Archive for the ‘Film’ Category


July 31st, 2014 by Carol Grever


If you searched out Straight Spouse Connection, you are probably in the grip of grief.  Loss drives straight spouses to come here seeking information, comfort, and connection.  The articles here emphasize assurance that pain passes and a calmer, happier future is possible.  In many cases, the mixed-orientation crisis opens a door to something even better.

I found echoes of that inspiring truth in one of my favorite blogs, Andi O’Conor’s Burning Down the House:  Essays on the Poetry of Loss.   Andi’s family home burned when she was twelve, her parents and siblings barely escaping by jumping out second-story windows.  Again, as an adult, fire destroyed the home she’d built for herself in Four Mile Canyon near Boulder, Colorado.  Andi writes of these ironic, devastating losses in a wise, constructive way. 

Her latest post also has a link to her TED talk titled “A Pretty Good Deal.”  In this moving video, she gives convincing evidence that “losing everything can restore your faith in humanity.”

I highly recommend that you visit and browse Andi’s posts to learn how she overcame loss and grief and rebuilt a more rewarding life and career.  Her story is full of hope and it’s totally relevant to the straight spouse experience.  Above all, take ten minutes to watch her TED Talk.

Like Andi, people in mixed orientation relationships may be living in a "house with walls that need to come down."  I’ve tested and witnessed that concept personally and found it sound.  Every seeming disaster in my past has somehow opened my heart and mind to something better.  That message is so beautifully stated in Andi's blog and her video.  I'm a grateful fan and I think you will be as well.



April 30th, 2014 by Carol Grever

“He flung himself from the room, flung himself on his horse, and rode madly off in all directions.”

Stephen Leacock, Literary Lapses, 1910. 

When your spouse comes out, it’s a dramatic, confusing, often traumatic time.  There is no certainty, no obvious direction.  What’s your next step?  How will this event affect your future?   Desperately seeking answers, your efforts are scattered. Like Leacock’s character, you fling yourself onto the nearest horse and “ride madly off in all directions.”

Where is a consoling sense of well-being to be found?  What action will lead to renewed security and self-esteem?  There is no single answer because every straight spouse is a unique individual in a particular situation.  Still, the basic facts are the same:  One is gay, one is straight, and the discovery of that difference is a significant game-changer.  For most couples, it means parting and subsequently reconfiguring separate lives.  Based on the experience of many mixed-orientation couples, some guidelines do emerge to move more confidently into the next stage and even discover joy on the way.


Defy defeat!  After the initial trauma of separation, look at all possible options for yourself as a single person.  A mate coming out is only one event in one's life, though a major one.  It is not the end.  You still have a future.  Approach that future with strong determination to overcome this catastrophe and to discover something even better.

Confronting Reality

Armed with a firm sense of purpose, take a mental step back and look objectively at your entire situation.  It is essential to examine every aspect, with no distortion from emotion or resentment.  When you feel calmer, compile three lists of the bare facts. The first is your list of ongoing resources and assets.  Do you have a home?  A car?  A job or other stream of income?  Do you have a support group of family or friends?  What are your sources of security as a single person? 

The second list defines your obvious external needs and obligations.  Consider your finances, employment, housing, health issues, insurance, transportation, and so on.  Will you stay in the family home?  Go back to school?  Find a new job?  Move out of state?  Get help from relatives?  What about the kids?  Try to list all of your commitments, needs, and responsibilities that relate to others.  With this list in hand, determine a first step and formulate a preliminary plan.  Examining the reality of your predicament as dispassionately as possible lays groundwork for constructive action.

The final list is equally important for transitioning into a new life:  Your emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.  This inventory may be the most difficult, for it requires honest soul-searching, a thorough examination of your deepest inner life.  Ask yourself questions like these:  What makes me feel most content?  What are my core beliefs?  What fundamental values do I hold?  On a scale of one to ten, what is most important to me?  What would it take for me to feel fulfilled and satisfied?

Seed of Success

These long lists may feel overwhelming at first, with a daunting array of necessary responsibilities.  The whole situation may seem hopeless—but it is not!  You are more than the roles you’ve played in the past for mate, family, co-workers, and friends.  You have within the power to overcome your challenges.  Deep in your mind and heart, you have untapped strength.  An innate knowing is your seed of success.  It is your connection to a greater whole—the entire community of other straight spouses who have survived this drama and achieved even better lives.  After the initial hurt subsides, a new reality can be realized.  Many former “victims” say that their mate’s coming out was life-changing--a catalyst for something much better.  Perhaps it is a new career, a happier marriage, a calmer home life, or improved self-esteem.  Going through the fire opened new possibilities for many.

Aspiration for Joy

Survival is one thing, joy is quite another.  But joy is within your reach.  Focus now on yourself.  What would make you happy today?  Let go of the life you’d planned and reimagine your new one.  Dream the life you really want!  Determine what is required to achieve it and devise a strategy to move toward it.  Though your eye is on the ultimate goal, it’s encouraging to remember that glimpses of happiness needn’t be deferred.  Aspire to the top, but treasure the surprises of taking each step in that direction.  Savor the journey.  Open your eyes to beauty and goodness in ordinary moments of each day.  Meet each revelation with gratitude as you seek to discover your bliss.

You’re Not Alone

Perhaps the major lesson from the straight spouse experience is the discovery that there is nothing truly unique about your situation.  You are not the only one who has experienced this “detour,” nor will you be the last.  Knowing that you have comrades on this path offers tremendous relief and hope.  If others have lived it, learned from it, and gone on to happier times, why not you?  You can get through to the other side—wiser and stronger.  For some real-life examples of this point, watch the short video prepared for the Straight Spouse Network by Ken Rinehart.  (Click the link at the end of this article.)  It demonstrates the importance of peer support. 

Though a mixed-orientation marriage presents unexpected challenges for both partners, inevitable changes that follow need not ruin either spouse’s life.  Armed with accurate information, an open mind, and realistic goals, protected by strong determination and clear-seeing wisdom, both partners can let go of the past and devise a new direction. Unlike Leacock's crazed horseman, flying off in all directions, you'll have a clear path to follow.  On that journey, may all discover joy!

~ ~ ~ 

For a realistic affirmation that there is reason for hope, please watch Ken Rinehart’s new video.



July 8th, 2011 by Carol Grever

The summer premier of a new television situation comedy, “Happily Divorced,” arouses mixed emotions, particularly for straight spouses.  Fran Drescher, formerly of “The Nanny,” stars as a florist married 18 years to her real estate agent husband, Peter, who “thinks he might be gay.”  After he comes out in the first episode, their story will unfold as they remain in the same household, each pursuing social and sexual happiness with others. 

Rooted in Drescher’s actual experience with her high school sweetheart and former husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, the series could possibly offer genuine insight into the dilemma faced by mixed-orientation couples.  But the sit-com format makes that possibility remote--even though the two main characters are named Fran and Peter and the series concept is drawn from their history together.  What the series cannot express adequately is the pain of years of loss, grief, therapy, and healing that such couples endure in real life. 

Even with the limitations of TV comedy, it is interesting that these former spouses have reached an understanding which allows them to continue to work together as creative partners, though they are now divorced and living separate lives—she as a single woman and he as a gay man. 

It is impossible to depict in any comedy the searing drama of a partner’s coming out within a marriage.  That just isn’t funny!  Even with an amicable divorce or some alternative agreement that keeps the spouses uneasily together, the reality is not the material of jollity.  The best outcome after healing (often years later) is continuing friendship and an occasional wry smile about some of the ironic details.  Raucous laughter about it is rare indeed.

Reading the Los Angeles Times’ review of the sit-com’s pilot gives faint hope that the new series will delve beyond the superficial:  “Peter’s gayness is composed of gags about shaving chest hair, wanting to move to West Hollywood … and how Fran and he both like men.”  As anyone who has lived through the pain of a coming-out event, there is a lot more to talk about—like reconstructing a meaningful future for both partners. 

Surprisingly, there is an element of hope and good news here.  That is the fact that mainstream culture is becoming more aware of mixed-orientation marriages.  Shows like these offer the public a small glimpse at their aftermath.  Perhaps it is a sign of societal advancement that coming out within marriage may be material for affectionate comedy instead of grim tragedy.  However, those of us who have lived through the entire experience—from the shock of discovery through many hard-won stages of recovery and rebuilding--know that this is just not funny.