Advice for Immediately Post-Disclosure

In the beginning, both partners may be terrified.

Standard advice given in many mixed orientation marriage (MOM) forums is for the couple to agree to wait one year post disclosure before making any major decisions such as divorce, separation, or opening the marriage.

You are not alone. Despite this being something completely new to you, there are very normal people living in mixed orientation marriages. They are not freaks. They are moms and dads, teachers, salespeople, and executives. There are people of all faiths, people of no religious faith, smart people, and funny people…just normal people leading regular lives. And yes, some of their marriages are thriving.

The path ahead of you is going to be very difficult, filled with tears, fears, and anger. Do not be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself the opportunity to grieve the loss of what you thought you had in your marriage. Both spouses need to give themselves time—LOTS of time.  Show loving kindness to each other.

This is an incredibly difficult and scary time for non-straight spouses. It is tenfold that for straight spouses who have no idea what is really going through their non-straight spouses’ heads. They do not know if their non-straight spouses are entertaining thoughts of leaving or if their desire for them is genuine. Straight spouses feel almost powerless in this situation. They have to believe that the same person who broke their trust will take their futures in a positive direction.

The non-straight spouses have usually had significant time to think about their orientation and identity, their feelings about marriage, and the implications of “coming out”. Straight spouses are often shocked at the time of disclosure although some may suspect or know.  Give your straight spouse plenty of time to catch up and let him/her know the thoughts and feelings you are having about your marriage so that there are no further surprises.

Far more couples stay married after affairs than you ever imagined. Just Google it.

It is not uncommon for the straight spouse to discover that the non-straight spouse has cheated with multiple partners for many years.

If cheating has been involved, or if you suspect that your partner has been cheating, make sure you both get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) at a facility that can competently do this testing. Not all doctors can perform all the tests. Use condoms and practice safer sex until you know for sure that you are safe.

Do not feel ashamed if you suddenly have an increased desire for sex with your spouse after discovery or disclosure of cheating. This is common and is called the honeymoon effect. Go ahead and enjoy it. Cherish it. Do your best to make it last. For some it does last.

While this may fly in the face of everything you currently believe–just because the non-straight spouse has cheated, even dozens of times, he/she may still truly love you.

Do not rush into telling family or friends about your situation. Once you have told someone, you can never take it back.

At the time of disclosure, it is truly best for the non-straight spouse to be completely honest and transparent. No matter how scary this may be, it is far better than withholding information. Sooner or later, everything will be revealed. If information is withheld there may be further damage to the marriage, and recovery may be more difficult. Total honesty enables the straight spouse to move more quickly into feeling a sense of security if he /she knows the bottom line.

Disclosure...And 15 Years Later

Well we have reached our fifteenth anniversary of my husband’s disclosure that he thought he might be gay.

We were on our way to a party – driving down the road, luckily he was driving – and I was asking over and over what was wrong, what is going on. He had been quieter than usual. Our oldest had left for college about 7 weeks prior, our middle son was being a pain in the ass, and our youngest was sort of lost without his big brother, so I thought it was family stuff. Nope – He says “I think I am gay.”

4 months prior to this October evening, we had been sitting together on the couch when he said he needed to tell me something – he had an affair, in the past, the long past, 13 years before, with a guy he met in a bookstore (turns out it was more than one guy, but that revelation took another 13+ years after disclosure – on another drive, in a rainstorm, going 70 MPH and I was driving that time!) At that point, he was shocked when I did not kick him to the curb. Looking back on it, I wondered if he was attempting to just quietly break up our marriage without having to really come out.

So, we work on trust and work through our relationship – not the first time since I had cheated myself – but not once did he say he was gay or bi – and I just assumed it had been an experiment that he had outgrown. So that was June 2000….

October 2000 – I hear the words I think I am gay – and the roller coaster begins – hours of talking – me grasping at anything to make him stay, to guilt him into staying – I’ll be broke, no judge will let you see the kids, but I wanted to grow old with you playing with our grandkids – oh I pulled out all the stops – and yes, he loved me and I loved him – but I was desperate…(btw, the soundtrack for that weekend and all those talks was Sting’s album, Brand New Day – there’s a song called Perfect Love, Gone Wrong!)

We go along for years, not really talking about TGT, but getting more comfortable with reality – in 2009, I initiate a renewal of a threesome friendship with benefits with a bi-friend because I love my husband and I do not want DGH to die without experiencing M2M sex, but frankly I want to control the situation – it has worked so far, but I know there are times DGH wants more

Now, DGH are ourselves great friends with benefits still – staying in our marriage until we die – and the life I thought was over is just more enhanced – we don’t talk about it much (as a matter of fact, we will talk in the next day or two about the anniversary and I will ask whether or not he still wants an open marriage – last time I asked about 6 months ago he said he wasn’t sure – so there may be an update…) – but for now we enjoy our life and each other, and our family and five grandkids, which is more than I ever hoped for or expected that day 15 years ago…