Friday, May 25, 2012

The Win-Win Solution for Struggling Bi-Married Men - Conclusion

There are two parts to the "win-win" solution for struggling bi-married men, one part for each possible win.

Here is a short summary of the steps necessary to obtain the first win, as outlined in this post:
  1. Recognize that your hidden bisexuality, and all the baggage that comes with it, affects your ability to have open, honest and intimate relationships with others, most especially with your wife.  The need to hide the truth causes you to be much more guarded, withdrawn and difficult to connect with than you otherwise would be.
  2. Initiate a conversion with you wife wherein you tell her that you have realized you've been more distant from her than you want to be; tell her that you are want a much more intimate connection.  Work with her to create an intimacy plan that will work for both of you.  That might include coming out to her as bisexual, but not necessarily.  It's an option that would remove a major barrier between you, however staying in the closet is viable too - you just have to work that much harder to foster intimacy without being 100% truthful.
  3. Dedicate yourself to implementing the intimacy plan.  The "win-win" will not work unless you are sincere about seeking emotional and sexual fulfillment with your wife.  Your efforts and attention should be warmly welcomed by her. As such, you should genuinely enjoy spending more time together and you should have more and better sex; intimacy is a huge turn-on for women.
  4. After an initial honeymoon phase, you may fall back into old habits.  The "win-win" is not a flip-the-switch solution.  Whenever you start to feel less connected to your wife, you need to proactively renew your intimacy pledge with her.  You won't find enduring happiness in any relationship unless you're able to easily reconnect, even when other pressures get in the way.
  5. Accept your bisexuality for what it is and enjoy who you are.  Reconnecting with your wife on a deep and intimate level should be so emotionally and sexually rewarding that your interest in men should wane somewhat.  But it will never disappear, nor should you want it to.  Denying or repressing one's bisexuality does not work.  Whenever you have the urge to fantasize about men, do it, unless you're having sex with your wife.  When you're with her do everything you can to be "in the moment" and focused on her.
  6. Give this first part of the "win-win" time to work.  A full year is ideal.  It's crucial that your determination to make this option work be unquestionable, either by you or your wife.  Time, sincere effort and raw determination are what will make this solution successful.
The purpose of the first phase of the "win-win" is to feel happy and fulfilled as a bisexual man.  That means feeling so pleased with yourself and your relationships that your sexuality is no longer an issue.  A natural by-product of being happy is that you no longer feel compelled to cheat.  Blogger Sean explains how that happened for him:
"I'm seeing things so much clearer now. I know the journey is still long, and for guys like me, always difficult. I know, BELIEVE me.  But I believe in what we have. My heart is hers, my mind is hers. I'm no longer tempted to stray."
Sean found fulfillment with his wife.  (Yeah Sean!)  But what if you try (and try and try) and it's just not happening for you?

Then it's probably time to move on to Part Two of the win-win...

The Second Win

The "win-win" solution is for struggling bi-married men.  It's for men who aren't sure whether their marriage will ever be satisfying enough for them; it's for men who often feel consumed by their attraction to other men.

The first phase of the "win-win" is a balls-to-the-wall challenge that pushes you to your limits.  Can your marriage ever be satisfying enough for you?  You must go 'all out' in order to find out.  Can you feel fulfilled without connecting with men?  The only way to be certain is to stop pursuing them and instead focus on your wife.

If you do these things with fierce determination it shouldn't take long before the fog of uncertainty lifts.  Either you'll find that successfully reconnecting with your wife is satisfying, or, you won't.

The focus of the second "win" is on turning a failure to reconnect with your wife into a permanent, positive change in how you feel about yourself and your attraction to men.  It's about moving past uncertainty and finding enduring happiness.

The first step is to acknowledge and accept that your straight monogamous marriage is never going to satisfy you.  Never.  Coming to terms with that fact should be empowering, because, instead of being bogged down by doubt and uncertainty, you will realize that one of two things must be true about you: either you are gay and not bi, OR, you are bi but you MUST have regular, intimate contact with men.

When a man realizes he is gay and not bi that is usually a watershed moment.  After years of denial, anxiety and uncertainty, he's suddenly filled with confidence and purpose.  Men in this situation tend to move quickly and decisively to change their lives because they finally know who they are and what they want.  Their struggle as a bi-married man is over.

The other outcome is just as empowering because it means you no longer wonder IF you can be happy without men in your life, but rather, HOW you can include them.  There are only two ways to satisfy that need, either you're open about it or you're not.

Asking for an Open Marriage

Normally when a marriage has an intimacy problem, there are two different explanations as to why: His Story and Her Story.  Because the couple can't agree on who's at fault, nothing ever gets resolved.  Instead, they declare an unspoken truce and thereafter avoid the subject.  With no communication, the marriage slowly becomes less and less sexual, and the less sex there is, the more distant the partners get from one another.

The first phase of the "win-win" changes this dynamic.  It forces the partners to communicate, to create a plan and to be sure that plan is being implemented.  As a result, if it is not successful, the cause is not a mystery.  There is no His Story and Her Story, there's only The Story - the tale of how one or both of you was never really able to step up to the plate.

When fault is clear and both partners understand that the marriage will never have a satisfying, intimate sexual bond, there is no better time for a struggling bi-married man to ask for an open marriage.  To understand why this is true you have to think about the situation from the wife's perspective.  Just as open communication and repeated failures to connect have convinced the struggling bi-married man that his marriage alone will never be fulfilling, those same factors have convinced his wife of the same thing.  Faced with that fact, her choices are the same as his: either divorce and hope someone better turns up, slog along and find fulfillment in other ways (often through children, work, friends and/or family), or, keep the good aspects of what they have and look for someone on the side.  When the options are presented in this way, most straight wives prefer to slog along.  However, once they witness their husband's extended struggle first-hand, and they see that he cannot find fulfillment within the marriage, an astounding number of straight wives will accept an open relationship.  Their philosophy is: as long as they get to keep the good aspects of their married life, everything else is negotiable.

I have come to this conclusion after spending the last 18 months learning as much as possible about the attitudes of straight wives.  To be clear, straight wives cannot be lumped into a single-minded group.  They have diverse opinions about their marriages, their husbands and their husbands' attraction to men.  But one quality they all seem to have in common is that they're extremely pragmatic.  When faced with a challenging situation, very few of them fall to pieces.  Armed with the facts, most straight wives are quick to see to the heart of the matter and to decide how much they're willing to compromise in order to maintain their marriage.  Money, stability and the fear of having to start a new life are all reasons why an amazing number of them will permit an open marriage. Also, just as bi-married men don't want to start all over and have to explain what's happened to their kids, family and friends, neither do straight wives.  So as crazy as it might seem, looking the other way is often a straight wife's least painful option.  No action on their part is required, and because they know the limitations of their marriage, they don't feel like they're giving anything away that they could have for themselves.  This makes the emotional cost of permitting affairs relatively low.

Other Outcomes

As I said, not all straight wives are the same.  Some of them will never, ever, under any circumstances accept an open marriage.  They don't care if their marriage will never be fulfilling, they intend to slog it out and they will only accept the same from their husband.  Some bi-married men solve this problem by secretly cheating.  Others slog it out.  And a third group slogs it out until they decide that getting a divorce is the lesser evil.

Another possible outcome is unconditional support by the straight wife when her husband comes out as bisexual.  Yes, it's true.  Some wives LOVE their bi-husband and they'll defend them and their sexuality with tremendous passion.  I think they do this because of love, but also because, once they understand that they can't meet all of their husbands needs, they can either view themselves as unworthy or unattractive women, OR, they can chalk up their imperfect marriage to their husband's struggle with bisexuality.  I should also mention that, as a general rule, the women who feel this way have pretty good marriages which is why they fight to keep them.

The "Losing" Outcome That Isn't A Loss
 
If a man pursues the "win-win" it's possible that his inability to intimately reconnect with his wife will cause her to decide to leave him.  A wife might also decide to leave because she doesn't believe her husband will stay monogamous, or, because she doesn't want to be married to a man who is sexually attracted to other men.

The fear of being rejected by their wives is the primary reason most struggling bi-married men want to stay in the closet.  Having been though the experience of being rejected by my wife, I have to say that it sucks - and not in a good way.  It really hurts to be pushed aside by someone you've been married to for a long time, even when the marriage is far from perfect.

It's taken me more than a year to adjust my new single status and I know I have more growing pains ahead.  The thing is, no matter how much being rejected hurt, the facts are: it happened, it cannot be changed, and I had no choice but to adapt.  I suppose I could remain bitter and angry for the rest of my life, but that wouldn't change anything.  So, as painful as the transition has been, I know I will be happier in the long run.  Although I continue to struggle with starting a new life, I KNOW I don't want to be with a woman who doesn't love me enough to fight to keep me.

The bottom line is, the fear of rejection should not prevent anyone from trying to make the most of their marriage by implementing the "win-win."  If it doesn't work as expected, then your marriage was obviously not what you thought it was.  Once that lesson is learned, it's better to move on sooner rather than later.

What's Special about the Win-Win and Why It Works

On the surface, the "win-win" might seem unoriginal.  Some have said it's no different than trying to pray away the gay.  Although it's true that phase one might seem that way because it's all about trying to find genuine fulfillment with your wife, phase two makes it so much more than that.

The reason some bi-married men struggle is because they're afraid of the unknown.  Some worry whether they might really be gay, and if they are, what that would mean to their families and to their existing life.  Others worry that they can never be honest with their wives because the truth would have a permanent, disastrous impact on them, their wife and their family.

What's special about the "win-win" is that it eliminates uncertainty, and it does so without triggering disaster.  For those men who fear they might be gay, the "win-win" asks them to step up to the challenge, to go all-out to woo their wives.  If they're bisexual they should be able to make a good connection.  If they're gay, they're never going to be satisfied with a woman as a life partner.  Either way, the uncertainty is gone and a happy resolution is found.

For men who fear telling their wife they are bisexual, the "win-win" does the telling for them, but it does so in a non-threatening way.  Usually, struggling bi-married men who want an open marriage fight a long battle within themselves to keep that desire hidden.  When they lose that battle they're often emotionally exhausted and that causes them to blurt out the desire to their wife.  Because they're caught off-guard and because the news feels like a personal rejection of them, straight wives almost always react with anger and hurt.  The confession makes them feel undesired, unworthy, used, lied to, and tricked, among other bad things.  When a man blurts out that he wants an open marriage, the response is almost never positive.

In comparison to the "blurt out," the win-win is a very gradual process.  The initial promise to rekindle the couple's intimate connection and the requirement that the struggling bi-husband constantly communicate provide the straight wife play-by-play coverage of her struggling husband's journey.  This means that when the promised intimate connection fails to materialize, she already has a good understanding of what's going on.  She won't necessarily know that her husband is attracted to men, but she will know that the couple's intimacy problem lies with her husband and not with herself.  That information is fundamental.  As I explain above, once straight wives know the facts, most of them are willing to negotiate just as long as they get to keep the aspects of the marriage that they like.


Two Warnings

Now that I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the win-win and writing it up, I doubt any reader will actually try it.  However, for the sake of any struggling bi-married man who might take the "win-win" seriously, I feel compelled to issue two warnings:

1.  Do not attempt the win-win if your goal is to "get" your wife to accept an open marriage.  Although trickery can sometimes work, I have found that most straight wives know bullshit when they see it.   Being lied to and tricked does not make them happy.  The only way the "win-win" works is if the first phase is pursued with vehemence, persistence, and sincerity.  Women are extremely sympathetic to men who try their hardest and fail.  They are not at all sympathetic to manipulative assholes.

2. Do not attempt the win-win without telling your wife what you're trying to do.  One of the fundamental premises of the win-win is that women will negotiate problem areas of their marriage IF they know all the facts.  If you don't tell your wife that you want a more fulfilling, intimate connection with her, and that you are going to work your ass off to make that happen, she's going be very suspicious of your sudden interest in her.  More importantly, if rekindling the intimate connection fails, she needs to know that you were doing your very best and there is no possibility that "things" will magically improve in the future.  Basically, the win-win works because it makes the husband's struggle visible to the wife without laying the blame at her feet.  In order for that happen, the effort needs to be announced and regularly discussed.

Conclusion

I'm glad to finally get this posted.

Any questions, comments or complaints?

Thanks for reading!

17 comments:

  1. Obviously, quite a few men will read this post and disagree with you vehemently. Some may comment. Most, of course will not. They will just mark you as crazy.

    As for me, I say congratulations. I didn't think you could but by george you did it. You have thought through and written up a win-win scenario in concise simple language.

    That doesn't mean there aren't still some problems. For me after almost 30 years of struggle, stage one (more or less) worked for me. I was a truly bisexual man. I was secure in that knowledge and I had an exceptionally strong and rewarding marriage which included all the exceptional straight sex I wanted and could handle. My wife could and did regularly rock my world. I truly love her and she truly loves me and when I came out to her, she loved me enough to accept my meeting my needs in a safe and sane manner.

    Many married bisexual men do not have such a relationship and so they will have to go to the more complex steps. The problem with that is, frankly, though you have stated it as concisely as I think is possible, it is complex and many men simply won't read and reread it for full understanding and then attempt to implement it. They'll decide it is just easier to muddle through as they have been doing.

    I did appreciate your conclusion that the win-win scenario can work with a man being open about his sexuality or with him maintaining his secret. I think that part of the situation has to be a personal decision. It is much to complex and multifaceted for anyone to give advice to someone else about that they consider a must.

    The fact that the more complex steps can work have been confirmed to me by two very close gay friends who were married for many years but eventually though the process you describe came to see they were not bisexual but homosexual. As you suggest the realization of that was so overwhelming and so self enlightening that both saw the need to divorce and live openly as gay men.

    The final thing that I want to add was covered by you in general terms, but I want to put it in specific terms. Sometimes women cannot physically satisfy their husbands because of health issues. This causes some women to turn a blind eye to their husband's outside activities. However others seem to feel if they are forced in to non sexual lives their husbands should be too.

    Thanks for a great post and a lot of thought and work.

    Jack Scott

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    1. Jack - Thanks for your thoughtful reply and also for pointing out some important gaps in what I've written.

      I think a lot of people are going to be happy I'd done with the advice/theoretical stuff for a while. You and I share an interest in it but not many others do.

      Anyway, on to new and possibly more interesting things!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  2. I need to reread this when I'm less tired. Although, my initial reaction is wondering where I am on this thing. I'm still trying to figure out where the win-win is. On the other hand, I think this is a commendable work, and I also wonder where you are on this whole thing.

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    1. The "win-win" needs a flowchart. Maybe then it would make more sense. In a nutshell, one win is connecting so well with your wife that you don't want to bother with men. If that doesn't work then maybe you're gay (and you're glad to finally realize it), or, you've proven to your wife that your marriage has permanent limitations and that makes her willing to accept an open marriage, or, she dumps you and you later realize that happiness doesn't come from conditional love. These are all wins because they end your internal struggle. You're off the fence and moving in a direction that feels right for you, and, if there are negative consequences, you're ok with them.

      Based on your posts, I'd say that you haven't begun the win-win process. I think you're in the midst of typical turmoil EXCEPT that you're out to your wife which many men are not.

      If you want to give this a try you need to begin with the initial conversation where you take ALL of the responsibility for the intimacy issues in your marriage. This is essential because it puts an end to the go-nowhere-cycle-of-blame which is where you two seem to be now.

      Take responsibility for everything and then ask her to make a plan that will get your marriage to where it needs to be for both of you, as a monogamous couple. Once you agree to the plan you're both accountable to it. The plan is extremely important because it represents what each of you needs from the marriage for it to be completely fulfilling. If either of you can't deliver it doesn't mean your marriage is over but it does mean expectations need to change and/or compromises need to be made. What those accommodations need to be should become clear after repeated failures within the plan.

      I hope that all makes sense!

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    2. I agree in that there seems to be a "win-win" if 1. you reconnect with your wife and ultimately realize that you are truly bisexual and fulfilled by her, OR 2. you attempt to reconnect with your wife and realize that you're gay and will never be satisfied by a woman.

      In situation 1, you are reconnected with your wife and understand that men are not enough of a force of attraction to take you away from her - both parties are fulfilled (a "win-win"). In situation 2, you realize you're gay and (most likely) would end the marriage, with the man pursuing men and the woman being relieved of the stress in knowing that it was the husband's sexuality that caused so many of the problems. She would also most likely pursue heterosexual men (a "win-win" for both parties, again).

      However, I'm unclear how it is a "win-win" if the wife is willing to accept an open marriage. It would seem to me that it's certainly a "win" for the husband, but how is it a "win" for the wife? According to how you explain it, most women are settling when they 'accept' an open marriage. They are doing it for the sake of saving the good parts of their relationship, while ignoring the bad parts. Do you have any friends with first-hand experiences where the straight wife is truly happy (a "win" for her) with an open marriage?

      You make a very convincing argument in that this is ultimately a "realization process" for both parties, but the outcome I brought up above is one that I'm not quite sure is a true "win-win".

      -Ryan

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    3. Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for taking the time to ask such an important question.

      You're right that most women who accept an open marriage do so reluctantly. My guess is that many of them would prefer a monogamous, sexless marriage to an open, sexual one. Because the wives are making a big compromise it's reasonable to ask how that's a 'win' for them. I wouldn't call it a win so much as a draw. The reason it's not a lose is because the wives have the power of choice and can therefore determine their own destiny. They can leave at any time. I define a 'draw' as living a compromised life that includes a mix of benefits and liabilities. There must be benefits otherwise the wives would not stay.

      The 'win-win' designation mostly applies to the bi-husband. He pretty much gets what he wants with no or minimal compromise on his part.

      I think most men would not accept an open marriage in which only their wife cheated. Men are so egotistical that they won't take sloppy seconds. I know I feel that way. You probably do too, which is why when you put yourself in the wives' shoes, you ask such an important question. But for whatever reasons, women are different and are definitely more willing to accept an open marriage. I don't personally understand the appeal for them, I just know it's true.

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  3. Yes, I think this needs a flow chat...at a minimum. I'm thoroughly confused.

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    1. I could make a flow chart but instead I'll be glad to personally explain it to anyone who is seriously interested. Email me at random4780@hotmail.com.

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  4. "Cameron":

    This is your friend from across the Bridge.

    As you know, I doubted the wisdom of your trying to give advice on this subject, but I have to say that this is good stuff. One very seldom sees anyone discussing this, let alone thinking it through as well as you do. Sexuality is more fluid than many people would like to admit, and there certainly is a difference between channeling ones own interests and "praying away the gay."

    Having said that, I have a few criticisms that I hope you will find constructive.

    First, your advice would have had more impact if you had done some more writing about yourself first. As you know, I've read this entire blog, and you have vacillated on the whole subject of bisexuality. You used to have a description of your blog that was something like "Gay. Straight. Bi. I've Been All Three." Then, not all that long ago, you were arguing (rather unpersuasively IMHO) that few if any men were truly bisexual. And now, in the comments sections of your recent posts, you've indicated that you are moving away from the need to label people's sexuality but that you're trying to find a man.

    Second, I have to wonder whether you yourself would ever have taken your own advice if someone had given it to you, although I suppose there is something to be said for hindsight.

    Third, in you toss out "open marriage" as a feasible option when, for whatever reason, the first part of "win-win" doesn't work out, but you haven't really offered any evidence that it works or that it's anything other than the husband's license to cheat on his wife. Are marriages ever strengthened because the spouses had outside seuxal or romantic partners? Considering that you offer compelling examples of how committing to fidelity can strengthen marriages, the absence of positive examples to support this part of your argument is telling.

    Having said that, I would, again, like to commend you for the job you did tackling a difficult subject. Good job!

    -- "Anonymous"

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    1. Anonymous!

      Long time, no hear. I hope you've been well. Thanks for saying hello and for commenting.

      You say my advice would have more impact if I was clear about my label. Or at least, if I didn't appear to vacillate about my own sexuality. It's hard to say whether this post will have any meaningful impact on anyone (doubtful, but I don't want to be too negative), but if it does, I'm not sure how much my label matters. I've found that people of every sexuality like to be critical of each other's definitions. My tactic is to try to avoid the subject as much as possible. Arguing about definitions is unlikely to change anyone's mind and it's certainly not going to change their sexuality.

      If you're asking me how I label myself I'd definitely have to say I'm gay except when I'm bisexual. When I'm neither of those, I'm just a smart ass. :-)

      The only way I would have heeded my own advice would have been if someone had explained to me that my wife was horribly dissatisfied and my marriage was in jeopardy. You'd think she would have told me but she never really did. She sometimes complained about symptomatic issues but her comments were never clear enough that I put the pieces together. I know I took her loyalty for granted and that's not a mistake I will ever make again.

      The reason I would have ignored my own advice would be because I wouldn't have thought I needed it, not because it was bad advice. As I say in a recent post (I forget which one), one of my biggest regrets in life is that she never gave me the chance to try to win her back. I can easily accept losing when given a chance to win. I can't accept being told I've forfeited the game before I've been at bat.

      I love this question: "Are marriages ever strengthened because the spouses had outside sexual or romantic partners?"

      I can't answer it. I'm sure SOME marriages have been strengthened but I've never been privy to the intimate details of how and why. I'm not going to condemn open marriages, but I personally am skeptical of them. I see the decision to opt for one as a universal positive ONLY because both spouses put their cards on the table and saying "no" is always an option. I have faith that when a straight wife agrees to an open marriage she knows what she's doing. Of course she could later change her mind, that's her prerogative.

      Thanks for the kind words, Anonymous. They mean a lot coming from you.

      "Cameron"

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  5. A draw? I think you are stretching to say it is a draw. It is also a stretch to state that women are different creatures and therefore would be likely to go along with such a selfish 1 sided scheme.

    if anything I should think that the wife will be for the contents and her husband is selfish and is using her to get what he wants without consideration for the devastating effect will have on her.

    essentially the selfish man who request this says well you and or a lifetime of life roommate and I'd like you to continue because I highly doubt that a man with an open marriage is going to be completely honest about what he is doing and with whom and where is money is going and where is time is going and all of those things that he promised her her.

    if the wife might go along with it reluctantly you can darn well bet that the husband continues to live in fear of losing everything so in essence nothing has changed only he gets to have sex with men. any man or woman who truly loves their spouse would never ask them to accept such a humiliating and soul destroying situation. love would never ask that of a person even if that person agreed to it. love you would require that he gay or bisexual man and the marriage.

    and if you think about it further what the man is doing is asking the wife to not only live a lie but a project that lie to those around her.

    unfortunatelt, what I take away with your supposition that the last chance is an open marriage is that bi men are selfish. throughout the marriage they have lied to their wives and stolen from them their time and a chance of having happiness with someone else. and being such a loving and un selfish person they're going to continue to steal and cause harm. this proposition is nothing but a twisted justification.

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    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Anonymous.

      I see that you're not a fan of open marriages. Neither am I, in most situations.

      I think your criticizes are pretty fair, particularly as they relate to the typical way a bi-married man proposes an open marriage to his straight wife.

      What I'm advocating is a process that is very different from the typical. It begins with the husband taking responsibility for the lack of intimacy in the marriage and it continues with him doing everything he can to find fulfillment within it. If he makes a sincere effort, and fails to find fulfillment, his wife will also "feel" that he has failed. It's at that point, and at that point only, that I'm suggesting an open marriage as an option.

      SOME women will accept an open marriage, particularly when all the cards are on the table. In the context of the win-win, those who are accepting do not feel time is being stolen from them. They know what they're doing and why they're doing it; they have their reasons for wanting to stay married.

      As for my contention that women are more willing than men to accept an open marriage, this is based on first hand experience. I participate in a large on-line forum that is largely populated by straight spouses who are married to gay, lesbian and bisexual spouses. I am constantly amazed at the number of women who WANT to stay in their mixed orientation marriage, even if it's an open one. I'm sure some men would accept a one-sided open marriage (I did) but I have YET to see one say as much on this forum. Therefore, in my experience, women really are much more willing to accept an open marriage than men are.

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  6. Dear Cameron,

    Thank you for taking the time to put this post together. I found it a very interesting read, although I do think the term "win win" is a bit worn out and a little misused. I share the other readers’ concern for straight wives who "choose" to accept open marriages : I have yet to hear of such a person being truly happy. One could also argue that open marriages are seldom discussed by people who live them, especially women. Maybe in a few years ?
    I apologize in advance for the occasionally awkward words ahead : english is not my primary language.

    I am a struggling bisexual man (first time i've ever put this in writing. ever.) In the summer of last year, I got to a point where I was extremely stressed out, angry all the time, screaming at my kids for the littlest thing and basically feeling miserable. I was (still am) also fed up with my job, which is what most people around me think is responsible for my bad mood. My wife, with whom I’ve lived for over ten years, felt I had deeper issues though and recommended I look for help.

    I’m now meeting once a week with a therapist who on my first appointment instantly made me “spit out” my attraction to men (I was also intent on getting my money’s worth, and felt no need to beat about the bush…). So yeah, I’m attracted to men, and always have been, and never acted on it in real life (not online). I also have a deep bond with my wife and enjoy having sex with her very much (although as you probably guessed, sex is infrequent – our very little kids and the resulting fatigue also make a convenient excuse-that’s-really-also-true)

    Before I read your blog, we’d already decided to take a shot at rebuilding intimacy. It’s still a recent, fickle initiative and unlike your approach I have not taken full responsibility for the lack of intimacy in our relationship (she always blames her lack of sex drive – I say I’m partly responsible but do not elaborate). But thanks to your post I’m now really viewing this as an opportunity to be happy, instead of just an attempt to save my marriage that will, inevitably, fail (I’m still depressed and not naturally optimistic so any support is welcome). I also understand what may come next if this approach just doesn’t work, which makes the future a little bit less scary, although my feministic upbringing makes the prospect of an open marriage intellectually unappealing.

    I’d love to have your thoughts on related topics, such as discussing bisexuality with gay men. I haven’t discussed my sexuality with anyone except my therapist and although some people very close to me are gay, I’m afraid of being categorized as simply a closeted gay men right away, and being judged and advised on that perception. What is your experience in that regard? I have a hunch out&proud gay men would dismiss the first part of your win-win approach. What do you (and your readers) think ?

    Thanks again for sharing your experience.


    Anonymoose

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  7. Hello Anonymoose - Thank you for reading and posting your comment. I'm very impressed with your English. I'm sure I couldn't match your skills in your native language!

    Are there women who are truly happy with their open marriage? Yes. I've spoken with a number of them myself. They all have the same basic attitude - that love is a good thing and the world can always use more of it. If it makes their husband a happier, more complete man to have a "friend" on the side, that makes them happy too. Do most women have that attitude? I don't think so. I think most of them take their marriage vows very seriously, and, I believe that most of their self-worth is directly linked to their husband's attitude about them. A cheating husband makes them feel horrible about themselves and therefore they can't abide by it.

    With respect to the attitudes of gay men about bisexuality: in my experience, there are all kinds of people in this world. As much as we can empathize with another person's experience, none of us can truly walk in another man's shoes. For that reason, most of us assume that OUR feelings and experiences can be applied to others. There's an old joke about Jewish grandmothers who think all their favorite TV actors must be Jewish just because they like them. Some gay men are the same way. My friend Chet thinks huge numbers of celebrities are gay (including Mark Zuckerberg), and he's so convinced he's right that there's no point arguing with him. So, yes, there are plenty of gay men out there who would say "bi" doesn't exist. But does it really matter what they think? Your friends are your friends if they support you and take the time to understand you and your situation. Trust your instincts when it comes to opening up with them. The odds are that at least one of them would make a good confidant.

    Another resource that you might find very helpful is a married man's support group. They're common here in the US. After being very skeptical about such groups, I made my obligatory one-time visit back in July and shortly thereafter realized what a terrific group it is. Even if some of the men now label themselves as gay, they've all been in long term relationships with women. Therefore, I really "get" them and I feel like they "get" me, in ways that straight men and always gay men cannot.

    If you'd like to talk more, please feel free to email me. I'm not sure that corresponding by blog comment is efficient for a long and/or detailed conversation.

    Thanks again for reading and saying hello!

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  8. What percentage of women, married to formerly closeted men, are openly happy with their lives after their world is torn apart by the proposition of an open marriage? You know of some. What is the ratio? I doubt it breaks into the double digits and not without struggling and trying it "his" way. Do you read sites where women are devistated or do you stick with sites that bolster the selfishness of bi- men to be happy at the expense of their wives?

    The other bi-men's blogs I have read pull out what I see as a "poor me, I deserve special treatment" card, like a bi- form of affirmative action. Does being bi- go hand-in-hand with narcissism? How about recklessness? Selfishness?

    Fear of abandonment is another excuse. Don't tell cause she won't like it... She might leave or, for the cheaters, also catch on to that lovely aspect. But heaven forbid the wife faced with the news that her husband likes boys feel that same fear of abandonment. She isn't supportive or understanding rather than the truly devistated person she actually is. So does bi- also come with a lack of empathy?

    There is no win-win. It is a lie bi- men tell themselves to be able to live with their CHOICES.

    From most of what I have read, bi men are far more likely to cheat than not, and to gaslight their wives, which is cruelty beyond measure. Spending a year trying to rebuild something that was never strong due to lies that destroy trust is like the guy who has a GF going to marriage counseling just so he can say he tried. Yet he never stops seeing his affair partner so his trying is a sham and another brick in the wall of manipulation and self-delusion.

    If the bi- man continues to see other men there is no real effort to connect.

    You married with all of the info. You spoke the words. Honor them or accept that you aren't bi. You are a person without regard for others who just happens to be bi.

    Nothing on any of these forums makes me feel ok about being married to a bi man. Notorious liars. Understandable reason. Unacceptable behavior. All a choice, not imposed by external factors but instead acted upon by flawed integrity.

    I love my husband but if he cannot honor the vows we made, he will find himself divorced. He has always lied. As far as I am aware, never acted on his attraction to men. We play at home. I will always feel inadequate even though I get turned on and have fun. I love real penises so why wouldn't he? I get it. But if it goes farther than just us, it is over. I didn't sign up for this. BUT HE DID.

    That's the biggest difference.

    And yes I am upset. I have no idea how this will work out in the end. My h is struggling. I am, too. I want him to be happy. But if that requires extramarital forays, he can't be happy with me and therefore I can't be happy with him.



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  9. Continued....

    The just sex argument I hear so often is another point of contention with me. Why do bi men love anonymous or non-invested sex so much? Afraid of intimacy on both sides of the fence? Seems like it. Dear wife - with you it is love but with him it is just sex. Is anything truly sacred that is treated like spitting on the ground? Treating him like an object, how does that make bi men endearing to their wives or anyone for that matter? I'm just using him. But you are special...

    Bi men have problems coming to terms for sure. But most of the real problems they face are of their own making.

    Own your sh*t. Stop asking everyone else to accept what you yourselves could not accept. We haven't had the years you have had to get your head around it. All of the sudden you are willing to "share" and we are supposed to be right there beside you.

    We always wondered what was wrong, blamed ourselves. You knew what it was. Not freaking fair. Not even close.

    Open marriage? Many of you have already had one. Just not BI LATERAL.

    Get your heads out of your asses and accept the damage you've caused and stop inflicting yet more pain.

    And get some psychological help for the shitty way you treat people. That's where you really need to focus. Stop thinking with your dicks. Grow up. Become decent human beings in all facets of your lives.

    I would say this to anyone who behaves this way.

    Using bisexuality as an excuse is pitiful.

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