OurPath Open Forum

This Open Forum is funded and administered by OurPath, Inc., (formerly the Straight Spouse Network). OurPath is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support to Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People who have discovered that their partner is LGBT+. Your contribution, no matter how small, helps us provide our community with this space for discussion and connection.


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

September 5, 2020 6:24 pm  #1

Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

I’m not sure what I’m hoping to get out of this, but here goes.... I’m a 38 year old man, I have been with my wife for 20 years. She is the first and only woman I have ever loved, kissed or been in any way intimate with. We’ve always had some kind of barrier in the latter department, that we have at various times blamed ourselves and each other for: she blames herself for feeling numb and having little desire, I say it’s my fault due to lack of experience, failure to romance her, etc. About four months ago she met a woman online with whom she was completely smitten and borderline obsessed. This woman, who is gay, didn’t reciprocate her feelings however. But the interaction was enough for her to feel lifted from chronic anxiety and a host of other issues “for the first time”, she felt like she could breathe. This was all admitted to me last night. For the past few months we’ve doing the “maybe I’m bi and this can work” tango while being entirely open and communicative. Last night the bi delusion fell apart in a tearful breakdown.

So I’m now officially and unequivocally in the Straight Spouse club. I went through a powerful anger stage when the ill-fated crush was first revealed weeks ago and I think I’m past that now. I feel sad but mostly numb, I had great difficulty getting after my morning workout and I have a vague sense of sadness, but no sobbing, jealousy, anger, or pleading for reconciliation like the initial reveal. We talked through all of those feelings and went to therapy.

We also have a 2-year-old daughter to add to the fun.

She’s on a bunch of dating apps trying to meet someone and I’m just being supportive, doing my chores and waiting for the sword to finally fall- when I’m told there is now officially someone else. Should I be doing something? Thanks for your time straight spouse fam.


September 5, 2020 7:08 pm  #2

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

Hi Guy,

enjoy the numb while it lasts but be ready for the emotional rollercoaster to resume.  It's okay there is a point in the future when you will be back to normal again.  Life will not be the same though.  So my advice is start planning for your future.

You have a little daughter - I guess she is a lot of your focus.  And you have yourself - your happiness matters too.

You have a lesbian wife who is looking for a girlfriend.  

Once she finds her match, that is another entirely new person in the equation when it comes to negotiating how your future will look like.

so yes, put as much time as you can into thinking about what your future could look like, what you need.  And yes, continue to reach out, talk to other people particularly family if possible, she's entitled to her story - so are you.  you got your own story to tell.

wishing you all the best, Lily


September 5, 2020 8:15 pm  #3

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

So sorry you need to be here.  Numb equals shell-shocked, and that's what it is: your life has been blown up.

Perhaps you have already had this conversation, but if not, you can in fact ask your wife not to date until you are officially separated.   There is no reason in god's green earth that you should be "doing [your] chores" while your wife surfs dating sites.  

 If you have not been to a lawyer, please go.  You need to get a separation agreement going for interim custody of your daughter, and to make sure that the split of assets is equitable.  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (September 5, 2020 8:15 pm)


September 6, 2020 3:44 am  #4

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

Hi Guy,

your story is almost identical to mine: maried young and inexpirienced, the sex was disappointing, 20 years into marriage my wife fell in love with a woman. It didn't lead to phisical adultery, but she was also "totally smitten" like you describe. So she discovered all new feelings and knew she was lesbian. She told me after a few month, my world came crashing down. It seems like we followed the same script like you up to that point (in our case with four children).

Due to falling in love your wife's mind is still swirling with endorphines, so she's not in the right state to take important descisions. Also because of the excitement of her discovery and the answers this gives her, she's feels like a teenager (and can act that way).
Of course you can stand by and let it all happen, but chances are she will go doing things that are definitive regarding the suvival chances of your marriage. Being "suportive" and so on sounds very loving but might be not the best thing to do, better to be rational and be a guide what you think is sensible.
I know it's all very emotional for you too, but if you let it over to your wife at this point in time, is like setting a drunk driver beind the wheel.

So if you want to give your marriage a chance, I hope you can talk some reason into your wife, not to take hasty irreversable actions at this moment. First try to find out whether or not your relation can work out, give this some time and decide then.

I've posted about our way through this:


My wife also posted, describing aspects from her viewpoint:


September 6, 2020 10:16 am  #5

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian


So sorry you find yourself here. I would be numb with grief & anger if I was in your shoes.

In my opinion, your wife is exhibiting passive aggressive behavior towards by searching for female lovers now. Agree with OOHC - it is kind & respectful to wait until a separation or divorce has occurred.  Or even a MOM agreement. Mature adults do not let endorphins or hormones rule their common sense or use them as an excuse to hurt others and set a bad example for their children. It’s a selfish deliberate act for getting away with childish behavior. (Edited: Dutchman is right.)

Also, consult a few family law attorneys. They can tell you your legal options, rights & obligations. The first hour is free. You don’t have to pursue legal action, a MOM may work for you, but always great to know your rights.

If you haven’t already, please check out the First Aid Kit Thread - How to survive finding out your partner is LGBT


I know things are tough. We’ve all been there and survived with more resilience & strength than when we walked in.  Best to you!

Edited due to a wayward spell check phone app.

Last edited by MJM017 (September 6, 2020 12:02 pm)

No - It's not too late. It's not hopeless. Even there, there's something I can do. I just have to find the will. Ikiru (1952), film directed by Akira Kurosawa 

September 6, 2020 10:49 am  #6

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

I agree with much of the above. It sounds like your spouse has decided what she wants. Now you need to take care of yourself and also your child. Seeking legal knowledge doesn't mean you are filing papers the next day but it does get you a perspective of what is fair and legal. Mistakes made in this area can haunt you a long time.

I agree that it is inappropriate and irresponsible for her to dive headfirst into the dating pool while you are still living in the same household, not too mention during a COVID-19 pandemic. Under no circumstances should you move out of the house. Without any legal separation agreements, this action could have impact on your visitation and custody rights. You may need house rules for the near-term. You do not want to become a convenient house-minder and baby-sitter while she seeks the company of others. If she starts to date, bringing dates home should be off the table.

Being numb is natural, it's a defense mechanism. You will probably bounce between this state, into clarity, hurt or anger, sometimes triggered by minor events or thoughts. As you claim your future this roller-coaster will begin to calm down. Remember that you are not her therapist, nor are you obligated to be a cheering section, engrossed in every aspect of her new identity and life. I am not suggesting you need to be cruel either, just uninvolved unless it concerns your child.

Find time for you. Take small steps until you begin to find your feet. Indulge in whatever your hobbies might be or ones you thought you'd get into at some point. The time is now.

“The future is unwritten.”
― Joe Strummer

September 6, 2020 12:18 pm  #7

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

I am so sorry you are going through this.  The above is very good advice.  Do not move out of the house without a separation agreement and definitely consult an attorney. 


September 8, 2020 9:14 am  #8

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

9 months ago I had the you are gay and this marriage is not going to work moving forward confrontation conversation with my exwife. She was gay, always had been, used the "Im Bi" to avoid the reality of who she was. We had been married for nearly 20 years. This was the last place I expected to be at 43 years old. I was looking for a road map of sorts to help me make sense of my path forward.  Feel free to message me for conversation.


September 9, 2020 2:13 pm  #9

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

The situation with a transgender person is a totally different situation than a LGB person. So how do you know what's good advice in this?

There are important differences between someone suddenly discovering one's sexual orientation, and spouses who were aware all along, but consciously hiding these feelings for years (in some level of denial and/or were closeted).

It's not useful when important differences are ignored and every situation is considered and handled like a one-size-fits-all case.

The reason I write this post is that Guywithlesbian's background story is near identical to my/our owns. It's close to my heart, I've been there and certainly know what I'm talking about.
It's not about denial nor lying and intentionally leading somebody on. It's not like many "standard stories" and certainly not about transgender issues.

If a woman, after many years in marriage, discovers she actually is lesbian, it's to be expected she's totally ecstatic, emotions go of the charts. What else do you expect how it is for someone when this happens?
She's feeling what she should have felt in the relation for 20 years, and now she realizes it! Falling in love, a whole new world of feelings opening up. A new way of looking into the world. Also having the answer why sexuality and physical attraction in the marriage with her husband didn't was what is was supposed to be.
This all is certainly a major event. As a consequence she's not thinking rationally, which is understandable. And also the reason the straight spouse has an important role to try to be (something) like a rock in this turmoil.
How it turns out, nobody can know, it depends on the personality of the persons involved and the choices they make.
That's decisive in any MOM situation, but certainly the one described in this topic, where critically important choices are to be made in a very tumultuous setting.

Point is: I hope I made clear this is NOT comparable to a lot of other's situations, simply because it's also about a gay person in a straight marriage.

And it's by no means my intention to downplay the importance and/or impact of the personal experiences of TakenBySurprise or JoeC. Let that be clear also! 


September 9, 2020 3:39 pm  #10

Re: Wife of 20 years is Lesbian

I think it's only Dutchman's wife who is restricted to the MOM section but goodness want a post! 

Dutchman if you'd read enough stories on here you would know Taken's advice is right on the money - there's a few different scenarios from here and one of them is that the separation goes through, the lesbian wife is setting up to get as much as she can in the settlement, she wants the husband gone out of the house and it can have huge impacts on the father's contact with his children.  I was glad to see Daryl give that advice and then underlined by Taken - one very common thing is that the straight spouse is not feeling confident and can do with support when it comes to protecting their interests.

While you are out here in the general section I have a question for you - when did you know you were physically attracted to girls?  why would it be any different for your wife?

also I'd like to add - JoeC's experience has to be just as valid as yours, doesn''t it?

Last edited by lily (September 9, 2020 5:25 pm)


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum