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Straight Spouse Network Open Forum

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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February 8, 2021 6:50 pm  #1


Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

Hi everyone
I wondered if anyone had experience of a deeply closeted partner slowly discovering they are gay? By that I mean that the partner has not been living a double life? And if so what the process was like? I have spent the last year (since day 1 of lockdown 1... Timing!!) In a state of confusion. We have been in couples therapy and through that unbelievably slowly, one tiny comment at a time, it is slowly emerging that he's gay.
He's had one gay sexual experience when he was 19 and apart from that the only other thing has been looking at gay porn (but also straight porn). I genuinely don't think there has been anything much else as we are talking very honestly and the way it has all come to the surface this last year makes it seem that there hasn't been consciously aware of his sexuality let alone acting on it.

He now has said he is attracted to other men and he has just about come round to the fact that he's bisexual but the journey and the confusion isn't over and my instinct is he's gay.  I genuinely think he is in the deepest confusion and can't access his feelings about who he's attracted to. I said to him (kindly) that I think he is gay and he said that he isn't ready to look at that yet or say that to himself. We have been having some good, very open conversations and it's as if he is trying to be a detective about his own sexuality rather than just being able to say how he feels. Sean has given me some really useful advice over on another thread but I  just wondered if anyone has had a similar experience that they would be happy to share? Thank you xx

 

February 8, 2021 10:38 pm  #2


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

Many here have been on the other end of the slowly-coming-out-as-gay experience...many more never hear the words "I'm gay." Our stories are so varied...but similar in many ways. I am a firm believer in trusting your gut. If something doesn't feel right...it probably isn't.
I like the actions, not words motto.
Do you feel truly desired? Does he look at you lovingly in the eyes/kiss you when you have sex ....or is it mechanical/performatory?
Does he have to have you at a moment's notice...or does he need to watch porn before sex? 
Does he desire you as a woman...or are you playing the part of a man in the bedroom?
Is your relationship passionate...or more like friends or roommates?
Does he make you feel loved and happy?...as a partner should

One thing I would highly recommend is getting counseling on your own...with someone who is invested in *you* and your well-being....not the marriage...Someone who can help you unpack what you truly need (not just what you are willing to tolerate). 

I really feel for you...I can't imagine getting this bombshell during the pandemic! I hope you have someone close and trustworthy that you can talk to...This situation can be so isolating. I felt so much better after confiding in my best friend. Look out for *you*. I know how hard this is.
 

 

February 9, 2021 6:50 pm  #3


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

Thank you Julian. It's all very confusing. Yes he desires sex with me and likes my body but he has always rejected non sexual intimacy like cuddling and public affection. Sex has often been unsatisfying, we have never made eye contact and it's very fantasy based. He's never brought a gay fantasy into the bedroom but the fantasies have always been about me and various men, he got very focused on cuckold fantasies.
We do love and care for each other but no it isn't passionate and although we did have a lot more sex when we first got together it was a bit porny and not passionate either.

For the last 7 years our relationship has been quite depressed. It hadn't survived having two children very well. I built up a lot of resentment as he didn't take enough responsibility for them when they were young.  I was really taken a back as our whole relationship has felt so equal and suddenly it wasn't at all and I was doing the vast majority of the childcare and home life. But these last couple of years have been better now they are older. My husband says there's no spark and he's right but I thought we were in a similar position to all the other long term couples out there with young children.

He is still deeply confused about his sexuality although does admit he's at least bi.

I wish the lockdown would end as I want to get out of the house and to stop thinking about it relentlessly!?

     Thread Starter
 

February 9, 2021 7:08 pm  #4


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

Hi VioletSea, 

I don’t have a similar experience, but I’ve read numerous accounts (on Reddit) of men finally coming to a conclusion about their sexuality even well into their 50s. The bi-cycle that many, but not all, bisexual people experience can make it challenging for them to determine where their attractions actually lie. My husband is bi, but doesn’t experience the bi-cycle so many talk about. I think he’s lucky in that regard. Many bi people wonder if they’re gay at times when their cycle swings heaving toward same sex attractions. 

The lack of affection you describe is definitely a problem if you see it as problematic and should be addressed. Definitely pay attention to your husband's actions/behavior much more so than his words. 

I wish you the best. 

Tangled 

Last edited by TangledOil (February 9, 2021 8:36 pm)

 

February 9, 2021 9:17 pm  #5


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

Exhibit A - your confusion.

Very naturally you struggle to believe in Gay In Denial because who could imagine? - it is a real thing.  Denial doesn't mean don't know, denial doesn't mean I'm confused or uncertain, denial means not telling, it means not admitting to it.

Very naturally you believe your GIDH is confused but try this little experiment - don't be so keen to talk with him, don't try and converse, get him talking and just observe and listen.  At some point you are likely to realise he isn't confused, he is sowing confusion in you - hard as it is to believe, who could imagine one's trusted partner doing that to you - it is a real thing.

Exhibit B

Lack of affection.  That is a huge big deal for you personally, not even the affection of pets or even children is going to make up for that.

And personal observation - yes it is so easy to sit there, I did it too, and think oh all my friends are doing it tough in their marriages now the children are here but sit back and think it all through carefully, listen to what they say.  Some are just having a companionable whinge but actually quite happy in their marriage, or pissed as all hell at the lack of help round the house or whatever but actually still happy with the man they married for all his flaws.  and then there are so many many many who are married to a closet gay too.  and then, just take a long slow look round the women you know - how many are lesbians in the closet do you think?

We think it's so uncommon, which I think is partly a rub-off effect of living with a spouse who thinks they are a bit special, but it's also all the blank looks and shuffling feet we get when we say something - no one seems to understand.  And people will regularly say how it's not right to out a gay person, he has to do it himself but do you ever hear someone say it's not right for him to marry a straight girl?  no it goes strangely quiet.

I don't think it's uncommon now that I've had a chance to look around.   I think it's the other way round, it is so common we are silenced by the weight of all the denial.  It really is an invisible elephant in the middle of the room.  

 

February 9, 2021 10:20 pm  #6


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

VioletSea, 

I'm sorry you find yourself here.  All of our experiences are different, but I do see some similarities between your story and mine.  

I also found out right at the beginning of the pandemic. Lovely timing.  

In a nutshell, this is our story. Husband disclosed he is attracted to men, admits he wants to explore that side of his sexuality, but is "confused" and "torn" and all those other words.  He's implied he was gay, embraced bisexuality, said he might be using bisexuality to mask his true identity, tried to say he was gay, said he thinks he's more bisexual than anything, wants to work on us, blah blah blah.  I've heard it all.  I just basically tell him I don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth anymore, and I silently plan my exit strategy. 

Because now, I am inclined to agree with lily.  The "confusion" now feels deliberate.  It's not just that actions speak louder than words, but I've listened to what he doesn't say.  Reading between the lines reveals a lot!  I don't believe they are confused about their sexuality, but rather, about how to deal with their sexuality and their marriage.  If they can sow the confusion, they can keep us on the hook longer while they figure out the next step.  Their goal, now that we know, is to stay one step ahead of us. 

When it's all over, I'm sure I'll hear "How could she not know?" but I think lily is right, will we ever hear "How could he do that to her??" 

I also get aggravated by the whole "It's not my secret to tell."  It's not some surprise birthday party. It's a lie, and why is it my lie to keep, when it prevents me from telling my story?  This is my life, and when I'm ready to tell my story, he better damn well be ready.

 

February 10, 2021 12:41 pm  #7


Re: Anyone have experience of a deeply closeted partner?

My heart goes out to you both, VioletSea.

Julian_Stone wrote:

Many here have been on the other end of the slowly-coming-out-as-gay experience...many more never hear the words "I'm gay." Our stories are so varied...but similar in many ways. I am a firm believer in trusting your gut. If something doesn't feel right...it probably isn't.
I like the actions, not words motto.
 

This is good, Julian. I'm going to save this. Thank you.

Last edited by Upside (February 10, 2021 12:42 pm)

 

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