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For Better or For Worse

When the Man You Married Struggles with Unwanted Homosexuality

For the man who struggles with unwanted homosexuality the important decision at hand is when to disclose this part of his story to his girlfriend, fiancé, or wife. The ideal time to discuss his issues with unwanted homosexuality would be before the wedding vows are spoken. However, there are men who have chosen to stay silent about their unwanted homosexuality, keeping their wife in the dark indefinitely, or who are found out by their spouse long after the honeymoon is over.

The man who struggles with unwanted homosexuality often stays silent due to fear of rejection, fear of never finding love again, and just plain fear of the unknown. Rather than stepping into his fear around disclosing unwanted homosexuality, a man will isolate himself even further which tends to only make matters worse.

Regardless of when a woman finds out about her husband’s unwanted homosexuality, it is her response as she moves forward that is most important: for herself, her husband, and for the marriage.

The wife who finds out about her husband’s unwanted homosexual issues after the marriage has long since been underway, and chooses to stay in the marriage, will have certain immediate hurdles to deal with: anger, hurt, betrayal, trust, sadness. Walking through this grieving process will take time. Husbands need to understand and respect the fact that, like any betrayal, gaining back trust will be a long road.

There have been times in my office that I have had a wife ask me, “Did I cause his homosexuality?” or “Was it something I didn’t do right?” The answer is most definitely “No,” and “No”!

From a reparative viewpoint the root causes of homosexuality are attachment loss and toxic shame within the man, among other things. These core issues date back to the husband’s early formative years in life, long before he ever met his bride-to-be.

A danger that couples may fall into is the negative roles that they can play within the marriage when dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Trust is a hard commodity to come by again, and many times a wife may find herself “policing” her husband; knowing where he is every minute, checking his texts, his emails, etc. This is an understandable response in marriage when trust has been broken for any reason, let alone homosexuality. However, should this response continue it will eventually prove counter-productive as the husband will more than likely feel smothered, and step into his “good little boy” self, trying only to please his wife. By playing the part of the “good little boy” the husband is attempting to reduce anxiety in the relationship, but to no avail because he is being inauthentic and this will only end up increasing anxiety, hence the beginning of a vicious cycle.

Wives do not want a “good little boy” for a husband and yet learning to trust their spouse again can prove to be a Herculean effort.

It is important that both the husband and wife have a safe place to work out their thoughts and emotions about his unwanted homosexuality. Marital therapy is a safe venue to do just that. It is also possible that as the husband works individually with a reparative therapist to diminish unwanted homosexuality, the wife may also want to seek individual counseling, gaining support to work through her grief.

The lion’s share of the burden will fall to the husband to do his work around unwanted homosexuality: staying in therapy, building healthy relationships with men, getting his needs met in healthy ways, etc. However the husband also needs to step toward his wife with intention, sharing his fears of rejection along with other emotions, thoughts, joys, dreams, etc. Doing so will be stepping away from the “good little boy” and deeper into his authentic masculine self and role as a husband.

Regardless of if a couple goes into a marriage knowing about the man’s unwanted homosexuality, or if it is disclosed or discovered later on down the road, for the couple that stays together the journey is the same.

Energy follows intent! When a man intentionally steps toward his wife with authenticity, her energy will follow his lead and she will step toward her husband with authenticity. This is the beautiful alchemy of what can occur when the true masculine and true feminine show themselves. This is the dance of marriage, for better or for worse.

Posted by Thaddeus Heffner, MMFT – April 9, 2011

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