It may seem like a scenario from a movie or a bad soap opera, but there are real life instances when one spouse suddenly discovers that the man or woman he or she has married discovers that he/she is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
In fact, according to statistics compiled by the Family Pride Coalition, there are around 2 million couples of mixed sexual orientation.
One third of this number end in divorce; another third stay married for 1 to 2 years to try to figure out what to do but ultimately end in divorce as well; while the last third make the effort to save their marriage. Around 17 percent of this last third will live together for three years or more.
Despite the bleak statistics, there are mixed orientation couples who have managed to stay together and have a happy family life. How did they manage to do it?
The greatest emotional burden is actually on the shoulders of the straight spouse. When his or her spouse comes out of the closet, they might view it as sexual rejection, which may result in damaged self-esteem.
It is not uncommon to hear them ask “Did I turn my spouse gay/lesbian?” or “Am I not masculine or feminine enough for my spouse?” Especially if the gay spouse has been keeping this a secret, the straight spouse may feel that he or she has been betrayed or lied to, causing anger and rage to erupt.
There is also the suspicion that your husband or wife may have gone to bed with another man or woman, respectively. There is the concern that you may have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS. Last but not least, there is the feeling of shame, resulting from what society may perceive as a flawed marriage.
Of course, the gay spouse is equally burdened. The heaviest emotion that he/she has to deal with is the guilt for hurting his/her husband or wife. But there is also the feeling of desperation and necessity to reveal to him/her the truth. He/she will also have to live with the anger, accusations and doubts from his spouse.
If you have a gay spouse, the key to solving any problems is through a completely honest communication. Once the both of you have calmed down, sit down and talk about what to do next. While divorce is the only option for most couples, there are some who want to stay in the marriage because:
1) they truly love the man or woman they have married and
2) they love their children.
If there is the determination to save the marriage, the two of you should seek counseling. The gay spouse especially needs professional guidance to determine if he/she can still perform in a sexual capacity with the man or woman he/she married.
In some cases, conflicts regarding sexual orientation can be gradually resolved with the help of counseling from a trusted priest or pastor. In fact, many gays and lesbians have been able to curb their sexual preferences thanks to teachings according to their respective faiths.
Discover more information on how you can save your marriage if there is a problem of sexual orientation today!
For captioning and translation see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51kQQuVpKxQ
Reteaching Gender & Sexuality is a message about queer youth action and resilience. The video was generated to contribute additional queer/trans youth voices to the national conversations about queer/trans youth lives. Reteaching Gender & Sexuality intends to steer the conversation beyond the symptom of bullying, to consider systemic issues and deeper beliefs about gender and sexuality that impact queer youth. Share the video with your friends, family and networks and talk about what THIS means to you!
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