Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Divided Bisexual Man

"Men are for sex and women are for love."

You don't usually wake up one morning and have an epiphany that love and sex work best when split by gender. Instead it's an evolutionary process. That process can vary from man to man, but it often follows a common path:

1. An otherwise hetero guy, who may already be married, realizes that he has a sexual attraction to men.

2. The man tries to squash, deny, hide, run away from, and generally do whatever he can to make those evil man-sex thoughts go away. If the man is not already married, he often gets married, with the honest hope that marriage will banish his man-sex fantasies.

3. Depending on other aspects of life, thoughts about sex with men may wax and wane, but they do not go away. Years spent fighting the thoughts makes many men frustrated, anxious and unhappy. Ultimately, most give in to temptation. They might begin by chatting about sex with other men on-line. Then they might arrange a date to receive a blow job - which they will flake out on, at least once. Eventually they keep a date and have their first experience. From there, the exact progression differs but the result is the same: within months, years or decades, they become eager to hook-up with other men.

4. After the first few hook-ups there's a serious questioning stage. Am I straight? Am I bi? Am I gay? There are no statistics but my guess is that the proportion of married men who fool around with other men and then eventually come out as gay is relatively low, maybe 20%? I say this based on personal experience and because very few married guys on hook-up sites label themselves as gay. Most men seem to conclude this stage by accepting themselves as bisexual.

In my last post, I said that bisexual men can be divided into two groups. One group I called "Casanovas" because of their natural and effortless ability to make a woman feel wanted. Upon further reflection, I've decided that "Casanova" is a bad descriptor. It evokes the image of a skilled lady's man, someone with magical eyes and a seductive touch. In truth there's nothing especially romantic or alluring about bisexual men in the first group. They're completely average. They're only noteworthy because they have an unrestrained enthusiasm to 'get it on' with their wives, whereas bisexual men in the second group tend to need a kick-start when it comes to initiating marital sex.

"Unrestrained enthusiasm" and "tending to need a kick-start" are subjective ways of segregating the two types of married bisexual men. A better, more objective way to make the distinction is based how frequently they have sex with their wives. Men in the first group tend to have regular and frequent sex, while men in the second group tend to have sex on a hit-or-miss basis.

What's interesting is that most "Get it On" bisexuals can't relate to the whole "men are for sex and women are for love" thing. To them it seems like an unnecessary distinction. For one thing, women are just as sex-worthy as men, if not more so. And falling in love with a man? There's two schools of thought about that. Either it's completely off the man's radar - as in, that possibility has never once crossed his mind, or, he feels that love has nothing to do with gender. Love is love, man or woman.

Whichever way they feel about love, there is no vague middle ground, and that's what's distinctive about "Get it On" bisexual men - they aren't conflicted. Love and sex are simple; there's no need to make any rules.

"Kick-start" bisexuals are different. They don't have it so easy. Their relatively low level of sexual attraction to their wives compared to their increasing attraction to men causes a lot of internal conflict, frustration and anxiety. As internal pressures mount, they compartmentalize their thoughts and feelings. Over time, as compartmentalization takes hold, they morph from being a relatively happy, whole and complete man to a secretive, stressed and divided man. A man who becomes a two-sided coin: a devoted straight family man on one side and a horny, cum-loving, cock-sucking slut on the other.

"Men are for sex and women are for love" is compartmentalization. Compartmentalization masks conflict: the conflict between the man he used to be, and still is, mostly, and the man he has become. Bringing the two sides of himself together feels like an impossible task, and as such, the struggle between the two sides never ends. That makes for a life that can be lived, but not for a life that can be loved.

In the story that prompted this post, a bisexual man told his wife that he had no romantic interest in men. To prove that to her, he suggested inviting a man into their bed. She laughed at that idea. Undeterred, he offered another suggestion, that she accompany him to a gay bar. He was determined to prove his "men are for sex, not for love" point. Well, the gay bar turned out to be a disaster for him. Watching his eyes at the gay bar was all the proof his wife needed to become convinced that he would eventually fall in love with a man.

Just like the wives of divided bisexual married men everywhere, the woman in the story already knew there were big problems in her marriage. And lacking a clear reason for the problems, she blamed herself. Then her husband outed himself as bisexual. That opened her eyes. Not to the fact that he was a lying, cheating scum bag, but to the fact that there wasn't something inherently wrong or undesirable about her. Watching her husband ogle men at the gay bar was the final straw. In all their years together he had never once looked at her with the same depth of desire. She realized then what he did not - that he is a conflicted man who had built a wall between the two sides of himself. She also realized he would never find lasting happiness until that wall was torn down and he was no longer a divided man.

Encapsulated in this couple's story there are three monumentally important lessons for married and divided bisexual men everywhere:

First - Any conflicted man who thinks that he has successfully hidden his woes from his wife is mistaken. No, she doesn't know that you're bi and that you hook up with men, but she does know that there's something fundamentally wrong with your marriage. That fundamental problem is not your cheating. Rather, it's the reason that you cheat: you are a divided man. You cannot be happy with one person and that means you can never be happy with her. Deep down, she knows this.

Second - Because wives of conflicted men know on a deep and unspoken level that they are not enough to make their husband happy, they blame themselves. As they witness their husband's gradual withdrawal from them they become increasingly depressed, self-loathing and unmotivated. It deeply hurts them to feel so unwanted. Different wives respond differently to that hurt. Some withdraw. Some turn their attention to the children. Some take comfort in overeating or other bad habits. Others get bitchy and critical. Whatever the behavior, the cause is the same - they know they are not enough - and it hurts.

Third - Compartmentalization, having your cake and eating it too, and/or making the best of a compromised life are all ways to cope with being a conflicted man, but none of them will ever make you genuinely happy. In truth, they merely camouflage the landmines that lurk below the surface. Yes, a man can carefully and persistently dodge one mine after another, but time is not on his side. Major blow-ups are inevitable. Porn on computers, secret email accounts uncovered, phone calls and text messages at odd hours, unnecessary errands, an HIV positive diagnosis - these are but a few of the multitude of ways for the truth to be discovered. Any man who genuinely believes he can be a perfect liar for the rest of his life is only fooling himself. To err is human. Divided bisexual men are all too human.

What's the solution?

Overwhelmingly, conflicted bisexual men feel that because they married with good intentions and their attraction to men surfaced later in life they are destined to live as divided, marginally satisfied men. Coming out as bisexual (or worse, gay) does not solve the problem and cutting men out completely just isn't realistic. "Keep on keeping on" - that's the best they can do.

Well, maybe. For some, a lukewarm life of compromise might be the best answer. But far too many divided men are stuck in the narrow confines of their own thoughts. In a soon-to-come post I will offer some new perspectives that may help some men regain their dignity - and perhaps find genuine happiness again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Open Marriage / MMF Threesome

In a recent post I shared the story of a man who was seeking his wife's permission to enjoy casual, recreational sex with other men. He wanted an open marriage - the dream situation for just about every married bisexual man.

To allay his wife's fears about where an open marriage might lead, the man explained to his wife that his interest in men was purely physical. He said that he had no interest in pursuing a relationship with a man, and, to prove that his intentions were honorable, he suggested that the couple invite another man into their bed as the guest star. That way the wife could see first-hand what he meant.

The wife laughed at that idea.

Undeterred, the man was able to convince his wife to accompany him to a gay bar. That way she could see for herself that his interest in men was purely physical.

The couple did go to a gay bar together but the man failed to prove his point. Instead of agreeing to an open marriage, his wife decided to end it. Having an open marriage, to her, was "classic man wants his cake and eat it, too."

More importantly, she decided that his attraction to men was a very real threat to their future together. She said, "One day he WILL meet someone that he will be attracted to and will want to be with. So, after more years of being faithful to this man, he will leave me anyway. That is what will happen."

As a man who is attracted to other men, I completely understand the husband's point of view. I also know, based on the experiences of other men, that being open to other sexual relationships has the potential to strengthen a marriage; increased honesty and reduced sexual frustration usually make for a closer marital bond. As such, when conducted safely and respectfully, an open marriage can be a win-win situation for both partners.

Although I am familiar with open marriages from the man's point of view, I know little from a willing woman's perspective. The story I quoted was therefore a fascinating read. Yes, she seemed skeptical about the idea, but not so skeptical that she immediately rejected it. Further, her willingness to go to a gay bar with her husband is evidence that she tried to be open-minded. Not many wives would have agreed to go.

I posted the story because I wondered if readers (married men especially) would see the wife's reaction as valid or ridiculous. I particularly wanted readers to focus on the question of emotion. Because of the visit to the gay bar, the wife is now convinced that her husband WILL leave her for a man. Yet the husband says he's not interested in men that way. Who is right?

Consider each spouse's point of view:

The Bisexual Husband

I believe that bisexual married men can divided into two groups. The first group is composed of men who instinctively and naturally know how to make a woman feel desired. It's an effortless endeavor for them, like walking across a room; they're natural-born Casanovas. The men in the second group don't have it so easy. They have to concentrate in order to stay focused when they're with a woman.

What do I mean by 'focused?' It's a vague thing, not easily put into words. I'll use an analogy instead: it's like sex with a condom and sex without one. When you're fucking without a condom you're definitely not thinking about what a condom feels like. When you are fucking with a condom on, you're enjoying the sex, but you never really forget that your dick is covered with latex. It's distracting. It's a very thin barrier that keeps you from truly connecting with your partner. Bisexual men in the second group, in essence, are wearing a mental condom that subtly distracts them when they're having straight sex. It slows them down, both during the act itself and in wanting to have sex at all.

From a performance perspective, during sex, there's not much difference between men in the two groups. Getting hard, staying hard, and having an orgasm are usually not issues, barring any physical problems. What is different, very different, is how frequently the men in the two groups have straight sex. Because men in the second group have to make an effort to stay focused, straight sex requires some work. It's as if, instead of walking across a room, they have to progressively jump across, with both feet tied together. Having to expend the effort means they initiate sex less often, which means the couple has sex less often.

The man from the story belongs in the second group. The reason I know this is because his wife reports that they haven't been intimate "in forever." She also says she has repeatedly tried to entice him by going to bed naked and by wearing very sexy lingerie. The natural-born Casanovas don't need that much prompting. If a woman signals that she wants sex, they don't hesitate to jump right on.

Because the man hasn't been responding to his naked wife you might wonder if he is gay. He insists that he is not, for several reasons. First, his attraction to men is purely physical. Second, his taste in men is very specific; he only likes straight men. Third, he has no interest in kissing a man, much less falling in love with one. Fourth, he feels just the opposite about women as he does men - he likes to kiss women; he has only loved women in the past and he can only imagine being in love with women in the future. For him "men are for sex and women are for love." By most definitions, he is bisexual.

The Straight Wife

I have spent the last year absorbing the thoughts, opinions, emotions and experiences of straight wives who are married to gay or bisexual men. In the course of internalizing this information I have learned that straight wives care about many things, including fidelity, lying, diseases, financial security, love and public embarrassment. But what matters most, to the most women, is that they feel genuinely desired. Over and over different women have told me that "love is not enough" or "I don't want to be married to a roommate" or "I already have enough friends, I want a lover."

The need for women to feel genuinely desired is far more powerful than many men realize. For many women it is the basis of their feminine identity and their sense of self-worth. When a woman does not feel genuinely desired she feels like a failure as a woman. It's a knife that cuts her to the core, equivalent to a grown man being calling "a sissy" by his father; the hurt is deep and primal.

The woman in the story feels just as most other straight wives do. She wants to be wanted.

The Couple as Archetypes

An archetype, in this case, is "a universally understood symbol upon which others are patterned."

In my opinion, the bisexual man and his straight wife are typical of many other couples in the same situation. While the man is not typical of all bisexual men, I believe he represents a large subset of them. The wife is extremely typical of the vast majority of straight wives; she wants to preserve her marriage, provided that her needs as a woman can be met.

If you can believe that this couple is an archetype, then understanding them is a window into the dynamics of many marriages between bisexual men and their straight wives. Understanding this couple can explain why some straight wives are happy to stay with a bisexual man - even to the point of opening up their marriage - while others give up on their marriage, even when their husband promises to be faithful.

When a bisexual man asks his straight wife to open their marriage, the logical assumption is that it's her decision as to whether his request is granted. That assumption is true; lots of women will not accept a marriage with anything less than absolute monogamy. However, I have learned that a surprising number of straight wives are willing to consider the open marriage option, provided that it 'works' for them.

What makes a marriage 'work', regardless of whether it is open or closed, is if the husband makes the wife feel sexually alive. If he does not, then the marriage gradually dies.

This means that, most of the time, the bisexual man, and not his wife, is primarily responsible for the level of sexual in his marriage.


The man in the story vehemently insists that his interest in men is strictly sexual. He cannot imagine falling in love with a man; he does not WANT to fall in love with one. He's asked his wife to open the marriage by trying a MMF threesome, or by giving him permission to have recreational sex with men. To prove how harmless his interest in men is, the man convinced his wife to go with him to a gay bar. How did that go?

According to the wife, "[it was] one of the worst experiences of my life."

"[I] was looking across the bar and [saw] him looking at a man and flirting with him in a way that he has never looked at me. You know, the flirtatous eyes kind of look. I felt like I couldnt breathe...after all I have been to him, and giving him the very best of me all those years, I have never seen him look at me that way."

You might think she's misreading her husband's interest, or that she's paranoid, or that she's seeking to sabotage the open marriage option.

Any of those things could be true, however if they are, then the cost of being wrong is catastrophic for her. She WANTS her marriage to work. But she doesn't believe it can:

"It hurts my heart so much that most days I cannot breathe...Can he be my best friend and make me laugh till the cows come home? Yup. Can we cook together and drink wine and have a great time together and complete each others sentences? Yup. Is this enough for me for the rest of my life? Nope."

Clearly she loves him. Clearly she wishes their marriage could work. And yet she's convinced that it will ultimately fail. She's so convinced that failure is imminent that she's stopped even trying to make it work. Instead, she's decided to turn her entire life upside down by seeking a divorce. Being best friends isn't enough for her. She, like most other women, needs to feel that she is desired.

Women are so NOT like men. For the most part, women have a much higher emotional intelligence than men. Their 'women's intuition' is an everyday manifestation of how tuned-in they are to the people around them. When a man doesn't genuinely desire them, they know it. In the case of the woman in the story, once she saw how her husband desired the man in the bar, she knew she had never once been wanted with the same intensity.

Months of explanations by the husband after the visit have failed to convince the wife that she was wrong about what she saw. She knows what she knows, she knows how she feels.

The lesson of this couple is desire rules all. The proof for that is the decision the woman made. She gave up her comfortable life and the man she loves only because she HOPES that one day she might find a man who makes her feel desired.


People are different, marriages are different. What happened with this couple wouldn't necessarily happen with similar couples. But the dynamic that played out here DOES play out with many other couples:

First you have a large group of bisexual men who are unquestionably attracted to women, but 'making love' to their wife requires some effort.

Second you have virtually all straight wives who WANT to preserve their marriages, and are willing to make big compromises to do so, BUT ONLY IF their womanly self-image and feminine identity are regularly cherished by a husband who genuinely desires them.

A man can do or say anything he likes to prove his masculinity. He can aggressively make love to his wife as proof that he desires her. But most wives cannot be fooled. Desire is raw and animalistic. Desire means having a satisfying sex life - that means 'good sex' on a frequent basis. Once a month is not frequent.

The bottom line is that a large group of married bisexual men have an impossible road to travel. They are who they are, and they are authentic, but they don't have the essential and sincere ability to make a woman feel WANTED, yet being wanted is what their wife needs most.

In the story, the man's weakness became obvious when the couple visited a gay bar together. Most couples don't go to gay bars together so most wives can't compare the desire they feel to the desire they witness. But you can be certain that the marriages of some bisexual men inevitably crash when their wife has a similar "Aha!" moment; that moment where she realizes her man can never satisfy her.

In my next post I plan to write more about marriages between bisexual men and straight women. I'd like to particularly focus on why some are very strong and others are very weak, even when both spouses agree they love each other. I also hope to address the wife's conviction that her husband is destined to fall in love with a man, which is something he promises will never happen.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Men are for sex, women are for love

I've had more than one person tell me that I sabotaged my marriage when I came out to my wife as gay.

"How was she supposed to react to that?" they've asked. "You basically said you have no sexual interest in her. Why would she want to stay married to you?"

Those are good questions. When phrased in that manner, I can understand how some might see 'coming out' as sabotage.

In my particular case, it wasn't. Within weeks of meeting Charlie, and experiencing a never-before-felt sexual charge whenever she was near him, my wife realized that our connection was fundamentally different. I could call myself anything I wanted, but she knew that there was no sexual heat between us. There never really was, and there never would be, regardless of how much we might love one another.

My wife's attitude is hardly a surprise, is it? Women want love and desire to be linked. Men are different. We're ok with, and often prefer, keeping the two separate. Just think about how common it is for a man to enjoy sex with other men, yet have no romantic interest in them. These same men feel very differently about women. It's as if their personal mantra is "men are for sex, but women are for love."

I wonder: how do these guys label themselves? As straight?

Some must. The thing is, it's hard to make a convincing argument that you're straight when you're regularly having sex with men.

On the other hand, they're clearly not gay, right? You can't be gay and NOT have an emotional attraction to men.

So the answer must be that these men label themselves as bisexual. It's the only answer that makes sense.

Here's the weird thing. The labels "straight", "bi" and "gay" are supposed to define sexual orientation. But these men who desire 'just sex' with men, they're not gay because they apply an emotional criteria to define their orientation.

Consider the sex vs. emotion question as you read this story from a straight wife:
My husband has told me that although he thinks that I am beautiful, he is not attracted to me sexually. He wants to have sex with a man. But he wants to keep our life intact, and stay in this relationship. He says that he doesnt want to have a relationship with a man, just sex, and he loves me. The ball is in my court according to him. He has even suggested the idea of a threesome, so that I can feel better about things if I am there. LOL.

Well, this is what I have come up with after much thought, prayer, and reading...........this is classic man wants his cake and eat it, too. He would like to satisfy his desires and keep his life with me and the kids. Thus not having to feel guilty about anything because I would know about it, and not have to experience any accountability.

The big problem with this to me is that one day he WILL meet someone that he will be attracted to and will want to be with. So, after more years of myself being faithful to this man, going through the insecurity and loss of any self esteem, and being robbed of being with a man who desires me sexually, he will leave me anyway. That is what will happen.

Let me share something else.........I agreed to go to a gay bar with him to help him explore this and see how I would feel about of the single worst moments of my life was looking across the bar and seeing him looking at a man and flirting with him in a way that he has never looked at me. You know, the flirtatous eyes kind of look. I felt like I couldnt breathe and I was consumed with both jealousy and anger that after all I have been to him and giving him the very best of me all these years, that I have never seen him look at me that way.

Sorry to say, but that is my sad reality. It hurts my heart so much that most days I cannot breathe. We straight wives love men deeply; we are in love with men deeply that cannot love us back sexually the way that we as women need to be loved. They will never smell our hair and skin and get dizzy off the scent of us, or be so desperate to make love to us that they cant see straight. Can he be my best friend and make me laugh till the cows come home? Yup. Can we cook together and drink wine and have a great time together and complete each others sentences? Yup. Is this enough for me for the rest of my life? Nope.

I want it to be enough. I really do. But I know in my heart that its not. I know this man loves me as much as he can love a woman. But at the end of the day, its just not enough. I want more.

Notice that the husband's sexuality is not labeled. Given what he wants - to have an open straight marriage - how do you think he labels himself?

I think it's pretty clear that he believes he is bisexual. He might even think he's straight. The reason I say this is because the reason he brought his wife to the gay bar was to prove to her that his interest in men is purely sexual, not emotional. He can't be gay if he has no emotional interest in men.

The thing is, the visit to the gay bar went horribly wrong. She agreed to give him a chance to prove his loyalty, but he utterly failed in that attempt - at least so far as she is concerned. It ranked as one of the single worst moments of her life. So, based on what she said, I think she believes he's gay - emotional attraction or not.

Who's right?

The question of whether he is bisexual or gay is essential. It truly matters whether he's gay or not because this woman, like most others, does not want to be married to a gay man.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Please weigh in on whether you think the wife is wrong - he's bi not gay - or whether the man is gay and in denial. And please cite the reasons for your opinion.

Using your comments, I will do a follow-up post that will attempt to untangle the complex mix of desire, emotion and sexual orientation.

One initial observation: isn't it interesting that both my wife and the quoted straight wife seem to agree that heated sexual desire is MORE important in a relationship than emotion, yet this man and I believe the opposite? Is this a common gender difference? If so, isn't it ironic that women ultimately care more about sex and men care more about emotion??

I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For Married Men on the Down Low

Here's a story, told from a straight wife's point of view.

He came out, said he was bisexual but preferred men more. After several months he said he missed his family (I had given birth to his son while we were separated), and that he was going to change and be only devoted to me and to the kids.

I said, come on back...I was very young, living with my parents, and had no idea what to do, having two tiny children to care for. I believed him.

He put up a good foil, appeared to be taking care of his family and changing his ways. But what was really happening was that he just got better at hiding.

For 16 years, I didn't trust him, and rightly so. He would disappear for long periods of time and always have an excuse. He would be distant.

Then the rejection of me physically and absence of any sort of desire for me wore me down. I would ask him point blank if he was seeing some guy, and he would look me in the eyes and tell me he was done with that.

After a lot of years, I didn't trust him OR believe him. Then I found the gay porn on the computer, and he had an excuse for that too. He went to a counselor "to help get over the guilt of what he did to me all those years ago." It didn't help. I don't even know if he actually went.

There was still the rejection, impotence, and disinterest in sex. I started seeing the glances and eyes meeting with other men when we were at the grocery store. He was late coming home from work many, many times and said he missed the train.

I felt trapped in a sham of a marriage, but he said he wasn't seeing anyone and never would.

He said these lies until he couldn't - a life insurance blood test revealed he had HIV. Even after that, he continued lying for another year. He said that he had gotten the virus from a man he had been with 16 years earlier. Even after I confronted him with the emails on craigslist, he laughed it off and said he never really acted on them, it was just talk.

After he disclosed the HIV, I gave him one last chance, and said I would try sex with a condom, but if I was too fearful I would stop. It became evident that night that he had absolutely no care to protect me from being exposed, and I stopped.

The whole truth came out a year after he disclosed the HIV. I found a secret email address, profiles and naked photos on gay websites, countless requests for hookups near his work and orgies on business trips.

Eventually he told me more of the story - that he had been promiscuous for our entire marriage and that he thought the HIV virus came from a stranger he met on the bus once, but he couldn't be sure.

A year after he left, as part of the divorce proceedings, I was given his financial statements during one month. In that one month alone there were several visits to gay bathhouses, massage parlors, and gay adult stores.

I know for a fact he hates condoms. I know he states he is clean on his gay website profiles. I don't believe his intent is to deliberately spread HIV for any specific purpose. It's more that he doesn't think about anyone but himself, and in so doing, has satisfied his own desires while spreading HIV. He thinks that he'll never see that man again, so who would know it was him?

I still don't think I have the whole story, and I don't want any more.

I suppose there are women who are dedicated enough to sacrifice having their own life for someone who isn't happy being with them, but I honestly haven't seen a lasting mixed orientation marriage ever. When the trust and belief are broken in the relationship, it just doesn't come back.

I have questions for women who suspect their husband is secretly meeting men for sex: What do you want out of your marriage, out of your future? Do you want to have to always question him and then wonder if he told you the truth? Do you want to have to continually wonder if he is being faithful? Do you wonder what he is thinking about when you are intimate with him? Do you feel trapped?

That's not what marriage is supposed to be about. It's hard, so hard. But you are the only one in that relationship who is looking out for you.

Sobering, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Married Men on the Down Low

Craigslist, Manhunt, Adam4Adam and many other websites are loaded with married men who are looking for casual sex with other men. "No strings attached." "Safe sex."

If you're bi and married, a down-low hook up every once in a while is a good way to take the edge off, to keep yourself content and well-balanced. If you're careful and safe, it's no big deal, right?

I haven't done anything sexual with a guy in more than eight years. My last NSA hook-up was a few years before that; I'm rusty and out of practice. But I still remember what was in my head as I made dates to meet men. I remember what it's like to enjoy raw masculine sex. I know the mindset. I know how to handle the guilt. And most importantly, when the connection was good I felt like a much more complete man.

What I never spent much time thinking about was my wife. Honestly, she didn't seem that relevant. Meeting a guy was completely different than being with her. Day and night. Two different worlds that, really, had nothing to do with each other. I felt that as long as I was safe and didn't get caught, no one would be hurt and I'd ultimately be a happier guy and therefore a better husband.

No one keeps statistics, but I'm sure it is literally an every day occurrence that a stunned wife discovers evidence that her husband has been meeting other men for casual sex.

As some wives try to wrap their heads around what they have discovered, they sometimes look to other women who have found themselves in the same situation. As a formerly cheating married man, when I came across the advice these women give to each other, I found it to be absolutely fascinating. Here is one example:

"When I found out quite by accident a couple of months ago, that my husband was concealing his one night stands with gay men, I was wounded to the core. The deception! The lies! The extreme disrespect! The trashing of our family--I so hated him for all of it that I could barely bring myself to look at him.

"At the exact same time, I was (and am) terrified of being alone, not sure how I and our child will survive financially, and, yes have serious doubts about my ability to find and attract a new man. I also now DO look at him and sometimes see the handsome, smart man that had attracted me to begin with more than 2 decades ago.

"BUT--and here is the hopeful part--my anger and resentment at his complete disregard for me, and his almost unbelievably glib pack of lies (that continue to this day) has FUELED ME TO MOVE TO ANOTHER LEVEL--and this can happen to you, too.

"If you have any shred of self respect left, you have some anger in there because you have been deeply disrespected--and you know in your heart that you cannot live with a man who sneaks out for gay sex, lies to you without remorse and cannot give you the love that you need.

"That man that you 'love' has treated you like shit. We wove some dreams around these men that said more about our desire to love, our desire to have a wonderful family, our desire for love and stability than it ever said about the actual person we have been married to.

"I think I have been married to a composite of my own desires and have not seen the self-centered, uncaring person who does not, and cannot love me.

"So, what I am getting to is this--try to look at him objectively--is he a good man, a decent man, someone you can happily partner with, going forward?

"My answer was NO! Picture him meeting up with his gay sex partners, cleaning himself up afterwards and then plopping down at the dinner table with you and your kids.


"If not, save all of that good love for someone who will return it."

As I reflected on this I thought: I've always been a good man, a loving man, a decent man. Of course I love my wife. Surely the husband of this woman is someone far worse than me. Surely what I have done is not nearly as bad as what that man has done.

That's why it was acceptable for me to cheat.

And that's why it's acceptable for others like me to cheat - all those thousands of married men who are logged on to Manhunt and Adam4Adam right now.

It's something to think about.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Straight Wives Think

This blog and most of the blogs I have listed on the right are written by gay or bi men who are, or were, married.

For the most part these men represent my social circle. We're a somewhat geographically diverse group but other than that, we're pretty homo(geneous).

A few months ago I wanted some opinions about my situation that came from a different perspective - straight wives. I found an open, anonymous on-line forum mostly populated by such, so I posted about my situation and asked for opinions. Boy did I get some!

Ever since reading those replies I have been fascinated by the straight wife's perspective. Because my wife preferred to pretend I was not gay when I came out to her, she and I never really talked about how she felt. And it's not like there are a lot of blogs written from the straight wife's perspective. Although I am very familiar with the man's point of view, getting an insight into what women really think has been extremely fascinating and very educational.

People and situations are different so I have to be careful here not to over-generalize. I'm sure that the reactions of straight wives to their husbands' coming out run the whole gamut from violent outrage to genuine joy. With that said, here are some common feelings expressed by straight wives I've come to know:

1. One of the biggest reasons married men hesitate to come out to their wives is because they fear being rejected because of their sexuality. I have learned that most intelligent, educated women (i.e., those that take the time to participate in a certain on-line forum) are not nearly so upset about their husband's declaration as they are about the lies that may have proceeded it. Lies are the BIG SIN not being gay or bi.

2. Timing is extremely important, but not necessarily in the way that first comes to mind. When you're in the closet and thinking about coming out, the tendency is to obsess about the exact circumstances as to when you're going to drop the bomb. Yes, exact timing matters. But what's most important to the straight wife is to be told AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The longer the delay, the longer you've lied and the more upset she is likely to be.

3. Closeted husbands tend to obsess about whether they will be rejected and sent packing just hours after coming out. Yes, that does happen, but far more often the straight spouse wants to preserve the marriage. In fact, more often that not, the wife will engage in a whole range of selfless behaviors in an effort to "save" the marriage. How the wife's efforts are received by the husband can have major implications for their future relationship, regardless of whether they stay married or not. Insensitive and selfish behavior on the husband's part soon after coming out is the best way to turn a cordial relationship into a multi-year nightmare.

4. The bi or gay husband's desire to be "understood" is often the most painful part of the coming out conversation for his wife. After keeping his feelings pent up for years, the natural desire is to engage in a few rounds of verbal diarrhea about the misery of being isolated and depressed while in the closet. It's easy to confuse "being honest" with "too much information." Although wives DO want to know where your penis has been, they're only interested in a heavily abridged Reader's Digest version of your suffering. The part of the story they are most interested in is...what does this mean to me????

5. After the initial shock of the news wears off and the wife is left to figure out what she is supposed to do with her life, the very biggest issues for her come down to the husband taking responsibility for his behavior. Stopping the lies is a key part of that but it is only the beginning. Taking responsibility means not blaming others (especially the wife; straight wives don't change our sexuality, they cannot be held responsible for the way we were born), to be man enough to wade through the inevitable shit that happens when the kids, family and friends find out, and to show some genuine compassion for the financial situation in which you leave your wife.

I don't know if others find the straight wife's perspective as interesting as I do. I hope some of you do because I have a few more posts in mind about them and also about remaining married after disclosure.