"My partner says she/he is not straight anymore."
Updated: Mar 27
Having that sentence run through your mind can be scary. You've spent all your time together as a straight heterosexual couple, but it has changed. Your partner has just disclosed to you they might be gay/lesbian/bisexual, and you have a thousand thoughts running through your mind at once.
"Were they unfaithful?", "Wasn't I enough?", "What does this mean for our relationship?"
Those are difficult questions, much more complicated than a simple blog can explore. It's important to take in what your partner has just shared with you first. Your relationship has just turned into a "mixed-orientation" relationship/marriage.
This means that you are no longer a "straight" couple. It is important to remember this process might go through a few topics:
Checking in with the "straight" partner. This partner, with the news, might be:
Feeling low self-esteem/self-worth. They might feel they're not good enough or have done something to cause this.
Struggling with how or if they will tell others. This includes family members, children, and friends. Your relationship might look completely different now, and you might struggle with telling others.
Fearing the end of the relationship. Depending on how your partner identifies, the relationship might end, and now the partner will have to deal with the consequences.
Dealing with mistrust. The "straight" partner might be afraid that an affair or betrayal may have happened to act on the newly discovered sexual orientation.
Opening up communication. After checking in with your partner, it's important to open up communication. You can also choose to do this with a couples therapist present. It's important to:
Explore and identify needs in the relationship. Each partner needs to focus on making sure the other feels heard and understood. Avoid using hurtful language and or blaming, ask questions and be open with each other.
Avoid assumptions or ambushing your partner. Your partner might be processing and grieving the relationship as well. They might be dealing with the difficult process of coming out. More information and coming out in a previous blog. https://www.plantationcounseling.com/post/how-to-come-out-to-your-family-and-loved-ones
Figuring out how to do this may change the relationship's future or the relationship's lifestyle. You may decide that you may open your relationship or become polyamorous. This step is complex, and it is highly recommended that this is discussed with clear boundaries and intentions for relationship, preferably with a couples therapist. It should also be noted that opening up your relationship may not be the best fit for all couples in these situations.
Dealing with Infidelity. In certain instances, lying and infidelity may have happened. If you have decided to continue your relationship, it is essential to:
Continue focusing on open communication; as stated above, you must make sure your goal is to make the other partner feel heard and understood during this period.
Reach out for counseling. It might be important to have another person in the room helping to deal with navigating this issue and beginning to build trust. Find a couples therapist that allows you and your partner constructively communicate with each other.
Build trust. Building trust takes a lot of time and effort, especially if there has been a betrayal of trust; with all the tips listed above, you can begin to repair your relationship.
At Infinite Therapeutic Services, we have many couples therapists to help you through the journey.