Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Bisexual Husband: He Says / She Says

I recently had the opportunity to witness a bisexual man and his straight wife speak candidly and independently about their marriage. Although I am quoting them directly, I made some editorial changes to keep their narratives tightly focused and to protect their identities.

The Bisexual Husband

Some days my marriage feels like a game to me, quick delete the emails and hide the gay porn! Other days it feels like I'm walking 500 miles in shit only to be rejected because I need more.

I'm living two lives right now. Physically... I'm a married man. I wear my wedding ring, I kiss my wife, we have sex. I don't physically cheat. I've never had sex with a man. I've hardly ever hugged a man. Mentally though, I struggle. I know that I'm married. I know that my wife has eyes for me. I know that I actually like having sex with her. Still, I'm drawn to men.

There are plenty of times that I wanted a cure for my bisexuality. I can see how it can enrich some peoples lives, but as for mine, please... lets cut it off. Like that leg... amputate it and please make life easier for me. Then I remember that this, this whole thing is a big part of me and it'll never ever just be shut off, cut off or wished away.

I don't know what I’m supposed to do. I love my wife and we have our problems but I know that life comes with problems, marriage isn't easy. If I didn't have my wife I would feel incomplete. I feel incomplete now, too. I'm puzzled and confused. Still it's comforting to know that there are that many people like me: stuck in the gray zone of needing something nearly unattainable. The bottom line is though, I've got the hots for my wife, as well as genuine love for her.

[How's your sex life?]

Sometimes we screw like hormonal teenagers and we'll have sex in the afternoons, before I go to work. I generally would refuse her because I felt that it made me sluggish and lazy at work... but it's actually put a pep in my step and it's increased my productivity. The afternoon sex sessions just keep getting better too.

The other day she jumped into the shower with me. That NEVER happens so it was a welcome surprise. Seeing her got me all hot and bothered so I started feeling her up... and SHE LET ME! Score! I pressed my self up against her and started pressing my cock up against her butt and other places. I was on cloud 9.

Another time I had been horny all day and after watching some old porn well off into the night, I was still in the mood despite having given up all hope to get laid. To my surprise my wife was horny and not at all tired. We started to have sex but something about it felt different, better. I can't put my finger on it, but something was completely different about this time. My excitement level was to the roof top.

Where does this leave me now? I've been pondering that. I'm still very much attracted to men but that night sure shook things up. Now I'm obsessing about my wife. I just want to crawl into bed and see if I can't make my way in between her legs.

The Straight Wife
We were married in September and only a few months later, in the following April I found evidence that he had been looking at profiles of gay men online. He assured me that he was only looking, just curious. I was devastated. We were newlyweds! I was so ashamed that I couldn't tell anyone. I didn't know what to do, so I just pretended like it didn't happen.

A couple of years went by, and our sex life really started declining. He was depressed a lot. He would tell me he didn't feel good, or his head hurt, or he was tired, or his stomach hurt in order to get out of sex with me. A couple times I would find evidence of him chatting online, but he assured me that it was only talking, that it didn't mean anything, and that he loved me so much. He would have sex with me for 2 weeks, then slowly our relationship would drift back to him avoiding intimacy with me. This went on for a couple years.

Eventually I told him that I needed intimacy and I threatened to cheat on him. His answer was to say that he was so sorry, and that he knew that he denied me intimacy. He promised that he would have sex with me regularly.

Of course, the sex was never regular, and he NEVER initiated it. We would have terrible fights about it. He would make me feel so bad for wanting sex. He would blame me for him not wanting it. I felt so conflicted because I wanted my marriage to work. When things were good, they were good, but when they were bad I was miserable. One day I just started praying, and I prayed to God that he would show me what to do. I begged him for a sign. Then, a few days after I prayed so fervently, some apps for gay men appeared on my phone. He didn't know that they'd be downloaded to my phone when I synced it. I confronted him, and of course he lied first then told me he was so sorry and he loves me so much. Again I didn't know what to do, so I told him that I needed time to think.

One night while he was sleeping, I took his phone and found out that he had another email account that I didn't know about, and saw emails dating back many months. I knew at that moment that I had to leave him. He talked to these men about doing the things with them that I wanted him to do with me..kissing, etc. I was so heartbroken.

I'm attempting to figure it all out, hoping that I can move in with my friend. Meanwhile my husband is begging me to stay. He promises to give me what I need, and if he can't then I can sleep with whomever I choose; although he has realized that he will never stop wanting to be with men.

He says he is bisexual and not gay...but I am done with that. I am done waiting on him to be what he says he will be. He says that he really means it this time because he never thought that I would leave him, but now that it is a reality he is willing to do whatever it takes.....what a slap in the face!!!

I am feeling sorry for myself lately. All I ever wanted was family and children and I'm scared that now I will never have that. I was so stupid all those years. I hope that I haven't wasted too much time on him. I think that I am just ashamed of the situation. I am an educated woman, I went to graduate school, how could I have given him so many chances? How could I have believed he would change?

Not all bisexual men are the same and not all bisexual married men can identify with the man quoted above. But many can.

Clearly, he loves his wife. Clearly, he desires his wife. Also, he recognizes that he is far from perfect and that his marriage has some issues. But, wow, isn't his story astoundingly different from hers???

He is not unique. Many bi-married men are stuck in their own mire and cannot see how their actions, or lack there of, directly affect the important people in their lives. This man, for example, believes that the biggest threat to his marriage is his attraction to men. But that's not why his wife wants to leave. She wants to leave because she feels undesired, "I am done waiting on him to be what he says he will be."

Many couples do not communicate about their sexual problems. This couple did. And, they both made a sincere effort to improve their intimacy. But their progress was always short-lived. Within two weeks they always fell back into the same pattern. Why? Because wanting to desire a woman 'enough' is not a substitute for actually doing it.

I believe that this couple's experience powerfully demonstrates four truisms that can often be applied to the marriages of bisexual men:

Attraction doesn't kill marriages, lack of attraction does.
This wife, and many like her, can accept a marriage to a bisexual husband. A surprising number of women are willing look the other way when it comes to infidelity. But even a faithful man's marriage will not endure unless his wife feels desired.

Labels don't matter. Any man who does not (or cannot) make his wife feel genuinely desired is on a slow but steady march to divorce court. This is true even if he is bisexual and even if he is straight. What a man believes about himself is irrelevant. He can be turned off by gay porn, and thereby be certain of his bisexuality, but if his wife does not feel authentically and regularly desired, he is no different to her than a gay man.

Lies matter. The reason this straight wife is angry is not so much that she unknowingly married a bisexual man, it's because he lied so often that he turned their marriage into a sad joke. Also, she's pissed that he wasted years of her life. Or more accurately, she's pissed at herself. The signs were there yet she ignored them.

Love is not enough. Pop culture and an untold number of fairy tales ingrain into us the certainty that love is enough to sustain a relationship. This is true. Love is what sustains many difficult relationships - how would teenagers be permitted to survive to adulthood without it?? As important as love is, most troubled marriages cannot be sustained on love alone. If there is no sexual desire, or not enough of it to be mutually satisfying, then the marriage will slowly unravel, like a ball of yarn. Friendships and families are sustained by love. The difference between those relationships and a marriage is not love, it's desire.

If you're reading this and you see something of yourself or your marriage in this couple's story, you might ask, what are you supposed to do about it? You love your wife, you married her with honest intentions, you have kids, you don't really want to live as an out gay man...what options do you have besides "keep on keeping on?"


One of those options, if handled correctly, should be a "win-win" - and no - it does not require that you tell your wife that you are attracted to men.

I will explain what this option is in a soon-to-come post. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your thoughtful comments.