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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

89 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thought I was alone but sadly realized i had a many others who were silently suffering from the shame and humiliation of a relationship that fell apart because my spouse lied to me about his orientation. The pain and embarrassment that I felt was debilitating. I was depressed and suicidal.
Living in a small, religious rural town where homosexuality is frowned upon, it was impossible to discuss my feelings with anyone. I found the Straight Spouse Network and immediately connected with others who shared a simliar story. I no longer felt alone. I developed friends and coping skills that allowed me to wake up each day and face my changing life.
I am four years post discover and am now at a point where I no longer feel anger or shame. But the effects of the lies and the emotional impact still shape how I relate to people. The SSN gave me perspective and the other survivors encouraged me to see that it would get better. They were right. It got better, it hurts less and now I can participate and give encouragement to those who are in a similar situation.


Client Served

Rating: 5

The straight spouse network has been invaluable to me since I had to initiate divorce from my husband. The facilitators are responsive and knowledgable. The groups are great.

Maggie

Client Served

Rating: 5

They kept me going with internet communication and f2f meeting and individuals for the longest time. I keep a list open trying to be there for the newcomer. Thank you!

Previous Stories
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Client Served

Rating: 5

The help and friendships that the Straight Spouse Network gave me the most wonderful success to a new life after my husband came out of the closest.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I found and opened the link to Straight Spouse Network in the summer of 2012...after having been married to a closeted gay man for 20 years. I was just browsing for articles and support having to do with how other people survived and made it work in their own Mixed Orientation Marriages. A few months later, I discovered my marriage was full of infidelities I had no knowledge of (we had promised monogamy in year 10 of our marriage) and had been over for more than three years, only I hadn't known it. The support I got through Straight Spouse Network, including email and recommended reading, really helped guide me in the chaos of starting over as a single woman, a formerly Straight Spouse.

Yvonne K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization helped me at one of the darkest times of my life. They literally saved my life, scraping up from the floor when I felt I could no longer go on. I have been a part of this organization since April 2008, and I am grateful every day for the volunteers who reach out for shell-shocked straight spouses and bring them into the fold. My only wish is that the organization did not have to exist, but I am on-so blessed that they do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Straight Spouse Network after discovering that my husband of 14 years was gay. This group is amazing for the support they provide. Time after time they have shown me that I am not alone and that others understand.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a Life Changing group even though I was already 2 years post divorce from a "Still in Denial Gay" ex husband after 22 years of marriage. The comfort and camaraderie I found in this group gave me the confidence and strength to face my " Still in closet" ex spouse on a daily basis while we co-parenting two teen-agers. I wish we have more publicity.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group is very important and serves a particular need that is not served in any other capacity. This is a bonding, caring group of people that support each other in ways that help heal. I needed this group after I found out my husband of many years was hiding a secret and is gay. We had to divorce and this group was there for me. I don't know how else I would have made it through the situation. There's no book, therapist, friend or family member that can help in the same ways a network of people who have been through the same thing can.

1 Rebecca128

Client Served

Rating: 5

In February of 2010 my world was shattered when I discovered my husband of over 30 years had been living a double life. He originally claimed it to be a sex addiction. I could barely breathe, much less function. I demanded he contact the EAP group through work who referred us to a therapist. That therapist referred us to a wonderful group of counselors who handled sex addiction, but the truth of the matter was that although he was addicted to sex, it was with men and he was gay. It wasn't until my therapist referred me to the Straight Spouse Network (SSN) that I knew my prayers had been answered. I contacted them, explained my situation and received immediate support. This group literally saved my life. For the first time since that horrifying February day I knew I was no longer alone in my experience. There were actually others who understood my situation because they had also had their worlds torn apart after discovering their spouses were gay.

What most people don't understand is that this is not the same as finding out your husband has been cheating with another woman, or that your wife has been cheating with another man. Many of us had spouses that blamed the demise of the marriage on us all the while knowing that no matter what we did to fix things it would never work because we were the wrong sex. They essentially stole years of our lives from us taking away our ability to make decisions based on truth. We, being givers and fixers turned ourselves inside out trying to fix the unfixable. We are told to "Get Over It," usually shortly after finding out the truth, while many of our spouses have had years or even decades to manipulate us, convince us we are flawed, strip away our self-esteem, and sometimes even financially ruin us in pursuit of their gay lifestyles. While my gay spouse was congratulated for coming out of the closet and beginning to live his authentic gay life style I was pretty much shoved aside with little to no support until I found SSN. My immediate family was as supportive as they could be, but unless you have lived through it you can't even begin to fathom the destruction this type of situation causes.

It was such a blessing to know that I was not alone. That I wasn't broken. That I did everything I could to save my marriage, and that I wasn't a failure. It all boiled down to the fact that I just wasn't a man. The knowledge that others had been through similar experiences and lived through it to come out a stronger person is what helped me begin the road to recovery. The support I received from this support group had been a true Godsend and the reason I am the strong, independent person I am today. I thank God every day for the Straight Spouse Network and these wonderful people that have become my Familee.