Coming Out of the Marital Closet

coming out of the marital closet
Brokeback Mountain-the film was one of the first to chronicle gay married men

It is estimated that millions of marriages end in divorce when one spouse comes out and admits their true sexual orientation.  Millions!

I am fascinated by this scenario and always wonder what were the signs?  Did she or he have a clue?  When your spouse admits they’re gay after decades of marriage, it must be absolutely devastating for the straight spouse.   Doesn’t this mean our whole marriage was a lie?  If I could live this lie then what are the other lies or things they hid from me?

I can’t even begin to imagine the betrayal a person would feel.  It would seem the only answer is divorce in this situation.  Surprisingly though, some choose to stay together and have an open relationship.  All I can say is it must be terrific love in these relationships to withstand the river of rejection.

I recently read “Love is Love” by Sarah Liss in Flare magazine.  Liss addresses the ambiguity and ‘fluidity’ of sexual orientation and how it is more accepted today.  Love is Love whichever way you choose to express it.  But as we all know, it hasn’t always been that way.

So, what are the reasons gay or homosexual individuals choose heterosexual marriage to begin with?  Obviously, the societal expectations and restrictions including one’s religion all contribute to the sham marriage.  They felt they had no other choice.  It was easier to give in and get married like everyone else.  Maybe they were trying to PLEASE their parents, pastor, boss, culture or ________ fill in the blank.

Unfortunately, what the gay spouse is attempting to hide, the straight spouse is unwittingly mistaking for love.  What is shame for one, is love for the other.  It sounds like a recipe for disaster.  It’s certainly a RECIPE FOR LONELINESS.

3 SYMPTOMS in a Gay/Straight Marriage;


2. Rejection

3. Lack of intimacy

ANGER on behalf of the gay spouse is very common.  The anger will crop up like a noxious weed where you least expect it.  The ANGER is unjustified in its severity.  Flying off the handle…worrying about what other people think…feeling trapped…this makes sense.  Imagine living a lie?  You couldn’t be authentic EVER?  It would destroy a soul. Of course it would make a person angry.  The straight spouse will sometimes see a very different person at home than in public.

The straight spouse feels REJECTED.  Ongoing excuses for NO SEX eventually cause the straight spouse to feel inadequate.  The catch is that the rejection isn’t constant, so the memory of occasional intimacy will provide false hope that things will improve. But in the end, sex life rarely does improve and the straight spouse is often full of self blame.

The LACK OF INTIMACY is a huge red flag.  If the marital sex was okay in the beginning but now it’s almost nonexistent, this is a typical pattern.  The gay spouse will concede to sex on occasion but it is passionless and often done to appease the straight spouse. It is done to keep suspicions and questions at bay.  Again, the straight spouse will be satisfied for a short time but the sexless pattern will continue. The gay spouse is often distant.  In order to hide part of their true self, they live with deception.  How can a couple have intimacy on any level if one keeps his heart in the closet?

How Can I Tell If My Husband is Gay?

According to Bonnie Kaye, author of The Official Gay Husband Checklist-for women who wonder;

He is turned-off by normal sexual activity and accuses you of being oversexed, aggressive, or a nymphomaniac when you   have normal sexual needs.

His sexual performance is more mechanical than passionate with a lack of satisfying foreplay.

He claims he is “depressed” and will blame his depression or medication for depression for his lack of sexual desire for you.

He claims that he feels “trapped” in the marriage and won’t explain why.

He travels a lot for business and you can’t track his activities.

He says he is having a “mid-life crisis” and becomes moody and depressed.

He tells you about sexual abuse in his childhood/adolescence.

He admits to having a homosexual encounter in the past. – Bonnie Kaye

Women Who Have Been There

Amity Buxton would like to see a day where gays don’t feel they need to fake their genuine orientation and marry in order to people please and culture please.   Amity believes a reduction in gay/straight marriages will also correlate to less divorce.  She speaks and has written from her own experience.  Her husband came out of the marital closet in the ‘80’s.  Her book The Other Side of the Closet chronicles her experience but also provides self help to other victims or straight spouses.  Often the straight spouse is the silent victim carrying on without any moral support.

These marriages don’t always end with the gay spouse coming out.  Sometimes it ends because the straight spouse can’t take the empty feeling in the marriage.  If the straight spouse is unfulfilled, unhappy and dissatisfied they may end up leaving and never even knowing what was truly wrong with their marriage.

On the other hand, a positive pattern that is seen is the relationship between a gay spouse (who came out) and the straight spouse is more likely to succeed as best friends post divorce.  This is an interesting pattern that has not been proven statistically but is highly evident in testimonials.

Acceptance and Going Forward

What can we take from all of this?  More acceptance to various sexual orientations means less fake hetero marriages.  Less gay/straight marriages mean less heartbreak for children and spouses.  Knowing the signs of being married to a gay spouse can help people make better decisions.  Finding happiness always comes back to authenticity and facing our truths.  It’s not done in a day but it is a process.  The devastation can be overcome but first, action has to be taken.  Also, what a couple does after coming out of the marital closet is a very personal decision.  Whether they stay together or get a divorce, they begin the journey of authenticity.  Not unlike any other divorce just a different variety.

For a full list of signs you’re married to a gay spouse see Bonnie Kaye’s Official Gay Husband Checklist

Have you had any suspicions or experiences on this topic?  Let’s start talking!

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10 Replies to “Coming Out of the Marital Closet”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Interesting topic of discussion indeed 🙂

    Your post surely made me wonder as to how such marriages would really survive, and if they do, on what grounds. Perhaps as you mentioned the gay person married due to pressure or compulsion, but people nowadays are very broadminded, though may be in some places they still aren’t as much as they should be.

    I think such marriages would hold no meaning, though if the partner of the gay person finds no problem or can’t make out if her husband is a gay and their relationship is normal, things must be carrying on pretty normal too. Or perhaps such a gay person is able to handle his marital relationship, yet remain a gay too. Makes me wonder for sure!

    Thanks for sharing and making us think on all this. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting, Harleena. I agree that these type of marriages usually don’t survive the coming out. Even if the gay spouse didn’t come out, I would think it a lonely marriage. Some couples have a bond thought that might carry them through the differences. It’s a difficult situation. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This topic is an interesting one, and a situation I’ve heard about a lot. I think many gay individuals who are in denial about their sexuality proceed with marriage with a straight individual because it’s what is looked at as “normal”. Years later they may finally accept their sexual orientation because of those red flags. He/she could also be scared to admit their true feelings and even want to please family and friends.

    No doubt this realization would be devastating for both parties, especially the straight spouse, but I think you’re right that this kind of divorce has a possibility of being easier than most other divorces. And that they can become very close friends afterward.

    P.S. I nominated you for the Liebster Award, Lisa. If you want to accept it, you can find more info here:

    Happy Memorial Day! 😀

    1. Hi Chrys, yes, so many reasons people take this step to follow the ‘norm’ but end up hurting others in the end. It’s a tough situation for sure. It seems like many of us know someone who has gone through this, sadly but somehow they come out of it ok. You nominated me for an award?! Awesome!!! Thank you Chrys, for thinking of me. I will definitely be accepting it. 🙂

  3. I don’t know what I would do if my hubs came out and said he prefers men now. OMG, that would freak me out! But I have to wonder if it would be better that he left me for a man, or for a woman?

    BTW, I love the pic above. I really liked that movie despite all the reviews of the homophobes. 🙂

    1. Hi Bren thanks for stopping by! Hopefully we will see less of these kind of marriages with greater acceptance of gay marriage and non hetero sexual orientation. Actually i have’t seen the movie but it sure created much buzz at the time 🙂

  4. Hello Lisa,

    I have found your blog from Harleena mam’s blog. It was my good decision to land on your blog because so much interesting content here. I have read your so many articles.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful topic also.


    1. Thank you, Dr. Diana and welcome. Harleena’s blog is wonderful and has so many interesting visitors. It’s a perfect way to meet new people. Thanks for your feedback on my blog and articles. 🙂

  5. Hey Lisa
    Very interesting topic for sexually mature people especially couple. Many couple even fail to point out the true reason for their dud sexual relationship and misleadingly point fingers and other false reasons that are usually acceptable to surrounding. This is going on in open societies.
    The situation is even more worst in conservative societies where religions strongly controls the social life. In such societies spouses even don’t discuss with each other if any of them is not straight and spend their whole life with a fake relationship. How this problem would be solved. Exactly with the the method you adopted here by discussing and propagating it to right audience.
    Thanks a lot for writing on such a critical topic and sharing with us.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Mi. Yes, it’s a difficult conversation to have with a spouse. But if they don’t talk then nothing changes, you’re right. Religion does play a role in some of this with the expectations and strict doctrine. Sometimes a couple is in love but if he or she is not straight then, it’s not the same kind of love. Thanks for sharing your perspective over here! 🙂

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