For those of us who discover that we are married to a gay husband or lesbian
wife, the different decisions we make going forward are influenced by one
We must live in the truth. We may not like it, we may rebel against it, but we must live in it.
We cannot go forward living someone else’s lie, someone else’s story of how it SHOULD be.
Your gay husband may say he’s not really gay, he’s just curious. He was molested. All guys do this. Well, maybe he’s a LITTLE gay, he’s trying to figure out if he’s bi. Or he might declare himself cured of all things gay and now it is YOUR FAULT if the marriage does not work.
None of those things account for your experience, so they do not open the path to living in truth.
Your lesbian wife might say she’s exploring her sexuality, she was raped, all the girls do it now, and what’s the matter with you anyway, real men think this is hot, you must be inadequate. But no one is considering what her involvement with or sexual attraction to other women is doing to you.
That too is not living in truth.
Those of us who have heard our spouses say “honey I think I’m gay” are actually in a better position to recover from the shock, because we go forward the truth. We get therapy, set boundaries, take the time to really figure out what we want from the relationship, whether or not the marriage continues.
But there are those of us who never hear those words. Instead we hear that we are making it up, we are crazy, we are lying. Or we are told to NEVER TELL ANOTHER PERSON WHAT WE
KNOW. Those of us who make and keep those promises for years and years pay a heavy price in addictions, weight gain, stress related illnesses, depression, internalized anger. When we inevitably tell a friend, family member, or counselor, we endure heaps of recrimination from ourselves and our spouses, because YOU SEE!!!! YOU BROKE YOUR PROMISE!!!!!
Imagine your husband or wife cheating on you with a member of the opposite sex, and being told that you have to promise to keep quiet about it.
To LIVE the truth, we must also TELL the truth. That doesn’t mean shouting it from the top of tall buildings, but it can mean telling our trusted friends and family members. It doesn’t mean telling everyone. But it does need some telling, and speaking out loud.
There is no reluctance on the part of our spouses or many of the people who surround us to tell the truths about us. We’re fat. We’re messy. We’re ugly. We let ourselves go.
Then there’s the perceptions of us that pass as truth. We’re depressed. We’re too wrapped up in work. We’re unresponsive. Those may be true, but they are usually not the WHOLE truth. Telling the whole truth, even among just a few people, even between the couple and their advisors, is really necessary.
Unfortunately, there are those of us who continue to be caught and imprisoned in a spouse’s closet. We cannot emerge due to financial threats, actions to take away our children, actions to scare off any new love interest we may have, even after divorce. The need to control the “story” translates into custody litigation, prolonged divorce trials. The world must not know the secret, and the straight spouse must be discredited so that no one will ever believe them.
The “story” can be that the gay spouse is cured, or never acted on their impulses, or that it just never happened and the experience of the straight spouse is all a lie. Or the story is that the straight spouse is PERFECTLY OK WITH EVERYTHING – and life is compartmentalized to the hilt so that truth and real life never meet. The effects of such isolation, pressure, and social shunning of the straight spouse are profoundly destructive.
Even when the gay spouse is out, there sometimes is a need to villify the straight one for every aspect of life together. Somehow, the idea that a gay person did something horrible by lying to a straight spouse is diminished if they can prove that the straight spouse is a horrible person anyway. The straight wife is a terrible mother, a slovenly housekeeper. The straight husband is insensitive, works too hard, is inattentive, or is hostile.
Sometimes any expression of the normal anger we feel is portrayed as abuse, and we wind up defending ourselves for being human. Some of us who have been “single married moms” find we are struggling to maintain custody of our children, buried under an avalanche of legal bills, investigations, constant motions, and legal abuse. This type of harassment is certainly not confined to mixed orientation couples, but when the intent is to perpetuate the myth of the “not so bad after all” parent, or to cover up homosexual activity, the effect on a family is devastating for years and years.