My Husband is On the Down-Low

I had a question the other day from a woman married 29 years who is just now discovering that her husband is a homosexual. Now that he knows she knows, she thought his behaviors would stop, but they haven’t. He has a degenerative disease and is dependent on her to drive him where he needs to go, but he chats with men online about sex and invites men to their home to have sex with him when she’s gone to work. She is desperately seeking help to get through this. The advice I gave her was specific to her but applicable generally to women who have discovered their husband is gay, so I decided to share it with you.

I’m so sorry. First, know that you’re not alone. Because there’s so much shame connected with homosexuality in our culture, your husband is far more typical than most of us realize.

It would be easy for you and your husband to burn through your wealth paying for your opposing lawyers to demand and resist disclosure of all manner of embarrassing details about BOTH your lives for the entertainment and titillation of the bench and bar. Neither of you needs that.

I’m going to suggest a three-step process for you. For reasons that may not be apparent right now, the sequence is crucial.

Step #1 should be a visit with a good family lawyer for the limited purpose of coaching you on preserving evidence of all your husband’s misconduct. I don’t know all the facts, so I don’t know what all this entails, but a good lawyer would be able to visit with you and suggest some steps to take now so that, even if your husband tries to destroy all evidence later, you’ll have no problem demonstrating why you’re having to take the steps you’re taking.

Only after Step #1 is complete are you ready to begin Step #2. Find a good counselor who can help you grapple with all the feelings you have. I can detect some of them already: love, loathing, pity, fear, guilt, and anger. And I’m sure I’m getting only a fraction of what’s going on. That’s quite a head full. I know it sure would be hard for me to sort all that out, so I bet it’s difficult for you too.

At some point during Step #2, and with the careful guidance of your counselor, it will be time for you to tell your husband that you know about all his behaviors. You will never need to tell him everything that you know, just that you know everything. Do you get the distinction?

Only after Step #2 is well along (not complete but well along) are you ready to begin thinking about Step #3, the transaction you need to accomplish. You may need a divorce; you may need a legal separation; you may even decide you don’t need to involve the legal system at all. If you are careful about the way you follow these steps, and if you are careful and sensitive about the way you approach your husband about this, you may find that by the time you reach Step #3, you and he may be finish it in a quiet, cooperative, dignified way.

And when you’re finished, send me a note about your experience. You’ll be helping more wives than you ever thought possible.

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