Have you discovered your partner is gay?
Are you a heterosexual person who’s discovered that your partner is LGBT?
You’ve been married for a while and have begun to wonder, with a feeling of dread, “Is my husband gay?” Or you’re a man who’s been wondering if your wife’s disinterest is normal, or perhaps you, too, have been thinking, “Could my wife be a lesbian?”
You may have always felt something wasn’t quite right, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on what was wrong. You may have blamed yourself, or been blamed, for not being “enough” – not pretty enough, not desirable enough, not thin enough… Too messy, too fat, too needy…
You’re still not quite sure, but the evidence is building. You’ve begun noticing that he’s becoming excessively secretive, or is overly protective of his phone. Or you’ve found illicit text messages, gay-porn, or paraphernalia that you know isn’t yours. Worse still, perhaps your children have even been the ones to stumble upon these unexpected discoveries.
- Your partner has finally disclosed to you the secret they’ve been keeping for many years and you are feeling shocked, angry, betrayed…
- You knew your partner was gay, lesbian or bisexual before the relationship started and you both hoped it would work, but it hasn’t. And you’re devastated.
- Your partner is openly questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, and you’re confused about how to process this and what it means for your relationship.
- You’re still together, desperately hoping to make a mixed-orientation relationship work, but you feel confused and concerned. You may be struggling to shift gears to this new reality. Will you be monogamous? Will you have an open relationship? How does trust fit into this? How will you make it work?
After discovering your partner is LGBT, you are likely to be feeling extreme uncertainty and anxiety about what to do. Maybe you’re still in your partner’s closet, unable to tell anyone of the secret you now carry, that was never meant to be yours. If so, you’re probably feeling deeply lonely and isolated.
Maybe your partner has already “come out of the closet,” and your friends and family are focused on celebrating and supporting them, leaving you feeling unheard, unnoticed, invalidated, and overlooked. The reality is – you matter, too!
Maybe you’re already separated, and you’re desperately trying to come to terms with the new reality you never signed up for. Your partner has possibly ‘moved on,’ happily exploring their sexuality or gender identity at a faster pace than you’re ready for. They’ve had a lifetime to prepare for this ‘coming out’ but it is such new territory for you! It may even be difficult for you to let go of your romantic feelings and move forward, or perhaps it’s rage and resentment you feel stuck in. You may be wanting some support to help you move forward as a separated or divorced person, and find hope again.
No matter which scenario you identify with, you may be feeling deeply traumatised, grief-stricken, angry, hurt and overwhelmed. All of these emotions – and more! – are normal, given what you’re experiencing.
The good news is that you do not have to go through this alone. Help is available!
I was married to a closeted gay man for 24 years
I get something of what you’re going through because I, too, have lived it. After 24 years of marriage and five children (one of whom died), my husband finally told me the secret he had kept hidden for decades: he was, and always had been, gay.
It was 15 months before I was free to tell anyone, and in the meantime, we moved interstate, away from supportive family and friends. To say it was a dark time of my life doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of how my world imploded.
I finally realised I’d been living in his closet for 24 years, and it would be some time before the cracks of light got in to show me the way out. I eventually found a supportive online community and a wonderful counsellor, who helped me begin to make sense of how things had been and to take tentative steps towards a life I could love. Along the way, I learned, I grew, and I rediscovered the strengths and qualities that had been submerged under the difficulties of a marriage I’d never quite been able to understand.
My voice was silenced for a long time because in telling my story, I am inadvertently telling his. My intent is not to shame him or tell the details of his story, but I have learned to find my voice in telling my own. I fully respect the difficulties and challenges my former partner had in his own life, and it is unfortunate that his pain and anguish had such a detrimental effect on me.
Counselling for straight spouses
The trauma of being collateral damage in someone else’s story is very real and it can take years to recover hope and rebuild a happy, fulfilling life, particularly without help and support. Counselling can help you process your pain and grow through your grief. It can help you find meaning in your experience and move forward to live your best life, whether you stay together or separate.
Through individual counselling and group therapy, I can support you in your recovery. to a better tomorrow. I offer online counselling and also in-person counselling in Melbourne, Australia. My services are specifically aimed at straight spouses who have discovered they were living in someone else’s closet. It has become my life’s work and my greatest passion. Please contact me using the link below and we can discuss the possibility of working together in your healing journey.
Note: This site is LGBTQIA-affirming – but heterosexual-focused. I acknowledge and respect the rights of LGTBQIA+ people to live authentically; in fact, if more did so, there would be fewer people in our position. My purpose is to provide a safe emotional space for heterosexual people in, or recovering from, a relationship with a closeted LGBTQIA+ person.