STRAIGHT SPOUSE NETWORK INC
June 29, 2012
During the period of my life that was far and away the most shocking, devastating, confused and confusing, and excruciatingly painful, the Straight Spouse Network unquestionably saved my life. I had become disabled two years before my husband's stunning disclosure just weeks before our 30th wedding anniversary. He turned completely cold on me, blaming me for everything wrong with his life, telling me he'd never loved me, didn't know why he married me, always had to think of men when trying to have sex with me. In several months of lashing out, he destroyed my present and so much of my past. We'd known each other through both church and school since 6th grade, and our lives were deeply enmeshed in each others. But in a blast of epic proportion, he stripped all the meaning from those decades. Because of my illness, it too me five months, with him getting tenser and angrier all the time, to find a place to live and move out. Physically and emotionally crushed, I moved in with friends who let me be sick and crazy while they welcomed me into their family with love and caring. And it was in that time that I found the Straight Spouse Network. When I began to meet people who had been through -- and were still going through -- what I was, I cried with relief. So many caring people reached out and brought me into a circle where what I was experiencing was truly truly understood. Experiences were so similar that I no longer felt so crazy. I could talk about incredibly personal and sensitive issues safely. And I was constantly re-assured that I WOULD make it through. At meetings, in chatrooms, and at the amazing regional gatherings of straight spouses, we've all shared, supported, cried, laughed, hugged and actually have fun again! Now, fifteen years later, I'm still not where I hoped I would be. My health has worsened, largely because of loss of medical care resulting from my husband's inability to meet the financial terms of our separation agreement. And yet, I am deeply blessed by good friends, the wonderful community in which I live, my son, his wife and my two grandchildren living nearby, and the knowledge that the Straight Spouse family is always there. I was blessed for a few years to be able to volunteers as a "first call" person -- one whom people who had just discovered their spouse was gay could call and find solace and a buffer against the horrible shock they were in. In an era highly focused on gay rights, being a straight spouse is very difficult. It is we who wind up in the closet. I've truly never been homophobic, which made my husband's total rejection of me even harder to bear. I want gay rights. I want an open and non-judgmental society where people can partner with those they truly love, regardless of sex. But sadly, I suspect there will still be a need for the Straight Spouse Network for some time to come. And all of us -- straight spouses, gay spouses seeking help for their straight partners, the LGBTQ community now actively working with the Straight Spouse Network for the benefit of everyone -- are blessed for that.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
having it be the core source of support, information and caring for me as I workd through the trauma and grief.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Find a way to get more help with raising operating funds!
How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
How do you feel you were treated by this organization?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
How did you find this group?
Online, after learning about Amity Pierce Buxton's book "The Other Side of the Closet."
What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?
Not blaming myself for what happened, and accepting that it was not about me and I'm still a whole person.