Straight Spouse Voices is the official podcast of the Straight Spouse Network. In our podcasts, heterosexual men and women who are or were married to, or partners of, LGBTQ persons, share their experiences in conversations with host Kristin Kalbli, who is herself a straight spouse. The stories and perspectives are many and diverse. Topics include the after effects when spouse comes out, staying in a mixed orientation marriage, coping with a spouse who remains closeted or in denial, the challenges of being married to a transgender person, navigating family relationships after disclosure, how homophobia affects us, living our best lives going forward, unique divorce and parenting issues, how our spiritual and religious beliefs are affected, cultural attitudes toward straight spouses, handling grief and finding the strength to heal.
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Deborah Simmons is co-author of the pre-published book, “What’s a Good Man to Do?" Today she shares how to open up to dating again after traumatic relationship experiences. She advises men how to navigate their desire during the #MeToo era, and shares tips for honesty in discussions around our own sexualities in new relationships. She shares advice for facing vulnerability when dating, embracing it, and finding meaning from those relationship traumas that can be carried forward into new relationships.
Pretending to Be Straight: Sociopathic Partners Who are Secretly Gay
Ross Rosenberg is an expert in clinical narcissism and sociopathy. Today he discusses what happens when a narcissistic or sociopathic individual intentionally hides their sexuality for personal gain. “Sexual orientation is independent of psychopathology, but the sociopath needs to fit into society. Often that requires a marriage. They need to get married, get a house, get children, so no one will question their harmful and abusive intentions."
How Gender Transition Impacts a Couple
Married couple Stephanie and Debbie Hayton get personal in their discussion of Debbie’s gender transition, candidly sharing how it impacted their relationship and their family. Debbie tried to suppress her desire to transition until she no longer could. Stephanie tried to keep the family together as best as she could. This vulnerable interview highlights the fact that transition impacts every member of a family, not just the person transitioning.
A Gay Man on the Pressure to Marry Straight
As a young, gay African American man from a Christian background, Nigel Ashford felt pressure to marry a woman. He didn’t think about the potential wife in the scenario: “I wasn’t thinking about the other person. I hate to say it, but the only thing I was thinking of was how do I make my family and God happy? What do I need to do to make sure I’m pleasing them?" Through representation and visibility, Nigel saw examples of other out gay men living fulfilling lives, and decided he could do that too.
A Young Closeted Lesbian on the Prospect of Straight Marriage
Layla Ali, a 19-year-old closeted lesbian from a conservative Muslim family, speaks about growing up as a gay Muslim, and the pressure she feels to marry a man. Layla isn’t her real name because it is not safe for her to come out publicly. Layla talks about how marrying an opposite sex partner is expected of her, and she was headed down that road until she listened to the heartbreaking stories of straight husbands. She decided she never wanted to hurt anyone in that way.
A Self-Identified Trans Widow Speaks
A self-identified Trans Widow speaks about the gender transition of her husband. Initially, she made efforts to accept her husband’s cross dressing, even accompanying him on nights out while he was dressed as a woman. But when he announced his intention to fully transition, she knew the marriage she had tried so hard to maintain had to end. Negotiating boundaries around his cross-dressing, only to have those boundaries crossed repeatedly, eroded her psyche until she needed medical intervention.
This podcast is a lifeline for spouses who are trying to make sense of an unusually painful kind of betrayal by their partners. Hearing other people tell their stories gives listeners the words they don’t often have to describe what they’ve been through.
Relationships filled with gaslighting, denial, lies, deception, and abuse impair the straight spouse’s capacity to heal emotionally; this podcast creates a sense of validation and affirmation to people who are doubting their own self-worth and questioning their own sense of reality after being in a confusing and sexually-misaligned partnership with a dishonest and duplicitous spouse.
Kristin and her guests are normalizing the practice of having open, public conversations about the most intimate areas of a couple’s relationship. If our culture encouraged these kinds of conversations, then perhaps LGBTQIA folks would not feel pressured to enter into or stay in fake marriages to someone who isn’t a match for their sexual preferences.
The SSN’s podcast helps shine light on the untold story of mixed orientation relationships. Hearing real-world stories that reveal the discovery, pain, and future happiness of straight spouses has been key in my recovery. Whenever possible the podcast includes all parties to tell the story in full. This is especially valuable those close to disclosure as it underlines that a future of both parties showing mutual respect is viable long-term. Very grateful for SSN and this exceptional resource!
I became a straight spouse last year. My road to healing and recovery has been tough but I am ready to move forward. I felt so grateful to find this podcast this summer because it meant I wasn’t alone in my journey. This podcast answers all the questions that my ex-husband still refuses to address. Thanks to everyone who makes this podcast possible. You have made a huge difference in my healing process!
This podcast continues to save my life every time I listen.