“Is my wife really gay?”


Last week my wife of 27 years told me she was a lesbian, is having an affair and is leaving. Everyone — our gay friends, straight friends, her coworkers who know and my coworkers who know — all believe she is a lesbian.

I don’t think she is. We had great intimacy. We were truly best friends — or so I thought — and so she said. We loved each other in the truest marital sense — not just the sex.

I never thought there would be anything but us. I am angry about the affair and betrayal. She was going to counseling. I knew she was struggling with several issues: chronic back pain, weight gain, and high blood pressure. I have offered to help in whatever way I can.

Isn’t it possible this is something we can resolve together? She still says she loves me. I don’t know what is real. I am so confused.


Learning that a spouse is gay can be confusing and devastating. You obviously care for her a lot and she for you.

Married couples where one spouse is gay often have very strong relationships with each other outside of sex, and sometimes even including sex. Many still refer to their ex-spouse as their best friend. I believe that it is because the gay person, whether conscious of it or not, was not focused on sexual attraction so they chose a spouse who they connected with deeply in other ways — goals, values, and dreams.

There are few models for a “successful” divorce. The societal assumption is that an ex-husband or ex-wife is someone to be despised, or at best, tolerated. But what I have observed in many gay spouse/straight spouse divorces is that the end of a marriage does not necessarily mean the end of a friendship.

You have just learned life-changing information. You both need time to think and reflect before any major decisions are made. Ask your wife if she would be open to couple counseling — not to “fix” her, but to help you two develop strategies for preserving your friendship if you decide to divorce.

My immediate concern is that you take care of yourself. Please make some time to check out the Straight Spouse Network. Connecting with men who have gone through similar experiences can help you sort through some of the confusion.

7 thoughts on ““Is my wife really gay?””

  1. Hi — when I left my husband and marriage of 13 years, it was difficult to express the feelings inside. I was still the same person, but I had to explain to my husband that the “strangeness” and “other-ness” that I had always felt was now becoming clearer, and to me myself really and truly, I had to make a break from the marriage, to be myself, and to be gay, with no more hiding and trying to be what I was not.

    I still loved my husband, and still wanted to be seen as myself by friends and family, but the pretending gets to be too much, and you have no choice if you wish to be consistent and clear, no choice but to come out. Being out is easier than being in that closeted place of trying to be what you are not.

    I hope you and your wife try to discuss everything, and that she is as kind, and as clear as she can be, about who she is and what this means for your relationship. I wish I had been clearer, and maybe kinder, in communicating my own self and needs and feelings. It is a hard situation, and people can be hurt.

    Take care of yourself, and don’t blame yourself, but express your own feelings clearly, and kindly.

    Good luck.

  2. My wife of the last ten years has just come out of the closet and that she is leaving me. She also had an affair with some other woman in our home. During all of this lifestyle changing that she was going through I was in deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was there for about 7 months.

    Before I left for my deployment I felt like our relationship was as strong if not stronger than ever. I felt as if everything would be alright. The first two months were difficult for me because during that time I realized how much I loved my wife. I spoke with here through e-mail, internet chat or telephone almost daily and we had some very intimate conversations. I still felt like everything was going to be o.k. By the end of the third month I was getting only surface level communication from my wife. She would not get into an intimate conversation. I started feeling suspicious, but blew it off as just missing her.

    We have two children 8 and 10. I spoke to them most often. I really had the overwhelming suspicion towards her when I spoke to my sister and she told me how good my wife was looking and that she was wearing make-up and everything. I know that may seem strange to think that after all she was only wearing make-up. My wife only wore make-up for special occasions and not on a regular basis. She then failed to tell me about a party she was going to after I had just asked her what she had planned for the weekend. My son in a conversation I had with him a few minutes later informed me that he and his sister were going to be staying at grandmas house because mom was going to a party with a friend. When I asked her about it she said she was going to lunch with a co-worker. My wife didn’t have any friends before I left on this deployment and now she was going to parties or lunch or whatever. I just don’t know the whole truth. Needless to say, I was extremely worried and felt very suspicious now.

    A month later I was on my way home for Rest and Relaxation leave. I was very apprehensive about coming home. When I arrived at the airport my wife and children were there along with my parents, sister and her children. I received exactly the type of homecoming welcome I expected from all of them except for my wife. She seemed almost ambivalent. I received a hug and a kiss but that was about it. It was as if I had never left. We had plans to go to Palm Springs for a week. We did go and by the second day there I just couldn’t shake off my apprehension. I went to my wife and demanded to know what was going on because I knew something was not right but just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    That was when she told me she was gay and that she was leaving me. My heart sunk, but somehow I knew that she was gay and had just ignored it over the years. I guess you can say I kind of expected that, but what I found out next is what really destroyed me. She told me she had sex with a woman on two occasions. I felt crushed and shocked by this news. I have since ranged in my emotions from despair to utter rage towards her. I just never imagined that she would ever cheat on me. She gets angry with me when I try to talk about it and I just don’t understand why. She says she is sorry, but the past is the past and there is nothing she can do about it. That what she says anyway, I myself feel as though she is not taking responsibility for her actions by owning up to her lies and deception.

    She tells me to make sure that I tell everyone that I forced her to tell me about it. If you ask me that only makes it worse, because she should have just owned up to it on her own. She says she wanted to wait until I returned permanently from my deployment 4 months later. I think she just wants to avoid the whole situation. I am very angry with her and I don’t believe I should try to understand what she is going through. What she has done is the most self centered act of betrayal and I will never forget exactly how little I meant to her when she decided to explore her feelings towards another woman in our house, not only disgracing it, but disgracing our marriage vows and our children by doing such a thing. She should have sought counseling to discuss her feelings towards other women and spoke with me first before she ever did anything. I was supposed to be her husband and confidant.

    She tries to justify her acts of adultery by saying that I committed adultery first by looking at porn. According to the Catholic Church I have and have since confessed my sins. I never had sex with any other person than my wife while we were dating or married. I am a stickler for the rules and have a moral high ground when it comes to playing by the rules. She did not play by the rules.

    She wants me to be sympathetic and understanding, I can be neither. I don’t want to understand, I just want to have my family back the way I left it. I know that that is not possible, she doesn’t want reconciliation. She is preoccupied with here new friends and lifestyle and avoids all contact with me and barely sees her children. I am so disappointed in her; I thought she was much better than that.

  3. I am 24 years old and my mother and father who were married for almost 30 years just divorced because of my mother “coming out”.

    My dad went through the stages of denial and feeling betrayed, embarrassed because of his questioned masculinity, to coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t his fault or hers. My parents are now still really good friends and there is no bitterness. My mother has always been a lesbian but because of society and fear of the opinion of family members she kept it secret. It wasn’t her decision to be a lesbian and she recalled being “different” back in first grade; writing a letter to a little girl saying that she liked her. The teacher caught her passing the note and read it and was explained that girls like boys and boys like girls. Ever since then mom said she decided to keep it a secret. She said she knew the way she felt was wrong and never went to church because of what the bible says.

    Mom says that she loves dad but not in a lusting way. Dad was one of her best friends in high school and was one of the few men that she trusted. Dad understands that mom’s sexuality was not her choice. What child makes that decision in the first grade? Because of this understanding, my parents have remained best of friends and talk and go out as friends often. And because of their understanding of one another I am lucky to have parents that are able to come to Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas with out any fear of bitter arguments or finger pointing.

    My thought is that Mom has tried for almost 30 years to be straight and I’m sure she has went to bed hoping for God to make her “normal”. She has spent most of her life being what society will accept and it was now time for her to live for who and what she is. Because of her love for dad, she felt great guilt and almost went through a nervous breakdown and because of the love my dad had for her, he never let her down and helped her through her “coming out”. Just remember, the one “coming out” may be hurting as much as the people they are coming out to.

  4. I have just learned that wife of 12 years is gay, she brought her Lesbian lover from the projects into our wonderfull 200K$ home and asked me to move to the loft, my kids have reported her kissing and “feeling each other up” in front of them. I am so sick to my stomach! What right does a no job looser lesbian have in my home, where I have worked so hard to build this dream for us?!

    Neither of them have a job, I am paying for everything, her Lesbian lover has brought her ghetto kid with her here and bought him new clothes, she has paid to fix her car….the spending goes on.

    My kids want her out, I want her out, I feel guilty asking her to leave, WHY DO I FEEL GUILTY?! I have never cheated on her, Never thought about it!

    My 6yr old told me that her mommy makes her sick to her stomach as well.

    I took the kids trick or treating tonight, I walked with the kids while the two lesbians walked in front holding each other and kissing….WHAT IN THE HECK?!

    I guess I keep hoping its going to stop and we will reconcile, go to counciling, and find help…she does she loves me still, she says she is not sure what she wants because she cant come out all the way and needs me to put on a “UNITED FRONT” for her…why should I?

    Maybe the answer is make her “come out”…tell her parents…tell everyone…then what? I guess I would know her next move then..maybe thats what scares me too..maybe she will thank me and be gone…I dont know if I can handle all this. I have lost 22lbs in a week and a half, I am living on coffee, I throw up everything I eat.


  5. Alright, so in less than a month, my wife and I should be celebrating our 5 year anniversary year. Instead we are going to a counciler to try and salavage the friendship aspect of our relationship.

    We had known each other for 4 years when we started dating. We knew pretty much from the first date we wanted to get married. We got married June of 04.

    After that…things changed. Our first year was difficult, but I just figured everyone has a hard first year, it will get better. Our sex life was almost nonexistant after our honeymoon. Our conversations never went past the surface.

    Our second year was better, sex was more frequent…I thought we had improved. The next year we moved again so she could start her PhD. I knew that for 2 years we would have to deal with that would be hard, but what is 2 years in the scheme of a lifetime of marriage?

    This past fall, when my work situation was finally improving, and she was so close to finishing…and we were going to start a family….she began to question her sexuality.

    I found out almost right away, but at the time they were just questions, and she was going to see a counciler. I thought she would get through the questions, decide that she truly loved me, and we could move past this.

    Instead, we went to our first counciling session and she says, “I realised I’m gay.” And of course she says that it isn’t my fault, that I was a good husband, that she still loves me…..

    Part of me is relieved actually, because this has been a difficult 5 years, and knowing she can be her authentic self means that I can move on and find someone else.

    But then I am angry…because after 5 years of waiting for things to improve she is just giving up, not wanting to try anymore.

    And then I’m so sad…wondering what I did wrong, believing that this is my fault. She would never have come to these questions if I had been a better husband.

    This is so hard

  6. I am married to a wonderful woman who was discarded by her first husband for another woman who pursued him into an affair, then marriage (his 3rd), who have a child who just became teenaged. Now, his 3rd wife of more than 20 years has declared herself to be lesbian. Unfortunately, their child is now angry with her mother. I hope she doesn’t become homophobic because that would be a tragedy for her and her mother. I wonder what took her mother so long to “come out”? If she had discovered her preference for females and announced it when her child was much younger, it would have had far less negative effect.

  7. My wife of 11 years and the mother of my daughter just came out to me a few days ago. My heart is torn and i’m sad and confused. We have talked for hours and hours i think that i can except the change. Things have been off for a long time I thought we were just having to work things out I had no idea! The sex in the first five years was amazing. The next six years it has been slowing down to none. She told me the last time we had sex it made her feel disgusting and she had to shower after to make her self feel better, she was the one who wanted it. She told me that was one of the things that got her thinking, and that she would dream about being with women. I’m trying to be supportive of her, but it will turn my life upside down. She told me that i was still her best friend and loves me, But not sexually. I love her and always will I want us to be friends and always keep our daughter first. I’ll heal with time, maybe find someone else and hope she finds someone good. I’m scared, sad, hurt, and anxious. I know it was hard for her to tell me this and I think she was brave.

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