BY BONNIE KAYE
Over the last fifteen years, I have worked with thousands of straight wives who learned at some point during their marriage that their husbands are gay. Through the years, members of the gay community have criticized me for taking a position that I maintain to be moral, ethical, and necessary. These words of conscience need to
be heard by those of you who are gay or bisexual men married to heterosexual women.
It is about truth, honesty, and commitment towards the person who should be the primary focus in your life. To put it quite simply - COME OUT TO YOUR WIFE. This plea is not being made out of sheer emotionalism, but rather from common sense, logic, and a sense of fair play.
Marriage is the highest form of commitment a man can make with a woman. It supersedes all prior relationships and goes beyond friendship. The person you marry lives with you on a day-to-day basis and shares your life — the good times and bad, during sickness and health, through your moments of glory and depths of despair. It is
a relationship built on trust and honesty towards each other.
That is not to say that every move in a marriage must be explained. Sooner or later we all fall into the trap of making up "little white lies;" however, hiding your homosexuality is not exactly keeping a little secret when it plays such a big role in your life. It is living a lie. You are living a double life in two separate worlds, and the twain will never meet. There is another side of you that is totally hidden from the person who has so much trust in you and relies on you for basic honesty.
There is another issue that must be mentioned. If you identify yourself as gay or bisexual, then chances are you are participating in some kind of sexual activity outside your marriage. Justify it as you may, but this is infidelity. I have often heard the standard excuses from Gay Husbands stating that they don’t consider gay sexual encounters as cheating because it is not sex with another woman. But as the saying goes, a rose by any other name is still a rose, and a sex partner, regardless of the gender, is still an act of infidelity.
I am certainly not making a value judgment about the nature of your sexuality. In fact, no one would be more delighted than I, the former wife of a gay man, if people could learn to come to terms with themselves. If you are gay and have the need to be part of the gay world, I am all for it, but not at the expense of your wife who is sitting at home worrying day in and day out about what is wrong with her.
From the wives of gay men I have spoken to and counseled, there was one common overriding feeling — the torture of not knowing what the problem in the marriage was. While the gay husband may think he is juggling his life around to please everyone, his wife increasingly senses that there is something dramatically wrong with the marriage, and yet she cannot put her finger on the problem. She feels a pull, often alienation, and keeps asking herself where she is going wrong. She finds herself buying every aid available to be "more of a woman," never realizing that the problem is she is not a man.
And what about the Gay Husband? You are suffering too, but in a different way. You often are feeling guilty. Most times when you have moments of intimacy with your wife, which you find diminishing as time passes, your body is with her, but you mind is with someone else. You are functioning and performing, but starting to resent your wife for putting you in a position to feel pushed to do something that is becoming more and more uncomfortable for you.
You have to keep inventing excuses of why you are not in the mood and hoping that she will love you enough to believe them, even when she knows they are lies. You have to live in a state of hiding, hoping that no one you know will bump into you when you’re out being yourself in fear of their revealing this information to your wife. It can't be easy living with this kind of a lie.
I am not insensitive. I know how difficult it is to go to the one person in your life who probably means more to you than anyone else in the world and tell her something this explosive. I know you are taking a big chance and there is a lot at risk here. You are taking a chance of losing your wife, your children, and your security. But let’s be honest. You are losing them anyway. Once your wife feels the pull, she is going to start to drift emotionally and mentally. If she can’t be happy, your children won’t be happy. Somewhere down the line, the family structure will break down, even if no one but you knows the real reason why. And, at that point, it will be your fault because you didn’t have the guts to do the right thing while you had the chance.
No wife likes hearing the kind of news that you are going to tell her, and it is going to be a rough road ahead to bring things back to a natural course, if it can ever be brought back. But there are relationships that are working out once the news is out. A sense of friendship and understanding can develop once honesty is on the table, perhaps not under the same roof, but throughout life. This is the most important factor when you are raising a
Coming out is a gamble that can go either way, but almost every major decision in life is a gamble. And when you consider what the stakes are here, hopefully you’ll realize it’s a chance you have to take.