Same Sex Infidelity

Why Spouses of Gay Men and Lesbians May Be the Last to Know

Male-female couple, with female holding hands behind her back with another female.
Martin Diebel / Getty Images

Straight spouses of gay or bisexual partners are sometimes the last to know about their mate's sexual orientation. These partners can be successful at hiding (or denying) their sexual orientation for many years. Sometimes infidelity is part of this pattern of secrecy or denial.

How Can You Know If Your Spouse Is Gay or Bisexual?

Realistically, unless your mate admits their sexual orientation to you directly, you may not know for sure.

So-called signs of gayness, such as the way a person dresses, talks, walks, or looks, are not at all an indication of sexual orientation. Neither are behaviors such as a preference for anal sex (or other sexual practices), erectile dysfunction, watching porn, homophobic behavior, being evasive or secretive, or hanging out with friends of the same sex. All of these can occur in people who are straight.

If You Are Worried

No matter what has led you to wonder whether the partner you thought was straight might actually be gay (infidelity is just one concern), take a careful approach.

Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Don't assume your spouse is gay if they don't want to have sex with you. There could be many other reasons for a lack of sexual desire.

Honest Communication Is the Best Approach

Talk with your partner and express your concerns and fears. If your mate won't talk with you about infidelity, a low libido, or other issues in your marriage, seek couples' counseling.

Deciding to Leave a Relationship

Regardless of your spouse's sexual orientation, if many of these statements describe your marriage, you have some difficult choices to make. You may have lost the ability to trust your spouse. And your spouse may not be invested in continuing with the partnership. Some red flags:

  • Your spouse won't see a counselor with you.
  • You both seem to be picking at one another, causing frequent arguments.
  • The negativity in your marriage has increased.
  • You are both keeping score about who did what when.
  • You can't see anything but your spouse's shortcomings and ways you want them to change.
  • Your sex life with one another has ceased to exist.
  • You walk on eggshells around your spouse to avoid conflict.
  • You have stopped having dates or time alone together.
  • You feel trapped, crippled, or stifled.
  • You feel disconnected from one another.
  • The trust in your marriage has deteriorated to the point where you are considering spying on your spouse (or you already have).

If you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel, it may be time to follow a new path. It is probably one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. A counselor can help you navigate your way through this difficult process.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nimbi FM, Tripodi F, Rossi R, Simonelli C. Expanding the Analysis of Psychosocial Factors of Sexual Desire in Men. J Sex Med. 2018;15(2):230-244. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.11.227

  2. Abrahamson, I, Hussain, R, Khan, A. What helps couples rebuild their relationship after infidelity? J Fam Issues. 2011;33(11):1494-1519. doi:10.1177/0192513X11424257

  3. Noller, P. Negative communications in marriage. J Soc Pers Relat. 1985;2(3):289-301. doi:10.1177/0265407585023004

  4. Barry RA, Lawrence E, Langer A. Conceptualization and Assessment of Disengagement in Romantic Relationships. Pers Relatsh. 2008;15(3):297–315. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00200.x