, I am ready for us to move on. I just don't know how I am going to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out. I will research it and get the appropriate wording, etc., but I am not completely ready for that fall out, particularly since he helps so much with supporting the children's activities, etc. I am sure he'll still be around, but I am afraid of being alone. I know it's time, but I am afraid of being alone. But I want to move on...conflicted...alone...need help. Is anyone there???

Thank you, Carol.

The latest (it seems to change every hour!) is that my husband feels that I am the one who wants to end the marriage, therefore I should leave our home. I am a full-time mom and, even thought it's not "PC," I am a housewife. I have a past career as a published writer and volunteer to inner-city college students, but still need my Ph.D. to actualize that completely. In the meantime, I am home with our daughters (3 and 10 years-old). My husband has said repeatedly that he will not leave the house; that he wants to stay married no matter what. There are moments when he has clarity and understands that our marriage is not working, but they are few and far between. We are fighting, the kids feel the tension, we cannot get through a conversation without disagreeing about how to make this work. I went to an attorney today to gather information, which prompted my husband to do the same. He is now being "advised" that he does not need to leave. So here he is, in this miserable house with a wife who cannot hold his "secret" anymore. I feel so dejected and helpless -- just a few hours ago, he had agreed to go and was cooperative. He changes like the wind. It's crazy-making. Is this part of the fear of coming out? Yes. Is it that his reality will possibly hit him when he's gone? Yes. But that is not for me to hold for him. I just can't do it anymore. What to do??

I've wondered why it seems that the gay/straight crisis is so often accompanied by some other life-changing event. When my husband came out to me, I was already facing the imminent death of my dear father with leukemia. In two months' time, I lost both men I had depended upon most of my life. Julie, I feel such empathy for you, with your mother's terminal illness on top of your husband's coming out. The hope lies in the fact that you now have the courage to take responsibility for your own future and to make decisions that will move you toward a new life. This is hard! But I'm confident that you will find reward in the exhilaration of freedom. Take one step at a time and know that there will be obstacles and frustrations, but you are moving toward something better. Best wishes!
Carol Grever

I'm here to share that my husband and I are ending our marriage. It is a relief and confusing; shitty and fantastic; heartbreaking and frightening. I can't believe it but I can't believe it took this long. Since my last post, I found out my mom is terminally ill with end-stage liver disease. It has rattled my world, but it has also helped me move forward with my own life. (My mom is still alive, receiving hospice care.) My husband and I began therapy with a gay counselor, which was great as he is a really good therapist. My husband also started going to a coming out group, which stirred up the pot in a big way. I was processing my own guilt for possibly ending our marriage and changing our children's lives, forever. I have been standing still, waiting for a miracle, and the only thing I know for sure is that sometimes in life, a miracle doesn't come unless you do the work to get it. This is one of those times: I cannot wait for something to change my situation; my situation is mine and I have to change it. My husband is gay. I am not okay with staying married to him. We haven't had sex in a million months. I don't want to, but I do want a sexual relationship. My children feel the tension, and if they could articulate it, they would ask what the *#(@ we're doing together!!! Our evenings are spent wasting time on our respective computers, chatting with friends on Facebook or whatever, my older daughter in her room. We are totally disconnected emotionally and physcially. I am so anxious that I take anxiety medication regularly just to make it through the night. My husband is disconnected, too, and angry that he's here. I'm angry that he's here. I told him today that I want to end our marriage, that I do not want to live this way, that I do not want this for our children. We are giving ourselves a week to figure out where he'll live, how we will tell our children. I need help. I need to know how to move forward from here.

With much gratitude,
Julie

We had a week of two of relative calm around here. I think that my husband and I we both too emotionally exhausted to keep talking about his being gay. But now the thoughts are creeping in again about wanting to be with a man who likes women, me in particular. The problem is that with his narcissism it is very hard for him to see that he is being emotionally distant. If he doesn't need it, nobody does. My judgement slipped tonight and I said , "I wish you were straight." His silence was deafening. Sigh. Another day. How is eveeeeeryone, especially Julie. What happened in your situation?
Astraea

Dear Jo,
I completely agree with you that you were misled by the counselor who promised that a gay man could be "cured," i.e. made straight, and that being gay was his choice (see my previous blog post on this subject). In the first place, being gay is not a disease that requires a cure, nor is sexual orientation a matter of choice. You've identified the real problem, and that is your husband's denial of his real sexual orientation. Living in fear of truth ruins lives.

I pray for a world in which each person can claim his or her real sexual identity and live openly with assurance of social acceptance. If this day comes, we won't find ourselves trapped in mixed-orientation marriages that create hell for all involved. I'm glad you're getting free and I wish for you that peace and love that you desire. May it be so!
Carol Grever

I was married for 18 years...I got pregnant 3 months after we got married...all the sex stopped as soon as I got home with the baby..he became the mother...I couldnt do anything right or good enough..a negative and hateful monster began..my other 2 children suffer from this still.He is still in denial...after being caught at gay parks and even bringing a strange man to our home when I was gone out of town.I waited until my son was a senior to file..I had filed 2 other times..wanting out so bad,and my son fell apart.We've had counseling from a place in nashville that insisted he could be cured and it was a choice..even a phd that has been on dateline and has books told me so.Its been a nightmare..he threw our family away for "friendships"all through the years telling me I was crazy for not wanting him to have friends..everything was my fault..everything..I filed over 2 years ago..he's stll trying to get money that my parents worked so hard for me to have.I just want some peace before Im gone from this life ...with a caring,loving man...I would love to feel like a female again.These men in denial are wrecks and mad at the world..taking it out on all who enter their paths..I pray for God to protect me from the evil of it all.I wish I had it all to do again.

Dear Astraea,
My definition of a victim is one who is absolutely helpless against a force over which there is no control, e.g. a pedestrian hit by a car, or a person who contracts a deadly virus. In the case of a straight spouse, there is another factor which must be considered, and that factor is choice. We didn't choose to be in a gay-straight relationship (we didn't know it), but we do have a choice about how we respond to the situation. That was the distinction I was trying to make regarding "taking on the victim role."

A way to rise above it is to consider one's choices and move toward the best available. (One of those choices is to do nothing different, but that means settling for the status quo.) There is no single right answer, and you are the best person to map your own course. No one can do it for you, as harsh as that seems.

As always, my best wishes go with you!
Carol Grever

Now my husband is saying that it is no big deal - that his eperiences were "a long time ago" and that they didn't involve sexual intercourse, except for one aborted attempt. He doesn't seem to understand that even BEING in that situation says a lot. He siad he wasn't attracted to me. Now he denies that, adding that "I like your body, but I would like it more if you weighed less." Me too. I am almost 100 lbs. overweight, all accumulated since my son was 2 which, coincidentally, is the same time that he stopped being attracted to me. I keep thinking about what Carol said, about being a victim, and how doing nothing will produce tha same results. What is the difference between taking on the victim role and just plain being a victim? Why am I supposed to be able to rise abouve that?

Carol,

Excellent point. I do feel very, very stuck. And it is draining the life out of me. Actually, in my mind I think that I am staying to keep the family together until our son has some time to grow older. Maybe it's "martyr" instead of "victim"? Even though I made that decision out of love - maybe it's misdirected. Yet I do think, and my therapist agrees, that this is not the right time to tell him, just as he is turning 16 and becoming a man. My son talked to me about how the Boy Scouts at camp teased one boy because he is effiminate. That led to a discussion of how he feels about homosexuals, and it turned out that he is wrestling with defining his own sexuality as well, which I hear is normal for this age. At what point he said, "I don't know if I am gay, or bi, or straight" and I thought with a sinking stomach, "This is too close for comfort." My therapist said that these thoughts are normal at 16 and not normal at 55. At least my son is talking to me. I told him that we would always accept him as he is, whatever happens. That he could always come home with his friends, male or female. So what would it say to him if I left because his father is gay? Then he told me that he was attracted to "a boy" at school, that he couldn't stop looking at him, and wanted to spent "just a night" with him, "no more" and then "stick to girls after that." Then he said, "I feel so relieved. I've been wanting to tell someone." I explained the difference between fascination accompanied by surges of sexual feeling, which can occur woman to woman or man-to-man, versus a prolonged attraction to a man and none to women. He thought that he would end up with "a wife and family." At that point I couldn't hold it in any longer, so I told him about my friend whose husband came out the year after their 25th anniversary. He tried to commit suicide and when she went to the ICU, the doctor asked her who Robert was, and that's how she found out. I explained how sometimes men can know, or not know, that they are gay, get married, have kids, and then not be able to keep the secret any longer and be true to themselves, and how it always works out better when people tell the truth (hypocrite that I am being currently...) So, I said, "it's good if you can figure out your sexulaity before you get married." Then I shut up. But that really laid the groundwork for telling him whenever we do.

We had years and years (9) of infertility treatments before he was born. My husband had no sperm which, incidentally, he knew from tests they conducted on their own sperm in medical school. He found one or two, but thought it was a "fluke", whereas the others had "millions" under the microscope. Finally we turned to sperm donation, and because it was so weird, we asked the doctor to choose a donor, which he did. All through the pregnancy and first months of his life, we thought it was donor sperm. But then the resemblance to my husband and his family became very obvious, so we took him back to the doctor and he said that there was "no way" that the baby could have been conceived with this donor's sperm. Apparently there is a 1 in 10,000 chance that the husband's weak sperm rides in on the donor sperm -- a miracle, we thought at the time, and I still do. But now our son is carrying the gay gene and we have to tell him. I just don't know when or how. I feel that I will be forever watching and wondering, even if he marries a woman, because of what he said. It's double jeopardy and it stinks.

I am capable of doing what I have to do, but you're right - at the moment I feel like a victim. Right now, even though the gay issue is on my mind 24/7, I am focused on how grumpy and rude my husband is being - I do stand up to him on that one, telling him that it is unacceptable at best and abusive at worst. I told him that I might be able to work with him on an outcome that works for both of us, but not as long as he is acting like a self-centered jerk. And, by the way, my therapist AND psychiatrist told me independantly that he is narcissistic, then his therapist told mine the same (he signed a release for exchange of information, as did I, in the hopes of figuring things out. Not that he didn't already know. What a good actor. So he blames everything on me and wonders why "just living out our lives as friends and teammates for parenting" isn't a good idea. Hello? Earth to husband? Because marriage is an intimate relationship.

Our house if filled with too much stuff, a mess that I am convinced is an expression of the confusion I've felt over the last 24 years. It is overwhelming to me, especially when I think about divorce. So I have started to just set aside and pack up my most personal and precious possessions "just in case". Ever since I found out, I have felt like everything in the house is his. It has never truly felt like my home and now I know why. Now I feel more alienated than ever. There's someting else weird: for my entire adult life, when I move, I never put up pictures (of people) until I feel like I am going to stay. We have a few framed prints from Target, but no pictures, after almost a quarter of a century. (wow, that sounds big...) Even the things we have had framed are just sitting in closets and on the floor.

So, having not done anything outside of my own personal life, I am getting the same result. And despite all of the above, I am still afraid to make a move. I don't know why, but I am trusting that the reason will be clear over time, since dysfunctional things never stay hidden for long. Actually they do. Oh well. I have to do something. I am very overweight, stressed out of my mind, having trouble curtailing spending, and not sleeping well. I may have to move on, even though I don't think I can right now. Thanks for your thoughts, Carol. I really appreciate you reading my long missives. Are 10,000 other people doing that too?

Astraea

Dear Astraea,
You are a regular contributor to this blog and I thank you so much for reading and commenting. From your previous notes, it's clear that you are "stuck" and remain caught on the horns of your dilemma. This is a dangerous place to be because it drains energy and power to take any different action. You have taken the role of victim and you feel helpless. What I want to point out is that you actually have made a choice here. You have made the decision to remain where you are and keep doing what you have done. You have made that decision. Why are you surprised that you keep getting the same result?
Carol Grever

Ok, pardon me, but I just have to say this to the universe: I hate him. I don't know when I am supposed to be able to forgive and move on. I am as much at fault because I hate myself, too, and just don't get it about taking care of myself.

What's normal for a 15-year old boy? Mine said that he "looked really a long time" at another boy and had feelings, and wondered if he's gay. He said he also gets similar feelings for girls. I'm thinking that this falls under normal adolescence but then he siad, "I don't know if I'm gay or straight or bi." It broke my heart. He also said that he was going to spend time with his children, "unike some OTHER parents." (he said he meant his Dad) - also that he doesn't feel comfortable talking to his Dad about anything. Sheesh. The two situations seem so similar, but they aren't. I just can't sort it out. My psychologist told me I said all the right things: unonditional love and support, respect fo his decisions, etc. ANd I mean it, for my son. Not for my husband.

Julie,

Thanks - I'll look forward to your post, but not for a while. Thanks for letting me know. I'm sorry your Mom is in the ICU - it must be terrible that it happened, now worrying about her, and that it happened so quickly. I'll send many prayers your way.

My husband and son have been at Boy Scout camp since last Saturday. Today was parent night and the big bonfire - a canoe coming over the lake with the chief, dancing, drumming, very impressive. However when I called my husband from the car, he was very short with me - judgemental in some abstract way (but I could feel it), grumpy and blaming, and not at all glad to hear from me. Between us, the evening was a disaster - stony silences, awkward attempts at holding hands, etc. Not good. Not good at all. It was obvious that he is enjoying being away from me as much as I am not missing him here. No wonder - he's in a camp with 500 boys and many men, and he is sharing a tent with one. I guess I'd be happy there too, if I were gay. I know that he would NEVER do anything wrong, like approaching someone, and certainly never, EVER a child. This much I know. But I wonder what is going on in his head? It's not fantsies of me, that's for sure. Sigh. I am really, really really angry that he stole my life and that because of him, I will never have a chance to be intimate with someone again. The fact of the matter is that right now we simply don't have enough money to divorce and have two households. I'm not sure what the best thing is for my son. He just got his first razor and is so proud of it. He asked for one and I suggested that he ask Dad to take him. "I can't really do that," he said miserably.I asked why not and he said, "It just doesn't feel right. Will you take me?" So I did, but I asked D. to show him how to use it. At camp tonight my son said that the other boys don't like him, that they are afraid of him because he is grumpy and never has fun with them. I said, "Well, maybe we can think of some ways to help him have fun," to which he replied, "Mom, he CAN'T." and that was the end of that discussion. It's so sad.
Sorry to dump on you when your Mom is sick - I hope she gets well soon. Take care of yourself, too.

Hugs back,
Astraea

I want to address everything you wrote, but my mom was suddenly rushed tot the hospital and has been in ICU. She's getting better but I've been at the hospital every day. I feel for you and I am sending love your way, Astraea. I can relate to so many things you wrote and want to thoughtfully respond. Just letting you know that you're not alone, and I will be writing as soon as I can.

Hugs,
Julie

Omigosh - I hit the wall this week. Last weekend we were at a family reunion of distant relatives. I sat and watched the other couples, exchanging knowing glances, caring for their children with love and humor, working together to set up lawn chairs and, later, as they reminsced, looking at each other in such a way as to show that they were not only ORIENTED to each other, but that they were physically and emotionally CONNECTED. It hit me with the force of an avalanche that we have NEVER had that, not from the beginning. D. has always been secrative, withholding, self-centered and totally bewildering - not to mention menbtion maddening. For years I tried to be a good wife and to make sense of it all. He spent every penny he earned on the family - really, nothing for himself - and so it was hard to say that I was unhappy. But lately I have been thinking a lot about the only relationship I had that was intellectually, emotionally, and sexually satisfying. I was 23, he was 28 and he was a really, really good lover. Most of all he WANTED me, and my body. He sought me out. He teased and played. He was always clean and physically fit and passionate as all get out. We met each others' parents (he was Canadian). But he also made comments here and there that worried me - things like, "Don't wear that dress - it makes you look a little fat." It wasn't abusive, but my instinct told me that it could become so. He also drank a lot of Scotch -so did I , but not as much as he did, and I worried about drinking problems developing later. Then one day before I was about to leave for Europe for nine months, he told me that he had made love to someone else, a woman who "seduced" him out into a meadow and then, apparently, "jumped" him. He felt bad, but then and now I think that he was testing the waters as to what he could do while I was gone. I thanked him for telling me then said, "But I do have to leave." He cried out, "Over one mistake? One affair?" I said "Yup", took my things, and left. It just about broke my heart, but he crossed a line and, in my mind, once a cheater, always the possibilty of being a cheater. Now I look back and still respect my decision, but I have never had a relationship like that again, so I long for him, especially now. We were all the things the people at the reunion were, and I suddenly realized how - NOT THERE - those qualities are in our marriage. I had a major, major meltdown, fortunately in the therapist's office, and raged for two hours in streaming tears. The next day I felt better, but now I am back to my "normal" (since the disclosure) hypervigilant, fried self. I don't sleep much at night - usually from 3 am to 9 or 10 because I am up stewing about it.

Anyway, today I was back with the therapist, not much better, he said, but a bit more in control cognitively. "I am still concerned," he added, which surprised me, because I didn't see why, so I guess I was probably dissociating a little bit. I am not homophobic, truly - I went through the whole coming out think with my best childhood friend. He was tall and Swedish and gorgeous, and equally smart. We went to Paris when I was 16 with a group, and ran hand in hand up Mont St. Michel. We dined in New London, CT where his father was a Coast Guard captain, friends with my father who was a Navy pilot. We visited each other's colleges after giving thought to going to the same one, where we could "grow" our relationship. Most of our vacations were spent at his family's 300-year-old colonial house in Old Lyme, CT. EVERYBODY thought or assumed that we would marry. He wrote me love letters in five languages. We went sailing on Lake Champlain and snuggled in the hold when we were becalmed. But he never kissed me or touched me a lot - and I was naive enough to think that we were both remaining pure and virginal for marriage. Then one day in grad school, he was working already, he asked me to fly to Seattle from Indiana because he had, "something very important to talk about". I didn't have the money; he asked three times and then finally sent me a plane ticket. He waited until we got home and I was totally, 100% sure that he was going to propose, but instead he said, "Guess what? I'm gay!" and so it began. That was bad enough, but for the same thing to happen in my marriage is my WORST nightmare. I was never popular, never had a boyfriend, and my mother convinced me that I was fat by the time I was 11 - because SHE thought she was fat. Because she was narcissitic and had no boundaries, I had to be fat and self-conscious, too, otherwise she would go into a state of cognitive dissonance and try every trick in the book to get me to agree, from wheedling to rage. WHen I got married I thought it was over - that I was finally an adult with a man and life would be good. But it didn't turn out that way and here I sit today, devastated. People say that God will not give you more than you can handle. I don't really think that God gives misfortune, but rather that he is there to help us through it, so that we grow in faith and understanding. I've always been amenable to that, but this is simply TOO MUCH. Finding out that D. was gay is THE WORST thing I can possibly imagine. I don't think that I can make it through without imploding or something. Life is a nightmare. I feel trapped, and he is still getting everything that he wants. If I divorce him, I give up my life: friends, family, neighbors, to go live alone, spend only half the time with my son, and need to get a full-time job. Not that I couldn't do those things, but I don't want to. The lawyer said that most of his earnings would come to us. Why should I trash my life because he has a problem?
Anyway, it's not a pretty situation. We are having money problems as well; we have NEVER, ever done our finances together. He withholds and hides that information, too.

Suddenly, I can't write any more. I want to cry, or throw up. He just got home and I dread spending time with him. This is NOT good.

Astraea

To Julie (re July 12 post): The tone of your message is bright and hopeful, and I'm sure you're relieved to be moving forward with a plan and a competent counselor to help along the way. In my opinion, your goal of separating in a "collaborative, not confrontational" way should lay healthy groundwork for satisfying outcomes for everyone concerned. Clear communication is key, as you know. I'm so pleased with your news.
Best wishes!
Carol Grever

Julie,

I'm glad that you found a therapist and that you have a plan. At least that is an anchor of hope in the midst of raging seas. Speaking of which, I love to watch raging seas - at the beach or sometimes I watch the Weather Channel, a program that chronicles the fishermen on boats in the North Sea. I grew up by the ocean and it is deeply entwined with my English heritage. I used to feel llike my "land" side was solid and the "sea" side was open and free. Lake Nichigan isn't bad as a substitute. In winter the waves freeze on themselves, over and over until floes form and you can't tell where the beach ends and the water starts. It's very dangerous, though. Once I was walking way out onto the ice with my 3-year-old son, not knowing the danger because the sea doesn't freeze. Suddenly I heard a creaking sound, like a moored boat straining against the ropes on the dock. I looked down and there, about 10' below me, was moving water. I made my way back to the sand VERY quickly. I later found out that every year without fail the Coast Guard has to rescue someone floating way out onto the lake (which is HUGE)because the floe broke off and carried themn away.

Why am I going on and on about this? I don't know but it must becoming somewhere from within. We went to a family reunion at our family's cottage on a lake. There were lots of nice but distant relatives-in-law. I just sat with my loyal Golden Retriever and watched people. Families. Couples exchanging loving glances and working together with a connection between them. I watched their children and imagined the intimacy most of them probably share. I know everyone has problems, but I have heard that the majority of married couples are mutually heterosexual. I mean, isn't that why people get married? I felt envious, jealous even, not angry per se but I did feel cheated and betrayed, and profoundly sad. Myhusband was busy doing genealogy, which is his passion, so I understand that he wasn't with me. Actually, I didn't miss him much, which horrified me.

On the way home I talked to him, beginning with "I'm so ANGRY at you." Then I asked if he would listen to how I am feeling. He did, to his credit. He replied that he desperately wants to be a good husband to me. (The Germans have a good expression for that: "Ich weiB es zu schaetzen", which means literally "I know to treasure it.) I mean, that IS worth a lot, and I told him so. The critical point in this discussion came when he said that (about being a husband) and I said (surprising myself), "Maybe it's time to ask yourself if you can do that, for real." It was a quiet discussion but very painful. He asked, "Couldn't you just pretend that I have a disability that prevents sex - lots of people live with that. I agreed (that they do - not to pretend), but added, "Those people are dealing with something that just happened. I am dealing with something you knew about but didn't tell me, which is a huge betrayal of trust, whether or not you felt that you were heterosexual at the time." Then I finally said what I feel deep inside: that the thing I am most afraid of is when things start happening outside the realm of my (our) control. The fabric of our marriage is unraveling and it has taken on a momentum of its own. My therapist once told me, when I asked him how a divorce happens, that things can just erode and deteriorate until one day you wake up and its done, out of your control. It (the separation) is happening whether you like it or not. That's how I felt today. I told my husband that doing nothing will surely lead to this end, as it has already begun. Maybe that's why I am thinking about cracking ice floes and uncontrolled storms at sea. It wouldn't be a stretch of an interpretation - haha! My nieces and nephews were so cute at the cottage - helping Grandma cook, playing in the water, talking, singing. I love them all, and their parents. Several them are very bright - all really - and fun to be with. If I divorced, I couldn't come to the cottage. I would have to have "your time" and "my time" with my teen (ooops - Freudian slip) with OUR teenage son, and be wondering what he was doing and thinking. Tonight he asked me to come sit on the couch with him and watch TV, because he didn't feel right - restless, irritable. Eventually he leaned over and put his head on my shoulder. What if I hadn't been there for him? He'd manage, I know, but his life and our relationship would be vastly different.

Is there an unspoken limit as to how much one can write on a blog? :) Not like there's not enough space, Well, today was disjointed and I just needed to write disjointedly. Hope everyone blogging is doing OK. Wendy, I wondered if you are still on the blog? How's it going?

Astraea

Thank you so much! Carol, your referrals were much-needed, and Astraea, you have been a wonderful voice.

I have been in and out of therapy my entire adult life...go back to check in on my own stuff, and I believe that self-awareness governs our behavior. So, luckily, therapy is not new to me.

We found a therapist who has worked with gay men/straight women who are married, which makes me feel comforted by his expertise. He was referred by you, Carol, but I also called the President of PFLAG who gave me a couple of names.

My plan at this point is to stay married for one year with the intention of clearing our fears, guilt, shame, anger, deception, etc. and seeing where we land. I suspect that once my husband is more clear about what he truly wants, who he truly is, we will not be together. I am ready to separate now, but I want to be clear about what that will mean to our children and history (14 years). I want to do this in a collaborative way, not confrontational. I have hope that we will do it "right."

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for being here for me during the worst moments of my marriage. THANK YOU!!! I am sure this is not the last you will hear from me.

I hope you are doing well and moving through your days with hope and joy.

Love,
Julie

I'm really happy to see the mutual encouragement in these recent comments. Thank you all for supporting each other. One of the purposes of this blog is to demonstrate that we are not alone in our difficulties and that we can help each other through the rough places. Thank you!

Carol Grever

Julie,

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy has a website: www.aamft.com (org?) I can't remember and when I went back to look it wiped out my post. Anyway, they have on that sire a "Therapist Locator" that can help you find a therapist in your area. Your family doctor can tell you which ones have a good reputation. A note to the wise, based on experience: if you go more than 2 or 3 times and still feel uncomfortable, on edge, or angry, think about trying a different therapist. Trust you gut instincts - I think you have good ones. Good luck!

Julie,

There is an American Association of Marriage and Family Counseling that is national. I believe that you can contact them directly to get some names. Good luck.

My husband told me today that he is bisexual, that you can have cake and pie and like them both. I am speechless. I don't want to be a menu item - haha. Not funny. But seriously, what could bisexual mean to him, and why should I accept being half of it? Or is the other half his gay porn and he just wants to get his life the way it was again?
The really perplexing thing is that everyone I read about has a gay spouse who is seeing another man. I truly don't think that my husband is. He would crucify himself in this ultra-conservative town, and he is at the hospital working all the time anyway - I always know where he is. He thinks that he is guilt free because of that, and that I should not "count" his behavior before our marriage, even though he lied about the extent of it. I said, "You can't make a chart of pros and cons, then say that having a house cancels out having no sex or intimacy." He sees them as having the same weight in discerning a decision. I said that sex and intimacy are things that one reasonably expects to have in a marriage, sort of an all-encompassing thing, not a list item that can be compared to other things we have. Blah. I am SO tired of this.

Julie,

I feel for you so much, but I don't know how to help. I'm so sorry. Your daughter will get through this OK and so will you. (When people said that to me 6 weeks ago, I wanted to throw the computer against the wall, but now I can see that it's right.) The reason is TRUTH. It is always best to try to unveil the truth, no matter how painful, because hiding it is potentially, almost certainly, destructive.Your husband will find other people to help him through his pain. It seems to me that you have done that long enough. My husband told my son (15) that he "misrepresented " himself to Mom, and that "she has a right to be angry" - nothing to do with him, we'll work it out, etc. Of course I was holding a metaphorical gun to his head at the time - haha! I know nothing about 9-year-old girls, except myself. I was devastated when my father (a pilot) went to sea for 6 months. but I gradually learned that it was temporary, that he would come back. And I remember not wanting or being able to process too much information at once. Maybe you could tell her that Mom and Dad really, really disagree about some important things, and that by living together you are hurting each other badly, all the time. (not you, of course, but you can fudge here, to be evenhanded). My opinions is that the MOST important thing is to assure her that he will ALWAYS be her father, and that no one will ever take that away. Iy;s just that the two of you need space right now. -- I am a literature professor, not a psychologist, so check with some other people too. I am a Quaker / Episcopalian. The Quakers talk about "holding someone in the Light" which, when done alone or in community, is like prayer - just a different take on it, and I like the idea. So, I will hold you in the Light, as will everyone who reads this, I am guessing, so never think that you are alone.

Thank you, Carol and Astraea. You have truly helped me. I have spoken with my husband. We are reaching out to find a couples therapist in the Los Angeles area who can help us with this process. Carol, do you know of anyone? Any organization that can lead us to the right person? I've called PFLAG, they were helpful but didn't have name(s) for me.

With much warmth and gratitude,
Julie

Julie and Astraea, your latest exchange of comments demonstrates clearly the value of peer support. It's encouraging to see two people guiding each other on the same stretch of the road. Julie, I wonder if it might be a blessing to everyone in your family to tell your daughter the truth, taking care to couch it in language at her level of understanding. (See "What Can I Say to My Kids," my blog post of June 15, for some ideas. Also check the comments following, particularly that by Jerry Bigner, an expert on this subject.) It may surprise you how well your daughter responds to the whole story, especially if you and your husband tell her together. Truth frees. A secret in the family is like a cancer, growing more destructive by the day. Only you can decide on the best course of action, but reading about other people's experience can surely be instructive. Best wishes!
Carol Grever

Julie,

My heart absolutely aches for you, and I can feel your rage. - I'm so sorry that you have to endure this pain that cannot (for now anyway) be relieved. What you described sounds like utter trauma, especially the part involving your daughter. It is SUCH a bitch having to carry these SECRETS for them. And of course children think that separating is arbitrary and capricious on your part. There is nothing worse than having to hurt your own child, except having to do that and not be allowed to explain why. I worry that my son will be very angry with me later when I tell him, though I have chosen to do that because he is in the midst of defining his own manhood at 15. I may be naive here, but would it be possible to tell her that "Some men, even fathers, like to be with women. But sometimes men like it better to be with another man, and you are separating because that makes you feel so lonely and angry", or some such? And assure her that you both love her and all that, and that it is absolutely not her fault? Actually, I shouldn't suggest anything because I don't know what I am talking about. In fact, if you can consult with a child psychologist, he or she will be able to give you the right words and tell you what problems to look for down the road and how to do early intervention for down the road, which will be good for your daughter and allow you to be more in control of events. In one of your earlier posts you told me, "When it is time to calmly hand it to him, to let it go, you will probably mourn and grieve, but you will also be able to set yourself free." That was very wise, but no one wants to hear that in the midst of pain and insanity, I know from experience. I only hope that reminding you of your clarity and wisdom will help you to believe that there is another side to this crisis, and that you can get there. I am gradually starting to believe that, but am far from being able to embrace it fully because I am still experiencing shock, rage and gfrief. I keep hearing that we, and many others, will find a way through. Carol told me that 10,000 people have visited this site, so we're not alone. It amazes me that society hasn't learned yet that our predicament exists, and that it is valid. I saw a poster once with a picture of an arched rock overhang on a sea coast, where boats could pass through, like cars can drive through a Sequoia tree. At the bottom it said, "The only way out is through.". I tell myself that every day even though it's usually too hard to believe. My counselor recently said gently, "You just have to go through this." He really knows what it means to go through adversity because of some incredibly difficult events in his life. Still, he remains optimistic and always tells me that things can and will get better. Once I snapped at him, "Don't be so damned optimistic!" then a few seconsd later we both started laughing. But it's true that at this stage no one wants or is able to hear that happiness is still possible again. Julie, please know that many, many people are supporting you in this current situation. It strikes me in my case of the blind leading the blind, but at least we are in the thick of it together, making our way. It is a very.very painful time for you. Please let me, or Carol, and/or the other bloggers if there is anything we can do to support you, even in our virtual world.

Tonight I had the strength to tell P to go. He cried for the first time in who the hell knows how long, manipulated the situation...I told him that I have been carrying his pain for years, that I have cried his tears for years, and that he cries once and I am supposed to feel something deep about it. It really pissed me off.

Then, when we were ready to tell our older daughter (9) about it, she was so devastated about seeing Daddy crying that she said she'd want to live with him, and she was mad at me. We have not chosen to tell her the truth yet about him being gay, but we are faced with not getting a divorce because it is too painful for everyone.

EXCEPT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel ready to go. I feel ready to move on, and I feel trapped. I got the courage and spilled it all over the floor, now just cleaning up the mess of it.

This sucks.

He is still gay and I am still lonely, only now I am still married even though I had window of courage to have him leave.

Oh, this is so hard. I want to be free from his horrible chains of fear.

I need help.

Thank you,
Julie

My husband has said he is sorry, that he is ashamed and won't watch gay porn again, and that he wouldn't blame me if I walked out - so he has pretty much said everything he can. Now he is back to business as usual, though. When I said that I felt like the whole thing was being swept under the rug, he said, "Well I think if you compare the good things in our life with the bad things, the good things come out way ahead. We have a nice house, enough money, a beautiful son, and jobs. That outweighs the negatives, that we have no sex or intimacy." He is so damned logical and he has reduced all of these "factors" to be the same weight and value. Somehow I don't consider "nice house' and "no intimacy" to be +1, -1. Also I am having trouble with depression again and with going blank whenever I am close to difficult thoughts. The technical term is dissociating and it is very dangerous because it makes the pain go away, but in that state I can't think clearly. My therapist says that he is "very concerned" and so am I. I can't just stuff all these feelings, yet what is there left to do? I don't want to leave, I just want it all to go away. How's that for magical thinking? I am tired. Very tired.

Last night I was so anxious I could barely cope, which is not like me. I went to bed at 9, only to wake up at midnight and stay awake until 4:30. I woke up again at 6:30, famished, and ate a piece of pie, folowed by two eggs and two pieces of toast, and I was still huungry so I ate chocolate covered dried charries till I was finally full. I have never binged like that before, ever. I couldn't believe I could eat so much, period, let alone still be hungry. My husband got up around 8:30 and I left for the dentist at 10. While I was there, the dentist said that I had a dangerously big abcess in addition to the crown that fell off, in addition to the tooth implant that needs a crown, but I've been putting it off because of money. The total is $4200, which we don't have. My husband says we don't have money to continue my therapy, either, but we always managed before. Now he says I have to cut the therapy times in half. You're probably wondering what this has to do with being a str8 spouse. What is happening is that he is rearing his ugly narcissistic head and playing me with money because he is afraid of what I know. I think it's the only weapon he has left. Anyway, the destist told me very kindly that my teeth are softening and if I don't stop drinking Coke and eating sugar, they will eventually rot and/or break off. During the session I started to "white out," to dissociate. The pain of my life was too much to bear so my mind shut down. It was scary. It was like I could see them but not hear them. After I went to the car, it all got worse, until I realized that I couldn't drive, so I had to call him and a friend to come get me. The rest of the day I was either dissociating or falling abruptly into a deep sleep. This type of thing has happened to me before and it led eventually to not wanting to live. It is very dangerous because the pain goes away and I get relief. Nothing makes sense or looks right, but the pain stops. Fortunately my therapist has a slot tomoorrow so we can defuse all of this. In the meantime my husband said, "The good things we have outweigh the bad. Why are you so worried about the sexuality issue? It's only one of many factors." That makes me doubt my perceptions and I start to think that his judgement and ideas are the only good ones, that I am somehow less. I am seeing a cold, mean side of him that I have never seen before and it scares me. I have to remind myself that I didn't do anything wrong and that it is the revelation of the truth that is causing him to panic and fight back. Tonight I don't feel strong enough. If I didn't have a son, I'd be halfway home to my brothers in Wasington DC to start a new life. What can I dfo?

Thanks so much, Wendy. It is completely understandable that you would feel betrayed by "G" as you truly deserved that kind of love from him. I wonder why he is doing this? Why your best friend? His actions are not as important as your response to those actions, but it seems directly hurtful somehow. (Don't want to fuel your fire, just wondering where his motivation is...)

I hope your path moves quickly from anger to serenity.

Julie

Julie & Astraea,
Reading your posts is so helpful to me. I sat here with tears in my eyes because your lives and experiences echo my own.

My gay husband came out two years ago. We are legally separated and have been for about 1 1/2 years. Initially I was devastated because I knew for me that my marriage would ultimately end. At the time, I was actually more concerned about how G. would live the rest of his life. I felt a great deal of compassion for him. Of course, I was also deeply sad, terribly angry and so hurt.

When he came out, he admitted there had been a number of random sexual encounters with men. Looking back, I think I really did not deal with that much. Now, two years later, the anger is rearing its ugly head and I am feeling a recurrence of my anger and an even deeper rage. I am having a hard time reconciling all that was good about G. when we were married with his ultimate betrayal of me. He was a supportive husband. I earned both a bachelors degree & a law degree while we were married and raising our daughter together. He was a devoted and attentive dad. He and I spent a lot of time together laughing and having fun. How could this be the same man who cheated on me and put my health at risk? There is no answer to this question. It is hard to accept that.

The reason I think these feelings are recurring now is that he has formed a close friendship with my best girlfriend. At first it was with my blessing and encouragement because it seemed so harmless and he had so few friends. Although it is clearly platonic, as they become closer, my anger grows. He is betraying me again. He is being a better friend to her than to me--and he had promised we would always be "best" friends. I have gone back to counseling and have been making an effort to keep some distance from him and focus on my present relationship. It is hard. He doesn't get it. He doesn't see how this hurts me. So, I find myself struggling AGAIN!

I am trying to focus on the good things in my life (and I am blessed with many good things). At this point in time, however, I am really in a rage about this second betrayal. The original wound has been reopened!

One of the things I have learned through this process is that I have to listen to my gut, to my inner voice. I think I repressed my inner voice for many years. It had been screaming at me that something was not right but I consistently ignored it. Now I try very hard to listen. When I have a decision facing me and I don't know what to do, I just try to wait it out until my gut tells me what to do. Astaea, you do not have to decide today or tomorrow whether you will divorce or stay married. I think you simply need to set that type of decision aside for the moment, spend time being kind to yourself, loving yourself, listening to yourself and protecting your heart--and I think, in time, your path will be clear.

My best wishes to all the straight spouses out there. You are certainly not alone. It is a true comfort for me to read these posts and know that I am not alone.

Julie, I loved your last post. It was so thoughtful and compassionate,and it almost felt like poetry, really.

I am still discussing things with my husband. He argues that, since he hasn't been in a relationship since we were married, that he should be off the hook. He finally understands, though, how serious it is and said that he wouldn't blame me if I left. About meeting a new partner (hypothetically) he said, "I just don't want to see you get hurt." HA! Hello?? He should talk. But he does sincerely care about me, which is nothing to discount. So I carry on in my inner ping pong game of life and wonder how it will all turn out.

Carol, I was talking to myself as much as you when I responded. It made me see more clearly what I want & don't want. You weren't overstepping at all. You have helped me through this crisis in a way that no one else could have. I am extremely grateful to you and hope that you will keep sending whatever comes to mind about my outpourings. Thanks for listening, being there and responding with such compassion and experience. Don't change a thing, please.

Astraea,

I would love to share that my confusion about where to go next, what was to come to me next, what I was supposed to decide next, left me waiting for "what's next" all the time, and I was unable to live with where we are, now. I know that right now I am denying myself my own needs. I know my husband is doing the same. I know that I don't want to have sex with my husband. I know that he probably is relieved to not "have" to have sex with me. I know that he is searching, as am I, every day. I know that my rage surges, blows, and calms itself. I know that sadness and tears flow, then subside when they've been given their chance to release. I know that I don't want to get a divorce today, right now, or in the near future. I know that some days, we move slowly and without thought or feeling, and other days we forge ahead on two separate paths.

Sometimes, fear paralyzes me, but I know that I will be better than okay; I will thrive as I always have in life. I insist on more -- much more -- than mediocrity from myself and the life around me. I will not live like this forever, but I don't want to leave a mess behind. I want to do my best to clean it all up, that is, understand his place and my place before we move forward in a "big" way.

What do you know? Do you know that this rejection is bringing up rage? Do you know that you want him to be straight? Do you know that you want him to love you the way you feel he would love a man? Those feelings churn about in me and leave me nauseous some days, but I know what I know, and it helps me stay clear.

I send you my warmest, most loving thoughts and compassion.

Julie

Astraea, my intention in answering blog comments is to be helpful and to offer hope for a better future. However, my responses are not always on target. If I've made you feel worse, I'm sorry. I know that you work closely with a professional therapist who is trained far beyond my ability to advise. I write as a friend who has traveled a similar path, not as a counselor. I think sometimes I overstep that role, but know that it is with the best intention. I send heartfelt wishes for a good outcome and that you'll find the strength and resources to overcome your current despair.

Carol Grever

Carol,
I don't want to live in the status quo. I want to be with a man who likes women, especially me. Someone who is happy to see me when I come through the door. Someone who lets me into their space, and looks at me tenderly, and who doesn't lie or watch disgusting gay pornography on the Internet (so he's fine sexually, while I wait - stupidly, hoping that things will get better, knowing nothing) I know that it won't get better. The status quo or worse is all I have to choose from, at this point in time anyway, becasue I am too much of a wimp to do anyhting about it, and have such low self-esteem that it couldn't go down any further. He said that he isn't attracted to me any more, He used to be. What happened? and that I'm fat, and that I'd be crazy to leave him because, "even if there are guys out there, there are only losers at our age. I feel like a freak, more than ever before. He stole my life. I hate him. I hate how everything is about him. What's a crefree, happy day? It's hardly worth daring to be happy, because either he or my mother will quash any joy left in the aftermath of it. I know I need to have hope, or there won't BE any happy times down the road. I know that rage will eat me alive, becaus that is what's happening right now. I want a life. I don't want the status quo, but I don't know how to begin, and I am so, so tired. Also waiting it out for improvements that might never happen is just plain stupid. I can't let go of the hurt and rage, and I can't even imagine moving forward. I know that this is faulty thinking, but I can't make myself believe otherwise. It really stinks. Thanks for answering. I appreciate it. I am spinning my wheels and feeling very alone.

Dear Astraea, my heart goes out to you again and again. You are so obviously miserable, yet you "can't divorce him because it would cause us both financial ruin." This is a true dilemma in which you lose either way. But I must ask this: How much money would you pay for peace? How much is sanity worth? What would you give for a carefree, happy day? Have you ever made a T chart, listing all the pros and cons of each decision? Maybe that would help clarify a next step. Or maybe your choice is made already--to live in the status quo. It's up to you, of course.

Carol Grever

It's me again, needing to sound off. I have realized that, since my husband is narcissitic, he will never be able to emathize with how I am feeling. Nor will he be able to fix anything, because he is happy as he is. I can't keep going for comfort to the person who hurt me. That doesn't mean I can't seek him out for other types of comfort, except that I won't because I have nothing for him right now. He has acknowledged that he hurt me badly, ditto that he lied to me atrociously. He has tried to stop watching Internet porn, though I'll never know if he did or not. None of this diminished in any way the gravity of his treatment of me, but I realized today that there really is nothing more that he can say. Last night I met him for dinner and, try as I might, every word that came out of my mouth was venomous. I have never experienced that before, especially the lack of control over it. I can't divorce him because it would cause us both financial ruin (I met with a lawyer). So, in summary, there is nothing more that he can do and I'm going to stop talking about it - to him anyway. This distresses me very much because then he gets what he wants, which is to be left alone and I would rather engage him. But on this issue, he wins. Damn it all.

Julie,

Thank you for your response. Every sentence of it helped me and gave me something new to think about - really: the rigidity, the blaming, holding his fear for him....You have very good, and clear and helpful intuition.

We met in my office at the college today to be alone. He finally admitted that he considers himself "on the gay side of bisexual," and when I asked for a clearer answer, he said yes, he is gay. He said that he is not attracted to me and gave the reason that I amn overweight (blame again..) What about the 13 years without sex? What about feeling alone, and ashamed and not able to reach him? Geez, many women I know would eat. It doesn't make it right, or healthy, but it is a way of deriving comfort and "feeding" some sort of primal need. My husband has provided material things for us - we are not rich, but we don't want for anything (except retirement and college for my son). In outer ways he has been interested, helpful, etc. but now he is just centered on his own needs. He said to me once, "I have been mad at you for 25 years, and I just figured out that it is my mom that I'm mad at. Then he thinks that all of the repercussions and hurt during that time are instantly exonerated by his statement.

I'm so tired I am reeling - got to get some sleep, but I wanted to thank you for your response.

Hello, Astraea--

Although I am not an expert in this "field" and do not have time behind me in coping/learning ways to move through this, I will say that you are not alone. The rigidity and blame he places on you, I suspect, are old patterns; a place for him to go to get his own monkey off his back. And the fight you fight, well, it's probably effective to a point but lands on him and he gives it right back.

This isn't about exerting rage toward him; rather, what I am getting at is that you have probably -- in a loving and non-judgemental way -- given him the acceptance to be who he truly is, even when he can't handle that reality.

My husband said to me just weeks ago, after YEARS of never, ever once acknowledging that I have served a purpose for him, that I have been the only person who has truly loved him through all of his pain. I have been a light and inspiration. ME! Me? (Then why has he treated me like such crap?!?) I just wonder if your husband is terrified and that you are holding that fear for him, safely and unconditionally.

When it is time to calmly hand it to him, to let it go, you will probably mourn and grieve, but you will also be able to set yourself free.

I am free-associating here, to some extent, and I hardly want to edit this as it is raw and coming straight from my intuition...I hope it helps.

Sending you strength and self-conviction, along with warm thoughts from me. I know what you are feeling and I feel for you.

I am having a really down night, crying, stressing, not being able to get to sleep, being hypervigilant and jumpy. My husband is on call overnight so I guess my subconscious mind decided that it's safe to blow. Like dynamite. At the urging of my counselor and older brother, I saw a divorce lawyer on Friday and it was awful. That's not what I want, though she told me that I would come out way on top of the issue with spousal and child support. It's just really not what I want though - I don't hate him. I don't want him to work so hard and then give me all the money he earns.It just feels, I don't know, unethical somehow. Not nice. Of course his lying to me wasn't nice either and was a far more grevious act. It would also be shooting myself in the foot as far as risking his job if he can't keep doing it for emotional reasons, which almost happened with an earlier job. Without it, we're all hosed. All day I keep thinking, "What would we do with all the stuff in the house? What would it do to my son? (Bigger question...)-- Could I take care of myself?" I did for many years, but that seems so long ago now. (Years of graduate school, then I worked in the city and later did research in Europe on a fellowship for two years.) It's not right just to stay for the financial security though, either - or any other kind of hard-to-name security. And then there is my down-the-drain self esteem. Because of all this I feel violated, dirty, ashamed, even invisible. That incontrovertable distance between a gay man and a straight woman has happened to me before. It's like, you try and try -- to make a connection, to deepen the relationship because you're falling in love with him, not knowing he is gay, even to feel heard and understood, or have him want what you have to give -- but still there is this awful NOTHING between you. I guess people with good self-esteem know how to say, "OK, something is wrong here, but it's not me", and move on. I just can't do that. In my mind it always goes to, "What did I do wrong?" or "I'm sure it's because I am fat & ugly," etc. This is insane. I am a college professor with a successful career and lots of interesting, fun friends who love me. I can happily do just about anything I want to do. People remark, even strangers, that there is a certain "light" around me, or that they feel so accepted and embrace in my presence. Why can't I do that for myself????? Complete disconnect. My brother, who knows about the situation, wrote and said "Be proud of who you are" and it just made me bawl, thinking about life before marriage, our nuclear family, the fun we had, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews who adored me (it was mutual), my father....there was always something going on at our house: building, flying, sailing, visiting, playing games, having an identity. Now I feel disconnected from all that, like it was another life. No matter how hard I try, I can't connect the two. (There is also 900 miles between my nuclear family and me.) I asked my counselor if I have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and he raised his eyebrows and said, "No....you just have trauma, and lots of it. We'll deal with the rest later", which was comforting (the help dealing with it, not the having it happen). He said it took me several years before I could trust him. Now I am really glad I can. Still this whole thing is just devouring my life 24/7. I have tried to give myself breaks, and I can get distracted sometimes, but it always comes back. - The other night he said I am an "enigma" to him. He explained that he never knows what I am going to do, or why, or how I will want to change things, or where I am coming from, or what crazy project I will try next. I said, "You say this after 24 years of marriage?" Later I got really mad (and nasty, which I rarely am), and said, "Some people would call me refreshing and spontaneous, creative and joyous about living. You think I am an enigma because your world is so rigid that nothing makes sense from your perspective except that you are right and everyone else is wrong. So of course other people's personalities and motivations seem incomprehensible to you." I think the part about "refreshing..etc." is for me an earth-shattering and rare expression of self-esteem. I wish I could sustain it. He's really good at blaming me for everything. I fight back but not hard enough. - I can't imagine how long this post will be. It's just that I write as fast as I talk, and right now I really need to talk, so to whomever is listening, thanks and good night.

Julie, I agree with Astraea that you are grounded in good self-esteem and that strength will help you through this crisis. Hiding in the closet, living the lie damages us in many ways. Authenticity is the mother of freedom, I believe, and now that your husband is becoming open about his orientation, you are also free to be honest. Your current mixture of grief and relief are totally normal. It might be comforting to re-read the stages of coping in the article above and to find the July 23 article (in the blog's archives) discussing the gay spouse's identity evolution. You and your husband both seem to be right on track in these progressions. While knowing what to expect helps us understand what we're going through, it doesn't take away the pain. This is hard! However, it is encouraging to know that this pain doesn't last forever. Others have survived this crisis and you surely can as well. We're all behind you! Best wishes as you find your pathway to a new life.

Carol Grever

Julie,
About "sobbing the deepest tears"...I had a friend when I lived in Europe, an Austrian who studied literature and theology. His father was a famous theologian also. When I was sobbing inconsolably about having to leave my life there and all my friends, Christof said to me, "I believe that tears are the purest form of prayer." Food for thought. You are not alone, and I am glad that your husband had the courage to come out.

Thanks so much for your response.

My husband just "came out" to two people over the weekend. He has been holding this inside of him and feels so free now that he's let it out. It has triggered a tremendous amount of grief in me; I've found myself sobbing the deepest tears. I feel like I'm mourning the loss of our identity (whether that was a false identity or not, it was still ours to walk in), and I am understanding the magnitude of his homosexuality in a new way.

As much as I am mourning, I also feel free. Free of the rage that he felt, which spread to throughout our relationship. (He would threaten to leave me regularly, call me a "bitch" -- essentially blame me for his problems.) I feel free from the lie (at least a little bit). I feel like I can move forward with my needs, because now it is very real that I have them and they are certainly not being met by my husband. Grief and freedom are swirling around in me...it is not clean and clear -- one minute I'm crying about the fact that he's gay, the next I'm worried that he's been cheating on me, the next I'm thrilled to be moving forward. I can't wait to be on the other side of this!

Julie,

It sounds like you have had some rough years. The phrase you wrote, "we cannot live in his truth, that we must pretend this isn't happening" is a feeling that I had also. The way I think of it is I cannot live in his lie. I have never lied and he has betrayed my trust so much that I don't think that I will ever trust anyone again. It sounds like you are young and pretty and loving. Hang on to that - you are lucky and those beliefs and self-esteem are healthy. I would love to be able to say I think the same way, but I am 53, 275 lbs. ("normal" for me is 150) and my self-esteem is down the drain, a fact he capitalized on by saying that I am "not as pretty as I used to be" and that I "wouldn't find anyone anyway". Those words were spoken in anger, but he knows my weak spots. So hang on to your self-esteem. That's half the battle already.

This is my first time writing on any straight spouse blog.

My husband of 13 years is gay. He has been in tremendous pain, shame, guilt and self-hatred for (I'm assuming) most of his life. I had a hunch he was gay in the beginning, but my own history made this feel safe to me. After eight years of marriage, I found gay porn on our home computer. I woke him at midnight to show him what I'd found, and he felt a sense of relief at the time. He quickly (within a day) put away his openness and ability to share this part of himself with me, and became a defense jerk! Our first daughter was four-years old at that time, so I, with much awareness and frankness, told him that we cannot live in his truth, that we must pretend this isn't happening. I wanted to be married, I wanted a second child, I wanted him to be straight, so I just asked him to please put it away.

Needless to say, three years and a second child later, I found more porn on the computer. This time, I said that I can't believe he betrayed me. (I've never asked if he's cheated on me. I don't want to know.) Again, I asked him to find a way to make it go away.

One year passed, and I couldn't hold it anymore. I needed to live in truth, for us to be authentically ourselves. I asked him to please come out to me in a more abstract, emotional way, which sent him into a deep depression. (It's always been about him, it seems...) He found his way to God, to counseling, to anti-depressants, to finally come out to a therapist and a friend, and now we're on the road to understanding his gay history.

So, where do I land in this? I have needs, I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am thoughtful, and I've worked very hard at being an open, vulnerable person, one who does not walk through life angry or defensive. I want to share these strengths with someone. For now, I am sharing them with my husband and my children. In the long run, I plan on sharing them with a man who truly wants to receive them in a way only a heterosexual man can.

Thank you for being here.

Julie

Carol, Today my therapist said the same thing you did about him supporting me through the decision but that I will move with my own power. - I guess anybody's crisis is a comprehensive crisis, depending on what bothers them. For me this crisis about him being gay is the worst, creepiest, grossest thing that could have happened. My mind is flooded with images of gay sex. My heart is aching knowing that he will never be attracted to me physically -- and worse, never was. Last night he offered to move out, but what would that accomplish? At least he is beginning to understand the gravity of what he has done. I know that eventually the lying will become a bigger issue than the sex, but right now it's the sex that is at the center of my attention, and I can' get it out of my head. The therapist said that I don't need to be hospitalized, that it's my husband who needs that if anyone, and that he (the therapist) will be available for me whenever I need him. I don't think I can make any kind of decision right now, but at the same time I don't think I can exist in this situation a moment longer. Anyway, thanks for your good advice and concern. I guess things will just have to happen when they happen.

Astraea, you have deep inner resources that you've earned through previous therapy and self-examination. Now is the time to mine those resources and follow your intuition about the right path for you. You've reached your fork in the road and both choices look scary. But you have to take the next step in one direction or the other. You're on the brink of breaking the habitual paralysis that has prevented a decision. Your therapist can support you through that decision, but eventually you'll move with your own power. You can do it!
Carol Grever

Carol, Thank you for your response. I have been thinking about it all day because I am NOT happy with the decision at all, and throughout the day I felt worse and worse. The personal cost IS too great. Right now I feel I am worth nothing. I feel trapped and confused and seriously angry. I cannot accept what is, ever, and I cannot survive the loss emotionally. I have fought depression for 30 years, hard, over issues of narcissism with my mother, who has no boundaries and walks all over me. I had come to a point through therapy when I seriously believed that I was getting some closure and acceptance; the therapist agreed and said I had fought every second to bring about this healing, so I felt strong. I know how to handle the depression and take care of myself. Then this happened with my husband and I feel flattened again, irrational, depressed. Tonight I feel like I am being "beamed down" on Star Trek, dissipating but not knowing where or how I will re-form. I tried to explain to my husband last night that it is a real Catch-22: even if I were to divorce and start a new life, I would never be able to trust any man in a realtionship again -- that ability has been permanently damaged in me -- so whether I could find someone again, whether I am fat and ugly or in fact desirable and attractive, is a moot issue because even if I did find someone this current crisis has destroyed the person I was. I do have a good psychologist I am working with and I realize that tonight I am seriously depressed, so I will take care of myself and call him in the morning. It seems as if I discovered this problem with the homosexuality and have been dealing with it, thinking that I was getting it under control, then realized today that what I have done, or even comprehended, is only the tip of an enormous iceberg. I can't handle it. I can't trust him or forgive him. I AM harboring toxic amounts of resentment and anger, and I am not strong enough to rise above these losses, nor do I want to in some strange way I can't comprehend. I don't feel that generous under the circumstances. And yet when I try to bring those issues to his attention, I am overwhelmed by sheer familiarity. Every year, every memory, every birthday celebrated, as we did tonight with his parents, is like a giant ship steaming through deep water, unstoppable. This is crazy. This is dangerous - I can see that. Fortunately I have good friends and a counselor to support me, because I can hear the iceberg cracking. How in the world to people live to survive this?

I know that I am venting some pretty powerful emotions here - I am scaring myself with their intensity - but I WILL take care of myself and get some help. In the meantime, if you or anyone have any idea what comes next, I would really appreciate the support.

Astraea, it appears that you and your husband have made your decision to keep your marriage together and to continue as you are, at whatever personal cost. Approximately 15% of mixed-orientation marriages do remain intact, often for the reasons you give: family, social, economic, and fear of the unknown. Some decide that these values/needs outweigh the ongoing necessity to hide secrets and give up intimacy. If this is your long-term choice, your major danger is harboring the resentment and anger you've expressed in your posts. If you choose to keep the status quo, your future well-being will be undermined unless you can genuinely accept what is and find ways to rise above your losses. Therapy is almost essential, but you hold the key to your own happiness. It will be hard, but you are not the first person to make these choices. You can survive and I wish you well.

Carol Grever

I just found out that my husband has been watching gay pornography on the computer. I found out because somthing printed out that shouldn't have when we were both there. Later I realized that he is addicted to gay porn(if addicted means 5-6 times a week for 24 years -- before computers he took trips to adult bookstores with movies in a booth). He said that he couldn't keep a promise to stop, three separate times when I asked him to. He was very cold and distant when he said it. Then I told him that I didn't think I could live under the same roof with someone who watches gay porn, that when I looked at him, that's all I could see. The next day he (being a narcissist and unable to accept criticism or not be perfect) told me he was going to stop. I said thank you but didn't believe him. After all the lies I don't think I will ever trust him again. Then he went to his therapist, came home, and said he was really going to stop. He is afraid of losing his family (wife & son) and will say anything to make something unpleasant go away. In fact, he recently admitted to having one year-long and another four-year-long gay
relationships, followed by a four-month one right before he met and subsequently married me. Before we married he said he wanted to come clean and tell me that he had a 4-5 day long time being with a gay man, that it was adolescent "experimenting" just at a later age because he never had a chance before. I took this at face value and decided to marry him anyway (first big mistake). It turned out that this "experimenting was actually a five-week hot and heavy relationship culminating (he says) in having anal sex "once or twice" but he didn't like it and that was the end of it. He even wanted to send this man a wedding invitation! I said hell no. There were so many clues from the very beginning - I can see them now but I struggled to please him and to build a relationshiop with him unsuccessfully for 24 years. My husband, a professional, had told me that this guy's house was really dirty, unkept, and crass, and his house was a pit. He said that he stayed because of his low self-esteem, whatever that means. We haven't been intimate since our son was born (he's 13 now) - he claimed erectile dysfunction from depression meds, but oddly that didn't stop him from having a successful relationship with himself and his porn. I am totally, utterly grosed out. We can't tell our son at his age, and he can't "come out" in a small conservative town where he has a good job and would basically be banned and shunned if anyone found out. Then he would lose his job and we would have no income. Si I, who have never lied in my life, now have to carry his dirty secret, cover for him, protect my son, and live in a sexless marriage. He doesn't have to change anything because I'll neverknow if he stopped or not. We have a beautiful home and neighborhood, friends, church, college, orchestra, social groups -- and if I were to "out" him it would be my own life I would be destroying. I feel like something is wrong with my thinking, but I can't tell what. Does anyone have any ideas?

This comment is in response to Edie's post, dated May 18. The erratic pattern of your boyfriend's coming closer, then abruptly leaving and treating you coldly has nothing to do with your worth as a woman. It is probably one stage of his progression toward coming out. He has denied the reality of his homosexuality to you, yet you have proof of his sexual orientation. Though it would be satisfying if he told you the whole story outright, it may not happen. Be aware that his denial doesn't change who he really is. I've written two articles elsewhere on this blog that address these issues more fully. "Denying the Truth" is the latest and is on the home page; "Recognize Your Gay Spouse's Identity Evolution" in the July Archives should help you understand where your boyfriend is in his own process of fully coming out. I believe that you'll recognize his behavior in that article. Best wishes to you as you sort through this frustration!
Carol Grever

This comment is in response to Wendy's note, posted May 12. I can truly understand your feelings of dismay and even jealousy regarding your best friend's close relationship (platonic or not) with your gay husband. I believe that it is less debilitating for a woman if her husband has an affair with a man than with a woman. If you know that your husband is gay and he leaves you for another man (or men), there's a sense that you couldn't compete with that. On the other hand, if the affair is with another woman, you question everything about yourself--your sexuality, your appearance, your intelligence! I think that your present pain over your friend's connection with your ex has to do with this tendency. You couldn't compete with a man as your husband's lover, but this new relationship has hooked all of those not-okay feelings. Since you has a new man in your life and you've already gotten through the hardest stages of coping, it might be best to distance yourself from frequent contact with both the ex-husband and the lady friend. Maybe it's time to cut more of the ties and let go of what you cannot change. Acceptance of what is may be the beginning of complete healing and freedom from that "dull ache."

Is anyone else having problems with telling your own family of origin about your husband? Also, if you have told friends, do you worry that the information will eventually be exposed publically?

Ive been searching for something like this forum for so long. I was so comforted to know that I wasnt alone it what had happened.

When my ex boyfriend and I met, we had such a strong connection. He was going through some financial hardship and we had a lot of difficult situations thrown at us, but we always stayed strong and stuck together. I really felt like I had found the one.

We lived together until he lost his job about 7 months ago and so we had to move out into separate places (at my expense) after New Year this year.

His attitude gradually got more unusual.. more up and down. and I convinced him to go to counselling. About a month ago, we went on a short break just to take stock of things and decide what we wanted.

During this break he contacted me and explained he'd been an idiot for ever doubting us, and told me how much he loved me and knew it would work. Whilst this was happening, I found several incriminating emails from men and registration confirmation emails for gay websites.

When we regrouped after the break he explained that losing his job and his depression had made him feel emasculated and it was his way of escaping that feeling. The thing is.. our sex never altered. It was always passionate, sensual, and fufilling (as far as I knew)

I accepted what he said and we spent a lovely month together, rekindling a feeling we hadnt felt since the beginning.

Then about 2 weeks ago, out of the blue he broke up with me. I was being a patient loving girlfriend.. I gave him everything and tried to roll with the punches.

Now I feel humiliated and lost. he wont answer any of my questions.. we have mutual friends but when we hang out with them together hes cold with me as if he never even knew me.

I just need to know the truth. I know I'm only in my early 20's and there'll be other men.. but I just feel so ugly and stupid because I know that no matter how attractive other men may find me.. the one person that counts can even see it.

I just wish he'd tell me he was gay and stop coming up with such lame excuses.. I just need the truth so I can walk away from this with a lighter heart.


This is the first time I have ever posted a comment. I think I am long overdue. It really helps to know others struggle with the same things. I appreciate everyone's comments. I married my high school sweetheart. We were married for 22 years when I finally was able to get my husband to admit that he was gay. Then, of course, came all the revelations about his experimenting with men. To complicate matters our 17 year old daughter had come out about 1 1/2 years BEFORE my husband came out. Being the supportive parents we had always been, we became involved in PFLAG, became politically active for gay rights & gay marriage. These activities really were part of the catalyst for my husband coming out. I felt so devastated and betrayed but also such incredible compassion for him. I even held a "coming out" party for him to try to put a positive spin on it. Fast forward to two years later, we are legally separated, live 10 minutes apart & see each other frequently. I have a boyfriend and he recently broke up with his boyfriend of eight months. My problem? Well, my best friend who was my rock when my husband came out has now developed a close friendship with my husband which is independent of me. I actually encouraged it at the beginning. She & I have been friends for 10 years & they were friendly before though not close. They are both now "single" and have decided to take a vacation together. My friend asked me if I was okay with it & initially I was. However, it is becoming more and more difficult for me to cope with it. I feel like he is being a better & more kind and caring friend to her than he ever was to me. I feel ridiculous! Its like I am in high school and someone is stealing my best friend. I am a very positive person who has really done well to move forward in my life, but suddenly I feel totally hurt. I mean, the hurt he has caused me in the past is always there but in sort of a dull ache, but now its like I am reliving the pain of our break up all over again. Maybe he is too much in my life?? But, we grew up together & have a long history together, a fabulous daughter together. I helped him come out to family & friends. I made it clear to people that I supported him. I have kept him included in all family events. I even took care of him recently when he had back surgery. Now, I feel like he is betraying me all over again. To top it off, its with my best friend & now I cannot say a word about him to her without hearing her defend him. She is now emotionally involved. I want to shout--"don't you remember he cheated on me with men!!! He is not that honorable!" They are just friends & there is nothing sexual going on & she totally understands that he is gay--so its not a question of him "falling in love" with her--they are just friends. But why can I not get over this? He has other female friends and it doesn't bother me at all. His having boyfriends doesn't bother me any longer. I gave my blessing for this friendship but now I feel so broken. Even my friend admits it has become a weird little triangle & not really what she bargained for. This is harder for me than when he had his first long-term steady boyfriend after we broke up. I have dealt with so much more. This is making me feel so weak & emotional. Ugh. I would appreciate any comments.

In response to Jane's comment on May 8: These repeated incidents, including an arrest, are strong indications that your husband is gay or bi, regardless of his denial. His behavior has probably put you at risk. A good first step for you would be a thorough health check to be certain that you are free of STDs. Then, joint counseling with a trained professional could give you both a safe, private sounding board to help clarify your husband's sexual identity and reveal your options. It could help you answer your question about what to do next.

Best wishes.
Carol Grever

Hi - I'm not sure what to think about my situation. My husband denied he has gay tendencies but he has now been asked to leave two different gyms because other members complained about him having inappropriate behavior. He didnt deny what happen but says he doesnt know what he did - its just embarrasing. This has happened within the last 5 years and prior to that he was arrested in a public bathroom for inappropriate behavior. He says he is not gay - I think he is in denial. When we first started dating almost 20 years ago he used a gay hotline on my phone. He said he was courious. I'm seeing a pattern here and I'm not sure what to do. I really dont believe he has acted out but I think he is denying something that he feels. What do I do??? We have two teen age sons and I'm concerned how they would feel if this was known.

Having this email contact for Straight Spouse Network in Australia is very useful. I've made a note of it also for future referrals. Thank you, Jenni, for passing the information along to Diana and all the rest of us.

Carol Grever

To Diana - I have also had contact with the Straight Spouses Network here in Australia. It's co-ordinated by a lady called Hannah and the email is ssnaustralia@gmail.com I would highly recommend you contact her as she has been very helpful (she's based in Sydney- I'm in Adelaide).

WOW! I am so glad I found this site. I feel so alone it this battle. I can relate to many of you. I find it so difficult to find the courage to be honest with myself and do what is best for myself and my children. I found out 6 years ago that my husband was frequenting male and female massage therapist. The massages were all of sexual nature. He did tell me that he had sexual relations with the male therapist. He was also addicted to the phone chat lines and internet porn. He did 1 yr. of sexual addiction therapy. I was recommended to go to Cosa groups, but i did not. I know in my heart that this battle is not over. My husband verbally fantasizes about another man while we are having sex. I have expressed that I cannot take this anymore. It stops for awhile and always resurfaces. He would not admit to being bi or gay. I keep asking myself how much more do I need to wake up to the fact that he is. Why have I cheated myself out of a monogomous sex life. Why have I shared it with his fantasy man. I would've never in my life thought that this is a normal relationship so why do I stay. I realize that there are many of us who are wondering what to do. When your spouse cannot be completely honest, It is so difficult to move forward. However, I feel that I am also cheating him out of having a fulfilling life. If I leave will he be honest with himself or will he find another women to destroy and hide behind. Without his honesty I find it very hard to make any decisions. Thank you for your post. It is a difficult road, but knowing that I'm not going it alone is very reassuring. 6 years is too long and I hope to move forward.

Jenni,
I too am in Australia, Newcastle actually, am have just found out that my husband of 22 years is going to leave me for another man, he is moving overseas. There is a support group in Sydney through the Leichhardt Womens Health Center and they have published an excellant book called His Secret, Her Story, whcih is available for purchase. Their web address is www.lwchc.org.au. Hope this helps. Life is pretty crap for me at the moment, but I'm hoping I can get through it

To Daffodil,
I really feel for you. Six months ago I discovered my husband had been having sex with men during all of our marriage. My discovery was the week leading up to our 10th wedding anniversary. We also are christians and this is certainly a big part of our lives. We also have two daughters, aged almost-9 and 6. I have explained to the girls that when we married Daddy promised that he would never love anyone else and he broke that promise so I don't want to live with him anymore. They seemed to understand this, and at this age it is (I believe) as much as they could cope with. My husband refuses to acknowledge that there even is a closet - I think he sees it more as a drive-thru window! So I couldn't tell the girls even if they were older, because he isn't ready.....like Carol says, he's brought us into the closet with him. It's not fair to ask children to keep such a big secret.
Make sure you feel the feelings you have - emotions are not either right or wrong, they just are. The forgiveness will come eventually if you keep your heart open to it. It's appropriate for you to feel angry for a period of time. Unfortunately sometimes we wives have to bear the brunt of other people's lack of understanding. My philosophy is that eventually the truth will come out - it may take a long time, but it will come out. Until then hold your head high knowing you didn't choose for your husband to do what he did, those were his choices.

This is a response to "Damagd." If you haven't already done so, it might be really helpful for you and your husband to go together to a counselor. A trained, objective listener could help each of you sort through your personal questions and perhaps help you decide how to move forward--either together or apart. Right now, you are understandably confused by the mixed messages from your mate. In that vulnerable condition, it's very difficult to think clearly without a good sounding board.

Carol Grever

I'm back. Things have been crazy here. I just am trying to deal with this one day at a time but this is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. My husband has now told me he thinks he might be bisexual but not gay. How do you have sex with one woman (me) and over 30 men. That sounds like a gay man in love with a woman to me. Anyways I was wondering if he is bisexual if he can supress the urge of men? He told me he only wants to be with me and I am all he wants. I am so confused......

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