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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!