Helping the Straight Spouse When a Wife or Husband Comes Out as LGB or T

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people come out years after they have been married to an opposite-sex heterosexual wife or husband. While psychologists are encouraged to recognize the particular challenges LGBT people may face in coming out, it is also important to recognize that the spouses and families of these individuals may require therapeutic support. The resources on this page are provided to help students and psychologists better understand the particular issues and concerns that may arise with the straight spouse.

Professional Resources 

Journal of GLBT Family Studies Special Issue: "Mixed-Orientation Marriages: Challenges of Individual Spouses and GLB-Straight Couples in Diverse Contexts" January 2012
"Counseling Heterosexual Spouses of Bisexual Men and Women and Bisexual-Heterosexual Couples: Affirmative Approaches" Journal of Bisexuality, 2006

Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy; Chapter 17, by Carol Grever, "Helping Heterosexual Spouses Cope When Their Husbands or Wives Come Out," reviews clinical issues, stages of recovery, counseling options and characteristics of effective therapy specifically for straight spouses.

Support Resources 

Unseen-Unheard: Straight Spouses from Trauma to Transformation
Amity P. Buxton, PhD, & R. L. Pinley

"Straight Spouse Network"
The Straight Spouse Network serves straight spouses, post-disclosure couples, families and the community by working to increase visibility of straight spouses, to increase accessibility to support and healing, and to empower straight spouses to cope constructively.

Additional Help

You can also use APA’s Psychologist Locator Service or call your local or state psychological association to find a psychologist licensed to practice in your state who can help.