+61 411 899 175 contact@karenbieman.com

Not My Closet

Helping Partners (and Former Partners) Recover after Discovering their Partner is LGBT

When Your Partner Comes Out as LGBT…

‘Straight spouse’ is not a very ‘politically correct’ term, is it. And that is a big part of the struggle for people whose partners have come out (or been discovered to be) as lesbian, gay, bi or trans. People identifying as LGBT are now rightfully supported by most people; however, when they have taken a (usually unsuspecting) heterosexual person into their closet of shame, that person is usually overlooked when the LGBT finally comes out.

Most people don’t quite know what to do with the ‘straight spouse.’* It seems to me that the empathy and support for straight spouses is perhaps subconsciously withheld due to a fear of appearing as homophobic. The sad consequence of this is that straight spouses are often left feeling quite invisible and alone in their confusing, often traumatic grief.

For the ‘straight spouses’ reading here, you may feel unseen, unheard and invalidated in your grief, but that will not be your experience here. I see you, I hear you, and I validate your emotions, whatever they are. You are safe here and your pain is acknowledged.

* ‘Straight spouse’ is a less-than-ideal term but it is the one most often used by heterosexual cisgender people to describe themselves in the context of a mixed sexual orientation relationship (MSOM). It is a term I use here as a brief way of referring to those who are, or were, married, defacto, boyfriend/girlfriend partners of a person who isn’t ‘straight’. 

I Was A Straight Spouse

After 24 years of marriage, my husband told me he was 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 does not begin to scratch the surface of how my world imploded at that time.

Unfortunately for straight spouses, our voices are often silenced, because in telling our stories, we are inadvertently telling theirs. I fully respect the difficulties and challenges my former partner had in his own life, and my intent is not to shame him or tell his story, but I have learned to find my voice in telling my own. It isn’t about hating the ‘gay’ in the person, but the reality is: the pain and trauma of being collateral damage in someone else’s story is very, very real. And it takes many straight spouses many years to recover hope and rebuild their life. This page (and my upcoming website) exist to provide support and advocacy for straight spouses.

I now offer counselling services in Melbourne, Australia (and online) specifically aimed at straight spouses/partners 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 if you would like to connect and we can discuss the possibility of working together in your healing journey.

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I’d love to find out what I can help you with. Call 0411 899 175 or email me for a free 20 minute consultation.

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