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?"

Several.

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.

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like two different marriages, doesn't it? You have clearly stated what I have long felt are the main problems with these relationships: the inability of the wife to believe that her husband wants HER and the history of dishonesty.

    A wife must believe that her husband views her as something more than a convenient shield, some "device", to protect him from the consequences of his sexuality. She may know he's "fond" of her or even "loves" her but as you so clearly explain, no woman wants the man she loves to be "fond" of her...It is not the desire for a man as much as the LACK of desire for HER that will kill the relationship...

    Also, as has been the subject on several of these blogs in recent weeks, if there's been a pattern of lying and cheating, trust may be impossible and without trust you may never get her to BELIEVE you desire her, even if you do. If she has discovered this on her own, if you have done what so many people so when they're guilty and try to shift the blame, if you have tried to convince yourself that you are "protecting" her when you are really protecting yourself, you may never regain her trust.

    I know a great many men disagree that the best policy is honesty but I think you men are often not the best judge, frankly. It's been my obsevation over many months and not just from these blogs that these men who are 'bi' or "straight acting" are the worst liars because they had a choice about revealing their sexualty where the more "obviously" gay men did not. They chose what they perceived at the time to be the "easy" way and as a result have lied so oten, about so much to so many people that lies come easily and often even in situations where the truth would serve just as well. Lying can indeed become habit forming and if a wife cannot trust your word, how can you ever hope to convince her that you can be what she needs in a partner?
    D

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  2. Cameron,

    I agree with your 4 cardinal points about mixed-orientation marriages. The last one is key - love is not enough, and maybe even pro forma sex is not enough; you need sexual desire. As a technical point, I would say that if there is no desire, the guy is gay, not bi.

    Like anonymous @ 650, I was struck by the two different stories of the spouses. They each live their own version of the reality. Very interesting. It makes me wish I could hear what the spouse has to say of all the bi married bloggers out there. I guess in one case we did hear from the spouse when Bi Married Mafia put up a post from his wife, but that was a rare exception. I have my own narrative of what happened to my marriage; it makes me wonder what my ex-wife thinks, or would say.

    Great posting and I look forward to your win-win solution. I am a sucker for those things, you know...

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    1. Paul, here is what my wife has to say —

      http://dm-bipossible.blogspot.com/2011/09/from-one-point-of-v-straight-spouse.html

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  3. Cameron,

    This was a great addition to the stories of real men being shared on the blog, and particularly useful by having the wife share her perceptions and feelings. He was caught over and over and over but denied to her (and maybe to himself) that this was anything "serious". He never initiated sex with his wife as she perceives it, which is very revealing about his own sexual ambivalence and how lacking in erotic attraction their relationship was. (Sadly I recognize that pattern, as my wife has confronted me with her perceptions that for many years she felt like I never initiated the sex, she did. And then we stopped for good a while back)

    If you do not find a wife giving you that rising desire, and if you cannot initiate sex, there is something going on there that is pretty basic - a fundamental lack of erotic love (and it is erotic love that is what brings us to marry and gets us through the rough patches according to all the experts)

    He is a man who wants a wife, but not necessarily a marriage, even though he has never actually had sex with a man (and his fantasy life must be all about men).

    I think a lot of men and women find themselves in this quandry because we men with those feelings are working hard to clamp them down and that big secret and suppressed desire for other men creates a huge intimacy chasm. My wife has long said to me that she feels like at some deep level, I don't know how to be intimate...and at other times, she talks about the feeling that we are not completely connected emotionally. Women are very tuned into the emotional temperature of a relationship. Men are more likely to think physical contact and sexual congress are what "intimacy" is about. The Venus/Mars divide is real and the situation of this couple reveals that nakedly.

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  4. As a wife myself I appreciate this post and your approach on the whole problem. Most of the time it's "I can't get what I need from my wife" and/or "I'm loving her and don't want to endanger our marriage but I need a guy, too". But very seldom is mentioned that the wife doesn't get what she needs, too. Most of the bloggers don't write very much about their marriages but when they do - it seldom sounds like "I think my wife is hot and my best friend.", more often it's something like "We have a good marriage but of course with the kids etc....". If a woman does not know about her husbands bisexuality he withhelds a great and very important part of himself.
    You are right. The lies and the missing part of the partner and therefore misssing desire is what endangers the marriage - and it doesn't matter if it's because the husband is bi or just a straight cheater. I feel for this woman for she cannot cope with the problems his bisexuality causes her.
    Thank you for posting a woman's view and being so perceptive to see the real problems. It's to be wished that more would be able to see that POV, too.

    Now I wonder...what will the "win-win" options be? :D

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  5. “A faithful man’s marriage will not endure unless his wife feels desired.” A woman’s need to fill desired is important, however, I personally would have let my marriage sustain itself without being completely desired. I realized my marriage would never work only when the desire I needed and wanted was given to someone else. “If his wife does not feel authentically and regularly desired, he is no different to her than a gay man.” I agree!
    “Lies Matter: More accurately, she's pissed at herself. The signs were there yet she ignored them.” I’m totally pissed at myself. I shouldn’t be pissed off at myself though. I married a man I trusted. When I asked him if he was gay, because he looked at gay porn, he replied, “NO! I’m not gay. It’s just interesting to watch. Most guys jack off together in locker rooms, I just never got to experience it.” I am not a guy, I don’t know what guys do and don’t do, who am I not to trust what my husband tells me. As far as I was concerned, he was an honest man. If the man I married says, I want to be with you, I am not gay. Why should I not trust him? He is the only person who knows if he is gay or not.
    Women aren’t born with intuitive feelings that the man she married and had children with could be gay. People have fetishes; look online you’ll find all kinds of things. How am I supposed to determine a fetish, a fantasy with a real need or desire? It’s not my fault that I believed him. Without complete trust a marriage wouldn’t last either.
    I’d really like to disagree with you about love not being enough, but I can’t. Love would be enough for me, I would have been able to live the rest of my marriage without feeling desired. Unfortunately, while I felt okay with that there is another person in this marriage who didn’t. So I guess you are right, the greatest, most loving and happy relationship can’t survive without desire, because if it could my marriage would have survived.

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  6. I just got done reading this post and the comments as well.

    This is one of those rare times when I'm truly at a loss for words. It's all too close, too true.

    Thank you Cameron for posting this. The comments are also extremely enlightening and I am very thankful to see a womans point of view.

    Thinking and praying...

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  7. Reading this the thing that struck me is that it does not matter if this man is gay, straight or bi-sexual. Either you are in a committed marriage and you want and desire your spouse, or you don't. If your spouse is OK with an open marriage, so be it. If not, then don't string them along. I know it's tough and it takes time, but give each one the opportunity to find someone to love body and soul.

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    1. Well said and down to the point.

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  8. This is interesting. I saw very little of myself in the husband's post but felt as if my wife could have written a great portion of the straight wife's side. Though we have sex regularly ( 1 to 2 times a week), I NEVER initiate it, and frankly, can't recall the last time I did. I'm not sure how much our problem is ties to my being bi though.

    This was truly an eye-opening post. Thanks for your blog.

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  9. Thanks for a great post Two Lives. It is in so many ways such a sad story. The woman feels hurt and betrayed. Through little or possibly no fault of her own, so much of her life has seemingly been committed to something and to someone simply unable to meet her needs.

    Strangely enough, the husband, more than likely, feels the same way. Like every other gay or bisexual man he didn't choose this! It came with the package that is he. No matter how much he had tried; and I believe he has tried, he simply does not and cannot consistently meet her needs.

    Like every other married bisexual man, I have led two lives all my life. There is me, the straight husband and father. The successful professional man. The confident man the world sees. But there is also the bisexual man that try as he might could not shake off the demons of desire for male/male sexual contact. The man who had to fight and struggle to find himself.

    I guess, I was one of the lucky ones. Lucky in that I was truly bisexual. I was lucky that my wife truly loved sex and she was very very good at it. But in spite of her willingness and aggressiveness, more often than not it was me aggressively initiating sex with her. I couldn't get enough.

    But even though I couldn't get enough of her, being with her did not absolve me of the desire for men.

    My wife had no idea until I told her. Basically I told her because I new I could and I was tired of the lies necessary to cover the time with my buddy.

    I think I was also one of the lucky ones in that I came to see myself for what I actually was -- a married bisexual man. I don't think the man about whom you posted has correctly identified himself. I believe he is a married homosexual man. It makes a huge difference. It sets up a situation that is almost irreconcilable given her stated needs. He simply is not equipped to meet them as a homosexual man.

    Fortunately, it does not mean they can't be happy. They each can find happiness. They just can't find happiness together.

    Jack Scott

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  10. Cameron, great post! I am eager to read the followup. It appears to me that in this example, like many of the similar stories shared, that one key component lacking in this relationship is a foundation of trust. Without it, everything built on top will be on shaky ground. The other missing element is communication! This is obvious when two versions of the same reality are so divergent. Not that you can talk your way out of any difficulty; but honest communications enables you to get at the core issues, the needs of each member in the relationship. Once the needs are uncovered a pathway forward tends to reveal itself — that is if you are willing to let go of tightly held beliefs about marriage, monogamy, sexuality, and yes even desire. Thanks for such thoughtful material.

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  11. Women are jealous, too jealous for their own good. I think the husband here deserves credit for having never "placed an order" on the man-to-man sex side (I despise the word "gay"). The wife doesn't seem to want to give him credit for that. She's too upset that he's spending any time at all looking at hot guys. But looking is just looking. If the husband can continue to maintain the discipline of not going beyond that, and if the wife can give him the great times between the sheets that he describes in his account, I think that they can make this work. This is from someone who has done just that for the better part of a lifetime, and would not trade his current marriage & family for some chance at sustaining something with some guy somewhere for who knows how long.

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  12. You all made such excellent points that I can't think of anything to add or disagree with - with one exception.

    Dave - I think you're projecting too much of yourself on to the bisexual husband. Yes, he should get "credit" for being more honest than most men AND for remaining faithful to his wife, however, this marriage is certain to fail. Some bisexual men have the capacity to make their wives feel both loved and desired, and some do not. The bisexual husband in this case is a 'one woman bisexual' which means that once his marriage ends he will never have sex with a woman again. That fact doesn't mean that the love and desire he feels for his wife are not authentic, they are, but his experience is very limited. He WANTS to be a 'normal' husband but he literally cannot do it - and his wife knows it. In this case, any time the couple spends trying to make their marriage work is mostly a waste. He can't change who he is and she cannot be satisfied by him. The moral is that who you want to be, or who you think you are, is not enough to sustain a marriage, even when both spouses want it to work.

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  13. Give him credit? For what exactly? Since when should people get an award for not cheating?

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  14. I inadvertently entered into a 5-year relationship with a bisexual man though the last 2 years sex was practically non-existent. On his birthday he told me he met 'someone' and we broke up that day. I simply went to the park and asked him to pack his things while I was gone. Frankly, I was relieved. This was the first time in my life that I felt my partner did not really desire me (though he insisted he loved me) and it was very frustrating. When I returned he was gone but had left 'I love you' notes in every place imaginable - even the oven! Two weeks later he called and wanted to reconcile and admitted I was the best girlfriend he had ever had. I was stunned. I had no intention of reconciling with a man who did not physically desire me. I discovered that he had a second key and I would come home to a spotless house and fully prepared meals. I had the locks changed and then things turned ugly. He began to stalk me and leave threatening messages. The IT guy at work intercepted one of his threatening emails and asked if I wanted him to intervene. I discovered Russian men can be very cool. (LOL). Fortunately, I was from another state and decided to move back home. Anyway, he continued to maintain contact though my family for the next three years. They all liked him and I never told them the reason we broke up. Even now I hear from him occasionally. The point I'm really trying to make is that while our relationship might have seemed perfect in his mind, it was far from ideal in mine. If you are a bisexual man who desires a male partner while in a relationship with a woman, please respect her enough to leave. Bisexuality does not give you license to cheat and lie. I am sure you would not like it if the tables were reversed.

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  15. This is a real difficult and complicated subject. I was honest about being bi and enjoying pornography before we got married, my wife said she liked porn also and was totally Ok with how I am. I am a deeply committed husband and love my with more than anyone in the universe. We shared in our desire for each other both in words an actions...then along came menopause....something that simply happens in life. So, the desire stopped completely. Making advances was futile. With time came "I didn't understand what being bi is really all about (namely, sexual feelings that just are, pretty typical, only inclusive of both physical genders) and a sense of failure in sex because she can't be a man for me. Now, I know we both love each other as life companions totally. Unfortunately, now I feel a failure too. What if I had never told her I'm bi, would it make my love for her different? No, I adore her and always have. I did not choose to be bi, but I do chose monogamy. We all have fantasies but don't go out in the world and act on them. So, the complexity in honesty is that both spouses can accept each other based on limited knowledge and change with awareness. Its a tough one at best.

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    1. Someone please help me! I want to hear from more people like this. My boyfriend of 3 years and best friend for 7 years now told me a week ago that he was bisexual. I found online accounts and some porn. On the accounts he was having online sex with men. I'm terrified that he might be gay and hiding it. We've always had a deep love connection and I truly believe that he does love me. I wanted to leave him and he begged me to stay saying that watching gay porn every so often was enough. Before I found out, our sex life was okay but had died down a little bit. Now that he's told me I feel more connected to him on a personal level and the sex has been great. Our love though has always been strong. He does everything for me. He works and pays for me while I go to school. He puts up with my bitchy attitude. He says that he would rather die then ever be without me. The one thing that scares me more than anything is the fact that we are each others first. What if he wants to experience what it's like to be with a man. He tells me that he doesn't want to and he really is attracted to women more then men he just likes to look at porn but would never actually want sex. I don't know if this is the truth or him denying his own feelings. I'm terrified. I never thought that my life would be this complicated and painful. I really want things to work out between us. However, I can't trust him ever again and I don't want to waste my time with someone who ultimately might end up leaving me. I get on here and read stories about guys who truly loved their wives and just couldn't make it work and it scares me. He says he feels like a weight has been lifted off his chest now that he's told me. That's really great for him but now I'm worried constantly. I tried to talk him into doing different stuff in the bedroom...involving more stuff with his butt and he gets angry and doesn't want to do it! so does this mean that he really does just enjoy looking at it and talking about it or is he that far into denial. I'm so scared about our future.

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    2. Mackenzie - A bunch of people have responded to your request for help. Check out what they had to say in a post from August 2013.

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