Friday, July 30, 2010

Closeted Married Men

A kind and thoughtful reader, A Guy Stuck in the Aerospace World, recently made the following comment:

"Being out...is the only way to live otherwise, yes you are wasting your time. You said youre doing it for your kids, why? You said its because you hope maybe your relationship with your wife will improve, it won't. Maintaining a status quo to protect the happiness of someone else isn't living or even self sacrifice, I would compare it to self destruction. ... Even tho you may not end up with an ideal adonis type mate you will find someone and if not, well you lived your life honestly in the end and that's the way we enter this world. Naked and Honest."

The comment was directed to me but I think the sentiment represents how many out gay men feel about closeted married men: the only way to be happy is to be out.

For the typical out gay man, his sexuality defines him. His self-image, his day-to-day activities, his friends, his thoughts - all of those things are intimately and inexorably tied to his sexuality.

For the typical closeted man, his sexuality does not define him. Instead he is defined by other roles and priorities. Many closeted married men are not gay men in waiting. They are men who have decided to make other parts of themselves priorities instead of their sexuality.

Most closeted married men are bisexual. Many grew up with an image of themselves as straight men. When they come to recognize and accept their attraction to men it is an add-on to their sexual attraction to women. One does not replace the other. The idea of fundamentally changing their self-image based on an additional sexual attraction is not a priority. The attraction to women, and all the other choices in life that flow from that, cannot be instantly and irreparably changed. Nor is there a desire to do so.

A smaller number of closeted married men are gay. Many of those are closeted because of fear. They fear being rejected by their friends and families.

Others are closeted for the same reason bisexual married men are closeted - other parts of themselves and their lives are more important priorities than their sexuality. The two primary ones are career and parenthood. In my case it's parenthood.

Whole books are written about parenting but to greatly simplify the subject I will say that there are at least two levels of parenting. There's the caregiver level where you are involved in all or most of the daily activities of the child and there's the provider level where you're not nearly involved with day-to-day activities but you still have an on-going commitment. Many men play the provider role and that level is quite challenging and rewarding on its own. However, the intensity is no where near the caregiver level. A caregiver parent lives in a world of selfless sacrifice and humility - that's what it takes to raise a child.

Being the primary caregiver is one of those experiences where you cannot truly understand what it is like until you actually do it yourself, full-time, for an extended period.

As a caregiver parent you spend most of your life tending to the basic needs of your children. When you are not feeding them or cleaning up after them you are tending to their minute-by-minute needs. It's neither fun nor glamorous work. And throughout each day, week, month and year, you have to strive to raise your children. You have to instill values, a work ethic, empathy for others. You have to help them help themselves by encouraging them to be independent, to be open to acquiring new skills, and to take responsibility for themselves and what they do.

I could go on and on, in a vain attempt to explain the tremendous responsibility involved in being the go-to parent. There are plenty of joys - the greatest joys of life - but mostly, being a caregiver requires that you give of yourself until you know of no other way to live.

I have spent more than 16 years caring for my children. They are not spoiled with material things but they are spoiled by their carefree lives. In recent years I have been coaching my oldest in an attempt to get him ready for real-life responsibilities. He has a long way yet to go. The two younger ones spend most of their day acting silly, as children their age should.

Unless you have cared for your own children, I don't think you can realize how fundamentally wrong it feels to contemplate a selfish action that would shatter the world of innocent, playful children.

Coming out may seem like the best answer for every closeted married man but often it's just not that simple. More than happiness, it's a matter of responsibility.

Timing and circumstances can make all the difference. Two bloggers with school-age children who have come out to their wives within the past year are Jim of Conflicting Clarity and NewLeaf of My Travels Out of the Closet. I know that both of these men are fantastic fathers. I also know that both of them have amazing, supportive wives. The children may be vaguely aware of the change in the relationship between their parents but their worlds have not been turned upside down and their innocence remains in tact. Only NewLeaf and Jim can answer but I wonder if either of them would have come out at this time if they felt that doing so would be traumatic for their kids.

As extremely supportive as their wives have been, both men are changing their day-to-day lives very gradually. I think both families serve as good examples of how to positively transition from a traditional marriage to something more evolved.

I don't know what I want to do for myself. But I do know that I MUST do the right thing by my children. And like most aspects of parenting, that means putting their welfare ahead of my own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Changes

The last time I wrote about my current situation was June 15th's Looking Ahead.

Here's an update, some changes are afoot.

This year has been one of the most chaotic in the last 18 years of my marriage. The chaos has not been directly related to the fact that I am gay and married to a woman. My 43 year old wife Gabbie is into her fourth year of a mid-life crisis and her behavior for the first four months of this year has been the worst ever.

After nearly getting arrested for public intoxication in April, Gabbie has spent far, far more time sober in the last three months than she has in years.

Even better, her attitude toward total-loser-but-former-lover Charlie has turned consistently negative. All they did in May and June was fight. After a solid month of hearing nothing but complaints from her, I decided it was time to test the waters, again, to see if she wanted to be rid of Charlie.

"Yes, I want him to go away. I want my life back."

I couldn't have heard sweeter words but I had to be skeptical. Many times before over the past four years she's been down on Charlie and I thought she was through with him, but she wasn't. A week later, I asked again. Same answer. Finally, in the last week of June, I asked again.

She was unequivocal, "I don't want to deal with him any more. Please tell me you have a way to get rid of him."

"I can't promise anything, but I have a plan." Of course she wanted to know the plan but I wouldn't say. I didn't want to take the chance of her letting anything slip to Charlie.

Charlie is English. He's been in the US for at least 17 years, and has two kids here, but he's illegal. He has no green card, no social security number, no driver's license and a lengthy criminal record. He drives a beater truck that can't be registered because it does not pass the California Smog test. He's a high-functioning alcoholic, but he's an alcoholic nonetheless.

My plan was very simple: take pictures of Charlie and his piece of shit truck and anonymously mail them to the local police department, along with a letter explaining what a menace to society he is. In the letter I was going to include a request that the cops wait until a weekend night and catch Charlie driving home drunk from the bar. If they did that he'd be in jail for the DUI and driving without a license. In addition, I think he has a bench warrant out for unpaid fines from his last trip to jail.

Putting him in jail was not going to permanently get rid of him. I had to make certain the cops pulled his immigration record. He's been in jail at least three times in the last few years and even though his legal status was supposed to be checked, it wasn't. Getting him deported is the easiest way to get rid of him.

On Monday, June 28th, I secretly got the pictures of his truck. Gabbie already had pictures of him, so that was easy. On Tuesday, I called an Immigration 800-number to report him. I was surprised by the quality of service I received. Not only did they take me seriously, but they confirmed more information to me than they probably should have.

The next weekend was the 4th of July. There's always a big local parade in town so between that and the usual trouble, the cops are kept busy. I decided to wait until the following week to send the letter and pictures to the police.

It turns out that I didn't need to send anything. At 10am on Friday, July 2nd, Charlie caught the attention of a California Highway Patrol officer when he dangerously swerved to avoid a car on the freeway. He had no license and blew a .085 blood-alcohol limit. The legal limit in California is .08.

Gabbie called to tell me he was in jail at around 1pm. "Is this is the plan? What's going to happen?!"

I still didn't want any chance of her tipping Charlie off so I dodged the question. "It doesn't sound good to me. What else do you know?"

It turns out that he lied to the CHP officer and the booking officer about his identity.

Now I was in a panic. How could I tell them his real name without him knowing? Only Gabbie knew he was in jail.

I couldn't take the chance that he might be released quickly. Around 4pm I called the immigration line again and reported that he had been arrested and was using a false name. By 5pm they had him booked for an immigration felony and four misdemeanors, two of which were for providing false information to a peace officer. They did not charge him for the DUI.

Because of the long holiday weekend, Charlie didn't get to see a judge until Tuesday morning. He was held with no bail because of the immigration block.

After the initial shock of it all, Gabbie was thrilled. On July 4th, she kept repeating all day, "I'm having the best day in years! He's locked up and can't do anything and I can go anywhere I want!"

Charlie has been in jail since July 2nd. He has an immigration hearing on August 2nd. On that day we will learn whether he will be deported or not. With his long criminal history, I can't see why they'd let him stay. I just wish the CHP officer had charged him with the DUI. I think that would have sealed his fate.

The last three+ weeks have been an adjustment for both Gabbie and I. There's still an element of drama because he calls her from jail once a day, but other than that, Gabbie and I have been spending a lot of time together.

Honestly, it's been weird.

Charlie's influence has been so strong that I don't think either one of us knows what kind of life she wants for herself. Does she want to be a wife and mother and stay home most nights of the week? Or does she want to be the party girl and find any excuse to be out of the house as often as possible?

She's been doing both. I think she is in the process of finding herself.

In the meantime, I am not used to having her around. I spend a lot less time on the Internet. At first, it was almost awkward having her spend night after night with me and the kids. Lately, it's been better. She's been going out two or three nights of the week and that's a balance that suits me. When she is home, she doesn't seem resentful, which she often did before. I think it helps that she now works out of the house.

In April, when Gabbie made her threat to leave me and the kids, I took her seriously. She's a smart woman but she regularly says stupid things that I ignore. Not that time. I knew she meant it.

Now, it's hard for me to imagine that Gabbie would leave. Why would she? Where is she going to go? What would she tell the kids?

The reality that Gabbie is not likely to leave should make me happy. This is what I've wanted all along: for Charlie to disappear and for Gabbie to commit to me and the kids. I'm not unhappy, but I am somewhat restless. Especially because, in the last few months, I've had visions of starting over, of dating men, of finding new friends and eventually finding a partner. Gabbie's crisis could have provided a guilt-free way for me to transition to a new life. But now, I don't see that happening.

I am now facing thoughts of a different future - one without new friends, one without the possibility of falling in love. Honestly, I am disappointed. Just how disappointed I am, I don't know. It will take time to know if I feel mostly fulfilled by whoever my new Gabbie is, or not.

As the complete absence of hot pictures on this blog demonstrates, I am not a super sexual person. I don't need to have sex 5x a week to feel satisfied. But I'm still male; I still want to have regular sex. I've had the longest sexual drought of my life over the past 10 months. The last time I had less sex may have been when I was 15.

Given the fact that I am gay, this could be a bizarre thing to say, but if Gabbie and I are not going to have sex in the future, I don't think I want to be married. What's the point?

I have not pressed Gabbie about sex because I want to be clear where she stands first. She's said her affair with Charlie has long been over, but then he raped in her February, when they both were very drunk, so I haven't known what to think.

With all the upheaval of recent months, there hasn't been a time where I felt we could discuss our future sex life so that I would get a complete and detailed answer.

Now that Charlie has been absent and life has been peaceful, I brought up the subject about 10 days ago. Actually, I did my best to make her as horny as possible so that I could finally get laid. It worked. But future prospects for sex look dim. Afterwards she said, "That was nice. I really liked it....even though I'm just not that interested any more. Getting those warts really was the worst thing that ever could have happened to me."

Gabbie hasn't hit menopause yet. I guess some women get horny then. Others just shut down sexually. I know that one of the biggest problems for straight marriages is that the women just aren't into sex any more.

I've already compromised my desires by spending 24 years with a woman. Now I may have to compromise my desires entirely? I just don't know if I can face that future.

Fortunately, things are still new in the current no-Charlie phase and maybe in time we can find a rhythm that works for both of us.

It's strange but until this drought I equated the need for sex to the need to get off. It's more complicated than that. I could jack off every day for a month and still feel hollow inside. Sex isn't just about getting off, it's about feeding that internal need for an intimate connection with another person. I've always felt that way about sex with men, but I've only just figured it out with Gabbie. I suppose most married men come to understand this difference much earlier than I have.

Not having that intimacy is the reason I find a future without sex so daunting. Taking the edge off when you feel horny is one thing but to spend decades as an isolated soul, sleeping next to someone who hogs the bed and wants the fucking TV on all night...that seems way worse to me than being a gay man 'trapped' in a functional straight marriage.

I guess I've saved a lot to vent about over the past month. I don't expect to have any news until we get the official word that Charlie will be deported on August 2nd. Regardless of what happens between Gabbie and me, I can't wait until that moment when I can be certain I will never see him again.

With no news to post, I'm hoping you all will have some good comments about the larger issues I've raised here. As some of you know, I like being provocative and to stir up shit so I can watch the resulting debate. I hope you all can feed that fire with some strong and opposing opinions.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Words and images that stay with you

The morning of the day I got married, one of my very best friends, Donny, said to me, "I don't think you should get married. If you do, Gabbie will be an anchor around your neck for the rest of your life."

Donny didn't know I was gay. But he knew me and he knew Gabbie.

As he said the words, and I thought about them, I was deeply afraid he was right.

Many times over the years Donny's words have echoed through my head. In some ways, his words have been as much of an anchor as Gabbie.

I'm not sure, but I think I wish he had never said them.

Hearing them, even knowing he might be right, did not spark me to action.

Without action the words have become a wound that can never be healed.

When gay or bi married men come to blog for the first time, many of them have reached the point where they know what they want - they just don't know how to get there. Or, they are so overwhelmed by stress and emotions they need to vent and be supported. Dan of Go Left at the Fork doesn't really fit that mold. In recent months he's been very cryptic, so perhaps I don't correctly know where his head is now, but before that he showed himself to be at least as conflicted as me. I wish I could find the exact location in his blog, but someone essentially said to him, "Don't go there. Once you open Pandora's Box, you can never close it." The commenter was talking about Dan's attraction to men - don't go there, you can never go back.

It's true. Opening up dormant issues can cause a lot of pain, a lot of anguish. In the end, you might not accomplish anything except to make yourself feel worse.

Gay and bisexual married men, especially those with children, you have been warned.

***

I'm feeling unusually emotional right now. Raw, even. I love a good book or movie that can move me. It doesn't happen often. I tend to be pretty critical, especially if something with good potential fails to deliver.

I had never heard of "Coronation Street" before stumbling across a gay-related video clip on Youtube. A quick Internet search told me that it will soon be the world's longest running soap opera. It's a British prime time drama and it's been on the air just a few months shy of 50 years.

In 2003, after much criticism, the show finally decided to do a gay story line. If the writing, acting and production have always been this good, I can see why the show has been so enduring. I'm nervous about copyright infringement so I don't even want to post a link. However, if you go to Youtube and search "Todd Coronation Street" you will find the series of 14 clips that tell the story.

You have been warned.

After you've recovered from watching that story, the other must-see on Youtube is "Shelter." It had a limited-release run in theaters in 2007 and has been out on DVD for two years. It is generally regarded as the second best gay-themed movie ever, after "Brokeback Mountain." I have been wanting to see it since it was released but I could never find a way to catch it. In recent months I figured I'd have to wait until it came to Logo. To my surprise, you can now see the whole thing on Youtube. I feel bad that the producers of such a great movie are being ripped off, but, well, I've been waiting for years to see the movie! I was not disappointed.

I want to end this post with a quote from "Coronation Street." This is from the mother of one of the gay characters who has just come out. The neighbors are all jeering at the 'queer in the street' and she comes out of the house and defends him:

"Oh he's queer alright! He fell in love with a man.

"I mean...he didn't have to say anything. He could have kept his mouth shut, lived a lie, got everyone he loved to live a lie.

"But it takes a real man to own up to the truth."

It takes a real man to own up to the truth.


Old wounds, reopened.

Pandora's Box should not be touched.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pay your dues to the Bi Married Mafia

Rob of The Bi Married Mafia is conducting a survey of gay and bisexual married men. You can take the survey here.

I'm not sure if Rob is working on a second doctoral thesis or not, but he's a good guy so I'm happy to support his research efforts.

I don't know why, but I have decided to share my answers to the survey's 30 questions below.

1. Your Marital Status: Married

2. Where do you live? North America (The United States)
[The San Francisco Bay Area]

3. Age Group: 41-49 [43]

4. If you are (or were) married/common law, how many years have you been (or were) with your female partner? 21-30 Years
[Technically we're 3 months past 20 years of marriage, but we've been a couple for 24 years.]

5. What do you consider your orientation at this time? Homosexual
[but committed to an imperfect woman.]

6. Same Sex activities BEFORE your Female Partner: Sexually Active:(same sex contact, oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation etc.)
[No successful anal until after marriage; when I finally did it, I could barely walk for two days.]

7. Same Sex Activities WHILE WITH your FEMALE Partner: Sexually Active:(same sex contact, oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation etc.)
[But nothing for the past seven years...do I get any gold stars for that??]

8. At what age did you sense that your same sex orientation started to really surface? Teen Years
[12, to be exact.]

9. Which best describes the home you grew up in? Liberal and Non Religious
[Regardless, it was not homo-friendly.]

10. Which best describes the home of You and your FEMALE partner? Liberal and Non Religious

11. If you are partnered with a FEMALE at this time does she have know of your orientation? She knows as I have told her
[but we never talk about it because it makes her very insecure.]

12. Have you stepped outside of your marriage and had sex with another male? Yes same sex masturbation, oral sex, anal sex etc.
[But I've been good for seven years!!]

13. How many different men have you had sex with in the past 3 years? (mutual masturbation, oral sex, anal sex etc.) None

14. Did you tell the REAL TRUTH on the previous question?
Yes

15. When you actually see the number of different men that you have had sexual relations with in the past 3 years, how does it make you feel? FINE "Nothing to report here"

16. How many hours a week do you spend on the Internet looking for sex, viewing male pornography, or gay chatting?
1-3 hours per week
[I'm not a big porn guy, but sometimes it's fun to be inspired.]

17. While in relationship with your FEMALE PARTNER have you ever had ACTUAL SEX (masturbation, oral, anal) with another male anonymously (ie. you did not know them, you may not know their real name, or realizing you may never see them again)? Yes
[Thankfully, you never ask how many times...]

18. While in relationship with your FEMALE PARTNER have you ever gone to a Gay Bathhouse? No
[Strangely, I've never really been curious to go.]

19. While in relationship with your FEMALE PARTNER have you ever gone to a "cruising" Place (ie. a Park, washroom, alley etc, where homosexual men "cruise" for sex)? Yes
[Not for many years. This is embarrassing, but one of the places I have cruised is the main restroom at the Minneapolis airport. I did not see Senator Larry Craig at the time.]

20. Have you ever participated in "unsafe sex?" I HAVE PARTICIPATED in unsafe sex

21. Have you ever gone to a doctor or clinic to be checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? I go whenever I have concerns
[I think I've been tested three times. Twice I wasn't worried. Once I was.]

22. Do you worry about STDs?
No I am not sexually active outside my relationship with my FEMALE PARTNER
[One of the 'benefits' of being celibate - I don't have to worry about STDs!]

23. Are you sexually active with your wife/female partner at this time? Barely (minimal sexual activity in the past year)
[Since you asked...I got lucky last night for the first time in nearly 10 months. There was no penetration but, believe me, after that long wait, I'm not going to complain.]

24. Are you at peace with your orientation at this time?
Yes
[since age 15. I think the fact that I'm gay makes me a much more interesting person. I enjoy my complex sexual identity so much that I would never want to change, even if I could.]

25. Does a Wife (or Female Partner) have "a right" to know that her Husband (or male partner) is gay or bi? I do not know the answer to that question
[I condemn all physical, psychological and emotional harm that one person does to another. Beyond that, I believe that people should be free to make their own choices - and to live with the consequences.]

26. If your wife (or female partner) was to find out about your orientation you conclude that she: would NOT want to know
[She's certain I'm going to leave her for a man some day. I don't meet men so I don't see that happening - unless she no longer wants to be with me.]

27. If you could go back in time and redo your life you would: do exactly as you have done
[This was an extremely difficult question to answer. In all honesty, I would not want to marry. I'm gay - duh. However, I do love my pain-in-the-ass wife, and, most importantly of all, I love my kids. The kids came from our marriage. How could I possibly consider undoing them?]

28. The perfect solution for you would be:
Divorce/Separation
[If only my welfare counted, I would prefer to be partnered with a man.]

29. Do you struggle with depression over your orientation issues?
No Never
[But I did from 12 - 15.]

30. Have you ever considered suicide because of your orientation issues? I have but would never do such a thing
[I had a plan, but I couldn't follow through.]

What a fucking depressing way to end the survey Rob!

Here's my own question, number 31:

If you could live your life twice, once as an ordinary straight man and another time as an out gay man, would you want to do so? YES!
[I can't think of any other solution that would make me feel that I lived a true and complete me.]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why stay in the closet when you can find real love?

My friend Greg has an interesting story that he is allowing me to share.

To put his story in context, here is some background information about him:

He fooled around a little with other boys when he was a young teenager, but the first time he had "real" sex with a man was last September. He was 39. Prior to that event, he had not had sex in nearly four years. His wife had issues with depression and lost all interest in sex in her mid-30s.

During the long dry spell Greg fantasized about men. Yet, he had never really been with one.

Curiosity eventually got the best of him so he started to read Craigslist M4M ads.

After weeks of back and forth email exchanges that didn't go anywhere, Greg finally met up with his first guy. Naturally he was nervous at first but once he relaxed he realized how much he enjoyed sex with a man. Until recently, he described that first experience as "the most amazing of his life."

It was a one-time hook-up but the experience was such a watershed that Greg KNEW he was gay. A week and a half later he came out to his wife. She was (and is) very supportive. At some point they'll divorce but they're not in a hurry because they are parents.

As you might imagine after so many years without sex, and then experiencing something amazing, Greg was ready to make up for lost time. He began hooking up with a variety of men. He had no problems finding them.

When we first started corresponding by email several months ago, Greg was having a lot of fun with his freedom. At one point he took time off from work, checked into a hotel and spent the better part of a week meeting different guys. That was about six months after coming out to his wife.

A month later, with somewhat less recreational time, Greg was playing with a smaller field of men. One was Mat, an east European guy, 37, good looking, nice shape, about 6' tall, nice uncut dick and sandy brown hair. A second was Carl, 31, about 6'2", slender build, but worked out, pretty damn good in bed. And a third was Jon, 35, 5'11", 180, brown hair, a hot bottom.

Greg found these guys on-line from various places. He had also been exchanging pictures and texts with a few guys from Grindr, several of whom were barely legal.

I've never seen a picture of Greg but from all the attention he gets, he's obviously a good looking guy.

Toward the end of April Greg arranged to meet one of the guys from Grindr. He told me, "I am meeting someone tonight. I'm all excited about it. Like a girl who got asked out. This will be the first time I've actually met someone off of Grindr. And we're meeting for a drink, so it's almost like a real date. We chatted quite a bit via text and he seems pretty cool (don't they all, at first?)."

The next day, I asked Greg about the date and he replied:

"Well I met the guy last night. His name is Ronnie. He's cute. Tall thin guy, which I'm partial to. He's not fem, thank God. I'm always worried I'm going to end up having dinner with some bitchy queen. We ended up going to a couple of different bars and eating dinner at one. The date lasted 4.5 hours. We really clicked. He's really easy to talk to and we share a lot of interests. But he mostly talked about his experiences being gay, whether that was his family's reaction, or him jerking off in front of 5 strangers at a porn shop.

"We didn't hook up, which was cool. Other than my one and only platonic gay friend Ian, I never meet up with guys without some kind of sex.

"I got the impression he was into me. First off he checked me out pretty thoroughly when we first met. The next sign was his touchy-feelyness. Then he asked me if he could be frank with me. I thought "Oh boy, here it comes; "you're nice, but I'm not into you". But instead he said "You're good looking, You look way younger than 40, you're smart, funny, and seem to have things in order. You won't have a problem finding a long term partner." I thought to myself "Aren't you nice, where do you want me to blow you? In the bathroom or in my car?"

"At the end of the night we were sitting in my car and he said "Let me ask you this, would you be interested in hooking up sometime?" I knew exactly what he meant, but I wanted to ensure we were on the same page, so I asked "When you say 'hook up', do you mean sex?" He said something like "Yeah, but I mean I get it if you don't want to, it's no big deal. I just thought I'd float that out there."

"I said "No, I'm good. Anytime. You're pretty hot." Then I said "But I kinda like going out like this too, so if we can somehow manage to do both without fucking things up, I'll be happy." He said "cool".

"So I'm going to email him a day or two and we'll see where things go.

"Now the cog in the system is that he has a boyfriend. They have an open thing. So most likely we're not going to fall in love an buy a condo in downtown. But he said that his BF is busy a lot and they don't hang out all that much. So I don't know if he's trying to replace him, or just have a little fun for the time being.

"We were both pretty honest with each other. He told me quite a bit about himself, even some non-flattering stuff. I told him I have a few FBs on the side and he's cool with that. I guess I must gush when I talk about Jon because I said like two or three sentences about him and Ronnie said "You have a thing for him, don't you?" Busted. I'm such a little girl."

I emailed back with a few questions about Greg's expectations for Ronnie. He answered:

"What is he looking for? I suspect he's looking for a second boyfriend
with no intentions of leaving the current one. On more than one
occasion via text or Grindr or in person he referred to his bf as
"always busy". What that means, I don't know.

"He also could be fishing for a third in their relationship. I don't
know what I would think about that. He did ask me if I'd ever been in
a threesome. I said no. He told me I should try it. I thought he was
trying to sell it a bit, so I wouldn't be surprised if he brings it up
again.

"If none of that happens and Ronnie and I just grab a beer from time
to time, I'm cool. Plus the occasional blow job would work."

That was at the end of April. Nearly a month later I asked Greg what was happening with all his fuck buddies and whether he was getting laid soon. Here's what he said:

"Jon, well we all know about the drama surrounding Jon.

"Ronnie, yeah. It has been a long time. What the fuck is up with that? Apparently he's still sick. Last time he emailed me to tell me he was sick (Wednesday I think) I started to think he's lying. How fucking sick can a person be? But if he didn't want to meet he could just as easily stop emailing me. Or he wants to meet, right after he finishes fucking every gay guy within 80 miles.

"Maybe he really is sick. If so, I hope he gets better soon. I really want to see what he's packing.

"Oh, and don't forget, I still have Mat too. He's in Europe for the next few weeks, so no new developments.

"So no sex for me this weekend. Last action I was was with Jon on Wednesday. It was kind of hot. That's why I have a problem letting him go. He's got the nicest ass. Damn him."

A few days later Greg sent me a short update: "Ronnie and I did communicate via text on Thursday. We're going to meet early next week. I guess he's finally cured."

A week later, another update: "How's Ronnie? I have no idea. I'm thinking that he's not going to call me. Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I just have that feeling. We did text each other last week, but he didn't pin down a date or time or place to meet. Since then I haven't heard anything. Maybe he's lost interest.

"Oh well. There's always Jon, right?"

The very next day, Greg told me:

"Okay, so I was wrong about Ronnie. He texted me last night. We went out. Had a great time. We were seriously flirty with each other. Still no sex. What that fuck is up with that? I don't know if I can have a non-sexual relationship with a guy anymore. JK. But he is kind of driving me crazy. I really want to get inside his pants. The anticipation is killing me. Maybe he just knows how to push my buttons.

"While we were talking in the parking lot before we went our separate ways, I was talking, and he stretched, slightly lifting his t-shirt up. I saw the waistband of his underwear so I said "Abercrombie". He said 'What?" So I repeated "Abercrombie" He gave me a strange 'i don't know what the fuck you're talking about' look. So I said "Your underwear, it's Abercrombie & Fitch" So he says "Oh, yeah, it is" and lifts his t-shirt up to expose his abs. I think I said "Oh God" or something and I blushed like a school girl. So he said "what were you saying a second ago" and I had totally lost it, because all I could think about were those abs. So I said "I don't know you made me lose my train of thought." He told me I was cute.

"We were out until about 3:00am. I'm getting too old for this shit. I'm trying my best to stay awake here at work.

"Today I got a Facebook friend request for him. I was a little scared at first. You know, the whole worlds colliding thing. But then I figured what the hell. So now I have my first out gay friend on Facebook. This is huge for me."

Eight days later:

"We went out again last night. Still no action. What is this? 1955? But in all seriousness, I had a great time. I'm not sure where we're going. He sends some pretty strong signals, but there there's that whole boyfriend issue he has. He texted me after the date saying he really likes me and enjoys spending time together. Then he attached an emoticon that was a puckered smiley face blowing a kiss.

"Hmmm. What does that mean? He wants to blow me a kiss? Then he's really flirty, touchy feely, and sexually suggestive. But then we don't do anything. I'm confused.

"We seem to relate to each other. We can talk for hours, about anything. Generally our dates last a long, long time. Last night was from 7pm to 1am."

A week later:

"I did get with Jon on Sunday evening. It was actually good. Still nothing there besides sex.

"I saw Ronnie on Monday. We didn't get naked. If you remember, he does sort of have a boyfriend already. So there's that.

"But that's not why we haven't gotten naked. He asked me when I was going to make him my "Jon". I said whenever he wanted. He's going of town for a week so once he gets back we're planning on introducing our genitals.

"So no sex yet. But we did make out.

"And now I'm horribly confused because I think I might be falling for this guy, but he's already attached, and that's not what I want. But it is what I want. I don't know. I'm fucked. Part of me thinks I can not get attached. But I am getting attached.

"Here's the deal. He's falling for me, too. How the hell does that work? He's in a relationship and he's even used the L word when talking about his boyfriend. So I was thinking based on our interaction together, that he might be getting a bit emotionally attached. Then he wrote me an email telling me how he's falling for me and that he thinks everything happens for a reason, and he thinks that there's some important reason why the two of us have crossed paths, but he hasn't figured out what that is yet. Yada yada yada. What the hell am I supposed to do?

"So yes I am conflicted. I so want to have a real relationship with this guy. But that may not be possible."

Not quite another week later:

"I am falling hard for Ronnie and it's apparent that he's falling for me.

"We met last Thursday evening around 10pm, at the same place we usually do. He told me that anytime he's in that part of town, he thinks of me. After the bar closed we walked around a bit and talked. He had his arm around me. I think that's the first PDA with a guy I've ever had. It felt good. A little scary, cause I'm waiting for that beer bottle to bounce off my head, but it was still an amazing feeling.

"Then we went and made out in his car. I keep thinking about it and every time I do I feel like I'm in free fall. It was the most amazing physical contact I've ever had with another being. Seriously. Better than any sexual experience I've ever had. We made out for at least on hour and a half. Maybe it was two hours.

"Around 5am I asked him if he wanted to go get breakfast so we went to a Denny's. I ate, he had coffee. We sat there and flirted with each other. Then we went back to his car and made out some more. We finally went our separate ways at 8:00am. 10 hours. That breaks our own record.

"The next day he texted this:

'God, I miss you. Feels like a piece of me has been ripped away. You are incredibly special to me and I'm so lucky to know you. Hearing from you lights me up in so many ways! You've been on my mind all day Greg.'"

I told Greg that he probably can't think about anything beside Ronnie. I also asked if he would have guessed he'd feel this way about a guy just three months ago. Here's Greg's reply:

"I can't think of anything else. All day, all night. I even sleep with my phone, just in case he texts me in the middle of the night (he did Saturday night).

"Could I imagine being in this position 3 months ago? I still can't believe I'm in this position. I'm the happiest that I have ever been in my life. I have the love and support of my wife, who has been awesome recently. I have the support of several good friends, both in my real life, and online. I have a great daughter, who means the world to me. And now I have a man who makes me feel wanted and special. He energizes me in a way that I can't describe. He makes me smile, constantly."

A few days later: "Nothing new with Ronnie. The L word crept its way into one of his texts. He didn't say "I love you", but instead said "Love ya Bud" which is akin to "love you man"."

Ronnie was out of the area traveling for a week. Greg was anxious to see him again when he returned. I knew that first date after Ronnie got back was going to be a big one, and it was:

"So Ronnie and I met last night. We met at about 10:00pm at our usual place. It had been about a week and a half since we'd seen each other. We quickly fell into our usual conversation groove and all went smoothly.

"After the bar closed, we walked around a bit, arms around each other. We talked about how much we had missed each other and how much we like seeing each other. Crap like that.

"Eventually we made it back to my car which was parked facing a park. We made out. A lot. It got pretty hot and heavy. Basically we had our pants down, but still had our underwear on. So we were playing with each other through our underwear. I finally said "okay, I can't wait any longer. We have to do something. Today." He said he wanted to, so he agreed. After a bit of debate about logistics, we decided to go home to our respective houses and get a little sleep (this was at 3:30am). We parted ways to go home and sleep for a few hours, but not before we had this conversation (in person):

Me: Can I tell you something?
R: Sure
Me: This may sound stupid. But, I love you.
R: That's not stupid at all. I love you, too. I've been wanting to say something, but thought it might be awkward.
Me: Not awkward.
R: It's great to know you feel that way. I'm glad to told me.

"After sleeping for a few hours, I show up at Ronnie's place.

"Eventually we ended up stripping down to our underwear and getting under the covers together (HOT!). There was a lot of bumping and grinding with the UW on. Then finally: bam. He pulled his shorts off. Nice. Really nice. He's packing. Not that I didn't know that - but it was a beautiful cock. So that's all the incentive I needed to go down there and take care of matters. After about 10 minutes of that we switched. I took off my shorts, and he returned the favor. We went back and forth for a while, trying different positions, and generally worshiping each other's bodies. It was amazing, truly amazing. The entire time. About an hour and half later we "finished things up". Then we laid in his bed and spooned for a while. Awesome!

"Then we decided to go get something to eat. I drove, but he bought me lunch. It was nice. We had hot dogs. Lol.

"Neither of us wanted to part ways so we ended up going to Costco and he replaced a camera that got destroyed.

"Then we went to the mall and walked around. We checked out the iPhone4, like a couple of good gays. So we spent the better part of the day together. I took him back home at 4:00. The last thing he said to me as he got out of the car was "I love you".

"Best day ever."

I was in awe of Greg's experience. Here was something happening in a real life but it could have been a movie. I asked him if he could have expected anything like this ever happening to him.

"No, I didn't see any of this coming. I'm totally blindsided."

The next day Greg sent me an email:

"Last night Ronnie emailed me again. At the bottom of the message he said "Hope you're having a good evening. Not much going on here." Not much going on? I can fix that. So I texted him and asked him if he wanted to go out. He did. We met at our usual place and had a couple of drinks. Eventually we made it back to my ca and sat and talked and made out.

"He also told me he knows why I came into his life (he's big on karma and signs - everything happens for a reason). He told me that I came into his life so he could feel better about himself, accept himself. He said I've made him feel more comfortable with himself than anyone ever has. He told me I boost his confidence.

"I said to him "so why hasn't that been happening to you all along? You're a fantastic guy, somebody should be worshiping you".

"He told me he wants me to come over to his place and stay the night some time. I told him I'd love to.

"I told him I loved him, and I always would, no matter what. I also told him that I want to take care of him, protect him. He echoed the same sentiments.

"So we spent the last few hours holding each other. It was absolutely non-sexual, but very emotional. We seem to be connecting on more levels. I didn't know that was possible.

"We finally parted ways around 3am. It's hard to say goodbye."

Ronnie still has a long-term, live-out boyfriend who does not have time for him. Worse than being ignored, the boyfriend often belittles Ronnie in front of others. Normally I would hope that long-term partners could work out their differences, but in this case, I can't wait for Ronnie to dump his boyfriend. WHEN that happens, I expect Greg will want to exclusively commit to Ronnie and vice versa.

Think about Greg's history for a minute and then consider how dramatically his life has changed for the better over the past few months. Had I asked him just two months ago if he ever thought he'd fall in love with a guy, he would have said, "That would be good, but I don't expect it to happen."

As much as I try to be optimistic about the challenges in life, I honestly find it difficult to be upbeat about finding love with a man, especially after the age of 40. I know there are good guys out there, but aren't they all taken? Who's left over 40?

But witnessing Greg's story, step by step, has been inspiring. Now I know someone like me who actually fell in love - with a guy he met on Grindr of all places.

If I had any confidence that I could find real love as Greg has, I'd be a lot more motivated to find the door out of this closet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Having it all or selfish prick?

Please read the comments, they are the best part.

***

PDQ, a married gay man who recently posted a comment says, "Webster’s defines monogamy as “the condition or practice of having a single mate during a period of time”. Married guy gets it on with a man and a woman, but his man and woman are only supposed to get it on with him exclusively? That’s not monogamy. I see that as a self serving double standard. I see married guy as a bit of a selfish, hypocritical prick frankly. You may not like the sound of that, but that’s what I see. Don’t ask of others what you aren’t willing to do yourself."

How is PDQ wrong? How is it that married bisexual men, who "want it all" are not selfish, hypocritical pricks?

At a minimum, shouldn't every cheating married bisexual make it clear that all relationships are open? The spouse can play? The lover can play?

PDQ: What about those situations where the spouse is told the truth but opts NOT to go outside of the marriage themselves? This is the agreement Mark of Edgy Husband and his spouse recently made. If one partner is satisfied and the other is not, is the unsatisfied partner a selfish hypocritical prick when he asks for an open relationship?

Isn't the crucial survivability factor for long-term marriage the ability of both spouses to compromise when they'd really prefer not to?

Is an open marriage better or worse than no marriage at all?

I look forward to your thoughtful comments.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why be gay when men are liars and cheats?

Be sure to read the comments. They're the best part.

***

I had a boyfriend when I was 17. He cheated on me.

I had a friend with benefits for five years, from ages 32 to 37. Our sexual relationship ended when he cheated on me.

Men cheat all the time, often, just because they can't help themselves.

Women are no saints. But I think their motivation to cheat is much different than it is for men. Men are mostly motivated to put their dicks into someone new. Women want a partner who pays attention to them. If you ignore a woman for too long, she'll eventually want to cheat. But if you consistently pay attention to her and at least try to meet her needs, she'll stay loyal to you for life.

Cheating happens in straight culture. But it is frowned upon and discouraged. A man risks losing even his best male friends if he cheats on his wife.

Cheating in the gay world is not especially taboo. Monogamy is mostly a quaint, straight concept. Hook-ups are just so much more fun. Fun to do, fun to talk about, fun to fantasize about. For a huge percentage of the gay population, cheating is the norm; it's a way of life.

I'm a fan of fidelity. I like the whole "partners for life" idea. I made a sincere commitment to my marriage 18 years ago and if, some day in the future, I find myself single again, I will want to find a man to partner with, for life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to a bisexual, married blogger about his relationships with men. His experience is a fresh reminder that when a formerly married 40-something enters the gay world, he could be in for a lot of heartache.

Rob of The BiMarried Mafia says he's bisexual or gay but he doesn't want to date guys anymore. Why? They cheat.

Rob is a fascinating guy and his story is compelling because his heartbreak is so raw. He explains how he and his wife love each other very much and how she has supported him as he seeks to find fulfillment with a man. Yes, he's happily married, planning to stay that way, he's out to his wife, and she WANTS him to have a male lover.

What Rob is looking for first is a friendship with a good man - a sincere, honest caring man. Sex will naturally follow, but in time. He wants his man to be an open part of his life, a friend to his wife and his children.

Miraculously, Rob has found two such men in the past five years. He enjoyed deep, emotionally satisfying relationships with these men. Eventually, but not immediately, sex became part of the friendships. With both relationships, Rob worked hard to be open and honest with the men and his wife. Every thing worked. Yet, in both cases, he found out months after the fact that the men were cheating on him. "Is it me?" he asked. "I thought I did everything the right way. What did I do to deserve to have my heart broken this way?"

After the first relationship fell apart, you can be certain Rob was more cautious the second time around. Yet it happened again. For reasons Rob doesn't understand, the second guy won't even speak to him. "He cheated on me, lied to me over and over...and now he won't speak to me?"

I don't know why these guys cheated. I don't know why they took the heart of an open, honest man and stomped on it for no good reason. I've read many complaints from gay men who say they'd like to date a man who is emotionally available. I know a man who WAS emotionally available. Now, after being open yet cautious, Rob feels burned. "Both of these guys had issues before I met them. I knew that. And now that I've been burned, I have issues."

When I was cheated on 17, I was hurt and disappointed, but I was never in love so I didn't feel burned.

When Marc, my friend with benefits cheated on me, I was very disappointed. But I always knew love between us was off-limits.

So, although I have been cheated on, I have not been jaded by personal experience.

After talking to Rob, I really have to wonder if expecting an honest, loving, monogamous relationship with a gay man over the age of 40 is expecting too much.

When it comes to love, I'll avoid a lot of heartache and disappointment, if I forget men and stay married to my wife. Right?

***

Be sure to check out Rob's blog. One of his recent posts is hilarious as he details a recent night out, his first ever, in the Gay Village of Toronto.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why come out of the closet if you can have it all?

Be sure to read the comments. They're the best part.

****

John advises closeted men: "Stay married, enjoy the joys of family, kids, career, wealth and retirement planning, sex with an interesting and different and oh so yummy gender, AND have a legitimate masculine male friend who also wants it all.

"...I am not conflicted here, I think we CAN have it all. We should have it all."

Jim of Conflicting Clarity has a HUGE problem with that - it's not fair to the wife. He says, "It does not matter if YOU think you can have it all. My guess is YOUR WIFE thinks you have an exclusive relationship. If you comfort yourself by saying you are only cheating with men and not other women, and that makes it ok, you are fooling yourself."

I have lived the experience of feeling closer emotionally and sexually to my wife because I was having an affair with a man. Having at last found a way to address the aching need for male intimacy, I felt whole and happy instead of resentful and grumpy.

Perhaps, as Jim says, I was only fooling myself when I believed the affair made me a better husband.

Here's my question: if my wife honestly believes that I'm a terrific husband, doesn't that make me so? Isn't she the only person entitled to judge?

And if I have a 40 year love affair with a man, that she never finds out about, and the affair makes me a happy, fulfilled person instead of an unhappy pessimist, should I regret the affair? Haven't I actually been the better person by sharing joy with her instead of anguish?

If I don't believe that there is a superior being out there judging me, and if my wife regularly affirms that I am a good husband and father, why shouldn't I be able to have it all: wife, kids and a man on the side?

I look forward to your comments.