Sunday, July 14, 2013

Coming Out Later in Life: What Spouses Really Think

The following was recently posted on a message board for straight spouses:
I am a 45 year old man who has been married for 21 years and I have three teenage children. I have, for years, struggled with my sexuality and I am getting closer to the decision to come out. Why now? I would like to live an honest life for the time I have left on this planet and my wife deserves better than a lie.

My feelings of insecurity are what kept my in the closet and made me work hard to live what I believed to be the "normal" life. Ironically, despite my age, those same insecurities are what are keeping me from coming out. I can't stand the idea of hurting my wife and yet I know she is being hurt by not having a true partner. I can't stand the idea of hurting my children and I live in fear that I will be pushed away by them.

I have read numerous online posting in the past few months about spouses who have come out to their wives. Everyone says you will feel better on the "other side" but what about my wife and kids? How can I justify, after so many years, shattering her life for such selfish reasons? My wife is a remarkable woman who deserves all the happiness in the world. I have to believe that in the long run, she will be happier. I don't want to lose her friendship and I want us to continue to be strong parents for our children.

Just looking for guidance on making the decision to come out and then how to protect my family in the process.
Below are eighteen detailed replies to this man's post, all written by women and men whose lives were forever changed when their spouses came out to them.

If you think you know what the straight spouses are going to say, chances are you're more wrong than right.  It's easy to make assumptions about what others think but sometimes reality can be surprising.

If you don't want to read all of the comments (you really should, each one is interesting on its own), skip down to the end of this post where I provide a summary.

Woman #1:
I've been married about 40 years and I found out my husband is gay about 6 months ago.  I feel that you should tell your wife, the sooner the better. I cannot even explain the pain of that 40 year lie. If she knows then the two of you can talk about the future together. Some mixed orientation marriages do make it-not many but some.

My husband and I are separating, but we go to counseling both individually and together in order to create the healthiest possible future for both of us. We love each other but my husband can't live the lie anymore. It is making him sick.

As far as your situation is concerned, I really think the truth is best. Yes, You are on a painful road. But if you love her then be honest. Just give her time to process everything. Be patient. Act with integrity.  My prayers are with you.

Woman #2:
Your post made me so very sad. My husband of 19 years - is gay - unlike you he didnt think - he took out ads on Craigs List and currently has a partner who is a Criminal Sexual Offender. Needless to say the children do not go to his house. The children attend therapy as do I. I cant help but think that if he would have just came and told me of his struggles the earthquake wouldnt have hit so hard. Its been two years and Im still a mess and feel as though his Lie became mine. I commend you for the TRUTH you want to tell but beg you to be supportive of your wife.. Her feelings and the pain that she will go thru. As I sit here at my computer - Im crying for you and your family. As I know the effect that it will have on everyone including you. Such a sad thing - its hard to understand and process. I wish you the best and I will pray for your wife.

Man #1:
I'd die and make it look like an accident before I'd do this to my family.
Being true to oneself - my ass. Don't destroy your family because you decided you cannot live a lie after 21 years.  Sure you can.
If you die, they'll mourn your loss, remember the great things about you and eventually move on.
If you come out, it's like you died and then some. They'll have to deal with your ghost now and after you die. You get out of the closet, and your family gets into a drawer inside a closet. It's really criminal what the gay spouses do to their loved ones.
You wanna be true to yourself, do it in complete secrecy and don't jeopordize your wife's health. Practice safe sex and please don't give me the 'it's not about sex' BS.
Sorry if I was harsh on you but whenever I read a new story about a straight spouse having to deal with the hell they go through, it breaks my heart.  DO NOT DO IT...

Man #2:
I absolutely do not agree that you should hide this from your wife and go on the down low just to keep your family intact. I believe marriage is sacred and should survive almost any kind of wrong and having my family broken up was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Would I have been happier if she just quietly kept girlfriends on the side without letting me know? Absolutely not. Trust is absolutely essential.

After disclosure I was insecure and irrational and made things worse. I desperately wanted to save my marriage. But my wife had no respect or understanding for what I was going through, because she was wrestling with what it meant to be a lesbian and could only think about her need for a woman in her life.

She eventually made things ten times worse with lies and affairs until today I can't look at her without thinking of the deep pain she caused by her selfishness. I never thought it would be possible for me to look at her with anything but love, but she built such a wall of pain inside me that even my good memories of her are gone.

Your wife may decide to divorce you. That is her right. You took away her right to decide on the basis of truth many years ago. Now you can give it back to her so that she can make the right decision for herself. You must accept the consequences if you truly love her as a human being.  To keep this from her so long is bad enough, but to then destroy her life, be unfaithful, and leave her utterly alone with the consequences would be just plain evil.

Woman #3:
I'm not sure what to say. I am torn. All I can say is whatever you do, do it with love and kindness. There is so much more to your vows than sex. You entered into a partnership with your wife and made a family with her and your kids. There is part of me that says too bad, you made your choice, you can't do this to your wife and kids. But, if you can come out with love and honesty, and put yourself on the back burner until you have helped them get through this before you embark on your new gay life, you may have a chance at a positive relationship with them. My ex-husband treated me and my kids with lies, cheating and manipulation. Please, try to be better than that to the people you have loved.

Man #3:
Everyone has the right to live an authentic life being the person they truly are... that includes you. So yes... you have every right to 'come out' and be the person you are... BUT PLEASE be mindful of how this will affect your wife... especially if she has no inkling that you have same sex attractions. It could be an ENORMOUS shock to her and she will most likely need a LOT of emotional support.

Gay spouses usually know for YEARS prior to coming out and have often already done a lot of psychological and emotional preparation for their coming out. Sometimes they have even done logistical and financial preparation. For the straight spouse however the 'news' comes like a bolt out of the blue and their world collapses.  If you go through with this, do it with all of the compassion and love and understanding you can muster. You will need to love her and be patient with her and be fair to her even through her anger and her pain. You owe her that.

BE FAIR especially in the settlement of property and in issues around custody. DON'T leave her homeless or broke. She doesn't deserve that. DON'T be a deadbeat Dad... continue to support your children.  Take responsibility for this. Not 'blame'... you can't help it if you are gay... but take responsibility and MAKE SURE your wife and children are ok... always.  Best wishes to you and your wife.

Woman #4:
I cannot urge you strongly enough to come out to your wife sooner rather than later.

How old are your children? How many more years until they are all up and out? You and your wife might seriously consider whether you need to wait until the children are grown for you to make your move. There are pros and cons to this, so I would consider and discuss this option with your wife, though it sounds like you are not inclined to wait any longer at this point.

This is a very complex situation with so many aspects to consider.

1) If you are have had or are currently having any m2m relations, STOP HAVING SEX WITH YOUR WIFE IMMEDIATELY! Get tested and make sure she gets tested when you tell her.

2) If you know what you want, be clear with your wife. Do not let her hang in limbo thinking she can save a marriage that cannot be saved. Being direct is the loving thing to do. Make certain you reassure her there is nothing she did or did not do to cause this. Make sure you tell her she is a wonderful woman, wife, lover, mother and your orientation is not her responsibility.

3) If you come out to your wife and divorce, you owe it to your wife and your kids to continue to care for them financially. In my opinion, that means above and beyond whatever the law requires where you live.  Financial support is but a small fragment of what she will be losing. It is the least you can do.

4) Stay involved in your children's lives, but listen to your wife and children in working out visitation schedules. This is not your wife's fault, so it is not fair that she suddenly lose half her time with her kids because you need to pursue this side of yourself. Work with her and listen to what the kids want and be flexible, but do stay involved.

5) It will take time for everyone to adjust, perhaps more time than you would like. Do not rush your wife or children. DO NOT run out and immediately pursue a relationship with someone else. This is painful and confusing to your wife and children. As hard as it might be for you, let the dust settle a good long time before you move on with your life. This will help your wife and children adjust to their new reality. Also, do not force your new life or relationship on your children. Keep your relationship with them focused on you and them. They do not need to deal with the new love of your life, at least not in the short run. Stay involved with your children and never stop telling them how much you love them. Respect their wishes regarding revealing your truth to people they know.

6) Consider working with a counselor regarding your coming out process.

7) Do some research and check around and line up a good couples counselor who can work with you and your wife through whatever comes next. You will need to find someone with considerable experience with this specific situation. That can be hard to find, depending where you live. A couples counselor can help you and your wife negotiate the many difficult decisions that may lie ahead.

I am sure there are a million more things to recommend.

I am glad you came here. Please keep in mind that many of us have been gravely injured by the men and women in our lives. I, in no way, intend to take that out on you. I think your thoughtfulness in reaching out for support in how to handle the situation is admirable. Some people may tell you that you took vows and you need to stay in the marriage and live up to those vows, no matter what. I'm not sure about that. I believe you have great responsibilities to continue to love and care for your wife and children for the rest of their lives, married or not, but I believe it is likely you do your wife a tremendous disservice by remaining married to her when you know your orientation leads you elsewhere. It is a tough call, but I know I deserve a man who can love me the way only a hetero man can. I do not, however, understand how my husband's new found discovery of his orientation absolves him of his responsibilities to me and our children. Does that make sense?

Please, just put the concerns of your wife and children ahead of your own through this process. You've waited over 20 years to do something about this. You can wait another year or two to allow your wife and children to adjust. In the end, you will be a much happier man if you know you handled yourself with integrity through this process.

Woman #5:
Time to put your selfishness behind you and put your wife and family FIRST maybe for the very first time ever in all of your relationship with her! STOP THE LIE NOW! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE. As you sit here reading this, lie in tow, you are STEALING MINUTES OF HER LIFE! Do you realize that? DO NOT WAIT ANY LONGER! TAKE RESPONSBILITY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! Set her FREE! DO NOT CONTEMPLATE ANOTHER MINUTE! DO NOT PASS GO AND COLLECT $200. GAME OVER!

I have much more respect for a closeted gay man who decides to right his wrong than for the ones who chose to defend their lie at all costs!  You're doing the right thing. DO IT NOW!

Woman #6:
I found out 3 months ago that my husband was gay-it has been the roughest 3 months of my life
Married 20 years, 2 kids and a wonderful life. I found out on facebook. I confronted him and he said he had been going to therapy for 4 months and him and his therapist were trying to figure out a good time for me to find out, but then he got sloppy and I found out.

I have gone through every emotion in the book. I asked my husband details about his contact with the other person(Please spare your wife these details-she may want to know but don't tell her everything)It's something that doesn't leave your mind.
I asked him why he decided to tell me and he said because he knew he was hurting me already and he didn't want to hurt me anymore. What he didn't realize though was how much he hurt me now. He has a very difficult time watching the hurt he has instilled on me.
I have not separated from him yet nor do I know if I'm going to. He is leaving that decision up to me and realizes if I decide to leave it is his fault and he will take the responsibility. Our kids do not know and we are not sure when we are going to say anything.
We have discussed what would happen if he were to die today and what I would say to the kids. Right know I don't think I would say anything. If I saw my kids, when they got older, struggling with their sexuality I think I would tell them.
There are some days I wish my life would go back to ignorance and the pain would stop but I also realize, on some level, I needed to know. 

I am not happy that my husband is gay, nor will I ever be. I also realize though that I can't do anything about it. My life has totally changed because of him and currently I don't know who I am-they tell me that it will change.
If you decide to tell her be understanding and look up the stages of grief. She is going through a loss and she will go through these stages , as I have, and probably most have. Make sure she has support because if you were her best friend you won't be. She needs someone to turn to.

Woman #7:
If you can support her and your family first before you starting dating and/or moving in with another man right away to make sure your family is somewhat settled into the new life, everyone would be in a better position.

Answer her questions. Give her time. Let her ask as they come up and whenever they come up. Please guide her here. There is so much support she'll get here she won't get from friends and family due to the unique situation.  Please, please don't keep her in the 'closet' with you. Make sure you tell your friends and family AFTER you tell her. Let her know you are going to tell them.

Since you will both be on new playing fields, ask her what she needs from time to time. So many men who come out leave the spouse and family to pick up all the pieces as the men start their new lives because now they are 'free'.

So refreshing to read a man actually has a conscious before he starts this process.  The best of luck to you.

Woman #8:

It looks like you sparked a bit of a powderkeg here! I hope you'll understand that most of the people who interact on this forum are people who have found out, one way or another, that their spouse has been living a secret life. Emotions run high. Many of us found out by tripping over the truth because our spouses were too cowardly to tell us themselves. That's why so many people here are saying, "Don't hold back. Tell the truth." And I'm adding my voice to that choir.

What I wouldn't give to turn the clocks back 5 years and have my husband tell me that he was unhappy in our marriage and that he was fantasizing about men. At that point, before he got on Craigslist to hook up, we might have been able to get counseling and learn whether there was anything to save in our marriage. Instead, he hid his secret from me for four years and he'd be hiding it still if I hadn't discovered it. In my initial rage I refused to listen to his pleas that he would stop and that we should get counseling and that maybe we could work it out. All I could see was that for four years he'd been lying to me and he'd been finding random strangers on the internet who were willing to meet him for the occasional blowjob or what have you. My mental picture of my husband went from "solid family guy" (which is the one he wanted everyone to see) to "disgusting selfish pig". By the time I had calmed down enough to say that maybe we could work toward forgiveness, he was saying it was more important to him to be true to himself. So now I think, "This is a guy who would trade in 25 years of marriage and family for random anonymous gay sex." and I have zero trust in whatever he thinks he might still feel for me.

I hope you don't want your wife and your children to think of you this way. Be honest, talk it out, get help. It may turn out that your marriage will not survive, but with luck your family will survive. Being honest with your wife and yourself is a great gift you can give your family. Good luck.

Woman #9:
I commend you for coming here and wanting to do right by your wife and children....I think we all agree that being gay is not a choice, but the behaviour is...Most of us have discovered that our spouses are in the closet...Some come out, and some continue to deny...

For me this has been the most painful ride I have ever been on...I am not mad at my ex-husband for being gay...I am upset that he stole years from my life, made me believe that there was something wrong with me that he could not give me the love I needed and deserved.....I deserved to feel the love and intimacy of a straight man....

If you really love your wife be honest with her...It may be the biggest gift you ever gave her....Yes, once you tell her your lives as you both know it will be over...She is going to have emotions running through her that she didn't even know existed....You have had time to come to terms with your feelings and who you are, this is going to take some time for her to absorb.....

If you can support her and your children, be honest with them and be there for them hopefully you can continue to parent together for your children's sake....

Sadly a lot of gay spouses run off to live the adolescent life and i think this hurts the spouse left behind and the children more than the coming out does....

I know you love your family but don't you think it is time to stop the lies and deceit long enough?....I do...

Woman #10:
Let me tell you something, when you repress your sexuality you get depressed.

By lying about your sexuality you are lying to your wife about hers as well. She's not getting the love she wants either. She likely thinks it's her fault.

Finally one day there I am thinking to myself I wonder if he's gay and I realise it's not that long ago I was wondering that and asked him and he said no. And I realise this question has recurred time and again. And I start to wonder about that, I start to wonder why it keeps coming up, why him saying he isn't gay isn't enough to end it. Then I found out the truth. It was like lightning illuminating the landscape of my past. A welcome relief from confusion and loss of confidence, even if I don't want to express the pain.

It changes the way you view your past. Your sexuality is fundamental to your identity. I've been so scared as the person I trusted has turned out to be so uncaring of me. You seem to me to be a slice of heaven compared to my um "97% heterosexual don't call me gay" husband. But even if he had turned out as nice as you are the loss of trust is horrible.

He spent an entire sulky decade being extra depressed in midlife, his entire wardrobe was grey. Do you think I view him as he has - nobly sacrificing himself for me? I am so mad that he thought it was okay to sacrifice me alongside himself without so much as a by your leave. No I tend to think of him as a lying piece of fish that stinks so bad the cat don't want it either.

And I used to be so nice!

Woman #11:
I don't envy your situation. My husband came out to me after 28 years of marriage - 17 of which we had no intimacy. I questioned him for years and he denied being gay. I accepted that and went about our "perfect" marriage.

When he told me, I went into shock immediately. I pretended like nothing was wrong...until I crashed and crashed big time. I found myself angry and confused - why did he wait so long? Why did he lie? How could he have done this at this point in our life. I had given up having children because he didn't want them. I had done everything I could to be the perfect wife. The pain and the anger grew larger every day, to the point that I had a mini-breakdown. I blamed myself for him being gay. I lost all semblance of self-esteem, hope, and happiness. I kept thinking "If he had only told me sooner, I might have had a chance to have the children I so desperately wanted. I might have had a marriage to a man who loved women." So many "mights."

I am 61 now. It's been a year and a half since he came out. I have been in therapy all that time. I am just beginning to regain a tiny bit of self esteem, but I still feel so hopeless. I cry easily because I don't think I'll ever know the love that I should have know. I cry for the loss, the pain, and the anger, but the pain is the worst.

PLEASE tell her ASAP. Do not put her through a moment more of what you think is a wonderful marriage. It isn't. It's a lie. Whether you realized you were gay years ago or yesterday, it's a lie. Don't hurt her any more than you already have. And believe me, you are hurting her every day that you lie.

Woman #12:
She has likely been wondering why she hasn't been "enough" for the entirety of the marriage. I did.

I was married nearly 30 years when my husband came out.  It took integrity for him to tell me the truth and to expect the consequences.  Give her the opportunity to hear the truth, grieve the loss and move on.

I confess, I am equally stunned at those who are suggesting you perpetrate the lie. You are not the person she believed she married, are you? Not really. Nor was my husband.

We loved each other.  It wasn't enough. I deserved more. He deserved more. For the sake of all the love you say you have for her, tell her now so she can begin to find her own way.

This doesn't have to be rancorous. Yes, there will be angry words. She's earned the right. No matter how honorable it is that you are telling her the truth, the reality is that you've deceived her, your children all of your friends and family for the entire time they've known you.

She didn't have a say in this when you chose to marry her an keep this secret. That's a lopsided bargain from the beginning. You certainly can be/become friends. It will take time.

Granted we are all entitled to an opinion here, based on our own experiences. For me, the thought of remaining in a marriage where he became more and more withdrawn, more and more depressed, more and more angry and where I would have continued to feel responsible to "fix it" is a horrific scenario. I found a wonderful life with wonderful people, especially and extraordinary very str8 husband in this process.

Honestly, the thought of sharing a bed with my former husband for the balance of my life is sickening at this point. I wish him all the happiness he can find. I wish the same for you. I am fine. He is fine. The real collateral damage in this are our children, now 39, 36 and 31. They have always been honest to say that it bothers them very little that their father is gay. It bothers them a great deal that he lied to them about it for their entire lives.

I want my former husband to find someone who loves him. It won't be me. You deserve that as well, as does your wife. It's a process. It's an emotional nightmare.  But it's also what my friend here always says, "You're gay. You're not a murderer. There are worse things."

Give her the gift of the truth and then stand behind the story and beside her. This is now her truth to digest and her truth to tell. Best of luck to you.

Woman #13:
I have to consider myself one of the "lucky" ones when it comes to this situation (if that is possible really).

My husband came out to me 6 months ago after 14 years of marriage and 2 kids.

He has never had any M2M relations just knew it was time to be himself and not hide anymore. We have been together since he was 19. He says he always truely believed he could make it go away and live his life.

We have gone through plenty of rollar coaster moments but have committed to keeping our family unit as healthy as we can. Our kids will not find out unless he has a long term partner one day and we are currently looking at building a house which will have 2 master type bedrooms for when we are ready to seperate our spaces. Yes this is very non traditional but we are going to do what we need to for our family.

You will hear plenty of people talk about how you decived her, etc.. but I have never felt deceived. I wouldn't re write out times together or our children.

RESPECT is key. If you have not acted on these feelings DON"T. I think that was HUGE for us. I didn't have to deal with infidelity, etc...

Time is your friend. Our therapist suggested no big moves for at least 1 year (assuming we weren't creating tension for the kids).

In the end we want to be in each others lives forever but with new re-negotiated roles at some point. We both love each other enough that we want each to live our full authentic life.

Woman #14:
I commend you for wanting to stand up and accept responsability thus far,( seriously applauding you, some of us never ever get the truth) and the maturity to want to handle things in the best interest of your family. My soon-to-ex gay husband was a sneaky piece of shit that risked my life for his own selfish needs for yrs, even after he was caught he continued to lie, and I will say that was the most painful part of this whole mess, was realaizing that I was married to a lying, manipulative, sneaky snake. You made a BIG mistake when you married under false pretenses, maybe you didnt know everything then, but NOW you do..right the wrongs..she deserves to know the truth. Impower her to make choices based on truth, her reaction, will be just that..hers and hers alone. Her life/future was unknowingly sacrficied when she married you based on your deciet, now its time for you to sacrifice what ever need be, to right the wrong, thats called being a REAL MAN, stepping up truly accepting responsability and apologizing! You may have to sacrifice your family, your home, and everything you have accumulated during your yrs of deciet, but HEY..its your the time!! She did her time, and LYING wasnt her crime! How can you justify shattering her life now isnt your you can justify DOING THIS TO HER IN THE FIRST PLACE IS!! You just may lose the farm on this one, but "Oh what a tangled web we weave" Although commedable that you are contimplating doing the right thing, I sence some under tones of "how this is gonna work out for you" Who cares? You had your cake, and secretly thinking of eating it to..again, absolutely do the right thing, put the ball in her court..and let the chips fall where they may, your deciet started this fire, rub burn cream on your ass, put on your helmet, buckle in, button down the hatches, gulp down the truth syrum..and hang on! I think maybe you are looking for answers on how she may would you react, if the shoe was on the other foot? I threw pool balls at my husbands head (ie..why the helmet a great idea)but I had just found out he screwed a man in my new car, unprotected on my bday while I was at work. Will she be hurt? HELL YEAH Angry? YUPPP!!! I can just about GAURANTEE when the smoke settles she will have lots of questions and one of them will be "How long have you known?" Stop trying to control the situation and do the right thing, your house fire has started in YOUR closet..get EVERYBODY out! The sooner the better!! Then stick around drag out the big mop and clean up the mess you have created. You want to protect them? Impower them with the truth! You want to protect yourself..your a big boy Im sure you will figure it out! Sending prayers to your family for the days and weeks to come.

Woman #15:
If you love her, you'll be honest with her.

I'm sure she know's "something" is up. Yeah-- we've all been in those shoes. And it sucks.

I never hated TGT. I hated the lies and deceit, and the constant worrying. The thoughts: "Am I imagining this? Is something off here, or is it just me?" Not a good way to go through any relationship.

Go be yourself. That's what I told my ex. If your wife loves you, it's what she'd want for you anyways. Honesty is a pretty great thing. Don't cheat on her, expose her to diseases, and your chances of having a friendship with her and a relationship with your children will be MUCH higher. I'm sure she loves you after 21 years. Someone said this a long time ago: It's not like you're an ax-murderer. You're gay/bi/whatever. Big deal.

The unfair hand comes in when it steals her of her life. You love her, tell her.

Uh-- try not to say things like "I didn't like having sex with you" or " I was never attracted to you", etc. Even if they're true. Because those cut pretty deeply.

I haven't read any of the replies others wrote-- Seems to be a hot topic. They might treat you like you're hell spawn for something you didn't get to choose-- who knows. God/prayer/counseling/Dr. Liberace's Hee-Man Quackery Camp-- none will "fix" it. You're not broken. And she's not broken. And it's time to take control of that before anything else.

My advice? Good luck, make sure she's taken care of, don't try to make it an iota of her problem or fault, and go be yourself.  Everyone will be happier in the end.


If you've read through all the comments you should have noticed a number of common themes, including a few that might be surprising to closet-dwellers.

Before I summarize those, I want to provide some background:

The comments were posted on an open, anonymous message board.  The anonymity gives people the freedom to say EXACTLY how they feel, and believe me, they do.  This is not a place where people put on a happy face or feel compelled to behave in politically correct ways.  The words they use represent their raw thoughts and emotions.  It's their uncensored truth.

What I've pasted above doesn't include every comment made by every person.  For the sake of brevity and readability, I omitted comments that basically said, "I agree," and comments that didn't add anything personal or new to the conversation.  All together, I'd estimate that about 25 straight spouses participated.  Nearly all of them were women.

Here's what most surprised me:

Man #1 said, "I'd die and make it look like an accident before I'd do this to my family.  Being true to oneself - my ass. Don't destroy your family because you decided you cannot live a lie after 21 years.  Sure you can."

I think that sums up the thinking of many closeted men - I'd rather be dead than destroy my family.  Surely 98% of straight spouses would agree, wouldn't they?  After all, they've been through hell, and they know exactly what it feels like to have their lives destroyed.  If anyone would agree that a closeted man should stay in the closet, it would them, right?

Wrong.  Only one person agreed with Man #1, and all she said was, "I agree."

I was so surprised that no other straight spouses posted in support of Man #1 that I asked if anyone, even lurkers, agreed with him. No one responded.

This means that, in a completely unscientific poll of people whose lives have actually been turned upside down when they learned that they were married to a closeted person (so much so that they sought on-line support from others in a similar situation), 92% of STRAIGHT SPOUSES WANT TO BE TOLD THE TRUTH, NO MATTER WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES MIGHT BE.

What other advice do straight spouses have for closeted men?

I could cite nearly two dozens quotes from what's above that exactly summarizes what I've heard over and over from straight spouses over the past 30 months, but that would be too exhausting to read.  Instead, here's a bullet-point summary of what nearly every straight spouse thinks:
  1. The truth is more important than anything else.  It's more important than preserving the marriage and it's more important than "protecting" the kids.
  2. Same sex attractions (as gross as they might be to many straights) are not what hurts or angers them most.   It's the lies.  After a period of grieving, most straight spouses can accept that their not-straight spouse is not the person they thought he was.  What many of them cannot get over is that they were fundamentally deceived.
  3. Lying about same sex attractions after getting caught, in order to preserve a marriage and the status quo, is one of the worst things a closeted spouse can do.  Trust has been destroyed and continuing to lie never rebuilds that trust.  Without a solid foundation of trust, the marriage is destined to fail.  In many cases, the closeted spouse's same sex attractions get discovered again and it's then that they go ballistic.  Again, what they hate the most is the lying, not the orientation.
  4. Tell the truth as soon as possible.  Waiting for holidays, anniversaries or other significant dates or events to pass isn't important in the long run.  Only the truth matters.
  5. If a formerly closeted man wants to do his best by his family and wife, he needs to do two things.  First, he needs to be more than fair when it comes to money.  Straight spouses feel that adding a big  financial burden to the already traumatic emotional toll is beyond cruel.  Second, straight spouses want to be respected.   That means not jumping into dating or starting a new relationship immediately.  Some straight spouses suggest waiting a full year. Most want a least a six month waiting period.
  6. The reason straight spouses want the truth above all else is because many of them have blamed themselves for the issues in the marriage.  They strongly prefer no marriage to a flawed one that makes them feel unloved, undesired or a fool being taken advantage of.
  7. About two-thirds of straight wives are willing to consider a mixed orientation marriage.  This means that most of the time, coming out does not mean the marriage is over.  The big hurdle isn't the man's sexuality, it's his behavior.  Honestly, love and genuine respect are required to make a mixed orientation marriage work.
Woman #8 summed up a typical straight spouse's overall attitude pretty well.  She said, "Be honest, talk it out, get help. It may turn out that your marriage will not survive, but with luck your family will survive. Being honest with your wife and yourself is a great gift you can give your family. Good luck."


  1. Thought provoking post...I truly hope that no one ever needs to go through this in the near future ever again

  2. apparently since you(women) are not so clever to figure out that your husband is gay all these years(where are you living? in the same house with him or at your neighbours house? ),maybe you deserve the lies,the dishonesty and the ruin of your life.

    maybe at the end of the day you are victims of you own female human nature....?
    desperate,pathetic ,with no self respect,wanting to be with someone even if he is gay....?

    1. You are nasty person and clearly not someone who has ever been in love. You also seem to hate women; "pathetic" "no self respect" "desperate"...what wonderful sentiments to have towards the mother of ones children. A woman who these men claim to "love". Women were good enough to bear their children and clean their homes and cook their meals and perhaps bring home and equal share of the bread.

      You also have not a clue what it's like to learn that the future you planned and the decisions you made and the sacrifices you made...the trips not taken, the luxuries denied all with an eye toward a comfortable retirement, is dust and will never be. Instead you are looking at an uncertain middle and old age with none of the plans counting for a damned thing. Instead you now have to wonder how you sill finance two separate households.

      People with a secret, a secret they've kept from friends, parents, other partners...are world class liars and blame shifters extraordinaire. And that's is the greatest harm these men do to their families. They allow them to blame themselves when the problems are not of their making and not within their power to change or correct. The spouse who lied, whether that's a man OR a woman is the one who created the mess. The only thing they CAN do is have the honor and respect and integrity to make it right. That's starts with the truth but doesn't end there.

      So before you dump on these women because you despise "female human nature", I'd suggest you walk a mile in their shoes and for one minute consider who YOU'D feel if the person you hitched your future to deceived you almost EVERY step of the way.

    2. Apparently you're a disciple of Ayn Rand.

      Too bad her ideas have been universally discredited, even by people like Paul Ryan who had to quickly remove his foot from his mouth when he said he was a fan.

      The thing about Rand is that even she advocated ethical egoism. Here you have dropped any pretense of being ethical.

      Your wife might be desperate and pathetic now but when she reaches her limit, her vengeance will almost certainly make for one bitch of a payback. My guess is she'll try to cut your nuts off (literally) and take every penny (or pence) you ever had - or will have. That'll be a start toward evening things out between you. In the meantime, I hope no one thinks you're so desperate and pathetic that you deserve a fatal STD.

  3. I realize that you came out to your wife early on, but can you honestly say it was a "great gift" to her? By your own account, the revelation cast a pall over your entire marriage and eventually led her to cheat on you.

    1. It's me again -- "Anonymous" -- a.k.a. your friend from across the bridge.

      I think what bugs me about this installment of your blog is that it seems to ignore what you said a year ago, namely that the bi married man should spend at least a year working on developing things within himself to be a better husband and get more out of a monogamous relationship and only if that didn't work, take the next step of coming out to his wife:

      Have you changed your mind on this? If so, why? And, again, can you honestly say that coming out to your wife without having first tried to work on the first "win" of your "win-win" was a great gift to her?

    2. Hello Friend from Across the Bridge,

      It was actually Woman #8 who said that the truth was a great gift, not me. Overwhelming numbers of straight spouses agree, but even among them, that sentiment is not universal.

      Coming out to my wife when we were 26 and before we had children was one of the best things I've ever done. Even so, I should have come out to her sooner.

      Did the truth undercut our marriage? Yes it did. Do I wish it hadn't? Yes I do. Do I have any regrets about telling her? None at all.

      Telling her made the decision to continue our marriage a joint responsibility, not mine alone. That was incredibly liberating for me. Like, being released from prison after serving 5 years of a life sentence. What's to regret about that?? Absolutely nothing.

      Did telling her the truth cause our marriage to end? Maybe but probably not. Fundamentally, I was unable to compete with her horny, macho, lecherous drunken friend. He instinctively knew how to make her feel desired which was something I couldn't master after more than 20 years together. Even if she never knew that I was inherently attracted to men, there was no way to hide that he was a lot more hot for her than I ever was.

      As for contracting myself, I haven't. It's just as you said, the first part of the "win-win" is a way for bi men who want to preserve their marriages to find monogamous fulfillment within them, and the second part is about finding happiness if you realize you'll never be fulfilled, with one of possible outcomes being to coming out and end the marriage.

      The contradiction you sense doesn't come from me but from straight wives who disagree with me. They want to know the truth ASAP. They don't want to be strung along for another day, much less another year.

  4. I am one one of those wives and I agree truth delayed is truth denied.