I think my husband of 30 years is gay.
Yep, He’s Gay.
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Number one, go to your gynecologist and get a complete screening for sexually transmitted diseases. You have to assume, given all the evidence, that your husband has done more than indulge in gay fantasies. Then you need to sit down with him and tell him it’s time to stop the ridiculous excuses. Say you’ve had 30 years together, and while it turns out you may not know each other as well as you thought, he knows he’s not married to a fool. If he can’t talk about what’s going on, tell him you’re going to a counselor—you hope he will join you, but you’ll go alone if he won’t—to help you figure out your next steps. Of course you’re devastated. It’s crushing to think the life you had was a cover story and to know the future you imagined is not going to be. However, this discovery does not mean your marriage was a sham. It’s possible your husband has always struggled with homosexual impulses, but that he also truly loves you and treasures your years together and the family you’ve made. It doesn’t even necessarily mean your marriage is over. But your marriage will never be the same, and it has to be remade—or ended—with more honesty than your husband has been willing to bring to it all these decades. You don’t have to make any hasty decisions. But you do have to impress upon your husband that from now on you won’t settle for less than the truth.
You could have tried a subtle approach: “Looks like you could use a Bloody Mary. It’s my favorite drink this time of the month, period!” You and your wife surely don’t think your guest was deliberately staging her own private Bloody Sunday at your home. It’s true that leaving a trail of blood in the bathroom is bizarre, but there are some medical conditions that can cause hemorrhagic levels of menstrual flow. Let’s give your guest the benefit of the doubt and assume she thought she had girded herself and was horrified to find out her protection failed. It would have been perfectly appropriate at the time for your wife to pull the woman aside and say, “Cindy, I’m sure you’re unaware of this, but you’re leaking menstrual blood. Can I get some sanitary products for you?” But now that she’s gone and the furniture has been cleaned, it would only be mortifying for everyone to bring this up. And you don’t have to wait until she hits menopause to have this couple over again—although, to be on the safe side, you might not want to make it 28 days from the last visit.
—Scarred and Awkward.
I spoke to Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self Injurious Behavior, about your situation, and she had advice for two different approaches. Certainly, you have no obligation to open up about this if you don’t want to. Confidently say in response to questions, “That’s a personal story I’m not comfortable sharing. Thanks for understanding,” then change the subject. They may remain curious, but you’ve answered politely and closed the subject. But Whitlock also said that if it’s someone you know, you might want to consider telling the truth. You can explain, “I was a very unhappy adolescent and I hurt myself. Fortunately, that’s in the past and I have a wonderful life now.” She says most people will have probably guessed and that your manner will convey to them that you are at ease with this subject. She adds that you should expect to hear a lot of confessions about others’—or their loved ones’—similar trials and pain. Whitlock says often people who have hurt themselves are not only physically scarred but carry a scarring sense of shame. Being able to discuss this—within the parameters that feel right to you—will help you let go of that and be proud of how far you’ve come.
—Can’t Stop Reading Tweets.
Since what you are doing creeps you out, and you want to stop but can’t, I’m not going to tell you that it’s fine if you find yourself compelled to read the natterings of an 18-year-old girl who used to bounce around your house. On the surface, of course, it’s perfectly harmless. That’s the thing about Twitter—if a Twitterer has a public account, anyone can access those random thoughts. But clearly the random thoughts that start running through your head when you read her sweet little tweets make you hope that neither your wife nor your son come in and find you daydreaming over her updates. There’s no Twitter Anonymous yet, but since you find yourself powerless in the face of her 140 characters, the test of your character is whether you can stop checking in and accept that she’s out of your life.
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I think my husband of 30 years is gay.