A Reader Writes…
I have been married for 15 years and have 2 children. 7 years ago I found out that my husband was having affairs with men.
We tried counselling but the counsellor did not know how to help us. My husband says he is not gay but I think he is.
I think about this everyday of my life for the past 7 years. I am finally ready to separate from him but am very scared for my kids.
He is a wonderful father and we have a good life except for the marriage part, we are best friends.
I have a few friends that know about the history and they say that I am crazy for staying married to him. I am only married to him for the kids.
We have not had sex in years and do not sleep in the same room. Please offer some advice for me.
Your husband has affairs with men but isn’t gay? Does he just help out when they’re busy and need an extra pair of hands? OK, so enough of the old jokes. I’m sorry to laugh but the only alternative is to cry and I bet you’ve done enough of this already.
I would like to think that we live in a tolerant enough society that young men who think they are gay are allowed to experiment and find if that’s their true path. Unfortunately, our culture is still full of poison—debates about gay marriage are full of hatred and some churches promise eternal damnation. No wonder lots of potentially gay men find a nice girl, have a family and pretend to live happily every after.
But this is what makes me want to scream WHAT ABOUT THEIR POOR WIVES? What you must have gone thorough for the past seven years, I don’t think anybody else can really understand. And it probably has been pulling you down for even longer, wondering what’s wrong with me, why doesn’t he want to touch me?
I wish that we could have been having this conversation seven years ago. I would have explained that your husband is so full of self-hatred—through all those negative images from the pulpit and the press—that he can’t love himself let alone other man. Gay is as much a lifestyle (with loving another man at the centre) as a sexuality.
Your husband would be categorised as a ‘man who has sex with other men’ (and in his case not his wife). Effectively, you had two choices at that point. You could have decided to separate or that you loved each other enough to stay together (but that he would have occasional discreet liaisons on the side—within agreed limits—and put you and the children first).
Unfortunately, these issues were fudged at the time and we’re seven years down the line. My suspicion is that the second option is no longer viable and why should it be? You need love, affection and to feel special. I doubt your husband can do that or perhaps he’s trying but you are full of bitterness yourself.
So please feel free to shout: IT’S NOT FAIR. Life has dealt you a horrible set of cards. However, if you hold this pain too close, it will destroy you and your family.
So my advice would be to start to mourn, for the marriage you wanted, thought you had, and the nice guy you married. My book Heal and Move On will help explain the grieving process. There is also a short section in How Can I Ever Trust You Again? for women who find their husband is cheating with other men.
I would also look at the websites on the internet to help women like you—rather than talking to friends because how can they understand? Finally, I would have a bit of counselling to help you move forward.
It might seem bleak but you have made a difficult decision and it is start of your recovery. Don’t rush into leaving, because handled carefully over a few months and lots of talking, I would hope that you and your husband can learn to co-operate as co-parents.
Finally, I would like you to be kind to yourself. My guess is that you’re beating up yourself for making such a bad choice of husband but I think you probably made a great choice of father for your children.
Leigh-ann Baker says
I find your comments interesting and helpful to some degree.
After 45years of marriage I discovered that my husband was having sex with men. Of course he is not gay!!!! What delusional planet is he living on? I got him to admit to 20 years of lying to me, his children and his family. I suspect it is much longer than this. I called an end to our marriage there and then it was over after 45 years. It was about being lied to and deceived by someone I trusted. There was also the fact that I thought more of myself than to stay in a marriage that was obviously not what it seemed. He believed we could stay together and be a family, looking after our grandchildren, going on holidays and as I saw it covering up his lies and his inability to say who he was and admit to being gay. Oh, sorry, I forgot, he’s not gay.
It has been my belief in myself that has seen me through the toughest part of this deception. I live on my own, in my own home, seeing family and friends and I answer to no one, except myself. For the first time in years I am happy. Very happy.
To anyone else who finds themselves in this situation I say “You are worthy of great things, trust in your own self and believe that this will make you a stronger and better person to go forward in life . Take care of yourself, you deserve all that is good”.
How did you find out? Did you catch him? I think my husband might be also I am at my wits end!!
I know my husband is!!
Found out by accident from his cell phone – he forgot to delete old messages. I wasn’t snooping, had no clue, was trying to find out how to cancel his Spotify. Then saw a different email address and googled it – 37 years of marriage – oh what to do!?!
Andrew G. Marshall says
First of all, what a horrible shock. It is really hard to talk about, so well done for reaching out to me. Secondly, it is much more to do with your husband than you. It is about his sexuality and not that you haven’t been enough for him in some way. (Although, it will feel really personal.) If that is hard to process, please reach out to a therapist and give yourself time to process everything before you talk to your husband. If you are calm. It will help him to be calm. He will be more honest and you will know more about where you stand (rather than him trying to cover up, appease or go on the attack). If it is hard to talk to each other, you can might consider going to a couple therapist. I know this is painful but it will probably be better to have it out in the open.
Hi I’m going through something similar now it is so hard for me and my kids not sure how I will coupe Bee
Andrew G. Marshall says
You need to find someone you can unload all your pain, who will listen without judging and then help you think what next. Remember, being gay is not a barrier to being a good parent. Keep talking and you will find a way through.
I have recently found out that my Husband (of 23 years) was leading a secret life – secret phone and most contacts were Men. He was meeting multiple Men for sex and using drugs. I was shocked and horrified and frozen in fear. I confronted him with all that I have found. He won’t discuss much and says it was just experimentation. He said he can stop and that he loves me and our three children and we are all that matters to him. I am struggling with all of my feelings and feel like I will never be ok again. I have always been in love with him and treat him very well and our sex life is very passionate and we have sex almost daily. What did I do wrong, and how can I move forward. I feel lonely, sad, angry, suspicious, guilty, tired, scared, and anxious. Is he gay? Does he hate his life? Is he bored with me? Could it have just been curiosity and experimenting? Is he always going to compare me to them?
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like your husband is in shock too. He kept the two parts of his life separate and the walls have come crashing down. Hopefully, he will begin to have a more honest assessment than ‘it was experimentation’ and he will stop minimising and the two of you can have a long hard look at the future. It sounds like the two of you will need help with this discussion and I would recommend seeing a marital therapist. On one hand he is minimising – ‘I can stop’. On the other, you are taking all the responsibility for what happened. So let’s get this sorted for once and for all. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. This is about him. As for your questions…. Is he gay? He sounds bi sexual to me. Does he hate his life? No. He has problems. What exactly they are I don’t know. A therapist could help the two of you assess whether he has a sex addiction. (It’s the drugs that make me ask this question and the sheer amount of sex he seems to be having). Is he bored with you? No. He has a problem. Could it have been experimenting and curiosity? No this is minimising. As for comparing…. women compare themselves with other women and rank themselves by who is the most attractive. This is not something that men do, he won’t even understand this question. So I send a virtual hug, this is really tough. Get professional help and if he won’t go, go on your own.
My husband not only has sex with men, but he “prostitutes” himself for drugs as well. Somehow he finds nothing wrong with this scenario and doesn’t realize how much this devastates me. Recently we got in an argument, and I decided I had enough of this abuse and called the police. They arrested him for potential violence and he’s telling everyone we know that he did nothing wrong and I lied to the police. I don’t want to embarrass him and tell the truth. I’m in a bad spot.
Andrew G. Marshall says
The truth will set you free. Lies just bind you to someone who just causes you more harm.
Janet Kincaid says
No children together thank god
But the lies are the worst!
The fact that they are having unprotected sex with other men then come home to us is by far the worst!
They act like life is normal when the walk in the door at the end of the day! I have a special app on my phone that gives me a fake phone number, so I’ve talked to these men he has slept with, pretending to be another man of course, and through some cautious interrogation, I have found out these men are married and their wives either know they are Bi, but don’t know their husbands cheat, or wives have no clue at all! It floors me that so many women are good wives to these men and this is how they are paid in return! Something needs to be done to stop this My husband uses our home to “host” when I’m not home, so now I never leave him alone at home
Kristy Browne says
Your story sounds almost exactly the same as mine. I found another phone that my husband was using to hook up with men. He’s over 70. We’ve been together for less than 10yrs & have no children together. He says he has been having sex with men for just over three years, but I have my doubts. He’s promised not to do it again. We’re attending counselling together & are doing OK…for now. I work full time & he is retired so he has a lot of free time. I have spoken to people he knows, including family, and they were all shocked to hear it. I’m hoping he won’t be tempted again, but I have my doubts. It’s awful when you’re forever wondering whether they will relapse.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I have my doubts about promises he will not do it again. Have you talked about this in your couple counselling? Can he be honest there? It sounds like he has a lot of shame and until he can face that, he on’t know what he wants and keep telling you what you want to hear (rather than be honest with you and himself).
Iv been with my husband for 17yrs been married 11yrs we have 5 kids together and I first seen a pic of him dressed as a full CD about 1.5-2yrs after our first son was born who’s now 14yo. He told me it was a joke Halloween bla bla then I find him sneaking out with men reading post him prostituting himself in craigslist, Doublelist, and found his Grindr account. I found bags of clothes and my lingerie he has wigs makeup shoes nails dildos lube bla bla … hell even seen him in sexual photos with other men as him as a CD in post stating how he is a discrete sissy who like to be treated like a female behind closed doors. Iv even read about him have sex and giving recieving oral sex with multiple men …. iv confronted him numerous times he will NEVER EVER admit to ANY TYPE of sexual encounter even though I have proof , he once said it was a faze…. bullshit… he tells me hes straight he isnt gay, that if it feels right it cant be wrong hes so contradicting….. what the hell is he? Bi? Gay? Neither? Wants to be a female? In his hook up grindr post he says hes a vers, bottom bc he wants and prefers to be treated as female…. I’m disgusted mortified and feel less then human. I can not will not and do not see him the same. How do I get him to admit the truth not only to me but to him self? I feel as thought I’m a smoke screen bc hes ashamed of who he really is.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a horrible shock to discover all this about your husband. But I don’t understand why you feel less than human. Your husband’s choices are about him not you! My next question is why do you need him to admit the truth to you. As you say, you have all the evidence you need to make up your mind about what to do next. It sounds you like you want to end your marriage. Why do you want him to admit the truth to himself? What difference would it make to him? And more importantly…. how would it help your children? It really sounds like you need someone to talk this all over with and when you’ve had a chance to vent your anger, to think about how to move forward without unnecessarily hurting your children (who I imagine are young).
My husband cheated on me for several years and last year we found out he’s HIV positive. That’s when I found out he was cheating and having gay affairs (or hookups, I don’t really want to know the details.) I’m not really sure when he started cheating. He’s reluctant to tell me. Probably ever since the kids were small.
Devastated? Check. Completely floored? Check. Probably will never recover emotionally? Check. I live with this torture every day. The hurt. The disbelief. I trusted him completely. I used to feel like our marriage was so genuine and special and magical.
We’re staying together for the kids because mainly our son has been to hell and back in the military and until you have 14 sheriff deputies in your home at 1am trying to talk your son out of shooting himself with a loaded pistol-you don’t know fear. You don’t know anything. I live terrified and broken. Fear for my son, fear for my sanity, fear for what happens when I’m older, fear everyone will find out that most of my life has been a sham.
Do you know what it’s like just going about your day, at work or at the store and being suddenly overcome with horror? To not be able to breathe because you’re trying not to have a complete meltdown in public?
I am completely hopeless and nothing my husband can do now will make it better. We can’t split. Nobody can know. Our son would be devastated. Our marriage is the one constant Positive in his life. We’ve been that “perfect couple” who gets along like best friends, where kids and family are everything.. even our friends seem to envy us for being married so long.
He’s what I’ll tell you. Life is unfair, people are horrible and then you die. Marriage is a lie. Family is a lie. Happiness is a lie.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a terrible story! I send my condolences for your discovery and urge you to get some support for all the pressures that you’re under.