My Husband Is Having An Affair... With A Man!

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What to do when your spouse comes out to you as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.<!--break-->

What to do when your spouse comes out to you as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The woman sitting across from me in my office was obviously upset. Her eyes were red-rimmed from crying as she carefully dabbed at her tears to avoid streaking her eye make-up. She was an attractive woman, neatly dressed, in her late 30's and couldn't stop crying even before we began to speak.

The woman sitting across from me in my office was obviously upset. Her eyes were red-rimmed from crying as she carefully dabbed at her tears to avoid streaking her eye make-up. She was an attractive woman, neatly dressed, in her late 30's and couldn't stop crying even before we began to speak.

"I see how upset you are, " I said to her quietly and calmly. "There's no rush to speak. Whenever you're ready, I'm here to listen." Within a minute or so, she began to tell me that she'd recently discovered that her husband was having an affair... with a man.

This is more common than people think and it is shocking when it happens to you. It can feel like your world has turned upside down.

"I don't know what to do!" she continued. "Should I leave him? Demand that he leave? Should we stay together and try to work it out? And, if we do that, what does that mean?! And what about our children?  I don't even mean for the future but I'm a mess right now and although I'm trying my best to be there for them, there are times when I'm doing all I can not to break down in front of them." She began to sob.

Again, quietly and calmly, I said to her, "You're understandably disraught, confused and full of questions. When you're ready, I can help you sift through it all so you can prioritize; to figure out where your attention needs to be first sort of like triage in an emergency room. It's like you've been in an emotional accident and you've got to attend to the most pressing issues first and once they're taken care of, you can focus on the next layer and then the next. Does that make sense to you?"

She nodded. I waited. Her breathing slowed, her tears stopped. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "Taking care of my children is the most important thing right now."

I leaned forward, smiled and said, "So, tell me about your kids." As she did, her body relaxed a bit, a little twinkle appearing in her eye and a slight smile coming to her face. She talked about wanting to be strong for her children and we explored what that meant to her. She wanted to maintain as normal a life for her children as she could.

"Taking care of your children is so important to you," I said to her. "I wonder if you've thought about taking care of yourself, too?"

"No, not really" was her quiet response.

I continued, "If you're not taking care of yourself, do you think that might have an impact on your kids?" She nodded. "What do you think you can do to take care of yourself?"

She came up with a few things, to start, such as confiding in her sister, who she trusts, so that she wouldn't feel so alone with this secret, and making sure she continued to eat well and exercise to keep her body and mind as healthy as possible and maybe, too, it would help her sleep better.

This is simply the beginning of what needs to be explored in such a situation. There are many other questions and concerns that come up such as:

Should I remain sexual with my spouse? Is it safe to? Do I want to?
Should I tell anyone about it? Should I tell our children? If so, what should I say?
I feel like a fool for not figuring this out sooner and have lost trust in my judgement.
What are people going to think?
Did I make my spouse gay because of how I treated him or her? Can I change him or her back to being straight?
I love my spouse and want him or her to be happy.
I feel such hatred for my spouse, I'm so angry at him or her for doing this and being this way.

I told her about an organization called Straight Spouse Network which many of my clients have found to be an important resource for finding answers to questions and finding others who are in a similar situation which is often referred to as a mixed-orientation marriage

By the end of our session, although she was still worried about the future, she felt calmer and more prepared for facing the next step than she did when we began. We met almost weekly for over a year then continued to meet on a less frequent basis for several years after that until she felt able to cope with her life as it then was and felt that the support she got outside of our sessions was enough for her.

Liz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Sex Therapist. She provides individual and relationship counseling in 3 locations in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area as well as via telephone and Skype. She specializes in, although is not limited to, working with people with unconventional issues or lifestyles. For more information, see her website.

 

 

 


 

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

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