An average marriage goes through its fair share of turbulent phases. From the seven-year itch to growing out of sync with each other, the pressures of parenting or not being able to become parents, the constant struggle to manage finances – married couples face many moments when the future seems uncertain, bleak. All of those, however, pale in comparison to coming to terms with this realization: my husband is gay.
One spouse being homosexual in a heterosexual marriage can seem like the end of the road. You both want different things, desire the same, and neither can give it to the other. By all measures, it seems like an impasse, threatening your future as a couple.
It can also be an extremely confusing and painful time for both partners, especially if you’ve been married for a considerable time. If there are children involved, the situation gets that much more complex. First of all, how do you find a conclusive answer to ‘Is my husband gay?’, if he hasn’t come out to you. And second, where do you go from here? Does it have to be a death knell for your relationship? Or is there a way to make the partnership work despite your diverse sexual interests?
We spoke to counseling psychologist and certified life-skills trainer Deepak Kashyap to make sense of these complicated dynamics.
Is My Husband Gay? 7 Signs That Say So
Is my husband gay? If you’re asking this question, there are bound to have been indicators that made you entertain this line of thought. In case your spouse is aware of his sexuality and has embraced it, the writing can pretty much be on the wall.
For instance, we received this counseling query from a young 26-year-old newly married woman, who found out about her husband’s sexuality on the night of their wedding. She knew that her husband was gay because he made no attempt to hide it and openly went to share the bed with his partner.
However, if your husband is still closeted or begins to discover this dimension to his sexuality later in life – perhaps, even years after you’ve been married – ascertaining that he likes men can be tricky.
“I saw no signs my husband likes men until he initiated a conversation about the possibility of being bisexual a decade-and-a-half after being married. Eventually, he discovered that he wasn’t bisexual but gay, and after two years of navigating this curveball that no one prepares you for, we parted ways,” says Jennine.
To not be caught unawares and watch your world turn on its head, look out for these 7 signs that suggest your husband may be gay:
1. He’s not interested in sex
What are the signs my husband likes men, you ask? One of the most telling is an apparent lack of interest in sex. There can be many reasons behind marriage turning sexless but if your husband shows no interest in intimacy right from the beginning of the relationship, it must be treated as a potential red flag.
Take the example of this woman, who was married to a gay man, and remained trapped in a sexless marriage for over a year.
However, if your husband is bi-curious or still confused about his sexual preferences, there may be some semblance of sex life in the marriage.
“A couple many still have some sort of sex life because of there is a broad spectrum of sexual preferences. He could be sexually bisexual but romantically gay, for instance. One telling sign that a man in a straight marriage is gay, however, is that he will most certainly never initiate sex.,” says Deepak.
2. He is secretive about his social circle
A rather unusual indicator that your husband is gay could be your involvement in his social life. “If he doesn’t let you meet his friends or his friends don’t come home, it could be because he is trying to protect the secret of his sexuality,” says Deepak.
This could happen if he moves in gay circles, and fears that if you discover that all his friends are gay, you may suspect that he could be too. Or the men he passes off as his friends could be his sexual partners. Perhaps, he has a steady partner that his friends are aware of and doesn’t want to risk one of them inadvertently spilling the beans.
Related Reading: When To Walk Away From A Sexless Marriage – Know These 11 Signs
3. Is my husband gay? The answer may be in his phone
‘How do I confirm the suspicion that my husband is gay?’ This question can continue to haunt you if you have nothing more than a gut feeling to go on. If you have a feeling that something is off and a reason to think that the cause could be your husband’s sexuality, try looking for gay dating apps like Grindr, Scruff or Growler on his phone.
Yes, it may seem like an intrusion into his privacy. But a wife has the right to figure out the truth about her husband’s sexual leanings.
4. He’s into gay porn
Likewise, you could also look through his web browsing history or search for porn apps on his phone to see if he’s looking at gay porn. If so, it’s a dead giveaway of his sexual preferences. No straight man gets off gay action.
Natalie, who felt trapped in a marriage with a husband who didn’t seem to care much for her, was at her wit’s ends trying to figure out the reason. Her first thought was that he was cheating on her, but she couldn’t find anything significant cheating spouse signs to back that up with.
She was looking for clues that would help her unravel the details of his infidelity when she chanced upon a gay porn site on his laptop. She felt her world crumble into bits even as she tried to process what had just hit her. ‘My husband is gay’, she whispered softly as she shut the laptop, her mind caught in a spate of thoughts she couldn’t even begin to sort through.
5. Being effeminate is not a sign of homosexuality
Effeminate characteristics, be it talking or dressing a certain way, ‘being sensitive’ or even a man wearing makeup or cross-dressing, are often misunderstood as signs of homosexuality.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth. Femininity or gender expression should not be confused with sexuality. Even the most effeminate men can be straight, and the most macho-looking men, gay. In fact, often closeted gay men hide behind this machismo to keep their sexuality under wraps,” says Deepak.
Don’t jump to the ‘my husband is gay’ conclusion just because he likes the color pink, uses too many skincare products or likes to wear a tinted lip balm every now and again.
Related Reading: Coming Out Of The Closet: 4 Gay Coming Out Stories
6. He displays homophobic behavior
As contradictory as it may sound, if your husband is gay, he may display strong homophobic behavior. This is particularly true in case he is still in the closet about his sexuality or in denial of it.
You may notice him make insensitive ‘gay’ jokes or lash out at someone who’s openly gay. People often get triggered when they see in someone the traits they’d dislike about themselves.
Of course, homophobic behavior can also stem from being against homosexuality. But if his reactions are disproportionately strong, you have to at least consider the possibility that it could be because your husband is gay.
7. When his bromance borders on romance
Male friendships are rarely characterized by a strong display of affection or intimacy. However, if you’re confused whether the expectations and emotional attachment your partner has for one particular friend borders on romance more than bromance, it is fair to wonder ‘is it one of the signs my husband likes men?’
Does he get jealous if that friend spends more time with someone else they’re close to – perhaps their spouse or another ‘close friend’? Does your husband become irritable if he is unable to meet/spend time with this friend? Is that friend the one he shares the kind of emotional intimacy with that you had hoped to have in the marriage?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then your cause for concern is legitimate.
5 Ways You Can Help Your Gay Husband Come Out
So, you’ve seen more than a few signs that your husband is gay. Putting that dilemma to rest is hardly the end of your troubles. ‘My husband is gay. What do I do now?’ Of course, seeking a divorce and setting yourself and your spouse free can be the first thought, as you grapple with feelings of hurt and betrayal. That is the route most people would take in such a situation.
But it is definitely not the only option available to you. If you don’t want the discovery about his sexuality to be the end of the road for you as a married couple, you can be his ally. ‘Is there a way to help my husband through this?’ ‘Can I be a part of his coming-out journey?’ ‘Where do we go from here?’ These questions may weigh on your mind.
We answer them for you with these 5 suggestions on helping your husband come out:
Related Reading: My boyfriend dumped me because he was gay and we’re friends today
1. Communicate with him
Communication is the most effective tool at your disposal to navigate this situation and prevent it from turning into a crisis. First and foremost, take the time to process the ‘my husband is gay’ realization and at least, have some sort of an idea about where you want to go from here.
Once you’ve wrestled with the inner turmoil, reach out to your husband. “Ask him, directly but without taking an accusatory tone: Do you like men? Do you like men more than women? Or do you exclusively like men? This may lead to a conflict, as the man who’s trying to keep his sexuality under wraps may feel cornered. Explain to him your reasons for asking these questions,” says Deepak.
2. Create a safe space
‘I want to help my husband through this and be a partner in his journey.’ This is a beautiful thought, but the question remains how are you going to do that? “The best way anyone can help their spouse come out is by creating a safe space. You can begin by making a conscious effort to not be judgmental. Don’t make gay jokes or snide remarks.
“At the same time, don’t be hysterical in your response to uncovering that your husband’s gay. Understand that marriages are forced sometimes, due to parental pressure or the fear of what coming out may do to a person’s life. Don’t make it entirely about yourself, and you’ll be able to empathize with his reasons for doing what he did,” says Deepak.
3. Educate yourself
As a straight person, whose sexual preferences are legitimized by society, you cannot begin to understand the struggles of the sexual minority. Not instinctively anyway. Looking for an answer to ‘my husband is gay what do I do now?’
“Begin by educating yourself. Read about the struggles and sufferings of homosexuals over the years, understand the gay rights movement, the prevalent prejudices even in this day and age, and their impact on lives of people from the LGBTQ community,” says Deepak.
4. Seek counseling
‘My husband is gay, what do I do now?’ The fact that you’re contemplating your course of action suggests that you may not be ready to give up on your marriage. Even so, it may not be easy for either of you to process and get through this jolt on your own.
You may be struggling with feelings of hurt, betrayal, and trust issues at the very least. In all likelihood, the gamut of emotions running amok inside you could be well more complicated and intense. He is likely to be unnerved by the possibility of, finally, owning up to his sexuality – something he may not be ready for.
Going into couple’s therapy and working with a counselor trained to handle such delicate situations can be immensely helpful in recovering from this setback and understanding where you want to go next.
Related Reading: I dated women for years before publicly coming out as gay
5. Be their friend and companion
How do I help my husband through this? “If you can, try to be your husband’s friend, but remember the emotional labor of being his friend is not your job. Learning that your husband is gay leaves a deep impact on your psyche, and your own healing and mental well-being should be your priority,” says Deepak
That said, being happily married to a gay husband is not an oxymoron. “By handling the situation the right way, you can build a good companionship and salvage your marriage. If you want to stay married for sake of society or children or whatever other reason, you can develop an understanding as a couple to create an open marriage where you create space for each other’s sexual needs (and partners) and still be great companions,” he adds.
Knowing that your husband is gay doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage. If you both want to stay married, share a strong bond and handle the situation maturely, you can swerve into a new direction as platonic life partners without necessarily being sexual mates.