My husband just told me he’s gay. Now what?

My husband just told me he’s gay. Now what?

I’m married with children and I’ve just been told by my husband that he is gay and always knew he was. How do I handle this? I love him so much but so confused? Bella

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


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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

8 Comments

  1. theconfusedwife 3 years ago

    Trying not to make this too long but its almost seeming impossible with all the details that i want to keep for everyone to read because I know there are more women than just me that do feel like I do about their husband coming out of the closet.

    My husband of almost 7 years just came out of the closet to finally tell me that he has been gay since before we met almost 11 years ago. Although I feel hurt by this huge surprise of news I am also very happy at the same time and I’ll tell you why.

    When my husband and I first met its started out like most relationships, we were just friends. Over time things got more serious as we spent with each other and got to know each other really well, so well that we dated for a few months and then he moved away for awhile. He came back into town and we started hanging out again and at that time I had since started a new relationship, but I was not very happy. Again, we started hanging out pretty frequently while i was dating my boyfriend at the time. We slept together a few times before he moved and then a few times when he came back to town, I was still sleeping with my boyfriend at the time off and on as well. Some time went by and I started getting symptoms of being pregnant so i went to the doctor and found out for sure that I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time. The majority of my pregnancy we always assumed it was my boyfriend at the times child because my now husband and I were always very careful when having sex. My now husband still wanted to be a friend to me even though we were not sure about who’s baby it really was. Things started moving very fast and I broke up with my then boyfriend and we started to do things together like a normal couple that was expecting a baby would do. We moved in together, we started buying stuff to get ready for a baby to come into our life that we were starting together. Our daughter was born in October of 2006 and I soon got pregnant again and we had a son together in November of 2007.

    My husband grandparents were a little old fashioned and thought that we should finally get married before we had our second child. No just because we were having kids, but because we did love each other and we were building a life together so it made sense to get married right? We got married 2 days before I gave birth to our son. Our life got extra busy with 2 babies and 1 of us trying to work and the other 1 going to school.

    With all this being said even before I met my husband he was gay and always knew that in his mind. The state we lived in at the time wasn’t very accepting towards gays and neither were my husbands old-fashioned grandparents(which practically raised him). So I understand why he would keep something secret, and I don’t hold him responsible not telling me for so long. Its very hard to say what I would have done if the shoe was on the other foot.

    He told me 2 days ago after our kids had went to bed for the night. He was so nervous just sitting next to me on the couch trying to force those words to come out “i’m gay” I couldn’t help but to look at him and start crying as I ask him if he was joking with me. He continued to tell me no that he was not kidding. I was completely shocked at what he was telling me. So many emotions were running through my head. I was thinking selfishly but I was also thinking logically. I was thinking about everything that he was taking away from me without even asking what I wanted, but then I realized it wasn’t about what I want. This what something he’s been hiding from everyone forever, and for him to come out and tell me after so long, I don’t know if I could be anything but supportive. He is still the father of my children, my soul mate and someone that I shared the past almost 12 years of my life with for practically every day. We are planning on getting a divorce to make things “real” in the very near future. We are not planning on changing anything about us living in the same house until the time comes that those things need to happen. I can honestly say that I am happy for us both to be starting something new.

    I know there are going to be bad things said to me as an ex wife to a gay man, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be here to support him just like I’ve been doing. Those things will never change the bond that our child and we have with each other. I support him 100% on the decisions he has to make and we will continue to raise our children together. Just not as a husband and wife.

    xoxo theconfusedwife

    • Author
      Rachel 3 years ago

      Wow, I’m in awe of you. That must have been a shattering revelation and already you sound like you’re adjusting okay to it. Perhaps deep down you always suspected or just knew something wasn’t ‘quite right’ so it’s been more of a relief than a shock to know the truth finally? But, I hope you have some good, non-judgemental people around you that you can talk to.
      Thank you so much for sharing here – I’m sure your story will resonate with women going through a similar time. XX

      • theconfusedwife 3 years ago

        You hit the nail right on the head, Rachel. We both have wonderful family behind us, and for the most part the are non-judgmental too. Every day that comes and goes I think of something else that I’m going to miss about being married to him, but then I think about new things we are gaining as best friends that are raising two amazing children together. I know things are going to be very challenging, especially when it comes down to things like when it is a good time to discuss different things with our children.

        Being mindful about timing and very careful consideration about the things that we are doing are going to determine how things work out. In my heart I know the decisions that we are making are the right ones for us, though others might disagree.

        The things that come easy to us we never appreciate as much as the things that we have to work hard for, we know if we worked hard for it, it truly meant something special to us. This is only a speed bump into a new future for the both of us.

  2. Jamie 4 years ago

    This has just happened to me…. I am honestly devastated. I have done so much for my husband, helped him trough so many things and given up almost all of my friends and some family and now bam… I honestly have no idea how to feel. What am I supposed to do? I am angry hurt and sad. I love my husband very much but this just feels like the tip of the ice burg. We are supposed to have our tenth wedding anniversary in July and renew our vows, dress already purchased brides maids bought their dresses and the kids and just everything!!!

    • I’m so sorry Jamie. There’s never a good time to hear that kind of revelation from your husband.
      You’re in shock and so now’s not the time for any big decisions. Think damage control and just to get yourself more on stable ground so you can figure out what to do next. Start by booking yourself in with a good counsellor right away. I’m a bit concerned when you say you gave up friends and some family for him… But if you have people in your life that you trust, now’s the time to reach out.
      Please let us know how things go for you.
      Hugs,
      Rachel.

  3. Mitsi 6 years ago

    Hi Bella,
    How did you go with this?

    I have a strong feeling my fiance (been together almost 6 years and 2 kids later) is in the closet as well.

    Mitsi

  4. Bron 7 years ago

    Wow! That’s a biggie! Firstly, i’d be congratulating him on saying it out loud. That must have taken a lot of guts to do so.
    Next, talk. Talk. Talk. About your marriage, about your kids, bout what’s going to happen from here, and about what the two of you are going to say to the kids, if anything, at this point. I’m assuming you haven’t kicked him out, that you are trying to work out where to go from here but you are going to have to face it.
    He is probably as devastated about the whole situation as you. Keep that in mind when you do discuss this together.

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