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Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Step Son Told me a secret and my husband doesn't know


Over a year ago my step son told me he was gay.  My husband does not know this and neither does any other family members.  My step son suffers from mental and emotional problems, drub abuse, anger, etc.. In fact, he has been estranged from us for a year now (he won't talk to us). I can't help but feel that it all stems from carrying around this humongous secret and by not being able to be his true self in life.  I can't imagine anything more horrible.  My question is, should I tell my husband?  I have wrestled with this for 14 months because I know how huge this is.  I want to keep my word and not tell but on the other hand, I feel that by telling my husband we could help release him from this hell of lies and shame of who he really is.  It would also help my husband understand the reason his son is the way he is.  I'm just so confused as to what I should do.  I really hate having any secrets between my husband and me so this has been very very hard.  We have a wonderful marriage.  Please tell me what you would recommend I do.  Thank you, Heather

Hi Heather~

We had a similar situation in our family many years ago with my step-brother.  He came out after many years of secretly being gay.  But my mom and I just knew that he was gay from the moment we met him, but we never said anything of our suspicions to my brother.  He ended up coming out to my dad many years later.  I don't know if my dad ever suspected anything or not, but it's something that was clear by the way he acted, talked, carried himself, etc.  I think my dad was just in denial for all those years.  Something like that it hard to ignore when it presents itself to you in the way my brother lived and how he acted (I'm not talking about parading his boyfriends or anything in front of us either, nothing of that nature).  My brother did his best to hide it for fear of coming out and was afraid of rejection from the family, friends and so on.  

My brother has struggled for many years as a gay man.  He was even previously married and had a child with his ex-wife, of whom he was married to for 10 yrs.  He now has had a steady boyfriend who he has been with for years and shares a home with, but he doesn't like most ppl to know he's gay.  His being gay has caused so many personal issues in his life and he's struggled with severe depression to where he had to be hospitalized b/c he tried to kill himself on more than one occasion.  With that said my dad still loved and accepted him, even though it was hard for him to comprehend and they always had a strained relationship until the day my dad died.  So I can only begin to imagine what your step-son is currently going through and what he's been through with his own life.  It's hard.  

With that said.  Your step-son trusted you enough to tell you this secret and burden he's been carrying all these years.  Now comes the time for you to decide what you should do about it.  Do you tell your husband and get this burden weight off of your shoulders? Or do you keep this in the strictest of confidence and not tell your husband this? I think either way you look at it, this has to be a personal decision for you and what's best for you.  It's never good to keep something bottled up inside b/c it's taking such a huge toll on you and it's beginning to wear on your conscience.  You should do whatever you feel most comfortable doing.  Personally if it were me I'd feel inclined to tell my husband the truth.  And take my chances of it ruining the relationship I had with my step-son.  I mean you don't have a close relationship with him anyway, and you don't seem to be close to him any more.  

I would tell my husband but stress to him that I would like for him to keep this just between us, but that this has been bothering me for so long not telling him, that I just HAD to get it off my chest.  Plus it would explain how his son's been acting all this time.  And who knows if your step-son ever did find out, it might be a huge relief that you told his father so he didn't have to, and he wouldn't feel as though he had to hide this from his father any longer.  

Most likely he will initially be shocked, upset and even confused (common reaction when it's some form of news you're not expecting or prepared to hear, especially when it involves your child), but after the initial shock and awe wears off, hopefully he'll love and accept his son whether he's gay or straight.  A parent's love is supposed to be unconditional no matter what and this will certainly test him to his very core.  All you can do (if you inform him about this secret) is to try to support him to the best of your ability if/when you break this news to him.  And in all honesty it might be the right thing to do for you and your husband.  If you have any further questions please feel free to ask.  I hope this helps you some.  

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