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Carolyn Hax: Gay affair causes split, but what to do now?

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My spouse told me earlier this week that he/she wants a divorce. I had a gay affair. I was pushing for us to work past this. We both love each other, but I guess emotional love isn’t enough.

The thing is — I don’t even know where to start. I can’t tell my family. I don’t want to come out. I feel like a failure. No one in my family is divorced.

We have no kids and agreed to split everything 50/50, so this will be painful but not spiteful. Is there a step-by-step guide to this? Where do I live? What do I tell people? How do I navigate?

Divorcing

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But you seem to be more in need of a safe place to sort out your feelings. A good, reputable therapist is an investment in your future. Try PFLAG, too, for coming-out support (http://bit.ly/1or9y4s).







Re: Divorcing: I was the “first” in my family to get divorced, when a seemingly picture-perfect marriage fell apart. I didn’t have the gay affair complication, but I felt all the things you feel. I was pleasantly surprised at the support I got from my (fairly conservative) family. My friends were a bedrock. But I never could have made it through without my amazing therapist.

It’s an overused phrase now, but it does get better. I am happy and healthy today in a way that I didn’t think possible in the awful first moments you find yourself in right now.

Anonymous

Thank you. I’ll defend “it gets better,” though. Heavy use makes it easy to remember, and therefore a lifeline. Remember how it started (www.itgetsbetter.org … and hi, Dan).

Tuesday: Breaking the news.

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