I'm having a modest ethical dilemma and would like your opinion on the matter.
I accepted myself as gay at 12 but I struggled with self-hatred until I was 15. That year I hit rock bottom and very seriously considered hanging myself in the central courtyard of my high school. Faced with the choice of death or self-acceptance, I chose the latter and have been permanently at peace with my sexuality ever since.
However, the fact that I've been married to a woman for 20 years has occasionally caused me to question my label. Maybe I'm bi?
I think a lot of bisexual guys would call me bi. Although my first seven sex partners were all men and I hooked up with men for more than decade after I got married, I've still had slightly more straight sex than gay sex. I enjoy straight sex, mostly. I've had a few straight sex dreams that were turn-ons. I've fantasized about fucking women. All that stuff proves I'm bisexual, right?
No...I don't think so. I don't feel comfortable with that label. I don't feel that's who I am.
The way I think about it is: if I could have any life I'd like, sex with a woman would not be part of it.
The only reason I've had so much straight sex is because I've been too much of a pussy to come out of the closet. Oh the irony!
Now, here I am, maybe, possibly, on the cusp of splitting from my wife and starting a new gay life.
The possibility of coming out has forced me to think about how I would explain myself to others. Given how comfortable I feel with my gay identity, it would be logical that I would tell people I'm gay.
But the more I think about it, the more I find that's NOT what I want to say. I want to tell people I'm bi.
Am I a coward?
Maybe...but I don't think so.
If Gabbie and I do split, the reason will be because she wants to be free of responsibility to me and the kids. My sexuality may be a contributing factor for our split (maybe I don't desire her the way she wants to be desired) but I hope the subject won't even come up when we have The Conversation.
If we do split up, I will be anxious to start dating. At first, I'd like to keep the dating low-key. I won't be bringing any men home and if I ever do have a date, I will tell the kids that I'm going out with friends.
Some day I hope to have a meaningful relationship with a great guy. Should that ever happen, out of respect for him and our relationship, I will need to be more open. My hope is that the guy would be comfortable as my 'friend' for a while, at least so far as the kids are concerned. How long that status might last is a big mystery. Gabbie's gaydar is better than mine so it would take her about four seconds to deduce the truth. She might get pissed and tell the kids.
If Gabbie doesn't tell the kids they'll eventually figure it out on their own and they'll ask me about it. When they do ask, I'd like to simply say, "Yes, I am" and leave it at that. BUT I find the idea of admitting to being gay after spending 24 years with Gabbie as insulting to her and to our very long, mostly positive relationship.
'Gay' says, "I never loved my wife and I never desired her. Our marriage was a joke and a lie."
I don't feel that way, at all.
I suppose I could try to explain that yes, I am gay but I still loved her. But that sounds like patronizing bullshit; the kind of thing no one openly questions, yet, no one believes.
So, out of respect for my wife and our many years together, I would like to come out as bisexual.
Calling myself a bisexual creates two problems. First, isn't one of the big reasons to come out to live an honest life? I wouldn't be doing that if I chose a label that I don't feel fits me. How ugly and contradictory of me.
Second, if I'm going to call myself a bisexual to my wife, kids and anyone who knows them, at least for a while, don't I have to also label myself as bisexual when I start dating? If not, then do I tell different people different things? If I do go with bisexual, then wouldn't I be starting a relationship with a lie?
Is 'bi' a turn on or a turn off for most gay guys?
Clearly I am in a no-win situation. Either I speak the truth and by implication denigrate someone I have loved as a spouse for more than 20 years, or, I honor her and our relationship but I tell a half-truth to everyone around me.
Maybe I'll label myself as gay when I date on the down low and if things ever progress with a particular guy, I'll ask his permission to use the bi label when we go public?
I do have a preference, bi. But I'd like someone to make some good arguments about why that would be a stupid decision.
Gay or bi: which should it be and why?
Please comment below!