My Gay Husband–A Spouse Speaks Out

The other day I received the following e-mail from Susanne, a woman who found out her some years ago that her husband has same-sex attractions. I felt so moved by her words that I asked her permission to share them with you on the blog.

I (recently) saw your Doin Time… and I was the one who asked about your wife during the discussion period that followed.

I just read your thoughts on What About the Spouse….and I can say, most women who find out their husbands are gay feel ALL of those things you wondered about….some in more degrees than others…

When my husband was dragged out of the closet because of his irreverent, immoral, and amoral behavior that our, then, 14 and 16 year old sons had to find on our home computer, I went into the closet. I didn’t know what to pray for….

Do I pray that this will go away? Do I pray that he could go back to the way things were in our family before we knew about him,? Do I pray that I could go back to the way things were? After all , this wasn’t like finding out your husband has a gambling problem or a drinking problem….With these, I would have been able to stand BY him, and FOR him.

I spent many, many months thinking….about my marriage of 22 years….about God…..about the lives of my sons…. It was all too much for me to digest. I found that I could not pray, anymore. So, I remember telling God I was taking some time off from prayer and I trusted He knew why.

I could have gone the ” hate ” route….hate all gay men….hate all gays. I was so profoundly devastated by what my husband did to me and our family.

My older son struggled with the idea that his father was going to Hell for being gay. He even went to a retreat house about 15 miles from our home to find a priest who could answer that question.

Thankfully, the priest did NOT say what I feared he would say….He told my son that only God knows what is in the hearts of each person and that he should not fear his father would go to Hell. I was pleased with the priest’s answer.

My son still didn’t know how to reconcile his religion with what his father had done… he was remembering what he read in the Bible…you know the passages, I am sure.

I do believe being gay isn’t a choice…. few, if any, would choose such a hard lifestyle. And, as I told my son, if Christ really thought gays were evil or worthy of condemnation, or sick, surely there would have been a parable: ” Jesus cures the gay man.”

Its been very hard, letting go of a marriage I had no intentions of ever ending. If my husband was never found out, he would have taken his secret to his grave. I didn’t have any ” signs”; he kept that side of himself very separate. He used to refer to it as his ” Dark side” after his cover was blown. What I do know is that he would give his very soul to be str8.

Like you, I too was an Eng. Lit major and have used my sense of humor to keep me emotionally alive through it all….It has always been my saving grace.

Thank you, Susanne.

If you are the spouse of someone who is bisexual or has same-sex attractions, check out the Straight Spouse Network. They have many on-line resources as well as local support groups in many parts of the US and internationally.

This post has 27 Comments

  1. Anna HP on November 9, 2006 at 11:29 am Reply

    I must say I do admire all you people how find it in your hearts to support your partners in a situation like this.

    Only 1,5 year ago I belived myself to be bisexual and I lived a straight life with a man I to the end of days will love. we had plans of getting married and have kids. We were always very open about things, and when I told him that we needed to seperate because I felt confused in my “orientation” .. WOW. I don´t belive that I ever would have told him if it wasn´t that I knew that he would be so supporting. Of course, my gay friends also had a big part in my very “smooth transition” from bisexual to gay and the fact that I myslef didn´t have a problem with myself being gay helped a lot but still …

  2. Anonymous on November 9, 2006 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Thank you Susanna and Peterson for being open and honest.

    I have same sex attractions. A year ago I would have said that I was bisexual man. I really did think that I was. But then I met a wonderful woman who fell in love with me and I fell in love with the feeling of her loving me. She was the first woman I was intimite with. Now it is six months later and I feel so confused. I want to be in love with her and I really like her a lot and love to be close to her as long as we dont have sex.

    Is it wrong to continue our relationship? Do I have to be in love, can’t it be enought just loving her deeply? How important is attraction really. I mean, in a historical view love was not the reason you married, it was politics, saftey and such. I don’t know what to think.

    //Ponderer

  3. Diana_CT on November 9, 2006 at 1:43 pm Reply

    Powerful……..
    It is unfortunately a story told all too often in support groups and I have seen the results both good and bad of stories like hers.

    However; I would like to point out one thing, the Straight Spouse Network is also for spouses of transpersons

  4. KJ on November 9, 2006 at 5:44 pm Reply

    God is still speaking as we tell our stories. Thank you, Susanna.

    I have found that when I remember that so many of the difficulties GLBT individuals and spouses experience, particularly in faith settings, are really not for our own benefit, but for those that are to follow, I’m blessed. That is easier to remember at times than at others.

  5. alex resare on November 9, 2006 at 9:17 pm Reply

    Thank you for letting us share your story Susanne°

    “After all , this wasn’t like finding out your husband has a gambling problem or a drinking problem….With these, I would have been able to stand BY him, and FOR him.”
    This brings the focus to a big problem.

    I am thinking of you and your children. Once again, thank you for letting Peterson post this.

  6. Susanne on November 10, 2006 at 2:26 pm Reply

    Dear ” Anonymous”,
    I was very touched by your post, and would like to say that to love and to be loved are gifts to be treasured. In treasuring this amazing gift,one must have honesty and respect. Love and truth should always walk hand in hand.
    If you have told this woman about your feelings for her as well as the feelings you have for men, then the relationship is on equal footing. You both know where each other’s mind and heart are. I believe you love her and I fear she loves you without knowing all of you. You said a most powerful statement: “..I fell in love with the feeling of her loving me…” WOW! Thank you so much for that…it very likely is a glimpse into in my gay husband’s thinking over 22 years ago. I would imagine that many of our gay spouses felt this way…of being in love with the feeling of “her loving me.” Powerfully true….
    I hope you can find some way to share who you are on the inside with her. In loving her the way you do, doesn’t she deserve the truth from you ? Silence only builds walls. And when those walls collapse, people are hurt.
    You can have any kind of relationship you want to have with this woman as long as she knows where you are in your feelings on your own sexuality. Being intimate might make her assume you are attrracted to her in the same way she is attracted to you. Only your heart can decide if that’s fair to her.
    Thank you for your honesty and openess.

  7. Anonymous on November 10, 2006 at 8:11 pm Reply

    I have told her that I am attracted to other men but she thinks that I am bisexual. As well as I did belived back then. I have never ever lied to her. But as you say, she assumes that we feel the same way, I know that she does.

    I don’t want to hurt her by telling her how I feel about her. I am so afraid that she will misunderstand and think that is she who has a problem that makes me feel this way. I got so confused by the fact that I love to be close to her and that she confirms me and see me as a beautiful person. It is so much I love about her and I don’t want to let her down. I am a terrible person.

    //Ponderer

  8. Susanne on November 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm Reply

    No ” Anonymous”, you are NOT a terrible person. Many of the women I have spoken to said they spent their entire marriages thinking something was wrong with them if their husbands did not initiate sex or want to be intimate. That one of the biggest reliefs once they found out their husbands are gay was the realization that what was ” wrong” in their marriages was not anything they did or didn’t do. Many said all the pieces went together for the first time in many years. Sadly, some of the gay husbands blamed their wives for all that wasn’t blending in their marriages. It gave these women terrible complexes and low self-esteem,. They tried desperately to make the marriage “work”; always being told it was ” their fault”. What a terrible thing to do to one you are supposed to love.
    It IS a risk to tell her how you feel. She may not know what to think or what to say but at least she will not be in a relationship that is seen from a perspective I am sure she thinks you also share.
    If my husband would have told me about himself when we were first dating, I would have been hurt but that could never compare to the hurt I felt after 22 years of marriage and finding out he is gay.
    I wish you strength and courage. Listen to your inner voice. I can hear it in your post. I believe you have a good heart.

  9. Anonymous on November 30, 2006 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Dear Anonymous,
    I too was once in the same situation as you. I wanted to believe that the love I had for her would be enough. As time passed I became more silent and felt isolated. In order to avoid having sex I would go to bed later then she would. I knew I wasn’t being 100% truthful to both of us and started questioning my sexually on a more deeper lever. After being in a committed relationship for 3 years I decided it would be better for both of us if I moved out. It was a confusing time in my life but a year later I met the most wonderful man ever. I can not tell you how happy and complete my life is today. Leaving her was a difficult decision but the best decision I have ever made. Today I have been with him for over 5 years and everyday is even better then the day before. There is someone out there for everyone. Someone
    that will love you and her emotionally, spiritually, and physcially. It’s important to remember to be true to yourself and your partner.
    Remember you only have one life to live and the sooner you meet your soul-mate the more time you will have to share your happiness together. Life is to short to wish you should have or could have.

  10. Anonymous on March 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm Reply

    I have just in the past few months found out that my husband may be gay. I urge a man who has doubts about his true attraction to a woman not to continue in the relationship. The hurt and lack of trust are unforgivable. anonymous

  11. Meret on April 12, 2007 at 8:01 pm Reply

    I just found out the love of my life is gay and I feel as if my heart has been ripped out. I am sure the the best thing is for him to find a man to give him the validation he sought in me.

    I would ask that all gay men refrain from marrying straight women. Collateral damage is still a number in the roster of casualties of war.

    The more gay men who assert their right to be together and refuse to let society deny them the right to be happy, the sooner things will change. Marrying women to conform supports the machine and feeds the monster.

  12. Anonymous on October 10, 2007 at 9:50 pm Reply

    I’ve been married for 15 yrs. to a caring man. However, he’s always had a low sex drive, not ED but more like avoiding sex. He watches movies late at night and goes to bed after me. I’ve tried many times to approach him on this, but always comes up with an excuse, like we just had sex last week, in reality it could be a couple of months ago, or he says well you fell asleep before me. He vowes that he loves me and does alot of kind things for me. However, I starting to feel resentment towards him that sometimes I wish I could just jump off a bridge. I have not found any proof that he is cheating with a man or a woman.
    I do know that when he was a kid he was molested by a man once. I do not want to be insensitive to what he maybe going through. Whether he is gay or I don’t know what. However, life is short and I feel like I deserve to be loved physically. I don’t see cheating as an option, for I know that is not the answer. I would rather find out the truth even it hurts. I do not how to begin.

  13. Anonymous on November 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm Reply

    i have been where you are now …and i might be again…i played pi and got answers …i putt a tape player under the seat of his car and …he talked on his cell too his boyfriend …cathy…ps talk to bonnie kayle

  14. Anonymous on April 16, 2008 at 11:39 pm Reply

    Thank goodness I found this site. I have been married 38 years and I have asked my husband if he is gay or bi but he always said no. Two days ago I found out that he is and it explains so much. Of course I feel betrayed, that our marriage is a fraud and a sham. My sons are young adults now and I worry what they will think. At least I know the reason he always came to bed later and avoided any kind of affection and sex became non existent no matter how hard I tried. It seems that my whole adult life has crumbled into nothing. He was my first and only love..he promised to grow old with me, he gave me sons, the one person that I always trusted and thought never lied to me.

    If you are currently living a lie like this with a woman, please, stop it now before you crush her completely. Do not let your selfishness hurt so many lives.

    Just found out and words can’t express how devestated and alone I feel. There is no one that I can talk to as I do not want to tell our sons (he should do that) or his family, I do not want to hurt him by telling friends or coworkers. It is like a tsunami has come through my life without warning and destroyed my entire world.

  15. Carol on April 17, 2008 at 10:58 pm Reply

    To the most-recent “anonymous”- I just read Peterson’s post today, and have read yours, too. My husband and I were married almost 30 years when he came out to me, and it was a terrible feeling that I had no words to describe. We have 4 children, and at the time our youngest had just left for college. Now it has been over 3 years since then, and I’ve learned so much.

    If you would like to communicate, I will gladly do that via e-mail. Peterson has my e-mail and I will try to help in any way possible.

    My heart goes out to you.
    Indicarol50

  16. Tony on June 12, 2008 at 2:03 am Reply

    As a man who has been in both male and female relationships, if you do find that right person, please tell them truth if they ask about alternative life in past relationships. I am right now fighting to regain the one I truly love after was too ashamed by my bisexual past to let her know.

    I want to let everyone know how destructive hiding that past can be. I have probably lost my true love and my children due to being worried about shame and fear about being found out.

    Even once she had found out, I still tried to hide it. I let that childish part me reject my wife of 10 years for experiences that I had in past and fantasize about now. I know have lost all sense of trust in an intimate way with her, all I can hope is that she can see that now that it is in the open and that I can be trustworthy again.

    This is a torture I want warn everyone that has or is planning to hide there past sexual orientation from there love one, to avoid. Be honest and upfront, for if they truly love you, they need to know the real you, not the just façade you create. Do not make my fatal mistake.
    Tony

  17. ms.gilly.scottsdale on June 28, 2008 at 7:48 am Reply

    Hey, it happened to me too….the clues were there and I sort of saw them….but….from our first date when he flew in from out of town after a month of “gaga” on the phone and wanted to return a sweater to Niemans! “if it was on the way”. I was in love too much to give the clues their proper significance.

    He’s a Cardiologist, 2 great sons in College and lots of denied response to my “gaydar”. He was not the most handsome guy ever but we connected, making love was intense (viagra assisted I later found out) and we just laughed and held hands and snuggled and spooned and enjoyed each other, and as both of us claimed, in a special way we had never felt before.

    I fell madly in love with this balding mustached immaculate physical 5’10 56 year old adorable accomlished humble attentive man.

    We golfed, we travelled internationally, we went to the theater in NY and Austin, we made scallops and arugula and drank wine and just loved and adored being madly in love with each other….we moved in together..I left my business in Scottsdale and moved to Tx and it took 3 months for me to start clueing in….it took another 6 months of watching and noticing and deteriorating and his acting out before I had the physical evidence that gave me the reason to finally leave.

    I am not stupid!! I did not have kids with this man…I had my own money and I had had a previous life!! and yet I had to find absolute physical evidence to make me leave him. I just cannot imagine how hard it is or what it must be like after kids and years of marriage for some of these ladies who have commented in this forum. I APPLAUD YOU!!

    I loved him so much(why)? and after such a short time in comparison it was so devastating to me and yet, in the end, freeing to know the truth.

    My heart goes out to JMS…. he has been living such a painful unauthentic life of lies for so long. It’s a horrible path…it’s not what he wants…but it is who he is and until he finds the “cojones” to live his truth this is the result.

    He knows, that I now know, the truth. His only response after I left was to write me a letter and say how much he still loves me and how he had hoped with all his heart that we could be together forever….and how his heart was broken…. and that I find it in my heart to forgive him for his “misdeeds”.

    He loved how I loved and adored him and how we loved together and he thought that maybe I was was the one that he could be str8t with….it worked for a while but in the end… leopards can’t change their spots.

    I hope someday, he can find the strength to live his truth and find some true happiness…I know it could never be me that could bring him the happiness he wanted. I know that for a fact, even if he was deluding himself.

    And if anyone is reading this who is concealing their true self from their wife…please, please, do the right thing, and treat your wife and family with the respect and honesty they deserve. It’s very painful but so much better in the long run… so much better than at the end of the day asking ourselves “have our whole lives been a lie”? that’s so screwed up and so damaging for all.

    And for all us “deceived” women out there…there are more of us than you can imagine and at least we are “living OUR truth” and we know who we are in our womanliness.

    Feeling a sense of being a woman is a wonderful blessing in itself, because as a wife or an ex-wife or a mother or a grandmother or a sisters or an aunt…we are accepted by society as our partners never felt they were. We don’t have to HIDE.

    That’s truly a gift.

    Blessings
    Gilly

  18. Anonymous on July 1, 2008 at 2:57 am Reply

    hello this is my first post. I have been married 16 years and have 3 boys and my husband told me over the holidays that he thought he was bisexual. I went thru all the emotions and now find myself going thru it all over again. I have tried to live the life he wants to keep our family together but let him go off and explore, which is not working for me

  19. Anonymous on August 25, 2008 at 2:13 am Reply

    Betrayal by my husband of 28 years is devastating. He hid his gay life for years… He lied over and over and over. And put my health/life at risk. I am hurt to the core and don’t know how to get through this and ever trust and love again… How do you get over the feelings of hurt, rage, anger, sorrow, inadequacy, disgust, sadness, etc.?

  20. Peterson Toscano on August 25, 2008 at 6:15 am Reply

    anonymous, thank you so much for sharing some of your experience. It sounds unbelievably painful and difficult right now. As you can see from the comments above yours, you are not alone in this, although perhaps you may feel that way right now.

    Your strong feelings seem completely appropriate in light of all that you are going through. From speaking with others who have been in similar situations, your feelings are not at all uncommon.

  21. Anonymous on August 29, 2008 at 2:34 am Reply

    I don’t know where to begin…i am using the very same thing that causes me so much pain…the internet. I came online today to do homework, instead i saw all these sites (gay porn, membership to personals looking for men, teen boys and more)that my husband has been visiting…the history on the pc says “past 3 weeks..” but it should not be there at all. I cried today, and I cried…why is he doing this, am i not enough? We had a conversation about this before, he said he was just watching to “compare size” stupid me, bought that…how could i be so dumb? I want so much to be a good wife, i ignored all the signs. We have been married for three years tomorrow, and i am here typing this stuff with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart…He is on his way to pick up his family and bring them to our new home…Home..hmmm…the place i thought would be filled with soo much joy. How can i face him? I love him, i really do and i want to stay married, but i don’t know if i could handle this. I don’t think he could handle coming out to me or his family, especially his family.I am so afraid that he will hurt himself if i leave, I just wish he would talk to me…am i so unapproachable? Please excuse all the jumping around in this comment, my heart is just pouring words. There is so much i want to say..He has helped me in so many ways, and i want to help him too, i just don’t know how…

    Cries for help.

  22. Peterson Toscano on August 29, 2008 at 3:46 am Reply

    most recent anonymous, thank you for writing. Please consider contacting the Straight Spouse Network http://www.straightspouse.org/
    They are there for this very thing. Hopefully they can give you a good listening ear and some support.
    -peterson

  23. Anonymous on September 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm Reply

    “Cries for help” here again…

    I don’t know what to do. I read a few other posts, trying to find the strength….

    My husband has yet to confess anything to me….today i came online again to finish my reports…what do i find…more sites he visited…men looking for men etc. My heart burns each time is see them and i don’t seem to know how to confront him.

    I thought this would go away after he came back from his trip and saw the “straight spouse.org” site on the laptop (i forgot to take it off) yet still lastnight, this morning he was back to his old ways. I am just afraid that he would take it one step beyond looking and would go see, since the ads he is looking at are all local. I can’t risk my health, i hate it that he is gambling with my life without saying anything to me.

    I need a way to tell him, but i don’t want to hurt him you know, maybe i’m a fool, but i still love him and want him to be happy. Part of me knows that he can’t be totally happy with me, but the other half is thinking…well maybe.I am now wondering how many signs have i felt unseen? I am thinking of the fact that i am in school now full time, he is paying my bills, we just bought a new house, he bought me a car…how do i walk away without feeling/seeming ungrateful. Someone please HELP ME!

  24. Peterson Toscano on September 2, 2008 at 2:29 pm Reply

    “Cries for help” it seems that things are quickly heating up for you and the time for a confrontation may be at hand. It sounds like you need to find a local support structure for yourselves, friends and family who will bear you up and support you emotionally as you go through the challenge steps ahead. These are difficult waters to navigate alone. A counselor can also be a big help in a time like this.

    I understand your ambivalence in speaking to him and your concerns. Once you speak to him, things open up, things change, and it can be painful all around. Sometimes it seems easier to keep things quiet and not address it. But that does not sound like the best for you and for your relationship.

    Try to build some local support with people you trust (if that is possible). Talking with others may help you see things more clearly and help you to figure out your next steps.

    I’m thinking of you in this very difficult time.

  25. Anonymous on September 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Dear “Cries for help”
    I am a wife who found out in our 30th year of marriage that my husband was gay. I know the hurt, and I know that it seems like hurricanes are moving through your life. It seems like every revelation leads to more questions on how to deal with this new reality.

    It’s now been almost 4 years since I knew (and I have a comment on this post – see above: indicarol50). I’m doing okay – and I will be glad to share some information that was helpful to me.

    One thing that helped me was to realize there are two ways that I needed to deal with this – One, the mental information, and Two, the emotional information. Somehow, then you have to assimilate those issues and go on living. For me, I read a LOT. I learned other people had gone through this, and that was the beginning of help. Much of the reading was online, via blogs like Peterson’s and other links he has listed. I also got books from Amazon and had them shipped to me.

    I did connect with links via straight spouse network, but I wasn’t lucky enough to find a group in my area. I longed to talk to someone IN PERSON who had experienced what I had, even though at the same time, I was scared to be open. One of the next best substitutes was to connect online with other women, and you may be helped by these groups as well: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WivesofBiGayHusbands/

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alternatepath/

    Because I’m a Christian, I had a lot of misinformation about gay people. I have worked hard to re-frame my faith. It’s been a source of pain as well as growth, and in spite of everything, I know I’ve grown from everything that has happened in my life -both the past and more recent things.

    I hope you will write to me – and you may use this e-mail address: indicarol@yahoo.com

    My heart goes out to you.
    Carol

  26. Anonymous on September 7, 2008 at 5:08 am Reply

    I “married” a man who wanted desperately to be Christian. Unfortunately he could not even consummate the marriage. Or maybe fortunately. I had the marriage annulled. Nothing years of therapy won’t cure.

    Now that I read about women who went years or decades without realizing their husbands just were not attracted to any woman, I feel lucky the problem was so obvious for us.

  27. Anonymous on September 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm Reply

    hi all,
    am so happy to find some one to share the pain that I´m going through.i have found out that my husband is dating some male friends and it´s not only one, but different.He recently told me he never sleeps with me because i smell, and that he will be glad when i walk away from his life(i think he is trying to be defensive). My problem is that i snooped in his emails so, i got no idea how i´m gonna approach him. pliz help

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