When your husband betrays you with men, the resulting emotions can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult to process.
Sara Schulting Kranz is on The BTR.ORG Podcast sharing her own story of resilience and acceptance in the aftermath of her husband coming out after fourteen years of intimate betrayal. Tune in and read the full transcript below for more.
My Husband Betrayed Me With Men – My Emotions Are Overwhelming Me
Many women in our community face intense and overwhelming emotions in the face of learning that their partner has betrayed them with men. They grapple with blame from clergy, family, and friends, while trying to stay in the reality that sexual orientation or preference has literally nothing to do with them. Below is a list of common emotions and thoughts that women facing this situation experience:
- Intense rejection
- Fear that they “turned” their husband gay
- Grief over the thought that the relationship was never authentic
- Intense frustration over the time wasted
- Sorrow for children they share with their partner
- Self-blame for not “seeing it sooner”
- Self-loathing as they perceive themselves as not good enough, or not attractive enough to “keep their husband straight”
- Intense anxiety that the same situation will play out again in future
Am I Homophobic For Feeling This Way?
When your husband betrays you with men, you may grapple with the worry that you are homophobic for feeling complex emotions, including anger, disgust, rejection, or grief.
It’s important to give yourself space to feel the spectrum of emotions that all betrayal victims experience.
Professional betrayal trauma specialists can help you process your feelings and experiences, and ultimately come to a place of acceptance, understanding, and healing.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
At BTR, we understand the devastation, shame, and heartbreak that victims experience. Please don’t suffer alone. Attend a BTR.ORG Group Session today.
I have Sara Schulting Kranz on today’s episode. Sara was raped at 17 years of age and she became pregnant and chose to keep her child. 23 years later. She found out her husband of 17 years was having affairs with men for most of their marriage and is a sex addict to heal from these traumas. She summited mountains, ran ultra-marathons, regular marathons. Also, she did standup paddling deep into the ocean and today she helps other women find the courage to do the same.
Her recovery journey has become a documentary and walk through this, a story of starting over. She founded Live Boldly Coaching and became the first coactive professional life and relationship coach, wilderness first responder and multi-dimensional partner, trauma model, certified coach in the world. She has certification to take women on trips in the Grand Canyon and helps women recover from trauma through movement and through connecting with nature.
And she began guiding these transformational coaching, hiking and meditation retreats in the Grand Canyon. And not only does she guide clients physically through the canyon, but also emotionally and mentally if they choose spiritually deep within themselves. I love nature and I love being out in nature, so it’s so great to talk to someone like you.
In fact, I’ve recently added to my self-care, a lot of yoga and just the movement and the moving of the trauma out of my body has helped me immensely. Let’s start with talking about your story. How did you feel about finding out about your husband’s compulsive sexual acting out behaviors and what did you do? How did you decide to create safety for yourself?
“We have a major problem here.”
Not only is he a sex addict, but he’s also addicted to drugs and alcohol and was leading a double life and I didn’t know any of it. I found out on Thanksgiving Eve and once I realized that his behaviors were not something that I’m accustomed to seeing, he was literally tripping out on drugs. When he came home that evening, I started going through his phone and his websites and everything that you can imagine on technology that he had his hands on and through that I started realizing, oh my gosh, we have a major problem here. This is not just drug related. There’s other addictions involved. And it was devastating.
“It was absolutely devastating.”
It was absolutely devastating going through and scrolling through your husband’s phone, which I’m sure many of your listeners have had to do, and finding all of this stuff, the porn and the website, the things that he was looking at, as I’m sure most of your listeners know, there’s discovery and then there’s disclosure. And my disclosure happened over the course of five days in front of my eyes.
My own safety I created through movement, nature, and that’s always my go-to place. That’s always been my go-to place for therapy and that was where I started, was actually on the trail and on the water and really taking some time to get clarity within myself through movement and through connecting with nature.
Does Acting Out With Men Always Mean He’s Gay?
So you finding out that your husband was acting out with other men, does that mean that he is gay or bisexual?
In my situation, my husband I found out is gay. It does not mean if that’s happening with other women’s husbands that they’re gay. Sexuality goes across the board. And so for my husband, he identified with being gay.
So he now lives a gay lifestyle.
My now ex-husband, yes, he moved out. We are now divorced and he does not even live near me right now. So yes, he is leading and living a gay lifestyle.
How do you overcome the feeling that you “weren’t good enough”?
So how do you overcome the feeling that you weren’t good enough for your man or that you weren’t enough either physically or emotionally? I want to say that Sara, I’ve seen her, she is extremely physically fit. So you’re like the many men’s or many women’s picture of what an ideal body type would look like. So how do you overcome that feeling that you weren’t good enough?
I never had that feeling personally. I know many women that do just from women that talk to me and women that have these conversations about this exact topic about my spouse is leading a lifestyle with same sex. Even if had that thought of, did you turn him gay or no, I didn’t turn my husband gay. And it’s not that I wasn’t enough for him, it’s that for him, he just wasn’t living an authentic life. And so for many women or men that have these thoughts, I always tell them, this isn’t even about you. None of this is about you.
“This is about them not being truthful or honest where they’re at.”
This is about them not being truthful or honest where they’re at. And unfortunately getting projected onto you. When people ask me that, for me, I never thought I’m not enough. In some cases maybe I’m too much and so maybe I’m just too much in terms of too much. What I mean by that is yes, I do a lot of things. I am very fit and I do a lot of nature stuff and I run ultra-marathons. It’s not about being too much or not enough.
That one’s hard. If he met someone else, would she be the right one for him or something like that. And that’s not the case either because when someone is involved in behaviors like this, nobody can be the right person for them because they’re incapable of having a deep meaningful relationship with someone.
I’m sure people ask you, is it possible to stay with a husband if he’s acting out with other men? Was it possible for you? Is it possible for other women? So I guess I’m asking it in a personal sense, would it be possible for you and then another sense, is it possible for some women? What has your experience been and then if so, what does that mean for intimacy and sex life within that coupleship?
Choosing to Leave After Discovery & Disclosure
For my own self, I couldn’t do that. Absolutely not, and here’s why. For me, there was so much there that I didn’t know and it was 14 years worth. And so for who I am as a woman and for who I am, I’m a mom of three boys, my choice was no. The other flip side of this as well is that he did identify as being gay.
For my own self, it would be very difficult for me to live in a relationship of which he’s identifying himself as really wanting to be with a man. I’m not a man. How can I fulfill that? I can’t. Our intimacy. Once all of this surfaced, I realized it wasn’t what I needed and what I really wanted and what I deserved as a woman.
And so regardless of the fact I couldn’t live in a relationship like that any longer because I wasn’t living an authentic life because he wasn’t living in an authentic life, my choice was to leave. I do know women and I coach women who have chosen to stay with their spouses because even though they identify as gay, they have chosen no judgment. Look if that’s what works for them, I say, do it. Who am I to judge? I can’t judge anybody on that and they successfully do.
Trust Yourself to Make the Best Decision For You
Yeah, we have had examples of that and I think it’s really good to understand that for each individual there’s a different individual situation, there’s different circumstances, and to trust that a woman will make the best decision for her, right under the circumstances in which she is in
And for their kids, look for some people they choose to stick around or to stay together as a couple until the kids are older and more power to you if that’s what you choose to do. No judgment on me for my own self knew it wouldn’t work.
Telling the Kids
Yeah. Did you tell the kids and then how did things go down within your church community?
He went to rehab for 35 days and then we talked to the kids in the spring and then also again in the fall. In the fall was when we decided this isn’t going to work because I actually did try. I actually believe it or not, did try for a little bit to make it work to see I’m one of those people where I have to go to the extent to really make sure that I’m making that right decision.
So I was building the foundation of what could my life look like? Could we even possibly make any of this work? Now we’re into the future until the kids get older. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions until I had all of the facts and emotionally felt secure enough to do it from a place of clarity for myself. We told the kids what was going on, but then we didn’t officially tell them we are getting divorced until that fall, so it would’ve been almost a year later.
“I was There to Support”
They handled it beautifully. They handled everything beautifully. All three of them were there. I let David do the talking and I knew it needed to come from him, not me. I’m not the one that needed to take responsibility in that he did. And so I was there to support and to make sure that the kids understood that I was always going to be there and that we would be fine. We would walk through this and get through it together.
They had questions. We left it very open-ended for them to ask what they needed to in order to feel heard and in order for them to understand what was going on and to be validated as sons and members of the family, obviously they did great. They really handled it extremely well. Tears of course, of course they cried. In terms of the church community, I’m Catholic.
When Clergy Helps & Supports Victims
I went to Monsignor immediately. He was extremely supportive. He understood what was going on and what needed to get done. He’s never once questioned my decision or the way that I’ve handled it. He’s held me to my own beliefs and thoughts and held my feet to the fire to make sure that I was doing the right thing as a mom, which I appreciated, held me accountable in what I needed to be held accountable in.
But overall, they were really good. I don’t listen to a lot of the talking people do behind my back. For me, people ask me that. They say, well, what about the people that talk behind your back or when you’re sitting in the pew or do they look at you funny or whatever? I don’t care. I’ve just never been one to care.
I’ve been through enough stuff in my life that I know that if I’m standing in my own place of integrity and my own truth and doing what I know I need to be doing for my kids and myself, the rest can go by the wayside. And everybody at some point comes around anyhow. Everybody has their stuff. I’m in the process of actually getting my marriage annulled right now.
The Process of Annulment
I am not super familiar with Catholic theology, so can you explain a little bit more about that with the annulment and how that works?
I’m just starting the process of annulment and pretty much from what I understand, and I may even be getting some of this wrong, but the annulment process is one of which it’s as if in the church’s eyes, the marriage, it’s not that it didn’t exist, but that it was made. It was created on bounds, which one or the other was not holding true to their beliefs that it also was done under untruthful ways.
So in other words, I believe that David knew, and we will never fully agree on this, but I believe that he had some sense of what was going on within himself prior to us getting married. He says, no, I don’t want to speak on his behalf. That’s my own thought process and my own woman intuition in the church’s eyes, you came upon this marriage with two people that did not enter it in a truthful way.
So the marriage gets alt and it’s as if it’s not that it didn’t happen, but that it was not done according to the churches or under the church’s premise, their rules and how two people should be coming together
LDS Theology Regarding Intimate Betrayal
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is the church that I belong to. I was married in the temple, and there are very specific requirements to do that. One of them is that you’re honest in your dealings with your fellow men, and one of them is that you obey the law of chastity, which in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints means that you are not using pornography and that you are not masturbating.
Any man who says, I am worthy to be married, I am telling the truth. I am not using porn. I am not masturbating. If you marry someone in the temple, you assume those things are true by them saying, I am temple worthy. I’m going to marry you in the temple and not tell you that they’re lying is extremely traumatic for so many women who find out later, whoa, I entered this marriage under false pretenses. He lied in order to marry me in the temple.
And he not only lied to me, but there are so many witnesses of this temple marriage, right? There’s clergy, there’s multiple levels of clergy, and there’s also family around who witnessed this. And so all of the family assumes that these principles are being adhered to. So the lie is very big when this happens within my church, and I think that’s why it’s so traumatizing to women when they find out,
“It was under false pretenses”
Yeah, I fought with this. Understand, I really actually fought with this, and you said that much better than I did in that it was under false pretenses. We had 300 people at my wedding. It’s a big deal. And for me as a woman to be standing up there and accepting this man who I thought was coming into this marriage one way and also understand he was betraying me for 14 of my 17 years, I think I’ve already said that.
It’s not like it just happened once for me, it was such a deep level of betrayal that I fought with this one. When Monsignor first told me, you can get your marriage annulled, I said, no way. I don’t want to get my marriage annulled. It was still a marriage. And now looking back and taking a lot more spiritual time for me to assess this as a woman and as a mom, I’m thinking he’s offering this to me.
Processing the Concept of Annulment
He knows that it can be done and that it will go through the steps that it needs to in order for it to get done. And so I just for myself wanted to, it’s not erase, it has nothing to do with erasing it. It’s me wanting to spiritually say to myself, you did the right thing. The other person stood beside you and did not. And under God’s law, under my own beliefs and my own values and morals, it was not right. And so I want to be able to enter into this next stage of my life on my terms, and that means spiritually as well, according to my church.
Women Can Trust Themselves
I think that’s really important for me. The covenants that we make in the temple are with your spouse and then they’re with God. And I have felt like I wanted to maintain my covenant. And so not in our church. It’s called Have your temple ceiling canceled.
I have felt like I don’t want to cancel my temple ceiling because these blessings are still valid for me as an individual, and they still keep me safe. So I think it’s so interesting as we embark on these spiritual journeys of what did these promises mean to me or what did they mean in terms of my faith community? And every answer is right. There’s no wrong answers.
There are many women who I know who have had their temple seal canceled because they felt like that was the thing they wanted to do. And for me, I feel like it still keeps me safe and it doesn’t keep me from marrying someone else in the future.
Available Resources For You
And I would like to maintain those covenants now just for myself and my own children and our family here. But I love how we can all make that decision and whatever decision that we come to is the right answer for us. And it’s also one that we have taken to God and God has let us know. Yeah, that’s the right answer for you. That’s really cool. I appreciate you explaining that to me. Thank you. So Sara, when we’re talking about men who are acting out with other men, are there any specific resources that you could direct our listeners to if they are in that situation? So
Seek Support For the Betrayal First
The first one that I would do is definitely look for somebody that is versed in betrayal trauma. That is definitely one of the first places to start because that’s the bottom line is actually the betrayal, right? And then secondary is in this situation, if it’s men, it’s then having somebody versed in sexuality in terms of why are they doing that? Why are they turning to men?
Because again, it doesn’t mean they’re gay, it just simply means that for whatever reason, they’re turning to men as their way of acting out. My other thing that I always tell my clients is take some time for yourself and really connect yourself with nature. Take time to meditate, take time to pray. Take time to find your own safety and to really feel grounded because that’s where you’re going to find your safety.
And then of course, it’s the fact that I do run retreats and a lot of women that come on my retreats have had the same type of thing happen where it’s sex addiction or any kind of betrayal or any kind of life shifting event.
“What did it feel like to be lied to like this?”
I think the more attention we can bring to this important topic, and also the more we can talk about the lives of victims and what it looks like rather than coming at it from the betrayal’s perspective, but from the victim’s perspective, what did it feel like to be lied to like this? What did it feel like to experience this type of betrayal is so important for people to understand the devastation that choices like this can create?
Yes. I was on a different podcast yesterday and this was brought up and it was because people look at me and I am an insanely happy person, and people know me as being always happy. You’re always happy. I am always happy Most of the time. I have moments of sadness, and I think that people forget that we all, even those people that have been through this, the survivors, we have moments of anxiety or sadness where we’re just distraught because we have been through a lot.
It’s monumental the amount of devastation that a betrayal can do to a person. I still talk into my phone when I’m in my moment of extreme sadness and then play it back the next day and think, wow, that’s where I was at. It’s about learning the tools in order to get through it much quicker as time goes on.
So the amount of sadness when I find out something new, even in this summer, I found something else out that I didn’t know. And so when I find those things out, it takes me into that little, they call it the rabbit hole, a little rabbit hole of devastation. But now what’s cool is that I now know the tools to pull myself out of it right away.
“Find Yourself Support”
It is really important. It also takes time to learn, I’d say a year or two after, and it would be longer without support.
Absolutely. Find yourself support truthfully, I had one therapist, I owe my life to her, and then she actually hooked me up with another man who was also a therapist, and they, together were running a support group, and that support group was monumental in my healing. I drove an hour and a half one way to get to the support group every Wednesday and spent an hour and 45 minutes in it and then turned around and came home, and it was nearly my entire day, but I needed that every Wednesday to get through this
“You need a group of people around you”
With support. It’s about a year or two until, at least for me, and I’ll speak for many women that are our clients and other women that I interact with, to get to that level of stability in which you can regularly and easily employ the tools.
Now, if you have no support, even if you know what, even if you attempt it, it’s almost impossible because you need a group of people around you who is employing those tools, who can show you how to apply them, who are examples to you about how to use them, and then it just takes a while to learn how to do it. My recovery would’ve taken an exponentially increased amount of time had I not had my support group around me. And I’m so grateful for BTR, for providing me that support. And so many of you.