The Excuse For Abuse by Bonnie Kaye M.Ed.

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Written by Bonnie Kaye M.Ed. 2002

My friend Gayle on the West Coast wrote me a note a few weeks ago. She stated:


Bonnie, have you ever covered the topic of “abusive behaviors” with women (and men) in “our situations?” I know that you’ve discussed it, but is it worth giving more attention to this subject? I know so many of us continue to struggle with not only “the situation,” but also the continued abuse that goes along with it and how to effectively deal with it. Your thoughts are appreciated whenever on this.


This is a common cry from many women who have gay husbands and who remain in their marriages for long periods of time. The try so hard to be “good wives,” and yet, no matter what they do, they are still the brunt of their husbands’ emotional abuse. I will try to explain why this happens.

Let me preface this by saying that for the New Year, I have coined a new term for another classification of gay husbands. It is “Straight Gay Husbands.” I hope you like it. It is my new reference to gay men who are permanently living the straight life, sort of like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are the husbands who will not acknowledge their homosexuality privately or publicly–ever. Some of them know that you know, but try to confuse you enough to put enough doubt in your mind to make you think that you are the crazy one. It’s the best defense to your “offensive” questions. These are the men that shut you up or shut you down the moment you think about making mention of the possibility of homosexuality. They know what they are, and they know what you suspect; but keep your mouth shut because they don’t want to hear about it–especially from you.

These men are different than the gay husbands that admit they are gay/bisexual but promise not to act on those needs while they remain married to you. (Like we really believe that story!) They are also different than the gay husbands who are leading very secret lives and not leaving a trail of crumbs for you to follow. They are not even quite like the Limbo Men I have described who are caught in between two worlds. These are men who are definitely not stuck. They are identifying strictly as straight. There is no way they are entering the gay world through the front or back door, or even through the closet. They detest the gay world and what it stands for which gives them even greater reassurance, at least to themselves, that they are not gay.

The Straight Gay Men are the ones who have to remain in total control of all of their physical motions lest someone should suspect they are not quite as straight as they claim. It’s funny how many women tell me how their husbands’ physical appearances, gestures, and movements change once they come out. I can’t even fathom how difficult it must be to have to go through life calculating every breath and step you take. It’s sort of like walking down a sidewalk and having to make sure that you “don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back” as the game use to say. My balance and coordination never let me win that game.

These husbands are quick to use you and the children as their proof that they are not gay to the outside world just in case they let their guard down and anyone might accuse them of the “unthinkable.” They honestly don’t identify as gay even though they have sex with men. They don’t get themselves involved emotionally with men, just sexually. That helps them justify the fact that they are straight, not gay.

Some women can’t understand this. If you look like a duck, walk like a duck, act like a duck, but have sex with a goose, are you still a duck or are you a goose? I say you’re a goose. I don’t care what you act like to the outside world; I only look at who satisfies you sexually. And if you’re a duck making love to a goose, your feathers have to ruffle in a different direction when you stand up and straighten them out. But this does make things that much more confusing and complicated. So, to simplify your confusion, let me say this—STRAIGHT MEN DON’T HAVE GAY SEX. You can call it whatever makes you feel better, but I still call it gay—all the way.

Women who live with Straight Gay Men and Limbo Men are often the most commonly emotionally abused women. They would have to be. Their husbands are truly living in a complex world that makes little or any sense. They are living unfilled lives because they don’t have any emotional connections. They don’t connect emotionally with their wives because they aren’t really straight. They don’t connect emotionally with men because they refuse to be gay. And so they function but don’t connect. This lack of emotional connection creates a sense of insensitivity when it comes to your feelings and your emotions.

It also closes them up as human beings. They are unable to connect with a wife because they are living an internal, and what seems like an eternal, lie. This lie keeps overtaking any sense of good feelings towards the person whom they believe is responsible for this state of living—namely you. Now we know it is ridiculous to think that you should be their reason for living this lie, but subconsciously, this is how they feel.

As much as they love to have you as their “cover” is as much as they hate to have you sharing under their covers. They resent your nagging demands for sexual intimacy because it “isn’t their thing.” It’s your thing. And why do you have to try to make them feel inadequate just because they are? Even when you stop asking for it, you are still thinking about it and they can tell. It means they have to come up with a continuous string of stories to account for their lack of sexual behavior with you. This puts pressure on these guys who feel you are being unreasonable. Why do you have to make such a big deal out of sex?

They feel that in all other ways, they are ideal husbands. They are there raising the family with you. They are helping to support your financial needs or at least sharing in them. They are taking part in the social activities that you have decided are important. They are doing lots for you—and how do you show your appreciation? By badgering them with little innuendos and questioning looks.

This really shows a lack of appreciation on your part and so they get pissed.

The Straight Gay Men think they are Supermen. And to a degree, they are. They juggle, manipulate, calculate, and carefully plan out all of their actions. It takes a lot of energy to do this, and they marvel at their ability to pull it off. It gives them a air of smugness that shows in their personality. I’m not quite sure what they think they’re pulling off because they know that you are doubtful of their explanations. There are only so many headaches, backaches, depressions, and side effects from medication that you can keep relying on. But they feel confident if they use these excuses enough, you’ll give up. Most women do. As I’ve said before numerous times, no woman wants to feel like she has to beg her husband to make love to her. It’s degrading and demeaning. We get the hint after enough sexual rejection and stop asking. But it doesn’t mean that we stop thinking—and wanting.

Every time we see other couples holding and caressing lovingly together, this is a reminder. It’s a reminder of what we thought we should have had but never were able to achieve. It’s a reminder of what our hopes and dreams were for married life when we took that life-altering step and said, “I do.” We are momentarily reminded of what marriage was supposed to be, but never became. And this sadness shows in our faces, in our eyes, and in our hearts. When our husbands glimpse at us, they know what we are thinking. They know what we are wishing. They know that the words they don’t want to hear may possibly be coming out of our mouths at any moment. Rather than take a chance and have to come up with one more excuse, they find some way to knock us down and put us back into the non-assertive mental state that they so easily know how to do.

We are women who have been conditioned. Remember, Straight Gay Men remain in the marriages indefinitely and have years to erode your sense of self-worth. They are not going anywhere, and they want to make sure that you feel inadequate enough so that you won’t go anywhere either. I don’t know who could have taught these men about the facts of life and marriage, but obviously, they weren’t listening or didn’t have a teacher. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that sex is part of marriage? Didn’t they ever hear that intimacy grows from making love to the person who loves you? Do they really believe that they can sit for years in a marriage and overlook that little detail? Yes, they do. And we become their silent partners because we have been silenced on the issue of sex.

The irony is that even if you leave these men, as some women do, they will remarry again. Yes, they will remarry another woman. They will still do their occasional gay sex thing to satisfy their sexual need, but that goes with the territory. It is amazing to me how these men can live such a delusional existence until the day they die. And they will drag other women into their web of deceit. The next victim (and men who do this more than once are victimizers) will fall for it just like you did—but even better. Your Straight Gay Husband has a track record. He will still use you as his shield by telling his next conquest that he was married before, ergo, he is straight. And the woman who is in a subsequent marriage with this man has no reason to question his sexuality at all. He married before; he’s marrying again. Chances are his next wife will feel even more inadequate than you feel. He’ll make sure to tell her that the two of you never had problems in the bedroom before. And if she does meet you, she’ll be too embarrassed to ask you the truth. And you’ll probably keep protecting him.

So if you are in a long-term marriage to a Straight Gay Man, don’t plan on things ever getting better. There may be temporary second honeymoon periods, only to prove to you once again that you are crazy for even suspecting there is something wrong with your wonder man. But it’s guaranteed that things will resort back to the “normal” pattern of digs, harsh words, and put-downs. Count on it. Then decide if this is the most that you want out of life because as long as you are in this marriage, this is all you can expect.



10 thoughts on “The Excuse For Abuse by Bonnie Kaye M.Ed.

  1. This is definitely one of the top 10 of Bonnie’s newsletter articles. It describes my experience while married to a man who did everything necessary to hide his true feelings from himself and everyone around him. A woman should never have to go through something like that, being used to hide behind and treated horribly for years. When you are living that and trying so hard to please your husband in order to earn a bit of kindness or affection, you eventually realize it isn’t you, it’s him. It’s him never taking responsibility for any issues in the marriage. It’s him having so many expectations for you, while not caring how his words and actions affect you. It’s him gaslighting you and twisting around everything you say. It’s him creating issues in front of the kids to make you look bad, over and over again. It’s him. All him. Then when you try to leave, he will pretend he hasn’t been pushing you away for years and accuse you of being evil and trying to break up the family. He will never truly try to win you back, but only stab you in the back as you leave. He will be relieved and furious at the same time. He will try his best to paint you as a terrible, cheating, abusive wife. He will sometimes succeed. He will try to punish you by trying to take your children. He will sometimes succeed. You will begin a life of healing away from him. Your eyes will be opened and you will feel free and grateful. You will still have issues to deal with and hurts to heal from, because of the insidious nature of having lived with a Straight Gay man. But, in the end, truth will come out and he will be seen for who he is. I am still waiting for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Debbie,

      Bonnie’s description of the Straight Gay Man is the best description I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your painful story. I am happy we are both free from the abuse, and on our way to healing and true happiness.

      Big Hugs,


  2. This was my life for over 40 years. The verbal and emotional abuse became worse over time. But because I had always put him on a pedestal I couldn’t see the truth about his behavior until about five years ago. Something clicked. I realized that what he was doing had a name – verbal abuse – and I started looking at other things.
    We still had sex but only when I asked. His favorite line was “You can have it whenever you want, you just have to ask.” When I asked him why he never initiated he told me that sex just wasn’t that important to him. I remember telling him over the years that he should have been a monk. HA!
    Then he started to take Viagra about three years ago and I realized that we were only using a fraction of what came in the mail. Rather than question him right away I started looking for it. I looked everywhere, twice, but it wasn’t in the house. So I asked him where it was and he freaked out and started screaming at me that it wasn’t any of my f**king business. I was then subjected to his usual verbal assault, the nasty name calling, the condescending and threatening body language. Things started going downhill quickly after that.
    He told me I was crazy and needed to see somebody. I suggested marriage counseling but then he told me everything was my fault. Yes, 100% of everything wrong with our marriage was my fault so there was no need for him to see anyone! So, I went by myself and started reading books on abuse (e.g.,Patricia Evans and Lundy Bancroft’s works). Then last year he started gaslighting me egregiously and I knew I had to leave.
    Ironically, I filed for divorce because of the abuse, not TGT. I didn’t find proof of that for several more months. When I confronted him about his homosexual behavior he denied it and continues to deny it. But I have proof. I believe he will eventually date women and continue to deny he is gay, despite behavior that I now believe was going on from the beginning of our marriage.
    The divorce was final in September and how I wish I had done it sooner. I believe my ex has full-blown narcissistic personality disorder of the introverted type. Before I told him about my evidence he went on a smear campaign to discredit me to our children and probably everyone. Once I told him about my evidence, though, it stopped. I think he’s afraid I will release it to our children and that would be terrible.
    I’ve read all of Bonnie’s books by now and remember reading this chapter. It was chilling, and it helped me understand that nothing I could ever do or say would have made a difference. I will never forgive him for hijacking my life and denying me a decent sex life. I will never forgive him for what he did with our daughters. He had them terrified that I was losing my mind and fed them “evidence” every day after I filed. I used to think he loved them but how could he if is capable of that?
    What a strange place to be in at 65. I am past the acute grief but I am still in shock about what he did. I suppose I’ll be in therapy for quite a while. Thanks again for all you do, Debra. And Bonnie, you’re my hero.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anne for sharing your story. I will be 60 this year. I have grown children but they are not the gex’s. Yes these men steal years of our lives and the majority of them go on to remarry women. My gex sounds a lot like yours so verbally abusive, he was physically abusive as well. I wish gay men would stop marrying women, but I don’t think it will end any time soon, not even with the new gay marriage laws that have been passed. It should be a crime punishable by law. It’s definitely fraud and abuse. I’m glad you got out Anne. Big Hugs



  3. While your post evidently represents your history and is sure to garner the endorsement of other readers who share your experience, it falls short in recognizing the spectrum of human sexual inclinations. You can choose to use “black and white” labels for the expediency of your purposes, but research shows that there are various gradations in sexual behaviors. For example, the Kinsey research elucidates that there are at least 5 sexual modes between those of being exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual. For example, a husband who ranks a 1 on the scale is neither a “gay husband” nor a “straight gay husband” but rather he is “Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual”. This is a man who does, and always will, choose a relationship with a woman, as he should, because he is not gay. He may have an occasional interest in sex with men and how he manages his inclinations with respect to his relationships is certainly up for fair debate. In any case, seeking sexual gratification outside of the marriage without consent of his spouse is wrong regardless of whether it wit another woman or a man.


    1. I don’t put much stock in Kinsey’s work. He used prisoners for his research and called them average Americans. He also used and paid pedophiles to molest their own children.

      These Straight Gay men do not have sexual desires for their wives. So many of these women become celibate in the marriage. The straight gay husband is having sex with men. While I do have empathy that they cannot except themselves for who they are, it does not outweigh the damage they do to their wives and children.



  4. Given your criticism of Kinsey’s work, you’ve invited the question as to what scientific method of research underlies the “black and white” conclusions that you appear to be offering based upon your own experience and the anecdotes of those similarly situation women who follow your work. It’s reasonable to assume that there may be some selection bias in the population from which you have drawn your conclusions.

    Undoubtedly, there are some married men who “do not have sexual desires for their wives”. However, I know for a fact, that there are many men who have very healthy appetites for sex with there wives, yet have a desire, or at least an openness to incidental sexual contact with members of the same sex. That is not in any way to defend those who act on it. However, to classify them as “gay” is disingenuous and compromises a serious approach to understanding the human sexual condition.


    1. You sound intelligent however I don’t believe you are going to be able to redefine the word “Gay”. Men who have sex with with men however incidental is considered gay. A straight man would never consider occasional sex with a man.

      Honestly I see a married man who occasionally likes to have sex with men, as struggling to come to terms with his own sexuality. Out of fear or shame he remains in the closet. It’s sad for his wife and sad for him. These marriages cause so much pain for both parties.

      If a woman goes into the marriage knowing and agrees to this type of arrangement beforehand then that’s a different story. The majority of us wives were not given the facts, we go into these marriages unaware. When we do find out after 15, 20, or 30 years we are devastated. It’s not just finding out after years of marriage it is how we were treated in the marriage that is so difficult. Many of our husbands were abusive if not physically they were verbally. We could never be what they wanted so they beat us down.

      I’m not a doctor or psychiatrist. I am sharing my life experience. My 22 year marriage to a closeted gay man. I believe my years in the marriage gives me some insight. I have a desire to help others who are experiencing the same.

      I really don’t want a debate with you. You are entitled to your own opinion as I am entitled to mine.

      Best Regards,


  5. We agree to disagree. The true definition of “gay” or “straight” is neither of ours to define. We can only go by our experiences. But the facts available to us indicate that there are shades of gray in between such simple definitions. There are a great many people with mixed preferences who are not at all conflicted by their inclinations, and thus are not struggling in the least and nor are they narcissistic or abusive. How those differences are accommodated into relationships, however, are a function of the individuals involved and the degree of disclosure. I’m sorry that you were apparently the victim of the worst end of the spectrum, and I can see that your forum provides comfort for others that are struggling to make sense of their situations. Just please be careful in generalizing your experiences to a population beyond that of your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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