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:
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.
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.
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.