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He Left Me for a MAN! How Can I Get Him Back?
Cheating Husband Cheats With a Man
Perhaps, of all the shocking cheating husband scenarios wives experience the most difficult to accept is the husband who cheats with a man. I say "shocking" only because the wife is shocked. It has become more and more common over recent years. However, the unknowing wife of the gay spouse if often shocked, dismayed, angry and feels a sense of betrayal that goes far beyond the cheating episode.
Interviews with wives of recently "out of the closet" gay husband were often filled with anger and some of the women were so perplexed they were almost speechless for several hours.
Interviews with the husbands who had strayed with a man were very enlightening, as these husbands often expressed sorrow for their cheating, but a new liberation after "coming out."
From the Wife's Point of View
Some of the questions from wives whose husbands had cheated with a man or left them for a man were:
- Did I make him "turn" gay?
- Does he hate me so much he wanted to humiliate me to the point he would go out with a man?
- How can I compete with a man?
- Has our entire marriage been a lie?
- How can he say he still loves me if he is making love with a man?
- What do I tell the children?
- Is this a one time thing? Will he come back to me?
These are a few of the questions women married to men who cheated with men asked. Many of the women, especially those who had been married for twenty or more years with grown children, were bitter and expressed that they "feel used." Others wondered how their husbands could have hidden "being gay" from them "for all these years."
The truth is that there are no simple answers. However, the questions seemed to be very similar. Over time I could pretty much anticipate the questions from the wives. Occasionally, I was surprised by the answers from the cheating man.
One Man's Story
One man told his story. The man had been married for over 25 years when he divorced his wife. He did not "come out" immediately following the divorce. In fact, he did not come out until he retired from the Army.
According to this particular man, he was happily married with two children for at least half his married life. When he married his wife he had no idea he was "gay." He said his wife always asked his advice on what to wear when they went out. And, he was only too happy to "dress" her. According to him, he had "a much better eye" for fashion.
When it came time to decorate their home, he admitted that he took the lead. "My wife just had no idea of how to put colors together. It came naturally to me."
While these statement may seem sterotypical of what many believe to be a "gay man" I can say that this man gave the impression of being anything but gay. He retired from the Army as a colonel. He was tall, muscular, athletic, and very masculine. But, so many of our stereotypes are wrong. Perhaps, that is what makes sterotyping so unfair to those who are stereotyped and those who do the stereotyping.
His story was interesting. He had begun to "notice" other men but had suppressed or dismissed any feelings for five or six years. Then, he began to "allow" himself to look at other men. He claims that his wife had no idea. She swears she did not have an inkling of a notion that he had gay tendencies.
Finally, one evening following an argument with his wife, he left the house, went to a local bar, had too much to drink with the "boys" and woke up in bed with one of them. He further explained that "it felt good to be held." For reasons that should be obvious, I will not go into the details.
He did not tell his wife of the event and she did not ask where he had been or with whom. However, he recognized that he was strongly attracted to men, to the point where having sex with his wife became untenable. They divorced two years later.
Due to his military service, he did not come out. Instead, he found himself in a role where his responsibility was to handle the discharge of men who had been discovered to be gay. In his words, "It was like having a list of prospects."
This man became a "whore" according to him, going from one man to another much like a straight man would enjoy the freedom of having a plethora of women from whom to choose following a divorce. I mention this only because it is a rare situation for a man who leaves his wife for another woman or a man to create an ongoing, lasting relationship with the first person with whom he has a love affair.
This is one man's story. While this may or may not be the norm for a man who cheats on his wife with a man, I cannot definitively say. I did not collect sufficient information during my clinical time to draw a conclusion that would hold up under scrutiny.
What the Wife Needs to Know
First of all, most of the men I interviewed did not go into the man-woman marriage with the recognition that he was gay. There were a couple of men who "thought" they may be gay, but thought getting married to a woman would keep them from acting on their thoughts. These men discovered over time that they were unhappy in the marriage and some divorced and some "lived the lie in hell" so as not to "disappoint friends and family."
The wives did not cause their husbands to "turn gay." I do not believe, based on my educational background and my studies that men or women for that matter, "turn" anything, be it gay or lesbian. For the point of this discussion, I will not get into whether a person is born gay or whether it is some illness. Most open minded people have formed their own conclusions. And, of course, there are some who will never open their minds enough to think.
Telling the children can be a challenge. However, in several cases the teenage children said they knew --- obviously before the wife--- and did not have to be told. Children, in general, expressed their love for both parents and were not as concerned with their parents sexual orientation as much as knowing that they would still be loved by both parents.
As far as the husband "coming back" into the marriage, probably not. Most men I interviewed saw the "coming out" or "coming clean" as the biggest obstacle in their lives. They reported that there was no returning to a heterosexual relationship. Once free from the shackles of societal pressures, the men saw "no reason to go back to living a lie."
That said, on follow-up interviews with couples who had divorced after the husband "came out" or cheated with a man, a number far greater than I would have expected had established good ongoing relationships.
I asked the men I interviewed if given the opportunity to say anything they wanted to say to their wives, what would they say. Surprisingly, at least to me, most of the men said they would tell their wives to be tested for STD. Most admitted that at least on one occasion they had unprotected sex with their male partners.
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
Whether your husband cheated with a man, or your wife cheated with a woman, most marriages cannot survive this type of infidelity as much because there is little incentive for the cheater to return to the marriage.
As with all relationships, it must be suggested the person with the wandering eye leave the established relationship before engaging in extramarital affairs. Most do not leave the marital relationship because they think they can "get by with it without being caught" or because they do not recognize that their own feelings will change.
Most people who have been in a marital relationship have a much harder time accepting the spouse cheating with a same sex partner. However, over time, following the dissolution of the marriage, both members of the marriage have a tendency to attempt to re-establish some sort of working friendship.