What happens when your whole world gets turned upside down in an instant? Everything you knew destroyed with a disclosure that seems unreal and too unbelievable to be true. But it is: your husband has been acting out with other men. He identifies as gay and you are destroyed. You are left wondering: Was my marriage ever real if my husband is gay?
This situation is all too familiar to Sara Schulting Kranz. Sarah has been through unimaginable hardships throughout her life. She was raped at 17 years of age and became pregnant. She chose to keep her child. Twenty-three 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.
Read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR podcast for more.
Feeling Shocked To Find Out Your Husband Is Gay
It was devastating to scroll through my husband’s phone and finding all the gay porn and the websites he was looking at.Sara Schulting Kranz
With a disclosure as confusing and painful as this, it is understandable and natural for a partner to feel shock, betrayal, and even disgust.
Victims can take comfort in knowing that they are not alone, both in this experience and in these painful emotions.
What Are The Options When You Find Out Your Husband Is Gay?
Could we possibly make any of this work now or into the future when the kids get older? I didn’t want to make any rash decisions; I wanted to have all the facts and feel emotionally secure enough to make it from a place of clarity.Sara Schulting Kranz
While some women leave their marriages after finding out their husband is gay, others choose to stay. Regardless of the decision, options should be carefully considered and the choice should be respected.
My Husband Is Gay, Is It My Fault?
Among a myriad of painful emotions, many women also feel intense guilt and shame. Some blame themselves, wondering if they weren’t “good enough” for their partner.
This belief is harmful because it is both false and victim-blaming. Women are not responsible for the sexual behaviors of their partners. They can do nothing to cause, control, or “cure” their partner’s sexual acting-out.
Time, support, and boundaries can help women heal from the devastating feelings of inadequacy that can come from a betrayal of this nature.
What To Do If Your Husband Is Gay
If your partner has disclosed to you that he identifies as gay, or is currently or has been in sexual relationships with men, you may wonder what your next steps should be.
- Get tested for STDs and STIs immediately
- Find a strong support system of safe people who are trauma and abuse-informed
- If you have children, make sure that any pornographic paraphernalia is out of the house
- Set boundaries that protect you and your children from further harm (boundaries are actions, not statements)
- Begin a simple self-care regimen that includes nutrition and rest (you may have trouble sleeping, but try to take time each day to lie down and let your body relax)
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal
At BTR, we know all-to-well the pain of discovering that your partner has betrayed you with men. The feelings of self-loathing, self-doubt, and inadequacy can be overwhelming. The confusion about the future, the fear of others finding out – women can feel suffocated with the effects of devastating trauma.
The Betrayal Trauma Support Group meets daily in every time zone. It is a safe place to share your experiences, process your trauma, and vent your sorrows and rage – without judgment, only compassion and understand from women all over the world walking the same path. Join today.
Remember, you are not alone.
Does Having Affairs With Other Men Mean My Husband Is Gay?
I love nature and I love being 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 the movement of trauma out of my body has helped me immensely.
Let’s begin by 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 in this situation?
Sara: Not only is he a sex addict but he is also addicted to drugs and alcohol and leading a double life. I didn’t know any of it. I found out on Thanksgiving Eve and once I realized that his behaviors are not something I was 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 you can imagine linked to technology that he had his hands on. Through this I began to realize that we had a major problem here, this is not just drug related, that there were other addictions involved. It was devastating to scroll through my husband’s phone, something I am sure many of your listeners have had to do, and finding all of this stuff: the porn and the websites he was looking at.
How Can You Cope If My Husband Is Homosexual?
As I am sure most of your listeners know, there is discovery and then there is disclosure. My disclosure happened over the course of five days, in front of my eyes. I created my own safety through movement in nature and that has always been my go-to place for therapy. This is where I started–on the trail, on the water–really taking time to get clarity in myself through movement and through connecting with nature.
Anne: So you finding out that your husband was acting out with other men, does that mean that he is gay or bisexual?
Sara: In my situation with my husband, I found out he is gay. This does not mean that if this is happening with other women’s husbands that they are gay. Sexuality goes across the board. For my husband, he identified with being gay. My now ex-husband moved out and we are now divorced. He does not live near me. He is living and leading a gay lifestyle.
My Husband Left Our Marriage To Be In A Gay Relationship
Anne: How do you overcome the feeling that you weren’t good enough for your man, that you weren’t good enough physically or emotionally? I want to say that I have seen Sara. She is extremely physically fit, she fits the picture of what many men or women would say is the ideal body type. How do you overcome this feeling?
Sara: I never personally had that feeling. I know that many do based on the women who talk to me about this exact topic; that their spouse is leading a lifestyle with same sex attraction. Some even have the thought that they turned their spouse gay. No, I didn’t turn my husband gay. It’s not that I wasn’t enough for him; it’s that for him, he was not living an authentic life. For many women or men that have these thoughts, I tell them that none of this is about them. This is about them not being truthful or honest about where they are at and unfortunately it getting projected onto you. When people ask me that, I reply that for me I never thought I wasn’t enough; in some cases, maybe I was too much. In terms of “too much” I mean that yes, I do a lot of things; I am very fit. I do a lot of nature stuff and run ultra-marathons. It’s not about being too much or not enough.
Anne: That one is hard. If he met someone else, would she be the right one for him? This is not the case either because when someone is involved in behaviors like this, nobody can be the right person for them because they are incapable of having a deep and meaningful relationship with someone.
How Can My Husband Be Attracted To Other Men?
I bet a lot of women ask you–and we talked to Tara Brown a few weeks ago about this–she has chosen to stay with her husband who had acted out with other men. He does not identify as gay but as struggling with same-sex attraction. I’m going to ask this in two parts: first, I’m sure that people ask you if it’s possible to stay with a husband if he is 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? In another sense, is it possible for some women? If someone stays with a man who has either struggled with same-sex attraction or does identify as gay, what does that mean for intimacy and sex life within that couple companionship?
Sara: For my own self, I could not do it. Absolutely not. Here is why. For me, there was so much there that I didn’t know–14 years’ worth. For who I am as a woman and as a mom of three boys, my choice was no. The flip side of this is that he did identify as being gay. For my own self, it would be very difficult to live in a relationship where he has identified himself as wanting to be with a man and since that is not me, I cannot fulfill him. Our intimacy, once all of this surfaced, I realized it wasn’t what I needed or wanted or deserved. So regardless of the fact, I could not live in a relationship like that any longer. I wasn’t’ living an authentic life because he wasn’t as well. My choice was to leave. I do know women who have chosen to stay with their spouses because even though they identify as gay, they have chosen. If that is what works for them, I say to do it! Who am I to judge? They successfully do so.
Same Sex Attraction And What It Means In A Marriage
Anne: Yes, we have had examples of that and I think it’s really good to understand that for each individual there is a different situation, different circumstances, and to trust that a woman will make the best decision for her under the circumstances she is in.
Sara: Right. And for their kids. For some people, they choose to stick around and stay as a couple until the kids are older. More power to you if that is what you choose to do!
Anne: Did you tell your kids and then how? How did things go down within your church community?
Sara: He went to rehab for 35 days and then we talked to the kids in the spring and then the fall. In the fall was when we decided this wasn’t going to work. I did try. I actually tried for a bit to make it work. I am one of those people who must go to the extent to really make sure that I am making that right decision. So I was building that foundation of what could my life look like; could we possibly make any of this work now or into the future when the kids get older? I didn’t want to make any rash decisions; I wanted to have all the facts and feel emotionally secure enough to make 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 were getting divorced until that Fall–almost a year later.
How To Tell Children That Their Father Is Gay
They handled it beautifully. Everything. All three of them were there. I let David do the talking; I knew it needed to come from him, not me. I’m not the one that needed to take responsibility. This he did and so I was there to support and to make sure the kids understood that I was always going to be there and that we would be fine, that 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 for them 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. They did great! They really handled it extremely well. Of course there were tears.
Clergy Can Help Victims
In terms of the church community, I am Catholic. I went to monsignor immediately. He was extremely supportive. He understood what was going on and what needed to get done. He has never once questioned my decision or the way that I have handled it. He has helped me through 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. He held me accountable with what I needed to be held accountable in. Overall, they were really good. I don’t listen to a lot of the talk that people do behind my back. For me, people ask me about the people who talk behind my back or when you are sitting in the pew. I don’t care. I’ve never been one to care. I’ve been through enough stuff in my life that I know that if I am standing in my own place of integrity and my own truth and doing what I know I need to be doing for my own kids and myself, the rest can go by the wayside. Everyone at some point comes around anyhow. Everyone has their stuff. I am in the process of actually getting my marriage annulled right now.
What Does Religion Think About A Woman Being Married To A Gay Man?
Anne: I am not super familiar with Catholic theology so can you explain a little more about how the annulment works?
Sara: I’m just starting the process of annulment and pretty much, from what I understand and I may be getting some of this wrong, but the annulment process is one of which in the eyes of the church, the marriage was created imbalanced where one or the other was not holding true to their beliefs, that it was done under untruthful ways. In other words, I believe that David knew (even though we will never fully agree on this) and had a sense within himself of what was going on prior to our marriage. He says no to this and I don’t’ want to speak on his behalf; this is just my own thought process and woman’s intuition. In the church’s eyes, you came upon this marriage with two people who did not enter it in a truthful way. So the marriage gets annulled and it’s not like it didn’t happen; just that it was not done according to the Church’s’ rules and how two people should be coming together.
Faith Communities & Betrayal
Anne: In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church I belong to, I was married in the temple and there are very specific requirements to do that. One of them is that you are honest in your dealings with your fellow men; another 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 or masturbating. Any man who says he is worthy to be married, that he is telling the truth and not using pornography or masturbating, if you marry someone in the temple, you assume these things are true. By them saying they are temple worthy and not telling their companion they are lying is extremely traumatic for so many women who find out later that they entered the marriage under false pretenses; that he lied in order to marry me in the temple. He not only lied to me but there are so many witnesses to the marriage–multiple levels of clergy and family. The family assumes that these principles are being adhered to. The lie is very big when this happens within my church which is one reason it is so traumatizing to women when they find out.
How Can You Stay Married If Your Husband Is Gay?
Sara: I’ve fought with this a lot. You said it much better than I did. It was under false pretenses. We had 300 people at my wedding. It’s a big deal. 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 years of our 17 years, 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 I could get my marriage annulled, I said, “No way. I don’t want to get my marriage annulled!” Now, looking back and taking a lot more spiritual time for me to assess this as a woman and a mom, I’m thinking that he is offering this to me; he knows it can be done by going through the right steps. For myself, I do not want to erase it but want to spiritually say to myself that I did the right thing and the person standing beside me did not. Under God’s law, under my own beliefs and values and morals, it was not right. I want to be able to enter the next stage of life on my terms, spiritually as well, according to my church.
Anne: I think this is really important. For me, the covenants we make in the temple are with the spouse and God. I have felt like I want to maintain my covenant and so to not have my temple sealing canceled, as my church states, has been my decision. I do not want to cancel this sealing because the blessings of the covenant are still valid to me as an individual; they still keep me safe.
What Does Same Sex Attraction Mean For My Husband?
I think it is 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 that there are no wrong answers. There are many women I know who have had their temple sealing canceled because they have felt this was the right thing to do. For me, I feel like it keeps me safe; it doesn’t keep me from marrying someone else in the future. I want to maintain those covenants right now for myself and my children and our family. I love how we can all make that decision and whatever decision we come to is the right answer for us. It is also a decision we have taken to God and he has let us know that it is the right answer for us. I appreciate you explaining that to me. Thank you.
So, Sara, when we are talking about men who are acting out with other men, are there specific resources you could direct our listeners to if they are in this situation?
Sara: The first one that I would do is to look for someone who is versed in Betrayal Trauma–APSATS, Betrayal Trauma Recovery…to find an APSATS therapist or coach. This is definitely one of the first places to start because this is the bottom line–the betrayal. Then the secondary is in the situation. If it’s men, it’s to find someone versed in sexuality in terms of why are they doing it…it doesn’t mean they are gay; it means they are turning to men as their way of acting out.
Can I Stay In My Marriage If My Husband Is Gay?
The other thing I always tell my clients is to take some time for themselves and connect with nature, to meditate, to pray, to find their own safety and feel grounded. This is where they will find their safety. Of course, it’s the fact that I do run retreats. A lot of women who come on my retreats are dealing with betrayal and sex addiction of their spouse and life shifting events. I have a retreat in January and February and May. If you want to you can take a look at my website to find information on the documentary coming in 2020, Walk This Way, it’s going to be the story of my recovery journey. It’s really cool and I am excited about it!
Anne: I am excited about it, too! I think the more attention we can bring to this important topic as well as the more we can talk about the lives of victims and what it looks like, rather than coming at it from the betrayer’s perspective, and what it feels like to be lied to and to experience this type of betrayal, is so important for others to understand the devastation choices like this can create.
How To Handle Finding Out Your Spouse Has Same Sex Attraction
Sara: Yes. People look at me and I am an insanely happy person. People know me as a happy person. I am happy most of the time. I have moments of sadness however. I think people forget that everyone who has been through this have moments of anxiety or sadness because we have been through a lot. It’s monumental the amount of devastation that betrayal can do to a person. I still talk into my phone when I have my moments of extreme sadness and then play it back the next day, realizing that was where I was at. It’s about learning the tools to get through it much quicker as time goes on. The amount of sadness when I find something new–even this summer I found out something new–it takes me to this rabbit hole of devastation but now I know the tools to pull myself out of it right away.
Anne: It is really important. It also takes time to learn. I’d say at least a year or two after; it would be longer without support.
Sara: Absolutely. Find yourself some support. Truthfully, I had one APSATS trained coached that I owe my life to. She hooked me up with another man who was a therapist and together they ran a support group. This group was monumental in my healing. I drove 90 minutes one way to get this support group every Wednesday. I spent one hour 45 minutes and then drove back home. It was nearly my entire day but I needed that, every Wednesday, to get through this.
Was My Marriage Real If My Husband Is Gay?
Anne: With support, it is a year or two until, at least for me and I’ll speak for many women who are our clients and others I interact with, we can get to the level of stability to get to the point of easily and regularly employing the tools. If you have no support, even if you know what they are, it is almost impossible to work the tools. You need a group of people surrounding you to help you employ the tools, to apply them, who are examples of how to use them. It just takes a while to learn how to do it. My recovery would have taken an exponentially increased amount of time had I not had my support group around me.
I am so grateful for the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group. We have a daily support group in multiple times zones, so that you can get the help and support you need when you need it.
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Until next week, stay safe out there.