Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Book Review: When Husbands Come Out of the Closet by Jean Schaar Gochros, PhD
I have been posting recommendations in comments across the MoHosphere for people in Mixed-Orientation Marriages to read this book since I got it from the local LGBT library. Now that I've finished it, I figured I should just do a book review blog post on it.
I think this book should seriously be required reading for both partners in a mixed-orientation marriage as well as for any MoHos considering a mixed-orientation marriage and their prospective partners. It would also be a great book to share with friends and family who know about your mixed-orientation marriage and form your support network. It has something for everyone. Madam Curie has already agreed to read it and I am looking forward to discussing it with her.
From nearly the first pages, the book spoke to me. I recognized my marriage in those pages, I saw myself in the descriptions of the husbands, I saw my wife in the descriptions of the wives, and conversely I saw myself in the descriptions of the wives when it came to Madame Curie's sexual orientation. And when the author began to describe the types of experiences spouses have when their husband comes out of the closet, I saw our experiences clearly mirrored in the book, with quote after quote from other couples that were nearly verbatim from our own mouths as they described our situation. The author then analyzes the different types of experiences wives have when their husband comes out of the closet and suggests reasons for those experiences. In each instance that mirrored our own experience, her analysis was right on
I think the book offers a lot to the mixed-orientation marriage couple. (1) You will recognize your marriage in the descriptions, providing relief that you are not alone in this struggle and feel like someone understands you. (2) You will find insight into why certain aspects of the coming out have gone over well and why other parts have been . . . rocky . . . (3) You will find simple, yet convincing, suggestions on how to improve the inevitable rough spots that mixed-orientation marriages go through. (4) The book is written from a very supportive viewpoint that mixed-orientation marriages can succeed and that more of them should be able to succeed than currently do with tons of advice gathered from interviews with over 100 couples in mixed-orientation marriages. For me, I think the most useful parts of the book are the several chapters of suggestions gathered from interviewees.
Have any of you read either of these books? What do you think of them? Did they help you (and spouse, if relevant)?