Here is a short summary of the steps necessary to obtain the first win, as outlined in this post:
- 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 The need to hide the truth causes you to be much more guarded, withdrawn and difficult to connect with than you otherwise would be.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"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.
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.
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.
I'm glad to finally get this posted.
Any questions, comments or complaints?
Thanks for reading!