JUNE 2006 NEWSLETTER ARTICLE
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GAY HUSBANDS
Although my area of expertise is working with straight wives of gay men, I think I know a lot about the gay husbands of these women. They come in all different varieties from men who are truly struggling with their sexuality to those who aren’t struggling at all but refuse to be honest about it. In the past, I’ve talked about the Limbo Man caught between two worlds, the Straight-Gay Man, stuck in the straight world due to his own cowardice and torturing his wife out of resentment, and the alleged “Bisexual” man who justifies to himself that he is not gay but just enjoys sex with men.
Let me be very clear—the process of coming out to your wife is the most difficult moment in time for any gay married man. There is never a good time or an easy time. There is never a right day or a wrong day. And although some women may not agree with me, it is the most courageous act that a gay husband can do for the woman that he loves.
I say love because I still contend that gay men love their wives to the best of their ability. When they marry us, they truly are hoping against hope that any nagging attractions to men will magically disappear because we, their wives, will love them enough to become Houdini’s and perform feats of the impossible.
Even in this day and age people are still misinformed about homosexuality, it is easy to understand why some gay men would think that. It is still a common misconception that “GAY IS A CHOICE” like choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream. “Come and get it—straight or gay.” Well, I refuse to believe that gay is a choice any more than skin color is a choice or eye and hair color is a choice.
Keeping that thought in mind, people can buy blue contact lenses for their brown eyes or use blonde bleach in their black hair, but as you know, they are cosmetic fix-ups. That’s what it is for a gay man who marries a straight woman—a cosmetic fix up. It looks real good to the public including family, friends, and employers, but once the contacts are taken out, or once the hair roots grow in, you still have brown eyes and black hair. A gay man can “cosmetically” fix his life, but inwardly it is what it is—and it ain’t changing.
Too many men languish in “unnatural” relationships with women for years because they don’t know how to do the right thing for a number of reasons.
One reason is they don’t want to be gay. They may be thinking about it, looking at it, fantasizing about it, and in many cases acting on it, but they still don’t wantto be gay. Gay is nothing something people want to be—gay is something people are. We still live in a very homophobic society where it takes a lot of courage—a lot—to do be honest about your sexuality, and in many cases, even with yourself.
Some gay men have been thoroughly indoctrinated by family and religion that gay is a choice that leads to eternal damnation on earth and in hell. They believe that by staying with their wives, they are “choosing” the right way to live. They fear the repercussions from their families and friends if they are honest. And so they crouch and hide, hoping they can just get through life this way without “rocking the boat” and tipping it over.
Other gay men fear that they will lose the only sense of security that they have in their lives—their wives and children. I believe that gay men who stay in their marriages love their families, at least on some level. Maybe it’s not the kind of love they are seeking or you are seeking, but love comes in different forms—including complacency. You may not feel the pitter patter of your heart, but love is more than that…or so some people say, even if I’m not one of them.
I admire men who find the courage to tell their wives the truth because I work with too many women who have husbands who are cowards and will never tell the truth. Or maybe they tell some of the truth 30 years down the line after denying any possible hints by their wives that homosexuality may be the cause of problems in their marriage. The greatest act of love a gay man can do for his wife is to TELL THE TRUTH.
Those men who are content to keep the truth from their wives don’t really love them because they are too selfish to understand what love is. Love is not watching a woman who loves you suffer day in and day out wondering what she is doing wrong when she is doing nothing wrong other than being a woman. And yet, I contend that probably half of the gay married male population will continue to live like that until physical death do they part, going down with their secret. The emotional death is a daily occurrence.
If you have a husband who has been honest with you, consider that a gift. It doesn’t change the years of emotional neglect or abuse you have been through, but it does explain it. Think of all of the women who never find out the truth and internalize that the problems are their fault. At least you have a chance to see the light of day again and understand that the problems are not YOUR problems.
I always say that being gay is NOT a choice—how you live your life with it IS a choice. You have the choice to be honest about it although it may be the most difficult choice at the moment. And to any men who may be reading this who are still having trouble “doing the right thing,” I have an excellent support network for you with some wonderful men who have done the right thing and will help you get through it. All you need to do is ask. I am there for you—and so are they.