February 2nd, 2014 by Carol Grever


New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, Idaho Senator Larry Craig, evangelist Ted Haggard, and countless other famous men have made national news by disclosing their secret homosexuality.  Though these disclosures made national news, uncounted thousands of husbands and wives have also come out to their families in the privacy of their own homes. 

One common denominator behind the news stories and behind the closed doors is an unsuspecting mate blindsided by the truth.  These “straight spouses”--heterosexual people who unknowingly have partners who are gay—number in the millions, world-wide.  If you are reading this post, you probably have lived this drama yourself.

What happens to a straight spouse in the aftermath of such a disclosure?  Hundreds of anecdotal reports have reiterated a pattern of recovery that may seem quite familiar to both male and female readers of this blog.  Their journey proves the resiliency of the human spirit and demonstrates that healing and hope are possible.  Individual histories vary, of course, but there are predictable stages that most straight spouses experience.  For one just beginning this passage, it is worthwhile to summarize again the steps toward recovery that may be expected.   

Shock is the first reaction, if the gay spouse has successfully hidden his true sexual orientation.  As hard as it is for outsiders to understand, most straight spouses are genuinely surprised by their mate’s disclosure.  After the first jolt of realization, there may be an odd sense of relief.  This is the “Ah, then it wasn’t me!” reaction.  In a mixed-orientation relationship, the straight partner often feels responsible for the couple’s distance or lack of intimacy, that he or she isn’t attractive enough or sexy enough or smart enough. Just knowing that they have not caused the rift gives brief comfort.  

Relief is quickly followed by intense confusion.  Everything that seemed clear is suddenly in question.  For some, the easiest course is denial, hiding from painful reality. “Maybe there’s some mistake.”  “Maybe this is a passing phase.”   “Maybe therapy will change her sexual orientation.  Denial is a fruitless defense and is doomed to disappointment. 

Some straight partners continue to feel responsible for the dilemma and persist in self-blame.  “Was this my fault?”  or “How could I be so blind and stupid!”  This is a misguided response since sexual orientation is inborn and no one “causes” it.  Nor can we deny it or change it.  Moreover, if the gay spouse has successfully concealed the fundamental truth, sometimes for decades, he or she has become adept at hiding and lying.  This is not the mate’s fault! 

People who tend to blame themselves for this disrupting revelation also tend to feel deep sympathy for their partner.  They see that hiding one’s true sexual identity is exhausting and debilitating, and they feel genuine pity for their spouse.    

Regardless of their empathy, knowing the truth generates deep grief.  Learning that one’s spouse is not what he seemed topples everything familiar. All we thought we knew is in doubt and the loss is like a death.  In fact, a spouse’s coming out destroys the security of the present and casts the future into doubt.  Nothing will unfold as planned and expected.  Fear and uncertainty eventually ignite anger, directed sometimes at the mate and more often at the whole confusing mess in their relationship. 

Behind anger is hurt, and beyond the anger is despair, alternating with deepened rage.  This stage is the most dangerous, for these destructive emotions may turn against oneself.  If rage and despair are prolonged, they may precipitate complete self-destruction through addictions, violence toward others, or even suicide.  Professional help is essential in these cases.

While the discovery of one’s mixed-orientation relationship is inevitably painful, most straight spouses experience a turning point at which they begin to accept their new reality.  Seeing clearly and accepting the fact of your loved one’s sexual orientation is crucial.  Accepting what cannot be changed allows movement toward a positive resolution.  Patience is needed because it always takes time to reach acceptance—months for the lucky few, years for most.  Recognition of reality is the first step.  Difficult decisions then follow—whether to make accommodations and stay together, or to separate.  Either decision requires incredible courage and a re-imagining of the future.  Both partners must reconfigure their future, together or apart, hopeful that they can both find comfort and happiness.

For both partners in these relationships, disruption is inevitable and disaster a real possibility.  For many, however, the disclosure episode is a gateway to freedom from doubt and deception.  This major turning point can be the beginning of something much more satisfying, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recreate one's identity and future.  The most successful people replace resentment with forgiveness, restore trust and hope, and find meaning beyond themselves.  They use the lessons learned to move past their hurt.

This pattern was reiterated dozens of times in the interviews I conducted for my books and documentary.  It is also an outline of my own recovery after my husband came out.  These stages are relatively predictable.  The best news is that it is possible to navigate these stages and arrive safely on the other side of this life event--healed and wiser for the experience.  Knowing what to expect along the way can be immensely helpful.

When a celebrity comes out of the closet, the news saturates the media.  As the headlines fade, the human aftermath is seldom reported and outcomes are a mystery.  How did Jim McGreevey and his former wife end their episode after his announcement faded from the news?  What about the other formerly closeted celebrities?  It’s highly probable that, like the rest of us, their families are slogging through their own version of these same stages of recovery. Best wishes for ultimate happiness for us all!  


October 25th, 2013 by Carol Grever

 A recent email from a male straight spouse was
critical of my approach to straight spouse recovery, calling it “one-sided” and
unnecessary.  He suggested that I let my
blog go and “get over it.”  It was a
suggestion worth considering.  It also challenged
me to evaluate this site that I launched in 2008 with a post titled “Why I

My stated purpose in that first
post was “to explore topics relevant to mixed orientation families and
particularly to other straight spouses.” 
For five years I have tried to stay true to that purpose.  But is this work no longer needed?  I pondered that for several days and honestly
thought about shutting the blog down.

Then I received another email that encouraged continuation of my work. Here is the text of that second message:

was five years ago that I contacted you after reading your books.  My husband of 40+ years told me he is gay and
had left me.  You encouraged me that,
yes, I could get through that terrible time. 
I had hoped because of our long history we could continue a semblance of
a relationship, but it was not to be. 

may not remember our conversation, but I do, distinctly.  You said that time would heal many of the
wounds that had been inflicted--and you were correct.  There were many sleepless nights, days filled
with tears, and friendships strained by my grief.  It was like someone died.  He was the love of my life and I couldn't
imagine or take it in that he was "dumping" me. 

5 years have gone by--hard for me to think about it.  And I was recently married to a man who also
lives in my home town.  We met 3 years
ago and despite all odds, we have found happiness together.  His wife died of cancer about 5 years
ago.  So we both came to the relationship
with some "baggage" that we have had to deal with.  Friends and family are happy for us and we
are happy for ourselves! 

just wanted to update you on my situation and THANK YOU for your wonderful
advice and for writing the books!  My mom
always said that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and I'd
have to say she was right.  There were
times that I was at the brink of desperation, but now I have come out of the
darkness and am a stronger person. 

Colorado, USA

Still another message sealed my decision to keep
offering my “one-sided” conviction that people can overcome the sadness of a
spouse coming out and, with time and patience, can reconfigure a rewarding new
life.  Helen, a recovered straight
spouse, wrote

When I
was a counselor at an Episcopal summer camp, the bishop came to speak to the
campers about their direction in life.  He brought the term
"calling" or "vocation" into my awareness in a way
that I had never before considered.  He explained that we can find
our true "vocation" if we look for the point at which our
greatest talent and the world's greatest need intersect. 

I’m a writer and since I have first-hand knowledge of the journey of a straight
spouse, and since there is obvious ongoing need for information about meeting this challenge—I suppose that I am actually engaged in my true vocation by
Helen’s definition.  On my desk, a small
plaque helps me focus: 

Let your work be in keeping with
your purpose. -
–Leonardo da Vinci

After taking into account all the feedback I've received recently, it
is my intention to continue my work as long as there is clear need.  It is my fervent hope that changing attitudes
about gay marriage will reverse the tide of mixed-orientation marriages and
there will no longer be any need for this calling,
but I’ll continue as long as I am contacted for help by men and women who
discover that they are straight spouses. 

respectfully request your comments, negative or positive, on the value of this
blog.  Thank you!




September 15th, 2013 by Carol Grever

At this very moment, a gay spouse is coming out.  At this very moment a husband or wife is suddenly a “straight spouse.”  In this moment someone is feeling the shock of discovery or raging over deception.  Someone is grieving the loss of the tomorrows they had planned.  Another is afraid, looking into an uncertain future.  These are the realities of those who unknowingly entered a mixed-orientation intimate relationship. 

At this moment another straight spouse is waking up to a new day, feeling optimistic, confident and comfortable, surprised by renewed hope.  Though it takes time to realize this positive outcome, recovery is a realistic goal.

A phone call yesterday reminded me that the straight spouse journey is an ongoing process.  We don’t just “get over it” all at once.  The middle-aged caller had separated from her husband, but their ties were still strong with daily contact and joint parenting.  Not ready to make a complete break, she worried about her recurring grief and fear of the future.  We talked about the necessity to take one step at a time, realizing that there is no single solution and no quick fix. Though she is in limbo today, inevitably there will be a turning point when a new path will be clear for her.  In the meantime, she is working through the recognizable straight spouse stages of coping that millions of others have experienced.  (See “Stages of Recovery” on this blog.)  It’s encouraging to know that others have felt the same agony and have come through it whole. 

Clearly, patterns of pain do recur.  Discovering that our assumptions about reality were wrong is shocking and agonizing.  It is a life-changing event. How we face and cope with that new information is the key factor in eventual recovery. Here are some suggestions.

Feel your feelings.  Expect waves of deep emotions to come and go.  Hurt, anger, disappointment, resentment, fear panic, even hatred.  Betrayal engenders these human responses.  Recognize that they are normal reactions, feel them fully as they come, then let them go.  Dwelling on the negative will prolong your pain.

Know that feelings are transient.  In My Stroke of Insight, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor maintains that the physiological mechanism behind an emotion like anger is an automatic response that lasts just 90 seconds from the moment it is triggered until it runs its course.  The fire lasts just a minute and a half—unless it is fueled further with one’s thoughts.  If we feed an emotional fire with a negative storyline, it burns much, much longer, sometimes for years! 

Be your own observer; notice nuances.  As deep feelings threaten to overwhelm, engage your internal observer and take a mental step back to examine what is happening in your mind.  Sharpen your awareness of your own process. Notice how the strong emotions peak, then dissipate.  Practice staying with the force of the emotion, feel its power, experience it directly, then let it dissolve naturally.  Emotional pain is conceptual.  It comes not from the sensation itself, but from how we view it.  It is our interpretation of it that can inflict ongoing injury.

Key:  Drop the storyline.  Resist the frequent temptation to feed emotional fire with the fuel of your old responses—blame, resentment, hatred, disappointment, hurt.  Stay present with the recurring bare emotion without the usual reactivity and see how much faster your discomfort goes away.  Replace the old resentful stories with a new mantra of your own device to undergird your effort.  My own encouraging mantra is “I have everything I need to live the life I choose.”  Repeating such a courageous phrase is very useful to train the mind to respond to threats with nonaggression.  It just takes practice.

 “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”   This familiar Buddhist adage asserts that suffering is minimized by recognition and acceptance of what we cannot change.  From the foundation of clearly seeing and accepting reality as it is, forgiveness is eventually possible and personal healing can occur.  Being a straight spouse is not a lifetime sentence of unhappiness.  Take charge of your own future and make it a good one.  You have the power to do it! 


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 22nd, 2013 by Carol Grever


    “Reparative Therapy,” the attempt to change a
person’s innate sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual, has made
the news again, though this time in a more positive way.  Exodus International, a Christian organization
that urged people to repress same-sex attraction, has shut down its ministry
after 37 years.  Its leader, Alan
Chambers, apologized to the gay community, admitting that “We’ve hurt people.” 

    In an interview with the Associated Press,
Chambers said “The church has waged the culture war, and it’s time to put the
weapons down.”  Exodus International previously
claimed that gays’ sexual orientation could be permanently changed or “cured,”
despite the opposition of professional psychologists and psychiatrists who
concluded long ago that efforts to convert sexual orientation are unsuccessful
and do great psychological harm. In closing his organization, Chambers expressed
regret for inflicting “years of undue suffering.”  He plans to launch a new initiative to
promote dialogue among those on opposite sides of this issue.

    Repressive methods to change innate sexual
orientation are doomed to failure and may inflict irreparable harm.  The fact that Alan Chambers is now publicly
acknowledging these facts is extremely encouraging.

    Two earlier posts on Straight Spouse Connection examined the topic of reparative therapy
with additional background and case studies. To review that information, click Archives on the tool bar, August, 2009: Reparative Therapy Debunked—Again, August 19, 2009, and Emotional Damage of Reparative Therapy: One
Man’s Story
, August 28, 2009.

    Why is the news about Exodus International
important to straight spouses?  It is yet
another indication that public awareness and attitudes are slowly changing regarding
the realities of sexual orientation. 
When society accepts all of its members, gay or straight or variations
in between, individuals can live openly and honestly. If that day ever comes,
there will be no closet of shame, no ill-fated mixed-orientation marriages
based on secrecy, no more suffering of “straight spouses.”  If that day ever comes, this blogger can




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."



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. 


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,



November 10th, 2012 by Carol Grever

    Support for legally recognized same-sex marriage
in the U.S. got a big boost in the November 6th national election. Voters
in Maine, Maryland, and Washington exercised citizen power to legalize gay
marriage in their states. With these three, there are now nine states with
marriage equality, including Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Vermont, and New York, plus the District of Columbia. Passage of these ballot
referenda shows strengthening grass-roots support for legalized gay marriage,
in contrast to the past 20 years. Previously, 32 states put gay marriage to a vote and it was defeated
every single time.

    Minnesota showed another sign of positive change
in this election. It is the first state in which voters rejected a
constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, though such unions are still
illegal there. Previously, 30 other states have gone the other way and have constitutionalized
bans—a more challenging obstacle to equality. 

    As pointed out in my previous post, the shift of
public opinion demonstrated in this election is just one more baby-step toward
greater recognition and social acceptance of same-sex marriage and sexual
diversity generally.  Furthermore,
gay-bashing in political ads proved to be a failure. The momentum toward
tolerance shown in election results implies increasing acceptance of diverse
sexual identities.  U.S News and World
online (Nov. 8, 2012) asserted that “Half of Americans believe their states
should recognize marriages of same-sex couples.”  The weight of public opinion may even encourage
the Supreme Court to examine and rule on the constitutionality of the U.S.
federal ban on gay marriage, DOMA—the Defense of Marriage Act. 

    While social change is excruciatingly slow, it is
encouraging that more people can now openly, legally marry the person they
love, whether opposite sex or same sex.  As
straight spouses, why should we care?  Just
this: These changing attitudes suggest that in the future there may be fewer married
heterosexuals blindsided by the discovery that their spouses are secretly gay.

    Though trends in this election may not directly help those straight spouses struggling through their crises today, the next generation
should see fewer doomed mixed-orientation marriages based on deception and
lies. May it be so!