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  

6 people found this review helpful

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

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

I had a tremedous impact from this group. I talked with numerous woman who had been married to gay men. Some, still are. I became able to hear the voices of men who had been married to lesbians at a time when I thought all men were evil. I have healed.

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

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

Meeting other str8s. Hugs always abound. They gave me a voice to be heard so that others don't continue to walk in our shoes.

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

I have met Amity Buxton, the woman who began the network, the Executive Director, The Board of Directors, The Council Members, and numerous volunteers.

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

It could reach out to more people. It could provide financial support to people when thier lives fall apart. It could build more bridges.

Ways to make it better...

My husband had chosen to be honest to begin with. He was my best friend. I would not have married him but I would have walked beside him.

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

Financial. We do not have the mechanisms in place to support a group of over 2 million people.

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

Until this happens to you, you do not comprehend the impact of it. The world you knew explodes in your face. Your sense of self is destroyed. Your entire past becomes questionable. Your trust shatttered.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

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.

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

the personal support that I have received in the email support online. I owe them so much of my sanity.

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

the people that I have met, both online and in person. The people of this organization are phenomenal individuals!

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

people who believe in "paying it forward" and giving back to this wonderful organization.

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

reach so many more people out there who are hurting and need support.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

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.

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

the sense of community and un-biased support given and received by it's members.

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

Find funding to get the word out to all those spouse out there who suffer in silence not knowing they have support in Straight Spouse Network. More marketing I guess.

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

The friendships I have made and the sense of peace I have when helping others who have been in this traumatic experience.

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

Kind, empathic, supportive, and non-biased. They focused on what was best for me, not what they thought I should do.

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

Advertise and get the work out to others who are in need of our services.

Ways to make it better...

I could maneuver the site better.

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

Lack of visibility. There is so much support out there for GLBT who come out but nothing much for the spouses and families they leave in their wake.

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

Thank you Amity for your valiant efforts to share your experience by writing your book: "The Other Side of the Closet". You are our hero!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

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.

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

very caring and compassionate to all the different people who have asked for assistance.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

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.

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

the many people that they have helped.

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

they have people everywhere that are there to help anyone that is in need. Everyone becomes a family.

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

the greated.

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

change the world and make people more aware so that people can be who they want to be and not hide who they are.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

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.

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

the opportunity to serve others by co-hosting the Florida Gathering for the past 9 consecutive years. This annual event is officially sponsored by the Straight Spouse Network and is attended by SSN members from all over the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

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.

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

the difference it makes in the lives of the folks it serves. All QUITE wonderful & amazing.

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

make it a "membership" org for those that have been involved for 1 year plus. Pay dues, have a vote. Also, a free pass of course for the few that couldn't pay dues.

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

playing a part in the lives of those who came after...helping as I was helped.

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

all very helpful.

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

Help members with finances through grant applications, get the word out on a bigger level, hire more folks to run it all, reach more lives!

Ways to make it better...

I had gotten there sooner!

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

Fun raising. For whatever reason, we are an unsympathic lot to corp. america

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  

21 people found this review helpful

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.

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

observing the transformation of countless new members from despair to wholeness and happiness.

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

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

the friends I've made, but also the education I have received about gay issues. I am now an advocate for gay rights.

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

non-judgemental and compassionate.

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

take every opportunity to let people know we are here. We need to expand our visibility so that those who need us can find us.

Ways to make it better...

I had found the Straight Spouse Network sooner than I did.

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

lack of funding to increase our capacity for outreach.

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

the Straight Spouse Network saves lives.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

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

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

my own life and the lives of others, including my children.

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

Shout out loud about how important it is to recognize the straight spouse as a PERSON, not just "collateral damage". (Did you know that in recent times, people who are "collateral damage" are usually dead?) LET'S SAVE MORE LIVES!!!

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

Making new friends and gaining greater understanding and wisdom about mixed orientation marriages and survival.

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

all knowledgeable, compassionate, responsive, superb.

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

REACH EVERYONE WHO NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT IT.

Ways to make it better...

if what? no negatives here.

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

Publicity, growth, funding to do this important work. There's a lot of resistance to this positive and honest message.

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

I am alive today because of the straight spouse network.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

 
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