In my last article I shared how staying in the closet saved my children’s lives, and helped them grow up to be open-minded, strong young ladies. However, there’s a third person in this equation that I want to now address – my ex-wife. The person who also lost life as she knew it, began second guessing herself, and ironically ended up finding out who she really was from this experience.
By no means am I sharing this part of the story to try to absolve myself, nor to convince anyone what I did by "coming out" late in life was the right thing to do. In fact, I came out at 19 and due to loving parents who were convinced I couldn’t be gay. I went back in the closet. I went to therapy, and resolved that yes; maybe this was a passing phase. In reality it did seem that way. So I started to date women and when I met my wife, I knew we were soul mates mentally and emotionally, just not physically. However, I did make the choice to try to move forward for all the wrong reasons – to save face with family, live within societal pressures, and because I was convinced getting married would change everything. Wrong again.
Fast forward to 13 years into the marriage, I’ve come out to my wife, and from my perspective, and from things she has since shared with me, here’s what she went through, and what most spouses go through when a spouse comes out of the closet.
Typical Emotional States and Thoughts After A Spouse “Comes Out”
- Betrayed – You’ve been lied to and made a mockery of. Everything you’ve been living has been a lie. The energy around this emotion is similar to finding out your spouse has been having an affair. The common question you will ask is “Why and what led you to do this?”
- Anger – Similar to betrayal, this emotion has lots of tentacles that reach deep. It will manifest from different states of thought. Angry over lies and cheating. It could stem from the fear of what next, or what will others think. More often than not it will stem from a pure out right feeling of “You screwed me and I’ll show you!” As with any emotion that stems from getting even, it often doesn’t lead to anything positive for the long term. It feels right for the band-aid approach, however, in the long run, it may not provide the desired results you initially anticipate.
- I caused this! – Not an uncommon thought, but so far from the truth. Most, not all, spouses in some way feel responsible for their spouse “coming out.” “I’m not good enough,” or “I wasn’t sexual enough,” or “I’m not man/woman enough for them.” Not true by any stretch of the imagination. In reality, you were something for them to want to move forward and be in a relationship with you, and not just experiment. For my, my ex-wife, as already stated was a mental and emotional soul mate. For your spouse it could be any number of things. To rid yourself of these feelings of “I caused this,” take the first big step and know that in no way, shape or form, did you cause them to be gay/lesbian. What needs to be closer examined is what else has been going on in the relationship, or in their lives that may have caused them to finally come to terms with their reality. That’s where the truth lies, not in something you did.
- What if I have an STD? – This is a logical and necessary question, regardless of whether your spouse just came out of the closet, or just told you they’re having an affair. Sex can be magnificent as well as messy. Regardless of how safe your spouse may have said they have played if they have been having sex outside the relationship, go get tested. Not knowing is more dangerous than knowing. There are numerous discrete testing facilities where both of you should get tested. This is not a one-partner scenario. Demand that you both get tested, and ff your spouse who just came out refuses, then it could be there is more to the story than initially shared.
- Will I survive this? – You can and you will, provided that is what you set your mind to. In fact, in most cases of infidelity, lack of honesty in a relationship, or deceit, thriving rather than surviving is what can make all the difference in the world. Choosing to move past the relationship, as you knew it is a choice. Not easy at first, and it may take some time. However, you too can choose to move past and through, or to sit and mire in the victim and conflict energy of a relationship lost.
These are just a few thoughts I know that showed up as my ex-wife and I journeyed through the demise of our relationship. Again, these are just a few of the thoughts that she shared with me. However, I am pleased to say, that we both chose to make our separation, divorce, and my “coming out,” first and foremost about keeping our children the center of attention to ensure they were taken care of. Additionally, we worked on striving to thrive and not just survive.
Today, we live the modern family life. We do vacations together, celebrate birthdays and holidays as a family, and respect each other in our mutual paths of life. What more could you ask for than for anyone to have the ability to live as they are intended to live.
If you are struggling with a spouse coming out of the closet, you’re invited to download “My Spouse Just Came Out...Now What!” Also as a Your Tango reader, take advantage of the FREE initial consultation and $99 Your Tango rate for future coaching sessions. Visit www.thecomingoutcoach.com.
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