March 28, 2006

GLBT People and Their Straight Spouses

I understand that one of the more difficult and painful situations a GLBT individual can find themselves is coming out to their straight spouse.

For my straight readers, just think about how you would feel if your spouse sat you down one day and told you their were gay or lesbian. It would have to be difficult knowing what to feel, but there would most certainly be a great deal of pain and confusion in the mix.

BOTH people in this situation would be paying the price for the GLBT spouse either not addressing their sexuality over many years or denying it and trying to live what they have been told is a "normal" life. Many of us have been through a divorce and there is never a good way to do it, but this has to be one of the tougher paths.

Essentially, the GLBT spouse is telling their straight spouse that the person who entered into the marriage was not an accurate reflection of who they truly are. This could have been self-deception, lack of self-awareness, or outright deception for reasons far too involved to address in this forum.

This is a lose-lose situation. True, the GLBT spouse might wind up with children that they love and find a true blessing out of this relationship. Ultimately, though, any individual can not maximize the gifts God gives them and fully realize His plan for their lives if they are not true to how He made them. It is also unfair to the straight spouse because it stands to reason there has to be something missing in this type of relationship. Of course there can be love and committment, but if one person in a couple is not being true to who they really are, I can't imagine their partner is receiving all they could out of a relationship either.

When the GLBT spouse becomes aware of who they truly are, or already knows it and summons the courage to move down that path, it is a difficult situation for everyone involved. There is an organization I ran across through a note in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to that can help. It is called the Straight Spouse Network. They offer information and support across the United States and beyond to help people work through these situations. If you or someone you know is facing this, I suggest checking out their website.

Just as importantly, we need to encourage anyone we know; friend, family, church member, whoever, to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives to lead them toward the path God wants them to take. With GLBT people, that doesn't mean acting straight or trying to "change" and become straight. However God made us, that's how He wanted it and he can use us AS WE ARE to serve him and bring glory to Him and a life of fulfillment and peace to ourselves.

6 comments:

  1. Yes, we've linked to Straight Spouse Network for quite sometime as one of RA's community interests. My wife Renee originally found it.

    lack of self-awareness

    This one probably best describes me. In my case, I'm not gay, but bisexual. I can be physically attracted to either gender. But I am in a monogamous marriage. A big misconception is that if you're bi, you're in threesomes or something. While I'm sure that can be the case, it doesn't necessarily mean you 'need' both. I'm perfectly happy with just Renee and me :)

    Some people think I cured myself when I got married - nope. I didn't even consciously question my orientation until after our wedding. Once I questioned, I was able to look back through my life and have answers to ways I was feeling that I didn't have, or didn't allow myself to have, at the time.

    I now know that one thing that did fuel my homophobia in those days had a lot to do with fighting my own urges, and letting my inner battle advance outward toward 'teh homosexual lifestyle'.

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  2. You are so right. The Gospel of Thomas says, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." It seems quite appropriate for those who are struggling with their sexual orientation.

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  3. I went through a very difficult time several years ago when I came out to my partner of several years. She didn't take it well and outed me to all family and friends. Fortunately, they were very supportive and I understand her pain - she thought I had wasted valuable years of her life but the truth is that I still love her and given the choice I wouldn't be the way I am for that reason.

    If there is a God, that's the way he made me.

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  5. Let me first say that I am not a homophobe or narrow minded. However, I am almost positive that my husband is gay or bi-sexual, and it hurts. I have been dealing with this belief for several years, but have never come right out and expressed it to my husband. I have hinted around hoping that he would just come out to me and then we could deal with it. The thing is that a few years ago I accidentally found that he has quite an interest in gay porn. This and a few other things have me pretty well convinced. Could someone please tell their opinion?

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  6. Anonymous,

    I'm not professionally trained to counsel in this area, but I have a lot of practical experience in relationships. I don't think the relationship between any two people, especially a husband and wife, can be healthy if their is untruth or belief that their is untruth between them. Therefore, as painful as it would be, I would urge you to adress this concern with your husband--not confrontationally but directly.

    I don't know what the result would be, but one thing I write about a lot is how ultimately nothing good comes out of someone denying who he or she truly is. At least he would have the opportunity to convince you otherwise or to admit it and see if the two of you can work through it.

    My prayers are with you whatever you may decide.

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