Straight Spouse Network Inc

Rating: 4.91 stars   137 reviews

Issues: Mental Health, Human Services

Location: P.O. Box 4985 Chicago IL 60080 USA

Mission: Who we are: Current and former Straight Spouses/Partners of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people, Mixed Orientation Couples and our Families and Friends. What we do Serve straight spouses, mixed orientation couples, families and community by: * Reaching Out to increase visibility of straight spouses and accessibility to support * Healing and empowering straight spouses to cope constructively * Building Bridges between spouses, within families and with the larger community through support, education and advocacy The Straight Spouse Network (SSN) is an international organization that provides personal, confidential support and information to heterosexual spouses/partners, current or former, of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender mates and mixed-orientation couples for constructively resolving coming-out problems. SSN also offers research-based information about spouse, couple, and family issues and resources to other family members, professionals, community organizations, and the public. SSN is the only support network of its kind in the world. As outreach, the network offers information about spouse and family issues, mixed orientation marriages and spouse resources to professionals, community organizations and the media.
Results: * 53 support groups in the US and other countries * Spouse contacts for individual sharing in most US states and several foreign countries * Eight online support groups, most with chats and webs attached * Best of Northeast in the 2009 Pride Choice Awards, sponsored by GreatNonprofits
Geographic areas served: Worldwide
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 52-2300902
773-413-8213
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

SSN helped me at one of the lowest points of my life. I did not think anyone would understand what I was going through. I was so lost that it didn't even occur to me to seek help. My (then) husband gave me the link to SSN. The people at this organization not only saved my life, they helped me to start living again. There was a time when I didn't want my future. Thanks to those at SSN, I am happy again, and I can't wait to see what the future will bring. The staff and volunteers were kind, compassionate, and honest. They helped me find the path that was best for me and my family.

I started out receiving help from SSN, but today I volunteer as a facilitator for a support group. I am so glad to be able to help this organization continue to help others in need.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

When my husband of 15 years came out as gay in 2004, I was shocked and devastated. I didn't know where to turn. After 2 months of not eating and hardly sleeping, my (then) husband searched for support for me. He found the Straight Spouse Network for me. I was concerned that the group might be anti-gay, but I was pleased to find that it is not. The support I have received has been life altering. It was such a comfort to hear from people who had been through similar situations, and it has been helpful for me to give back too. I don't know what I would have done without SSN, and I'm so thankful that the organization was there at my darkest hour.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways, helping people around the world.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Helping others the way I was once helped

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

intelligent, kind, compassionate, and supportive.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Hire the staff needed to help the people in need and assist even more with legislation and education for LGBTZ rights

Ways to make it better...

more people knew about SSN and had an easier time finding them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finding ways to let people know SSN exists and they're here to help, funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

SSN saved my life! At the most crucial time in my life when I needed the most help, Amity Buxton was there. I reached out to her and she connected me immediately with people who walked my walk. She connected me with people who are now life long friends. I'm forever grateful for the love and passion SSN provided and, over the last ten years, I've been giving back.There are so many ways to help! Get connected. Straight Spouse Network http://www.straightspouse.org/

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I volunteer as a support person in my local area. So many lives connected to our situation and very few resources that understand this side of the closet. While many of us support lgbt equality, the closeted community turns a blind eye toward us, as does the lgbt community at large who touts such a difficult path to their sexual freedom and give little if any to the lives and families that are imploded as a result of the "coming out" or "down low" situations we've collectively found ourselves in. SSN and those of us who encompass a wide variety of situations bound by one thread....loving or marrying a closeted lgbt person. It is in our commonality that we find support, resources and a shoulder to cry on or those who understand enough to laugh with us at the absurdity we've endured. The Straight Spouse Network embraces us, when those around us see us as broken people who just need to "get over it".

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Rating: 5 stars  

Straight Spouse Network was there for me when I needed it most. After going into a second marriage (stupidly) with a known bisexual, it didn't take long for the wheels to come off in our marriage. I had been "Schooled" to think that being this broken was okay...well, this group of people gave me the confidence to love ME for who I am...I loved the support that I got RIGHT out of the chute, and it keeps getting better for those who need it now. Straight Spouse Network saved my life, literally.

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Rating: 5 stars  

After 28 years of marriage, my husband admitted that he was attracted to men. I'd heard it many years before - before we were dating even - but, when I'd asked him about it - he gave me an excuse I believed. Either way, to me, it meant an almost 30 year relationship had all been a lie. I found sanity and support with the Straight Spouse Network - and I learned I was NOT alone. The Straight Spouse Network gives support and healing to those of us who could be considered the collateral damage when the GLBT spouse finds his or herself.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Straight Spouse Network is a saving grace. I found the organization after having filed for divorce from my gay-in-denial husband. I got a miraculous amount of support for what was the toughest decision I have made in my adult life. Now that I am on the other side of that dark place, I am committed to stay on for new straight spouses who need to see a shining light at the end of their tunnel. It does get better and the Straight Spouse Network provides the support we need to keep moving forward.

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

To suggest that the Straight Spouse Network is a "lifesaver" is not hyperbole. It is a fact. I am living proof. When my former husband of nearly 30 years told me he was gay, I prayed to die in my sleep. I planned ways to kill myself that would appear to be accidental so our children wouldn't blame their father. My life changed in so many ways as a result of my relationship with SSN.

The value of peer support cannot be quantified.
This experience, according to most mental health professionals, is eclipsed only by the death of a child for a parent and spouse. No one, other than those who have lived it/are living it, can fathom the emotional toll this takes on a person.

I have been involved with the group since 1998.
Having a gay spouse is not the end of the world, but I certainly felt that way for a very long time. SSN helped me move through a very difficult process. It is an extremely isolating situation. The fact that someone, some wonderful str8 person, is willing to be on the other side of a screen or the other end of a phone conversation is invaluable. Being able to cry and laugh about the circumstances that arise is so important.

For those who have not been through this, it seems quite easy to say "get over it". That is simply not possible, especially if there are children involved. These are my friends, my dearest friends, many of whom I have known for more than a decade and yet, have never met.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This organization has rescued so many men and women who find out that their spouses (sometimes after many years of marriage) are gay. My husband and I had been married for over 30 years and were actually planning our retirement. As our marriage and family life with 3 children had been a happy one, I was dumbfounded. In retrospect, there were signals but they had not been apparent.

When I learned of this organization and began to attend meetings regularly, this was a wonderful source of comfort and inspiration I learned that I was fortunate enough to have a husband who was eager to do what he could to help me in my new life after divorce. Many men and women are not as fortunate.

This is a very caring group of people anxious to do what they can to be helpful - especially the Board Members with whom I was privileged to serve for a term.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it easier to raise money to be able to help "Straight Spouses" without adequate insurance pay for counseling. I would also like to make it possible for those without adequate resources pay to attend the yearly gathering in Florida.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This incredible worldwide Network of peers has saved countless lives, including mine! I've been privileged to be able to play several roles. The one I seem to have played from the start (nine years ago) is Volunteer. And it started at my first "gathering" (groups of Str8s who just meet up to support each other for several days). I walked nervously into an ongoing Board Meeting, and the brilliant founder (who'd seen my writings in the confidential listserv) announced "Carolyn is going to get us Director's insurance." I was dumbfounded. But I did it. Two months later, I was visiting English relatives in London, and another Str8 whom I met only online n that same listserv, called me at the hotel and asked me to join her in representing the Network on the BBC! Since then, I've had the joy of being able to speak out in other fora. For the last four years or so, I've managed the "triage" process -- that is, helping people who write find the closest face to face peer support group or contact. It's absolutely unbelievably heartwarming to hear from these people afterward about how I helped change their lives! And I'm ONLY ONE of hundreds of volunteers doing this every single day of the year, helping thousand of people every year.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

The Straight Spouse Network saved what's left of my sanity! I found it in 2002, after my now ex husband of nearly 32 years disclosed he was gay. I was totally lost, and had no-one to talk to. The support, and caring, and outreach from this 99% volunteer organization helped me find my true self. I'd been "lost" for decades. The Straight Spouse Network is NOT homophobic, in any way. Nor does it speak against mixed orientation marriages. It merely supports those who find themselves among the invisible minorit work throught to find the best outcome for themselves. And it supports marital unions, so fewer of us will exist in the future!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own life and those of hundreds of others. They start to BREATHE again.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try even harder to find the money it needs to help more people.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

finding friends! I had been so isolated by my ex-husband, because he was afraid. I was a co-dependent. I am no more!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

just like me -- of all ages, races, creeds, socio-economic conditions, financial status, etc.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

It doesn't need ten million! It could help thousands of people with $200,000 guaranteed per year!

Ways to make it better...

the invisible minority of straight spouses didn't exist!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding funding and funding!

One thing I'd also say is that...

the Straight Spouse Network needs to get the word out, but can't because it's almost entirely volunteer (like me). As I said, AT LEAST five people a day write in for help. If one assumes that there are 20 people out there fore every five who write in...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I found this organization back in 2000 a few months after my then husband came out of the closet, announcing to me after almost 20 years of marriage, that he was gay. The group of people here reached out to me and listened and let me know I was not alone and with the help of Amity Pierce Buxton's book, the Other Side of the Closet, I was able to move forward with my kids, in a healthy manner. I discovered there were/are Face to Face Groups that get together at various locations throughout the country. This has been a God-send. I am post-disclosure 14 years and at this juncture my now new Hubby and I are at the Volunteer point where we give back our time and we organize an annual weekend Str8 event that takes place in October.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The Straight Spouse Network helped me so much 12 years ago when I found out my husband was gay. I had immediate help! Someone contacted me immediately once I found this organization. The lifeline of the Straight Spouse Network helped me feel not so alone, It helped me feel sane and helped me get through this crazy mess of being married to a gay spouse. I am indebted to them which is why I am now in the give back mode and now help others in this unique situation.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My husband at the time, after 20 years of marriage, came out of the closet. If I hadn't found the Straight Spouse Network I think I would have fallen into a deeper depression. The people involved who helped me, "get it" meaning they understood what was transpiring in my life and gave me tools to help me cope through this difficult situation. Help not just for me but also for my kids and gave me a much better understanding of what my husband was going through at the time. This organization is a lifeline to sanity. And not only that, it educates the masses as we strive to build bridges with the LGBT communities.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My husband at the time, after 20 years of marriage, came out of the closet. If I hadn't found the Straight Spouse Network I think I would have fallen into a deeper depression. The people involved who helped me, "get it" meaning they understood what was transpiring in my life and gave me tools to help me cope through this difficult situation. Help not just for me but also for my kids and gave me a much better understanding of what my husband was going through at the time. This organization is a lifeline to sanity. And not only that, it educates the masses as we strive to build bridges with the LGBT communities.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

is that the people I have met are now some of my lifelong friends. My new extended family.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

patient, there at all times for me, compassionate to my situation.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

spread the word on our mission to build bridges wit the LGBT community and to let others know world wide that there is hope nad life after your spouse/partner come out.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

The Straight Spose network was a godsend when my husband came out of th closet back in 1999. He first told me he was bisexual..and I looked online for any type of help to explain this situation. We had been married almost 20 years with 2 kids, in West Michigan, where anything gay is most surely closeted. As I surfed the net I came across the Straight Spouse Network. This support group literally saved my life. It is a very safe haven for the str8 spouse...I was able to vent and cry to a wonderful group of people that new exactly what I was feeling and going through. And the help was extended to my children too. The online support is invaluable. The face to face meetings are necessary............and agian, a safe haven to cry and listen and vent.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

all the faces and hearts of the people who came to this community looking for answers and understanding. The compassion, knowledge, and time involved with everyone is just out of this world.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the wonderful people I have met who will be part of my extended family for life. We have a great understanding of each other. We " get it". And we are more than happy to help newbies in this situation with open hearts and arms.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

generous with their time, patient, compassionate and loving. And always available! This was/is amazing.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

speak loudly about the str8 spouse, through larger venues for fundraising, maybe bringing in bigger named speakers........allowing board members/( the ones who speak well to the public) to travel to various events to spread the word.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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