For the spouse who comes out of the closet, willingly or unwillingly, you are dealing with your own harsh realities, no doubt. One of the things that helped me get through my own situation with my then-husband was trying to understand where he was coming from. Empathy for his situation truly did sprinkle some healing glitter on my life.
I will be bold and say that I didn’t initially feel that he did the same for me. His lack of empathy toward what I was feeling was definitely lacking. At times, especially in those early days, I felt as though I was struggling through everything for the sake of our relationship, while he was thinking and acting very selfishly, whether he felt that he was or not. It was my valid perception, and I felt very alone in my struggle.
This especially seemed to be the case when I would ask him questions and he either dismissed them as not mattering or he would only give me half-truths, of which I would later discover the missing pieces; this led to more anger and hurt on my part, and defensiveness for us both.
Getting half-truths did nothing to help me heal or move forward. I understand now why he didn’t want to tell the truth. Sometimes, it was out of his own shame and not wanting to feel worse than he already did. Sometimes it was because he felt a burden lifted and didn’t want anything else weighing him down. Other times, which was usually the case, he didn’t want me to feel hurt anymore than I already had.
If I could give the LGBTQ spouse any piece of advice about the truth, it would be this: we need the truth. All of it.
Even if it hurts us more in the moment.
As the straight spouse in your marriage, there are gaping holes in our narrative, our life, that we didn’t know existed until the truth about you was revealed to us. And now? There is an overwhelming desire to make sense of our lives. The only way we can truly move forward is to know the truth and put the puzzle of our life back together, without pieces missing.
Please…don’t dismiss our questions as trivial or unimportant. It may seem menial to you, but it means the world to us and our healing.
Please…don’t walk away just because your burden feels lighter and you now want to explore and live your authentic life. Of course, feeling free is understandable. Your burden that you have carried for your entire life, whether you knew it your whole life or not, was very heavy.
However, you have a responsibility to help pick up as many pieces as you can in the wake of the tidal wave that just washed over us. We are now carrying a part of your burden squarely on our shoulders, which we never knew we would have to deal with. Can you understand how this could be difficult for us? Most of us desire to have empathy toward you, because we love you. Please return the favor in kind, and understand that it will take us more time than you realize; maybe as much time as it took you to grapple with your sexuality.
Living truthfully, telling the truth when asked, and helping your spouse to heal the things which are within your control, is an act of integrity. Part of living your future authentic life will mean so much more if you do what you can to help your spouse heal.
I certainly hope you can take much of what I have said here as non-offensive. I am an Ally, now, but I didn’t always feel that way in those early years of my husband’s Big Reveal. Thankfully, we both learned to handle truth; we now have a good relationship. Part of this is because I was willing to grapple with the tough stuff, and with time, forgive. The other part is because he finally began to understand and have empathy toward my journey.
Be a part of the healing. Live and speak truthfully. It is the gateway to healing.
Blessings on this Journey,
*In my next post, I will discuss the ideas of humility and the “Sorry, buts”.