Help! My wife is a lesbian!

Dear Dr. Patti:

My wife recently told me she is a lesbian! We have been married 13 years and have two children, 4 and 7 years old. She has always seemed to enjoy sex with me (although it always was by my advances). How can I change her back? I love her dearly and do not want to give her up.



Dear K:

I sense that you have a feeling deep inside that you can change her back into the princess you first swooned into becoming your loving wife. But I'm sorry to say, that's not going to happen.

Finding out and then claiming their sexual orientation often takes people time -- for some, a lifetime. It can take years to come to grips with who and what turns us on in bed. The statistics on sexual orientation are confusing. But whether it's 1, 2 or 10 percent of all individuals who are sexually attracted to members of their own sex really doesn't matter. What does is how your wife's declaration of homosexuality affects you, her, her female lover (if this is a lasting thing) and the children.

It's possible that her sexual attraction to women, or to this woman in particular, may pass as she discovers this is an aspect of her sexuality, not the single note. But more often than not, there are compounding elements in a sexual relationship that attract and bind two people as one. Perhaps she needs the comfort and closeness that being with another woman provides. Maybe she took years to unlearn the social conditioning that being a married heterosexual woman was the "right path" and instead found what really fit later in life, once her children were already here.

I suggest that you check out the organizations that support gay and lesbian families, such as PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) at Go to the local gay and lesbian support groups and talk about this with other couples going through similar changes. These kinds of changes in a family structure can make or break the lives of all involved if not handled delicately and with great care. My heart goes out to you, as this must be quite painful to lose your wife -- not to mention having to face a lover in her life with whom you really cannot compete. Your kids, however, will always have her as their mom, with or without that husband-wife duo in place; so work together to make this last and work for all.

To learn more about Dr. Patti, visit her website at

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