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October 6, 2017 10:07 am  #1

Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

We've had some recent posts wondering if our group is supportive of BOTH those who wish to leave their marriage and those who wish to stay in their marriage.  If 10 people read a new member's introduction and 9 of them give advice to leave the marriage, I can see how a person would feel this forum is not supportive of those who want to stay.   I think this has become the norm here.  I think this is a very fair and valid question to be asking, so I'd like to have this conversation.  I'd like to have this conversation as a group of adults and see what comes of it. 

To be clear:  The SSN is an organization that states that we are supportive to both sides..  We support the straight spouse who is in a mixed orientation marriage regardless of what direction they chose to go. 

However, the voice of members of this forum is their own and not necessarily that of SSN.  This forum is made up of individuals who are all welcome to have and to share their own point of view.  These opinions are based on their own personal experience and what they have learned from countless other stories they hear and read.  The advice given by each person is their own opinion given in the way they feel is most supportive.  They are not coerced by the SSN or forum leadership to state a certain opinion.  Forum leadership will take action to remove hate speech, personal attacks, and to protect against people with malicious motives, but not necessarily to curb the opinions of the members of the forum. 

So let's talk as a group about this topic.  I would appreciate the input from anyone and everyone. 

Are we truly supportive of those who stay?
Is there a way we can tailor our advice to avoid being seen as un-supportive? 
Should forum leadership be taking action to make our forum more supportive to both sides?


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


October 6, 2017 11:23 am  #2

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

Great topic, thank you. I understand the side of wanting to leave, I’ve felt that way a hundred times. At this moment we are working things out and I hope to find support in that journey.


October 6, 2017 1:08 pm  #3

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

   I think it's a really useful reminder and distinction to make: what individual members say on the forum is not the official voice of the SSN, but our own individual opinions.  
  If OCJamie, or anyone else, is not feeling supported, it's appropriate for those folks to say so, and for others to respond, perhaps by asking, what kind of support do you want?  Then we can offer it as we feel we can.  But I also think it's possible for a member to want to be supported in what others believe is mistaken or delusional hope, and they shouldn't have to pretend, but should be allowed to, as Kel, says, "call bullshit." 
  As for your questions:
1) Am I truly supportive of those who stay?  (I take it you mean in their marriages, not on the Forum.)
     It's been my experience on the forum, reading posts for over a year, that people usually come here right after disclosure or discovery and in shock, or when they're tentatively grasping after a decision to leave their marriages, mostly reluctantly.  Over time, it seems to me, most of those who stay on the forum do opt for divorce. What those who leave--or those who lurk--do we can't know.  My own beliefs about the impossibility of making gay/straight relationships work in a way that will be fulfilling to the straight spouse echo Sean's. When a person posts about that struggle or situation, if I weigh in to suggest they are at an early stage and the evidence suggests they will change their position as they go forward, and I get push back, I generally desist from that thread.   
  2) As to tailoring our advice, I think the only way to do that without asking people to self censor, which then as far as I'm concerned negates the utiliity of the forum, is for all of us to make clear that we say what we say based on our experience and on what we've seen here over time.  
 3) I think forum administrators should stay above the give and take fray unless there are clearly abuses--name calling, trolls, off topic posts. 

Them's my three cents.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (October 6, 2017 1:11 pm)


October 6, 2017 1:10 pm  #4

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

Jeez, I give up. Why are you naming me Out of his closet? Just back off please.


October 6, 2017 1:12 pm  #5

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

 I'm naming you because in your post you said you didn't feel supported in your decision to stay.  


October 6, 2017 1:25 pm  #6

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

This is a really good topic to touch on.  And yes, I can totally see why the question exists - if 9/10ths of the time (and let's be honest - it's more like 99/100 times) we suggest NOT staying together, then is it a support board for anything but leaving?  I suppose it depends on how you define support.  If "support" means that we want to be here for the person - no matter what their choice or past choices, then we've got that covered (most of us, most of the time, anyway).  If you define support, however, as someone who agrees with your decision even if it doesn't match what they would do in your situation, then no - you're may not feel supported here if that's what you're looking for.  There are two sides of the coin here - the support that the new member (who chooses to stay) wants to feel, and the support that the older members feel the new member NEEDS.  And here's where we diverge.

There is a reason we're so divergent.  When we are new here, most of us are in a state of shock, anger, sadness, hopelessness, and confusion.  What they want to hear is that everything's going to be okay.  And to some degree, we're good at telling them that.  We tell them that they can and will make it through this.  That they're not alone.  That it's not their fault.  That what they're feeling is normal and healthy.  But what they REALLY want to hear isn't just that in the end, it's going to be okay.  Most times, what they want to hear is that their love with this person can survive.  That there is middle ground to stand on, and we've seen it done and that they stand a chance of making it work, too.  Only,.... most of us can't, in good conscious, say that.  We told ourselves that for years, and it just prolonged the pain until we realized that.  And we realize, in retrospect, that the only way it could have worked is if we'd laid down everything we needed and wanted and gave our spouse everything they wanted.  THEN maybe it could have worked.  But then, of course, there was no joy in the marriage for US.  And we realized that if someone were to take this from us, then maybe they didn't really love us at all.  And the worst - that no matter how hard we tried and what we gave up, it was always a shell game anyway.  That we never got the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Because they knew that if they gave us that, we'd run shrieking into the night.  They tell us things like, "I just want to have sex with a man occasionally - I still love YOU.  It's just sex."  And then we find out that no, it's not just sex.  It never really set well with us anyway, but we were convinced that it was literally about a pumping action, and that we're attaching too much importance to it.  So we convince ourselves that it's worth it, only to find that they begin spending all their time with their "only sex" buddies.  Or that they're sending them love poems and little heart emojis, and we get to stay home and vacuum and bathe kids and lie down alone, crying - lonely.  And we realize it never was just sex - not to us.  It was an expression of love.  And they've given the damned thing to someone else - or cheaply, to lots of someone else's.  And we're ruined.  And we wish we could re-wind the whole story and just leave at the beginning of the end, rather than going through the gauntlet for no gain in the end, anyway.  And we just can't help but try to save others from that, too.  Especially when we see the story told and re-told here so often.

So it's not about support.  We support you.  But we can't in good conscious tell you that it's worked for us, that we know anyone it's worked for, or that we even believe it CAN work.  Which is why we often suggest you go to a place where there are people that are making it work, and know people who have, and who have suggestions on how to go about doing things that will help you make it.  It's NOT that you're not welcome here.  It's that we literally don't know how to support you in staying.  Because after what we've gone through, we fear for your heart.

I hope that all makes sense.  Again - it's just MY opinion.  Others may totally disagree.  No matter what, I wish you hope and joy, and love, and peace.


You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

October 6, 2017 1:44 pm  #7

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

Sorry OOCH but I do think this is an appropriate time to step into the fray. 

Yes, when this first happens most people originally try to figure out how to make it work. Those who have been through it may have the urge to try to "save them some grief" by assuring them that it won't work, it's hopeless.

If it is really a hopeless situation, they'll figure it out soon enough. THAT IS NOT ALWAYS the case. I personally know many who have found accommodations. Unfortunately they tend not to post here because of the negativity they often get.

This does not mean there is "something wrong" with you that you couldn't, nor does it mean there is "something wrong" with someone who could. Everyone's different. 

The Straight Spouse Network supports all who find themselves in this situation, no matter what choices they or their spouses make. I would ask those here to keep that in mind.



October 6, 2017 1:50 pm  #8

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

Very good summary of the whole thing, Kel.  I think you said it all pretty well.

Also, aren't there some other forums out there for people who are trying to stay in their marriages?  I think others have mentioned them here before - something like "MOMS" and one other one.  Maybe those who feel unsupported here would find more of what they are looking for on those other sites.  Just a thought.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" - Sir Walter Scott

October 6, 2017 2:01 pm  #9

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

It is VERY hard for is to stand by and watch people who are hurting but want to stay.

I guess it’s best to say good luck and if it doesn’t work we will still be here for them.


October 6, 2017 2:06 pm  #10

Re: Is this forum supportive to those who wish to stay in their marriage?

Kel, from SSN's records, it's more like 5/6ths of the time. Which means that about 1/6th of the time, people stay together. Not great odds but not impossible either. Here's what our experience is:

When a spouse comes out or is outed, 1/3 of the couples immediately split, the decision of either the gay spouse, straight spouse or both. After it has had time to sink in, another 1/3 will eventually split, usually within a year. Of those who truly try to preserve their marriage (the last 1/3) about half will make it.

This is anecdotal of course, from people who have voluntarily reported to SSN.

The important thing to remember is that everyone is an individual, not a statistic.


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