Saturday, September 1, 2007

Larry Craig's Wife: From the Down Low to In The Know

Larry Craig and other men have sex with men without telling their wives are living on the Down Low (DL).

These Straight Guise are not inclined to tell their female partners about their sexual behavior, of course, because they are concerned they will lose the one person they love most. Women often say that men keeping their sexual desires and behaviors a secret is an example that they’re not in love anymore. But the opposite is often true—because a man cares so strongly for his wife, he wants to protect her feelings. This is not very comforting for the spouse who feels (and has been) betrayed. For a woman, her self-worth, sexual and mental health all suffer.

Discretion versus Disclosure

What should the female partner do upon learning this information? It is easy to label the Straight Guise as gay and/or bisexual and for him to do so himself, but the truth might be that he is neither. Understanding this can help save marriages and increase understanding, compassion and empathy for one another.

If he is gay then telling his wife and being honest with himself can begin the healing for them both.

When Straight Guise come out of his closet the straight spouses go immediately in. She often blames herself for her male partner’s wanderings and needs help to avoid drawing the conclusion that there was something wrong with the marriage. It may or may not have something to do with problems in the marriage but the majority of the reason is about the man himself.

Most extramarital affairs, whether the couple is straight or gay, result from one or both partners’ inability to achieve and keep intimacy. While these factors affect many heterosexual marriages, the Straight Guise’s predominant motive for “straying” is to find his true identity and reveal it to himself. Straight Guise typically cheat or act out because they’re repressing part of themselves. Their conflict is about their “identity,” not about their ability to love and bond with their partner. It is not the result of marital problems.

Typically the female spouse feels as though she did something to cause her husband to seek out affairs with men. As readily as she claims total responsibility for the state of her marriage, her male partner is willing to blame her as well, often claiming that she wasn’t responsive to his needs. Once both partners understand that the acting out is probably about issues of identity, not dissatisfaction; and once the man begins treating his female partner as a partner rather than as an adversary, they can begin to resolve their relationship.

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