Many readers of this Web site are mature women, long-married, whose husbands have come out in mid-life or later. Most have been utterly unaware and shocked by the disclosure.
They ask, “Why did he marry me? Was my whole marriage a sham, a lie? Why do so many men come out after having families? How could they not know they’re gay until they’ve entangled their wives in this traumatic dilemma?”
Such questions come up repeatedly, particularly from women whose husbands suddenly identified as homosexual after decades of marriage. Until now, almost nothing has been written about this common occurrence. But a new book offers well-researched, scientific and definitive answers, along with the author’s personal experience in the situation.
Dr. Loren A. Olson, author of Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, is a gay psychiatrist, father and grandfather, who came out at age 40. Having both personal and professional knowledge of the hidden population of gay, married men, he writes with authority about evolving sexual identification—his own and that of his patients and friends. He has presented his research on mature gay men at the World Congress of Psychiatry in Prague and has received other professional recognition. He is a recognized expert in his field.
His new book is obviously educational for gay men attempting to live straight lives while struggling with their sexual identity. But for straight spouses, Finally Out offers a foundation for forgiveness and understanding of our gay husbands. Having this information can lead to the final phase of straight spouse recovery: Forgiveness. In the blog entry “Stages of Recovery” (May 28, 2008), I wrote about our journey toward wholeness:
Fortunately, most spouses reach a turning point, finding inner strength to begin healing. This usually happens when they accept what they cannot change . . . . When anger is replaced by forgiveness, trust and hope can be restored. . . . When they regard the whole experience as a teacher, not a disaster, they are able to move into the next phase of their lives, reconfiguring a happier future.
Finally Out will appeal to diverse audiences: mature gays, their wives and families, academics, and medical professionals. It is a valuable addition to the literature on human sexuality, written in an accessible, personal way. Dr. Olson’s informative book could become a key turning point to complete your healing as a straight spouse. I highly recommend it.