“Stages of Recovery,” dated May, 2008, is the most
frequently visited page on this blog.  Visitors
to this site look for reassurance that their current misery will eventually
heal.  Like other straight spouses before
them, they seek to understand recognizable steps toward their own

    After the early stages of shock, confusion, denial and
self-blame, straight spouses face the realities of a mixed-orientation
relationship and its rush of tough decisions. 
This awareness leads to anger and despair, along with profound
grief.  We mourn the loss of security,
trust, and expectations of a predictable future. 
We are set adrift in a sea of uncertainty and we grieve our loss as we
grief a death.  Indeed, it is the death of
the future we’d planned. 

    This “dark hole” of rage and grief may last for months or
even years.  But for most, often aided by
competent counseling, deeper healing begins. 
How do we know when this turning point has come?  What hopeful signs can we see?
  Centura Health offered a useful list of these signs in their
September, 2007 issue of Seasons of
A summary of the article is
relevant to straight spouse recovery and offers markers of progress.

  • You
    look outside yourself with enough energy to reach out to others while
    coping with your own grief.
  • You
    can express and live with your emotions, as they lessen in intensity over
  • Episodes
    of emotional turmoil abate.
  • Sadness
    is often present, but does not deepen into depression.
  • You
    open to social contacts and resume traditional ways of being in the world.
  • You
    let go of guilt and blame, realizing that you did your best.
  • You
    have glimpses of meaning in life, moments of hope and joy.
  • You
    begin to plan for the future.

    As grief subsides, most straight spouses reinforce their own
inner resources, looking forward to new interests and new friends.  For some, forgiveness is possible as wounds
heal.  This is a new beginning.  When we see every experience as a teacher,
every stage of recovery as fuel for waking up, we are well on our way to wholeness
and a happier phase of life.

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  1. Michele says:

    It has been 4 days since I found out my husband of 30 years has been having random sex with with other men. I am devestated and at this point haven't told anyone else about it. I am planning to inform some members of my extended family tomorrow. We fortunately don't have any children. I feel so lost and alone I am glad to have sites like this to turn to. If there is a silver lining to all of this, it is that I have not been happy for the past year with him or our relationship, but it just seemed easier to deal with it than to make a major life change. Now I have been forced to make that change. I just don't know how to go about doing it.

  2. Carol Grever says:

    Michele, your discovery about your husband is fresh and it's understandable that you feel confused about how to manage the changes ahead. It's good that you're sharing your shocking news with family members because it's essential to have trusted confidants to support you through these changes. In addition, I recommend reading more of the articles on this site to armor yourself with accurate information. (See the list of titles on the left margin.) It may also be helpful to read comments following some of the blog's articles and to watch the documentary, "One Gay, One Straight," to see how other straight spouses coped. Inform yourself, communicate with confidants, seek counseling when needed, and be assured that you are not alone and that you can survive this ordeal. Best wishes on your path.
    Carol Grever

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