Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Come Out as Gay or Bisexual?

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!


  1. I think at least part of the problem is that when the question is framed in terms of gay/bisexual/straight the answer has to come in categories, labels, boxes which satisfy the sex researcher but may not be helpful to the man in the street who is open to the range of feelings of attraction which arise between men and women, men and men.

    It is never about the boxes; it is always about the specific person you are attracted to. You may detect that there is a pattern in your response, and conclude you are in one of the categories right now, but in fact you may respond to some one else of the opposite sex or the same sex next time round. Which is to say we may be able to describe ourselves in different categories of sexual attraction at different stages or times in our life time.

    I was married 35 years to a woman; my wife was the only woman I ever loved and the only woman I was sexual with, but I was in deep denial about my homosexuality because I grew up in the 1950's when every one was in deep denial and deep hatred of homosexuality. The divorce came, I think, primarily because I was speaking my truth in other areas than sexuality, and she realized she was loosing control of me.

    After the divorce I came out as a gay man at age 62. While I had some challenges as a homosexual, I was truly not interested in women, either as friends or as sexual partners. So I am both homo-affiliative and homosexual. And finally at peace, in great measure because I am now partnered with someone with whom I am in deep peace.

    A huge piece here is being self-accepting of whomever your heart is open to, whenever! It is not about a label; its about a relationship.

  2. If you are going to be honest about who you are, you should be honest about who you are. I was married for 17 years and I have always loved my wife. I still love her. I will love her forever not mater what. I am still gay. It's who I am.

    I used to think I was bi, because somehow it seemed more comfortable. It seemed more acceptable.

  3. You make your life more complicated than it already is. You worry too much. Live your life and not worry too much about what others think. Your wife is dating a really bad man, and you worry about her being insulted that you call yourself gay. You seem like a nice person, but you have to face the fact that your kids know your family is dysfunctional, just like many other families. They know your wife is dating another guy. They probably know you are gay, too. Just come out already and stop torturing yourself. You are you. Label yourself as CAMERON. You don't need validation from other people. Give yourself a chance to live, to breathe for a change.

  4. As you know from your own life experience and the tales of others, you prefer men at this time so just go with that and be gay for now. But you have shown under certain circumstances you could have sex with a woman and even find some pleasure there, and that could happen again sometime. You may be 90% gay but fluid. Your history will be enough to explain to a new male lover and if he accepts you for who you are and what you were, likely he knows you could maybe one day find a woman attractive and the two of you will just deal with it. Just be honest about who you are now and having a relationship with a partner based on no secrets after you marriage will be so liberating.

    It is so terrific you are even thinking and writing about this possibility now, when not that long ago you were so negative about the prospect of ever finding a man to be with!!!

    Good luck, and don't over think it as you have often suggested to me.

  5. Cameron,
    I really don't see the problem of saying I'm gay, but still love my wife. There are you, I and lots of others in the same boat. Yeah, maybe some women would not understand or believe it (like my wife), but deep-down they should know it is true. And it doesn't matter what other people think. And any future male partner worth his salt will surely understand.
    That said, I don't like the word gay to apply to me for other reasons which are hard to identify, yet I feel like bi would be a lie, since my wife is the only woman I have had sex with and love; I don't get horny for women, just men. So you will have to figure this out on your own - it's a process really and could take some time.

  6. If your more comfortable with "gay", then your gay. And why can't a gay man love a woman?

    Fact is - most people aren't going to dissect your marriage and put the pieces in little compartments. That's your job. And if people do - fuck them. Who cares what everyone else thinks?

    I suppose the bigger concern is that the kids will think that your marriage was a sham because you chose to call yourself gay. But if you want to be honest with them - then be totally honest. Go with the label your most comfortable with.


  7. Cameron it has been my experience that using the lable "BI" is only easier if your are still closeted. Once you come out and declare yourself "BI" I find that there are more people that struggle with understanding that orientation.

    I am the opposite of you. I self identified as gay for years and found it just didnt fit. I finally use the term "bi" but I feel I now own it. To be honest I found it much easier to be understood as gay.

    Rob at http://bimarriedandhonest.blogspot.com/

  8. Well..let's say you meet and fall in love with a man. How about saying "I'm in love with a man" why do you have to label yourself as gay or bi?

  9. I've been married for 35 years andam still deeply closeted. When I tried to comeout to my wife a few years ago, I told her I had homosexual tendencies. She jumped to the conclusion that I was gay and that we had been living a lie all these years. I explained to her that I was bisexual and had made the conscious decision to live the life that I have because of the love that I have for her.

    She didn't really understand and had freaked so, that that I haven't approached the subject again.

    I really consider myself bisexual mainly because I can and do enjoy sex with a woman but feel I am more gay than straight.

    I don't know why guys feel that they have to label themselves as anything. Well, actually I do. Usually it's pressure to be accepted by the group that predominates their thinking.

    I personally feel that most people, male and female, if put in the right circumstance, could enjoy having sex with someone of the same sex. It boils down to the fact that sex is fun.

    We are usually attracted to certain types of people though. I am extremely attracted to certain cute, slim, smooth males. Also, occasionally, a certain type of female can also get my attention. But they usually are on the cute, slim, masculine side.

    I also can't ignore the fact that I have loved and have been happily married to a woman all these years. At this point in my life I wouldn't sacrifice my love for that woman so I could indulge my curiosity about what I might have missed living a gay life. I still like to look and fantasise

    I would advise you, as others have said, not to worry about the labels so much. Just be you. You could get lost in the conscequences of a impulsive decision.

  10. http://www.queerty.com/ricky-martin-loved-his-affairs-with-women-but-hes-definitely-not-bisexual-20101102/

    This might help steer your way. You should be honest about whom you are and how you feel to provide the best possible example for your children, especially in light of current events with LGBT youth. I agree with what Jim suggests. Just because you "label" yourself as "gay" it doesn't necessarily mean your long marriage was a total sham. From a "Ryan Seacrest" perspective, your marriage has been a sham for years considering you're not able to commit your entire being to it. You maybe performing all of your responsibilities but your soul is yearning for something different. This might provide some food for thought in how you rationalize all of this.

  11. Thought provoking comments, guys! Thanks.

    NewLeaf said it best: "I suppose the bigger concern is that the kids will think that your marriage was a sham because you chose to call yourself gay."

    This is the one and only reason any label matters to me. Other than that, they don't (thank you Wharton and Adon.)

    In the long run, I don't think even that will matter. At first, it might.

    Neither Gabbie nor I are children of divorce. Neither of us has any first-hand experience dealing with children that are this age whose parents have divorced. Failure is a very big deal to both of us. We're not flakes and when we make commitments we keep them, even when we shouldn't. We are exactly alike in that way.

    What I'm trying to say is, I don't want the biggest lesson from my marriage to my children to be that "marriage is a sham." Our marriage has not been a sham, our mutual love is quite real.

    Wharton's words put the idea into my head and Bi Like Me actually said it, "I'm in love with a man." I might take that path.

    Paul's suggestion is quite logical and would be one I would prefer, if the kids can have an adult understanding of the potential complexities of love, sex and marriage.

    Rob - You brought up an interesting aspect I had not considered. I need to think about that more.

    Justin - Thanks for stopping by! "From a "Ryan Seacrest" perspective, your marriage has been a sham for years considering you're not able to commit your entire being to it." Not your entire being = sham? Tough standards! I'm not sure how you define 'entire being' but I haven't "yearned for men" for years. I yearn to be wanted. By my wife, first, but if not by her, THEN by a man.

    Jayson - Don't get too excited, I'm still skeptical about men!

    Jim - Like you, my preference is to keep things simple and clear. Ultimately, that is where I'll end up. Any delay in getting there is a parenting issue, which I am certain you can understand.

  12. T - This question is not a big one to me, especially at the moment because it is hypothetical.

    My concern is not about my wife being insulted, it's about the kids understanding that our marriage was genuine.

    You said, "you have to face the fact that your kids know your family is dysfunctional, just like many other families. They know your wife is dating another guy. They probably know you are gay, too. Just come out already and stop torturing yourself." - I actually don't think the kids know what you think they know. Kids are like canaries in a cave. They are delicate, sensitive and perceptive. When things are wrong, they know. They've also horrible at keeping secrets. Reading their minds is, well, child's play, especially when you've known them their whole lives.

    "Just come out already and stop torturing yourself." Gabbie does the torturing, I give myself a lot of slack. Some days I know she loves me and would never want to split. Other days she complains constantly about being responsible to anyone for anything and I know that I am one of the responsibilities should sometimes resents. None of that has anything to do with me coming out.

  13. I'm sorry, I struggle with reading more than one paragraph. "I'm gay and I got married". I read that part. What else do I need to do know?

    Then you drone on and on about this that and the other. Following by some good cock sucking.

    You got a dilemma? Show me the dilemma. You have more of a realization issue than a dilemma.

    Been there, got the T-shirt, smile, say cheese. You have my empathy, but you don't have my sympathy. Hope you make the progress you want. The war will rage and it's only when you realize you're fighting yourself does perhaps progress get made.

    I'll read some more, you write a bit as well.

  14. You are farther along than I am in this process. Your question is certainly one that I have often thought about.

    While you certainly don't want to live a lie, the "label" that put on yourself may not be all that important. If it's easier to say that you are "Bi", use the label. This is already tough enough. You have been married to a woman for a long time, so you do have to deal with that. Over time, the "bi" label may fade away, but let time do it's job. That's probably how I would (and maybe someday will) play it.

    By the way, you seem to have hit on a very controversial issue based on the number of comments you recieved! Guess it's on a lot of people's minds.

  15. Great blog. Very honest and raw.

    Call me crazy but isn't bi just a stop on the way to gaytown! LOL

  16. My point is that if you were able to have sex with a woman, then you are gay and not bisexual. When you had intercourse with your wife, did you picturise men to stay aroused? If not, then you are probably bisexual, not gay.

    1. In my case, when I have had sex with my wife I've ever needed to picturise any man to stay aroused. What a mess, don't you think? When I am with her I am with her and I want we both to enjoy. I don't like the expression "to be able" either. This is not an obligation for me, I enjoy and I want her to enjoy. I think the real point is whom I enjoy more, with my wife or with a man, which I consider it's strongly related to the emotional connection we could have. Need to work more on this issue.