I am normally a comedian, but anyone who knows comedians know we tend to be a little morose from time to time.  And for some reason it seems to help me get past some of these dark moods when I write them down and put them on my blog.  Don’t worry regular readers there are some things I wouldn’t never put on this blog, they are just too personal or might unintentionally hurt someone, so they stay on paper never to make it to cyberspace.

The other day a relatively new person in my life wanted to know the specifics of my ex-husband‘s realization he was gay.  Most people assume at some point in our marriage, my ex simply found the courage to finally be honest with himself and with me.  I wish that were the case, but I was not given that consideration.  Like many straight spouses, instead of the truth being revealed to me,  I had years of lies, excuses and finally betrayal.  It wasn’t until I found hard evidence of his true sexual orientation that I could finally move on.  Even with this proof right in front of his face, all pretense removed he still tried to deny reality.  In the weeks that passed he finally admitted his inner-deception.  I was then faced with the harsh realization that on some level my entire marriage was a fraud.   The depths of deep sorrow are hard to describe really, and the confusion of others towards me never really ends.  Many cannot contemplate how insidious the wound of being a straight spouse, cuts right through a person.  Meaning well they will flippantly try to reassure me with lines such as…

Well at least he didn’t cheat on you with a woman

All I can think is, well if he cheated on me with a woman at least I could understand that.  Infidelity is common in many marriages and some even survive the trauma.  If he had cheated on me with a woman we might still be together.   Depending on the specific circumstances I might have been able to forgive him and move on.   Marriage is a lifetime commitment and a lifetime leaves plenty of chances to make some fairly big mistakes.   As it stands I have to live with the knowledge that he never really wanted me.  That realization is horrifically painful.

You know he really loved you he couldn’t help he was gay

I guess but, if he really loved me he wouldn’t have used me in this way.  He knew what he was doing to me, he knew his was keeping secrets, he knew he was lying.  I don’t quite understand the concept of “The Closet” as he has admitted he has known since he was a child, and then in the same breath tried to reconcile his relationship with me.  So which was it?  I can’t help but think he was just suppressing what he knew was there all along and I was his collateral damage.  And what damage, nine years of a life, years of sacrifice and compromise, and romance that wasn’t real.

The suicide rate for straight spouses is three times higher than those in a traditional divorce.  A straight spouse has to deal with a lot: damaged sexuality, loss of trust, social stigma, and wounded self-esteem.  To make matters worse, a straight spouse cannot even look back to happier memories, as even they become tainted.  My happy memories, broken like crumpled photographs that cannot be flattened properly no matter what method I try.   As if the photographic images have scratches ground into them permanently across smiling faces.  The first time I met my ex, our first kiss, and of course my entire nine years of sex with a man who didn’t really want to be there.  Our first apartment, our first Christmas, every memory is now clouded and defamed.   And I wonder what are these memories like to him?  I can’t imagine and I don’t really care.  My feelings for him have changed so much, he was once so important so central to my being and now he is just someone who knows me so well but I really never knew at all.

My entire wedding haunts me now, as one big farce.  I had an absolutely beautiful ceremony, perfect weather, supportive families, and a wonderful, gorgeous celebration.  I look back at it now and want to erase it from my brain.  I am not angry anymore as I gave up on the anger a while ago.  The rage was doing no more than grinding me down, so I released it.  But I still feel a deep sadness that will flare up from time to time at times completely unexpectedly.  I will find myself staring off thinking about one aspect of it, and others around me will comment that I look sad or lost.  I don’t realize I am doing this, it is as if my mind just takes over for a few minutes and I sink back into the sorrow if only for a moment.  And the trust issues are tantamount, I can’t fathom being married again, it is just so foreign a concept after what I went through.

I could have chosen to keep it hidden, continued the secret to protect him and protect myself from judgment and labels but since “The Closet” nearly destroyed me I would rather leave its door in charred splinters and not continue the pretense one more day.

And now I live with the shame and the invasive questions along the lines of…

How did you not know?

As if there is something wrong with me, as if I somehow brought this upon myself with some type of shortcoming or character flaw.  Not that I was just prey for a self-serving person who needed, a partner to hide his secret life.  I know there are some that laugh at me and mock my situation.  They aren’t surprised that this happened to me, as if it is a joke, or I am not worthy of a normal relationship.  Or that my fiercely feminist bent lead me to a gay emasculated husband.  Even though my ex is an extremely strong personality that dominated our relationship and marriage.  He was hardly a push-over or hen-pecked wimp.  He didn’t mince about or act effeminate, he didn’t lisp or act in a flamboyant manner.  He was just a man who acted if anything somewhat asexual rather than overtly gay.  We had a sex life that was normal, but it slowly become dysfunctional.  And a decreased sex life is not unheard of in traditional marriages.  I begged my husband to seek treatment for what he claimed was erectile dysfunction, and the more I pushed the worse things got.

So I look for solace, calm, and peace and I am beginning to find it.  But in order to move on I have to wipe out whole sections of my past.  Every memory is now clouded and opaque.  I have to instead focus on how much stronger I have become after nearly being destroyed.  How I have gained compassion and empathy towards others and courage I didn’t know I had in me.  And learn to forgive myself for all the damage that I wrought in the aftermath of the fall.   If anything this personal hell has taught me that no one has it easy in life, even those who seem to have everything they want.  Their loved ones die for no real reason, they suffer loss, disappointment and tragedy.  We can choose to wallow in the muck or pull ourselves up out of it.  I strive every day now, to move forward.   As painful as it is for me to write some of these blog posts, I know it is helping other people.  For whatever reason when I throw these demons into cyberspace they grow quieter in my head.

One thing that has helped me in my recovery are the many straight spouses that read this blog and have shared their stories with me.  No one really understands this torture except someone who has gone through it.  And we will survive it, it just takes time, patience and a world of strength.  Solidarity to anyone who found this blog who is going through the same thing.  It will get better.  🙂

For more help a wonderful resource – Straight Spouse Network – Chat rooms, discussions, stories and you can even find local support groups in your area.  I am a semi-regular member of the NY city chapter.  You will rarely find people that truly understand our unique situation.  I can’t say enough good things about this organization.

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106 comments on “On being a Straight Spouse – Broken Memories

  1. captainscorpio

    Sing it, sister.

    My story is not quite so unfortunate: my ex really did (consciously) discover his sexuality after we were married, and I didn’t “find out”; he told me (albeit after a month of agonizing) when he realized he was a “lesbian” (common stage for trans guys to got through).

    All the rest sounds very familiar, though.

    Interesting, one of the things that most helped me were the other straight spouses living with wrong-orientation spouses, who were *completely fucked up about it*. (Seriously, dude, you’re having sex with your lesbian wife and you say “it’s better than no sex at all”? NO. No it’s NOT.)

  2. Anders

    I just want you to know that your blog is therapeutic even for us who had regular divorces. You know the, longstanding irreconcilable differences divorce and children together type of scenario.
    You wrote
    “ As painful as it is for me to write some of these blog posts, I know it is helping other people. And in a way it helps me, for whatever reason when I throw these demons into cyberspace they grow quieter in my head.”
    I have no idea why, but reading about your struggles helps me to process my life’s disappointment. Even if our life situations are completely different. I think you are very brave to do this and you bring up interesting angles of the psychological effects of divorce. I have made similar comments in the past and what prompts me to say it again is that I think you deserve to hear it again.

  3. faberge


    1. julietjeske

      If you don’t mind me asking how did you find this blog? I get a lot of regular readers but today for some reason not known to me, this particular post exploded and I have had like 70 readers so far today. Someone must of posted it somewhere else but I don’t know where…so if you know anything let me know, I would love to thank the person. 🙂

      1. Becky

        I belong to a facebook group of straight spouses and someone posted it there today. Thanks for your honesty. It definitely helps sort out demons in my own mind. My husband of 28 years did in fact, finally find the courage to acknowledge his sexuality and shared with me. That was 10 years ago. We are still married, but lead very separate lives. We were always best friends and he has, for the most part, acted with respect and dignity and concern for my feelings. I’m not sure where the future will take us, but I don’t view my past as a failure, merely the steps I needed to take to get to this point. We have four terrific children and three grandchildren that came of this union, still it’s sad that we may not grow old together. Thanks again for expressing your feelings so beautifully.

        1. Nancy

          Hi, I see that was in 2012. I’m curious if you are still married?
          I’ve just gone through 10 years of hell trying to find a way to keep our family together, separation, trial reconciliation, mediation then litigation and divorce. Now we are no contact except when absolutely necessary about the children. It’s too painful.

          My husbands lies ruined more than just my life. Now I’m left with not knowing what was true and what wasn’t. No memory is clear and enjoyable. More than a quarter century of false memories, confusion and suffering. I thought something was wrong with me. Now I want to move on but all I can do is cry daily. I still feel like most of me is missing. I can’t imagine trusting again. I can’t imagine dating at 51. I was his helpmate and soulmate. I’m left scarred and stuck. Nothing is fun. Just empty and always living in the past trying to make sense of what happened. But I could not stay with him. I always felt like he was keeping secrets and didn’t want to be seen with me. I felt like a trophy wife who was pulled out when convenient.

      2. Jane

        I belong to a Yahoo group of straight wives. A member posted a link to your blog. Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Soon to Divorce

    Amen, sister. Sometimes, I look back and realize, “Oh, so that was all fake, too. And that. And that. All so he could feel better about himself and make grandchildren for his mother.” Feeling so utterly used by someone I had adored for decades…it is a lot worse than people who have not experienced it can imagine. And since he is contesting the divorce, it just drags on.

    1. julietjeske

      I am so sorry he is contesting the divorce. That is just horrible. I don’t know what state you live in but divorce varies from state to state and some make it very difficult if one partner is fighting it. I am a huge believer in no-fault divorce, if one half of the partnership wants out they should be able to get out. And I am sorry being a straight spouse is a unique hell that i hard to describe. Hang in there.

      1. CF

        It’s not unusual for a formerly married gay man who is still in the closet to date women, and get married again. The denial is stunning sometimes.

        1. julietjeske

          I SAVED the evidence I had on my ex and told him I was doing so because I was convinced that he might try to pull another woman into it…and I was like don’t you dare.

      2. Soon to Divorce

        It is definitely a challenge in my state. The stuff he did because he can’t handle that he wants men, was horrific for me, but in my state it is not grounds for divorce. But, hey, I am in a much better place and eventually this will just be in the past. Still, sometimes, it hits me like a brick that my life was built on his inability to face the truth, and my desire to be a wife to him.

  5. Jo

    I have read many blog posts from straight spouses but no one have really touched me in the same way your post just did. This really made me feel like I could have written it. ”If he had cheated on me with a woman we might still be together. ” So painfully true. Thank you.

    1. julietjeske

      Thank you, I am humbled by the comments, honestly I just had no idea anyone would even read this post. I write to help get the demons out of my head. I HATE the well meaning but clueless comment I get all the time “Well at least he didn’t cheat on you with a woman” as if men never cheat on their wives with other women…depending on my mood I will sometimes reply well that I could understand, instead my whole marriage was a fraud. People just don’t get it.

      1. Jersey_Dan

        Or in my case, your wife like girls??? That’s hot! Some people just don’t have a clue! Im so glad I have the Straight Spouses Network!

  6. karenft

    I could have written this thought for thought but not so eloquently, especially the part about tainted memories. I look back on a 25 year relationship and wonder how much of it was true. I can’t be sure of anything now. I had no idea who I was really married to. Thank you for expressing what we all go through.

  7. Teresa

    You have so eloquently put into words my thoughts and feelings. Thank you for sharing. I am going to share with friends and family to help them better understand what I am going through. You are amazing!

    1. julietjeske

      Thank you so much, I am honestly humbled by the comments of my readers. Anyone who survives being a straight spouse has been to hell and back, we are all amazing! 🙂 Hang in there! Stay strong!

  8. CF

    Fantastic job, Juliet! Straight Spouse Network has a lot of info, but can also help people find the closest support group nearest to them… or just another friend to talk to who truly understands. It’s all confidential. Many of the members cannot talk to anyone outside fellow str8s about what’s going on in their lives.

  9. Zach

    I’m a straight spouse as well. I loved this sentence, “My feelings for him have changed so much, he was once so important so central to my being and now he is just someone who knows me so well but I really never knew at all.” That is so true for me. Having a wife that is gay was really hard. We’ve moved on luckily and we both are doing a lot better.

    1. julietjeske

      I know I say it over and over again, no one knows this reality except for the people who have lived through it. The damage that our spouses do to us is nearly overwhelming…it is not just our marriages falling apart, it is the feeling that the whole thing was a fraud. And that is just so much worse. I am glad that you are doing better, and I hope that one day this won’t happen as often, if at all. Gay men and women should be proud of who they are, and not drag a straight person through hell.

  10. Kathryn Callori, Executive Director

    Great Blog Juliet. Unless you have lived being in the closet and finding out you have a gay spouse, it is hard for folks to “get it”..Those of us in the Straight Spouse Network, certainly get it since we have all walked in those shoes. We have face to face groups, on lines groups and folks ready and willing to talk to anyone who reaches out to us. Kathy

    1. julietjeske

      I go to the monthly meeting in NYC and I love it. I can’t go every month as my employment is a bit unpredictable, but it is such an amazing group of people. As much as our stories are different, they are really the same. The SSN does great work!

      1. Jersey_Dan

        Can you send me the info for NYC group? I had no idea there was one closer to me than Mahwah

    2. Jersey_Dan

      Yes we do Kathy, I’m so glad to have you as a friend!

  11. Deb

    Hi Juliet – your post is so beautifully written and struck a real chord with me. I can absolutely identify with your feelings and sentiments. I get weepy at odd times almost every day when some stupid thing triggers a wistful memory. I am still friends with my ex, and he helps me out, but I don’t know how he lives with himself after what he did to me.

    I met you at a mtg in NYC in January. I hope to see one of your performances soon!

  12. Betsy Ring

    Juliet, What a wonderful written post you have put out here. I, too, am a straight spouse. We were married for 20 yrs when my husband came out. I hope your blog helps others who are going thru this realize they are not alone. Thanks to the Straight Spouse Network, I was able to move forward with my life and realize there is a bright future ahead of me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  13. Debra Beight

    Juliet, Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life.

    I know I’m not alone in this, but for now I’m still trapped in the closet with my husband and I don’t know how long it will be before I can escape. I’m tired of his lies becoming my own, to his friends, family, our son…’s too much to bear sometimes. I keep reminding myself that one day I’ll be free, and I hope to find someone that really does love me, not someone who is in love with the idea of “the perfect family”, even when that perfect family never really existed.

    I have a couple of close friends that know the truth about him and I wanted to scream when they asked “how could you not know?” They can’t believe the lengths he has gone through to protect his lie, all his manipulations, his bullying. And when you are in love with someone, when you think you can trust and depend on them, can you really imagine that they could be that deceitful? One friend said she couldn’t stand be made a fool of, I told her I don’t feel like a fool, I feel abused and she couldn’t understand the comparison. I simply told her that I hope she never does.

    Sending love and best wishes to you,

  14. Cyndi

    Thank-you for writing this. You have captured much of my thoughts and feelings. Only other straight spouses really understand the degree of devastation and pain. CyndiC

  15. Rebecca

    I think I have read this a dozen times today. Thank you so much for putting into words the feelings that I cannot even begin to express. I wish that I could share it on my Facebook wall so that others could understand why I’m going through. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    1. Soon to Divorce

      I bet you COULD put it on Facebook. My husband is in such denial that he doesn’t notice that I have joined several groups for straight spouses. If i mention alcohol and drug use, he throws a hissy (Because he is willing to admit that he has been a hard-drinking, drug abusing SOB) but he doesn’t even notice this. God help any woman who marries him next.

  16. Joe O'Connell

    Thank you for your blog. It is sad to think my entire married life (35 years) was all a lie. That is the part that keeps haunting me. Its been six year since I discovered the truth. I walked into a room a discovered her in the arms of another woman (who also happened to be a freind of mine). She didn’t know I saw them. A few days later, I confronted her and she admitted to loving this young woman and realizing they she had these feelings since she was a young girl. It was 5:30 pm on October 20, 2005. I was in total shock and soon went into a vary dark place in my life. It took a long time to heal. SSN was there for me. At least I learned I was not alone. Most people say things like, “It was bad, not because she was gay but, because she cheated.” NOT THE POINT and they just don’t get it. I ahve given up trying to explain. I’m divorced now. I found a new love in my life and I thank god every day for her. Being gay or a lesbian is not a choice but being honest is. Lets hope, in this new open age, they will live their lives as gay or lesbian and stop using us to hide their true identity.

    1. Soon to Divorce

      Right. It is not the homosexuality. It is not the cheating. It is using someone, day in, day out, for the entirety of a marriage. It is being treated not like a human being, but as a tool for the other person to use to hide, to have the family they want and the social standing they want and all the rest. Being used is horrible. Being used by your spouse is much worse.

      1. StraightinCali

        Almost 3 years into divorce proceedings with my now lesbian wife in California and I am still going through the pain as I try and enter new relationships. Just the other day a woman I’ve gotten to know asked me why I’m never genuinely happy outwardly. I just want that fire, that unadorned and uninhibited passion to flow in my body without feeling like a child who has put his hand on a hot stove to be stung with a burning pain. She got everything: The business, the house, the dog (thank god we didn’t have kids), and I am at a loss for understanding why someone would lie for so long, to use me for so long, and why I invested so much in a relationship that was built on a house of lies. She got the wedding, the social standing, and the assets. As confused as I am, and being a man it is difficult to come out with my feelings about the situation because no one really understands (your wife is a lesbian, cool…etc…etc..) but reading pieces such as this help to ground me and give me answers. Thank you.

        1. Soon to Divorce

          Yes, I can imagine you run into that “yay! lesbians!” thing a lot, and that is just ridiculous. People are idiots.

  17. Dan Hardin

    Juliet, this was beautifully written. As far as why you have gotten more attention today, your link was shared by some of my fellow members of the Straight Spouse Network. I am now 12 years separated from my lesbian wife (and have found a much better life with a fellow straight spouse) but I still struggle with how to deal with memories of past experiences that I thought at the time were happy ones. Your characterization of crumpled photographs that will never be the same again was very touching and hit very close to home. Thank you.

  18. tbeaman

    Thank you for writing this and getting out the story of what it’s like to be a straight spouse.

  19. Joan

    Thank you for sharing. I was married 41 years when my husband came out. I did not know what to do then I found ssn. It has Ben almost a year since it all started, and each day is better then the last. But not easy. Thank you

  20. Camron

    Thank you for this. I have given this web posting to several family and friends. It could have been written for me. It helps to see it in black and white. Thank you.

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  22. samantha

    I was with my ex husband for 28 years before he announced one night that he was gay and was leaving me and our three kids to go live with his “great love”. Turned out that he had known he was gay when he was a teenager but used me to suppress his gay side.
    I have heard every one of the comments you mentioned- “how could you not know?” etc-, been vilified for demanding a fair settlement at divorce, tried to help my children re-build lives that were shattered and dealt with the idea that I was never married in the first place – it was all a lie.
    Most surprising has been the number of st8 spouses out there that who not only deal with their own pain, but are able to reach out and help others going through the same pain. Str8 survivors of mixed orientation marriages are often exceptional human beings.

  23. Yvonne Keith

    Thank you, Juliet, for sharing your very painful story and putting to words the emotions and feelings I lived through. My ex-husband came out in year 7 of our marriage in a time when there was no internet to search through. I had no idea how gay happened and somehow thought I must have caused it. How could this man who had been my friend from age 12 have a secret of this magnitude? I heard him say “I’ve known this since I was a young kid”, but when your mind is in shock, the words get stored away until it can handle it better. Only a few years and a 2nd child later did the words sink in. I stayed an additional 26 years in that marriage until I was nearly destroyed, and over 22 years were in a closet of my own. Never told a soul and even brought it up again. It’s like it and the shame that it invoked paralyzed me.

    I finally divorced in August 2011 and live in my own house. I took my maiden name back because it was a part of my past he cannot take from me. We are friendly, but not friends. Friends do not do this to each other. The fact that my husband did this is something even nearly 6 years of therapy cannot erase. My adult daughters carry his secret; they will not allow him to know they “know”. Like you, remarrying is something that does not interest me. The very foundation of a marriage is rocked with a revelation of this magnitude; trust is shattered. Straight Spouse Network and the wonderful spouses were a Godsend.

  24. Shawn

    I was married to a straight man for 7 years, the last 2 years if the marriage he cheated on me and managed to maintain a secret yet public lifestyle with his mistress. His parents and family even helped him keep his secret. Most likely his was never faithful from day one. We divorced once I discovered his deception, I was never in denial, but completely oblivious. People only allow you to see the facets of themselves that they want you to see, if they have a secret that they desperately want to hide, they figure out a way to keep that secret.
    The very first man I dated post divorce, unknowingly to me was gay. At first he seemed like the ideal boyfriend, but eventually those little red flags of deceit started to pop up. It wasn’t being gay that I took notice to, but the dishonesty that set off the alarm bells.
    It truly stinks that someone we care about can be so capable of shattering on trust. With my marriage I was completely trusting, blinded by trust even. It makes me sad to know that I will never be capable of blindly trusting another partner ever again. Once such a deep level of deception and betrayal occurs, it is impossible. Prove yourself trustworthy. To top it off, it’s even more difficult to now have to wonder whether or not my new date is straight or in the closet. Ive had more dating experienced over the past 9 years and, yeah- unfortunately there are plenty if gay men out there looking to take advantage of a straight women in order to maintain their closeted lifestyle, and it is incredibly selfish and damaging. My first post divorce (gay) guy is now married and has children. He never admitted to me that he was gay, but he did firmly state, after intense questioning/pleading that his sexuality was not open for discussion. Gay or straight, betrayal and devotion are inexcusable. Recovery from such dishonesty is difficult, but possible. And, it’s very sad to understand that blindly and innocently trusting another partner will never happen again once the damage has occurred.

  25. Jersey_Dan

    Wow!!! Absolutely well written and I can completely identify. No one can understand, unless you have been through this. Hopefully it can help or give hope to anyone who thinks they are alone and help those on the other side of the fence to understand what we have been through.

  26. Melissa Evans


    It has taken me 3 years to start to come out of that fog and until recently I was unable to vocalize all of those feelings you put so well – all of them.

    I had some additions to it, as I have two daughters that were lied to as well. Not only that but he abused me physically, emotionally, and took as much money from me as he could.

    These gay spouses have a particular narcisitic traits but they are pretty much the same – use whomever is going to allow it.

    So, I was used, but much harder is to watch him still use his daughters and not be able to get them to see what he is doing.

    At the very least I hope he figures out what he did was wrong. I doubt it, none of them ever do.

    These days I don’t need the apology, he used me, but I profited in that I am very strong and will do very well as a result – he on the other hand has moved on to find a sugar Daddy. I don’t need anyone to survive but myself – he cannot say that.

    I admire you and all straight spouses out there that have suffered this pain.

  27. Ana

    Wow Juliet!!! What can i say, that is exactly what i feel and i agree with you that only the ones that went tru the same thing will understand our situation (Our nightmare).

  28. keepingupwiththerisersAshley

    As a support person for a straight spouse, posts like this help me get a glimpse of what my very dear friend is going through–because there is no way I can understand; it makes me a better friend to her.

  29. Rob

    My Lord. I have struggled to find these answers that I have not, to understand what was really going on. Your story is mine, with the genders reversed. I cannot thank you enough for helping me to understand which I, now 10 months into this muck, have not. If your intent is to help people put arms around our situation, you have. I intend to share this with my ex when the divorce ink dries. It says exactly what I have struggled to find, but not yet capable of finding the right words. Thank you, Juliet.

  30. gabi

    Just found this wonderful blog post today. Having very recently found out about my husband’s orientation, I appreciate your openness about the realities I now face. I will save this as a way to help others understand a little better. Thank you for writing it.

  31. Matt

    Juliet, thank you again for being so publically vulnerable even after all you’ve been through. I know as a fellow sufferer that the hurt will always be there in some way. But I am thankful for people like you who are continually willing to share and help inspite of their own scars. May you be deeply and surely blessed with the person of your dreams some day in a way that will make all of the suffering, hurt and pain seem a distant memory.

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  35. Jess Golden

    My ex boyfriend found out he was gay after we were together for 4 years and 6 months and after I was pregnant with his child. While we never married, we did live together and I committed myself fully to the relationship. I gathered evidence, etc. He sent me back to my home state of GA while I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter (she’s 4 now). I get child support from him and he ended up moving to GA to be in her life. Thankfully, he isn’t living with me. I think he knows not to even ask because I would give him the less polite version of “Fat Fucking Chance!”

    I too got the question of “How could you not know”. It pissed me off more than anything. My ex didn’t have any “symptoms” of being gay! Had I known what I know now, when I first met him, I would not have given him the time of day! To this day I have a little trouble with forming trust in new relationships with men. The thought of “is he gay?” should NOT have to cross my mind when I am looking for a mate! To know that he never wanted me at all really does something to the self esteem. I had self esteem issues all while growing up because I was relentlessly bullied, and now this??? For a long time I thought my life was god’s idea of a sick fucking joke!

    In the months and years that followed, what I heard from his family really made my blood boil. As it turns out, they had their suspicions his entire life that he could possibly be gay, but refused to tell me anything because they “didn’t want to get involved”. Had they spoken up about it, it would have saved me YEARS of heartache!!!

    I am moving on slowly but surely. Surprisingly, I have a civil enough relationship with my ex so that we can co parent. Looking back, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with him anymore except for the bare minimum. I have my own place and my daughter is in school. I start a new job next week at the University of Georgia. So things in my life are looking good.

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  37. Matt

    I’m going through this now… After 18 years with my wife a few weeks ago she tells me she is gay, after I brought up up that we need to get away for a romantic weekend that she did not want to go on. I felt my marriage was on the rocks and wanted to bring back the soaks. Little did I know There nothing I could have done, she tells me that if I did things differently in the past that she would have all been with me, then in the same breath tell me that she has felt gay all her life…. Thanks for using me to cover that, what you say we got 2 beautiful children and should be happy with that…. 2 children that are now a child of divorce. She tells me the marriage was not working for a long time, but now I see it snoop matter what I did it would not have worked.. I wanted someone to grow old with.

    1. Paul V.

      Matt, your story is my story almost word for word. My wife and I have been together almost 17 years, married for just over 6 of them. It’s been on the rocks for several years now, and this past fall she decided that she believed she’s been gay her whole life. Because I love her I told her she needed to explore it, half expecting she was possibly bi, but once she experienced her first relationship she immediately knew it was what she was missing to make her happy. I’m glad for her but my world collapsed. She also told me if I’d been a better husband, and done the things she asked to make her feel loved, that she could have continued with things they way they were.

      1. julietjeske Post author

        Don’t put too much stock in her excuse that “if you had been a better husband…” that’s a cop out, and it’s something many closeted spouses will say to let themselves off the hook. If you’re not already, you should check out the straight spouse support network where you can interact with tons of other men in your same situation. You’ll find most of them would say their wives said or did similar things. You didn’t make her gay. She’s just looking for excuses for wrecking her marriage. It’s a very common pattern in our situations. There’s nothing you did or didn’t do that would change the fact that she’s gay. I’m sorry you have to go through this.

        1. Paul V.

          Thank you Juliet, I understand what you’re saying and agree, but it doesn’t prevent me from going back over everything anyway and feeling the remorse. I did look into Straight Spouse, went to a couple of meetings, but found them to be very negative at a time when I was still in love. I’m different now and maybe I’ll give them another try, but dating is a whole other issue.

          1. julietjeske Post author

            Yeah love is like a drug, and it tends to cloud your perception of everything. Denial is also a really strong force that we all deal with. Once you’ve had some time to grieve, and mourn the loss, it’s easier to heal and move forward. I’d definitely try another meeting.

          2. Paul

            Tonight is the monthly meeting for the local Long Island chapter of StraightSpouse. I am going to give it another try. Thanks again for your writing, giving all us SS’s a voice.

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  45. Doubledad

    Same situation with my now lesbian wife. It is amazing the amount of damage they do isn’t it?

    I have been having the exact same problem with my memories. It is as if ten years of my life were just erased, like a video tape left near a magnet.

    You can no longer trust any good memories and the bad ones become too painful. The problem is, sometimes the memories of times with my kids even get lost in the whirlwind.

    I appreciate your reflections. Keep strong.

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  47. Jaci Martinez

    Thank you Juliette! Thank you for getting our side of the closet out there!

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  49. Susan Britter

    So sad, your story, and so……..MINE. It has been almost five years and the pain does not go away.
    You are the first I have read about that mourns the farce of the wedding itself….
    I cannot, even with weekly therapy, pull myself out of this. Twenty years of a fraudulent, lost life and unreal memories.
    It has destroyed me.

    1. julietjeske Post author

      I’m so sorry. I have a dark sense of humor and it’s helped me get through it. I still struggle. I haven’t had a decent relationship since my split and it’s been nearly six years. I just don’t care and I’m numb towards most men. I flat out don’t trust them. I will say though that I have gotten a lot better than I was a few years ago. Hang in there, you’re not alone. There are sadly so many of us.

  50. Susan Britter

    Yes indeed, “flat” is the exact word I use to describe my feeling as well. If the water in a sponge represented joy, security, trust, excitement, then I am a wrung-out sponge……
    I am also better than I was, but I have a great fear that I will never get over this, and my life will be ruined.
    I have a lot in my life, from children-to a good job-wonderful friends, and I schedule trips and activities galore, but most of the time I am going through the motions and feel nothing.

  51. Eileen Vlismas

    You write so eloquently and I am sure there are many out there with whom your words resinate, not just me. This has just last week been posted on our Facebook page, Straight Spouse Support Group (Brisbane Australia) so keep writing Juliet, your words are still helping us.

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  53. Lisa

    I found out! He was having unprotected sec with men for 7 years out of 21 year marriage. Now we are getting a divorce and he is living with a male “friend” and dating a new women. He will marry her, raise her kids and still have unprotected sex with men. He doesn’t care about lowing and hurting women

    1. julietjeske Post author

      It so sad and not at all uncommon. People have no idea how horrible these situations get.

    2. julietjeske Post author

      Personally I think the worst ones are the ones who marry women after they are caught the first time. To go back into the closet and do this again is reprehensible. It’s just pure evil.

  54. Julie

    I could relate to everything you said. It’s been 4 months since my husband came out, but I’m still shocked and overwhelmed to find myself a Str8 Spouse. I could have never imagined my life to be like this. Only other women who were married to a gay man can understand how deeply it cuts to the bone in so many ways. Unbelieveable.

  55. Paula

    I too can relate to everything you said and felt. The “at least it wasn’t a woman” really gets to me! I too feel like the entire 17 1/2 years with him has been a fraud. I’m having a hard time picking up the pieces and realizing this is still new and going through a nasty divorce – one that we were going to do all on our own because we “agreed” on everything when he first told me. Then he went and got a lawyer and now my parents (I will be 45 on Wednesday) are having to pay for the attorney and some of my monthly bills. I’m humiliated, embarrassed, angry, sad, depressed, hurt, angry. Thank you for your post, so I could find it.

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  59. Mandy Dawson

    I’m so glad to hear someone else say they can’t imagine being married again. I thought there was something wrong with me that five years post disclosure i can’t wrap my head around remarriage. I have friends who got divorced around the same time as me or even after and they’re all remarried, some with new babies on the way and I’m sitting here asking them how they did that? As in, could they please give me some sort of tutorial? I liked being married and theoretically would like to try it with a straight man if I could figure out the how.

  60. Paul V.

    Juliet, thank you for sharing such a deeply personal experience. My wife and I have been together almost 17 years, married for just over 6 of them. It’s been on the rocks for several years now, and this past fall she decided that she believed she’s been gay her whole life. Because I love her I told her she needed to explore it, half expecting she was possibly bi, but once she experienced her first relationship she immediately knew it was what she was missing to make her happy. I’m glad for her but my world collapsed. She also told me if I’d been a better husband, and done the things she asked to make her feel loved, that she could have continued with things they way they were.

    I think the worst parts are the loneliness and the fear that I’ll never be able commit myself so completely again.

    1. Paul

      I wanted to clarify something on my previous comment. Trying to wrap my head around it all and often my choice of words comes across poorly. I realize that our sexuality is something we’re born with and not a “choice” that can be changed through sheer will or any other means. My wife’s “decision” was actually a “realization”.

  61. rollforasanitycheck

    Thank you for blogging this. I don’t have anyone to talk to my soon-to-be-ex- gay-husband of 22+ years. It makes me feel less alone to read what you’ve written.

  62. Pingback: From a Straight Spouse: Some People are Gay…Get Over It! |

  63. Heather

    I can’t tell you how much relief it brings to read stories like yours. They might not be an exact replica of your experience, but the basic narrative is the same. It makes the unbearable bearable to know there are others like you.

    I spent 18 years in a relationship/marriage, six years of it in therapy trying to understand/unravel the truth (my husband has never come out of the closet.) The initial discovery shattered me so completely that I developed an illness that kept me exhausted and unable to leave for years.

    Discovering that your husband prefers men is an utterly ego shattering experience. You feel completely dejected and worthless. You can’t compete with a man. You can’t get a new haircut, lose weight or get sexy lingerie. You can’t win him back. He simply doesn’t want what you have.
    It didn’t matter that I was an attractive woman who would get picked up on on a regular basis. I would still come home to my abusive and disinterested husband and try to get him to notice me.

    The worst part is the shame and alienation that comes with the experience. You are right, it is pretty much impossible to find, in your circle of friends and family, anyone who can relate to what you’re going through. After I separated from my husband, I shared the truth with three of my closest friends, who empathized as best they could and tried to support me, but became uncomfortable and unwilling past a certain point. It’s crucial to have a therapist to talk with because it takes a long time and a lot of personal catharsis to work through your feelings and to heal.

  64. Me too

    Oh this person friended everyone on the support site but me for some odd reason. You think you could be nice among fellow sisters, no.

    1. julietjeske Post author

      I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    2. julietjeske Post author

      If you’re talking about me there are about 900 people in that group. I haven’t friend everyone in that group, not even close. My trust issues extend beyond relationships with men. I don’t really trust people in general so I don’t just add everyone. I’ve had way too many problems on social media, so I would never add 900 people just because they are all straight spouses. Also we aren’t supposed to talk about that group, outside of the group. Thanks

  65. Diane

    Thank you for your honesty and trust in me, the reader. Now I know I’m not crazy. May you find joy and happiness

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  67. Linsey

    Hi Juliet. My ex fiancé came out as ‘bisexual’ just a couple of weeks ago, after breaking up with me a couple of months ago. We were together for nine years, engaged for seven and best friends for fifteen. Since he came out, I have discovered that he is already dating another man. As you can imagine, that’s three massive bombshells in the space of a couple of months. I have identified completely with everything you have written. I have gone through so many different emotions in such a short space of time, that I sometimes feel as though I’m going insane. His entire family has shunned me, and although my own family have been, and continue to be amazing, there is no point of reference for them to even begin to understand what I am going through right now. From being in, what I thought, (right up to the break up) was a loving happy relationship, to my ex now treating me as if I am some sort of disease is heart breaking, confusing and extremely degrading. He has sworn to me that he has only recently developed these feelings and that our relationship was valid and real, but I am finding that very difficult to believe. I am now faced with the prospect of getting several tests, just to give me some peace of mind. I realise that I have spent a huge portion of my life with a complete stranger. Will this pain ever end?

    1. julietjeske Post author

      It’s a difficult situation to find yourself in. I don’t even talk to my ex anymore. In my case he just kept lying about other things and I couldn’t take it anymore. We don’t have kids so I didn’t see the point. I was also cut off by my exes family with the exception of his gay brother. Time helps. I wish I had more to say to you other than you are not alone. There are millions of us out there. I got a lot of help through the straight spouse network. It really does help to hear how this same thing happens to so many people. You realize it’s not your fault, and that you were just conned and manipulated by a self-loathing person. Maybe your ex will be more honest and forthcoming with you, maybe not. You might never know the truth. The most important thing is to try to heal yourself regardless. I’m sorry. Hang in there.

      1. Linsey

        Thank you so much for your quick response. I’ve looked at the Straight Spouse Network, but I am in the UK. Would that make a difference or can you recommend any groups within the UK? Do you have a link to the Straight Spouse Network at all? Thank you.

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