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Books for Adults

From the Straight Spouse Perspective

Buxton, Ph.D., Amity Pierce, Unseen-Unheard: Straight Spouses from Trauma to Transformation

Unseen-Unheard: Straight Spouses from Trauma to Transformation

by Amity P. Buxton, Ph.D.,  (2013) CBC Publishing.

This book is an exceptional compilation of Emails, personal stories and presentations, written over a five year period by a diverse group of straight wives and husbands. Their stories expose the unexpected challenges in the difficult journey they all had to face. Straight spouses who discover their mates are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, are an invisible group of people. They are not recognized by society while their spouses are congratulated for coming out. Their voices and the authors’ commentaries take the reader from their first traumatic pain of discovery through facing the harsh realities and emotional struggles straight spouses experience on their journey to become stronger, more confident individuals.

Available at bookstores everywhere and at Amazon.com:

 

Kneip, Maggie, Now Everyone Will Know

Maggie’s story recounts how she survived when her seemingly perfect husband was infected with the AIDS virus in 1980s New York City. After his death, Maggie struggled with keeping the circumstances of her husband’s death a secret, in a city which then was extremely paranoid about the stigma of the virus. 

Twenty-five years later, societies all over the world are experiencing increased tolerance for LGBT people. And, after a journey into self-discovery, Maggie now gives us the gift of her story which honestly examines the damaging effects of secrecy and dishonesty in relationships, from Maggie’s intimate and experienced perspective.

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Cowan, Kathryn Buckley, Sacred Lies, Sober Truths

Caught in the swirling momentum of the early 1970’s unrest -- the Vietnam war protests, the advent of feminism, birth control, and a culture that questions all authority -- the naïve Meredith Byrne becomes entangled in an illicit relationship from which she’s desperate to escape. When she meets the dazzling Robert Baird, she believes he’s her way out. One night, Robert shares a dangerous secret -- one that makes Meredith doubt the wisdom of her attraction. But she chooses to bury these fears, and the pair jump into a marriage for which neither is prepared.  

The honeymoon over, Robert begins to recreate Meredith. Afraid he will leave her, Meredith struggles to be the perfect wife; going platinum blonde, wearing only the fashions he approves of, and even wrapping herself seductively in Saran wrap. All to no avail. 

When she turns to professional help, Robert suggests they see a priest for counseling. The priest, hiding secrets of his own, takes Robert’s side, and when Meredith finds herself in a profound moral crisis, advises the unthinkable! Ultimately, she must choose between a life of bitterness and anger, or one in which she comes to terms with her husband, the priest, and, most importantly, herself.

Available at Amazon

Tulk, Annie, Annie’s Story: How to Move Beyond the Pain of a Spouse’s Homosexuality

While relating her own story, Annie recognizes the struggles of others. She examines the difficulties of coming out, especially for gays married to straights, and the far reaching effects that revelation has on extended family members. She focuses on understanding the resulting emotions, coping with societal attitudes, the importance of acceptance and the joy of moving forward.

Annie Tulk, M.A., is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Her private practice deals largely with individuals struggling with sexual orientation issues and couples in Mixed Orientation Marriages. She is co-founder/co-facilitator of Straight-Forward, a peer-support group for the straight spouses of LGBT, and is a First Responder volunteer with Straight Spouse Network.

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Chapman, James Oliver, How to Lose Your Wife to Another Woman

How To Lose Your Wife To Another Woman
A Straight Husband’s Story by James Oliver Chapman

Sixteen years into his marriage, James’ wife told him she thought she was bisexual. When she said she wanted to try being with women, he bravely agreed to it. That’s when things got complicated. They lived in a Mixed Orientation Marriage for six more years. Then she found a girlfriend, fell in love, and realized she was actually gay. The girlfriend did everything in her power to drive a giant jackhammer between James and his wife, and eventually they divorced.

Having to witness his wife falling in love with someone else was crushing, but the fact that it was with a woman was inconceivable to him. At one point he fell into clinical depression and struggled with anxiety which resulted in leaves of absence from work. The two things that kept him going were his daughter and her dog. He was determined to get his daughter through college, in spite of the financial disaster the divorce had created for him.

It was creating his memoir about those experiences that helped him heal. This is definately an Adult book! His goal is for it to help and educate other straight spouses.

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Barbetta, Dr. Francine, A Pebble in His Shoe: The Diary of a Straight Spouse

Francine met Frank during the summer vacation after high school. Soon, they began dating and were in love all throughout their college years. An engagement by the Hudson River and a fairytale wedding followed, as both started their respective careers. With a new home, two beautiful daughters and a thriving business, the couple appeared to have it all. Francine was very proud of her dedicated husband, who was also a good father and brilliant business entrepreneur. Their business grew, and so did the family’s assets. 

Unfortunately, their new lifestyle marked the end of a loving and peaceful relationship. Frank started to change; he became materialistic, impulsive, and sometimes abusive. Francine knew there was something wrong but she never realized that their family was headed for a long and painful journey.  Then she discovered what her husband had been keeping from her, what had been driving him crazy. Frank had thoughts of other men. 

Find out how a straight spouse dealt with an affair of a different kind. Witness a wife’s struggle to keep her husband, and a mother’s attempt to comfort her children from pain she could not prevent. 

What more can a marriage ask of a couple, aside from ‘for better or for worse’?

How much “for better or worse” can a married couple endure?

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King, J.L. - ''On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of 'Straight' Black Men Who Sleep with Men''

A bold exposé of the controversial secret that has potentially dire consequences in many African American communities Delivering the first frank and thorough investigation of life "on the down low" (the DL), J. L. King exposes a closeted culture of sex between black men who lead "straight" lives. King explores his own past as a DL man, and the path that led him to let go of the lies and bring forth a message that can promote emotional healing and open discussions about relationships, sex, sexuality, and health in the black community. Providing a long-overdue wake-up call, J. L. King bravely puts the spotlight on a topic that has until now remained dangerously taboo. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, statistics, and the author's firsthand knowledge of DL behavior, On the Down Low reveals the warning signs African American women need to know. King also discusses the potential health consequences of having unprotected sex, as African American women represent an alarming 64 percent of new HIV infections. Volatile yet vital.

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Grever, Carol When Your Spouse Comes Out: A Straight Mate's Recovery Manual

One of the most traumatic events that can happen in a marriage is discovering your mate is gay. When Your Spouse Comes Out: A Straight Mate's Recovery Manual is a comprehensive exploration of the trauma that provides practical steps that successful individuals have taken to keep this event from ruining their future. This guide offers solid therapeutic techniques for self-help and presents poignant true stories that illustrate that the damage is not irreparable. The book examines the various reactions to the coming-out event, the personal challenges and obstacles often experienced, and shares lessons learned and some of the secrets of transformation.

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Greever, Carol - 'MY HUSBAND IS GAY: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Crisis'

After 30 mostly happy years of marriage, Carol Grever's husband told her that he is gay. As she discovered, the phenomenon is relatively common, because many gay men believe they are at economic or social risk if they don't marry. In My Husband Is Gay: A Woman's Survival Guide, Grever shares her story and those of 25 other women of varying ages and backgrounds. Although most of their marriages ended in divorce, some of those who divorced were successful in preserving a healthy friendship with their husbands. Grever provides practical guidance (including professional resources and advice on telling the children) and positive support for women who suddenly find themselves in a marriage that is not what they thought.

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Whitehead, Sally Lowe - 'The Truth Shall Set You Free: A Memoir'

Whitehead, who is Episcopal, fell in love with her high school sweetheart, Michael, who is Catholic, and they made the fatal make-out mistake, which forced them into marriage. After 21 years together, Whitehead confronted her husband, asking if he is having an affair? with another man. In this literary memoir, written with the encouragement of her family, friends, ex-husband Michael, and his partner, Craig, Whitehead, a newspaper columnist living in Cumming, Georgia, chronicles her vision of faith and the joy and pain of raising a family. Sally and Michael shared a roving quest after God, which led them through fundamentalism and created false guilt about their parenting of six sons and one daughter. After sharing what was deep within their hearts, they were able to break free from spiritual and personal repression and discover a path to acceptance, forgiveness, and love.

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Matos McGreevey, Dina - 'Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage'

The truth behind the lies. 

It was an unforgettable scene. Dina Matos McGreevey, an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, wife, mother, and First Lady of the state of New Jersey, watched silently as her husband, then New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, resigned his office with the revelation that he was a "gay American." The picture of grace and loyalty, perfectly composed in her pale blue suit, Dina Matos McGreevey gave no sign of the tangled mixture of fear, sorrow, and anger she felt that day, no hint of the devastation that was to come. Since then she has been asked repeatedly about the nature of her marriage, about what she knew and when she knew it. Since then, she has remained silent. Until now.

Speaking up at last, Dina Matos McGreevey here recounts the details of her marriage to Jim McGreevey. What emerges is a tale of love and betrayal, of heartbreak and scandal... and ultimately, hope. 

It all began with so much promise. Dina Matos was a responsible and civic-minded young woman who fell in love with the passion of political action. When Jim McGreevey walked into her life, he appeared to be a kind and loving man, someone with whom she could build a life based on shared ideals, a strong spiritual commitment, and a desire to make a difference in the world. Beyond their initial chemistry, Dina Matos was attracted by Jim McGreevey's principles and his unwavering devotion to his work. She didn't know that his life, and thus their marriage, were built on a foundation of lies; that his past was littered with casual sexual encounters in seedy bookstores and public parks; or that, by his own admission, he began an adulterous affair with another man while she was in the hospital awaiting the birth of their child. "Could I have known," she asks? "How could I have known?" 

With scalding honesty, she tells of her life with the former governor, of the politics and public service that brought them together, and the lies that tore them apart. 

Here is a story of a marriage that was anything but happily-ever-after, told by a strong and resilient woman who can, and finally will, speak for herself.

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From the LBGT Perspective

Hutchins, Loraine and Lani Kaahumanu, eds - 'Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out'

In this groundbreaking anthology, more than seventy women and men from all walks of life describe their lives as bisexuals in prose, poetry, art, and essays.

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Testa, Michael, When Opposites No Longer Attract

When Opposites No Longer Attract by Michael Testa 

Written from the perspective of the gay husband who came out, When Opposites No Longer Attract includes personal accounts by several gay men and women expressing  the difficulties they had in confronting their same sex attractions. It explains how to approach the issues with their straight spouses. This book also offers advice on issues concerning their children.  

Too many gay men and lesbians stay in their marriages, living in denial, sometimes cheating on the side because of social stigmas. Even after a straight spouse finds explicit evidence their spouse is probably gay, many are still met with denial. This book is meant to help gay spouses accept who they are and find the courage to be honest with their straight spouses.

MICHAEL TESTA is a business owner who lives in Pittsburgh with his two sons. When Opposites No Longer Attract is his first book. 

You can purchase his book at TestaPublishing.com. It’s also available on Amazon.com. 

 

 

Abbott, Deborah and Ellen Farmer - 'From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life: Stories of Transformation'

Drawing from a broad range of cultures and classes, this collection of first-person essays, interviews and poems offers a glimpse into the lives of women who got married and then came out as lesbians. It tells the stories of women who have had to overcome ostracism and homophobia. It deals on a personal level with most of the problems facing married lesbians: family conflicts, custody battles, financial strains, struggles to achieve independence and finding a sense of wholeness.

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Dean, Patricia Forni - 'Homosexuality and the Family'

Disproving the notion that homosexuals are antifamily, this enlightening book details the variety of family forms in which gays and lesbians live and explores the effects of homosexuality on individuals in families and on the family as a whole. Little in the professional literature addresses the combined topics of homosexuality and the family, so practitioners, academicians, researchers, and students in various disciplines--counseling, gay studies, sociology, human sexuality, psychology, social work, law, and medicine--will discover a wealth of unique and useful material here. Arranged in a life history sequence that moves from adolescence to adulthood, this informative volume documents the responses of parents of gay children, wives of gay men, children of lesbian mothers, and gay fathers about their family lives.

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Cassingham, Barbe and O'Niel, Sally - 'And Then I Met This Woman, Previously Married Women's Journeys into Lesbian Relationships'

These stories are about the transforming commitment made by these women to own the authenticity of their feelings for another woman in order to be congruent in all areas of their lives. Their lives included the realities common to all women that are inherent in loving their children, husbands, parents and friends, as well as struggles with unfulfilling marriages, addictions, and seeking meaningful work. And, for the women in this book, their lives were further complicated by their love for a woman and the issues that are intrinsic to the coming out process.

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Family and Children Issues from the Straight Spouse Perspective

Buxton, Amity Pierce - ''From Hostile to Helpful,'' in Home Fronts

This chapter discusses ways to develop positive co-parenting by straight-gay/lesbian/bisexual couples who divorce.

Jess Wells has invited a host of alternative family advocates to go beyond the rosy picture of perfect health and happy families and explore the truths about gay and lesbian parenting that are not easy to face. Suzie Bright discusses the navete that lesbians have brought to their parenting; James Johnstone recounts the trials and tribulations of being a donor dad, and Rachel Pepper charges lesbians with villainizing the biological mother in custody cases; The result is a hard-hitting, controversial critique of the state of gay and lesbian parenting.

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Glick, Daniel - 'Monkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth'

A suddenly single father--and nationally known environmental reporter--takes his children on a world tour of some of the world's rare and endangered life forms while reckoning with loss, change, and the challenges of parenting in this frank, funny, moving memoir. . After the death of his brother and the sudden end of his marriage, and after his ex-wife moved to another state leaving him alone with their two young children, Dan Glick embarked on single fatherhood in an unusual way: he took his kids on a journey around the world. The idea was to go see some of the world's rare life forms before they disappeared from the planet, and to do it before the kids themselves would grow up and chart their own paths. In the summer of 2001 Dan, Zoe, and Kolya took off from Colorado for a six-month journey on which they would see the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the orangutans of Borneo, Javan Rhinos in Vietnam, the tigers of Nepal, and more. Meeting countless challenges--emotional, logistical and physical--the threesome shared experiences they could not have imagined and would not soon forget. Glick weaves accounts of their encounters with the natural world--and each other--with intimate reflections on his own reckoning with loss, change, and fatherhood, illuminating the commonalities between our relationships with each other, and our relationship with the earth we inhabit. For anyone who dreams of travelling to the world's most exotic places, for anyone already navigating that wild journey called parenting, Monkey Dancing is by turns fascinating, funny, and wise.

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Family and Children Issues from the LGBT Perspective

Corley, Rip - 'The Final Closet: The Gay Parent's Guide for Coming-Out to Their Children'

A gay parents guide for coming out to their children, of all ages.

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Garner, Abigail - 'Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is'

Abigail Garner was five years old when her mother and father divorced and her dad came out as gay.

Growing up immersed in gay culture, she now calls herself a "culturally queer" heterosexual woman. As a child, she often found herself in the middle of the political and moral debates surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parenting. At the age of twenty-two, she began to speak publicly about her family and has since become a nationally recognized advocate for the estimated 10 million children growing up with LGBT parents. The creator of FamiliesLikeMine.com, Garner has written a deeply personal and much-needed book about gay parenting, from the seldom-heard perspective of grown children raised in these families. 

Based on eight years of activism, combined with interviews with more than fifty sons and daughters, Families Like Mine debunks the anti-gay myth that these children grow up damaged and confused. At the same time, Garner's book refutes the popular pro-gay sentiment that these children turn out "just like everyone else." In addition to the typical stresses of growing up, the unique pressures these children face are not due to their parents' sexuality, but rather to homophobia and prejudice. Using a rich blend of journalism and memoir, Garner offers empathetic yet unapologetic opinions about the gifts and challenges of being raised in families that are often labeled "controversial." 

As more LGBT people are pursuing parenthood and as the visibility of gay parenting is rapidly increasing, many of the questions about these families focus on the "best interests" of their children. Eloquent and sophisticated, Families Like Mine addresses these questions, providing an invaluable insider's perspective for LGBT parents, their families, and their allies.

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MacPike, Laralee, ed. - 'There's Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You'

How do people come out of the closet to their families and their own children? These true stories of lesbian and gay parents opening up with their children are both heartbreaking and heartwarming, but above all, they are honest. The stories explore such questions as How does one begin? Why do some children react well while others never accept the truth? Why do these parents feel they must risk changing their child's world by telling them? For anyone sensitive to the dilemma of explaining a socially difficult subject to a child, this is an excellent book.

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For Both LBGT and Straight Parent and their Children

Buxton, Amity Pierce The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families

 

Candid, compassionate, authoritative--a rich source of insights, information, and practical guidance. "The first major work on the topic." --Gay Community News "A much needed comprehensive study of what happens to husbands, wives, and children during the coming-out crisis. --The Reverend Jane E. Vennard, founder Task Force for Spouses of Gays and Lesbians "The new enlarged edition adds important factors, especially children's reactions to a parent's coming out. Well-researched and insightful." --Fritz Klein, M.D., author of The Bisexual Option "Anybody practicing in this area would be well advised to read this book." --Professor Arthur S. Leonard, New York Law School In two million marriages, one spouse is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Having a spouse or parent disclose his or her same-sex attraction is a shattering experience fraught with pain, confusion, anger, and a profound loss of self-esteem. Amity Pierce Buxton spotlights this exploding phenomenon and reports constructive coping strategies that spouses and children have used to resolve problems of sexual damage, family breakdown, deception, and homophobia. Illustrated throughout by riveting personal narratives, this expanded edition of The Other Side of the Closet traces the family's journey from initial trauma to eventual transformation. This invaluable source of information for spouses, families, and professionals is based on Dr. Buxton's eight years of research, including interviews with 1,000 straight spouses and children, her own personal experience, and her counseling work with spouses of gay, lesbian, and bisexual partners.

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- See more at: http://www.straightspouse.org/resources-new/recommended-reading/books-for-adults/#sthash.47T1T3Ac.dpuf

Books and Articles on Related Issues

Buxton, Amity Pierce - ''Works in Progress: How Mixed-Orientation Couples Maintain their Marriages after the Wives Come Out''

This article was published in both the Journal of Bisexuality Vol.4, No. 1/2 and also in Current Research on Bisexuality (pp. 57-82)(pp. 57-82) Ed. R. C. Fox 2004 Harrington Park Press.

Not Available from Amazon.com

Buxton, Amity Pierce - ''Paths and Pitfals: How Heterosexual Spouses Cope When Their Husbands or Wives Come Out.''

Published in In Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, Vol. 3, No. 2/3 also in Relationship Therapy with Same-Sex Couples (pp. 95-109) Eds. J. L. Bigner and J. L. Wetchler (2004) Haworth Press

Not Available from Amazon.com

Buxton, Amity Pierce - ''Thoughts on a Father's Coming Out to His Children''

(Available through Straight Spouse Network Include your mailing address when ordering) Suggestions for ways for gay fathers to make disclosure to children safe and comfortable for both parents and children.

Not Available from Amazon.com

Buxton, Amity Pierce - ''The Best Interest of Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents,'' In m>The Scientific Basis of Child Custody Decisions

A review of research, quantitative and qualitative, on gay and lesbian parents who were formerly married to heterosexual spouses and on children of divorced parents, one of whom is gay or lesbian. Topics include the fitness of gay and lesbian parents, the quality of home settings they provide for children (including new partners), and the impact of having a parent who comes out and living with or visiting the gay or lesbian parent.

Not Available from Amazon.com

Articles and books authored by Amity P. Buxton, Ph.D., Founder, 
Straight Spouse Network

Published Research on Straight Spouses and Couples in Mixed-Orientation or Trans/Non-Trans Marriages and their Families

This listing is for your convenience and is intended as a bibliography of the important contributions made by
Amity P. Buxton, Ph.D., in this still nascent field of study.

Post-disclosure Straight spouses of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender Partners:

2013, Unseen-Unheard: Straight Spouses from Trauma to Transformation. CCB Publishers: Vancouver, BC, Canada.

2012, Straight Husbands Whose Wives Come Out: Challenges to the myth of masculinity. Journal of LBGT Family Studies, 8:1, 23-45. 

2007, Counselling Heterosexual Spouses of Bisexual or Transgender Partners. In B. Firestein (Ed.), Becoming Visible: Counselling Bisexuals Across the Life-span, pp. 635-665. New York: Columbia University Press.

2006, When a Spouse Comes Out: Impact on the heterosexual spouse. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: Journal of Treatment and Prevention (Sexual Addiction and the Family, Special Issue), 13:2-3, 317-332.

Post-Disclosure Mixed-Orientation Couples: 

2011, Reflections on Bisexuality Through the Prism of Mixed-Orientation Marriages. Journal of Bisexuality 11:4, 525-544

2004, Works in Progress: How mixed-orientation couples maintain their marriages after the wives come out. In R.C. Fox (Ed.), Current Research in Bisexuality, pp. 57-82. New York: Hayworth Press. 

2001, Writing Our Own Script: How bisexual men and their heterosexual wives maintain their marriages after disclosure. In B. Beemyn and E. Steinman (Eds.), Facts and fictions: Experiencing male bisexuality, pp. 157-189. New York: Haworth Press.

Post-Disclosure Families (LGBT spouse, straight spouse, children):

2006, A family Matter: When a spouse comes out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Journal of LGBT Family Studies, 1(2), 49-70.

2004, Paths and Pitfalls: How heterosexual spouses cope when their husbands or wives come out.  Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 3(2/3), 95-109. 

1994, The Other Side of the Closet: The coming-out crisis for straight spouses and families, revised and expanded. New York: Turner Publishing

Post-Disclosure, Divorce, Parenting and Children: 

2000, From Hostile to Helpful. In J. Wells (Ed.), Home Fronts: Controversies in nontraditional parenting, pp. 201-211.  New York: Alyson Press.

1999, The Best Interest of Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents. In R. Galatzer-Levy and L. Kraus (Eds.), The scientific basis of child custody decisions, first edition, pp. 319-346. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Counselling Post-Disclosure Straight Spouses and Couples:

 2006, Counselling Heterosexual Spouses and Bisexual/Heterosexual Couples: An affirmative approach. In R. C. Fox (Ed.), Affirmative psychotherapy with bisexual women and bisexual men. New York: Harrington Park Press.

Support/education for spouses and couples in post-disclosure mixed-orientation or transgender/nontransgender marriages: the Straight Spouse Network:

 2006, Healing An Invisible Minority:  How the Straight Spouse Network has become the prime source of support for those in mixed-orientation marriages. In J. J Bigner and A.R. Gottlieb (Eds.), Interventions with families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people: From the inside out, pp. 49-69. New York: Harrington Park Press.