I Just Found Out My Husband is Gay. How Long Will this Grief Last by Debra Sutton


The goal for Signs of a Gay Husband-Identifying Closeted Gay Husband Behaviors is to empower women to move forward with their lives. Coming to terms with the painful outcome of our marriages we can move forward with grace, love, and dignity. Offering hope to others going through the same experience.

If you are just finding out, in the beginning you will not want to believe it. When I heard my soon to be ex-husband made sexual advances to a man we both know, he denied it and I so wanted to believe him. It took me a year to really accept this. I was in denial.

After my divorce it felt as though I was coming out of a fog. He was no longer around to make me doubt myself. This opened the door for me to examine the marriage. My ex-husband was the push you away, then pull you back type. He had done this throughout our marriage. As our marriage was coming to an end, he was trying to keep the door open. I think he wanted to lure me back, in case his new life did not work out. As I was leaving he said we could get back together in the future, even if there was someone new in my life. The arrogance of his statement is beyond words. When I moved away talking to him on the phone, he asked me to find us an apartment. I told him I would never live with him again. He played so many mind games.

I wanted answers, the answers were not going to come from him. When I questioned him, he broke all contact. I wanted to read all I could about closeted gay husband behaviors. I found out closeted gay men married to women have many behaviors in common. I joined a support group for women who are dealing with these same issues. The women in the group and I had many of the same experiences with our husbands.

It’s only natural as human beings we want to avoid painful situations. There was no way around this. I had to face the painful facts. It took me two years to process a marriage which lasted twenty two years, with so many behaviors that did not make sense at the time. Knowing that he is gay is the only explanation that made any sense. I knew in my heart he is gay, but on another level it was hard to accept. It was hard to see him as a gay man, as he pretended to be straight for so many years. I was finally able to see him as a gay man. Then I felt stupid for not seeing it. I blamed myself for not seeing the obvious.

Acknowledging he is gay replaced all my memories with the truth. He never loved me. I was only a cover. This is why he would disappear, he was going to meet men. This is why he was always on the computer. This is why he was so protective of his privacy. This is why I found gay porn. This is why he had a craigslist account. This is why he was never interested in sex with me. This is why he said he could no longer function sexually. I had many ah ha moments.

We are left to grieve the marriage. We grieve for a husband that never existed. In the beginning while going through this grief you will miss your husband, even if he was unkind. You will miss your home, miss your family, miss your life. Many gay husbands move on without ever admitting they are gay. Some move on into new marriages with women. This will bring up more doubt about yourself and why the marriage did not work out with you. Still struggling with self doubt, you have to know his new relationship is based on a lie, the same as in your marriage. The outcome of this new relationship will not work out any better. Another life ruined, another life destroyed. One day she will join the ranks of the straight wives club. Then you wonder if you should warn her. I can’t answer this one. It is up to each individual. I can only say I wish someone would have warned me.

Many question how long it will take to get over this and finally move on. I have read to give yourself a year for every five years you were married. There is no time limit on grief. Everyone is different. Life situations are different. I can tell you how it has been for me. I was married twenty two years and this January 2016 will mark the four year anniversary of my departure from the marriage. Today I celebrate a new anniversary. As my divorce became final I thought oh give me a year and I will be passed this. Then two years passed, no I was not through the pain of it all. Then one day out of the clear blue I realized I did not care anymore. I did not care if he was with a man or a woman. I no longer needed a confession, or an apology from him. We all come out of this. I would rather live in truth no matter how painful it is to know, understand, and come to terms with. I think it depends on your situation if he admitted he is gay, I think it gives closure, but then you see him move on with a man. If you have children, you still have to see him. Women with children not only hurt for themselves, they hurt for their children too. I think women with children suffer the most. I have grown children, but they are not by my gay ex-husband. My ex-husband and I have not seen or spoken to each other in over three years.

I have read to give yourself a year before dating again. I agree with this and highly recommend it. There are many things I had to learn about myself in this process. Why did I marry a gay man? Why did I marry two abusive men? Why did I seem to attract a certain type? Take this time to learn about yourself. I also found reading and writing helpful. It helped me process the pain. Keep a journal. Learn to love and care for yourself. Many of us straight wives are care givers by nature, we tend to put the needs of others ahead of our own. We can no longer afford to do this. I believe we all move past the pain, coming out of this with a better awareness about ourselves, and what is important in our lives.

There are no set rules on grief. Give yourself all the time you need. Don’t compare your progress to another persons, because every situation is different. I believe these divorces take longer to heal from because of the betrayal and in many cases abuse. This is not a typical divorce where two people grew apart, or could not get along. Join a support group. These women understand like no one else can. They help you work through all the unanswered questions. Most of all be kind and patient with yourself. Know you are not alone.

By Debra Sutton

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14 thoughts on “I Just Found Out My Husband is Gay. How Long Will this Grief Last by Debra Sutton

  1. Hi Debra. That was very helpful. I like the idea of allowing one year for each five you were together. It’s only been a bit over a year since I found out, and there’s part of you that feels like a failure or misery-guts for not being over it yet. If I use the one:five year idea, I can take the pressure off myself a bit. My 17-year old son was really good the other day, when I said I was feeling bad. He said something along the lines of ‘of course I couldn’t expect to be over it yet.’
    Regarding them moving on to a man and not a woman – my ex did this I believe, because I told him in no uncertain terms that if I ever found out he had another woman there would be ‘big trouble,’ and I kept calling him ‘a gay man, who belongs with a man’ etc. I kind of thought I would be able to accept that more easily, but I haven’t at all, as I said before. The fact that I overheard all these terms of endearment he was using to this man made me realise more fully the awful emotional deprivation he visited upon me. But, I do not believe he will be happy for long in this relationship. Firstly, I know the man is a misogynist – from things I saw on his facebook page – he has an immense resentment of women. Secondly, I read a book about gay men – ‘the Velvet Rage’ I think it was called – and basically, it became clear to me that once a cheat, always a cheat. The sexuality isn’t that relevant. He won’t suddenly turn into a good, loyal person. My daughter is very clear – she describes him simply as ‘a bad person.’
    Other people don’t understand this and sometimes accuse us of homophobia. It’s the opposite – we treat these gay husbands the same way we would if they were lying, cheating straight men – in my case, if he had been going off in the afternoons for at least 3 years (the period he admits to after I told him I didn’t believe for one minute his ‘last 3 months of our relationship’ story) – if he had been screwing various women then most people would agree he was ‘a bad person.’ We just assess gay men along the same lines as straight men in this regard; no preferential treatment. Why should we? There are additional risks attached to gay sexual behaviour and then coming back to the wives.
    Anyway, thanks again. I will remember the one:five rule. It’s really useful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome Becky,

      I know this is a long painful journey, your son is right you cannot expect to get over it so soon. Be patient with yourself.

      I too read the Velvet Rage no it does not matter if they move on with men, they don’t suddenly become good people.

      I wish you love, happiness, and healing. 💜

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  2. it is understandable that you women are pissed off by the the fact that the men that YOU CHOSE turned out to be something other than you expected. However, your stereotypes and labels — convenient as they may be for you and, perhaps appropriate to you particular experience — do not neatly represent the range of experiences faced by those dealing with these circumstances. Go ahead and censor and delete this post, as you must to maintain the consistent theme of your site, but just recognize that there are experiences out there that challenge your simplified stereotypes. And in that vein, you should at least be honest that you presenting a unilateral point of view.

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  3. I can relate to so much of what you are saying – so many red flags but I was in denial. Even now I feel like after leaving him that I almost went into a coma not knowing how to go on or heal from it. It has been 7 years and I just recently admitted to a few of my friends about him being a closet gay. And yes he did remarry a young girl who is now living in the home that I designed and built when he and I were married – and he is still involved with the same man. He recently has been in the public eye so I’m forced to hear his name – Bruce Knox of Windermere FL. I am so thankful you wrote your book – it is helping me deal with the pain and figure out who I am after the betrayal. That word – betrayal – is the word that defines me. The first person I told didn’t want to hear what I told her – she could believe it about him but didn’t want to believe that I had to go thru it because of him if that makes sense so as a result it made me even more private and I believe has caused me to take longer to heal. I wish I could just be tough about it and move on. Betrayal – that is what haunts me because I gave him all of me 1000% with no thought he would betray me. I was so naive. He had an affair earlier on in our marriage but we worked thru it but I couldn’t work thru a man – especially knowing he really wouldn’t leave him. And the man he was/is involved with even left his longtime “husband” for Bruce. And he is ok with being his closet gay bf I guess – they’ve kept this up for ten years now. Although I do know the Disney Hort group knows but gays are common in Disney not to stereotype gays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fran I want to thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for all you have been through. It does take a long time to heal from these marriages because of the lies and the betrayal. Realizing your husband is not who you thought they were and knowing they never felt about you the way you thought they did. All the memories you shared with this person are erased and replaced with the truth. You have so many moments when you look back over everything and you realize why they behaved the way they did. You are going through the process of grief. Healing takes time. There is no time limit on grief. Remember to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Big Hugs

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  4. Hi Debra.
    Sorry I haven’t checked in for a while. I’ve been busy fighting the British Government on an unrelated matter! On the personal level though, it’s all the same – no quick GHR (Gay Husband Recovery as Bonnie would say). I am so annoyed to think that I have now gone on anti-depressants. I tried my best but after 18 months and feeling so little progress, feeling so much still in a daze/switched off I relented and turned to the tablets. They haven’t kicked in yet, so I’ll see. But I so resent having to turn to medication because of a lying, cheating twat. Anyway, Happy New Year! I am thinking of forcing myself to get on a ‘plane and come over to Bonnie’s next healing weekend, but I don’t know if I will….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice to hear from you Becky, just think of the meds as temporary. You are right there is no quick GHR. I would love to be able to make it to one of Bonnie’s healing weekends, but I will not be able to make her next one. Happy New Year to you wishing you the best this year and always. Big Hugs.💕

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  5. I think they’re selfish beings who think only of themselves and their desires. They use us women as a cover for their “shame”. In my opinion, I would have not hurt as much if he was truthful with me. I have lots of gay friends who are very dear to my heart. But to lie about it and make others suffer is something beyond any feelings I can describe. I’ve wasted ten years with a man who never loved me. Ten years of my life gone, just like that. And I’m sad. Very very sad…I’m more sad for my children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Single Mom,

      I am so sorry for your sadness and for your children. I agree these men who lie and hide behind us are so very selfish. I can not think of anything more shameful than the pain these men bring to the women they marry and their children. Big hugs to you.

      Best Regards,
      Debra

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My now ex husband hooked up with a MTF trans 60 days after I came left and came home to fight cancer in peace,,,, they posted 1000’s of amorous pictures all over social media even though we were still married and no divorce process had been initiated,,,His lover was moved into the home we shared and slept in my bed, ate off my plates and made love to my husband! He can’t understand why I was so hurt! And here I am 3 years later still stuck in trying to get answers where there are none,,,, and NOW he wants to get back together with me,,,,,,,,,,,, i am almost 60 have no self esteem left, his lover was 18 years younger than him and very adept at the seduction exotica of it all, wow,,,, was I ever blind,,,,,,,, I am so ashamed,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, you have no reason to feel ashamed. It is so easy for them to move on, they were never in the marriage as we were. It’s pure selfishness on their part. It’s all so heartbreaking. There comes a point in life where we have to matter to ourselves. Making ourselves the number one priority and rebuilding ourselves. I know what it feels like to have your years stolen from you. No matter what our age is upon discovery there is still life left. My life has only improves since my divorce 4 years ago. It’s a difficult journey but so worth it. To finally be free of all the deception and craziness of the closeted gay husband. I hope all the best for you as you move forward with your life.

      Best Regards,
      Debra

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  7. My marriage lasted 21 days. I discovered computer files and that was it – my reality was shattered in an instant. This happened 12 years ago. The memory of the deception still cuts like a knife. I never spoke to the man again. How could I? I have no idea who he really was. The man I married was performing in a role. He lied his way through a two year courtship and engagement. He lied to friends, family, everyone. He was a con artist, at best. He knew he wasn’t straight. He knew he was gay. It was 2004, not 1954. At first I felt some sympathy for him; poor closeted guy. I can no longer forgive him. I can’t empathize with him. He could have indeed resisted the urge to deceive me. He could have kept me out of his lies.
    12 years ago, I couldn’t find much support. One group in all of New York City. Women and men who had been devastated by the same deception. They told me how lucky I was that I had not had children with him, lucky that it was brief, all told. No one told me that 12 years later, I would not have fully recovered yet. No one said “you will never trust again”. I wish someone would have said “Be prepared for most people to think that you either a) knew and married him anyway or b) were too stupid to notice. No one said I’d never marry again for fear of going through another horrible divorce. Maybe I should have known: some of these group members were still recovering after 20 years.
    For many, the gay-pretending-to-be-straight spouse inspires sympathy. Who doesn’t want to support the persecuted? Please remember, these men and women are not victims of persecution. They are self-loathing individuals who have no problem sacrificing others to maintain their cover.

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    1. LR, I feel everything you have written. The ability to ever trust again is the most difficult after a 22 year marriage to a closeted gay deceiver I have not been able to trust. I am 4 and a half years post divorce. At this point in my life I don’t think I will ever be able to trust again. Your right people think how could you not have known. I have found many women in a similar situation either married or divorced from closeted gay men. These women like me, were not aware at the time of marriage they were marrying a gay man. I so agree these men are self loathing and don’t mind sacrificing others. I did in the beginning feel sorry for him poor gay man who felt like he had to marry me to hide the fact he is gay. How horrible it must have been for him to pretend all those years. Having to live alone with his secret. Never feeling like he could be himself, no wonder he was so mean. Then I stopped feeling sorry for him and started putting myself first. And began working on me and my healing. I have felt stupid for not knowing. Because I can see it all now in hindsight. I see him secretly meeting men for sex as I was home being the good wife. I see him treating me badly because I was not a man and a man was what he wanted. I understand all the disappearances. I know what that phone call meant from a gay man upset because my husband did not show up for the cookout. I know the gay porn I found on the computer was his, even though he blamed me and said I gave us a computer virus. I know it’s true when I was told he made sexual advances to a male acquaintance. And now I know what he was doing in the bathroom of our apartment with a male coworker. I admit I was naive. There were times I wondered. Then his mother asked me if he was gay. At this point in my marriage I told her I did not know. I have regrets for the years I wasted with him. Years I can never get back. I never knew him. If I would have known I would never choose him. He took away my choice. Trust is the hardest thing to overcome. But I do feel like I have made much progress in healing. I know it’s different for everyone. I have come along way since I got on a plane heading back to my home state. Leaving all of my belongings behind.

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