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Who Am I?

Who Am I?By Ron

When our spouse or partner reveals they are gay, many of us are flabbergasted. We thought we were with one person, yet we were really with someone different. We thought we knew them. We thought they were open and honest with us. And after disclosure we oftentimes spend quite a bit of time dwelling on the question, “Who is (s)he?”

Of course we do. We are confused. Hurt. Deceived. Angry. Who is this person? At some point, we realize they are what they are. They do what they do. We might not understand their resulting actions, or their new looks. While understanding that being gay is not a choice, we might seriously question their new choices on other matters, knowing they would have decided differently before. It’s confusing, so we ask, “Who is this?” Sometimes this question consumes our lives.

The most important question, however, is the one your gay (ex)-partner has probably long been grappling with — the real high-impact question for any of us.

Who am I?

We are shaken by the disclosure. Shaken to the core. We have huge looming decisions, most probably new to us. Yet if we keep asking why they are who they are, without asking ourselves those same questions, then we miss a huge opportunity. Yes, opportunity. Because this is the time to stop, evaluate ourselves, and decide who we are, who we want to be, and who we can become.

Each of us has obligations and responsibilities. We all have desires and regrets. There are many ways to explore who we are:

  • Counseling
  • Traveling
  • Taking time off from the normal activities
  • Writing
  • Hiring a life coach

Why does it matter? We all want to find our purposes. Most of us want to do more. The shakeup makes us realize that nothing is permanent. Nothing should be taken for granted. Our time is precious. We each deserve to pursue what we need and want. The angst, inaction, and guilt from not exploring who we are can be physically self-destructive.Who Am I?

Yet we are convinced, many of us, that this sort of thinking is selfish. We are given life to serve others, and/or a deity. Perhaps that’s the way you were raised as a child. This line of thinking is not a free pass. We still need to decide how we will serve others. Also, until we take care of ourselves, we are not fully available to help others. Pushing our real selves down pushes down the potential to do more for others.

We also need to frame how we will act now, in response to them being gay. How will we treat them? How will we deal with shared assets? How will we handle the children? To direct our positions in those decisions, we have to have a foundation of self.

So when you’re finished asking who they are, start exploring the more important question, “Who am I?”



  1. Hello,
    In the beginning of my marriage I held onto a masculine stereotype that I was influenced to maintain by my family and friends. Since then I have come out to my wife who considers me also to be her wife and with our children even a private daughter. While she has never objected to my feminizing the role I have in our lives together. It has taken us each some getting used to, and letting go of associations that prevented us from honoring our union. We have in NY what is considered to be a gay marriage since I have come out as a transgender. I feel in our journey together and my honoring my marriage to her, I can appreciate the love we share as both her Husband and Wife.

  2. Ron, thank you. Though the disclosure and separation was a shock, 10 months out I look back and see the positives: I’ve been through 6 months of therapy and grappled with demons that have affected my life since childhood. I’ve grown closer to my kids. I’ve traveled and seen wonders of the world and iconic animals in the wild, I’mm enrolling in Uni to pursue the next stage of my career. I’ve softened my personality and become empathetic to others, and have discovered there are a great many lovely people who in midlife find themselves suddenly on their own. And though I still have issues from the deception, I am ready to move on. She gave me many good years and 2 great kids, and one helluva life-experience on the way out.

    • Your story sounds exactly like mine!
      Just know you are not alone and that I am wishing you lots of peace in your journey ahead. I still have not been able to travel, but that will be the next chapter in my life:) Take care, Casey

  3. What a great article. I think this will help many straight spouses.

  4. I like this perspective a lot. No point in doing postmortem on the mindf*ck that was. His leaving was a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. I’m investing in the future.

  5. I think those are great questions as well as crucial. The major challenge is to sort those out. For those of us who are older we may have been facing other major life issues i.e. empty nest, retirement, health and death, financial crisis,etc. It requires endurance, self-love, patience and a strong support group such as SSN. Also remembering that there is no one path that is right for each but getting support to explore one’s individual journey. One day at a time.

  6. way to go, Ron!

  7. Ron, what a well written, well thought out essay to get us thinking as we move forward and pick up the pieces. I think it’s a question we have all struggled with. In my case, I discovered a long lost person who had gotten burried during our 20 years of marriage amd raising children. .While I am still a work in progress, I am a happier person now amd can see what’s really important in life.

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