Sometimes a woman may have been in a heterosexual relationship for years and yet feel something is somehow "off;" and she may find herself asking, "Is my husband gay?" Many women find this question unthinkable but according to Bonnie Kaye, M.ED., an expert in women married to gay men, it is estimated that 4 million women have been, or are, married to gay men. If a husband is gay, it can devastate not only the relationship but the straight wife as well.
Signs of a Gay Husband – Is My Man Gay?
The clearest way to know if your husband is gay is if he tells you. If the husband is honest with both you and with himself (read: How Do I Know If I Am Gay? Signs You Are Gay), that is when you can truly know that he is gay. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 50% of gay husbands hide their homosexuality from their wives and don't reach this place of honesty on their own. In many cases, it is the wife, who after suspecting that something is wrong, must confront the gay husband with the evidence, and only then can honesty be achieved.
But if you're wondering, "Is my man gay," it might be helpful to know that there are signs to look for, according to Kaye. Kaye has developed the Official Gay Husband Checklist to help women know if their husbands are gay.
Signs Your Husband or Man May Be Gay
Kaye's checklist includes:1
- There is a decline of sexual activity early in your marriage that never picks up again. He tries to convince you that all relationships have a decline in sex even when you've only been together for a few years.
- He is turned-off by normal sexual activity and accuses you of being oversexed, aggressive, or a nymphomaniac when you have normal sexual needs.
- His sexual performance is more mechanical than passionate with a lack of satisfying foreplay.
- He claims he is "depressed" and will blame his depression or medication for depression for his lack of sexual desire for you.
- You find sexual enhancers such as Viagra (sildenafil citrate) or Cialis (Tadalafil) hidden in his private hiding places, but you know he hasn't made any attempt to have sex with you.
- He tells you that he wants you to use sex toys on him because he needs his prostate stimulated or because he likes kinky sex.
- He erases the computer history on a regular basis.
- You find pop-ups of gay pornography on the computer while he claims they are not his.
- He spends excessive time texting people at irregular hours.
- He starts to spend more time at the gym and works on changing his appearance.
- He claims that he feels "trapped" in the marriage and won't explain why.
- He travels a lot for business and you can't track his activities.
- He says he is having a "mid-life crisis" and becomes moody and depressed.
- He tells you about sexual abuse in his childhood/adolescence.
- He admits to having a homosexual encounter in the past.
- He uses the word "bisexual."
- He visits gay bars claiming he's there only to hang out with his gay friend(s).
- He watches porno movies with gay male scenes.
- He makes continual homophobic comments or he makes too many gay comments in conversations.
- His ego appears to be boosted by compliments from gay men.
These signs a husband is gay are not meant to be definitive. A husband many be gay and display none of those signs or a husband may display these signs and not be gay. These signs of a gay husband are designed as a starting point. Kaye advises that women "follow their instincts" when deciding whether their husband may be gay.
What If My Husband is Gay?
If it turns out that a husband is, in fact, gay, the fallout can be difficult to deal with, particularly for the straight partner. Many women find it much harder to accept that their husband is leaving them for another man rather than for another woman. The wife may experience:2
- Hurt and even rage at having been betrayed
And the wife may wonder if anything was real about the partner she thought she knew so well. (If you're thinking that you can cure the gay by having your husband go to gay conversion therapy, read this.)
What's important to remember is that the husband's homosexuality is entirely his responsibility and has nothing to do with the wife. The wife has not been inadequate in any way and likely the gay husband married her because he truly cared about her. Some gay men believe that being married can rid them of their homosexuality. But, of course, this is not true. Having sexual attraction to the same sex is no one's fault and likely has been there since birth.
Susan Pease Gadoua of Psychology Today recommends the following books if a husband is found to be gay:
- The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families, Revised and Expanded Edition, by Amity Pierce Buxton
- You're What?! Survival Strategies for Straight Spouses, by Heather Cram
- My Husband Is Gay: A Woman's Survival Guide, by Carol Grever