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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Human Services, Mental Health

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

Programs: Provided for continuing avenues of communication with new and existing straight spouses who seek and require support. Promoted meetings of straight spouses. Provide on going web related information services, on-line bulletin board communications and live gatherings for direct communication among spouses.

produced newsletter for constituents who sign up to receive it.

fostered collective understanding and support for the rights and needs of the straight spouses in mixed orientation relationships.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was married for twenty one years. It wasn't until the summer of 2002 that I started finding my husbands lifetime secret. He was gay. Shortly after I asked him to leave, a friend of mine saw an article in Dear Abby. It talked about SSN-The Straight Spouse Network. It is an international organization that lends support through the internet and local support groups for spouses that find themselves married to gay people. I joined the group in the Fall of 2002. SSN saved my life. Yet, it did more then that. It gave me lifetime friends across the United States and abroad. Our mission is to reach out, heal and build bridges. That is exactly what we do. They showed me that I was not alone. They took my devastation and created a new future for myself and my children. Through a horrific time, they gave me hope. I wouldn't be who I am today without thier support. Fondly, Ann St. Croix/NY

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was married for almost 18 years when my husband finally admitted to me that he was gay. I have stayed married and only recently started divorce proceedings, as I feel that it is in both my husband's and my best interest to move on with our lives. I wish him the best in his new life. SSN has helped me to get through the grief and painful parts of discovering that my husband was gay. I have had support from so many people on the email list and face to face in my local area, as well as at gatherings in other locations. I owe a lot to SSN.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found this organization back in July 2006 after finding out my husband was having a four year affair with the husband of my best friend. I was devastated and didn't know where to turn. I began google searching for any information I could find on the subject of women married to a gay man. I found this website and the support and and sense of community made me feel normal and that I had nothing to do with his actions. It has been over three years now and I am a volunteer working with other spouses in a large metropolitan area. In the beginning they look like deer in the headlights and over time they can even look back and laugh. They begin to re-frame their experience and find their new normal. It is a pleasure to work with such a fine organization.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization looks after all those involved in a mixed orientation marriage, those who stay together, those who split up, and works with both the gay and str8 spouses.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Straight Spouse Network is great and a lifesaver. I have been helped by great people in my time of need and moved on to live a happy life. I have also met and helped many people through Straight Spouse Netork. It was very therapeutic to me.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found and joined the Straight Spouse Network the same night my lesbian wife came out to me in October 1999, at that time I was a "client served". Finding this organization was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. During those "darkest days of my life", the kindness, understanding and support from the other members of SSN proved to be invaluable to me. This organization helped me eventually move past my personal pain to a point where I was able to start helping those that came behind me by becoming a volunteer in 2001. Almost 10 years later, I continue to be involved with and support this outstanding group that showed me that I could live and laugh again.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A wonderful group with an important mission! One day waking up & realizing your spouse is gay & in denial, is no walk in the park. The folks that are at SSN know this, since they have all been there. They offer Face to Face Meeting for folks around the world & I found them all very helpful during a very difficult time. I was & in some ways still am a "client served," but now am happy to volunteer my time to help.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Straight Spouse Network helped me to reclaim my true self. Having been married to a man who forced celibacy on me with no explanation that made sense, over time, my self esteem was destroyed. I had no faith in my own judgement and my spirit was broken. I didn't care if I lived or died. By bringing me together with others who completely understood me and what I was dealing with, I truly believe the Straight Spouse Network saved my life. I learned how to deal with "pretzel logic". I learned how to help myself while still supporting my gay spouse's need finally to be genuine. SSN is the ONLY organization that does this very important work. While the gay spouses is supported and congratulated for finally coming out, the Straight Spouse is left with realizing that their whole life as they knew it just turned up-side-down and it seems that nobody really cares. SSN cares. SSN helps these straight spouses to resolve coming out issues in a constructive way for not only the straight spouse, but the gay spouse and children and they do it with compassion and respect. It is truly a life-line for many.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no way I would have survived the lengthy aftermath of my divorce from a seriously disturbed closeted homosexual misogynist without the help and affirmation of the straight spouse network. In order to remain in the closet, my ex husband had to discredit me, because I knew. Our divorce was expensive, it took two years, and he dragged out the custody disputes for two more years, ending only when he lost at the appellate level. He wanted to be in control and "allow" me to be with the children - in other words remain his cover. I met so many wonderful men who affirmed my perceptions of what a family man truly is. I met other women who like me will never hear the words "honey I'm Gay" - but rather "you are a crazy liar who is making this all up". I realized that I was not alone, and that the denial of my liberal friends and church was a rebuke of me - and an embrace of the lie I refused to live and subject my children to. Because of the affirmation of these folks, and the TONS of factual information, I was able to survive this long ordeal (married 15 years, joint custody of our boys for 10 years after that)and now claim my own life. I am happy to help others know that they are not alone, we get it, we understand, and there are many different resolutions to this dilemma