Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Struggling Bi-Married Men and their Wives - Part Two

Below are two more stories from bi-married men who decided to improve their lives by going "all out" to re-build a deep and intimate connection with their wives.

As is true for any relationship, these marriages continue to grow and change. No one can say for certain what the future will bring, but for now, these guys are very happy with the results they're seeing.

Story Four - "Giving the relationship my all"

I wrote about this couple in A Bisexual Husband: He Says/She Says, which was a fascinating post. In it the husband and wife each spoke candidly about the problems within their marriage. In some cases their perceptions were so fundamentally different that you had to wonder if they were talking about the same marriage. Clearly, if something didn't change soon they were not going to make it. Sure enough, a short time later the wife moved out. The pain of losing his wife caused the husband to examine himself and his attitudes. He saved his marriage by re-dedicating himself to her.
Lately I've been plugging in more and more into the relationship for many many a reason. I want to be able to understand her, for a while we've not been able to communicate. I want to be able to read her, emotionally and sexually because more often than not she throws herself at me and I'm none the wiser. I'm plugging in because I want to fuck more often and learn to appreciate it, as I often feel lonely afterwards. I'm giving the relationship my all.

I've made a commitment with her to not let things build as they did and behave naturally in real time instead of keeping it bottled. We're slowly allowing the world to turn again, and it's made a world of difference. We're sharing, listening and most importantly laughing again. I don't know if she's physically doing something or if I'm just seeing her again, differently. I start to see her as she is or the girl who I set out to marry.

I have more things to put into the bisexual perspective of my life plan. What does this mean to me, how vulnerable/delusional can I allow myself to be, what about men, what about my sexuality... What if this feeling doesn't last.

Fuck it. Is all that I can surmise for the time being. Feel the love, feel the closeness and deal with the bisexuality stuff when it arises again in the very very near future. Part of me wants to allow myself to find out how real this marriage is and how close I can get to being complete within it. Not warding off men, I don't know if I could ever do that.
Like many bi-married men, this husband vacillated in no-man's-land for an extended period of time. He's not gay, he's not straight, he loves his wife, he's attracted to men. He felt stuck and unsure of how to find true happiness.

He doesn't realize it, but by "giving the relationship [his] all" and by finding out "how close [he] can get to being complete within it" he is engaging in the "win-win" solution. Now, no matter what happens, he will be free to move forward with his life in a positive direction.

Story Five - Redemption

In January I made a new e-friend, Sean, who emailed me to talk about a number of issues including how he was struggling with his sexuality.

Although Sean knew he loved his wife of 11 years and found her attractive, their sex life had dwindled to almost nothing. Even more troubling to him was his relentless attraction to men. More and more he wondered if he was gay, not bi, and whether that meant he had to break up his family.

Here's an early post from Sean's blog The Pastor's Closeted Son wherein he describes his situation:

Karen and I have been married for over 11 years, and together almost 13. Most of that has been happy, except for my increasing attraction to men. Sex is a rarity, although it's not just me. She has issues from previous boyfriends. By and large though, it is me with "the problem". I WANT to be more turned on by her, but I'm just not, even though she's still attractive to me! I mean, if we start making out and get into foreplay, then yes, I'm hard and I want it. But just looking at her or any woman? Usually nothing. However, guys turn my head CONSTANTLY.

I'm so afraid of losing this. I love my wife, she's my best friend. I don't want to tear our home apart. These kids are my LIFE.

I feel like a selfish ass. I should have been more honest with myself years ago. Yet, had I not married Karen, I wouldn't have my kids! How the fuck could I wish they didn't exist? And what about Karen, who I DO love?

The problem is I want to make love to a man. I've had very little sexual experience with men, always a quick random hook up, mostly before I was married. I'm not interested in that anymore.

I want to be with a man.

I want to be with my wife.

What the fuck.
Sean and I exchanged emails for a few weeks and even connected once by telephone. Like other bi-married men, Sean's biggest problem was not his sexuality but rather his bleak view of his options. With so many conflicting desires bouncing around in his head he couldn't imagine that there was any way to choose one and be happy.

I told him that indecision was his greatest enemy and that, in order to know what he truly wanted, he had to dedicate himself to one outcome and see where that lead him. I said, "Pick one option and embrace it as if your life depends on it, because, really, it does."

Determined to find happiness, Sean initiated a bold conversation with his wife wherein he confessed his deepest feelings. At first, she reacted badly and Sean was certain his marriage was over. Then, as they talked more, he explained that he wanted to deepen their relationship, not replace it. That changed the direction of the whole conversation and literally saved their marriage.

In the weeks since their breakthrough Sean has periodically updated his readers with his progress. Here's one recent entry:
Things with Karen continue to be great! Our sex life keeps getting better and better. I don't know wtf happened, but now, I can't get enough. She has actually complained about me wearing her out and needing a break!

I still find it odd, to desire and enjoy straight sex so much. Whatever! It's been really fulfilling for us both. And fun.

All that being said, I'm still very bi, even though the old 80/20 percentage doesn't feel like it applies most days.
The point of these two stories (and the two from the prior post) is to show that some bi-married-men are able to find genuine happiness by earnestly committing themselves to a true, deep and emotionally intimate relationship with their wives. It can be done!!

The critics and cynics will find these stories unconvincing. They'll say, "It's temporary! All they're doing is pretending to be someone they're not!"

I am much more optimistic. I don't think it matters what a man labels himself, provided that BOTH he and his wife are willing to do the necessary work to stay intimately connected. Yes, even an 80/20 gay/bi man and a straight woman can share enough of the right kind of love to sustain a mutually satisfying and sexually active marriage.

But let's say that I'm wrong. Let's say that a genuine commitment to true intimacy is not enough to sustain a fulfilling mixed-orientation marriage. Well that's ok. Because once a couple KNOWS that love is not enough, that opens the door to an entirely new set of options, and at least one of those is certain to work. I'll try to explain how that is possible in my next post, part two of "The Win-Win Solution for Struggling Bi-Married Men."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Struggling Bi-Married Men and their Wives

Below are two examples of men who have successfully reconnected with their wives in spite of their strong sexual attraction to other men.

These stories show that some struggling men can find happiness by implementing the first part of the "win-win."


Story Two - No Regrets

An email exchange on a listserv for bi-married men:

Man One:
Well it's been about 5 weeks since I revealed my bisexuality to my wife and it seems that she cannot get enough sex. Just wondering if any other guys had similar experiences post disclosure and if their wife's increased sex drive lasted.

Man Two:
I say the same thing happened to me, I think part of it was almost relief that it came out. Its been 4 years and the honeymoon phase still going on

my wife initially had nothing less than a thermo-nuclear meltdown. After about 4 weeks, it became insatiablity at its finest. Our sex life really blossomed, and I think it was for a couple of reasons:

1. she feels closer to me because I have told her my innermost secret and darkest truth. She knows me through and through to a degree that other couples can only aspire

2. while I told her about my days in college when I played with guys, I have done nothing in our 12 years together with another man. [not for lack of fantasy, I will tell you that!!!] However, it has opened a new door to sexual exploration for us. We are still monogamous, but the things we do in bed have taken a turn and we have broken free of the rut that so many couples begin to find themselves after years of monogamy.

there comes a time in every bisexual man's life when he must be true to himself. He cannot just dream it or pretend it away; if he is married, then he owes it to himself AND his wife to be open and forthright about the who and the what he is. Either she will stay, or she will leave, but either way, you will be honest to yourself and therefore ultimately happier.

It's easy for me to say all this in hindsight, but I can also tell you that I was a mental and emotional rollercoaster until I came OUT to my wife. It was hard for awhile; lots of tears, lots of yelling, lots of anxiety. However, once the dust settled, I would never go back to pre-OUT. I'm bi and it makes no difference in my work or my parenting skills. But I will tell you, it makes all the difference in my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect.

Story Three - Transformation

Below is a married, closeted man's story, as told in his own words.

This first quote is him ruminating on his options as he struggles with his long-term marriage.

I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this concept of “options”.

I know that an option is to stay married and faithful to my wife. Period. I have tried that option for the past 25 years. Not sure that it is working all that well for me. I am gay. I am finding it increasingly harder to deny this part of who I am. I would change it if I could. I can’t. In some ways, I wish I could just permanently bury this part of me. I just can’t seem to figure out how. Suppose it’s stupid to even try.

There is the option of leaving my wife and leading a life where I can be true and accepting of who I really am. This one I understand. The transition would be painful. Very painful. But on the others side of this transition, I could lead a true and authentic life. This is the path that seems to make the most sense, but also seems to have most intense burst of pain to get there.

It’s the middle ground that I am having a hard time with. In one respect, a solution would be to stay married, but be allowed to experience my gay side. Open marriage if you will. I am not sure how I could be honest with my wife and make this happen. I have heard that there are often “rules” for these types of arrangements. For example, you have to tell your spouse who you are with and what you did. That sounds a lot easier said than done. I think I would still feel guilt over my actions and the telling part would make it worse. At the same time, not telling feels like more of the same old barriers that are tearing my apart right now.

What happens if I fall in love with a guy? Then what? I split my time between my wife and my boyfriend. Guess that’s good for me, but seems totally unfair to both of them. And in the end, it might not be so good for me either.

How about the “closed loop” option? I stay married and have one “special friend”, perhaps another married guy. Maybe this works. He has a wife, I have a wife. We fulfill our needs with each other and have a relationship that is more than a one-time hook-up. Sounds like it could be ok. But where do you find the right guy to get into this type of relationship. It seems that most married guys like me are hanging out pretty deep in the closet.

When I get down to it, the whole thing seems pretty “black and white”. Stay married or don’t. Everything in the middle just muddies the water and causes more pain and confusion. Life is full of “shades of gray”, but I am having a hard time seeing them here.

Two months after writing about his options, the man decided he couldn't live in the closet any longer. When he came out to his wife he didn't know what he wanted. He'd had some tantalizing connections with men but also felt a strong emotional connection to his wife.

About a month after coming out, he shared this update:
Since having the discussion with my wife, the world seems to be spinning faster than ever…but in a good way. Sometimes a day seems like a month. One of my hopes was that my wife and I would be able to cycle through the most difficult parts of this journey quickly. We indeed seem to be making this happen, which is great.

I have tried really hard to give the issue of repairing my marriage the time that it needs. I am glad that my work and travel scheduled has allowed this to happen.

My wife and I have been talking more and at greater depth than at any time in our relationship. The conversations are deep and meaningful. I really feel like she understands me and I am understanding her. The only bad part about all of this is that, perhaps, we should have done all this a long time ago. On the other hand, the things we have experienced make us who we are….and right now I would not want to change that.

My wife’s full acceptance of me makes me love her even more than ever. Our sex life has gone from recently nonexistent, to passionate, sensual and exciting. For a while, I did not want her to really even touch me. Now, we can’t seem to get enough of each other. Incredible!

Having said all this, it has not been all sunshine and roses. We have both had to process a lot of really intense emotions. There have been times when her anger has been intense. She is upset with herself for not being there for me during this dark time. I keep telling her that is something that I didn’t allow her to do. It’s really my fault, not hers.

She has also been very angry that I broke our marriage vows. She fully supports me experiencing who I am; however, the fact that this has occurred without us talking about it in advance is a big issue. I really need to work hard to regain her trust and faith in me.

On my end, I am working hard to be expressive of my feelings and be sure that I am communicating with her at a deep and honest level. There have been times when I have not been sure what I am feeling. It has taken awhile to really figure out what I am feeling and why. It has not been easy and at times we have shed a great deal of tears. They seem to be necessary for both of us to heal.

The next chapters are yet to be written. We have talked some about boundaries. As we make our relationship work, we both know that we need to be totally honest and we need to be on the same page as to what is and is not acceptable. It’s not totally clear what the future looks like, but it does look pretty good. I am definitely committed to being a complete person and sharing all of who I am with my wife. Since the big transition day, she has been consistent in her support.

These words really don’t come close to capturing the highest highs that I have ever experienced in my life. They have definitely happened. At the same time, they also don’t capture the pain, anger and turmoil that we have both felt. The intensity of all of these feelings has, at times, been overwhelming.

Can I have it all? I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to trying.

Many bisexual men are afraid to come out to their wives because they don't think the news will be well-received. They're afraid of losing their marriages and destroying the lives of everyone around them.

In the above two stories, these men came out to their wives and, indeed, their marriages were severely tested. However, because they broke down old barriers and sought to deepen the bond with their wives, their marriages not only survived but flourished.

Women cherish intimacy. It seriously turns them on. Wouldn't most straight men love to be able to say this after 25 years of marriage?

"Our sex life has gone from recently nonexistent, to passionate, sensual and exciting. For a while, I did not want her to really even touch me. Now, we can’t seem to get enough of each other. Incredible!"

The cynics and skeptics will inevitably ask, "Will these marriages last?"

Or they'll say that these periods of happiness are temporary and the men will return to their struggle later.

My response is, "does it matter?" These couples are far happier than they were before.

Besides, the beauty of the "win-win" is that if the first phase doesn't work, the second phase will.

Either way, the "win-win" is the best possible way a struggling bi-married man can find enduring happiness.


A post-script:

Because the pivot point in both of these stories is the husband coming out to his wife, it might appear that I'm suggesting that struggling bi-married men come out to their wives. This is not the case.

As stated in my post about the first phase of the "win-win" coming out is NOT required.

Unfortunately most struggling bi-married men never consider the possibility of addressing the intimacy problems within their marriage EXCEPT within the context of coming out. Although the two ideas are often tied together, coming out is only ONE WAY of bridging the intimacy gap. There are others, as detailed in the many marital self-books that are available at local libraries.

Just to be clear, I'm going to repeat this statement once again: coming out is not required to successfully implement the "win-win." However, recommitting to true intimacy within the marriage is.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why the Bi-Married Man "Win-Win" isn't bullsh*t

In response to my last post, The "Win-Win" Solution for Struggling Bi-married Men, Nick from Fort Wayne, Indiana said, "This is bullshit! This approach sounds one step removed from pray-the-gay away, I've tried both (your win-win above) - it does NOT stop the inner conflict, it may push it down for a period, again & again, but each & everything it comes back front & center, it returns with even more force than the last time, ultimately something has to give/break. Your win-win then just becomes a delaying tactic for the guy & the wife has been drug father down the proverbial rabbit hole, believing she has an influence over this own scenario."

Nick was not the only critic. Austin said that my advice fails to address the fundamental, underlying problem: a lack of sexual attraction. "I'd posit that many problematic 'bi' marriages seem to be based on the notion of 'I really care about her and love her, so maybe we can pull this off even if I'm not sexually attracted to her' - that's the original problem, and you're just suggesting they go right back to it as the solution."

Actually, I'm suggesting that they go right back to it FIRST. Soon I will be posting a Part Two to the "win-win" solution and that will (hopefully) explain how a struggling bi-married man can find enduring happiness even when the first step is a flop.


Like many straights and gays, Nick and Austin are skeptical about married men who primarily have sex with men and call themselves bisexual. The phrase, "bi now, gay tomorrow" comes to mind.

I'll admit that I can be very skeptical too. I've had plenty of now-gay men tell me that they once believed they were bisexual. The thing is, labels are irrelevant in the context of the "win-win." The twin goals are happiness, or, happiness. Labels don't define happiness, people do. So...with respect to implementing the "win-win" it doesn't matter what a guy thinks his orientation is. All that matters is that he be determined and sincere when doing it.

The most warranted criticism of the "win-win," at least as I've presented it so far, is that I did not offer any evidence that it works. Well, this post and the next several are intended to offer proof that it can work. I'll be sharing six stories, and my own, about men who did (or are) implementing the first phase of the "win-win" solution. Decide for yourself if they seem happy...

"Win-Win" Story One: Regret

What originally caused me to think of the "win-win" was my own situation.

My wife was never very clear about it at the time, but after we split up I learned that she felt very unappreciated and undesired by me. That made her feel empty and dissatisfied.

The only clue she sometimes dropped was to complain that I didn't pay enough attention to her. I never understood what she was talking about - we were always together! Too bad I didn't know then that "time" and "attention" cannot be substituted for true intimacy.

As for my own satisfaction while we were together, I found it.

Getting naked, being affectionately expressive and sharing an orgasmic high with another guy made me think that hooking-up is what made me happy. And it did, for a little while. But what I most wanted, what we all want, is regular, hot sex with someone who makes us feel special - someone who touches our soul in the deepest, most meaningful ways.

For many years, I tried to find that special connection with a man. Then, on one unremarkable Spring day in 2003, I realized I was chasing a fantasy.

Once I accepted that I was never going to get what I wanted, the need to hook-up faded away. Weeks went by and I realized that I was happier NOT hooking-up. It was a huge relief not to have to lie and hide and feel guilty. More than that, it felt good to behave honorably.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never tried to pursue the same kind of life-changing, heart-stopping emotional connection that I wanted with a man, with my wife. If I had tried, would she have felt fulfilled by me? Would she have put more effort into our relationship? Would we be happily together for the rest of our lives?

I will never know the answers to those questions and that makes me very, very sad. In spite of her many flaws, it is impossible to imagine that I will ever find a man who I will love more.

My story isn't exactly an example of why the "win-win" works (those stories will follow), but it should serve as a warning to others. If you explore with men, your marriage will suffer, even if there is no obvious conflict. Likewise, if you cheat but never pour your heart and soul back into your marriage, you will forever be at risk of losing the one person you always expected to be by your side.

Sometimes you get a chance to salvage what you had, but not always.

Sometimes there are no second chances.