Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category


February 1st, 2016 by Carol Grever

    Straight spouses have a lot to overcome, recovering their emotional balance after discovering that their mates are gay.  The stages of recovery are well documented, often followed by advice to forgive, as a final step.  The following message about forgiveness was a response to Jacqueline Vaughan's guest post, published elsewhere on this site.  It is a wise addition to the usual advice to forgive the gay partner.  I offer it with enthusiasm.  CG

Dear Carol,

Thank you for sharing the recent letter in your blog. My heart goes out to all of us who are suffering from the loss of our best friend, spouse, and everything that we thought was real. The pain that follows the shattering revelation (that what we believed was true is in reality a lie) is of a magnitude that is overwhelming to experience and difficult to find solace from.

I would like to share what a counselor told me about moving forward with my life as an individual. I have spent a lot of time examining the 25 years I spent with my husband, and I keep wondering why I didn't know he is gay. I married him at 43 years of age, and was a widow, and I had been married previously to a heterosexual man for about 20 years. Of course, as I look back, there were indications that my new husband was different from my first husband, but I did not know he was gay. He had a son and daughter from his first marriage. I loved him and coped as issues presented themselves. I thought it was life being lived with all its challenges and joys. I do not know why I did not know my husband was gay. The counselor told me that it is time to leave wondering why I didn't know, and begin learning to forgive myself. It is time to appreciate how I coped through the 25 years of life and made a safe loving place for us and our family. I think she is right. I do not need to forgive him - I need to forgive myself. He must forgive himself, and I must forgive myself.

Forgiving myself is a bit different than what we usually hear about forgiveness, I know. It is my strong belief that my husband needs to forgive himself for the deception and lying, and I need to forgive myself for being gullible and open to being fooled. I am working on supporting myself as I grow and learn to be independent. There are successes to celebrate and note. I encourage us all to be as gentle and kind to ourselves as we are to other people. We deserve our own encouragement, admiration, and respect. We are lovable and capable.

There is a saying: "Things generally turn out best for people who make the best of how things turn out." We have the opportunity to grow and heal if we choose to do so. Not easy. Not easy! May we all be open to receive the love and support being poured out on us. Stay focused on kindness to yourself. You are important!



June 23rd, 2014 by Carol Grever


“Why I Care” was the very first article on Straight Spouse Connection, posted on May 19, 2008.  It launched this blog with an outline of my own experience as a straight spouse.  The site’s purpose?  “To explore topics relevant to mixed orientation families and particularly to other straight spouses.” 

Through the ensuing six years, most regular readers have been heterosexual women whose mates were gay.  The articles and reader comments were from the straight female partner’s point of view.  Recently, that trend has shifted a bit.  More stories and questions are surfacing from straight men with lesbian wives.

One such reader, who identifies himself as “Brassyhub,” agreed to write a guest post to describe his efforts to keep his mixed-orientation marriage together.  Here is his story.


As good as it gets?

Perhaps this is as good as it gets. After all, what is a successful mixed- orientation marriage?  Next month we will come to the first anniversary of my wife’s coming out as a lesbian.  And we’re still together, still exclusive and faithful to each other, and intending to continue that way.

What a year of trauma it has been, mostly for me, but some for her too.  The “D” word has been spoken, divorce.  We’ve looked at all the other options:  an open marriage, one side or both.  Perhaps we’re going for the hardest option, or perhaps it’s the easiest, the one involving the least change.  We both felt too old to start new lives.  After all, there’s no guarantee of finding a better, more compatible partner even if we separate.  We’ve invested a lot, most of our lives, in THIS relationship.  And there’s a lot of good in it.  We like each other; we talk together; we do things together (and apart).  But we’ve never had much of a sex life, and now we have none.

We’ve agreed on a weekly cuddle, on a fixed time and day, and being the eternal optimist that I am, I can’t help hoping that this may become a little more.  But I think that for now, my wife simply isn’t able to give any more.  Her 30-year struggle against her lesbian nature and attractions left her asexual. So there’s very little intimacy that for me is such an important part of a marriage--the total giving and opening up, the vulnerability, the no hold-back, the closeness, the desire for the beloved other.  We’re both mourning this sexual component of a loving relationship that we’ve never known and will never know if we stay together as we plan. 

However, there’s a very deep connection all the same.  She trusted me, she shared with me her deepest struggle, her darkest secret.  We are friends and perhaps even lovers, but without the sex.  Can this be enough for me?  For her? We’ll see.  But it’s already a lot.  I have to learn to live in the present, with what I have, rather than dreaming of some future and improbable miraculous change.  This can be a good day, with lots of good things in it, even without sex.

Perhaps this is as good as it gets, and this is success, not the miracle that I have searched for on the web, trying to apply someone else’s experience to our situation, our relationship.  I wanted some magical way of arousing a lesbian who has no desire for me at all, but who has a lot of tenderness and affection all the same.  There are no secrets, and there is trust. That’s a pretty rare and precious gift too.

There are no guarantees for the future--but that’s true of every marriage.  Ours is just lived with a far greater realism about the fragility of all relationships.                                           Brassyhub


Brassyhub’s account raises several questions that each couple trying to remain together might ponder.  Among them:  What are their realistic options?  How strong is their mutual connection?  What are the felt needs of each partner?  Which of these needs are absolute, without which they must separate?   How much change can each tolerate?  What is each willing to give up in staying together?  Perhaps most important, do they still love and trust each other, even after their secrets are revealed?

Brassyhub’s clarity in assessing his unusual situation is laudable. As he realistically points out, there is no guarantee of permanence in any relationship.  His intention to stay in the present is good advice for us all. 

Comments are welcome, particularly from other men in similar situations. What is your experience as a male straight spouse?  How did you address your situation?  Do you have advice for Brassyhub?



May 2nd, 2013 by Carol Grever


When a gay spouse
comes out, the typical result is an angry, risky split that is quick and
traumatic.  The common estimate is that
85% of mixed-orientation couples separate in this way after disclosure.  (See “Letting Yourself Fall Apart” on this
site for one example.) But circumstances may dictate a different decision for
others.  The following guest post shows
one woman’s compelling reason to stay married to her gay husband and
demonstrates that solutions are never simple.  

don’t know what I was thinking.

that’s a lie. I do know. I was thinking that I was unlovable, and that no one
else would ever want to marry me. So I married my college boyfriend.

you know, thinking back on it now, I’m not sure he ever actually proposed. It
was just an unspoken thing. He would graduate from law school, and we would get
married. That’s how these things worked.

wasn’t particularly handsome. And the sex wasn’t particularly interesting. But
we were best friends and never fought, and that sounded like a good basis for a
marriage. I knew what I was thinking, but I didn’t know what he was thinking.

couple years into the marriage, I started to understand. A good friend from
college called to talk to my husband. I was in the room, and heard the
conversation from my husband’s end. Our friend was career Air Force, with a
high security clearance. He was going to be taking a polygraph, and was going
to be asked about a sexual relationship he had in college. A relationship with
another man in the 1970s was rarely talked about, and for a military man in the
Reagan years, it was likely career-ending. My husband told him to tell the
truth, and that was the end of the conversation.

few months later, the conversation with our friend came up. I said something
about having always assumed he was gay, and that it must be hard to deal with
in the Air Force. And then I listened to my husband backpedal in a spectacular
way. No, our friend wasn’t gay at all. The conversation had been about his
having known someone in his dorm who was gay. The Air Force was concerned that
he was a security risk because he had lived in the same building as a gay
student. Really? That’s not the conversation I heard.

know that phrase, “out of the blue”? That’s how it was. One moment I knew
everything that was true, and not true, and real, and the next, out of the
blue, I knew our friend had called to tell my husband that he was going to be
named during the polygraph test. Things that I had chosen to overlook suddenly
made sense. My husband was gay, and I was stupid, or naïve, or some other name
I chose to call myself.

did the only logical thing. I never said a word about it. We were best friends,
and loved to spend time together. I overlooked unexplained behavior and
spending. He worked hard and supported me when my business was slow. We loved
each other in our way, and I decided that would be good enough. No one else
would ever love me, and what we had was working, so why would I leave?

of course it wasn’t working. It just looked that way from the outside. And
after a weekend trip with a friend, I decided to ask for a divorce. Before I
could say anything, my husband was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer.
I was told that he would die within three or four months. As much as I wanted
to run away, get out of the marriage, not have to deal with cancer, I couldn’t.
He was my husband, and we loved each other the best way we could, and you don’t
walk out when someone is dying of cancer.

I never mentioned divorce. I stayed and cared for him night and day for four
months. He rarely slept, which meant I rarely slept. He couldn’t swallow, and
hated the smell of food, so I would often go days without eating. His body
wasted away to nothing, and his bodily functions didn’t always function as
expected. I took it all in stride, and just handled it. That’s what you do when
your husband is dying. You forgive the past and do your best in the present.
It’s the best way to have a future without regrets.

passed away at the age of forty-three, two weeks after our eighteenth
anniversary. His lover came to the funeral, and the look on his face broke my
heart. We were three good people who hadn’t been able to live the lives we
should have had, because of the way we saw ourselves, and what society expected
of us. But I know that all three of us loved the best way we knew how, and that
counts for a lot.
Karen Jackson


Karen’s story demonstrates the pain of
many straight spouses, whether they choose to stay in their relationship or
separate.  Low self-esteem is evident
in her self-talk:  I’m unlovable, No one else will want me. I was stupid, or naïve.  She settled for marriage based on friendship
and called it good enough.  She overlooked unexplained behavior and
unusual spending, and her outer life became a façade, an unspoken lie. All these
patterns are common in mixed-orientation relationships.

Karen’s husband’s cancer diagnosis changed
her mind about separation and she showed selfless understanding and
compassion.  The key was this
recognition: We loved each other the best
we could.
 Karen demonstrated her own
basic goodness and willingness to look clearly at reality as she unflinchingly
cared for her husband until he died.  You forgive the past and do your best in the
present.  It’s the best way to have a
future without regrets.

Every gay-straight relationship has its
unique challenges, though most are less dramatic than Karen’s.  But her account is a lesson in mature
judgment and the ability to stay present in the moment, even under duress.  Her history of grief is a poignant
illustration of the vow “till death do us part."



February 4th, 2013 by Carol Grever

GUEST POST by Jacqueline Vaughn

    I sat in a workshop called “Crisis Intervention” looking down at a piece of paper. The facilitator had told us to write down a list of our daily activities, and I had scribbled down only the basics. “Get the kids ready for school,” I’d written. “Cook dinner.” Besides those, my schedule was empty. “I need to get a life,” I thought to myself.

    My husband had come out of the closet about a month and a half before. I was being treated in an outpatient program for major depression after having spent a week in a psychiatric hospital. I’d lost an important contract (I’m self-employed), which left me with nowhere to turn financially. I felt as though I hadn’t slept in months, and I was taking so many antidepressants that my hands were shaking.

    I had officially, utterly fallen apart.

    I wrote the following in my journal while I was staying in the hospital: “I can’t work because I don’t care. I can’t sleep because…I just can’t. I feed and clothe my children, but I don’t interact with them like I should. I’m so frustrated by feeling totally incapacitated because that’s so not who I thought I was.”

    When my husband came out, I didn’t feel shock. I didn’t feel compassion. I felt anger. Actually, I felt more than angry. I was livid. I cursed at him, called him names and told him to get out of the house. He moved into the living room for about a week before staying at a friend’s house for a while. Our exchanges alternated between tolerant, teary and testy.

    My husband isn’t a cruel man. However, after years of hiding a crucial part of himself from me, he switched from silence to brutal honesty. He told me that he’d never been in love with me. He told me that sex was an effort. He said he’d been kind and considerate in our relationship because that’s what he’d thought love was. Out of morbid curiosity, I kept asking him questions about our marriage, inviting him to strike blow after blow.

    My past wasn’t what I thought it was, and my future as I’d planned it was over. We’d never go to Wimbledon after our sons graduated from high school, and we’d never throw ourselves an amazing 20th-anniversary party. We’d never retire in New York City to enjoy city amenities and public transportation. The marriage I’d thought would last forever and the family that I’d worked so hard to create had vanished. “I’ve never faced this kind of loss and pain and grief and agony,” I wrote. “I never thought he would hurt me, much less rip my heart out.”

    I started to drink a lot of alcohol when I was home alone, sometimes washing down my nightly sleeping pill with a swallow of beer. At my lowest, I decided that I would take all of my remaining sleeping pills and put my misery to an end. I wrote my husband a note—a cruel, nasty note—and wondered where I’d take my three-year-old son so that my preschooler wouldn’t be home when everything ended. Then, I picked up the phone and called my therapist. She told me to have someone drive me to the emergency room, but I didn’t want to tell anyone what was happening. So I drove myself. I did it for my kids. I didn’t want them to think that me killing myself was their fault or that I didn’t love them enough to stay.

    I knew they’d never let me out of the hospital unless I had a visitor, so I called a friend and told her what had happened. She came to see me, for which I was grateful. Since I’d passed the test, they stepped me down to an outpatient program. However, I still had more talking to do.

    For the first two weeks of the program, I didn’t talk about my situation. I would sit in group therapy sessions and comment on everyone else’s situation, but I wouldn’t say a thing about my own. One day, my case manager was leading a women’s group, and someone made a statement about a past regret. I spoke up. “You were so young,” I said. “You couldn’t possibly know how things would turn out.”

    My case manager looked directly at me. “How does this affect you, Jackie?”

    So I talked. I told the women about my situation. I managed not to completely break down. As I spoke, I realized that I couldn’t blame myself for falling apart. I’d experienced not only the loss of my marriage and my family. I’d also lost the man who’d been my best friend for 15 years.

    That day in the women’s group helped me begin to heal. Before, when well-meaning people told me that time would help, I gleefully imagined myself punching them. As the days passed, I discovered that they were right. Taking my time, talking about my experiences and leaning on others was getting me through this catastrophe. As I progressed, I learned to ask for help instead of waiting for friends and family to read my mind. Truthfully, people wanted to help me. They just didn’t know what to say or do.

    Something else I learned was to limit my activities to what would give me either a feeling of pleasure or a sense of mastery. I cleaned and organized my house, which gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I changed the burned-out headlight in my car. I gradually started working again. I booked myself a massage.

    I’m only a few months into my journey, but I focus less on the past and more on the new type of family that I hope to create. My relationship with my husband has grown more civil. I adopted a cat from a local shelter so that I could focus on something besides my own difficulties. When I need a break, I take one. I plan many activities with friends either to talk or to distract myself from the issues. I still cry a lot, but I don’t feel like I’m sinking into a black hole.

    When my husband came out, I completely fell apart. But as I persevere, thanks to family and friends and thanks to a resilience I didn’t know I had, I’m finding the strength to put myself back together again.

~ ~ ~

Note:  I recently invited readers to submit guest posts for this site.  This article was the most outstanding, helpful response. If you would like to write a post about your own straight spouse experience, contact me for guidelines.     --Carol Grever







December 29th, 2012 by Carol Grever

Since May, 2008, I have written articles on many
aspects of the straight spouse experience. 
I’ve responded to hundreds of online comments and private emails
generated by this blog.  Occasionally, with
permission from correspondents, I’ve embedded their powerful messages in longer

Now I would like to invite
readers to submit guest posts for this site, sharing more directly their own
stories and lessons learned from their mixed-orientation relationships.  This hard-won wisdom can be more than helpful—it
can change lives.

If you are a straight spouse with a topic you’d
like to write about, or if you want to share your personal story in a supportive
way, submit
a proposal
to me before sending the post. 
Click on the highlighted link to open an email for your proposal. 

Your topic or story should relate directly to some aspect of your own
straight spouse experience, e.g. coping mechanisms, telling the children, other
parenting concerns, self-care during crisis, decision to stay or separate, legal
or financial aspects of either, secrecy issues, counseling experiences,
long-term healing, etc. Gay-straight relationships are multi-faceted and
complicated and we learn from each other.  Your own experience will
suggest subjects to address in a post.

Once you’ve sent your proposal, if your topic or
story seems appropriate for this site, I’ll send more detailed guidelines about
desired format and content.  When your
post is completed, you can publish it under your own name or a pseudonym.  Your privacy will be protected at all

 Though there are dozens of articles already
available here on the Straight Spouse Connection, they only scratch the surface of
possible topics of interest to men and women whose mates unexpectedly came out
as gay.  You can add to the useful
information here and I’m eager to provide a forum for original articles and the
comments they’ll generate. 

Send a proposal today.  Thank you for visiting this site and for your
interest in helping other straight spouses heal their hurts and create a more
satisfying future.

great respect,