Talk about a surprise you DON’T want to find in your stocking. Of course you’re upset and confused, Bella – that’s a huge shock to the system and your emotions are no doubt all over the shop. I’m sure your husband’s are, too – I’m guessing it has been a massive step for him to finally admit the truth to you.
Even if you suspected over the years that things weren’t as they should be in your relationship, it must have been devastating to hear him say it – and to be suddenly faced with an uncertain future. But please don’t feel ashamed or blame yourself for any of this. Even if you were the best partner in the world, if he desires men, and wants to explore that, there’s nothing you could have done, or could do, to stop that process from happening.
Mixed-orientation marriages are more common than we think, with various studies revealing that around 20 percent of gay men are married, have been married or are in defacto relationships with women. It’s often assumed marriage provides a cover-up for the person’s true sexual leanings, but experts aren’t so sure. Joe Kort, a counselor specializing in mixed-orientation marriages, told The New York Times that these men genuinely love their wives: “They fall in love with their wives, they have children, they’re on a chemical, romantic high, and then after about seven years, the high falls away and their gay identity starts emerging,” he said, adding that many of the men he’s counselled considered themselves heterosexual, with homosexual urges they hoped they could deal with through their fantasy lives. That could’ve been your husband’s case.
Where to go from here? That’s up to you as a couple to work out. According to the Straight Spouse Network – which has an online support group in Australia – a third of couples break up immediately after the gay partner comes out. Another third reportedly stay together 1-2 years, figuring out what to do and then divorcing, while the remaining third stay together and try to make their marriage work. Only you can decide what’s right for you and your husband, and now’s not the time for any hasty decisions. Your whole family might really benefit from seeing a counsellor trained to deal with these situations so I’d get in touch with the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW. Even if you’re not in NSW, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. If you’d like to speak to someone immediately, their offices are closed from today until January 6 2011, but you could try Lifeline which provides telephone counselling 24/7 on 13 11 14. I wish you all the best for the future, Bella.
Love, reality chick