Hi, my husband is gay

By Wednesday, May 7, 2014 21 Permalink 4

Hi, my husband is gay. I love him and I don’t know what to do.

That’s how my wife introduced herself to two guys she met at Woody’s, the most popular gay bar in Philly. She left me in line to check our coats and wandered off to the bar. As I waited in line, I kept trying to grab her attention. I didn’t feel comfortable and I wanted her close to me. But she was busy talking. Really? We just got here and she’s already chatting away with two strangers?!

One guy was much older, maybe late 50s. The younger one looked 30, if that. I’d heard how common it was for gays to date way outside their age range. Whatever. It was turning out to be an interesting evening. Earlier, we watched an awful movie about gay romance. The entire night was her idea.

“Hey”, I said, as she handed me a beer. Oh my god, you’re not going to believe this! Guess What? This is Peter and his son Tommy. Peter used to be married too! I shook my head. Hi Henry, I’m Peter, nice to meet you. Peter was so warm and the perfect gentleman. Your wife is wonderful and we’ve heard some great things about you too!

Their story broke my heart.

It was the 1970s. Peter was terribly conflicted about his sexuality but decided to get married anyway. Listening to him, I sensed he did it because he hoped his same-sex attractions might fade and because he craved to be normal. His wife was devastated and unforgiving. He loved his kids and she punished him by taking them away. He tried everything to stay close to them. She made it impossible. Tommy was 7 and completely destroyed. They didn’t reconnect until he was in his 20s. Now, they are committed to making up for lost time.

I thought about my own kids. No way I could survive without them. Peter got up first. You’re a very lucky guy Henry. He gave Evelyn a big hug. And you are an amazing woman! We exchanged emails and promised to stay in touch.

That night at Woody’s was just a few months after Evelyn and I started dealing with my coming out. It was all so confusing. She was devastated. So was I. 14 years married, two kids. I was obsessed with two thoughts. What happens to my family? How could I have done this to her? Amazingly, as devastated as she was, she chose love and compassion. Sure, the four of us have been through some terrible pain. But because of the choices she made our family stayed together.

She put us on her shoulders and somehow found the courage to carry us all to a better place. Because of what she did, she kept it all from falling apart and she let me go so I could be the gay man I was always meant to be.

Yes, I am a very lucky man.

  • Olga Perez
    May 27, 2014

    I love you my brother more than ever and I commend you for your bravery. I will always be your sister you will always be my brother you are the best thing that has ever happened to our family. God Bless you on your new journey in life and may you always know that God loves you !!!your sister Olga Lydia

  • Ann
    August 12, 2014

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  • stephen wissink
    August 19, 2014

    Your wife may be interested in checking out the straight spouse network, straightspouse.org. It’s an excellent international group for spouses of gay people.

  • Mary wangui
    August 19, 2014

    It is an awful and selfish decision no matter the views we want to uphold. Our freedom should not affect others.

  • KL
    August 19, 2014

    I am a divorced woman of a gay man. We were together 20 years. I chose love and compassion, too. He and I are still close and I adore his new partner. Gay citizens don’t come out because of feeling shame and I wasn’t going to let him come out with shame, but to uplift my best friend to his highest potential. I chose to keep my wedding vows to love, honor and respect him as did he. It has been painful, but we are both better for it. I’m so glad your wife chose the same. Love does conquer all. Living the truth of who we are is freedom, and let us all be loved for how God made us. It is selfish to expect a person to live a lie. I wish you both the very best.

  • Ambivalent
    August 20, 2014

    To answer the two big questions haunting you:

    “What happen to MY family?”

    They will do fine without you. You OTOH need to learn some basic responsibility. Your family don’t exist to serve you. Your family consists of real human beings with their own struggles, it is not a concept that you adopt to please yourself or society. Obviously if you understood this you wouldn’t have wasted your wife’s time and lied to her all these years. You wanted YOUR family and did it at the expense of a real human being. Then your kids too. Everyone paid for YOUR selfish need and will continue to pay for it.

    “How did I do it to my wife?”

    You were childish and selfish. You didn’t deal with your own homophobic shame. You chose to conform to society norm. You chose to lie. You cheated on her too. The fact that you cheated with men, doesn’t make you “innocent victim”. You violated her over and over again and you’re still doing it with all your self-pity.

    As long as you’re still making it about YOU, and blaming “society” for making you conform and marry and made children and kept up the lies, you are still doing it to your wife.

    Stop hurting her already. Admit you’ve been a selfish immature brat and grow up ASAP.

    • UnwittingWifeandMother
      August 21, 2014

      @Ambivalent Thank you. Somebody had to say it.

    • ginny
      August 22, 2014

      I completely disagree. Henry was doing the best he could, he is a good person. Like all people, he was unsure, scared, and yes, dealing with a society that is still quite hostile to people like him. He was no more selfish than any other person who is trying to do their best but only being human, falls short. This is a terrible thing to say to anyone, you should be ashamed of YOURSELF.

      • LoLo
        August 25, 2014

        No, there is nothing wrong with what this person said about what Henry did. If Henry were looking at other women and talking to other women, no one would have an ounce of compassion for him. He chose to do what he wanted. Dear friends of mine who do not live openly still do not bring unwitting women into their struggle of accepting themselves. Henry needs to accept his own truth. He acted selfishly and with little thought to the pain he was inflicting on a woman who loved him. He didn’t come out on his own; he was “found out.” Does this mean he should be thrown away and treated horribly? NO. He made some incredibly poor life choices now he needs to find a way to live through these and be a better person on the other side. It doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have happiness or be loved; however, if we sugar coat every time someone does something wrong with society made me do it no one will ever take personal responsibility.

        • Gnat
          January 31, 2015

          You’re all dopes that can’t see it more than one way. How about: it’s their family; mind your business and respect their story. It is different when it’s another woman. Totally different. If you can’t admit that than you are socially undeveloped people stuck in the 50s. Be the bigger person. It’s so much more attractive, not to mention kind.

  • Joanna otero- Cruz
    August 21, 2014

    I commend you both Henry and Eveyln as well as your children – thank you for sharing your story. May it serve to teach others the power of love and family unity. God Bless

  • Casey J
    August 21, 2014

    I have major love/respect for the gay community- but it still hurts when your the wife of a man that lived a lie and brought you into it as well-
    Its hard on all involved-

  • Giddy
    August 21, 2014

    Henry, my story is a lot like yours….and my ex-husband sounds a lot like your ex-wife. I was 41 and married for 14 years before I started to face the truth that I am a lesbian. I had come out once before, in college, but because I perceived my parents as unsupportive, and my identity was all about pleasing others, I went back into the closet upon graduation…I thought I was bisexual and could be ok with a man…..but in the end I was wrong! I’m 44 now, with the divorce still pretty recent. My ex and I share custody of our 2 daughters, now ages 14 and 9. This hasn’t been easy for anyone, but living authentically is so important. My relationships with my kids–and with my ex—are so much better now because I am living from a place of truth and not trying to pretend to be someone I’m not. I imagine you might be having similar experiences! All the best to you as you navigate this rocky road!

  • MMan
    August 21, 2014

    I don’t see the difference between a man leaving his wife for a man vs. another woman. He can say for both a man and another woman that he’s leaving his wife for someone he’s more attracted to. But somehow, it’s good for a man to leave his family for a man while it’s a social crime to leave his family for another woman. For one his is being ‘true to himself’ and the other he’s a lying selfish cheat.

    In other words, I doubt the wife in the story would have been so ‘loving’ if he had ‘come out’ with another woman.

    And somehow allowing a woman to “shoulder” the family just doesn’t seem right. A man should not allow a woman to have to be the one leading the situation a family finds itself in.

    • Chris
      August 23, 2014

      MMan, I don’t know which is worse, automatically assuming Henry cheated just because some letters confirmed that he’s gay, or your attitude that women are weak and need to be “allowed” by a man to do anything.

  • Divorced Long Ago
    August 22, 2014

    I can tell you that finding out your husband is gay after quite a few years of marriage was more than devastating. He did have the doubts when he married me but wanted them to go away or perhaps be tolerable within the marriage. without a doubt I can tell you that I considered him selfish and dishonest during the marriage. No word was mentioned about the issue until I finally divorced due to lots of emotional issues became evident on his part and he would not help with a solution.

    Yes, I choose compassion because I had a two year old and did not like what I saw happen to children whose mothers kept them from their father. Truthfully, I can say that I did not considered us to have a friendship since none of what came before was based an his authentic self. Forgave him, yes, but to get on with life, distanced my emotional life and personal contact very quickly.

    If this divorce is recent, which it appears, I hope the wife is prepared for the dreadful emotional consequences to come. Come they will.

    • ginny
      August 22, 2014

      I don’t think it’s fair for you to assume that your situation is the same as Henry and Evelyn’s situation. They are different people than you and your ex, and just because you feel a certain way does not mean that Evelyn will or should feel the same way! You need to let your bitterness go, I don’t think it sounds like you have truly moved on emotionally as much as you would like to believe you have.

  • judy
    August 23, 2014

    Seems to me it is never selfish to want to have children and raise them in loving nurturing ways. .. married, single, gay, straight, Trans, bi…I see a family. .. defined the way that works for them. Bless you for loving your children and participating in their lives. .. and now they can see what true love and compassion is. .. as well as authenticity and truth. Life isn’t easy no matter the choices we make…I wish you well and may your lives be blessed

  • Chris
    August 23, 2014

    Henry and Evelyn, you sound like terrific people, and the way you have dealt with this revelation is the best thing you could do for yourselves and your children. I wish you all much happiness now and in the future, and hope you remain best friends.

    August 24, 2014


  • Vijay (India born, Canadian)
    August 29, 2014

    Dear Katie
    Suggest you leave out the Bible, Sodom, Gomorrah etc out of it. As human beings, husband and wife, father and mother, Henry and Evelyn are only trying to do the best they can for themselves and the kids. Is it better for the children to hear it from their own father and mother, or would you rather they heard it in the condemning tones of someone like you who chooses words in a 2000 year old book over the issues faced by a real family and real kids in your own neighborhood? As a parent myself, I would do everything to protect my kids from views like yours.

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