13 Things Not to Say When Your Friend's Husband Comes Out

Rant 17

The media is full of stories about John Travolta's alleged groping incidents with male masseurs and asking, "Is he gay?" and "Did his wife know?" We don't know what is going on in John Travolta and Kelly Preston's marriage, but plenty of other non-celeb couples deal with this issue every day.

Contrary to popular belief, finding out your partner is gay is not something a spouse "knows about" and decides to ignore. It is horrible, shocking, and surreal. Believe me, I know.

But if the spouse of a friend or family member comes out, you can help. Your friendship and emotional support will be vital at this devastating time. The first way you'll want to help your friend is by NOT say the following 13 things -- no matter how much you want to.

Didn’t you know?


Did you see any signs?


My cousin’s friend’s sister’s husband came out.

(That's great. Has nothing to do with me.)

Isn’t that better than another woman?

(No. It's different. Not better.)

It’s good he came out though, right?

(Probably, but I can't celebrate right now.)

I always suspected.

(You're an asshole.)

Didn’t you have sex?


Ha. That's funny.

(I actually had someone say this.)

Are you going to get an AIDS test?

(Yes, but that is not what I want to discuss right now.)

Maybe he’s just going through a phase.

(Maybe so, but right now he's gay and I'm destroyed.)

Is he the father of your children?


Did he always want to do anal with you?

(No. You've seen Brokeback Mountain too many times.)

Are you worried about him being around the kids?

(No. He's gay, not a child molester.)

And now here are some things that you could say to a friend or family member that would be really helpful and appreciated:

I'm really sorry this happened.

This is devastating.

I'm here to support you.

Call me whenever you need to talk.

I'm in total shock right now.


What would you say to a friend whose husband or wife came out?

Image via Carbon NYC/Flickr

cheating, breakups, divorce, sex secret, sexuality


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

tnyangel tnyangel

I'm so sorry this happened.

I wish for you my step-father's type. The greatest second marriage story ever and I had the luxury to be a wittness to it. You deserve that.

pixie... pixieofchaos

WOW I realize how hard this must have been, but at the same time what about him? Can you imagine how torn he probably was? Thoughs of being gay sometimes rise up for YEARS and people continue to try to be who they are not. I can only imagine how he felt when he told you. I can imagine it was probably the hardest thing in his life. Sure its hard on you too, I would hope you are both happy being where you are now.

Lilit... Lilith825

I have a 4yo son who insists he's a girl. This is not even close to the same situation  but the devestation is probably similar. I am extremely supportive of LGBT rights, and yet, when it happens to you, you STILL go into shock and have to deal with the devestating emotions that go along with that kind of news. SO what would I say?

"I am so sorry this has happened. Is there anything I can do to HELP? Would you like to go to a PFLAG meeting with me to find support? I have the number to a specialized therapist that I talk to about {my child's name} if you would like it." {{BIG HUG}} 

nonmember avatar AG

"Wow! That sucks. I am really sorry that you have to go through this."

Then, I would give big hug and be quiet so I could listen for what she needs.

nonmember avatar Jane

Wow, I completely know how you feel and how devestating it is. I found out my husband was gay after 10 years of marriage and 3 kids. Others who haven't been through it will never know the extent of our pain. Good luck to you and you are in my prayers!

nonmember avatar NestleAland

#15: "WOW I realize how hard this must have been, but at the same time what about him? Can you imagine how torn he probably was?"

Sure, I bet it was hard for [her]. But I'm a bit more concerned with how hard it is for me right now. Especially since [she] didn't tell me; rather, I got to discover it the hard way. I feel so much better now that I realize I had the honor of serving as [her] gay incubator.

zandh... zandhmom2

Who cares about how he feels! Did you watch her interviews? This man not only lied to her for 10 years of her life that she can't get back but he also acted on his "sexual confusion" with other man....so no I feel no pity for him.  If he was confused, he should have never started a relationship with a women. Even if he wasn't sure at the start of their relationship, once he realized that he was confused, he should have ended the relationship.  He didn't have to admit to her or even himself that he was gay but could have still told her that he didn't think the relationship was working out for him. No one forced him to stay in a relationship for 10 years that wasn't right for him. Relationships break up everyday for one reason or another. I'm not sure if I could ever forgive my husband if he did that to me after years of marriage and having kids together. 

nonmember avatar Lastango

For a progressive female reader this is a heck of a problem. Celebrate his gayness and applaud his courage for coming out? Support women by lament that her life is destroyed? Craft a techno-feminist response that reframes this as empowerment for both parties? Step back and view it through the social-engineering lens as progress, calling on both of them to understand we should acknowledge diversity of experience?

What to do... what to do... if only your old LGBT and Women's Studies profs were here to tell you what to think.

missy... missybest

Well, I had a similar thing happen, but mine didn't "come out", he just left!  He abandoned me and our child.  It is not fun!  You who say "celebrate his gayness", etc.  You go celebrate when you find out that your husband and the father of your children has lied to you all these years, the relationship had problems because of it, but you didn't know what was causing the problems, and now your "family" will no longer be a family.  You are on your own with your kid or kids and the person you thought you trusted, you do not trust at all anymore!  He married you to hide, not because he loved you!  He married you to disguise his identity.

So, go celebrate all that you nitwit!  I am not against gay people at all.  But, I AM against anyone lying to cover their hidden lives and agendas and harming innocent partners and children along the way!

3Boyz... 3Boyz2Luv

Good article, Kiri. It's not often on here anymore that you see writing that's to the point, non judgemental and grammatically correct. I am sorry for any woman who has to go through that. I wouldn't be able to see any bright side to that situation and don't think I could make one up to comfort anyone. I don't think they'd want me to either.

1-10 of 17 comments 12 Last