You have to help me—I feel like I’m living a terrible nightmare! I am not the type to snoop, but recently I’ve been seeing signs my husband might be gay. There’s what I think is evidence on his phone of random meetups with men, pictures … and even one lengthy text exchange with a man at his company. I didn’t read the whole conversation, but it seems to be a developing relationship. They were flirting and talking about feelings, “seeing where this goes.”

I’m devastated and confused, and unsure where to turn. My husband and I are rarely intimate, which is an issue we were trying to work on, since we’ve talked about starting a family. I still thought we cared about each other deeply. We get along well, laugh a lot, and typically have a policy of honesty with one another. Or I thought we did. We were good friends before getting together, and we always talked and shared everything. I do remember, years ago, him saying he’d had a fantasy about being with another guy, and I believe I responded supportively and nonjudgmentally. It wasn’t like I thought he was going to actually cheat on me, let alone with a man. I just thought it was a fantasy. I have fantasies of my own that I would never act out.

He doesn’t know I saw his phone, and I don’t know how to confront him about it all. I can’t imagine living with this information and just waiting for him to bring it up himself. Can we work through this? This has got me thinking because he never cums during s.ex. —Dazed and Confused

Dear Dazed,

It sounds like there are a couple of issues to tackle here. I hear your concerns about your husband’s sexual orientation, and I also hear some deep pain at the prospect of his cheating or being dishonest with you. Both sound like they are causing you significant distress.

I’d like to start first with the cheating issue. The loss of trust in a relationship can be devastating and hard to come back from. No matter the circumstances, if you fear your husband has been unfaithful, or is even considering being unfaithful, that is a painful feeling to sit with. Staying silent is not likely to bring peace of mind. Waiting for him to bring it up leaves you in a holding pattern that can make you feel powerless. Confronting him, however, brings its own set of fears. I strongly encourage you to find a therapist who can help you navigate through all of this with you as you decide what path to follow.

If you suspected your husband was having an affair with a woman, would your response be clearer? What if your husband is bisexual? How might that impact your view of your relationship with him and your future?

As to your original concern, wondering if your husband is gay, that lends an additional layer of complexity to your situation. If you suspected your husband was having an affair with a woman, would your response be clearer? What if your husband is bisexual? How might that impact your view of your relationship with him and your future?

Regardless, right now you are operating on suspicions, but without bringing your husband into the conversation there’s a huge missing piece. Perhaps he is, in fact, gay. Perhaps he wants to stay married and start a family, and also explore relationships with men. Without talking with him, you won’t know what he is thinking, which leaves you trying to respond to a situation with incomplete information.

You do have an opportunity to decide for yourself what your limits are and what you need in order to feel able to stay in a relationship with your husband. Talking with a therapist can help you gain clarity about what your needs and boundaries are. As for your final question—can you work through it?—that depends entirely on the two of you and whether your relationship can meet both of your needs. Figuring that out will require open and honest conversations, perhaps with a counselor who has worked with couples facing similar issues.

Best of luck

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