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The Life of a Brokeback Wife - An Inside Look at Same Sex Infidelity

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This entry was posted on 5/23/2006 9:32 PM and is filed under Family,Women,sex,Health.

Brokeback Mountain provides a rare glimpse of what it’s like to be a victim of same sex infidelity. Now that the controversy has subsided about kissing cowboys and homosexual love scenes, more people are likely to turn their attention to this overlooked aspect of the film.

The film’s two main characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, are gay/ bisexual married men, who are cheating on their wives. The Brokeback wives, Alma and Lureen, are victims of same sex infidelity. Alma finds out about her husband, Ennis’ sexual orientation by accident when she discovers him kissing Jack. Lureen is apparently unaware that her husband, Jack, is sexually involved with another man.

Few people are aware that the Brokeback wives have a modern day parallel. The release of the Brokeback DVD, which sold 1.4 million copies the first day, means that new light will be shed on marriages of mixed orientation in which one partner is straight and the other bisesual or gay – now being referred to as “Brokeback marriages. “

Statistics on Same Sex Infidelity

Statistics confirm Brokeback Mountain’s modern day parallel.

• According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3 million women are, or have been wives or girlfriends of men who secretly have sex with other men.

• The Straight Spouse Network, a national organization with support groups for mixed orientation couples, estimates that at least 2 million gay / bisexual people are married to straight partners. (This figure also includes men married to lesbians.)

• According to the Family Pride Coalition, 20 percent of all gay men in America are in heterosexual marriages.

• The Family Pride Coalition also estimates that at least 50% of all gay men in America (like Jack and Ennis, in Brokeback Mountain) have fathered children

Still the Last to Know

As is typical with other types of infidelity ( workplace infidelity, cyber infidelity, female infidelity, emotional infidelity) - the victim of same sex infidelity is often the last to know. Some women never find out.

Women who do discover that their husbands are sexually involved with other men are usually devastated by the dual deception. Many of them blame themselves for not picking up the signs, but have no idea what kind of signs they should have seen.

Like Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, gay/bisexual married men are not easy to spot. It’s almost impossible to tell just by looking at looking at them, because they seldom fit the stereotype of a gay man. And they’re very good at hiding their secret lives. So unless you know what to be alert for, you’ll probably miss most of the signs, which subtle and easy to overlook.

Silent Victims and Health Concerns

Victims of same sex infidelity often face a unique kind of isolation. Discovering that her husband or boyfriend is sexually involved with other men can turn a woman into a silent victim. Her husband may be in the closet, but the wife of girlfriend of a gay or bisexual man is in a “closet “ of her own because this is not a situation that can be openly discussed with family or friends. It’s hard to say which is worse – the infidelity, or the fact that it occurred with another man.

In addition to the shock, humiliation, and feelings of rejection, these women also have to contend with the health consequences of the situation. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that MSM (the term researchers use for men who have sex with men) are at greater risk for contracting HIV. They usually lead a secret lifestyle which includes anonymous sexual encounters and unprotected sex. This increases the likelihood that MSM will become infected with HIV, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases, and pass them on to their unsuspecting mates.

Information about Same Sex Infidelity

Brokeback Mountain has women everywhere wondering. “Could this happen to me? Could I unknowingly be in a Brokeback marriage? What are the signs? How can I tell?

Since very little has been written about how to spot same sex infidelity and what to do about it, last year I compiled a 2-part tip sheet to answer the growing number of questions from my readers and website visitors on this topic. Requests for this tip sheet quadrupled after Brokeback Mountain made its debut. The information in the same sex tip sheet comes from 11 years of researching and documenting signs of infidelity, and is free to anyone who e-mails [email protected] with “SSI Tip Sheet” in the subject line.

The Future of a Brokeback Wife

What does the future hold for a wife who is married to a gay or bisexual man? Can a “Brokeback marriage” survive? Surprisingly enough, some do, according to Amity Buxton, Executive Director of the Straight Spouse Network. Buxton, who has studied thousands of “mixed orientation” couples since the 1980’s, says that roughly 1/3 of these couples separate immediately. Another 1/3 stay together for a few years, attempting to work things out, but end up separating anyway. But at least 1/3 of “Brokeback marriages” survive because of the different arrangements the couples negotiate. Some remain monogamous, some become celibate, others establish an open marriage in which the husband has “straying privileges”.

Help for Brokeback Wives

Women who suspect they are in a “Brokeback marriage” are encourage to either visit the links below for more information about same sex infidelity.

Part 1 of the same sex infidelity tip sheet describes a discreet 3-step procedure for finding out if your husband or significant other is sexually involved with other men. Part 2 explains what to do, how to confront him, and where to turn for help if you find yourself in a “Brokeback situation.” The Same Sex Infidelity Tip Sheet is just one of many resources for women who are married to gay or bisexual men. In addition to books and websites on the topic, there are discussion lists and online support groups where women can share their concerns with others like themselves who are struggling with issues of same sex infidelity. The Modern day Brokeback wife no longer has to suffer in silence like Alma in Brokeback Mountain.

About Ruth Houston:

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs, which documents practically every known sign of infidelity, including the subtle signs most people overlook. For more information about Ruth Houston, her book, or about infidelity, visit

Ruth has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Sun, MSN Lifestyle, iVillage, LavaLife, Entertainment Online, Hollywood Heat and numerous other print and online media. She has been a guest on The Today Show, Good Day New York, Telemundo, 1010WINS, TalkAmerica, BBC, CBC and over 250 other radio and TV talk shows worldwide.

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