CultureJune 27 2013
My husband is living an active gay lifestyle. I would love help to navigate this part of my life. I want to do whatever we can to both be happy and I don”t want to leave him. Is there a solution for this?
I’m sorry you find yourself in this situation. You haven’t given me a lot of details here so I may have to bridge some gaps . . . but when you say “active gay lifestyle” I’m going to assume that you mean that your husband ‘s sexual orientation is towards the same sex, and that he’s actively having sex with other partners. You mentioned that you don’t want to leave him, and asked for a solution. I’m afraid I don’t have one. But I do have some questions that I’m hoping you can ponder in an effort to find the right path for your life:
Are you okay being married to a gay man?
You have used the word “lifestyle” to describe his sexual orientation, which makes me think you may view his sexual orientation as a choice. However, research indicates that efforts to change one’s sexual orientation are rarely effective. It may be a hard truth for you to face, but it’s likely that your husband is gay and will always be gay. It’s likely that the love you are seeking from a partner, and maybe even the love you feel for him, will not be reciprocated by this man. He may very well love you, but it’s likely in an agape way as opposed to an eros way. Is romantic love, intimacy, and connection important to you? You talk about wanting to be happy . . . is a reciprocal love relationship a part of this happy picture? Do you think you will be fulfilled in a marriage based on friendship rather than love?
Are you okay being married to someone who is unfaithful?
Your husband’s sexual orientation notwithstanding, it’s concerning that he is having sex outside the marriage. Is this acceptable to you? Are you comfortable with having an open marriage? There are risks involved in this behavior: risks that you will be hurt, that you will grow jealous, that he’ll fall in love with someone else . . . are you up for these challenges? Are you willing to be married to a man who is meeting his sexual needs with other people?
If the answer to both questions is above is yes, then I’ve got to follow up with a more important question:
What is going on for you that you would be willing to stay in a marriage where your husband is a) not oriented for intimacy with you, and b) unfaithful?
You are sacrificing a lot by staying in this marriage. Why would you be willing to do this? I’m guessing you love him a lot, and that is a compelling reason. But is it possible for you to remain in a loving relationship while dissolving the marital farce? Is an intimate friendship a possibility? What else could be keeping you in such a marriage? I have to wonder if, under the surface, there are some fears, insecurities, or other underlying intimacy issues that are compelling you to stay. I strongly encourage you to explore those issues with a therapist.
Do I think it’s possible for you to stay in a marriage like this and both be happy? Sure. Do I think it’s likely? No. To be honest, the prognosis for long-term fulfillment for both of you in this marriage is very low. Statistically, mixed-orientation marriages . It may be smarter to avoid more heartache and end it now, rather than waiting for the inevitable crisis down the road, when one of you realizes that you need more out of a relationship than a friendship masquerading as a marriage.