Growing up gay has never been easy. Decades ago, it was nearly impossible, and many men, in an attempt to be "normal," married and had kids. For some, it worked out fine. For others, the moment of truth was devastating for their partners, though very freeing for themselves. Be yourself, guys, there's no shame in it. Living a lie will only lead to pain.
Massage_10 asked: Gay men of Reddit who are married to women, what's your story, and how are things going?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Being gay isn't always a quick realization.
Uncle was in this situation.
He legitimately was in love with his wife the whole time, but was only sexually attracted to men. Much as people sometimes do have sex for reasons other than attraction/love, they did have kids.
The shame he felt sent him down a very destructive path. He's a lot happier now since splitting from her twenty years ago.
You can learn to love someone without being attracted to them. I imagine most of these marriages were like this.
TBH their relationship may even have predated him knowing he preferred guys. They were highschool sweethearts.
Yeah that's Grindr lmao.
I never knew this until I met my wife's gay friend, but apparently that Grinder App was a hot spot for him to meet married men. It was pretty weird.
Oh yes, as someone who has recently started exploring his bi side can attest, there is absolutely no shortage of married men that like to get it on with other men.
There are lots of messed up people in the gay culture that do this. Married "straight" guys who aren't out, sometimes because they're religious, sometimes because they don't accept themselves, etc, are pretty common. They don't seem to think about/care about the people they're hurting either.
The coverup isn't all that uncommon. It's still sad, though.
I went to a gay friends' 40th birthday party many years ago. I had never really had anything to do with gay men (born and raised in a mining town, homosexuality wasn't even spoken about) so was a bit apprehensive as he was very straight-acting whereas I knew his friends to be very camp (back then I just didn't know how to react around camp people).
His birthday bash was just a simple dinner at a restaurant with about 15 of us, myself and my girlfriend being the only two ''straight'' people there. It was a great night, I was very much put at ease by all who attended (even though they were all indeed quite out-there camp) and I found everyone very easy to talk to.
What struck me though was just how many of these men had done the whole ''get girlfriend, get married, have kids'' life. They all knew they were gay from a young age, but nonetheless had all lived the stereotypical male life before realizing that they were living a lie. Some waited until the kids had grown up before coming out to their wives, others could contain themselves no longer after a time whilst still in the middle of raising a family.
Some still got on well with their old lives/families, others had been disowned by (ex) wife or children.
I had a coworker who I know is gonna go through this. I'm very sure he's gay, but his small town religion be damned, he's never gonna come out of the closet.
I just feel bad that if he never comes out, he's gonna live a life married to a woman he can't love, because his religion is holding him down.
Lies upon lies.
This basically describes my dad. At the end of the day we don't have a great relationship, but it has zero to do with his sexuality, more to do with the choices he's made and how he went about making those decisions.
Things aren't going well for him tbh. I truly don't think he knows who he is or what he wants, which is something I have sympathy for, but it's also hard to feel bad for someone who destroyed your family immaturely instead of handling it like an adult. He is very much "the grass is greener on the other side" type of dude and it doesn't ever work out in his favor. He is always looking for someone to take care of him (read: mooch off of), no matter the sexuality. Truly I think all he's looking for is something he can't have/doesn't exist.
End of the day, while I'm glad they were married and had me, it's hard on my mom even 9 years later, mostly because of the infidelity. In her words, "I didn't care about his sexuality as long as he looked after his family," but sometimes that isn't for everyone :)
Sorry to hear that. A lot of gay men love their wives and children even if they're attracted to other men, because sex is not the same thing as love. Sounds like your dad just has problems with the concept of love — apologies if I'm way off the mark. I'm glad you are able to separate your dad's immaturity from his sexual orientation. Truth be told, it sounds comparable to a straight married man with a wandering eye, his just wanders to men.
(p.s. I'm assuming the marriage ended 9 years ago and not that you are 9 years old).
That doesn't make the deception ok. It isn't even close to the kind of love that sustains a marriage. The victims of these men could have instead married and had a life with someone that both loved and wanted them the way a husband should. They have been blatantly used by these cowards.
Knowing that my ex-husband 'loved' me 'in his own way' or indeed, 'in a way' has not made the experience of being married to a closeted man any less hurtful or humiliating.
Trying to feel "normal" is a life-long struggle.
My mum had a friend who's husband came out when their kids were 15 and 18. Apparently it was a case of denial before acceptance. It was around 1990 so I guess things were a bit iffy then.
However, I used to work in aged care, I recall one guy not coming out until his wife passed when they were in their 60's, he said that he felt it was more normal to raise a family and have kids.
Another guy I cared for with home care, I developed a good rapport with, he had a laptop that was playing up, a simple fix, but a window he had open was of gay porn. He got embarrassed but I mentioned being bi myself. He wasnt married, but had girlfriends for show so his friends wouldnt suspect, but couldnt bring himself to get with men. He said it was a huge risk in his day because gay bars were secretive but people knew what they were. Even these days some gay men only feel safe using Grindr. But it made sense, one of the reasons I was assigned to him was because he preferred male carers - he was NEVER inappropriate to me, but some gay men are only comfortable around men. Anyway his story made me a bit sad, he lived in fear of what others might think, and never got to be with a guy. A shame really, I saw pics of him in his youth and he would have easily pulled in a gay bar.
The times have changed. Be yourself.
Back in 1980, I moved to San Francisco back from the East Coast and went to a party with some old college friends. A guy struck up a conversation with me, we didn't click, but he kinda shocked me by asking me out. Since I was new to the area, I said yes. Cut to the date: he was clearly miserable, so after an hour at an Irish bar, I just asked him why he had even asked me out since we had nothing in common. He broke down and admitted that he was gay, had been in a long term gay relationship but broke up because he wanted to have children, which was not an option for gay couples back then. He was trying to force himself to convert and it was heartbreaking. Thank God he was honest because it would have been unconscionable for him to try to fake it. It was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and I hope he survived it.
Today there is no excuse to hide one's sexuality from a partner. All kinds of relationships can be possible with a loving heart and honesty. Let's face it, the normative hetero marriage often doesn't survive a lifetime. It still isn't easy, but coming out and living life honestly is the best way. Monogamy is overrated, but keeping vows is not.
Today there is no excuse to hide one's sexuality from a partner.
If you were born within the last ~20 years, I'd agree with that more.
If you grew up in a society where being gay was NOT acceptable, you're not likely to be able to just all of a sudden come out to your spouse, especially if you didn't even consider exploring your sexuality until adulthood.
There's not really an "excuse" to be made. These situations are just unfortunate consequences of how gays were viewed and treated in the past.
In some cases, the need for companionship wins out over attraction.
Ah hell, this deserves at least one decent reply, even if it's a rush job. I knew I was gay from a pretty young age, it was the major turning point in my faith and a lot of other parts of my life. I feel like this has a way of answering questions about others, but for me it was like having a big stone land right in the middle of me that I had to learn to live around. I didn't adapt well. I'm not attractive and I'm probably the least fabulous person on earth.
My first attempt at a casual hookup resulted in me washing my sheets and spending the rest of the night in the shower, so I gave up. A friend had been pushing me to go on a blind date with a friend of his wife, and eventually I said yes. I don't really care what this says about me, I know I was tired of being lonely and feeling like I didn't deserve to have affection. I'm very glad I said yes, because it turns out I can be happy if I let myself be. My wife is my best friend and I genuinely can't imagine life without her. She knew almost from the start that I'm gay, I let her know right off the bat and I've never let it come between us. Of course the gay didn't shut off, I'm "out" to my closest friends and as comfortable in my homosexuality as I guess I ever could be- with the obvious caveat that my wife is the be all, end all of my life and the person I chose above all others. I don't know what they- or the world at large- really thinks about my situation, but I know this works for us. So that's what I got.
Are you sexually attracted to your wife or just men?
I guess you could say she's the exception that proves the rule. Being with her is effortless and we're quite frankly nauseating to be around, especially when compared to other couples we know that have had been married as long as we have. From my marriage and my earlier experiences I can tell that romantic attraction trumps sexual attraction for me anyway.
Thanks for this genuine reply. I'm curious how your wife feels about it? Does she sometimes long for a straight man for sexual and romantic reasons? Or perhaps she's got gay tendencies as well so this works well for both of you? Just wondering what her thinking is.
We've had better than a decade to work this over, and for the most part she's actually thrilled about. While our bedroom has cooled off, which I can't imagine is terribly atypical, our marriage has never lacked for sex or romance. We live in the midwest and most of the people we know are very huntin' n fishin' n everything camo, the man gets final say in every decision, worst parts of American culture. I get a lot of unsolicited "Thank God I married a gay man" after we spend time out in the world. I don't know if she has doubts, of course, but I hope I've done a good job putting them to rest.
Sometimes it works out for the better.
I have a friend who for as long as I've known her, her dad has been out as gay. Her mum and Dad were married from being young, had a good relationship and had two kids, then he came out to his wife and obviously they got divorced. They still go on family holidays together with their partners and have a really nice relationship.
This makes me happy it worked out! That's the best outcome that could come from this kind of situation.
Self-liberation should be guaranteed.
We have a family friend who was like this. Got married to a woman in the 80s I don't know for sure how long they were married I believe about ten years. My mom has told me he's much happier being himself than he was back then. He doesn't have much of a family though and didn't have any kids with her so he tends to butt into our family a bit. His mom and and my grandmother were best friends until his mother passed away so were the closest he's got to family left. He drives my dad up the wall but I think that has to do more with them being in business together for a while than anything. Nice guy kind of like an extra uncle for me and my siblings so i'm just glad he's happy with his life.
It's not her fault.
My gay father was married to my mother for nearly 25 years. After a heart attack at age 41, he slowly started to realize he couldn't live the lie anymore. They divorced 6 years later
It destroyed her (she couldn't get over it).