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May 11, 2020 9:29 pm  #1

13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

This past week has been the hardest week of my life. My wife came out to me, just over a week ago, and abruptly two days later left. She was my best friend, and my love. We loved each other, we had _so_ many good times together. Several years of marriage and a young child together.

Last week we were in the process of making a major life decision (where should we move? how would we manage it, with the pandemic), when she told me she loved me but "had something to tell me". Well that something was that she believes she is a lesbian, and that she doesn't believe she can repress her feelings any more about women. She abruptly left, and I went from having a loving partner of 13 years, to her being completely absent.

A couple days after she came out to me, while we were living together, she said she needed to go away to have time to think and figure out what she wanted. She came back a different person. Cold, emotionless (she was kind and warm to me even after she came out, before she left). She told me, essentially, that I was a horrible person and that I had treated her so badly that she was disgusted with herself (nothing could be further from the truth, I have been an incredibly supportive and loving husband and father). She started lying about our relationship dynamics. This completely torn me apart. I was a complete mess. She then started denying that our separation had anything at all to do with her sexuality. That was by far the hardest part to deal with. Why was this woman, who I loved, and who I know loved me, now telling me that everything I knew was a lie? It was devastating. I sat for hours, writing in a notebook, trying to piece together what the truth was. What just happened? It literally felt like ground was swept out from under my feet. It felt like I was living in nightmare. 

I've grieved, cried, had panic attacks, couldn't eat or sleep. Every morning I wake up and slowly come to the realization that my family was just torn apart. We were actively trying for another child. I lost my wife, time with my son I will never get back, our future child (that I expected we would conceive soon), and the family I thought I would have. 

But thank god, for my own sanity, she finally tonight came around again to admitting that this is, in large part, about her sexuality.

She's now telling me "she thinks I knew", that I "should have known", and pointing out things in our past that she says should have clued in me. Fuck that. How dare she put this on me, as if I'm somehow responsible for this situation. We were literally trying for a child, days before. 

I still hear her voice, I've had multiple experiences of auditory hallucinations, hearing her talking and singing, in the moments when I wake up in the morning, half asleep. For a moment, the world is right, our family is together. 

I wish I could be mad at her. I wish I could hate her. But she is such a good person. I know that in my heart. She's confused, and angry, and regretful. And I'm trying to be kind and supportive. Especially with our son involved, who we both love _so_ deeply.

I don't know what I want out of writing this. I just want to share my story so others know they are not alone. To perhaps have others tell me I am not alone. Last week was the most devastating and painful week of my life, but things are slowly better.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by MettaForAll (May 11, 2020 10:11 pm)


May 11, 2020 9:54 pm  #2

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

I'm sorry for your loss.  These disclosures are like bomb drops, in that they blow our world apart.

About her saying you "ought to have known."  How could you know?  You had no context into which to slot her behavior other than what she had represented to you to be the truth: that you had married a heterosexual woman who was committed to life with you.  She is trying to offload her guilt about the consequences of her revelation onto you, and you are right to refuse it.  

Remember that you are playing catch up--she has known this about herself long enough for her to process it, and you are only now hearing it.  That puts you off balance, and it disadvantages you in the break up.  Please do go and see a lawyer with a specialty in family law and custody for men, so you can have someone on your side so you don't end up with a custody arrangement that is unfair to you.  


May 11, 2020 10:24 pm  #3

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

Yes, I will be in touch with a divorce lawyer soon, as much as that pains me.

My genuine hope is that we can be friends. We are both close with each other's family. We talked about how we would communicate our separation to them (she has not come out publicly...). I hope our families can accept that 'things were just not working' but that we care about and support one another. I have to have that hope, or I think I would fall into despair once again.

That she hasn't come out publicly (...not sure if she ever will), is going to be a challenging dynamic as our family and friends will want to know what the hell happened, and we will have to give vague answers

     Thread Starter

May 12, 2020 7:07 am  #4

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

Hi Metta, 

Welcome to the group.  I'm sorry you are going through this.  

Your story has some very similar aspects to my own.  The one thing that you spoke a lot about that I think I can offer some help with is regarding her change in how she is treating you. 
My ex did the same to me.  When she first disclosed her sexuality she said over and over that it wasn't my fault.  She said I was a great husband and treated her so well for 16 years.   That narrative changed within a few weeks.. all of a sudden I was equally guilty for the divorce.  She made up some terrible allegations about me being controlling and mean.  She got very cold and distant. 

What's interesting is that I had a therapist who warned me in advance that this might happen.  He told me that she would start to feel some extreme guilt about lying to me and ruining my life (temporarily).  When people have this extreme guilt they will typically try to find ways to justify their actions to make them feel better.  If they can make the innocent spouse into a bad person and convince themselves the marriage wasn't good then it helps them reduce their guilt and shame.  

Don't take her accusations personally.  It's a sign of her feeling truly awful about herself and what she is doing to you.. she just won't admit it. 

Please stick around and keep talking.. We are here for you.  
If you haven't yet, please read the First Aid Kit..  lots of great advice from our group there:


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


May 12, 2020 7:49 am  #5

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

  It's common for us to "want to be friends" and for that desire to translate into behavior that helps our spouse out with their guilt.  One way our concern for our spouses and their desire to avoid responsibility can manifest is that we can end up agreeing for their sake to a false narrative about why the marriage is ending. 

   Your wife not wanting to reveal the truth about herself and the real reason for the end of your marriage is image management and avoidance of responsibility on her part.  She doesn't want to own the truth about herself to her friends and family, even though that truth is so important to her that she is willing to break up your marriage and your family.  She wants to live true to her sexuality but without owning it.  And she wants you to collude with her in a lie.  It's not that "things were just not working out" (and that's the message about marriage--not just your marriage--that you will convey to your child!).   It's that "things were just not working out" because your wife decided she was not heterosexual.  

    There is nothing shameful about being gay/lesbian.  There is nothing shameful even about a late realization that one is gay/lesbian (although this happens for most lesbians in their late teens and early 20s).  What is shameful is knowing it and marrying someone of the opposite sex anyway.  Perhaps your wife thinks people will believe this to be true and judge her (and maybe it is true; you will probably never know) .  
Closeted spouses--and that is yours--often want to stay closeted, and in their desire to stay closeted, they want us to help them by staying in their closets along with them.  A closet is a terrible place to be because it is isolating and gives rise to lies, misrepresentations, and avoidance of others, because it is painful to be around people and feel that you can't tell the truth about your life.  

  Her secret is not yours to bear, and she should not be asking you to bear it.  That she feels entitled to do so doesn't reflect well on her.
Edited to add:  If you tell her you're not going to keep her secret for her, as it isn't yours to keep, you should be prepared for one of two things (and maybe both): one, she will get nasty; two, she may attempt to draw back from her wanting to end the marriage and try to get you to allow her an open relationship or a "friendship only marriage."  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (May 12, 2020 12:02 pm)


May 12, 2020 11:54 am  #6

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

You are NOT alone in your experience. This happens to thousands of people every year. The forums have dozens of stories that are so similar to yours that you would think you had written them.

I know what it is to love someone without doubt, hesitation, and regret, while they say and feel the same way (presumably) and then have them give in to their same sex attraction and betray you. It is, as you said, a living nightmare. The loss of appetite, lack of sleep, extreme anxiety, panic, and seemingly unbounded sadness are common responses to betrayal and infidelity. Again, you are not alone and your responses, as you have described them, are NORMAL. Do not hesitate to grieve. The losses you have suffered are serious and you are doing yourself no favors at all if you attempt to suppress your urges to cry or grieve. It will extend the trauma by years.

If I can offer another piece of advice, sleeplessness, while natural and really hard to avoid, does harm to your health and ability to control your emotions. I had numerous sleepless nights, weeks where I got maybe 20 hours total of sleep, where I would wake in a sweat panic at 3 AM and not be able to fall back asleep. I get it. Just try to sleep as much as you can and don't feel obligated to stay up to "solve" or "work on" the problem. You can't do it. I tried. I know saying this is easier recommended than done. Like I said, I still have sleepless nights because of this. Just try, man.

Also, do NOT feel obligated to keep her "secret". This is your story too. Talk to someone you trust intimately, like parent or best friend.

Lastly, I am really really sorry you are going through this. Having gone through this myself, I feel nothing but sorrow for you. Female sexuality is a freaking lotto wheel that spins every month and what is on the board keeps changing. "I'm straight" "I'm bisexual", "I'm asexual", "I'm lesbian", ....freaking scary to those of us who wanted lifetime loving commitment with a wife.


May 12, 2020 12:04 pm  #7

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

User Nada,
   It's not just female sexuality that is a "freaking lotto wheel that spins every month."  I can assure you that the women on these boards experienced the same thing with their gay or trans-declaring husbands.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (May 12, 2020 12:05 pm)


May 12, 2020 12:16 pm  #8

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

OutofHisCloset, of course, you are right. I was merely addressing the subject at hand. Most the posts on these boards are from women.

Just so I don't sound way off base, every study of SSA, sexual fluidity, and changes in sexual-identification (both horizontal and longitudinal studies) show women far more often vary in these traits over time than men (almost always becoming more SSA with time) and more frequently have SSA than men. Still, your point stands. Straight women frequently suffer the consequences of these behaviors, fluidity, and such too. I should also say that there are women who are not SSA at any point in their lives, from what they say. Still, it is common enough to make men like me scared. Likewise, I know women on this board who fear getting burned by an SSA or GID partner again.


May 12, 2020 1:12 pm  #9

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

there are most definitely straight women as there are straight men and it's no different for us - not a lotto wheel!  and dare I suggest it is not a lotto wheel for a non-straight either - that lotto wheel was spun at their conception and what is spinning now is what they say about it.

Metta you need the support of your family.  talk to them if you possibly can.  

Paramount is to stay friends with your wife, have as painless a divorce as possible - yes we can all relate to feeling like that but divorce just is as bad as it is and new territory.  Is she feeling the same way or is it you feeling like that and she is wanting you to agree to doing things her way or she won't be happy with you. 

I remember before I knew my ex was gay and I was living through a family drama and walking to the car and my ex was beside me and I said I feel like I am living a nightmare.  It was the strangest moment.  I could feel it in the way he replied - that's because you are - that he was talking about more than I knew or understood,

This is a very common experience.  sending you good wishes,  Lily

Last edited by lily (May 12, 2020 1:28 pm)


May 12, 2020 9:57 pm  #10

Re: 13 years together, marriage and a child, over in an instant

"Believe nothing that you hear, and only one half that you see." - Edgar Allen Poe

"A smart man only believes half of what he hears, a wise man knows which half." - Jeff Cooper

I've always liked these two quotes. More now than ever after this experience. Personally, I take any soft-science studies with a grain of salt. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am deeply suspicious of them. They are often agenda driven and paid for by parties with a vested interest in the outcomes. Many have a poor track record for their ability to repeat the same results too. That's not to say some can't have value or be done ethically, but correlation is not causation either. As an aside, I always wonder where they find people who sign up for these studies. What's their selection criteria? I doubt your average straight woman is likely to be saying 'Sure, sign me up for that study!' or 'I've always wanted to be hooked up to a machine while a stranger records my reactions to watching porn!'

Is it normal to be scared it will happen again? Sure. I am. I probably won't try again. I believe I've gone through this twice now. Apparently I'm gullible, too kind, accepting, whatever. But that hardly means every man I meet is gay. Or that every straight man is a good person to date just because he's straight or out to use me just because he's a man. What I can say is that I caught on to red flags quicker and that I enforced my boundaries this time. I chose my well-being and took myself out of the relationship. It hurt badly but I didn't stick around for more emotional abuse from someone who pretended to care about me but sure didn't walk the walk. I'm proud of myself for that. I'm choosing to focus on what I can do to recognize good people and to be a good person. I can't control much else.

Also, I went on a tangent, but my advice for the OP would be to be 'friendly' but not friends. It's too hard and your lives will inevitably drift apart in ways you can't control. It's a last ditch effort to try to hold onto them but it usually just keeps you stuck and unable to move on. I found detaching very hard but didn't start feeling better until I did. If it's that important to be friends you can revisit it after you've healed and moved on with your life.


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