Gay or Straight, He's Still Your Husband

Just because your husband confesses he is attracted to men doesn't give him permission to walk away from his commitment to you.

Dear Rabbi Boteach


I was wondering if you could provide some help and inspiration for someone like me. After 7 years of marriage, my husband recently came out of the closet. He is gay! What should I do?

--Shocked and Confused

Dear Shocked


I’m sorry to hear of your predicament. This subject has come up many times in my work as a counselor. In fact, I advised very dear friends of mine when they went through a similar situation.

After having three children together, my friend's husband suddenly confessed that he was gay. Of course she was devastated, and she came to me for advice. I told her to tell him that it made no difference if he was straight or gay, because he had children and when he got married he took an oath before G-d to remain faithful. She had to demand his faithfulness. And as long as he could guarantee his faithfulness, then she should remain with him.

My point to her was that where our sexual predilections lead us is not the issue, so long as we can bring them under control. For example, most heterosexual men are not naturally monogamous. As scores of evolutionary biologists have reminded us, the human male has a predisposition toward inseminating as many females as possible, thereby guaranteeing the continuity of his gene pool.


But that which is natural is not necessarily right. It’s natural, for example, to wake up at 10 o'clock in the morning. But we habituate ourselves to wake up earlier in order to be productive. It’s natural for us to shove our faces into bowls to eat. But instead we civilize ourselves by using utensils to become refined. I said to my friend, who your husband is attracted to should have no bearing on the marriage, so long as he does not submit to his urges, and instead directs his libido toward his wife.

The same thing is true for you—you should demand your husband's fidelity and faithfulness. Clearly 7 years of marriage demonstrate that he is capable of being attracted to you, even if his preference is for men. Because you and your husband have been married for 7 years, and it took him to confess he was gay and you did not see it yourself, I can only assume that he was doing things with you as a husband that a heterosexual husband generally does. Therefore, I would make his attraction to men an issue of no consequence.

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