Amy: How should he tell wife of 30 years that he's gay?

Dear Amy: My wife, “Cari,” and I have been married for almost 30 years and have four wonderful children, the youngest in high school.

I love my kids, and I love my wife, but the passion in our marriage has dropped to the point that she has asked more than once if I am having an affair with another woman.

Each time I have replied, truthfully, “You are the most attractive woman in the world to me.” I add the promise “I will never have an affair with another woman.”

What I have not said is that, in my heart-of-hearts, I am not so sure that I could turn away another man.

This is my dilemma: Should I — and when should I — tell Cari that I really don’t have any sexual interest in women?

I expect no understanding or acceptance from her.

A therapist I have seen told me to wait until I’m fully prepared before I come out. A gay pastor counseled me to work through as much as I can, but make sure I come out before I meet a boyfriend — to keep the focus on orientation rather than love interests.

A third opinion came from a book whose author is a woman whose husband left her for a man. This author’s advice — in very blunt terms — is to tell her immediately, so that she can grieve and then get on with life.

What would you suggest?

 

Amy says: I agree with all three pieces of advice. And now that you’ve sought advice from the counselor, the clergy, the self-help book and the columnist, I’d say that it’s time for you to do what you obviously need (and want) to do.

When you are ready, you should seek the help of a counselor to navigate through this with your wife.

You cannot expect instant understanding or acceptance, and this is because when one spouse drops a bombshell into the relationship, the other spouse tends to feel upset, angry and betrayed. But you can continue to be a good and loving partner to her and a great father to your kids.

Your wife would benefit from connecting with the Straight Spouse Network: straightspouse.org.

Trust issues

Dear Amy: Please settle an argument I have with one of my close friends. I believe that husband and wife are still entitled to some kind of privacy.

I don’t believe in going through my husband’s wallets or pockets to find out if he is cheating or hiding something. Nor do I believe that he should go through my purse and open my mail and texts to see if I am cheating or doing something I shouldn’t be doing.

My late husband and I respected and trusted each other. I think it’s so self-demeaning to check up on your spouse just on an off chance he or she might be cheating.

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