Grace* decided to surprise her husband by coming back early from an out of town trip.
Feeling like she had been used and deceived by her husband of 17 years and plagued by low self-image and paralysing self-doubt, Grace nosedived into depression and at one point contemplated suicide.
But through the help of Laura a close friend, she managed to get help from a professional counsellor.
But Grace’s situation is not unique to her as many Kenyan women are faced with a situation of their men living double lives, having sex with other men while maintaining a marriage, happy or otherwise. A scenario that was captured in the movie 'Brokeback Mountain'.
So what should a lady do if she discovers that her man is gay? Well, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Learn that it’s not our fault
Most of the time when things go wrong in a marriage a woman often takes the blame, and it’s not any different when it comes to a woman finding out that her husband has been living a double life.
Some people often ask themselves “Am I not woman enough?” Or “Am in not beautiful enough?” Or “Didn't I do enough to prevent this?”
Well, the thing is you have done nothing wrong, the person is just the way they are and it’s not your fault, one cannot turn another person gay.
2. Seek help
Sometimes when we are hit with news that is too heavy to bear, our first instinct is to run into isolation and wallow in silence.
But don’t isolate yourself, that’s when the negative and highly-toxic thoughts crawl in. Help may come from a professional counsellor, your family and friends or seek out a support group that will link you up to people that share you problems and frustrations. They have been through it and will likely help you cope.
3. Get Tested
Take a test to determine if your husband has infected you with HIV or any STDs. Knowing your status will give you’re a clear head and will make figuring things out and the way forward easier.
4. Decide whether it’s something you can live with
For some people, finding out their husband is gay and cheated on them is not a deal-breaker.
In the TV series Good Christian B*tches (GCB) Cricket Caruth-Reilly, a successful business woman manages to live with her husband’s Blake’s homosexuality as he is a good father and a good husband even if they don’t get intimate. While Blake sees other men, she sees her Pilate’s instructor and they seem to somehow make it work. I don’t know if it can work in real life, but experts say it can be possible although it’s not encouraged.
5. Move On
A lot of times, these kinds of relationships are not salvageable and not even a marriage of convenience can work and clinging to this kind of a relationship is like flogging a dead horse. Especially if you are sure that your husband is gay and not just curious. If he is a good father you can break up and each of you can pursue your individual lives while still caring for your children.
6. Take care of yourself
Seherif Sriof of The Spruce advises “Do take care of yourself as you go through the grieving process. Your marriage as you knew it is over. If you stay married, it will be changed. Try to accept this reality and move on with your lives.”
* (not their real names)