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Ruth Houston

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Brokeback Mountain - A View from the Other Side
By Ruth Houston   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, March 03, 2006
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2006

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Infidelity expert Ruth Houston points out the modern day parallel in Brokeback Mountain and discusses wives who are victims of same-sex infidelity. Houston’s FREE tip sheet tells women how to spot the elusive signs of same sex infidelity.

Most people describe Brokeback Mountain as a love story or a gay cowboy romance.  But I see it from a different perspective.

Brokeback Mountain is  a movie about infidelity -- same sex infidelity.  The two main characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar are gay / bisexual married men with families, who are cheating on their wives.  Infidelity is still infidelity – even when the “Other Woman” is another man.

So Little Sympathy for Brokeback Wives

It disturbs me that most of the controversy about Brokeback Mountain centers around the homosexual theme, while so little attention is being given to the same-sex infidelity this movie portrays.  I’m surprised that so few people have voiced concern for the fact that the Brokeback wives are victims of same-sex infidelity. 

Most people aren’t even aware that this movie has a modern day parallel.  The situation portrayed in Brokeback Mountain is a reality for many women whose husbands or boyfriends are secretly having sex with other men.
Not an uncommon situation

Same sex infidelity is not an uncommon situation. It’s common enough to have spawned a national organization with 74 branches, several books on the topic, and over 2 dozen  websites, discussion lists, and support groups for those who find themselves in this situation.

Here are the statistics

  • According to Amity Pierce Buxton, executive director of the Straight Spouse Network, an estimated 2 million gay/bisexual people are married to a straight partner.
  • According to the Family Pride Coalition, 20% of all gay men in America are in heterosexual marriages
  • At least half of all gay men in America have fathered children
  • An estimated 3.5 million children are born to mixed orientation couples.

Wives are the last to know

Like the wives in Brokeback Mountain, many of these women have no idea their husbands are involved in same sex affairs.  Most gay/bisexual men, like Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, are still “in the closet.”  But their wives are in a “closet” too, since this is not a situation they can discuss with family or friends.”

As is typical with most types of infidelity, the unsuspecting victim is usually the last to know.  Some women never find out.  Those who do, are traumatized by the dual deception. They find it hard to say which is worse – the infidelity itself, or the fact that it occurred with another man.  

Many of these women blame themselves for not picking up signs of some kind, yet they have no idea what signs they should have seen.

Spotting the Signs of Same Sex Infidelity

I’ve spent 11 years studying and documenting signs of infidelity.  In the past 18 months, I’ve had a sufficient number of inquiries from my readers and website visitors to warrant the compilation of a 2-part tip sheet on how to spot the signs of same sex infidelity.  I call it the “Same Sex 16.”  As a public service to women who want to find out if they are in a “Brokeback situation”  this tip sheet is available FREE to anyone who requests it by sending an e-mail to  with the words “Same Sex 16” in the subject line.  

Like Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, gay / bisexual married men have become so adept at hiding their secret lives, that it’s not easy for their wives to find out.  Knowing what to look for is the key -- especially since most of the signs are subtle and easily overlooked.   

The Silent  Victims

In addition to the shock and humiliation, women who are victims of same sex infidelity also have to deal with the health consequences of the situation.  Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that men who have sex with men are more at risk for having HIV.  Their secret lifestyles increase the likelihood that they'll become infected with HIV/AIDS and pass it on to their unsuspecting mates.

Can these Marriages Survive?

Is there any hope for a marriage where one spouse is straight and the other is bisexual or gay?  Amity Pierce Buxton, who has studied thousands of “mixed orientation” couples since the 1980’s,  says that approximately  a third of these couples separate immediately. Another third stay together for a few years, struggling to work things out, but end up separating anyway.  The last third of these marriages survive because the couples negotiate various arrangements in order to make their marriages work.  Some remain monogamous, some become celibate, others resort to an open marriage.  

A New Awareness of Same Sex Infidelity?

Will  4 Golden Globe Awards be enough to get people to consider the other side of Brokeback Mountain?  Will 8 Academy Award nominations raise public awareness of same sex infidelity? I sincerely hope so because the plight of the Brokeback wives is a situation that deserves a closer look.

About Ruth Houston: 

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs, which documents practically every known sign of infidelity. Houston is frequently called on by the media to comment on infidelity- related breaking news, celebrity infidelity, high profile infidelity cases, and popular infidelity issues.

She has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, the Toronto Sun, the Houston Chronicle, New York Newsday, the Christian Science Monitor, Crain’s New York Business, MSN Lifestyle,  iVillage, Netscape, Newhouse News Service, United Press International, Reuters,  Google News, Yahoo News, and numerous other print and online media. 

Ruth has been a guest on The Today Show, Good Day New York, Telemundo,  BBC, CBC, 1010WINS, TalkAmerica and over 200 radio and TV talk shows in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. 

To interview Ruth Houston call 718 592-6039 or e-mail

For more information about Ruth, her book, or infidelity, visit the PRESS ROOM at



Web Site: Is He Cheating on You?

Reader Reviews for "Brokeback Mountain - A View from the Other Side "

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Reviewed by Jennifer Butler 3/5/2006
And it's not the cowboys who are into kinky sex. It's the actors. Clue: They're professional actors by career. Perhaps true love is not one of their strengths. I think it's throwing stones at the wrong social group. After all, cowboys carry guns and have macho tempers. Do we really want to stir up accusing insinuations that would be taken by so many conservative, armed men as grounds for dueling?
Reviewed by Missy Cross 3/5/2006
Ruth - Very insightful and well-said. I hope "the other side" becomes visible. And, just to add some perspective, the same thing happens in long-term committed gay relationships where one partner attempts to conceal their "straight" infidelity. Human nature is just a beast sometimes, isn't it?
Reviewed by Ian Thorpe 3/5/2006
Have to disagree with Julie - but maybe she hasn't seen The Matrix.
I have not actually seen Brokeback Mountain but I read the story it is based on. It struck me that Annie Prolux was writing not about same - sex infidelity but about oppressively moralistic societies. These two guys only felt free to accept certain things about themselves when they were removed from society and were alone. So they were victims of the pressure to conform. Many gay men gert into marriage simply because they cannot admit to themselves they are gay.
When we stop stigmatizing homosexuality that problem may diminish but I guess it will never go away.
Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen 3/3/2006
Excellent commentary on a topic that needed addressing, Ruth. By the way, Brokeback Mountain was the most boring movie I have ever seen.

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