Is my husband gay?
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Dear Counsellor,

My husband admitted to me that he was molested by a man as a pre-teen, and that he sometimes wonders if he is bisexual. The conversation came up quite innocently, with me making a joke about the friends he keeps — most of whom are gay — and the fact that he hardly seems attracted to me most of the time, and doesn’t pressure me for sex like other men would, even though otherwise he’s an excellent husband and father. I was stupefied when he confessed, and he asked me not to judge him, but how can I not? Now I wonder if he has been doing anything with these friends of his, even though, honestly, I’m too scared to ask. I now feel like a ‘beard’, and I’m not sure what my next steps should be.

It’s a difficult thing to realise that trust has been betrayed. A marriage really is about being together on the basis of the details of the information shared with one another. You make the decision to say “I do” on the basis of the information your partner gives to you about themselves. The issue of his being abused and possibly bisexual is absolutely relevant information. When a surprise like this is thrown into a marriage, it’s akin to a breach of contract. This is why I implore couples to get good premarital counselling before marriage, and even before setting a wedding date.

I ask couples to be very open and honest in premarital sessions, to limit negative surprises like this as much as possible. You now will need to know for sure what he meant by “wondering” if he is bisexual. Let me say, I implore parents to do everything to protect their children from predators that can abuse them, and also confuse them about their sexuality.

My advice:

Take time out — I suggest you find somewhere to go for a couple days, to clear your mind. Get a medical while you’re there, just in case. Any infidelity can expose a partner to sexually transmitted diseases, and though you have no proof of anything, the possibility still exists. So get rested and get tested.

Talk about it — You can’t avoid confronting this issue. It isn’t something that one sweeps under the rug at all. You have to talk with him to find out the full extent of his relationship with these men. Find a place to create a setting to make it easy for him to tell you the whole truth about his feelings and actions. Mention also how you have felt about his reluctance towards you. Let him know you won’t judge him, and he has your support either way. But you’ll need the absolute truth. (And your support isn’t guaranteeing a continuation of the relationship.)

Get help — Whether or not he has been actively bisexual, you both should get counselling, individually and joint. You may need professional help for support through any changes that may come from this. Your children may also need counselling, depending on what comes from your chat with your husband.

Be confident — Don’t question yourself and your judgement. Don’t feel guilty about not picking up something earlier. Often, it’s your confidence in a person and a desire to believe the best in them that makes you accept them, despite some uncertainties. So reject any sense of guilt.

Don’t cover it up — Deal with the situation honestly, and call a spade a spade. If you don’t feel that real progress is being made with this, then you can’t fear making that call to end the relationship. You’ll need the truth, and you’ll need his being accountable also.

I’ve seen a marriage work despite a similar situation; however, it takes brutal honesty and accountability on the part of the compromised spouse. I pray for wisdom and guidance for both of you.

Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com.

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