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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Straight Spouse Network Inc

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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

139 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 23 years of marriage, my husband confided in me that he was gay and had known since he was 14 but needed a wife and kids in order to achieve his ambitious career goals. Moments later, thinking that this didn't make sense, couldn't be true and surely has never happened to anyone else, I typed "my husband is gay and I'm not" into the search engine and up popped "Straight Spouse Network". What a surprise and a relief, I was not alone, I was not crazy, and I had a new circle of support surrounding me. Straights understand straights in ways no one else can.
Straight Spouse Network is made up of people, whose paths have been similar to mine, who volunteer their time and kindness to others on similar journeys.
I began my straight journey in 2005 and became a regular donor in 2008. Recently I began to volunteer with this unique organization in effort to give back and help sustain the mission.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first contacted the Straight Spouse Network, I felt so alone and unsure that my situation fit their services. At the time, I did not know of any other married persons dealing with a spouse who did not appear to be heterosexual or was perhaps bi-sexual or gay. This organization welcomed me, assured me that I was in the right place and was not the only one who had experienced the doubt, emotional pain and isolation that comes from living in someone's else's closet. I was able to join an online support group right away and was also very quickly contacted (personally) by a local face-2-face group leader and invited to a meeting that helped me tremendously.

What I would like people to know, is SSN is a service-intensive organization. Their time, focus and mission is almost exclusively targeted at actually helping people--many times one-on-one. This level of commitment and support is rare and fueled by many dedicated volunteers. Donations to SSN help increase the organization's visibility and ability to connect with more straight spouses who might otherwise be suffering in silence.

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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
8

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am Executive Director of this wonderful organization that helps and supports anyone around the world who discovers their spouse/partner is LGBTQ. we are there for them along the pathway they never expected to be on.

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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/

5 Wanda12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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".

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.

Julie206

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Joined SSN when my life fell apart and to this day still rely on it everyday!
Wonderful support group and resources!

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Lots of great support provided thru small meetings w others going thru a similar experience. It's amazing to hear the variety of stories all of which have a common theme of a swerving of a marriage when one of the spouses awakens to being or tending gay. I'm very thankful for the support I've found w SSN.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I found the SSN online while I was researching for support of my bad situation in my marriage. I had discovered that after 36yrs of marriage and 3 years prior to marriage my husband is gay! Never had a clue. It's been a devastating blow to my life! Not knowing how to handle the whole situation both emotionally and physically. Through the SSN I have gained, knowledge and support. There are many of this kind of mind blowing marriages out there and if they only knew about SSN, perhaps more could get this support I've received. We are the collateral damage to a growing epidemic in the world. Gay people now have alot of open support and rights, but those of us left behind have none of the same. Just because we are considered "normal". Our lives and marriages have been turned upside down due to those gays who hide behind us, only later to turn on us. SSN needs to get it's message out there for the world to see!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Lina M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was heartbroken, stressed, and just lost until I found the straight spouse network. Volunteers frequently check in on me and are always available when I need someone to talk to. I've spent thousands of dollars in copays to mental health professionals and I've made more progress from the free support it's members offer me. Nothing compares to someone who has been down a similar path. It is so easy to feel isolated and hopeless when dealing with such a traumatic upheaval of your life. This group's support is invaluable.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my wife 'came out of the closet' and left for another woman, I honestly believed I was alone. I was lost, depressed to the point of suicide. When I found SSN, I found people who understood 'where I was', how I felt. They literally saved my life, and have been beside me thru my entire 'journey'. No other group or organization could have done for me what SSN has.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I felt completely alone when I discovered the Straight Spouse Network. Meeting other people who were going through the same experience, who really understood, was life changing. I had hope for healing and a better future, where before I had felt hopeless. I can't say enough positive things about this caring organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Straight Spouse Network helped me through a very difficult time in my life. They provided a service of putting me in touch with people who understood what I was going through. This type of support has no substitution. They do wonderful work in an area that not many understand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Loren3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I finally figured out everything that had, and hadn't, gone on in my marriage, I was totally shattered and overwhelmed. Finding an on-line resource where I could be anonymous was wonderful. I could see that I was not alone in this devastating and crazy journey that none of us had chosen. It was so comforting to know that others had faced the horror of finding out that all they thought was real was only a sham, and some of them had thrived. When I couldn't see one step in front of me, I needed to read, over and over again, that I could survive this journey because others had been there and were no longer completely devastated every day.

Andrew79

Donor

Rating: 5

After 15 years of marriage my wife told me that she is gay. I was dumbfounded and lost and sad and angry. I have found and place where I can talk to people in similar situations. This organization has been a true lifesaver as I struggle to rebound from what I thought was forever

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I was devasted when I realized my husband had been lying to me about his sexuality and his affairs in within my marriage. I then found out my father was also gay.

The Straight Spouse Network and Bonnie Kaye saved my sanity. I was really overwhelmed and felt homocidal. With their assistance I have been slowly healing.

Now we just need more therapists to help with the Post Traumatic Stress of this experience.

1 kjszyszka

Client Served

Rating: 4

The straight spouse network has and is helping me through my journey as a straight spouse. This organization has saved my life as well as many others.

Dan_49

Client Served

Rating: 5

By far one if the best organizations around for people like me who needed an understanding ear!
A true life saving group of people!

Board Member

Rating: 5

When my husband told me he was gay I was devastated and ashamed; I thought I was the only one who had ever gone through such an experience. The Straight Spouse Network opened my eyes and let me see that I was not alone. It gave me a chance to meet with others in my area that had similar experiences and offered an internet support list that was available to me 24 hrs/day -- whenever I needed to cry, vent or just needed a boost. Thanks to them I put my despair behind me and moved forward with my new life. I have made life long friends and now proudly serve on the Board. My life has gone from black and white into full color again.

1 Louis D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization was there for me when I was at the lowest point in my life. They understood what I was going through and put me in touch with others who shared my experiences. I truly believe they saved my life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Six years ago my wife had an affair with a woman and announced that she thought our marriage was over. I was devastated. I felt completely alone and confused. Luckily I say a mention on-line of the straight spouse network. I was able to attend a face to face support group and connected with a network of people who understood exactly what i was going through. it is no exaggeration to say that SSN saved my life. Without this community I think the voices in my head urging me to kill myself might have won. SSN got me through the worst period of my life and held my hand while i put my life together in a new and better way.

2 Kimberly Brooks LPC

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Back in 1987, when my ex-husband came out and my marriage ended, I was devastated and humiliated. I didn't know another person in the same boat, and I had nowhere to turn for comfort. No one ever knew the depth of my despair. I helped my therapy clients all day, then came home every night and sobbed. Every night. Those were dark and lonely times.

A couple of years post-divorce, a friend told me about a book called "The Other Side of the Closet" by Amity Buxton. Amity is the Founder of the Straight Spouse Network, on whose Board I proudly serve.

Every year the Straight Spouse Network helps thousands of spouses whose partners come out. We don't have the financial heft, marketing savvy or paid staff of larger organizations, but our work is crucial. I know my journey would have been shorter and faster had I had the support of other folks who have "been there."

As a therapist who now specializes in working with other straight spouses, I refer clients to the Straight Spouse Network regularly for support and information. Discovering other straight spouses and knowing I wasn't alone was a godsend for me, and every day I see it serving the same purpose for others.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found the Straight Spouse Network in early 2008, and through its meetings, online communications, and advocacy it has helped me immensely. And it has done so by having a reasonable stance on working with the gay partner, which is admirable. Like many in the situation, the transitions are difficult from being with the gay spouse unknowingly, to dealing with it, to recovering so one can move forward. SSN services help thousands of people at all stages, first by knowing they are not alone and then by ongoing support through the organization and the community of others in like circumstances. And it does all that with a very small budget. For those reasons, Straight Spouse Network is a GREAT nonprofit.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In August 2011 my wife told me our marriage was over after she went to a conference and met a woman there that she had a physical attraction to. Through the weeks and months following my world was turned upside down. Everything I had ever believed about my marriage and who I was in it vanished overnight. Friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers didn't understand what I was going through.

When I stumbled across the Straight Spouse Network, everything changed. Stories in my life that seemed unbelievable I saw happening in other people's lives. I was no longer alone in my confusion. Through this support network I met many people that held my hand until I was able to stand on my own again. Through the help and guidance of virtual strangers I started to put my life back together again.

They gave me hope and a promise that life would get better when it seemed over.

3 Patti25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This network is a Godsend. It is helped me not drown in my life. I was so overwhelmed when my ex put me through this and I felt like I wanted to run away and never come back. BUT I WAS a MOTHER and I couldn't.

The network gave me a safe place to CRY, YELL, and get the support and NOT the judgement.

It was what saved my sanity.

Thank you!

Isabel

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 20+ years of marriage and 3 children my husband told me he was gay. It was totally unexpected and I didn't have a clue. I was sure I was the only one who had ever experienced such a situation. SSN volunteers assured me I was not alone and that I would get through this. Three and an half years later, I am happy to say they were right....but back in the dark days that followed disclosure I was paralized with fear, sadness and shame. Had it not been for the online resources and face to face meetings I don't think I would have found the bright future that was ahead of me. I will forever be thankful to this organization and its members for their support and encouragement.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my wife came out after 30 years of marriage SSN and it's volunteer were there. Without them, I would not be writing ths to you. They didn't change my life, they saved it!

Helen12

Board Member

Rating: 5

When my husband came out of the closet, this organization helped me enormously. I had no idea that other women and men had had this experience. I had been married for 30 years and had 3 children. In the Straight Spouse Network, I met many, many people who had had the same experience but in many cases, were far worse off than I. My husband had the courage to tell me the truth but many men and women hide their orientation and its their spouses who find out the truth very painfully. What the organization does is to refer the caller to the leader of a Face to Face group or to somebody else who lives in the same state or as near as possible so that the person has someone to talk to and in many cases, a group with which they can meet and talk.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

ll years ago, my husband dealt me a blow after our marriage of 30 years. He told me that he was gay. We had had a happy, busy life with 3 children, two of whom had graduated from college and one who had almost finished. I had retired the year before and had been looking forward to having a wonderful retirement possibly lasting another 30 years or so with my husband. Fortunately, my sister-in-law, a pychiatric social worker had learned about the Straight Spouse Network through a colleague and when I was ready to do so, I contacted them through their website. I don't know what I would have done without them! The leader of my local Face to Face group called me that evening and invited me to the next meeting at her house. Since then, I have been connected with the organization and it really was my salvation. There is enormous comfort in finding out that you are not the only person who has been betrayed in this manner. I also found out very quickly that I was one of the fortunate straight spouses whose spouse was generous in our divorce settlement. There are many in our organization who have a constant battle with former spouses who refuse to pay child support and alimony. It is also very lonely for men and women who are used to having a companion, especially when there are children of any age in the house to realize how alone they are and sometimes, they are teticent about sharing such intimate information with others. Even if there are family members around, they are sometimes not ready to hear and can be quite hostile. What is really helpful are the list-servs and the many volunteers who mentor others. There are always plenty who are ready to listen and to sympathize.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

This organization allowed my ex-husband to out me as gay which was very hurtful. I am NOT gay. I am bisexual. I left my ex-husband because he was abusive. Outting me as gay is a continuation of this abuse after the marriage has legally ended. I did attempt to contact this organization but have not received a reply.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thank god every day for the Straight Spouse Support Network. During the most frightening and horrific days of my life I received the support and encouragement of others who had walked this difficult journey. I truly hope that one day there is no need for the Straight Spouse Support Network because all sexualities are accepted and embraced but until that day comes along, SSSN needs to be in existence. It is a lifeline to those of us who have discovered our spouse is gay and cried the tears that only other straight spouses can completely understand.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My story is similar to everyone on the SSN Facebook page- we all married the same person. The controlling narcisst who manipulates and controls and leads you to believe your loved- in every other way except the way a husband should love a wife.14 years of marriage this month- 17 years together - one child and less than 10 moments of sexual relations. The story is more indepth with twists and turns and one day once I am through this divorce - can save the roof over my head - I too will write a book - I need to be victorious in my journey 1st however so that my story can help others find success in their lives after dealing with such a bad deck of cards for so long. SSN has helped me tremendously and I believe will grow due to the epidemic our world is going through from this perspective.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my wife came out as gay after 32 years of marriage I was completely devastated. I found the Straight Spouse Network and found out i wasn't alone. In these situations most of the attention, whether positive or negative, tends to be focused on the person who come out. The other side of the closet is usually ignored. That's why it was so important to find others who understood and could help me to take care of myself. This organization literally saved my life.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

They have been very supportive of my experience, and explained to me certain behaviors of people coming out, they helped staying afloat on this hard times

2 Dorinda H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found this wonderful group online after my husband and I separated. My husband came out after 9 years of marriage. We stayed together for another 6. I was a complete basket case. I thought I was the only one that had a husband who had lied to her throughout their entire marriage. A marriage that I thought had been built on trust. To find out that there were other women who were in the same boat as myself gave me the strength to get up every morning and fight for that day. To understand that it was not my fault and that I had to be strong for my daughter who had no idea what was happening. I am thankful each day for this group and would not have become the confident person I am today if it had not been for them.

KarenFT

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without the help and support I received from SSN, I would not have survived finding out that my husband of 21 yrs was having an affair with another married man. This group gave my support I needed to get my family through a very difficult time. Knowing I was not alone in this situation made all of the difference in the world.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Straight Spouse Network saved my life. Four years ago, I found out that my husband of 21 years was having an affair--with another married man. We had three children between the ages of 8-20. It was a devastating time in my life, and without the support of this group, I don't know if I would have made it through. Members of the group supported me through email, phone calls and f2f meetings. I learned that I wasn't alone in this situation and saw how others have coped with the same problem and been able to move on with their lives.

2 Lana W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The straight spouse network really helped me during a difficult time. My husband had told me he was gay and that our marriage was over. I had so many thoughts, feelings, questions, and I wanted to talk to someone who had been in that same situation. Straight Spouse Network helped me connect with other people, provided great resources and links, and helped provide me with support during that difficult time. Now, I am a volunteer contact and if someone in my area needs someone to talk to about this surreal experience, i can connect with them and take them out for coffee and provide a friendly ear to listen. They can talk freely with someone who has been there before, without shame, and without worrying about outing their partner or having other people ask, " how could you not know."

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm the Founder of the Straight Spouse Network, (1991), yet my hearing the pain expressed by the 1000's of spouses who have entered our worldwide network of "safe" places to talk about their devastated spirits and self worth and the trauma that comes from the shattering of belief system -- this experience keeps giving back to me and keeps me continue to do research and writing so that more people will understand "our" crisis and , in turn, realize that we are the unintended victims of the same pro-straight/antigay societal expectations that caused our LGBT spouses marry us in the first place. Our LGBT spouses struggled and we struggled with the impact of their finally feeling strong enough to come out of their closets. Most of us divorce, so we as well as they and our kids suffer. With this understanding, many straight spouses in the Network believe that the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead to a strengthening (not a weakening) of the institution of marriage.Thanks to Straight Spouse Network support and education network, these bridges of understanding have been built and many more are in construction.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have gone through my share of challenges, difficulties, roadblocks and disappointments in my life. And I have weathered them all successfully. But none of those adverse situations can come close to the pain and anguish which descended on me when my husband of 29 years told me that he is gay. The Straight Spouse Network was my lifeline when I lost all sense of direction in my life. I found people who understood my situation--people who helped me re-learn how to trust, to put one foot in front of the other, to build new dreams and to forge a new and healthier life. In the world of those whose lives are impacted by the LGBTQ experience, the straight spouses who are left alone when the closet door opens often have a hard time finding support or anyone who understands what they are going through. The Straight Spouse Network does an amazing job of reaching out and offering real help at an unreal time. Through a network of volunteer responders throughout the United States and in several foreign countries they offer the understanding and the words of hope that empower people to move through the journey of forgiving, rebuilding and reclaiming life. All services are offered for free, but not without cost. Keeping a website up and running, preparing resources, doing triage, training support leaders, fundraising--all this and more are done on a very limited budget. Please endorse Straight Spouse Network and help give energy to the work of rekindling hope, trust and new dreams.

Andrea35

Client Served

Rating: 5

This Organization gave me a sense of order and a community after my husband of 22 years admitted to having an affair with man. My life, and the lives of my children, were turned upside down in the space of 1 hour. SSN helped me with the support of others who have gone through the same.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSN helped me through the process of "dealing" with my husband of 12 years who told me he was gay and had been having an affair with another married man for more than a year. The support and encouragement from SSN members has been invaluable. I am still on my journey to healing from my situation, and I rely on SSN daily for strength and endurance to walk this journey.

Cyndi C.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Straight Spouse network helped me with support and encouragement at a time in my life when every thing was falling apart around me. My spouse had just told me he was gay and had been having affairs with men. My world spiraled out of control and I was on the verge of ending it all, and then I entered Straight spouse in a search engine. I found out I was no longer alone. This group provides hope, understanding and educates on all levels. They have saved many lives.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I discovered my now-ex husband was/is gay after nearly 32 years of marriage! You can imagine what a shock it was. It took me nearly four months to find the Straight Spouse Network (in 2002) and I have been very actively involved since then -- as a volunteer, Board member, (volunteer) Staff Member, speaker to media (TV, newspapers, radio, magazines, and an upcoming documentary). Without this group, I feel as if I would have just curled up and died. I've seen hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of str8 spouses slowly but surely go from abject despair to comtemplating a future in which there might be job. Oh, please support this extraordinary VOLUNTEER organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

They saved my life. No one else "got" it. They literally saved my life.

ruthlym

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first found out that my husband was interested in other men, I didn't know where to turn. The Straight Spouse Network served those needs for me and serves those needs for people like me, whose world has been torn apart. I am a "client served", and now I serve others who are going through the same thing. We support the people in the group and help them get through the emotionally, and financially difficult process, as we were helped when we first joined the group. And we are models of the truth that "there is life and happiness afterward", even though it doesn't appear that way to people who are new.

Previous Stories
11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found this organization when my husband was finally admitting to himself that he was gay (after 35 years of marriage). I had wondered for all those years what I was doing wrong (because my marriage was not what I expected marriage to be). I found the support to be wonderful. FINALLY people who understood what I was going through and how devastating this situation was for me. My whole world was turned upside down. The monthly face to face group gave me great support and the e-mail list is full of caring people. I can't say enough about this organization!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It sincerely saddens me to see even one negative review about this organization. The Straight Spouse Network was literally the ONLY place I had to turn to when I found out my ex-husband was gay in 1998. Imagine, I was a young mother with four children all under the age of 8. I had been out of the workforce for 8 years and was totally isolated. Discovering my husband was gay was devastating. The Other Side of the Closet was a book that saved me. I am sorry if I don't quote this completely accurately, but "when one spouse comes out of the closet, the other spouse goes in." This was the case for me. I remember the night I went online in hopes that there had to be someone else out there that was going through the same thing that I was. I found the Straight Spouse Support Network, signed up for their group and made great friends and finally was able to connect to people who understood what I was feeling. The anger, confusion, fear of what was to come.... picking myself up and helping my children adjust to their new family dynamics. I seriously have the ex-husband from hell but NEVER once in this group was that attributed to the fact that he was a gay man. His being a closeted gay man is what broke up our marriage. His actions afterwards had nothing to do with that. As a mother of a gay son, a survivor of a marriage based on a lie...... I don't know what I would have done without this group.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Without a doubt The Straight Spouse Network, and the amazing people I've met there, have kept me going at a time in my life when I thought I could not go on. I can't express how important it is just knowing that there are others out there in my situation; that I'm not alone, and that I don't have to live in someone else's closet out of shame or guilt that I somehow caused my spouse's sexual identity issues. There seems to be so little support for the straight spouse in this situation; it's as if the gay/bi spouse is the only one who's considered courageous for coming out, while we're often thought of as the obstacle that had to be overcome. We lived THEIR lie, not the other way around. I hope and pray that this incredible organization continues to be there for those of us who need it...and there's a lot more of us out there than many care to admit. -Steve S. in NJ

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Straight Spouse Network offered me a life line when no one else was around who understood what I was dealling with. My husband of 23 years told me he was gay and also HIV+. The people in the group offered me support and real advice for my seemingly unreal situation.