Help! I Think My Husband Is Gay

Dear GoodTherapy.org,

You have to help me—I feel like I’m living a terrible nightmare! I am not the type to snoop, but recently I’ve been seeing signs my husband might be gay. There’s what I think is evidence on his phone of random meetups with men, pictures … and even one lengthy text exchange with a man at his company. I didn’t read the whole conversation, but it seems to be a developing relationship. They were flirting and talking about feelings, “seeing where this goes.”

I’m devastated and confused, and unsure where to turn. My husband and I are rarely intimate, which is an issue we were trying to work on, since we’ve talked about starting a family. I still thought we cared about each other deeply. We get along well, laugh a lot, and typically have a policy of honesty with one another. Or I thought we did. We were good friends before getting together, and we always talked and shared everything. I do remember, years ago, him saying he’d had a fantasy about being with another guy, and I believe I responded supportively and nonjudgmentally. It wasn’t like I thought he was going to actually cheat on me, let alone with a man. I just thought it was a fantasy. I have fantasies of my own that I would never act out.

He doesn’t know I saw his phone, and I don’t know how to confront him about it all. I can’t imagine living with this information and just waiting for him to bring it up himself. Can we work through this? —Dazed and Confused

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Dear Dazed,

It sounds like there are a couple of issues to tackle here. I hear your concerns about your husband’s sexual orientation, and I also hear some deep pain at the prospect of his cheating or being dishonest with you. Both sound like they are causing you significant distress.

I’d like to start first with the cheating issue. The loss of trust in a relationship can be devastating and hard to come back from. No matter the circumstances, if you fear your husband has been unfaithful, or is even considering being unfaithful, that is a painful feeling to sit with. Staying silent is not likely to bring peace of mind. Waiting for him to bring it up leaves you in a holding pattern that can make you feel powerless. Confronting him, however, brings its own set of fears. I strongly encourage you to find a therapist who can help you navigate through all of this with you as you decide what path to follow.

If you suspected your husband was having an affair with a woman, would your response be clearer? What if your husband is bisexual? How might that impact your view of your relationship with him and your future?

As to your original concern, wondering if your husband is gay, that lends an additional layer of complexity to your situation. If you suspected your husband was having an affair with a woman, would your response be clearer? What if your husband is bisexual? How might that impact your view of your relationship with him and your future?

Regardless, right now you are operating on suspicions, but without bringing your husband into the conversation there’s a huge missing piece. Perhaps he is, in fact, gay. Perhaps he wants to stay married and start a family, and also explore relationships with men. Without talking with him, you won’t know what he is thinking, which leaves you trying to respond to a situation with incomplete information.

You do have an opportunity to decide for yourself what your limits are and what you need in order to feel able to stay in a relationship with your husband. Talking with a therapist can help you gain clarity about what your needs and boundaries are. As for your final question—can you work through it?—that depends entirely on the two of you and whether your relationship can meet both of your needs. Figuring that out will require open and honest conversations, perhaps with a counselor who has worked with couples facing similar issues.

Best of luck,

Erika

Erika Myers
Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
  • 10 comments
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  • Jeffrey

    Jeffrey

    October 28th, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Whoa that has to be a lot to take in.

  • Monique

    Monique

    October 28th, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    I could not handle that for one skinny minute. Just to think that my husband was carrying on about feelings and thins like that that are so intimate and personal with another person, man or woman, that would be very hard to accept and come to grips with. I guess you have to get to the bottom of what he really is feeling, is this something that he is just exploring or is this really him being himself.

  • Be

    Be

    January 14th, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    It happened to me. After 35 years of marriage my husband admitted 6 months ago to having sexual affairs with multiple men. It completely destroys you as a woman ~ taking every femininity you had away. If you have a gut feeling something is wrong, it probably is. You don’t live with someone for 35 years and not realize when their behavior changes. If you feel he is lying, he probably is. If his personality is changing and he becomes disrespectful to you, when he never had, there is something going on. When he insists on having men as best friends, trust your gut and confront him. The depth of my husband’s betrayal is unbelievable. For whatever reason, he felt he could flaunt his gay lovers in front of me. He violated our home, while I was away taking care of his family members, with his sick sexual affairs ~ repeatedly. He completely destroyed our family unit and trashed everything we raised our children to believe.

  • liam

    liam

    October 29th, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Why are there spouses who just can’t seem to figure these things out before getting married and hurting someone else?

  • Jocelyn

    Jocelyn

    October 29th, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    This is difficult because I know that you have to do what feels right for you and so does he. It is a hard situation to know what is going to be the right thing because I fear that what is right for you might not be the same for him and then there will be some bigger issues to get past.

  • Sloan M

    Sloan M

    October 30th, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    You must have already suspected something or else you wouldn’t have been looking at his phone

  • tammy

    tammy

    October 31st, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    I feel so bad for you because it is clear that this has blindsided you and you are just hoping beyond hope that it might not be true. I applaud you for even having the courage to share and write about it because this must just be one of the hardest things that you have ever had to face.

  • Loretta

    Loretta

    November 2nd, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    Have you thought ahead
    like if he is gay
    would you want him to stay?
    would he want to?
    I am thinking that hard as it is you have to confront him just to get some peace of mind.

  • Penny

    Penny

    November 3rd, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    You do know that this is him cheating on you right? Even if nothing has happened yet it looks like the intent is probably there

  • David

    David

    November 17th, 2016 at 6:07 PM

    You may be hesitant to let you husband know about you getting into his phone but likewise he has cheated at the very least emotionally with another man (possibly physically at this point). So I agree first talking to a therapist in person would be a good idea on how to navigate this situation. Then you can either confront him with what you know and have him explain openly what is going on or possibly he can come into the therapist with you to talk about “Something you have been going through”. You can tell him it something you have been dealing with and haven’t felt you could tell him and want him to come into the office so you all can talk about it.

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