Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


March 15th, 2017 by Carol Grever

I was already an emotional wreck over my dying father when my husband abruptly came out.  His understated confession of "homosexual tendencies" blindsided me completely after more than 30 years of marriage, parenting our two sons, building a successful business, and utterly trusting his fidelity.  As his story unfolded through the following weeks, I learned more about his compartmentalized double life.  For 25 years he had engaged in mostly anonymous homosexual encounters, hidden by the facade of our "perfect family" life.

I had joined the ranks of straight spouses, heterosexual people who unknowingly married gays.

Struggling to adjust, I went through predictable stages of recovery over the next four years, cycling from shock and bewilderment through denial, self-blame, and sympathy.  Sometimes I was enraged that my husband's illicit behavior had put my health and life at risk.  That anger usually caved into the black hole of grief and despair; all our plans for the future were dust.  Through professional therapy, and peer support from the Straight Spouse Network, I learned that these cycling emotional states are typical during straight spouse recovery, the pattern similar to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grief.  Knowing that I was not alone was essential during the darkest times.

Eventually we divorced and the passing of time softened my sharp edges.  I began to feel more hopeful.  Through it all, I had kept a journal, recording the good and awful turns of this foreign journey.  Then came an epiphany.  This coming-out event was the major turning point in my lifetime.  It could be the ultimate opportunity, the gateway to a whole new path of my own choosing.  I could recreate myself, reconfigure my future.  I realized the magnitude of this event, seeing it as possibility instead of disaster.

Writing became my door into that future.  It gave me meaning beyond myself.  Using my journal and interviews with other straight spouses, I wrote My Husband Is Gay: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Crisis.  I had always wanted to be an author, and my husband's disclosure of his true identity as a gay man freed me to live my own true identity.  When I "got it," I could forgive my former mate and even become friends with him again.  Healing was the result.


July 9th, 2013 by Carol Grever


     “Why are nearly all comments posted on Straight Spouse Connection posted by
heterosexual women whose gay husbands have come out?” 

    This was an interesting question prompted by my blog
article about Dr. Vivienne Cass’s 1979 study of homosexual identity
formation.  Her theoretical model examined
the long period of internal conflict preceding gay persons’ self-recognition
and sexual identity. This reader wanted to know how other men responded.  He wanted to see more comments from male
straight spouses.  He wrote, “I would be
very interested in finding a few scenarios where the wife was the gay
partner.  I am wondering if the husband
in these cases would be as quick to separate or divorce.”

    This is a good question, but there is no
definitive answer. In fact, most of the final outcomes in these coming-out
stories remain unknown.  There are at
least three major reasons why we are unable to reach absolute conclusions. 

  1. Any mixed-orientation partnership
    is secretive, therefore many gay-straight marriages are never publicly
    recognized.  No one knows how many of
    these marriages actually exist.
  2. Because there is no stated cause
    for many divorces, we can’t determine how many of these separations occur
    because the partners have different sexual orientation.
  3. Females are generally more
    willing than males to talk about personal problems and to seek therapeutic help.  Their stories are therefore more accessible
    for research.

Typical male reticence makes it difficult to
ferret out their stories. Men tend to avoid discussing personal issues or
revealing what they may consider to be marital failure. In researching my books
and documentary, it was relatively easy to engage female straight spouses who
were willing to reveal their experiences; therefore the majority of
examples came from women. This ongoing blog demonstrates the same tendency, with
more than three hundred comments, posted almost exclusively by women.

My interviews also suggested another difference in
the way men and women respond after one partner comes out.  Among those mixed-orientation couples who did
separate and divorce, the male straight spouses I interviewed seemed more able
to move on and start over. There are several possible reasons for this:  Women are more likely to remain in the family
home, surrounded by familiar emotional reminders, and they are more likely to
have custody of any children.  Financial
inequity is sometimes a factor also.  The
result is that women seem to have more emotional baggage to sort out and
resolve, whereas men seem more able to make a clean break.

Admittedly, none of these impressions can be
measured in any absolute way, but more than twenty years of correspondence and
interviews with straight spouses of both genders underlie these assumptions.  Comments from both male and female straight
spouses are invited, along with thoughts from professional counselors who deal
with these issues. 

In the meantime, I could recommend one resource
that might be useful to the gentleman who asked the question that prompted this
reply.  It is the documentary “One Gay,
One Straight: Complicated Marriages.”  In
it, two male straight spouses relate their experience, each with very different
outcomes.  The DVD is available here.  Just click the Books tab at the top of this page.


June 12th, 2012 by Carol Grever

    Since starting this blog in 2008, I’ve received many notes of gratitude from straight spouses who had previously felt isolated, lacking connection with others who understood their predicament.  Until recently, little serious literature was available for mixed-orientation couples.  Now two new resources offer credible research and insight into the particular challenges of these families.

    Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis, has published both a long-awaited book on the subject and a special issue of their Journal of GLBT Family Studies (Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2012).  Both are excellent resources for mixed-orientation couples and their families.  I was privileged to contribute the sections on straight spouse issues in both of these new publications.

    The Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy is the first book of its kind, aimed primarily at professional counselors and therapists who work with this population.  It emphasizes best practices and lists useful references to suggest further reading on related subjects.  My contribution to the book, Chapter 17, reviews clinical issues, stages of recovery, counseling options, and characteristics of effective therapy specifically for straight spouses. 

    The publisher notes, “Because of the breadth of the book, its specificity, and the expertise of the contributing authors and editors, it is the definitive handbook on LGBT couple and family therapy.” To learn more about this groundbreaking book, go to: 

    The special issue of the journal is called Mixed-Orientation Marriages: Challenges of Individual Spouses and GLB-Straight Couples in Diverse Contexts.  My article is “Unintended Consequences: Unique Issues of Female Straight Spouses.”  It is specific to these women who are often marginalized and misunderstood—the “collateral damage” when a gay husband comes out.  The article can be found at

    Both of my contributions to these new resources are based on direct interviews and correspondence with hundreds of straight spouses over a 15-year period. They explore common elements of their experience, including immediate personal challenges, recurring risks, and long-term obstacles.  They are meant to provide deeper understanding of the unique challenges of straight spouses.     

    It is important to note that one particular advocate is largely responsible for pushing these two significant scholarly projects to completion.  Dr. Jerry J. Bigner initiated serious studies of gay-straight issues in his role as a professor at Colorado State University and he continued exceptional leadership in LGBT scholarship even after his retirement from teaching.  He edited both the Journal of GLBT Family Studies and the Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy.  Through his whole career, he mentored writers on these subjects, myself included. 

    Jerry’s sudden untimely death was the only thing that could stop his passion for teaching about the realities of families with gay members.  The handbook for counselors was his last project and he died during the final revisions of the manuscript.  The finished book is dedicated to him.  The dedication ends, “This book is one more addition to his legacy.  May it serve as one of many tributes to his life and all he stood for.  Heaven is where all humans are equally accepted and valued.” Jerry was my good friend, sorely missed, but his work will continue to spread hope among people he understood so well. 

Here's to good reading!





February 27th, 2012 by Carol Grever

Most of the straight spouses who visit this site are women whose husbands have become involved with another man.  Their challenges have become somewhat familiar.  But a new question is raised in this recent letter. 

My wife of 20 years recently had an affair with another woman and after separating for a couple of months has returned at my urging to seek couples therapy.  I’ve been reading a lot about sexual fluidity in women and that their preferences can switch back and forth, yet it’s very difficult to find any stories where that has actually happened.  I know right now that my wife has no feelings of intimacy towards me. She says she does not know if she’s gay or straight, but right now if I had to label her I would say she is gay.  However we get along very well, communicate openly and do love each other.  We both hope that at some point her sexual preferences may evolve so that we can be intimate again.  It’s hard to find stories about women who were gay, had no interest in men, and then became interested and lived happily married straight lives.  I have found a few, but it occurs to me that if this happened to you, you certainly wouldn’t want to advertise it.  I’m guessing that most women in my wife’s position would stay in the closet if her feelings evolved and she became sexually attracted to men again.  My question for you is do you believe in sexual fluidity in women and how often do you see cases where a gay wife of a straight man has here sexual preferences evolve to where she can again have intimate relations with her husband?  I need to know if we are both just grasping at straws or there is a possibility that her sexual preferences can change again.

A foundational assumption in most research on human sexuality is that sexual orientation is inborn and fixed--stable from birth to death.  Some recent studies have begun to raise questions about changing patterns of same-sex and other-sex behavior, particularly among women. 

Switching sexual identification is disproportionately prevalent in women, according to Lisa M. Diamond, author of Sexual Fluidity (Harvard University Press, 2008).  Same-sex or other-sex attraction may be context-dependent--fluid rather than fixed, as these women move through different stages of life and changing social groups.  A case in point is actress Anne Heche, who partnered with lesbian comedian Ellen De Generes, having had no previous same-sex relationship.  That relationship ended after two years and Anne then married a man.  Another well known example is feminist folk singer, Holly Near, who fell in love with a man after decades as an open lesbian.  Current slang also reflects changing patterns of same-sex and other-sex behavior:  LUG (lesbian until graduation), has-bian and heteroflexibility.

Variation in women’s erotic feelings is, as yet, poorly understood.  According to Diamond, previous studies that concluded that sexual orientation is absolutely fixed examined male experience which may also be culturally specific.  In her book, first person accounts tracking 100 women from adolescence into adulthood offer a different possibility.  Sexual fluidity is succinctly defined in the title of Chapter 6: “Attractions to “The Person, Not the Gender.”  Though no firm conclusions can be reached from a relatively small sample, Diamond raises provocative questions. 

My correspondent on this issue asked for guidance on the dilemma he and his wife face.  Basically, his question is whether lasting reconciliation is possible.  Perhaps you have experience that could be useful.  Please post a comment if you have relevant insights.


October 18th, 2010 by Carol Grever

My world crashed around me. 

The rug was pulled out.      

Trust evaporated. 

I thought my life was over.

    These are familiar messages on this blog, desperate cries for help from straight spouses whose mates have revealed that they are gay.  It seems like the worst possible news, especially when the revelation is abrupt and unexpected.

    To everyone’s surprise, the world does not actually end.  Both partners begin their progression through stages of recovery that are relatively predictable (described elsewhere on this blog).  There’s no instant cure.  Healing takes time, and sooner or later they wonder if their suffering will ever end and if they can ever be happy again.  The answer to both those questions is a resounding YES.

    Healing and happiness are definitely achievable, but they are not automatic.  Just as physical exercise strengthens our muscles and promotes wellness, mental exercises can change the way we see the world.  The event that seemed like a disaster can actually become the gateway to a better life, a second chance at greater joy.  How does this work?

    The process of healing is dependent upon our ability to change the way we look at experience.  It requires a shift of consciousness to let go of the painful past and move on.  Forgiveness is necessary for complete recovery.  Harboring resentment is, as Pema Chodron teaches, like eating rat poison and then expecting the rat to die.  As Wayne Dyer says, “It isn’t the snakebite that kills you, it’s the venom.”  Lingering anger is like a quiet cancer that destroys the person who carries it.

    Forgiveness is the antidote that is brings personal healing and resolution.  It is the final step in the stages of coping for straight spouses, but it is not a one-shot effort.  It is a process that begins with decision and intention and deepens with practice.  Here are some aids to forgiveness.

  • Change your mind by changing your thoughts.  You have control of your thoughts.  John Milton wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”  Make it a practice to focus on positive affirmations. 
  • Relax as it is.  Change what you can; accept what you can’t change; know the difference.
  • Try to put yourself in your gay mate’s place to understand motivations and actions.  This supports compassion for the offending person. 
  • Separate the individual from the act.  You can reject hurtful actions without hating the actor.  This fosters charity.
  • Make a fresh start.  Drop your story line and stop reliving past dramas.  Be here now.
  • Own up to your role in the drama.  If you inflicted wounds, try to make amends.
  • See this phase of your life as a teacher of lessons you needed to learn.  It is a doorway, not a disaster.  Open to the new opportunity it offers. 

    For straight spouses, a second chance at happiness is a genuine possibility.  Many well known people suffered failure and disappointment before trying again and succeeding.  Harry S. Truman was a middle-aged bankrupt haberdasher before he was elected President of the United States.  Steve Jobs was fired as CEO of Apple Corporation before he turned Pixar around and returned to Apple to guide the company’s starburst of i-everything.  Many straight spouses discover unexpected joy after they adjust to their new reality.  The measure of a successful person is not whether they suffer disappointment, but how they handle it. 

    Healing is possible.  Happiness is a choice.  You are in charge of your future and help is at hand.  Take the next step and walk into that future with confidence.





May 24th, 2010 by Carol Grever

    If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may have
noticed some recent improvements to support our goal of connecting straight
spouses.  With the changes, we now have a
more accessible and interactive Web site.

    The new navigation
under the banner has tabs that link readers to book and documentary
descriptions, reviews, author information, a video comment by my book editor, and a
radio interview.  If you want to order a
copy of a book or DVD, it’s as easy as a
couple of mouse clicks on the cover image of any book to order online. 

    The Press Kit tab
accesses a list of topics: a synopsis of the documentary DVD, One Gay, One Straight: Complicated Marriages,
plus reviews, television and radio credits, and other background information
about straight spouse resources. 

    You can subscribe
to the blog’s feed to receive notice of new content.  To sign up, just enter your email address and click Subscribe on the left
sidebar.  If you are looking
for a specific topic, browse the list of
on the left sidebar.  More
recent articles are listed first, with Reader’s Choice topics following.  These
lists contain links that take you directly to the article of interest.

    Live links to Web
appear on the right sidebar. 
You can instantly access organizations in North America and the United Kingdom that inform and serve partners and families of lesbians and gays.  You can find information on sexuality, AIDS,
and divorce recovery. 

    After clicking any of these links, if you navigate away from
this site, you can return here by using your browser’s back button.

    At the bottom of each article on this site, there is a new Share This widget, marked with a green symbol.  Click it to save the post, email it, or share
it with others on various bookmarking and social networking sites.  If you know other straight spouses, please
send this information to them. 

    My vision of Straight Spouse Connection is to provide a safe
site for peer support and ongoing interchange of information relevant to mixed-orientation
families.  People who have experienced
the exceptional ordeal of a gay-straight marriage or intimate partnership carry
the wisdom to encourage others through the challenge.  We are teachers for each other, and I urge
you to visit often, to offer your opinions, and to give and receive greater confidence.

    You’re always welcome here! 
Thanks for coming by.




December 12th, 2009 by Carol Grever

    After a decade of
writing about mixed-orientation marriages, I was in a rut.  My writing niche had absorbed me for a long
time, offering a reliable platform for additional assignments and media opportunities,
but the topic had become too comfortable.  I was a one-note song and the lyrics were
getting boring.

    There was an
up-side though.  Interviewing straight
spouses continued its fascination.  I was
touched by their anguish and willingness to tell their stories in order to help
others recover.  Men and women who told
me their painful truths demonstrated courage and highly individual approaches
toward resolution.  Their experiences
were moving, dramatic, inspirational, tragic or triumphant--the stuff of good
film.  Why not use their stories as
material for a documentary on the straight spouse dilemma?

    How hard could it
be to point a camera, interview people, and edit the segments together?  My research had garnered dozens of subjects
who might be willing to be filmed.  The
characters would simply leap from the page to the big screen. There was only one obstacle:  I knew nothing at all about filmmaking or
conventions of documentaries.

    Armed with a thin
veneer of information from a quick reading of Alan Rosenthal's Writing, Directing and Producing Films and
, I started tapping acquaintances who might guide me.  I met with two experienced filmmakers, neither
of whom wanted to take the project because they were too busy with other work.  They also disheartened me with the startling
fact that the average cost of a documentary is $3,000 per finished minute.  Whoa! My assumption that this would be easy
began to fade.

    I stepped back to
think it over.

    The whole idea had
been shelved for a year when I met Roslyn Dauber, a filmmaker with more than 20
years of experience, both as a producer/director in
Los Angeles and an associate professor
at the
University of Colorado.  Roz was easygoing, supportive, and
non-threatening to a novice.  Having been
a teacher, she took me on as a student and she agreed to co-produce
"my" documentary.  
21, 2007
That was the beginning of my elementary education in the film business and the
genesis of one of the most interesting and demanding projects of my life.

    Roz and I met
every few days that first month and each time she taught me more about the
process, from concept to finished
DVD.  Dozens of decisions and agreements were
required.  Foremost was purpose. What did I want to
accomplish?  That wasn't so hard to
articulate, since the same motivation drove my books:  To create resources for healing the wounds of
heterosexual men and women who unknowingly married homosexual mates.  The primary audience would thus be straight
spouses, with additional possibilities in university classrooms, peer support
groups and therapy situations.

    During those early
weeks, we discussed style, length, content, narration, budget, funding,
timeframe, and our mutual commitment of time.  Decisions were needed on each aspect.  There were also legal considerations.  Binding contracts would be necessary with the
professionals, including the director, film editor, cover designer, and
composer of original music.  We would
need releases from everyone who appeared in the
DVD, allowing us to use their
image and name for educational purposes.  As in writing, accurate citation of sources of
any quoted material is required.

    It was soon
apparent that I was deluded in thinking that this would be simple, or that we
could just run around shooting video tape and patch it all together. There
could be no tedious talking heads staring into the camera.  Interesting visuals had to be planned and
shot.  Family photos would demonstrate
individuals' personal history.  Roz
indicated that re-enactments with professional actors would be useful to depict
dramatic experiences, narrated with voice-overs of the straight spouses
themselves.  It grew more and more
complex  This wasn't just a home movie.  It would be a professional, first class
DVD that we could show with
pride, and it would take months, perhaps a whole year to accomplish.

    Through the
following months of shooting interviews, the direction and movement of the film
slowly evolved.  Its storyline began to
emerge, with dilemmas and rising action, climax and denouement.  We were working with real people, sharing
their true experiences.  Nothing they
said was scripted, so we used selections from their interviews as building
blocks to develop a thread of meaning that served as plot.  With 500 pages of transcripts, it was like
putting together a complex jigsaw puzzle.  Since length was critical, we continually cut
segments to stay within the 35-minute limit.  The result is a lean, evocative montage of
anecdotes and fragments pointing toward hope.

    As a writer turned
filmmaker, I had to see through a different lens.  Every point is conveyed visually, not with narration.  Echoing William Carlos Williams: No ideas but
in scenes and pictures.
 It's the ultimate application of the
writing teacher's admonition to "show, don't tell!"  I rewrote the script a dozen times, each
version leaner than the last.  The final
narration consists of fewer than 15 sentences transitioning through the
32-minute film.  Straight spouses
chronicle their own histories, without comment or interpretation.

    Because the
narrative portions are necessarily condensed, it was essential that they be
read sensitively, with just the right tone and emotion.  A professionally trained voice was needed.  Could we interest a celebrity in the project?  We had a stroke of great luck when Roz asked a
mutual friend to approach actress Ali MacGraw.  The subject interested her; she read the
script and my previous book and watched a sample of the film in progress.  Within a week, we had a contract and a date to
record her voice in a
Santa Fe studio.

    Of course, everything
cost more than I'd hoped, particularly as the months rolled by and deadlines
were extended.  Roz had estimated a
minimum cost of $100,000 for production, but that didn't count marketing and
promotion costs afterward.  At the very
least, we'd need a trailer for promotional purposes and a Web site to sell it
online.  Expenses climbed.

    What did all this
money buy? The major cost of any project is payroll: Compensation for the
director and film editor and several camerapersons.  We needed original music to enhance dramatic
scenes.  There were countless other
necessary expenses:  Various
contractors-technicians who transfer video tapes to DVDs, for
example-administrative expense to transcribe every word of every tape,
specialized equipment, hundreds of video tapes, airfare and hotels and rental
cars for film shoots, and entertainment of interviewees.  There was liability insurance, entry fees for
film festivals, dozens of Fed-X deliveries, postage, additional computer
equipment and photo scanners.

    Near the end of
the project, the final cut of the video required color correction and audio
"sweetening."  A thousand
copies of the finished
DVD were made, with a thousand
specially designed covers.  It all added
up to well over $100,000, and the total would have been even higher, but I
worked for nearly a year on the project with no compensation.

    Eventually we
should recover some of the cost with sales of the
DVD.  But for me, the real payoff will not be in
dollars.  It is the conviction that this
film carries a message of healing and hope and guidance for straight spouses
and their families.  It is the only
documentary of its kind and the need for it is clear. This psychic reward is enough for taking the

 "One Gay, One Straight: Complicated Marriages" DVD now on sale!  Click the cover image at the top of the page for details. 


October 29th, 2009 by Carol Grever

When my husband came out several years ago, I experienced
all the stages of crisis and coping that I’ve written about in my books and
articles.  I know what you’re going
through!  One theme recurs in my attempts
to help straight spouses recover.  It is the
importance of seeking effective guidance from a professional, competent

Talking through your challenges and inevitable pain is
immensely useful in regaining equilibrium and healing emotional wounds after
your spouse comes out.  Mixed-orientation
families get lost in an emotional storm, in danger of capsizing.  A good navigator can help guide you through
these treacherous seas.

Whether you decide to work with a clinical psychologist, licensed
social worker, or pastor, it’s important to choose a person who is
professionally competent, credentialed, and compatible with your personality
and needs.  It also saves time if your
counselor has experience with the problem you face, specifically the challenges
of mixed-orientation families. Choose wisely!

    What should you look for when selecting a therapist?  Gathered from extensive interviews with
people who have experienced counseling, here are nine qualities shared by the
best professionals.  Consider their
advice when engaging a suitable counselor to steer you from crisis to calm.

1.     Flexible.  Rather than applying a single, rigid formula
or pushing “right answers,” the counselor first listens deeply to assess
individual symptoms and needs.  There is
no one-size-fits-all attitude.  Good
therapists offer a whole tool kit of techniques and approaches to create balanced

2.     Unbiased.  Effective therapists do not bring prejudice
into their work.  They feel no intolerance
toward homosexuality and they do not encourage gay-bashing in conversations
with family members.  They maintain an
open, unbiased mind. 

3.     Takes a broad view.  Though
the focus is your straight spouse crisis, a good counselor brings up related practical
issues like your safety, housing, and health care.  Children’s needs are considered in light of your
new reality.  What pressures are evident
from religion, extended family, your social network?  Are there serious underlying personal issues
that need attention, like fear, guilt, shame or anger?  All of this is examined.

4.     Explores other resources.  An
effective therapist calls attention to sources of help already at hand.  How can you use available resources to best
advantage?   Whom can you trust and talk
with in your family, your circle of friends? 
Finding a confidant or keeping a journal as you work through decisions can
be extremely useful as you chart a new course. 
How can you help yourself, be proactive?

5.     Caring and trustworthy.  Effective counselors demonstrate empathy,
patience, and genuine concern for clients. 
Listening carefully and without judgment, they remember what you’ve told
them in previous conversations and put it into context.  They offer you a safe space to say what you
haven’t said or couldn’t say before—and they help you make sense of it all. Trust
grows from this fertile ground.

6.     Qualified and experienced.  Your
best therapist will be professionally educated and experienced with similar
cases, therefore knowledgeable of typical patterns.  Such counselors help clients process each
stage of straight spouse recovery and they know when to back off and when to nudge
clients onward.

7.     Realistic.  It will take time to
achieve complete personal stability and healing.  Don’t expect immediate miracles or a magic
pill to bring instant results.  Look for
a therapist who is judicious in recommending medication that simply dulls
emotional pain.  Be wary of one who
rushes to a pre-conceived solution.  A
hard look at your own role in creating ongoing emotional pain may be part of
the eventual resolution.  You should be
aware that even after successful therapy, it is normal for grief or anger to be
triggered occasionally--even years afterward. 
That is to be expected.

8.    Encourages wellness.  Each
session ends with genuine encouragement and hope.  Good counselors know their clients are
fragile and they bolster them with comforting assurance.  Believing that you’ll survive and thrive has
a positive influence on outcome.  “I’m
going to be okay” is a powerful mantra, crucial to eventual recovery.

9.  Celebrates healing.  Ethical therapists work themselves out of the job, urging clients in positive ways to get past their obstacles and to move on to greater Happiness.  The most trusted and successful counselors celebrate their own success and that of their clients.

    No one has a perfect life; everyone has some burden to
bear.  One of the great gifts of working
with competent counselors is their assurance that you are not alone and that your emotional challenge is not unique.  Just knowing that others have felt the same
way brings comfort.  It is also reassuring
to learn that others have survived the straight spouse crisis and have moved
through it to greater serenity. 

    Whether you choose to work with a professional counselor or
therapist is up to you.  But people who
make that decision discover valuable tools and guidance to nourish and
integrate body, mind, and spirit and to regain contentment. 



May 13th, 2009 by Carol Grever

            “It’s driving me crazy that my
husband won’t own up to the truth that he’s gay!”

certain that my wife is lesbian, but she won’t admit it.” 

Comments like these are common on
this site and reflect the straight spouse’s dilemma when a gay partner remains
in denial of his or her true sexual orientation.  Resulting ambivalence traps everyone in
greater uncertainty.  What is the next
step?  How can they move forward toward
an acceptable resolution?  They are both
truly stuck.  Lacking clear answers, both
partners often retreat back into the closet and face their individual pain in

            The purpose
of this Web log is to provide a safe outlet for these isolated people to voice
their questions and their answers--to communicate anonymously with each other to
share personal experiences.  Visitors
to the site discover that their mixed-orientation marriages are not unique.  It helps to know they are not alone.  While each family’s situation is slightly
different, there are common experiences that can be shared and we learn from
each other.

            Despite its
effectiveness, there are limitations to this kind of virtual friendship.  It isn’t as personal or spontaneous as genuine
face-to-face conversation.  That’s why
finding a trusted confidant or counselor is so important, and why the peer
support groups of the Straight Spouse Network work so well. 
SSN groups
meet regularly to listen and support each other through their various stages of
recovery.  If there is an SSN

chapter in your area, look into it!  You
can find additional information and resources on the SSN

Web site:

            The pioneer
of the Straight Spouse Network, Amity Pierce Buxton, is now semi-retired from
the organization she founded in 1986, but she still writes as an advocate for
this cause.  She recently published an
Op-Ed piece commenting on Outrage, a
documentary condemning the hypocrisy of gay politicians who hide their sexual identity
while vigorously supporting anti-gay measures. 
(Amity’s article was reproduced online by The Avocate at .  The direct link is
.)  Her main point is that the
destructive traps created by gay-straight marriages would disappear if
homosexual people were accepted by society. 
If there were no need to hide one’s sexual orientation, secrecy would be
unnecessary and the dark closets occupied by mixed-orientation couples would

            Until that
broad social acceptance becomes a reality, I will offer resources for men and
women still trapped in the closet, those suffering the pain of separation from a gay
mate, and those recovering from the complex effects of their straight spouse
experience.  As long as it’s clear
there’s a felt need, this blog will remain online.  For further related information, books, and
videos, also visit my Web site at  .

Welcome to this safe place to share
your story. 


September 22nd, 2008 by Carol Grever

    In a radio interview this morning with Kathryn Zox, the Washington DC "social worker with a microphone," a familiar question arose again.  "Do any of these mixed-orientation marriages survive?" 

    Surprisingly, approximately 15% of these couples do stay together for a variety of reasons--social, religious, economic, family pressure.  When my husband came out to me, we idealistically tried at first to
salvage our relationship with an alternative "open marriage"
agreement.  When I finally asked myself, "What's in this for me?" we joined the 85% majority and I filed for divorce.   

    My Husband Is Gay opens with my personal story, but it draws its deeper wisdom from the collective experience of many other women I interviewed.  Their histories illustrate identifiable steps toward resolution that are detailed through the core of the book and here in an earlier blog post.

    After exploring all those stages leading to understanding and eventual healing, the book's final chapters pull together some profound life lessons, earned and learned through wrenching experience in a gay-straight marriage.  Those people who achieved wholeness demonstrataed several common traits or practices that could be useful to men and women in any divorce situation.  Here is a brief summary of their insights.

1.  Say what you need, clearly and without apology.  Even if your partner can't meet those needs, thinking them through and stating them aloud is an important step for your own progress. 

2.  Live in the present.  All the resources we need to live fully are already within us, if we can wake up to our own natural intelligence and simply "be here now."  The past and the future are only a thought.  Only the present moment is real.

3.  Recognize that closure is important.  This doesn't mean that memory is erased.  Rather, it implies a sense of completion, like closing one chapter and beginning a new one.  We have two choices: Either keep replaying the storyline of loss, slipping deeper into bitterness, or start all over and recreate a new life.  Let go of old baggage and find new activities and friends.  Make conscious changes in many small ways that add up to deep renewal.  A quote from A Course In Miracles was my mantra: "All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing."

4.  See yourself as complete.  One woman I interviewed summarized this perfectly.  "I carry my happiness with me," she said.  "I'm not looking for anyone to make me whole or full or complete.  I'm working on doing that myself . . . .  I don't see that I'm less than whole by not being part of a couple; I think being part of a couple is just a bonus."

5.  Determine not to be a victim.  Those who emerged intact showed not a trace of self-pity in their conversations with me.  They have let go of bitterness and see their experience as a teacher, searching for the good that can grow out of pain.  One woman said, "I've become again the person I was before I got married--and it feels good.  I have transitioned to another place.  Things are different and I want to enjoy the difference."

6.  Forgive, in order to heal yourself.  Protracted anger is suicidal.  Release your rage and be free.

    These are some of the major lessons I discovered through meeting so many strong men and women while writing two books.  As I discovered these themes and threaded them through my writing, I became utterly convinced that our greatest power is to create change in our own lives.  Ralph Waldo Emerson summarized it:  "The measure of mental health is the disposition to find good everywhere."  I know deeply that it is possible to endure a painful divorce and emerge whole.  I have no regrets.