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January 22, 2019 5:42 pm  #1

Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

This is my first post. Trying to sort through things.

So I'm 90% sure my wife is gay because she has told me she wants a relationship with me but not a sexual one and that she has sexual feelings with the idea of women but not me. What's challenging is she refuses to identify as gay even though she's told me she identifies "more the other way" and that she's viewed lesbian porn but never fantasizes about being with a man. 

There's a lot of shame for her with this idea of possibly being gay growing up in a religious Christian household. I realized how strong this shame was when I asked her, "It sounds like you are gay. Is that true?" She broke down crying and asked me to never say that again.

What I'm struggling with is my values that I have for marriage to be a lifelong commitment and monogamous. I think back to our wedding day and the vows we took and the "for better or for worse" that was shared.

I know my wife doesn't want to lose me and I don't want to lose her because we have a strong emotional bond and companionship with one another – just very sexually unsatisfying for us both.

Because we have no kids and no mortgage, I think of the advice I'd give a friend who would go through this and I might say something like, "You're still young and have your life ahead of you."

I'm afraid if I were to decide to separate or divorce that she would all the sudden gain more clarity and then end up with another man. Or, maybe she's actually more bi, but doesn't realize it? Or, I would move forward from this and the next relationship I have I'm asked, "Well, why did you divorce?" And my best response is, "My wife was just really confused about her sexuality and I couldn't take it." For some reason, I feel like I should be stronger than this.

But on the flip side, an open MOM seems like something I didn't sign up for (she hasn't asked for this, but I'm looking at all options) and seems like a whole lot of trouble and like your marriage sort of ceases and a new one is born.

While I'm grateful my wife has been so honest with me and has remained faithful, I can't help but to feel my marriage as I know it has died and it all feels so overwhelming and like there are no good options.

How do you determine what's best for you when you wanted none of this?


January 22, 2019 7:29 pm  #2

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Welcome Prince, 

I'm sorry you are going through this stress right now.  I've been exactly where you are and I know just how awful it is.  I hope we can help you move through this and find happiness and peace again in your life. 

I'd like to help you gain some clarity on this situation. 
You're wife comes from a background that shames homosexuality and she refuses to accept herself under that title.  She has told you verbally that she is sexually attracted to women and not to you.  That took a huge leap for her to do that.  It's the biggest secret in her life x a million.  If she's willing to admit something to you that is ashamed to even admit to herself - you must believe her.  This isn't something she just started thinking about out of the blue last week.  She's known since she was a young teen or even earlier and she's built a life around hiding this secret.  She's not going to change her mind about this.  She would never admit it unless she knew it to be true and knew that it wouldn't change later in her life. 

This doesn't mean you have to get a divorce.  Many people choose to stay in a MOM.  We will support you if that's what you want for your life. 

You are indeed fortunate that your wife was honest with you now.  It would have been nice if she had been before you got married, but now is better than 10 years from now after you have kids and a house and have built a life and are working toward your retirement hopes and dreams (see my life).   You are VERY fortunate she hasn't cheated on you (if this is true).  That will save you a great deal of pain. 

How do you decide what to do????     Good luck my friend.  This is the hardest choice in life.   I love how you've already taken a perspective outside of yourself and thought about what your best friends would tell you.  Love is such a powerful emotion.  It doesn't go away quickly.  While you are in love, the idea of leaving the person you are in love with is monumentally difficult.  It takes a long time for this emotion to subside and other emotions (like anger) to take it's place.  At some point you need to make a decision independent of that emotion.  Consider what your life goals are and think about how your current situation might limit or change what you want for your life. 


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


January 22, 2019 7:51 pm  #3

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

I think "for better or worse" comes with the assumption that there were no secrets being withheld by either party when the words were spoken. Incomplete information is a pretty big deal breaker in my book. Not that it requires cruelty in response, but you shouldn't feel obligated either. Take some time to think. You don't have to rush into decisions.


January 22, 2019 9:44 pm  #4

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Daryl - That is the absolute best view of "for better or worse" that I have heard - assumption that there were no secrets being held.  I have always struggled so much with this concept.  This really is clarifying!  

Prince take heed.  Daryl really knows what he's talking about!

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

January 22, 2019 10:39 pm  #5

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Prince, I am sorry about the difficult situation that you find yourself in, but I’m glad you have found these forums as I think they are very helpful to people in our situation.

I do not necessarily think you should rush the decision making process, however you might be spot on with the advice you would give a friend in this situation. It helps make things a bit cleaner and easier (even though this will still be extremely difficult) that you do not have a mortgage and especially that you do not have children together.


March 11, 2019 3:18 pm  #6

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

It pains me to hear how similar of a situation we both find ourselves in. My wife has not admitted to me in any way shape or form that she's gay. She, too, grew up in a conservative Christian home where her parents openly mocked gay people. They referred to gay people as ones who "have that condition" and then use a limp wrist gesture for emphasis. I know that she would be terrified to come out of the closet in any sort of public way for fear of how her family would treat her.

For Better or Worse... this is the phrase that has haunted me for years. I'm not a quitter. Yet, in all of this, I have had no luck in finding a way to "fix" things. I'm an engineer -- I identify problems, come up with possible solutions, apply them, and see if I have been successful in fixing the problem -- rinse and repeat. Only with this problem, I have had no luck in finding any workable solution.

I have been extremely depressed for over a decade -- to the point that I have to sign a release form to leave the doctors office each time they give me the PHQ-9. I have been on so many cocktails of pharmaceuticals that I can't even remember them all. I have done group therapy, individual cognitive therapy, and my therapists all tried to lead me to the same path... that this just might be something beyond what I can fix. I didn't fully realize it (okay, I think I instinctively knew but I didn't want to believe it and tried to hold on to hope that maybe it was something else...) and found myself bouncing from one therapist's office to the next. Each time one of them suggested separation or divorce my wife would tell me that they just don't understand and tell me to find a different doctor.

My wife said that the reason our marriage was off the rails was due to my depression issues. Now I'm wondering if it was the other way around -- did I become depressed because my marriage went off the rails?



March 11, 2019 6:49 pm  #7

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Hi Davin,  first of all thanks for your thanks on your thread.  appreciate it.

I think there's been some talk about the homophobic fathers of gay sons being gay themselves but in the closet.  And it taking a lot of bravery to come out for the son - something I can relate to very much as my ex loves his closet more than anything and is ruthless in defending it.

One of the things that upset me the most as the penny - gay in denial - continued to drop, and there I am reading on the computer later on that evening and it dawned on me that he knew, he knew what was the matter, he could have fixed things and he knew it but he sat by while I suffered.  I literally fell to the floor.  I needed the oxygen I guess.

It was a whole new window onto the person I married.  

And I must admit I am reminded of that view when your wife says your depression is the problem in the marriage - that is throwing you under the bus to protect her closet isn't it?

Depression is normal, it's part of life and good for you in small doses but it can become more serious.  I think when you are depressed you cling to the familiar even more so.  And you're not really looking after yourself any more.  It's good to keep reminding yourself one day I won't be depressed any more, so I might as well do my best to look after my interests now, I will thank myself later for it.

Last edited by lily (March 11, 2019 6:53 pm)


March 12, 2019 12:16 am  #8

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Davin, regarding Lily’s point that “I will thank myself later for it”:  I was reading something lately about decision making.  It said that one of the ways to make a better decision is to imagine our future selves.  What would my future self have wanted me to do in this situation?

Regarding this idea that our spouses blame the marriage problems on our depression:my husband has commented on this in me, and although I know now that he ALWAYS knew about his sexuality, I am not sure he accepts responsibility for how this made me feel—for him to always be disappointed in me and me not know why.  Although  I did have some post partum depression, most of my sadness at other times was about my relationship with my husband—not depressed in general.  Or, I would be anxious or sad knowing that he was unhappy with me about something I could not control or not do well enough.

He has told me that he married me because he thought I was strong and independent, and that he would not have to give me emotional connection.  And I can tell you that anytime i expressed emotion—even over a broken bone or if I was sick—this annoyed the heck out of him.  Maybe on some warped level he felt I was breaking our contract or something. 

So For spouses in the closet, yes they knew that about themselves .  But  I think because they love their closet, they projected onto us:  if they could convince themselves we were the problem, then they did not have to face their own truth.


March 14, 2019 6:31 am  #9

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

Wish I had advice  but the whether they verbally admit/declare themselves gay doesn't seem to matter.
At least that is my sad experience.    Having gone through this here  is a glimpse of what I live with.. Years later my GX is still seeing her girflfriend and is still in the closet..

Her narrative as I understand it;
  She is not gay..  she had a horrible husband and had to divorce him.   I cheated on her (still scratching my head and thinking who I could have cheated with..would love to meet them now) .  Her girlfriend also had a horrible husband who cheated and had to divorce him.  They are two woman comforting each other from their horrible cheating husbands.

I do not think we have any control over their narrative or twist/lie/warped view of reality.    Like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings..  I think they tell themselves this over and over until they believe it is true;    ie..
he was a horrible husband,   he cheated on me,  my cheating  and keeping this from him was ok,  he deserved what I did to him..  over and over until their conscious is clear.

But whatever they believe and tell themselves and others.. there is the real reality of what they did and what they kept secret from us the entire time we knew them.    They will continue to live this secret even when they are actively seeing the same sex...I think its ingrained in them to lie and keep secrets..  I thank God I live in real reality now and am away  from such a morally broken person.


Last edited by Rob (March 14, 2019 6:37 am)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

March 23, 2019 3:19 am  #10

Re: Wife afraid to say she's "gay"

I think similar to narcissists, people do not like to admit being a bad person.  It's much easier to blame someone else, even for ridiculous things, than to accept responsibility for how they may have hurt another person.  Our egos desperately want to see ourselves as a good person, so it clings to any narrative that supports that. 

But as you said, it doesn't really matter what they claim their narrative to be.  It doesn't change the truth of what happened or our story of what we experienced.  I was bothered by her narrative of painting me as a horrible husband until my therapist clarified to me that she probably was just lashing out at me in anger as a coping mechanism to get over the breakup, and since we have broken up, I shouldn't care about that.

I found my way out of the Limbo state of what to do by re-evaluating what I expect and want from a relationship.  After being frozen out a relationship with my ex, I realized that my paper marriage felt completely like a fake marriage/relationship to me, and I knew I had to file for divorce because I knew I couldn't live another moment in such a fake relationship.  You can try to generalize the re-evaluation with "what do I want in a marriage with anyone" if you're concerned that your lingering feelings of love for her may bias your answer.


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