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This Open Forum is funded and administered by the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support to straight spouses and partners who have discovered that their spouse/partner isn’t straight. Your donations allow us to provide important support and resources that straight spouses can't find anywhere else.


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March 25, 2021 2:23 pm  #1


The Big List of Red Flags

Disclaimer – This list was compiled from experiences within this forum and the resources below:
Am I A Lesbian? Masterdoc
Secret Sexual Basement found by Longwayhome



Is My Spouse Gay, Lesbian, Bi, or Questioning?

Only your spouse can truly answer that question.

That said, many spouses are hesitant to openly disclose their hidden desires to their partners out of shame, fear, or selfishness. The first phase of this Secret Sexual Basement is when a spouse hides these sexual activities, deceives their partner, and creates an alternate sexual life that is compartmentalized from their daily existence.

For a straight spouse, this process can be very disorienting. Your once-loving relationship now feels different, but you're unable to identify exactly what has changed. You repeatedly ask your spouse but their answers feel inauthentic. There is a looming dread that has you on edge.

As a straight spouse begins to look beyond the surface, the questioning partner may disclose partial truths about their sexuality to gauge a reaction. Or the questioning partner may choose to dig deeper, tunneling further to protect this compartmentalized sexual life, lying, gaslighting, and manipulating to make sure their world is never found.

Who Is This Guide For?

If you feel your spouse hasn't been fully truthful, then this guide is for you.

Proving your spouse is LBGT is nearly impossible. Proving that they have a pattern of deception in regards to their sexuality is very possible.

The list below is a list of external signs that you can utilize to help ground your suspicions. While they aren't certainties of an LBGT spouse, each clarifies the existence of a secret sexual basement.

Do Words Match Actions?

With each of the checklist items, it can be helpful to think: do my spouse's words match their actions?

If your partner is saying one thing but finds themselves consistently doing the items below, then they aren't being truthful with you. You can then prove that a secret sexual basement exists and then decide how best to move forward.

Sex and Intimacy
☐ Having sex with the same sex in secret.
☐ Minimizing sex with the same sex as "no big deal", "just a blowjob", or a "one-time thing".
☐ Giving ultimatums that involve them having sex with a same-sex partner.
☐ Using gay/lesbian dating apps or websites.
☐ Minimizing meeting the same sex in dating apps as "no big deal".
☐ Using dating apps or websites with a gay/lesbian profile.
☐ Minimizing sending or receiving pictures in a dating app.
☐ Minimizing messaging men/women in dating apps as "just curiosity" or "I would never do that".
☐ Taking prep medications.
☐ Hiding condoms or dental dams when you're in an exclusive relationship.
☐ Wants to open the marriage "for you" but you have never expressed any desire to do so.
☐ Visiting hookup locations, like bathhouses, often in secret.
☐ Accidentally saying the name of someone of the same sex while having sex.
☐ Sudden interest in threesomes that include the same sex, without your desire.
☐ Purchasing sexual toys, clothing, or drugs in secret.
☐ Sudden interest in new sex toys or moves which emulate gay/lesbian sex acts.
☐ Sudden interest in using condoms during the middle of a monogamous relationship without valid explanation.
☐ Learning new, surprising sexual moves after a long period.
☐ A sudden unfamiliarity with your sexual preferences. 
☐ Inability to engage in sexual acts with you because "they're not in the mood" for many months or greater.
☐ No lust or emotional attraction when intimate. Simply disgust.
☐ Panic attacks when you are about to be intimate.
☐ Making up physical ailments to avoid having sex.
☐ An inability to look in your eyes during sex.
☐ Time-limited or sexual act limited intimacy. "I will do X for 5 minutes then we're done" or "We can only do X".
☐ Drifting emotional intimacy, with sex treated like a chore.
☐ Sex is done "for you".
☐ Your partner openly communicates their dislike of sex with you.
☐ Sex only occurs under the influence of substances.
☐ Continued pressure to engage in sex acts that make you highly uncomfortable, often used in gay/lesbian sex.
☐ Sexting with the same sex in secret.
☐ Minimizing sexual conversations with the same sex as "just fun".
​☐ Shaving intimate areas in new ways, especially if attempting to hide it from you.

Pornography
☐ Visiting Gay/Lesbian Porn Sites.
☐ Collecting Gay/Lesbian Porn.
☐ Masturbating to the same sex.
☐ Hiding any of the above.
☐ Minimizing Gay/Lesbian Porn as "Everyone does it" or "It just popped up".

Secrecy
☐ Your partner will not discuss their sexual past or preferences.
☐ Past sexual acts with the same sex which were only recently disclosed.
☐ Your partner is vague in their sexuality, not willing to openly commit.
☐ Quickly leaving phone conversations when you enter a room.
☐ Hiding their screen when you enter a room or sit with each other.
☐ Having passwords on devices and not sharing.
☐ Having secret folders on their phone.
☐ Receiving many text messages, but you have no idea whom.
☐ Turning off phone tracking features so you can't locate them.
☐ Not showing up when they were expected and crafting unbelievable tales about where they were or what they did.
☐ Having gaps in their story that don't add up. Unable to address them on further pressing.
☐ Inability to explain when the spouse is caught in a lie.
☐ Having hidden email accounts with fake names.
☐ Having hidden social accounts with fake names.
☐ Receiving emails from the same gender soliciting sex and referencing an account online.
☐ Receiving emails for gay/lesbian dating apps or websites.
☐ Deleting email accounts without logical reason.
☐ Liking or following social accounts that contain gay/lesbian porn.
☐ Deleting social accounts without logical reason.
☐ When confronted with any of the above, blames you as "untrusting" or paranoid.

Attraction
☐ Your partner shares their sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction to the same sex.
☐ Your partner prefers effeminate men or masculine women. They push you towards these roles to maintain their attraction.
☐ Your partner finds it difficult to name members of the opposite sex they find attractive. They are only attracted to people on TV, in books, or in the movies. In reality, their attraction to the opposite sex dissolves.
☐ Your partner expresses gender confusion, changing from hetero to asexual to bisexual.
☐ Noticing your partner lusting after the same sex in public or private.
☐ Minimizing sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction to the same sex as "everyone has a girl crush", "I'd never act on it", or "maybe in the future".
☐ Attraction to the opposite gender sounds like a logical choice, versus a feeling.
☐ Past relationships of your spouse were based on the opposite gender's partner's attraction to them.
☐ Your relationship with your spouse was because you went after them.
☐ Uncontrollably flirting with the same sex in front of you.
☐ Referring to your relationship as a contract they are resigned to fulfill.
☐ The emotional intimacy within the relationship is a chore or burden, devoid of passion.
☐ Negotiations on how to continue your relationship "without the sex".

Friendships
☐ Having gay/lesbian close friends that appear to be more.
☐ Never being invited or considered on activities with their gay/lesbian close friends.
☐ Having friendships that say "I love you".
☐ Having friendships that involve secrets or privacy.
☐ Having friendships that are described in romantic terms.
☐ Prioritizing secret friendships over your relationship.
☐ Having friendships that involve sexual innuendo or flirting.
☐ Having friendships where more is disclosed to the friend than to their partner about large areas of their life.
☐ Having friendships that give romantic gifts, especially in secret.
☐ Having friendships that have hidden get-togethers.
☐ Having friendships that contain large gaps in time without the ability to explain. Explanations seem bombastic.
☐ Minimizing friendships with sexual innuendo as "everyone does it" or "we would never act on it".
☐ Your spouse has a hard time enforcing boundaries and the line between friendships and crushes is murky.


How Did Your Spouse Do?

The more of the red flags above that are seen in your relationship, the greater cause for concern. 

When your spouse's words do not match their actions you can prove they have a secret sexual basement. The discovery of a secret sexual basement is devastating, but it is also the first step towards taking control of your own life.

What Happens Next?

I wish I could answer for you.

There are many possible paths to take ahead. Communication. Snooping. Confrontation. Therapy. MOMs. Decoupling. Whichever path is best, this community is here to help support you. We've been in your shoes, know the pain of discovery, and can share what we've learned firsthand.

Wishing you strength in your journey!

Notes: I've no doubt missed hundreds of red flags. If you have any to add please share below and I will flow these in.

Last edited by Upside (March 25, 2021 3:02 pm)

 

March 27, 2021 9:12 am  #2


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Upside, Wow your post above is amazing!! I just wanted to say "thank you" for putting this together. 

My only fear, this post like many others that have helped people will only get buried again, and only the lucky ones will find your post in a year or two. I say lucky because that is how I felt, lucky to have stumbled across his article. What some of these non-straight spouses are willing to do to maintain their secret life, chills me to the bone!

I had to go back to 2016, before I found Dr Minwalla's article in this forum. The first thing I read when I joined SSN was the First Aid Kit. Upside, the info you've put together above, also belongs in the First Aid Kit.

We've asked on a couple of occasions to have reference to Dr Minwalla added, we've received no action/responses.

The no responses, leads me to believe that SSN is not prepared to stand behind Dr Minwalla  work/research. I get it, I think SSN tries to bridge the great divide in these marriages, so to speak. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can't help everyone. Many, many of these marriages are harmful

I actually found my answer not only in my own life, but almost in every story I've read on SSN, they all talk about the harmful behaviours. The straight spouse, well he/she is dealing with their own denial in the early days. It's almost too difficult to grasp our reality. Slowly, ever so slowly, reality catches up to us and we can't deny the reality of our situation anymore.

I for one, would not be where I am today, if not for Dr Minwalla. Psychological abuse is much more harmful\devastating than physical abuse. You first have to identify what you are dealing with - if you are ever going to find your way back to your true self and freedom.

 

Last edited by longwayhome (March 27, 2021 9:16 am)

 

March 27, 2021 12:33 pm  #3


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Thank you, LongWayHome! Your words mean so much.

I also went through this forum starting at the First Aid Kit, then reading years worth of posts, hoping to find something to explain the chaotic world I found myself in. So many painful stories, all with repeating patterns, but so little psychological foundation to map them against. It was disheartening.

Your sharing of Dr. Minwalla's work was a revelation. It addresses our experiences while broadening the concept to allow it to work beyond just "straights". The work gave me context to understand that my reaction wasn't alone, it was a normal human response to significant and purposeful trauma. And it made me feel like there was an explanation for this madness.

I agree 100% that Dr. Minwalla's work should be in the First Aid kit. If the team doesn't wish to add (there are likely a variety of factors at play), then we can all make sure this is seen by newcomers. If SSN wishes to do its own research then amazing, but this often takes years to come to light and in that time this model can be seen by those in pain.

And my hope is to keep building content that might help others, which may be worthy of a future First Aid Kit. What did I need when I was at my darkest moment? What content could help those who come here at the edge? What shifts the conversation from "this happened to you" to "here's how you rise above"?

Thank you again for re-sharing Dr. Minwalla's research, as it inspired me to think about ways to detect a basement when stuck in that first stage. Here's hoping someone finds it useful!

     Thread Starter
 

March 27, 2021 1:37 pm  #4


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

I agree that Minwalla's work ought to be part of the First Aid post.  Perhaps someone would like to send either Sam or Phoenix a private message saying we all think it is necessary reading and should be added.  

Alternatively, we can, as Upside suggests, and as LongWay so helpfully did, keep referring to it.  When I searched the Forum for references to Minwalla, I saw that "Sun" was the first one to alert us to Minwalla's work, back in 2016.  I know that I found it so helpful that I've also repeatedly referred to it in the past three to four years.  

   I really hope the admins will see fit to "sticky" LongWay's post about "The Secret Sexual Basement."  It's INCREDIBLY helpful.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (March 27, 2021 1:37 pm)

 

March 27, 2021 2:42 pm  #5


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

I already sent a private message to Sam (Admin).  I got a message back saying he was thinking about it and suggesting I could put it in the first aid thread.  I wrote back saying thanks, and asking if he could tell me what his thoughts are.  Then I wrote another message saying I had put it in the first aid thread and it was already a bit buried and saying I thought it needed pinning separately.  I have received no response from admin since the first one.

Upside, I like the way you have linked to your posts at the bottom of all your posts.  No idea how you did that, but great idea.  They are more than a good post, they are a resource too



 

 

March 27, 2021 4:23 pm  #6


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Perhaps I should go through the "First Aid" thread and cull all of the posts that thank or otherwise comment and just have the ones with useful links or tips?

 

March 27, 2021 5:05 pm  #7


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Sam, that would be great if you could go through the First Aid Kit and just have the important information remain. I understand how various posts get added. I cannot stress how important that First Aid Kit was to me. I would never have thought to question my husband on the use of protection, who doesn't know that in this day and age, right? Wrong, I was told you don't need to wear a condom if its just oral sex????? I got tested and all is well but again, if not for that First Aid Kit, I would not have had this discussion as quickly as I did, nor would I have found out he was having unprotected sex, with me as well. So no, they don't all of a sudden decide to wear a condom with their wife and some of them, won't wear one for oral sex either with the same sex.

Thank you Sam, it truly is appreciated, I hope you know that. Take care and stay well.

Edited to add: OoHC, it was probably one of your threads. I've mentioned it before, I've read most of your posts, they really helped carry me forth in my own journey, so it is very, very likely it is your post that lead me to Dr Miwalla...thank you!!

Last edited by longwayhome (March 27, 2021 5:15 pm)

 

March 27, 2021 6:27 pm  #8


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Hi Sam,

thanks, yes I think that's a good idea.  It will make the first aid thread more accessible.  But I still think it would be good to have Minwalla's article pinned separately if that's possible.

It's the only article I know of which articulates the impact the closet has, and how many straight spouses arrive here wanting to understand why we are feeling the way we do.






 

 

March 28, 2021 1:31 am  #9


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

I have read The Secret Sexual Basement three times in two days and have also sent it to my grown up children to read as they also suffer trauma when your husband/wife lurks in his or her's sexual basemnent and especially when they come out. I think all therapists treating spouses who were or are married to a gay spouse should  read this reseach as it moves completely away from traditional  therapy where the straight spouse is sometimes also blamed for the GID's behaviour.

 

March 28, 2021 1:43 pm  #10


Re: The Big List of Red Flags

Lily

I have cleaned up the First Aid thread. There was a lot of stuff on it that should have been elsewhere. Take a look and tell me if that's ok.

From now on, I'll delete replies that don't add links. resources, or good general advice and repost cries for help on the support page.

 

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