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New Delhi, India - A week after they got married last year, Nimmy found texts on her husband's mobile phone describing a sexual encounter with a man.

She initially forced herself to believe her husband's explanation that the phone messages were harmless fun - but in February, she saw emails with naked photos of her husband sent to his male best friend, who is also married.

The 30-year-old software programmer from the southern state of Kerala, who spoke to Al Jazeera under a pseudonym, said she had never suspected her partner was gay during several months of courting.

It was an arranged marriage but she had happily approved the match.

Rashmi, a social worker from the western state of Maharashtra who requested her last name not appear, was also content with her parents' choice after spending time with her future husband.

But on their honeymoon last November, she said he avoided physical contact with her, and she refused his demands for anal sex during the few months that they lived together.

Family pressures and financial dependency are among the most frequently cited reasons for Indian women staying married to gay men, experts say, in a country where gay sex is not only stigmatised but outright illegal.

While there is no data on forced marriages, Anjali Gopalan - executive director of the Naz Foundation, which has led a legal battle to decriminalise gay sex in India - said she has counseled thousands of gay men over the past two decades."Most parents tell the men to produce children and be gay in secret," Gopalan told Al Jazeera, noting there are currently no support groups in the country for the wives of gay men because such matters are considered private.

"Most of them have nowhere to go for help."Nimmy and Rashmi said they experienced similar emotions upon discovering their partners were gay: shock and denial, followed by intense anxiety when they decided to confront the issue.

Both said that being able to earn a livelihood and having access to the Internet to find help, were key to them leaving their husbands.

Now, they are planning to build a website and support group to connect "straight partners" in India.

A support group for straight partners of gay men is not an indictment of homosexuality, Rashmi told Al Jazeera.

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