Advice columnist Harriet Cole found herself faced with an upsetting reader quandary this week. Reader “Wrong Team Player” has begun to suspect her husband of three years is secretly a gay man.
“I have been married to my husband for about three years now,” Wrong Team Player writes to The Mercury News. “We are still in our 20s. My husband has some questionable habits I have noticed now that we have begun living together. He’s saying things differently and acting differently. I feel like he’s letting his guard down, and I’m seeing the real him. I think the real him is gay.”
Wrong Team Player doesn’t go into many specifics when it comes to her suspicions. She says only “I never got that feeling before we got married, but everything just seems different now. I’m not sure what to do with this feeling. I’m convinced he wants to be with a man, but he is with me, and it makes me feel like I don’t want to be with him anymore.”
Naturally, the woman fears losing her husband, and the social embarrassment often associated with a spouse dissolving a marriage in favor of pursuing a same-sex relationship. Fortunately, Harriet has some sound advice.
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“Being suspicious of your husband without saying anything will not lead to a positive end,” Cole notes. “Especially, early in your marriage, it is important for you to be open with each other as you get to know each other better.”
“You haven’t said exactly what your husband is doing that is questionable,” Cole notes. “Whatever it is, make a list. Then look at it to determine whether you are being overly sensitive or your concerns are potentially justified.”
Then, Cole suggests the approach most likely to solve the problem.
“Talk to your husband,” she says. “Tell him that you have noticed that he is behaving differently, and it is making you uncomfortable. Point out whatever those actions are. Then ask him. Yes, you actually should ask him directly whether he is gay — if that remains your suspicion. If you ask without being confrontational, you have a better chance of getting an honest answer.”
“You can add that you love him and that you want him to be happy,” Cole concludes. “If it is in his soul to be with another man, it is important for him to figure that out now. You may need counseling to help you work through this.”
Sound advice, Ms. Cole. Even in a time of marriage equality, LGBTQ people still end up in heterosexual marriages. Removing the stigma, and offering open communication are the best ways to help queer folks trapped in unsatisfying marriages.