Ellen has been living with the horror of truth for ten months. She

experiences the pain and despair every moment of every day. At least, it

feels like that. It's been almost a year since she started picking up on

peculiar things happening. Geoff had never had so many excuses for staying

late at work, and their communication and intimacy had really suffered. He

just seemed so distant. When she finally had the nerve to bring it up, her

strong stable husband folded into a confession of homosexual tendencies and


She remembers that day with mixed emotions: shock and fury at one extreme

and compassion and empathy on the other. Ellen felt angry and betrayed,

but as the tears came for both she and her husband, she was also able to

comfort him.

This mixture of emotions -- some loving, some hating -- have continued over

the months. "Geoff, I understand because I can see how difficult this is

for you. Let's work together on this. Just show me, tell me what to do."

This was expressed in a mutually tender moment. The following night, after

a dinner alone with the kids because Geoff was late, Ellen felt resentful

of yesterday's intimacies. "How could I have given him a chance. He is no

more sincere about changing than ever before."

To take steps forward in life, all people, when faced with problems, have

to take a close look at alternatives and make a decision. Women who are

involved with a man struggling with homosexuality are faced with more than

their share of difficult decisions. What do I do if he won't change?

Should we, or should I, get counseling? What about his obligations to the

family and to our finances? How long do I wait for him to talk to me and

rebuild our communication? What healing should I demand he go through

before coming back home?

The trap for many women involved with a man struggling with homosexuality

is the inability to stick with a personal decision because the emotional

base from which they are making that decision is constantly vacillating. A

wife, out of her discouragement and hurt, is ready to make a crucial

decision effecting the marriage. Suddenly her spouse behaves in a way to

give her enough hope to change her mind.

Ellen had decided to take the kids to her mother's in a neighbouring state

for the summer months. Maybe the separation would be helpful. She planned

to tell Geoff when he got home from work that night. He came home a half

hour early with flowers. No promises. No explanations. But it was enough

for Ellen to put the decision to leave town off for a week. It was a

start, wasn't it? After all, in their "good years" he used to bring

flowers home. She was encouraged that maybe he was finally coming around.

Even more fundamental for many women than sticking to a decision is

actually making one. Deciding what they want out of life and, more

specifically, what they want from their relationships, is frightening.

There seem to be three primary reasons why it is so difficult to see a

possible positive change, but not be able to take the steps to get there.

A subtle but powerful force depleting women of the ability to make a choice

is the simple fact that they often have never done it. A person's

upbringing, when looked at closely, shows signs of being pre-determined.

Little girls play with dolls. Young ladies take home economics. Women get

married and have a family. Most of the decisions in a female's life from

ages one to twenty, are made by parents, and most often by her father. In

a marriage, the husband is ultimately responsible for decisions because he

assumes the weight for the couple's financial planning, family happiness,

and future. The day-to-day decisions and major long-term decisions become

his to make with only minimal input from his spouse. In individual cases,

the pattern of the father, husband, and boyfriend making the decision has

rarely been due to a woman's inability. Many times it has just been

handled that way out of sheer comfort and tradition.

"He's always made the decisions. It's just the way we work together. I

don't want him in the kitchen, and I keep out of the den.

Noting the traditional tendencies, watching the male take charge and the

female wait until a decision is made, can begin the process of easier

decision making. Through awareness, a women can begin to see choices as

hers, too.

A second block to decision making is one common to both men and women. A

history of bad decision making, negatively influences an individual's

confidence in their ability to weigh alternatives and make a choice. If

recent years have been hard or unusually problematic, the results are often

chalked up to bad decisions in the first place. The outcome of the choice

begins to war on the process of making it.

Every time I plan an activity with some time alone for us, something goes

wrong. We get lost on the way to the restaurant and Geoff gets furious, or

the baby-sitter shows up late or not at all. Why do I keep trying? What

is the use of going out on a limb in saying what I really want or giving my


Recognizing this subconscious effect is the first step in stopping the

negative pattern. Fear of failure or fear of making a wrong decision

cannot get the best of us.

The most common barrier to decision making, that leaves many women feeling

helpless and in limbo, is their personal lack of self esteem. It takes a

high degree of confidence to believe you're worthy of fulfilling

relationships and a satisfying life at the risk of another individual's

immediate needs. You leave yourself quite vulnerable every time you say

what you want and what you won't put up with.

I can't tell him specifically when I can't take it any more. When my heart

feels like we're through. I get scared and say, "Geoff, there isn't much

more I can handle." Much more? I'm not handling what we've got now. But

if I say something strong, like, "You go get help, or I'm leaving," I don't

know if I really mean it. I just don't know about that big of a step.

Self assurance is often the missing ingredient in an ability to make

decisions. Knowing yourself and knowing your needs, followed by a strong

self-worth, will give one the premise from which to make decisions.

I want to be happy, I deserve to be involved with people who support me

and together meet mutual emotional needs. I feel like I should be loved.

Husbands are supposed to do that. I can do that back. I love Geoff. He

says he loves me. But he is not in a position to be as maturely committed

as I am.

Ellen's situation could be solved in a couple ways, but, regardless, it's

going to take a decision. If no decision is made, she will spend a lot of

time in the tunnel, only rarely seeing the light at the end.

As a partner in a relationship, we need to look for the traditional traps

that the traditional male-female roles (in some areas) put us in. We may

carry them on, but they need a close analysis at some point. Are our fears

of being rejected or of failing keeping us paralysed, unable to move

forward? And most importantly, we need to examine our self-esteem and

confidence. Would I change the way my life is going if I weren't so

frightened and unsure of myself? As an individual we need to look at the

fears we may have around our ability to make good decisions.

--Kelcie Sheriff


For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


G.P.O. Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446

This article is reprinted by permission from

Metanoia Ministries

P O Box 33039

Seattle WA 98133-0039



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