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The silent spouse: a pluralistic narrative analysis of accounts from heterosexual spouses of their experiences of being left by their partner for a same-sex relationship.

Paske, Christine M. (2018). The silent spouse: a pluralistic narrative analysis of accounts from heterosexual spouses of their experiences of being left by their partner for a same-sex relationship.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Homosexuality within heterosexual marriages is an under researched topic. The little research there is has focused mainly on the experiences of the spouse who is homosexual and not on the heterosexual spouse who has to adjust to the ending of the marriage as they knew it. This qualitative study takes a cross-methods approach to explore the accounts of eleven heterosexual spouses in England who describe the experience and consequences of discovering that their partner’s sexuality is different to what they had believed it to be when they married them. Unstructured interactive interviews were held with the heterosexual participants, eight women and three men, whose partners had left to begin a same-sex relationship. Three Typologies of marriage were found on repeated examination of the transcripts (Murray, 2005). Pluralistic narrative methods were then used to analyse the texts using models developed by Labov, (1972), Riessman, (2008) and Becker, (1999). Using these models in combination offered views of the accounts of the experience from multiple perspectives and also enabled consideration of how the audience contributed to the co-construction of the narratives. Findings showed that all the participants had been hurt or shocked on finding out and nine became depressed with three contemplating suicide. Participants expressed the need for specific and knowledgeable support services and increased public awareness, besides revision of the unfair grounds for divorce. Earlier American studies allowed some theoretical interpretation of the findings in this study, including understandings of experiences of mixed orientation marriages, concerns of older spouses, perceptions of being deceived, used and/or disrespected and the euphoria of partners coming out. The implications of these findings for counsellors and clinicians include increased awareness of depression and suicide for spouses left behind; the difficulties they face in speaking about the experience to friends and family who understand divorce for other reasons, but not this one, and for therapy and support to take account of identity or integrity issues that may arise.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2019 08:48
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22631
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