Book helped author overcome her life’s greatest challenge

BOULDER – Carol Grever Gray was a successful businesswoman who, with her husband, built a thriving temporary job placement service and franchising company with 200 offices in the United States and abroad. And now, after coming through the crisis that ended her marriage and challenged her like nothing ever before, she’s anticipating the publication of her first non-fiction book: “My Husband is Gay: A Straight Spouse Survival Manual.”

“When I discovered that I was in that situation, it threw me into a crisis unlike any I’d ever experienced,” she said in an interview at her west Boulder home. “And resources for getting through, I found, were rare. So what I learned was information that is vitally important.”

At any given time, Gray said there are probably 2 million homosexual men who are married to heterosexual women worldwide, and, in most of those cases, the truth eventually will be revealed, with emotional turmoil for both partners being the inevitable result.

Gray said she is convinced that homosexuality is a genetic condition and that it is only the aging process that brings some men to acknowledge their true nature. Until then, they play sociological roles. “I think a lot of the time it is the discovery of mortality that brings them

to this fork in the road. They have denied who they are for 45 or 50 years when they say, ‘I only have a few years left, and I don’t want to continue living a lie.'”

Gray, who is now remarried, is a tireless civic leader in addition to her business and writing ventures. She is chair of the Boulder Rotary Club and director of the Rotary Foundation Board. She is on the Advisory Council of the Colorado Business and Professional Women’s

Foundation and the Advisory Council of the Boulder County Public Library’s Learning to Read Program. She was voted Donor of the Year by the BPW Foundation for the year 2000, is active in the Boulder County YWCA and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. She is named in Who’s Who Among American Women and has a master’s in English from Pacific University.

Among Gray’s interests are gardening, travel and Eastern philosophy, which she came to seeking refuge from the strain of 23 years of long hours running her business, Express Services, which earned revenues of $425 million in 1994.

Gray and her former husband sold the business in 1995, the year they divorced. By then, Gray was in her second three-year term as chair of the board of trustees of Naropa University.

“I tried to keep the founding vision of the school alive,” she said. And that vision was “to bring Tibetan Buddhism to Western students.

“I was very interested in their philosophy of education,” Gray said of Naropa, “which is to develop the whole person – not just the mind.”

She stepped down from the board in 1999 to complete the book that she had started as a journal during her darkest days coming to grips with the trying circumstances of the end of her 35-year marriage.

“I soon discovered that to transcribe a journal doesn’t exactly make a book. So I spent a year traveling all around the country and overseas interviewing women who had been though an experience like my own. It was inspiring. The women I met were she-roes.”

When she returned from her travels, Gray said the book just seemed to fall into place. It’s a self-help book based on my own experience and the experiences of 25 other women who went

through the shock, pain and anger of discovering that their spouse was gay.”

And while anger is certainly a predictable and appropriate response to such a situation, Gray said one must move past it – to forgiveness – in order to emerge a healthy and whole person on the other side.

“Most women are convinced that they are the only person ever to experience it in the entire history of mankind. I wrote the book that I needed but couldn’t find when I was going through that.”

Despite the pain and anger, Gray said she and her former husband still care about each other. “We always have and we always will.”

The book is scheduled to be published by The Crossing Press in January or February.