Is " Out " The Way Out?

I've been wondering about the "outing" process.

For those of you who have done it (I don't mean here - I mean to family and/or friends and/or professionals) is it a catalyst in some way?

What was the reaction in them and in your spouse and in yourself?

Please add your experiences.
Fool4Waiting Fool4Waiting
56-60, F
7 Responses Nov 13, 2012

Its not something I bring up to everyone. We grew apart, had different goals etc. the rest isn't their business anyway.

Friends know, but not all of them. If you're in my inner circle then yes. Or if you are one of the 33,000+ strong ILIASM group. :) so just a few people.

The biggest "outing" of H was not about the S part of the M. Last year he neglected to take the offspring to get me a birthday present. After a couple of months of non-action after reminding, including the "what kind of example are you setting" reminder, I finally asked a trusted family friend to be the good uncle and get it done. In this friend's eyes, we have always appeared to be the most perfect of loving families (although perhaps that was more about him than us). So the jig was up. H has been very proactive about gifts and holidays since. Another friend who who confided in me about her eerily similar marriage was surprised when I told her about mine. "But your husband is so loving!"

Treating the facts on the ground as facts rather than secrets has worked well for me and removes the isolating nature of situation. I don't wear it on my sleeve, and do not care to get into details, but I will share in an appropriate context.

When I told my mom, the response was, "so what, he brings home a good paycheck." No big surprises there...

I haven't told anyone else. In my brief two-week stint with the bible-oriented divorce support group, I didn't feel comfortable sharing that kind of information. I told the counselor (I saw a couple of times) about it. She supported my decision to leave because of it.

I don't think it's appropriate to share with my outer periphery of friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.

In my case the embarrassment and inability to talk about the issue was part of the control. So it was an important moment in the 'game being up', to finally challenge the silence. It had reached ridiculous levels of denial, with my ex- maintaining that her behaviour was only a little outside of normal. I remember her being quite offended when I suggested that she might be frigid and her dismissing the idea outright; I proposed that she ask some of our women friends if they thought sex once a year was normal, she flanneled for a while but it was obvious that even the thought of doing this scared her. The silence and being 'apparently normal' were key issues for her.

I was asking more along the lines of what HL42 experienced.

It seems to be empowering that once I no longer contain the "secret" I can move forward.
I no longer have to keep up the sham.

Yeah, I want revenge but I don't see it like that.
I see it as more honest than vengeful.

He'll hate it - I'm glad of that.
So what?

He deserves to be outed.
I deserve to be outed.

Complicated, I know.

Complicated, but powerful.

If I have not "got" what you mean by 'outing' I apologise in advance of what follows. (I have taken 'outing' to mean telling people you are in a shithole marriage).

For me, there was no agenda of telling people my marriage was dysfunctional. If someone (I respected) happened to ask me, I'd tell them. It was never a mechanism to try and 'shame' my spouse, or a tactic by which I thought I could change my spouse either.
It was simply a fact of life for me, it wasn't a secret I kept, nor was is something I blabbed about to all and sundry.

Among people I knew who knew, it wasn't such a big deal. As far as my spouse went, there was no discernable re-action I observed. For myself, it was, as I have said above, simply a fact of life. An unpleasant one to be sure, but not particularly noteworthy.

If one is looking for a climactic event, say an announcement that you are in a shithole marriage, to have any great effect on anything, I personally believe you are in for a big disappointment.
Truth be told, most people, after mouthing a few platitudes on hearing the news, perhaps offering an "Oh My God" or similar, have basically forgotten all about you as soon as you leave the room.
Likewise your spouse. You may well 'out' them, but if no action has ensued after that then they assume - quite rightly - that you are just blowing smoke.

Tread your own path.

"Coming out" was fantastic for me, I think it marks a watershed, a Rubicon. It's an end to the lies, to name the beast. For it to be constructive though, I think you have to be committed to taking it wherever it goes (including divorce), and to be doing it with a beneficial purpose, not for revenge or ridicule (though that may be tempting).

Anyway, my experience was that I would normally regard our marital relationship as confidential, but I was desperate and figured that divorce was hardly a private thing. And I had a purpose which was to understand better so that I could maybe save our kids from the trauma of divorce.

So I came out to selected friends in real life, including some female friends who are not sex-people (I'm lucky to be able to get on well & naturally with both sexes like that). I needed to understand the dynamics and what worked or not. And I was explicit that I was doing so with W - who absolutely hated it (that wasn't my purpose but it did nail that the situation was terminal, an emergency, and that I was deadly serious). I didn't back down though (which I would have done before). Her reaction was one of shame & guilt - which frankly was richly deserved.

Funnily enough, I got more value in terms of talking to the non-sex people than I did with "normal" male friends. They are more embarrassed and want to brush it off (too painful a subject?!). And I think trying to understand an alien perspective helped me in exploring what would work, and I very much wanted any changes to be ecological and work for both of us.