I think my husband is secretly attracted to men -what do I do? Ask Evie

Hi Evie. I can’t actually believe I’m writing this but I think my husband might secretly be gay. We’ve been together for coming on 10 years, and although we’ve always had issues in the bedroom, he always writes it off as being tired or stressed, so I never suspected anything. This year, his behavior has changed quite a lot. He actually seems happier, but not with me. It’s hard to explain, but I see him making more of an effort with his appearance, and he seems to be more sociable. Initially, I suspected he was having an affair with another woman, but just before Christmas, I decided to break one of our rules and check his phone. I didn’t find much in the way of messages or emails, but I did see in his search history that he’d watched gay porn. Then came the bombshell – I found an app (which he’d gone to great lengths to hide) called Grindr which Google tells me is for gay men. I keep thinking that maybe he’s just curious, but what if he’s actually gay? How do I bring this up with him? On top of it all, I feel angry that he kept this from me, and that the last 10 years have been a lie. 

Firstly, thank you for writing in with this – I know it can’t be easy. But it’s commendable that you want to know the right way to address your concerns rather than acting on impulse – this could have made the entire situation worse, so well done for taking a minute to think things through. 

Whilst the evidence you found on your husband’s phone points towards him being gay, we mustn’t overlook the fact that he could just be curious. There may be parts of his sexuality that he never felt he could explore, and through porn and dating apps, he’s testing the waters. It’s not certain that he’s cheating on you, so this is something you’ll have to explore when you speak to him directly. 

On that note, let’s look at how to bring up this very sensitive and complex issue with him. The most important thing you need to avoid doing is being accusational. That’s a surefire way to make someone put their defenses up. You will obviously have to admit to going through his phone, which will already be a point of contention, especially as you mentioned you have a rule about this. 

So here are a few tips on how to initiate the conversation:

  • Find a good time to do it. Don’t bring it up when you’re both tired, hungry, or busy. And certainly don’t do it in public or with kids in earshot if you have them. 
  • Be honest about why you went through his phone. Avoid using “You” statements, and instead focus on “I” statements. In this case, it’d be something along the lines of, “I felt that you were acting distant and I was concerned, so that’s why I decided to check your phone.” 
  • When you broach the subject of his search history and the app, approach it from a place of wanting to understand. Try to be calm and keep an open mind. Treat it as a discussion rather than as an accusation, otherwise, he may not feel like he can be fully honest with you. 

Bear in mind, your husband may not have all the answers to your questions. He may still be figuring a lot of this out himself. And that’s why it’s important to treat this as a potentially ongoing conversation – you’re not going to resolve everything in one chat. Once you’ve spoken about your concerns, the next step will be deciding what happens to your marriage.

Even if your husband isn’t gay, I imagine this entire experience has left you with some serious feelings of doubt, and the fact that he’s got a dating app will definitely need to be addressed. If he’s not gay, are there areas of your marriage that he feels unfulfilled in? Ask the hard questions now – there’s no better time. 

Now, another point I wanted to talk about is your feelings of anger. These are completely valid, and anyone in your position would feel the same way. So don’t deny yourself your emotions, but instead, try to work through them so that you can both achieve the best possible outcome with a rational mind. 

And following on from that, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume the last 10 years were a lie. People are multi-faceted, complex, and forever changing. If your husband has recently developed feelings for men, then he may not have been deliberately misleading you. Regardless of what happens going forward, you’ve both grown, learned a lot and had good and bad experiences during your marriage. That all counts for something. 

Finally, I know this is a big ask, but if you can find it in your heart to show compassion to your husband, that would make this whole process a bit easier. That’s not to say you can’t feel hurt or angry or betrayed, but recognizing that perhaps he was never allowed or made to feel comfortable exploring his sexuality has led to this situation. Now, that’s not to say you have to remain in the marriage just to keep up appearances – you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who is fully attracted to you, and has their heart in it as much as you do. 

So a wider conversation will be needed as to how you proceed forward after you’ve worked out the nitty gritty details. I know this will be a challenging time for you, but try to see it as an opportunity for growth and change. Either together as a couple or individually if you decide to go your separate ways. 

Sending best wishes, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

Ask Evie

Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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