Straight Spouse Network Open Forum

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Thu Oct 5 10:07 am  #1


Straight Spouse Success Stories

The struggle to survive the impact on our lives when we learn our spouse is not straight is a very painful experience.  In the midst of this struggle, it's hard to see hope in the future.  We focus on what we are losing and we can't imagine life being happy again in the future.  We just can't see it.  

As a support network we hear countless stories of sadness and heartache.  So much so, that this forum takes on a sad tone.  We all need some good news.  We need to hear stories of success and happiness. 

Let's use this thread to collect happy stories.  Let's post stories of success.  If you have your own success story, please post it here too. 

When I see them I will post them here.  Please join me in doing the same.   

*Take care to protect anonymity and get permission if the story you read is not already posted in a public space. 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
 

Thu Oct 5 10:09 am  #2


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

From an anonymous straight spouse:
"I am fully aware that everybody's marriage and divorce is different and none of us fit neatly into a little box. But I hope this will also be inspiring.As somebody who is well past my divorce, I wanted to share something with all of you that I wish somebody else had told me at the beginning.

Divorce is not the end of the world. I thought it would be.

My parents have been married for (many) years... wasn't that supposed to be me too? I was so in love with my ex for so long and thought we would be together forever. Even as he became quirkier and I saw signs that later were undeniable that he was gay, I didn't think any of that was a deal breaker. Of course, TGT was a deal breaker for me. I was devastated and sad. I'd always thought I was good at being married and never imagined I would be divorced. He found a very naive, gullible woman and I was the perfect straight wife!  And going through the divorce process sucks. No doubt, it is bad. Especially when your partner is gay, it leaves so many questions and so much self doubt. How can you help but feel like you failed? It leaves you feeling raw, vulnerable, angry, lonely, unattractive, untrusting. You worry for the future... what does this mean for my family, my kids, my finances, my home?  But once you get past it, you CAN find happiness.

I'm not saying that finding a straight partner is the answer for everybody, but it was for me. And now that I'm in a genuine loving relationship with an amazing STRAIGHT man, I sit there and think, "what the hell was I thinking? Why did I want to stay married to HIM? THIS is what I should have had all along. THIS is what my married life should have been like." It really can be so much better.  I'm grateful I had my ex... he gave me two absolutely fantastic children and I wouldn't trade them for the world. He and I are still good friends and we can still complete each other's sentences.(...)  He also gave me an incredible amount of pain, and he showed me what I never want and will never accept ever again in a relationship. Without him, I'm not sure I would be able to truly appreciate the love and goodness of my boyfriend... I mean yes, of course I would, but the pain I had before makes me appreciate the happiness I now have.

Everybody here can eventually find this. Do the work on yourself first. Try to be happy and healthy on your own.(...) I took care of myself. When the right person comes along, you will be ready."


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:17 am  #3


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

What a great idea for a thread.  Thanks for this.

 

Thu Oct 5 10:17 am  #4


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A story of success from our own forum member Steve:

"It’s been 13 years since she dropped her bombshell into my life.  I was 40 at the time. 13 years since my world fell apart and I almost made the decision to end my own life. Yes… I regret to say I went to a VERY dark place… but here we are 13 years later.
 
13 years later we have raised our two sons having shared custody and care of our precious boys. At 23 and 21 years old they are doing great.
13 years later I am at the peak of my career, working hard and doing well.
13 years later I am back in my own home.
13 years later I am in a relationship with a girl I dated at school. We were each other’s first love and after 30 years apart we are once again soulmates and lovers. I have never been happier.
 
When you ask yourself ‘will I get through this?’ the answer is ‘yes’... you can... but you must dare to hope. You must dare to dream.  It’s a long haul and there are not always fairytale endings but the future is largely what you choose to make it.  I know the pain you are in. I know it seems unbearable. I know you can’t see the way ahead… but please hold on.

Take one day at a time. Take baby steps on the good days. On the bad days lean on your family and friends. As time passes the darkness lifts and the fog clears. Get help wherever you can find it but most of all believe in yourself. Believe that you are a good person who can both love and be loved.
 
Never give up."


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:20 am  #5


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A story of success from forum member Kel:

"We married in 1996 when I was 26 and he 23.  We had only been dating for 3 months when we found out I was pregnant.  I loved him, and may have even been in love with him.  But I knew then that he wasn't my Mr. Right.  I thought of him more as my Mr. Right Now.  He was fun and he never blew me off like so many other men that I'd dated right before him.  I had dated someone seriously for 7 years before him, with a hiatus of about 3 years where I only dated topically (pretty much because I wasn't finding anything of value or anyone who was interested in more).  So I had gotten myself all into a lather about how I had my own home (condo), a decent corporate job, a nice car, new furniture, and no man.  No prospects of becoming married and the mother I'd always wanted to be.  I didn't get pregnant on purpose, but once I knew I was going to have a baby, I was as excited as I was scared.  I figured I loved him, and he professed love to me, and he wanted children SO badly (he was adopted and had no blood relatives of his own).  My reasoning was that if it didn't work out, we could divorce.  It seemed that going it as a single mom when the man I loved and loved me wanted nothing more than to make a family was more risky than the alternative of marrying.  So we took the plunge.  The timing was: started dating in May, found out we were pregnant in August.  Married in November (traditional ceremony with 150 guests), followed by the honeymoon and the holidays.  Had our son at the end of April, just shy of a year together.  We both worked, my mom helped with childcare, and a busy life ensued.  We did the traditional things - had family over for holidays, bought a house a few years after the baby, then had another son and then a daughter.  There is 6 years between our first and last.  He wanted another 2 children, but I was at my limit.  It became obvious that his ongoing job problems (quitting, having trouble finding a new job, then getting fired) were ongoing, and I would need to do the bulk of the work supporting the family both financially and as the only responsible adult (school decisions, health, life decisions).  It was a lot, and I was tired.

Now we're a good 6.5 / 7 years into our marriage.  I am not happy - with a lot of things.  I try to give him tasks to do to increase his self-confidence (paying bills, taking the kids to the doctor), and they all wind up horribly.  We had to file for bankruptcy.  At one point our car was repossessed and I had NO idea we were even behind on payments.  Just watching my car get taken off the street and thinking it was being stolen until I was told otherwise.  There was a time when I made a doctor's appointment for my oldest, who was 6 months old at the time.  He had a rash (which wound up just being a reaction to the fabric softener my mother was using to wash his clothes, unbeknownst to me).  Dh begged to take his son - said he was an adult and I didn't need to take over the kids.  Okay.  So I sent him on his way, only to get home that evening to a crying dh and no baby.  He had taken his hand off our son while he was on the examining table, and our son rolled and fell on the floor, fracturing his skull.  I sent my baby boy to the doctor for a topical rash and in return, got a child with a hematoma the size of a softball on the back of his head, and more worry than I can describe to you.  I tried - I really tried - to give him more responsibility so my burden would be lessened and my dh would feel more valuable.  But it resulted in my child being overdosed on medication (NO, 1 tsp. and 1 Tbl. are NOT the same thing!), our finances going into the hole, and needing to sell our home.  And yet,.... I told myself that he was a good, kind man.  One who tried, and worked hard - especially around the house.  He cooked, cleaned, watched the kids as needed.  He was a loving father.  He was just a sucky husband.  But I soldiered on.  I had tenacity.  I could do anything I put my mind to.  And I put my mind to having a successful marriage.  The fact that I felt all alone in my marriage due to an ongoing and pervasive lack of intimacy wasn't dissuading me.  I just complained every 6 months about how I couldn't go on this way.  If I was going to hold the world together, I needed LOVE.  Intimacy.  Desire.  Passion.  And I got promises, but no action.  Only rejection.

Around this same time, something was desperately wrong with my husband.  He was distant - depressed, sort-tempered, volatile, increasingly self-isolating, and almost like a ghost.  I handled that for months with no explanation.  Any time I'd ask what was wrong, he'd tell me "nothing".  If I pressed him, he got angry; "If you keep asking me, there's going to BE something wrong!".  I was busy with a preschooler, a toddler, and an infant, so I kept myself busy.  Until one day when my 6 year-old told me that he was scared of Daddy.  I saw that it wasn't only me who was walking on eggshells around him, but ALL of us - my children, my parents, the freaking DOG.  So I told him I'd leave him if he didn't get help.  He made an appointment and got the time wrong, and when he went to counseling, there was no one there.  I remember sitting in the closet and crying so hard I was shaking.  I had no idea if it really was a mistake, or if it was an unwillingness to change things.  But he did get into counseling, and was diagnosed with PTSD.  He'd had lots of abuse in his past, including rape by an adult at the age of 6.  He was given to the orphanage in a 3rd world country after being shot and watching his two brothers suffer the same fate and die in front of him.  Of course he had PTSD.  They put him on meds, and that worked somewhat, but made him sleep a ton and not even be able to become sexually aroused.  This wasn't better, only different.  But he was happy on these meds (or so he said), and refused to consider a change.

Meanwhile, dh was working a ton.  Which was.... unusual.  He'd go into the general store he was working at (we lived in rural WI), and he'd spend time doing things off the clock - like going to Sam's Club 45 minutes away from home, to shop for the store.  I didn't understand - WHY would you do these things for free, and leave me at home alone to deal with my 3 little monkeys.  I was stressed out beyond belief.  The days stretched into the night and I was always "on duty" as a nursing mom.  Meanwhile, he was raving about his friend "Brian".  They talked a ton on the phone.  He would go hang with Brian.  I talked to Brian once or twice on the phone, but it wasn't a normal conversation.  They never seemed to be talking about anything as much as "hanging out" on the phone.  Weird.   But he finally had a friend, so I let him be.  At one point, we were going to a Christmas party for the owner of the store (who also owned other businesses in town), and I was finally going to get to meet Brian.  He never showed.  Dh spent time on the phone with him in private, and it was a mystery why Brian never showed.  I believe he was drunk, if memory serves.  And crying.  A few weeks later, I got a call at around 2:30 in the morning - on our home phone. I was up nursing the baby, so I answered it.  It was a woman, crying, raging, asking who this was - that WHO is the person that's been cheating with her boyfriend???  I had NO idea what this was about.  But it turns out it was Brian's girlfriend.  I told her there must have been some mistake - I was the wife of one of Brian's coworkers, and I had just had a baby 4 weeks earlier.  She seemed pacified by this, and when I mentioned it to dh the next morning, he told me that yeah - Brian's girlfriend (whom I'd never heard mentioned before) was crazy like that.  Did this sort of thing all the time.  Huh.  Took me until very recently to put together that my dh was most likely cheating with Brian, and experiencing depression over not being able to be with him when he was obligated to be with the family.

We found out while in WI that our 6 year-old had been molested by a 9 year-old boy that we knew.  Six months had passed by the time we found out.  We told the cops, got our child tested for STD's, got him into therapy, and waited a few months for DCFS to confront the other family.  I talked about the issue a lot - with my church pastor, with my parents and sister, with my best friend, with anyone I thought could help.  I was as well adjusted about it as one could be, but dh remained bottled up.  He knew the boy's parents, and it killed him to work in the general store every evening and see them come in to buy their own 6-packs of beer, and touch their hands while he transferred their change to them.  We made plans to move back home to Chicagoland.  Soon after moving, I checked my dh's email account (as he often told me to do when I had connectivity) for job leads.  Instead, I found "My Yahoo Matches", and they were all gay.  WTF?  I confronted him the next morning, and he claimed that he'd been having dreams about his past, and instead of being scared, he was excited.  He worried that he was gay, so he thought he'd try to figure it out.  Ummmm, by DATING MEN?  I made it clear that I wanted a divorce, but dh freaked out and said that he wanted to be with his kids, and he didn't realize that MEN would be cheating (only women).  So we went to our pastor, then for counseling.  It helped a bit, and I was back on the path of making this work - for all our sakes.

Twice when we were newlyweds my dh had gone out dancing with my sister and her gay friend (to gay bars), and both times, dh got heavily drunk and started dirty dancing with men and trying to kiss them.  He would claim to have no memory of this the next day.  So this new development seemed to fit with those events a good 8 years earlier.  I knew what to watch for now.  Despite the lack of cheating that seemed to follow, clearly Iiiii didn't have him, either.  His heart was unobtainable.  He wasn't interested in my body, or touching.  I lost weight, got a tummy tuck and breast reduction, and was all perky and gorgeous.  And he.still.didn't.notice.  Everyone ELSE did though, and men began walking up to me in the city when I was waiting on a bus or train, asking for my number.  Here I was, a mom in my late 30's, having men 15 years younger wanting to be with me.  I was sex starved.  I told dh what was going on, and that if things didn't change in our relationship (specifically in the sex department), he stood a chance of losing me.  He used the opportunity to tell me that he was disappointed in me for having cheating as an option.  I told him that it wasn't that I wanted to cheat - that he was starving me, and if it kept up, I was likely to steal a piece of bread for sustinance.  He had fair warning.  NOTHING changed.  About a year later, I told him that if something didn't change big, and soon, he WAS going to lose me - either to cheating or divorce.  He did NOT heed the warning.

I connected with an old would-be flame on FB, and we began texting like crazy. We met in person, and the sparks flew.  It was only kissing, but I felt like my world had tilted on its axis.  I knew I'd been missing so much passion, but it wasn't until then that I realized just how much.  And that I couldn't continue going on without this.  I figured I'd be like every man out there and just have sex on the side and go home to my family.  That didn't work out with this man, but something inside of me had woken up.  One day, I passed dh in the hallway, and after him asking me how I was, I said, "I can't do this anymore".  And that was the beginning of the end.  I wanted a divorce.  I could no longer go on suffering for no return and no end in sight.  Suddenly, dh was interested in changing.  But it was too little, too late.  I was very insulted that all this time he knew I was unhappy, he didn't care.  ONLY when it affected HIM was he willing to make changes.  And that just wasn't good enough.  It meant that when he was out of danger of losing me, he'd go right back to his old behavior.  And I was done with that.  DONE.

It took another year and a half to separate.  Dh's mom was living with us, and was sick with breast cancer and going through chemo and radiation.  Dh was in culinary school and needed to finish that before he could support himself.  That took a while, and then he needed to get a job and accumulate some experience and get some money saved for moving out.  He had NO friends and no relatives other than his mother that he could live with.  I wasn't having him rebound into the house, so I waited it out.  It was so hard.  Once the marriage is over and the towel thrown in, there is no reason to compromise anymore.  Almost every argument ended with "Fuck you!".  He dragged his feet on leaving.  We went to counseling for a bit at his insistence, but it was only really for him to see that this was unsavable.  What it did was give him the space (once he started going on his own, at the counselor's suggestion) to realize that he was gay.

He moved out and left his mother behind with me and the kids.  He and I had been both dating others under the radar for some time by then.  I'd gone through my sex phase, my fun phase, and my "what do I want?" phase, only to realize that what I wanted was a real, committed relationship with a man again.  My ex left in July, and by Dec., I'd met a wonderful man and we quickly fell in love.  The kids loved him.  This man was an adult - something I loved.  He was kind and protective and hard-working (same job for 20+ years), and had a daughter a year older than my oldest.  He.... *got* it.  We had the most passionate sex EVER, and lots and lots of it.  Only 4 months after we started dating, he moved and my MIL moved out with her son.  Six months later, my bf asked me to marry him in front of my entire family.  Magnificent proposal, big ring, the whole 9 yards.  8 months later we married and went on our honeymoon.  It's been smooth sailing ever since.

If I had to go through it alllll over again to get to be who I am, so that I could meet this man and be this happy, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  All worth it.  Finally happy.  Been married for 3 years now and I'm happier every day than the day before.  And this man is constantly drinking me in with his eyes and coming to kiss the back of my neck as I stand at the kitchen sink, doing the dishes.  I'm in Heaven.

Kel"


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:24 am  #6


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A story of success and great advice from forum member dancerbeck:

"OK, so you find out you unknowingly married a closeted gay spouse. Once you get through the devastation, it's time to look at you and what may have caused you to end up in this situation in the first place.  This post is not for newbies, you're probably not ready to hear this. But, tuck in away because you will need to revisit this thought when you are ready to release the pain and indignation of what was perpetrated on you. 

I am 4 and 1/2 years post disclosure.  I was completely devastated. My whole world as I knew it exploded. I was married 28 years to a man I thought was my soulmate. Oh yes, there were red flags. My marriage never felt like the loving relationship I pictured marriage to be. I could have probably figured it our years ago if I were so incredibly trusting, supportive and giving to a fault. I believed every emotionally manipulative thing my GXH ever told me.  He could explain away anything. That's because he was a narcissist and I was/am a complete codependent.  I was raised to be the ideal, obedient, understanding wife. You need to travel 50 to 60 % of our marriage because it's important for our business?  Of course I understand. You need to go off and have your personal time even though you travel constantly? Of course I understand. You need to buy a cabin up north so that when you're not working you have a place to go unwind? Of course I understand!! I'm a wonderful understanding spouse!!! I suspect most of us fall into this category. 

I have come to understand that my upbringing with a narcissistic father and a completely codependent slave of a mother set me up perfectly to be prey for this situation. I'm not saying I deserved this is any way...none of us did. All I am saying is there comes a time when you must realize that you are a part of the equation.  We were chosen. Make no mistake. They needed to be the selfish ones so they needed to find someone who would put up with their selfishness.  Enter us. My GXH actually plucked me from a neighboring state to love bomb me and prepare me to enter his world and his life plan. I believe he planned from the beginning to live a double life. He knew he was gay but due to family pressures, did not want to live openly as a gay man. SOOOO his solution was to present the proper straight looking life while acting on his true orientation in secret. He was not in denial. I truly don't believe in denial. I think they know what they are doing from the start.

So, once you get this, you make the conscious decision to begin to heal. This is when we need to look at us. What caused us to put up with all of this foolishness? Well, it's something about us. I believe the root is in our own codependent personalities or perhaps just the need to be the perfect spouse. I urge all of you to delve into some of your own personal personality characteristics of why you may have been chosen.

You will heal from this. If you actively seek healing, you will find it.  I am far beyond the hurt. He is really currently a speck in my rear view mirror. I can even interact with him and feel nothing. So now, I am focused on working on me so that I will not end up with anyone who would use and abuse the love I have to give. I had to make the decision to no longer hate him and that was the beginning of my true healing. Carrying around hate affects all of your relationships and the way you approach life. Unfortunately it's so toxic that it doesn't just affect your dealing with your ex, it affects everything and everyone you interact with.  I highly recommend releasing that.  I'm working on forgiveness (the toughest step of the healing process) and hope to be there one day too. "


 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:33 am  #7


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A story of success and encouragement from forum member Bob:

"Hello everyone, I'm pleased to find the new forum!

I know I've been quiet recently - I have been lurking, but not posting as much. My reason why is because I am now in the final stages of my divorce. I'm in the UK, and there's three key documents - 1. the decree nisi, where a judge agrees the relationship has broken down irretrievably, 2. the financial consent order finalising the money, and 3. the decree absolute which formally dissolves the marriage. I have my nisi, and the consent order is now with the judge for consideration - the absolute can't be applied for until 6 weeks after the nisi is issued, and my lawyer has advised me to not apply for it until the money stuff is sorted. The absolute is also a bit of a formality, as that's not something me and my XW have to agree on, I just applied for it and it's granted.

I thought that perhaps I should not post too much on here about how life is going, as my XW knew this site existed and I was using it before we split, and I was concerned she might read what I've put and this might influence the discussions and negotiations about the money. Now the paperwork has gone to the judge, and I'm slightly less paranoid, I thought you might like an update. 

So, to start my message proper! Life is GOOD! Today is my birthday, and I'm turning 32. A year ago, I thought life was pretty much set - I was married, and in routines of day to day life. I wasn't particularly happy, but I thought that life was pretty much as it was going to be and I'd made my peace with that. A year ago, I was still 2-3 months from finding out about my XW's sexuality (I can't remember the exact date anymore, and I'm intentionally making no effort to remind myself!). 

Today, my life is completely different. I have a new lady in my life, who is fantastic. I have an excellent and strengthened relationship with my family. I have a brand new social life, with good friends who previously were only acquaintances but that I never had time for before.

I am much happier than I've been in years. I have a healthy relationship, which makes me realise how unhealthy my previous one was. I have a busy and active life - before I rarely went out, now i'm out all the time. Dates with my girlfriend, seeing my family and events with my friends fill my calendar in a way I've always wanted, but never had before. 

The attacks of low mood have almost entirely passed. The occasional thing pops up and takes me by surprise - for example, small traditions from the previous 12 years which don't happen any more. But TGT doesn't plague me any more - seeing gay people doesn't upset me as it once did. 

Of course I am still processing the pain from the end of my marriage and relationship. This now however feels normal and natural - when I think of the past, it makes me a bit sad as there were many, many happy times in my previous relationship, memories which are now bittersweet. What hurts most is that it's been dragged out through the divorce, which is an ugly, messy thing to deal with. The anger and depression are gone. Frustration remains while the divorce rumbles away, but even that looks like it's nearly done now! 

People have been saying to me today things like "oh, 25 again?", and I reply with "no - I'm happy to be 32". I feel younger today than I have for several years, as I am leading a busier and more vibrant life. 

What I wanted to share today is simple - it gets better! I'm planning to start posting here again, to help others as they helped me. "


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:36 am  #8


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A second version of Bob's Story:

"My ex-wife and I met when we were teenagers - 18-19. We were introduced through mutual friends, and she was my first girlfriend. Prior to dating me, she had dated firstly women, and more recently men, and she told me this at the very start of the relationship. I like to think I didn't have a problem with this, but my memory of the time is faded and I suspect I didn't handle it particularly well - I was just a dumb kid with a new girlfriend, I didn't really want to know about that bit of her past as it made me uncomfortable!

For the first few years, everything was great. We fell in love, survived a long distance relationship when I was at university, we went travelling and we moved in together before she started her course in a different county. 

In retrospect, it was at this point things started to unravel. Our sex life had been good, but around this time (2-3 years in) things started to become more awkward.  At the same time, her health started to get worse - chronic pain conditions like M.E. There was always a reason why we weren't having sex, and after she told me she had felt pressured once and unhappy with it, I backed off and eventually stopped asking. I wasn't happy with the situation, but I loved her and she loved me, and we wanted to make our lives work. The big mistake I made was not addressing that I wasn't happy with the situation, but I justified it by relating it to stress at work, stress at her uni, and I started to continually look to the future: things will be better when she finishes uni, things will be better when we move, things will be better when we get engaged, things will be better when we buy the house, things will be better when we get married. I avoided facing the problems, as I couldn't bear the idea of the relationship ending and so I did what I thought was right to keep the relationship afloat. We got married around 25-26, when we'd been together about 5 years. 

Flash forward a few more years, and things weren't better. I was wanting to start a family, but not until her health improved. It didn't. I did everything I could to try to help her feel better, encouraging her to take on hobbies, meet new people and so on, but ultimately we were pretty much stand-at-home types - with the exception that I went to work, whereas she mainly did some volunteering which she enjoyed. 

Everything came to a head last winter, January 2015. Her mental health had been suffering, and this culminated in her leaving the house with the intention of killing herself as she had simply had enough. She got to the bus stop, where she stayed and watched a few buses go past her without getting on to take her where she was planning to do it. She then called a friend, who was able to let me know what was going on. 

I was terrified. I called the police, who after I told them where she was when her friend called and told me, brought her back. Previously my ex had had some success at counselling, but had run out of free sessions from the doctor. After this I insisted she go back to counselling, as this simply couldn't continue any more. We sought out the counsellor she had been see at the free clinic, and booked on with her as a private client. With support from work, I supported my ex into going to counselling, even going so far as to drive her there to make sure she went.

The start of 2015 was a dark time, and hard work. My ex however had success at counselling. She started to feel and do better, and life improved. We even rekindled our sex life a few times, after several years absence. The summer was pretty good, but in the Autumn things got worse again. 

Again, I found out what happened in retrospect. As my ex became more comfortable with herself as counselling, she started to experience life more. I continued to encourage her to go and do new things, to live life etc etc. Now at a weekend away, something happened which she hadn't had happen since she met me - she found someone attractive, and it was a woman. And not just attractive, but gorgeous, distractingly so - smitten even. She panicked, not knowing what to do with this, and took it to her counsellor. It was at this point I realised something was up, but I didn't know what.

At her counselling, my ex came to the realisation that she was not sexually attracted to men. Previously she has wondered if she was asexual, but her experience at the weekend away had shown her that her sexuality was very much active, just pointing in a different direction to my own. After a few weeks where I knew something was wrong but she wouldn't tell me, eventually she came clean, and came out to me. 

The bottom fell out from my world. I was lost, I had no idea what to do. We spent the next few weeks trying to see if we could come to some sort of compromise - remaining together as companions was put on the table, which I refused as I was not willing to give up on sex at 31. I had always believed it would come back into my life when her health improved and things got better, but at the prospect of sex never returning to our relationship I had to say I could not accept that. We discussed everything, over an exhausting few weeks. We talked about how we could try to make sex work for both of us, but it was impossible as the intimacy had gone and the idea of sex with me made her uncomfortable as it wasn't what she wanted.

It was at this point I found the SSN forum, a wonderful beacon of light in a very dark place. I poured my heart out on the forum, and received advice and support when I needed it most. I will be forever grateful. 

Eventually we agreed that the problems were insurmountable. The more time she accepted that she was gay, the more her feelings of attraction for the woman she met at the away weekend strengthened. There was still no revival of interest in men, she even took the time to go and sit and watch people in the high street to see what sorts of people she found attractive - the answer was not men. 

We agreed she would leave, as the house was in my name and the money which paid for it was mine. She was going to move back to her parents, and figure it out from there. We spent two weeks going through everything, literally everything, in the house. As I was going to be staying, I said she could take anything she wanted before she went, and anything she left behind would be mine. This left me with an odd shopping list after she had left, but seemed the fairest way to do things. 

Immediately after she came out to me, I opened up to my family about the situation, and they supported me well. I also told my immediate line manager, as it had a major impact on my work - fortunately work were terrific and very supportive. After we decided to split, I took up a friend's long standing offer to hang out with him and his mates once a week - people I had met a number of times and wanted to know better but had never done so. 

After we split, I went and stayed with my parents, and honestly let them look after me for a while. I decided that my new life was going to be different, and that I was not going to let myself fall into the same traps again. I threw myself into my new life - I spent time with my family, made plans with my new friends, contacted and re-connected with old ones, accepted every social invitation I got. I was incredibly busy in almost no time - and honestly it was exhausting but absolutely great to see how many people I had just waiting for me to contact them. I even managed to join a family trip to New York, which was simply amazing, and on the day I flew back to the UK was the day the new Star Wars film came out which I went to see at midnight release with my new friends. 

After three months with my parents, I started the work of redecorating and organising my house, to make it my own. In all, it was another three months before I moved back in, to a very different house to the one I left. I've lived there now for about 5 months, and I'm loving it. Redecorating and making decisions as I saw fit I found to be very beneficial - when I moved back in, it really felt like a new house to me even though all I'd really done was move furniture around and paint a few walls. The feel of the place however was completely different. 

Immediately after the split, I started the divorce proceedings. We had spoken and agreed to wait for the two year separation period and use a separation agreement to document that, but my lawyer told me that it would cost me as much in legal fees to get that document put together as to sort the divorce out - better just to get it over and done with. After a lot of thought, I agreed. I won't go through the ins and outs of the divorce - needless to say there were ups and downs but after two face to face meetings with my ex we managed to agree on terms. More than we had agreed before she left, but an amount that I could afford without making myself destitute. 

The meetings were unpleasant but necessary - it was at the second she told me she never wanted to see me again. We had said before she left that we would after a period apart, try to be friends. Honestly, I was still happy with that plan. After she said she didn't want that any more, I was sad but I respect her decision - and anyway, my life is so different now to what it was, I don't really want her to have any part in it anyway. 

During all of this, to my surprise a spark developed with one of the old friends I reconnected with. I was relucuant at first - it did seem too early for me to be thinking about dating, but at the same time I did want to keep seeing her. She knew the whole story, she was one of the first people I saw in the weeks after my ex and I split. When she told me she had feelings for me, I was delighted but as I said, a bit hesitant. I laid my cards on the table about my concerns, and asked if she was sure she would want to date someone who is still getting over a serious relationship, that she would have to accept I was still healing. Looking back now, it was a risky move but the alternative was to end the friendship as after admitting we liked each other there's no going back really is there! 

The risk paid off. Things which I had lost returned, passion, romance, intimacy. We've been together about 9 months now, and she's been wonderful and supportive, and patient through the long grind that is divorce. 

This brings us back up to date. My divorce has been finalised this week, so I am a free man once again. I'm happier than I've been in years, with a bright future ahead of me. I've also learnt so much through all of this, about myself, and about how I want to live my life. I've also learnt that if things are not how I want them to be, I CAN change them - that it is self-defeating to please others at the expense of my own happiness (obviously there's compromise in life, what I mean is to avoid codependency). 

Gosh, this has turned out long. I hope this may give others an idea of how things can turn around. If you're in the dark times, hold on - they WILL pass. Keep posting here, I can't stress how much it helped me to talk with others. I'm so pleased now that I am in the position that I can try to help others."


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:38 am  #9


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A success story from forum admin Sam:

"I had some serious misgivings when I married her. Something didn’t seem right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. She assured me everything would be OK once we were married.  She put to rest any worries I could actually verbalize.
However, our marriage started out rocky. It became clear she was not going to address my misgivings, and I was to get used to the way things are. I did. Outwardly we were a happy couple, however she slowly and subtly isolated me, from family, old friends, my church, in short any support system outside of her that I might need. I didn’t notice it, most of the time. Oh I could see my family, friends, go to church anytime I wanted, provided I met conditions that usually made it more trouble than it was worth.
So we went on, had two great kids, and did all the things typical suburban families do together. With the kids I was distracted, and involved with them.
Throughout our marriage I was told that if I just change one little thing, everything would be totally fine. So I would but there was always something else. After about 15 years of this I stopped trying, and she became more unhappy, all my fault of course. I have come to realize that this was all controlling behavior on her part. She was trying to control her own urges and everything else in her life.
Fast forward 5 years, kids are 11 and 14… In August 2000 she told me out of the blue she wanted an open marriage or a divorce. I asked her if I could think it over, she said “fine” and I immediately went out and bought a pack of cigarettes after having been off them for 25 years. I always told myself that if the world was going to end within 5 years I would start again… seemed close enough.
A month later she told me the nature of the open marriage she desired. She had always been a lesbian, wanted to indulge. She had to add that if only I had been a better husband, she would never have had the urge to pursue it. It was somewhat a shock, but somewhat of a relief as well, it explained a lot, and I actually realized that the part about being a better husband was BS. I spent the next couple months in a fog, trying to figure out how to make the marriage work, going between shock, sadness, anger, relief, and worst, fear of the unknown, fear for my kids.
I reached a low point on Christmas day, 2000. I did a Google search and found SSN, and joined an online email group. It was a lifesaver, validating, and a huge relief to be able to talk to others in similar situations. I also joined a local group and met any str8s I could, traveling to gatherings all over the country when I heard of them. At a picnic on a beach in Oxnard CA with other str8s, after talking to all at great length, the fear suddenly left and I knew what I had to do. After returning home, I told my wife that the open marriage wasn’t working for me and that we would have to divorce. Her reaction… well maybe she wasn’t lesbian after all, so again it would be “all my fault”. This was, of course, yet another attempt to manipulate and control. I didn’t buy it and soon she went back to her new life.
We spent about a year planning the breakup and separated in November, 2002, I bought a townhome nearby and in the same school district so I could stay involved with the kids and share custody. (as an aside, while she sucked as a wife I had to admit she was a good mom and I didn’t want to interfere with that either.) Our divorce was final in January 2004.
In the mean time, as I healed, I became increasingly involved with SSN, wanting to give back for the lifesaving help I received in my darkest days. One of the first things I did, in response to a request from Amity Buxton, was to create the old Forum. I became a local face-to-face group leader, and was invited to join the SSN board of directors. I served as president of the board from 2007 to 2009. I remain a local contact, the administrator of this Forum, and have rejoined the board of directors.
I eventually got a religious annulment from my ex. I needed to do that for ME, as I realized that I didn’t have a marriage to her. She passed away in 2012 of cancer. My kids took it hard, and I have tried to be there for them when needed.
I remarried in 2014. There is no comparison between what I had then and what I have now. Life is good, and normal. And… I have finally managed to quit smoking again."


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

Thu Oct 5 10:42 am  #10


Re: Straight Spouse Success Stories

A short story of success from forum member Jess:

"My divorce was awful and nasty. My ex completely turned on me, blamed me, and when he knew I wouldn't come back, claimed to want me back. He blames the divorce totally on me even though he divorced me too. He claims he's not into homosexuality cause he calls it SSA, the sanitized version in his head,. The divorce process was torturous as I watched all I had worked to build crumble. The kids faltered, were harsh towards me, and one older child of 5 still blames me. 

Four years later it's much better, my kids are doing better, and I no longer feel like such a failure, but I'm still working on that. I never dreamed my family would be broken, and that's the part I can never change. I need to accept it.  I can't say I ever hated myself for this (nor my X), but life was so painful that I had moments of not wanting to wake up alive the next day...except for my kids. 

This GT is a faith shaker, but it's cause the experience is so painful and confusing. I know God loves me despite the fact that He didn't halt me from marrying a closeted man. Life happens. TGT  happens. Oh ugh - what a horrible experience to recall. But, yes it does get better, and I say this having been married longer than you are. 

I've met a great guy who thinks I'm awesome and who shows me the physical attraction (the difference) that I never experienced with my X.  I've healed tremendously, I'm happy, I'm making it! Every once in awhile I'll pause in disbelief or get momentary PTSD about my life, but then I realize how much better things are and how much I have to look forwards to - more than ever, 

Hang in there!"


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
     Thread Starter
 

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