Scary Mommy’s Jill Smoker: What If Your Spouse Comes Out as Gay?
It’s been a while. A year and a half, actually, since I announced the end of my marriage. When the news came out that my husband was gay, I was bombarded with messages from people in similar situations around the world. The letters of support were easy to respond to and so very much appreciated. The other letters, however – the ones seeking my advice – were an entirely different story. Barely functioning myself, I found it impossible to offer anything to anyone, never mind words of wisdom.
Understanding the Turmoil
“It sucks,” was all I could muster. Finding out your spouse is gay just really fucking sucks. Well, it’s been 18 months, and it still sucks … but it’s also getting better. So, in response to those who reached out to me, and anyone else who might find this helpful, please know this:
You Aren’t Alone
I know it feels like you are the only person in the world who knows this exact pain, but you aren’t. It feels shameful and suffocating, and there are countless people out there feeling the exact same way. Don’t believe me? Run to OurPath. They offer lots of support: private Facebook groups, in-person get-togethers, and tons of stories from people who’ve been there, done that. I never ventured into the in-person stuff, but everyone I met online was kind, helpful, and understanding. If you do nothing else, poke around the site.
It’s Not Your Fault
I hesitate to even say that because of course it’s not your fault, but being told your spouse is gay is a total mind fuck, so you might need to hear it: This isn’t your fault, you did nothing wrong, and this isn’t about you.
Coping with Anger
It’s OK to be angry. It took me a long time to realize that it’s possible to both love and support your spouse and be angry with them at the same time. Look at me, multi-tasking! No, this isn’t easier than a “normal” marriage ending. I can’t tell you how many times people tried to comfort me with, “At least you know it wasn’t you.” Like that made the situation any easier. With a gay spouse, you’re not only mourning the end of your marriage (at least as you knew it before) but also the end of the person you love (at least as you loved them before). I won’t say it’s harder than any other marriage, but it sure as hell isn’t easier.
Seek Support and Talk About It
Tell someone … anyone. For 18 years, I didn’t tell a soul about the inner workings of my marriage, and there’s no shortage in the number of ways I’m paying for that now. Even if it’s on an anonymous message board, someone is out there waiting to offer you support. Accept it. Finally, it gets better. I mean, I won’t say it gets fabulous, but it does get better. Really, it does. And hopefully, eventually, it will get fabulous.
Dealing with the revelation of a gay spouse can be emotionally overwhelming and difficult to navigate. It’s essential to remember that you are not alone in your experience, and there are supportive communities out there willing to offer help and understanding. While it’s natural to feel anger and sadness, remember that it’s not your fault, and seeking support can aid in the healing process. Over time, things will improve, and with the right support and mindset, you can find a new sense of happiness and fulfillment.
1. Is it common for spouses to discover their partners are gay after marriage?
Discovering that a spouse is gay after marriage is relatively uncommon, but it does happen. It can be a challenging and emotional experience for both partners involved.
2. How can I cope with the pain and anger after learning about my spouse’s sexuality?
Coping with the pain and anger requires time and support. Seek counseling, join support groups, and talk to friends or family members you trust about your feelings.
3. Can a marriage survive when a partner comes out as gay?
While some marriages can survive and adapt to the revelation, others may not. It depends on the willingness of both partners to communicate and work through their emotions.
4. How can I find a support network to help me through this difficult time?
Look for online forums, support groups, or counseling services that specialize in helping individuals dealing with the revelation of a gay spouse. OurPath is a great resource to consider.
5. Is it possible to maintain a strong friendship with a spouse after separation due to their sexuality?
Yes, it is possible to maintain a strong friendship with a spouse after separation. With time and healing, many couples find a new way to support and care for each other as friends.