S4 Ep 3: A “Narcissist in Recovery” Gets Real

Guest: Ryan King

Ryan King knew he was gay from the time he was six years old. Despite this, he married a woman. In this double-length episode, Ryan sheds light on the abusive, narcissistic tactics he used to keep his unsuspecting wife trapped in their affectionless marriage, in the hope that other Straight Partners will recognize the signs of a closeted spouse. Under the pseudonym “Sean,” he created the thread “A Gay Ex-Husband Answers Your Questions” on the Open Forum specifically to answer Straight Partner questions about patterns of behavior common to some closeted partners.

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16 responses to “S4 Ep 3: A “Narcissist in Recovery” Gets Real”

  1. Amy Alliston says:

    Thank you so much. I have never heard any of this from the non-straight male spouse and everything she said is exactly my experience. Our long and tortuous divorce began in 2012! Yes, I am divorced but I am so very angry so thank you for addressing and justifying that issue. I also want to say Ryan is not a narcissist. My ex is a narcissist and he never would and never will have any of the types of conversations that Ryan has here or describes having with his wife and her family. Maybe there are different types of narcissists? My ex is viscous which I think makes it that much harder for me and others who have truly had to deal with that addition evil layer.

  2. Teresa Upton says:

    I found this very interesting and it underlined much of what I’ve learnt over ten years of hearing straight spouse histories but it made me rather annoyed . Annoyed because Ryan seems to be trying to own our story, give us permission to feel what we feel and curry favour with us, his straight audience. I appreciate the additional insight his admissions give but he seems to feel uniquely qualified to speak for both the gay community and the straights who have suffered this. Somehow this affronts me.

    I noticed a mention of loss of control being difficult for the gay partner. I think that’s a key point. We often see very difficult behaviour when they start to feel a loss of control. There’s a huge need to control in many of these relationships.

    I’d also love to ask him what he’d say to women who stayed childless with their gay husband, going beyond their child bearing years too – not a pain I suffered personally – but a very real crime against the women who suffered this particular loss because they did want children. It can’t be put right.

  3. Stef says:

    I love this interview and the speaker that is invited. I like the knowledge they both have but would have loved Ryan talking much more and the interviewer intervening more to steer the interview then bringing her own story, although it Is as interesting. Maybe an interview of 40 min would have been much more comprehensive and full of info because then you can re-listen to it. Now it is a 2 hour podcast and that is quite long. But love the info and love the setup so thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. Keep on doing this please!

  4. Nicky says:

    A big thank you to Ryan King for being so unhindered and honest about his role and intentions in his marriage with his ex-straight partner. It does feel that no matter how much a straight spouse speaks about their experiences that no one is actually listening or believing. The painful stage show that goes on in front of people and behind closed doors is real and Ryan’s frank admission is somewhat a validation to my own suffering for which I never ever got an acknowledgment or apology.
    Ryan I applaud you and hope other men/women in the same position can be inspired by your honesty and choose the better path.

  5. Kelli Rakers says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. While I may never get the answers from my ex-husband, this echoed so much of my experience and was very validating.

  6. Winnie says:

    Hello Sean,

    Ironically my GHID name is Sean.. ha..
    I have read a lot of your posts and just listened to “Narcissist in Recovery” on the pod cast. It was very insightful and basically script for my life…
    My nightmare started about 13 years ago… meaning that is when I found “gay” evidence. I had already been with my husband for 18 years and we have three daughters. After my third daughter was born, my husband began an affair with a woman and left me.. I was devastated… He was gone for a year before he came back saying he wanted to be a family again. I didn’t hesitate and let him come back immediately. I valued my marriage and family so much I was willing to forgive him. About a month after he came back, I was snooping on the computer to make sure he wasn’t still communicating with the “other” woman. What I found has changed my life forever. Gay porn, Craigs list hook ups, etc… I could have handled it very different but I started screaming and crying and asking him what it was. He said it was phase, something weird to look at. The comment that struck me the most was “I will never admit to being gay”….
    This story could go on forever, because I stayed in the marriage for 8 more loooooonnnnnngggggg years. I tried to bargain with myself, and tried to believe I could live with this information but it was absolute torture. A couple years after his return and the revelation of this information, he began a cocaine habit and constant alcohol abuse. Suicide was brought up often and I was actually afraid if I “outed” him or told anyone he would kill himself, or me, or both…. I lived in his dark closet of demons for 8 years until I got the courage to leave. He said he didn’t blame me.. because of all of the substance abuse.. never bringing up the “gay thing”. Actually we never spoke of it during those eight years, it was buried but an unspoken knowledge between us.. We had separate bedrooms the last five years and any kind of sexual attempt ended in him going limp…our marriage was a disaster. I have been gone for 4 and half years now but I have not abandoned him. We still do all family things together, vacations, holidays and birthdays with our children. We are mighty confusing to our loved ones because they have no idea why we won’t live together. Only he and I know this information.. He is extremely generous financially as he has always been the breadwinner and I was a stay at home mom. He still takes care of us very very well. But we live separate lives. I have not dated or been intimate with another man since I left.. I don’t know why… but I feel like he would cut me off financially. I have also pretty much shut down my sexual side after being rejected so continuously the last years of my marriage. Finally getting to my dilemma!!! lol! Until now, I have been fine not knowing what he does in his personal life because I don’t want to know and it’s no longer my business.. I have assumed he is living the “down low” life. But he has not openly dated anyone…. until now… He is dating a woman quite seriously and is pushing a divorce and acting like he is giving me too much money (did I mention we are not divorced?). We live separately but have never filed for divorce. How can he be dating a woman???? I’m not jealous of the sexual part, but she now is meeting my kids and encroaching on our family time… I’m so mad at him for doing this. How long can he keep this up??? How can he keep this relationship alive with this new person??? They have been dating 5 months now and it doesn’t look like she is going anywhere… I could go on and on but I think I’m about to hit the character limit!! Thank you for reading 😉

  7. Sean says:

    Thank you Winnie. Would you like me to reply to this on the OurPath/SSN forum: https://straightspouse.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=32315#p32315? Please let me know.

  8. Winnie says:

    I’m sorry it has taken so long to reply to this thread.. But yes! I would be happy for you to give insight on the forum..

  9. Wow says:

    Wow this hit home, Wow thank you for having the courage to speak this. Thank you.

  10. Colicagadopues says:

    Thank You for this truth, I cannot explain how my heart and being needed to find this tonight as I couldn’t sleep and have just been so alone. After 11 years he left now sleeping on an air mattress rather than deal with his “angry” raging wife. Left his daughters too. No remorse, lying pathologically, obsessed with his new Male “cock jocks”, Gay activity… he can manipulate anyone.. He’s really a Viper. I Built a successful business with him and he’s trying to push me out. He stole my years, used, me and is only ever on stage…always a Victim,, everyone just loves him. Here I am taking care of the kids while he just Parties his ass off… midlife crisis mixed with being gay, still not out. I know and the wound of nonconsideration… is the greatest hurt for me. They are so selfish, they don’t care only for themselves.. Yes I am a codependent now I working on being Selfishly Independent!!! But from everything I am, I am so grateful for this Pod Cast… it is my life.

  11. Claudia says:

    Thanks for this podcast, even when my husband hasn’t tell me that he is gay, I understand now why all my 23 years of marriage and life. He is a narcissist and liar. I was the 3rd wife and just found out previuos 2 had same doubts.

  12. Kate says:

    Ryan, What is the down low homosexual community doing about the spread of disease? There is a great health concern for women because of men who give women std’s and sti’s as a result of their down low behavior. HPV isn’t even a test men get regularly and can affect women much greater than men. A woman would have no idea that their husband was exposing them and likely the men would have no idea either and yet they can get cancer and/or pass on the disease themselves for the rest of their lives especially if they didn’t get a vaccine in early childhood and even with the vaccine. HIV rates in black women particularly are skyrocketing because of the down low behavior of men as well. It’s not just gay behavior, but gay men on the down low tend to have the most number of partners when cheating. Often these diseases don’t even show up on tests for months after the exposure.

  13. Cindy says:

    Sean, I was married for 43 years before I discovered my husband was gay. I reached out to Sean on the forum asking the question, “ Is my husband gay?” Sean gave me my reality, and I gave myself the gift of acceptance, I was known as “ violated” on the forum. I have now been divorced for three years. And I have moved ONWARD…….to a new life, to a new love , to a new me.
    Thank you Sean, and the Straight Spouse network. It gets so much better. ONWARD,

  14. Tania says:

    but you could love a man so how can you say you didnt have the capicity to love your wife Really ????

  15. Don says:

    All helpful. I could be Ryan. It’s scary how true his experience to my own. I’m struggling to come out to my wife. But where my narrative differs is that I fully committed to marrying her because I was head over heels in love and I thought the sex was enjoyable before we married. But once we were married the sex stopped and she rejected me. I had to beg for sex on our honeymoon. I was always up for it and she seems to be repulsed by me. So eventually I went to my “plan b” – which is now so liberating – regaining my sexual agency felt so validating. Not being told I’m going it wrong or I can’t have the lights on or she doesn’t like that or this. So man sex is fast becoming my Plan A. But I am “cheating”. The difference in sex drive makes me wonder if she is a lesbian in denial. She even accused me of wanting too much sex and forcing her. So while I am definitely gay/bi. I honestly didn’t think I was when we married – but looking back, I had more than a slight curiosity. Gay,bi,whatever – labels/schmaybles. I feel deeply validated by man-sex, after 30 years of rejection from my wife. Did she reject me because I wasn’t into it enough? Or I was sub par? Having had no experience of man sex and not much of any sex, I suspect I was just inexperienced. I was keen to learn together. But that was never an option. She closed it down. She has a way of closing down ANY discussion and accusing me of all sorts of stuff. So I’m actually scared to come out to her. She has not allowed a trusted communication environment for me to disclose anything to her, least of all my deepest secret hidden for 40 years. I’m confused. I don’t want to hurt her. But I can’t continue to be hurt. And now I want sex less and less from her. Affection yes, I can’t keep my hands off her. But I find sex with her dull now. In Ryan’s narrative this is me projecting. I think a lot about that. I’ve sought a lot of counseling for me. I have dragged her screaming and kicking to marriage counseling. I’m really trying to disentangle what’s my contribution to her issue.

  16. Reading your articles is always a learning experience. This one was no exception. Great job!

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