Archive for the ‘Books’ Category


March 15th, 2017 by Carol Grever

When I wrote a publicity description for One Gay, One Straight: Complicated Marriages, my documentary showing straight spouses telling their own stories, I inadvertently included a phrase that some found offensive.  I called the DVD "The first documentary revealing the pain and confusion of marriages mired in the secrecy of a homosexual closet."  At the first screening, one psychologist in the audience took issue with that use of homosexual.  While I had used that term only to include both gay men and lesbians in mixed-orientation marriages, she pointed out that my usage was dated and offensive. She asserted that Homosexual now is relegated to medical contexts.

Language is a living thing, changing constantly, and connotations around socially sensitive subjects are especially ephemeral.  That's why I was relieved to discover on the Internet a current stylebook on LGBT terminology by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, a Washington based writers' organization.  It clarified the woman's criticism of my documentary publicity piece and revealed other fine and useful nuances.

The stylebook's clear definitions would be useful to anyone interested in this subject.  For example, I learned that the term transvestite, one who wears clothing associated with the opposite sex, is currently considered "crude and old-fashioned."  The preferred term today is cross-dresser and is differentiated from transgender.  A clear distinction was also made among civil union, commitment ceremony, domestic partnership, and same-sex marriage.  The decades-old designation GLBT (acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) was supplanted by LGBT.  Ladies first?  Additional letters are also used: LGBTQ, the Q for Queer or Questioning. The use of “queer” is now often used with pride, rather than as an insult. Terminology changes rapidly, following societal shifts.

I believe that these shifting linguistic distinctions are important to more than writers and speakers in this field.  If we hope to reach across the divides that exist between LGBT and straight, we need to be informed about these sensitivities.  Words wound and cause more distance between social factions when they are used with ignorance or malice.  Mutual acceptance begins with clear communication, unencumbered by negative connotation.

I recommend the NLGJA's excellent stylebook, not only for political correctness, but for the larger goal of mutual understanding.  Visit <> to learn more.


August 29th, 2014 by Carol Grever


Straight Spouse Connection was begun in 2008 to explore topics relevant to mixed-orientation families, particularly to the heterosexual partner in these relationships.  Most articles were intended to connect straight spouses with each other in a meaningful, positive way, to inform and comfort them, and to encourage their recovery after discovery of their spouse’s sexual secrets.  Given that core purpose, the complicated journeys of their gay mates were not emphasized—until now.

An exciting new book is just out that effectively addresses the question, “Why do gay and bisexual men marry women?  The Marrying Kind? by Charles Neal, a prominent British psychotherapist, gives brilliant insight into the needs, motivations, ramifications, and outcomes of these men.  Though it is aimed primarily at a gay male audience, it is an important contribution to the  literature for therapists, counselors, trainers, and especially for affected family members—wives, children and parents of these married gay men. 

Certified by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), Neal has forty years’ experience in counseling. Among other accomplishments, he is founder and chair of the UK Association for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Psychologies and has taught and written on related topics. His own story in the final chapter adds credibility, written in the same format as the preceding chapters.  He is “a gay parent, a survivor of alcoholic parenting, abuse and bullying, and serious illness.”  He first married a woman, fathering two sons, and has now been married for more than three decades to his gay husband. 

The book relates experiences of ten gay and bi men, ending with the author’s own story.  In excruciating detail, they reveal their internalized oppression, fearfulness, insecurity, and shame that informed their decisions.  The need to belong and connect with community drove many.  Family or career pressure factored in.  Some hoped that marriage to a woman might change their homosexual desires, or at least “cover” them.  Some simply sought a stable domestic life, or longed to father children. 

Religious pressure was also a factor for many, especially those with fundamental Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Catholic beliefs.  Feeling unsupported or even persecuted by their religious communities, they chose conventional marriage as an escape.  With the authority of a counseling psychologist, the author adds his voice to other experts who discredit so-called “reparative therapy” to “convert” gays to straights.  Rather, sexuality is presented in all its nuances, as a process and a continuum that includes bisexuality, androgyny, blurred gender and other variations.  Simplistic solutions are neither applicable nor useful. 

Interestingly, the subjects interviewed for this book all came out in their thirties to fifties, after their children neared adulthood. This pattern has been observed in the United States as well. At mid-life, authenticity becomes more important.  Like their heartbroken wives, these men’s intimate personal stories reveal untold pain. 

Learning more about the other side of the story can be beneficial for recovering straight spouses.  The more we know, the better we can understand and move toward a favorable outcome and the final stage of recovery--empathy and forgiveness.

This is a book worth reading for any person whose family has been tested by a mixed-orientation marriage.  It is well written and reveals real people's experience.  The extensive bibliography and list of resources make the book even more useful.  I highly recommend it.         


For more information, contact



March 31st, 2013 by Carol Grever

the initial confusion settles after a gay married person comes out, the
straight partner has a life-changing decision to make: Divorce or remain in the
marriage.  Many factors determine the
answer to that question—longevity of the partnership, children, finances,
emotional attachment among them.  It is
seldom an automatic decision.

mixed-orientation relationships are shadowed in secrecy, it is impossible to
say with certainty how many stay together after one partner comes out.  The common estimate is that 85% of
gay-straight couples split and 15% stay together, at least for a time.  According to one study by Amity Pierce Buxton
with the Straight Spouse Network, one-third of couples separate immediately
after the gay spouse comes out, another third attempt to remain together but
break up later, and another third remain committed to the marriage.  However, after three years, only half of
these couples are still together.

the large majority of straight spouses decide to divorce.  Separating is never easy, but it is
particularly challenging if the marriage is long-standing.  Divorce is complicated in itself, but the
myriad personal details surrounding the process make it nearly

new workbook can help.  Mandy Walker
writes about these matters on her blog, Since
My Divorce,  Her free self-help
workbook, Visioning Your Life After
is offered on that site.  Mandy
has also just published an e-book, available for Kindle on Untangling From Your Spouse: How to Prepare
for Divorce
offers practical information on the logistics of ending a
marriage.  It is forthright and clear, a
listing of steps necessary for self-protection legally, personally, and
financially. For example, the book gives practical advice regarding changing
passwords and mail arrangements, insurance matters, credit card protection, and
living arrangements.  The resource list
at the end suggests additional helpful online sites.

is motivated by integrity, not revenge. 
Her straightforward e-book and workbook can be valuable for straight
spouses who decide to launch a new life on their own. 

FINALLY OUT Encourages Understanding

June 13th, 2011 by Carol Grever

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.