Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Black Hole that Ate My Rocked World

A few days ago, I had a 90 minute 'first date' phone conversation with a guy that rocked my world.

I contacted him first, after he visited my profile a few times.  He replied right away and asked if we could set-up a phone date for the following day, which we did.

The call quickly went from being typical and light-hearted to deep and intimate.  The point of no return for me was when he said, "I can tell that you are a very emotional guy whose passionate feelings are tightly controlled by a logical mind."  Although that description probably applies to many men, I was impressed by how perceptive he seemed to be.

With my analytical cover blown, I quickly surrendered my emotional self to his considerable charm.  What also got to me was how much we both wanted a deep, intimate, monogamous, life-long relationship.  Somehow, just talking about such a relationship made it seem possible, not just in theory, but with him, then, at that moment.  It was a wonderful daydream.  Not the usual daydream that one experiences alone, but a shared daydream that felt real.

Eventually, reality intervened and I told him I had to to feed and homework to supervise. We made plans to meet in five days, and as I hung up the phone, I was profoundly looking forward to that moment.

The next day, he texted me and told me that he was thinking about me and how much he was looking forward to our date.  I said I was too and that spawned an hour of back and forth messaging.  Although the texting wasn't nearly as intense as the phone call, I still felt very emotional about him.

Soon after we finished texting, when I was still somewhat giddy and aglow, my daughter entered the room to ask about something.  I don't remember what she wanted, but her physical interruption of my happy thoughts made me think about how I'd integrate my new potential boyfriend into my current life.  How would I change, and how would our family dynamic change, if I fell into a mad, passionate relationship with a man? What would the kids think as I skipped off to see him?  How long could I (or should I?) keep him a secret before telling them?  Surely, they would be happy for me, I thought.  But what about Gabbie? poor, sweet, and very dear mess of a former wife...

Her boyfriend Charlie has been working out of the area for months.  We comes home every other weekend for two days.  As horrible of a human being as he is, I know how much she looks forward to having him around.  It's not because he's so great, or even that she's so in love with him, it's because she's desperately lonely and feels very unloved.  Every night that he's not around she calls me and tells me how lonely she is, how unfulfilling her life is, and how much she wishes the kids would miss her just a little bit.  It's torture listening to her, and to make matters worse, I never know how to respond.  Sometimes I want to be very blunt and tell her that she created the life she has.  But most of the time, I just feel bad for her.  She's an outgoing, social person.  She's never really lived alone.  Her beloved dog recently died in a bizarre, tragic accident.  How can I not be anything but sympathetic and supportive?  I can't.  I just can't.

Gabbie is so unhappy about her life that there are only a few things that could make it worse - really awful things like the death of her mother, or one of our kids, or being diagnosed with a terminal disease herself.  But other than any of those horrible things, probably the very worst thing that could happen to her is if I fell madly in love with someone else.  My profound happiness would make her misery all the more unbearable.  This is because one of Gabbie's most unattractive traits is that she is a very envious person.  Her feelings of self-worth are directly related to how she thinks she compares to others.  So, in our post-relationship situation, nothing, absolutely nothing, would be worse to her than my euphoric happiness.  In her eyes, I would have everything: the kids, a comfortable life, and a great man, while she would have nothing: a menial job, no money, kids who hate her and a loser boyfriend.

In response to this information, a reasonable person would say, "Cameron, WTF is the matter with you?  You are not responsible for her feelings, especially her jealousy!  And you are not responsible for whether she is happy or not.  Why does it matter to you if your happiness makes her unhappy?"

Ummm....'cause I'm horribly co-dependent and from minute one of our 26 year relationship our dynamic has been based on my need to please her and her need to be pampered by me.

"Dude, you need therapy!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I've heard that before.  The problem is, I have to want to change, and for now, I don't.

One of Gabbie's biggest criticisms of me is that I am a weak person.  This is true.  I fundamentally lack the ability to be deliberately cruel to another person.  I'd rather suffer myself than punish someone who's made bad decisions.  Intellectually, I know that I should take decisive action and emotionally separate myself from Gabbie.  I should file for a divorce or an annulment (can you file for an annulment if you committed the fraud???) and I should tell her that our relationship is "business cordial" and not "best friends."  But I just can't do that.  I know how devastating those actions would be to her and so I can't do them.

This creates a huge dilemma for me.  How long do I plan on continuing my dysfunctional behavior and what am I willing to sacrifice in order to continue?  For example, am I willing to give up a potentially terrific new relationship, just so Gabbie won't be overcome with hate and jealousy because of it?

In the case of the man who rocked my world, making a decision about him was relatively easy.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he's a lot like Gabbie.  He expects absolute emotional and physical loyalty and would never have tolerated my codependent need to please someone other than him.  If we were to begin a relationship (which felt like something he instantly wanted to do), it wouldn't be long before he issued a "her-or-me" ultimatum and I'd be forced to either be mean to Gabbie or dump him.  Well, without a doubt, my decision would be to dump him.  The last thing I need is another codependent relationship.  One is enough, thank you very much.

Yesterday I messaged the guy and told him that I was not emotionally ready to begin an intense relationship and therefore I shouldn't meet him.  I went on to explain that I still felt too emotionally bound to my ex, and for that reason, it wouldn't be fair to him to meet.  He was furious.  He had a few choice words for me and ended his reply with, "Don't ever contact me again."

Um, ya...thanks for proving that you're exactly the kind of all-or-nothing person I never want to date.

Of course, I still felt bad about being a flake and for unintentionally leading him on, but as soon as I realized that we had no future, I felt the least-bad way to handle the situation was to be honest and risk his wrath.  It seemed to me that it would have been much more cruel to reject him after we met.

Anyway, what's far more important than that guy is that I'm faced with a long-run, fundamental problem: what to do about my relationship with Gabbie?  How long will I let my dysfunctional codependency continue?  How can I possibly tell potential dates that I want a long-term, committed relationship if I know that they'll be my third priority? (Kids first, then Gabbie.)

For now I don't have good answers to those questions.  Part of me wonders if I could emotionally separate from Gabbie if I had a relationship with a good guy that gradually built over time.  Another part of me wonders if she is the black hole at the center of my galaxy and the only way to escape her pull is to gun my engines, attain escape velocity (faster than the speed of light) and chart a course far, far away from her.

More often than ever I find myself fantasizing about moving 2000 miles away from her and starting a new life.  Doing that would seem to be so much easier than demanding freedom from our codependent relationship, but, it would also be a pretty radical solution that would affect the kids.  Maybe I just need more time to man-up.

Meanwhile, I don't know if I should continue to try to date.  My codependency might be the reason I'm not very motivated to try to meet someone.

Clearly, this is something I need to spend a lot more time thinking about.  Any and all feedback would be appreciated.

Monday, March 18, 2013

So, I'm trying to date again...

This is the third year in a row that I started dating in February.  Kind of weird.

The first year I gave up after a month.  I met two guys and quit soon after because I realized my heart wasn't in it.  I'd only been separated from my wife for six weeks and wasn't emotionally ready to move on from her.

The second year I dated for about ten weeks.  That went better.  I had nine first dates and met Dean, a guy my same age who also had three kids.  Unfortunately, he wasn't ready for a relationship and after four months we broke up.  It took me about six weeks to get over him and by then the holidays were starting.

So far this year I've been dating for a month.  What's odd is that I've only had one date, yet there are more guys who say they're interested in me than ever.  A lot of the problem is me; dating just isn't fun.  I find myself frequently making excuses not to contact anyone for days or weeks at a time.  I use excuses like, "I'll be busy next weekend so I should wait a week to contact anyone."  Or, "I don't want to juggle multiple guys.  I need to wait until I know what's going on with X before I contact anyone else."  I don't know why I'm not more motivated.

Dating this year has been an experience - and not a particularly good one.

As I said, I got off to a solid start; posting a new profile is always good for attention (fresh meat!)  Within the first few days I had three dates set-up with guys who I was attracted to and who said they were attracted to me.  In my experience having that mutual-attraction thing online is not very common.  I was pretty psyched.

My first date was with a guy I probably wouldn't have contacted on my own, however, he was reasonably attractive and his profile was decent so we set-up a date. At his suggestion we met for dinner.  I thought that was a nice change from the usual coffee date.

We happened to arrive at the restaurant at exactly the same time and in the three seconds that it took to say hello and shake hands, I decided that we had no future together.  Is that harsh?  Well, it's human nature. We all makes quick judgments when we meet someone new.  But that phenomenon aside, I had good reasons for not being attracted to him.  First, he was significantly older than his profile stated.  That was a double turn-off, once because he was a lot less attractive than his picture suggested, and second, because he lied.  The third reason I was turned off was because it looked like he was wearing eye liner.  I could be wrong about that, but even if I am, the way he carried himself was much more feminine than I expected. I try to be open-minded about the whole masculine/feminine thing, but with so many of my expectations dashed within the first few seconds, I couldn't help but be disappointed.

After saying hello we quickly settled into a relaxed, interesting conversation, so that was good. But then he annoyed me by making a big deal about his fake age.  It was bad enough that he lied before meeting me, but to keep drawing attention to that lie?  Lame.

Soon after that he irritated me again by ordering too much food for us.  Thankfully, once the ordering was done, the conversation flowed easily as we discussed a number of interesting topics.  What I'll always remember was that he was about 55 years old, but the longest relationship of his life had only lasted four and a half years.  And worse, that relationship was with a married man.  His longest full-time relationship lasted three years.  Depressing.

The other thing I'll always remember about this date was how, late in the meal, he informed me that he was unemployed and money was a big worry.  Really?  Is that why he wanted to meet for dinner instead of coffee?  So I could pay for a meal?  He never explicitly asked me to pay, but clearly that's what he expected; he didn't even bother to politely protest when I offered to do so.

All of this negative stuff may make it sound like it was a horrible date but it wasn't.  More than anything it was sad; sad that a man of his age had spent so much of his life alone, that he was so broke that he had to trick me into paying for a meal, and that he felt so compelled to lie about his age.  Needless to say, I won't be seeing him again.

Date number two was scheduled for a Saturday, at 1pm.  This was the date I was most excited about.  I really liked the guy's profile and I thought we had the potential to be a good match.  Unfortunately, at about 8am that morning he emailed and said, with profuse apologies, that a work meeting had been scheduled at the last minute and he couldn't meet.  He also said - and this is an exact quote - "Would you be able to switch our coffee to tomorrow? I'm really sorry about having to ask. I know it makes me look like a complete flake and/or that I'm not really interested -- both of which aren't true. Feel free to call if that's easier. My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX."

"No problem," I told him and I offered a couple of alternative times for the next day.  Although he gave me his cell number, I didn't want to call while he was working, so we emailed back and forth twice more that day but couldn't make anything work.  Late the next day I sent another message suggesting some days and times for the following week.  Well guess what?  I haven't heard from him since and it's been two weeks.

Date number three should have been a slam-dunk.  The guy responded to my first email very quickly but the second reply was much slower.  In an attempt to rekindle his interest, I told him that we work on the same small street in the suburbs, less than a half mile apart.  He immediately responded to that information and said, "We definitely have to think about meeting for a drink then."  THINK about meeting?  Whatever.  At that point I wrote him off.

Then, about two weeks later, I walked into the local grocery store and there he was.  Because I assumed he wasn't interested, I deliberately avoided making eye contact with him.  If he didn't want to talk to me then the last thing I wanted was an awkward conversation in the middle of the grocery store I use every day.  Well, wouldn't you know it, but the instant he sees me, he walks right up and says, "I know you!  You look exactly like your picture!"  We chatted for a few minutes, long enough for him to tell me how dating wasn't going well for him.  "It's so frustrating," he said, "Every time I meet someone and have a good conversation, I never hear from them again."  This guy was also more flamboyant than I would have preferred, however he was very friendly and easy to talk to.  He's someone I could imagine being friends with.  When our conversation came to a natural lull, I suggested that we should set-up a time to talk more in-depth.  He then immediately suggested a hike for the upcoming Saturday, and I said, "Great," and we finalized the time and location.  As we parted he said, "I'm going to email you tonight to confirm those details.  See you on Saturday!"  That was at about 6:30pm.  Did he email that night?  No.  And, in fact, he hasn't emailed since.  On the Thursday before the scheduled hike I emailed him, just to confirm that we were still going to meet.  He never replied.

Gay dating stories like these are hardly shocking.  If anything, they're the norm, not just for me but for many other formerly married men.  Because I know there are a lot of flakes out there, I really shouldn't be surprised by this behavior, and I'm not.  What I find so amazing is how these guys repeatedly lie about everything, even when they don't need to.  It's as if they go out of their way to make complete asses out of themselves.

Can someone explain to me why I want to date men again??

Monday, March 4, 2013

She says/He says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriagess

In the Win-Win for Struggling Bisexual Married Men, I outlined a method that discontented closeted men can use to find inner peace.  If implemented as described, a full range of outcomes are possible; one of those is a wife who cherishes her bisexual husband and their open marriage.

Recently, a straight wife read the Win-Win and left a scathing comment about how selfish, narcissistic, and untrustworthy married bisexual men are.  Her comment deserves a quality reply, not only because she's in pain and wants answers, but also because the things she says epitomize many straight wives' feelings and fears about their bisexual husbands.

In an effort to provide the woman a helpful response, I asked a bunch of men who are bi or gay and in open straight marriages to reply to what she says.  I specifically asked them to focus on why they felt their open marriage was fair to their wives.  A handful of the most interesting replies are below.    One guy answered her point-by-point, which made for a very long reply, so I've included that as a separate comment.

She says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriages
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 husband 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.

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.

He says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriages

Man One

My wife is the opposite of this woman.  She is genuinely happy that I am happy, which results in us being happy together.  

My coming out was a challenge but it didn't rock our marriage to the core. Our struggle was simply to help each other find a pathway to success. Our marriage evolved from “you are NOT having sex with men” to a marriage were my relationships with men are just sexual enough to keep both my wife and myself happy. 

I never pressured her to support me, especially at her expense.  My wife is a strong woman and there is nothing she does that she doesn't truly want to do.  My liaisons don't rip her heart out.  They are met with joy and mutual happiness because the resulting happiness around the house when I return makes both our lives together so much happier.  My wife learned this through experience, that's what baby steps are all about.  “If a little is good, more must be better” until we found the perfect mix.    

Those who make it to happy MOM are the exception, but for those of us who do, it’s worth it.  I personally believe the greatest challenge is knowing when to cut your losses and move on. If the ship is sinking why should you both go down with it? I don't believe it's narcissism to save my own ass if others are not willing to save their own.

Man Two

I think an aspect of the perceived invisibility of happy open marriages is that people who are happy with things are less likely to complain. In the first 2 or 3 years, my wife and I both were enthusiastic posters on various support sites while we struggled with our issues.  We started out participating in 3 or more groups: HUGS, MMOM, SSML, and another that dried up.  We quickly fled SSML where gay husbands were allowed to participate but weren't really welcome.  We left MMOM after we became non-monogamous.  HUGS was a mainstay.  It provided so much critical support for us for a long time, but now, while we participate in conversations there, we don't really have issues to raise so we might seem to be invisible.

My wife never joined Alternate Path because she has no need or time for it, as good a group as it may be.  The very fact that she can be outspoken about our MOM but is not on AP speaks to the fact that she has nothing to be unhappy about.

And though I have been out to her for nearly 11 years, I only joined this group less than 2 years ago when I was between CLRs and wanted some of the camaraderie offered here.   Beyond that, I would say I didn't/don't need the support per se.  Our MOM is a well-oiled machine ... it hits rougher patches like when I was between CLRs but operated very well in getting us through that, and sails along best on the CLR road.

Man Three

My wife and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary.  It's been 18 years since I came out.  While the first couple of years were definitely rocky, I know I speak for both of us when I say we are happier now than at any point in our marriage.  Both of us have evolved and I think with the passing of time, my wife has become more secure. I think her initial fear was that even though we had made a decision to stay married, she was concerned that at some point I would meet a guy who would sweep me off my feet and make me want to leave. We discussed this a lot in the beginning, because we both felt that if I was going to leave, it would be better while we were both relatively young. But neither of us wanted that and with each successive boyfriend she has learned that I'm not going anywhere.  Someone else summed it up really well:  There is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with. 

Man Four

Following the first couple of emotionally chaotic weeks post-disclosure, my wife and I realized we needed some sort of "operating agreement" even though we did not know where our future would take us.  That agreement included monogamy until otherwise agreed.  I very strongly wanted to remain together with my wife, and we couldn't see how non-monogamy would work, so I readily agreed to this "monogamy until" condition.  At the same time, my wife insisted we provide an escape valve:  if monogamy became untenable for me, then we would discuss how to deal with it, rather than me either going on the down-low or going back into the quasi-depression I had been in before disclosure.

I never had to use the escape valve.  The years that followed were so full of exciting personal development in many dimensions, that I was completely occupied by all that without being impatient for m2m sex.  Those dimensions included:

  •     developing a much higher degree of emotional intimacy and communication with my wife
  •     enjoying a renaissance of our marital sex life
  •     coming out in stages to more and more friends, family, and colleagues
  •     developing a social network of gay friends
  •     connecting to my local gay community generally, and to national equality and pride movements
  •     connecting with MOM friends on line and in person
  •     experimenting with some gay-related sex play with my wife
  •     using porn with permission, without guilt, and in moderation
  •     generally, developing my new gay "identity" without it being mixed up with the complications of gay sex, if that makes any sense.
My wife fully supported -- no, rather she helped push -- this re-envisioning of my identity in ways that included two key goals:  authenticity and integrity.  It also included fidelity, with the meaning that we understood at that time.  This whole monogamy period was an amazingly rich and valuable time.

Some time in the third year, when things had become very calm and loving for us, my wife had what she calls her "paradigm shift" which included at least two aspects:
(1) From the experiences of friends, she realized that a "side relationship" can in some cases be beneficial for marital stability, rather than destructive (even for straight people);
(2) She explicitly decided that given we were in a MOM, she wanted the next few decades to be a life built on generosity not fear, and abundance not scarcity.

On that basis she is the one who suggested I explore a Closed-Loop Relationship (CLR), with a MOM couple we had already known for a couple of years.  That led to a great 6-year relationship for me, and contributed to the stability and satisfaction our marriage gave us, and certainly provided a foundation for confidence about our future that helped us even when that CLR ended in 2011.

So, I realize that my case does not involve "long-term post-disclosure monogamy," but I think it does give an example of the possible value of committing to monogamy in at least a provisional (possibly indefinite) way, putting aside the fretful part of it and focusing on all sorts of other opportunities that may be offered.

In taking a second look at my bulleted list above, of all the great things that helped me develop as a gay man while monogamous, I was struck by the (not surprising) fact that they all would have been impossible if I had not been allowed to be open and affirming of my orientation both within my marriage and home, and/or in my community.  I expect I would have been very much more "itchy" for gay sex as a private or secret expression of my sexuality, if I had not had all these other modes of shared or public expression for it.  I am sure my wife, an exceptionally smart and insightful person, recognized that from near the start.

Man Five

I have been with my wife for 14 years and we have been open (mostly in theory rather than practice) for almost 4. Just recently my wife and I were sitting in the living room and she mentioned, sort of thinking aloud, while knitting, that she wished I could find a nice guy. This was out of the blue and unexpected, but welcome as it showed to me that it was something that she was so comfortable with that it was just a random thought floating around her mind, not weighed down by doubt or worry.

Now, I have to say that none of us can ever know for sure how our wives feel. We are not in their heads, never can be, and, frankly, I wouldn't want to be. All I have to go on is what she tells me and what I observe, which are both flawed since she could be fooling herself and by extension me as well, but it's all we have to work with and both have been pretty positive.

We briefly talked about this last night, and she got a bit annoyed since I have worried greatly about this in the past (yep, this narcissistic, reckless, selfish guy has been so concerned about the impact on my wife that she's tired of reassuring me that she's fine and dandy). If she were to paint her perfect world would it include me having sex with other men? No. But we don't get to paint our perfect world, do we? In my perfect world my wife wouldn't snore so much and cause me to lose sleep? Hell no. But when she offers to sleep in another room I just smile and tell her I won't hear of it. This isn't a perfect analogy, but my point is that living together is a balancing act which will never be perfect. We are who we are, but are also constantly changing, and the balancing act always needs adjustment to keep things going.

Man Six

I am peripherally involved in organizing a nude yoga/body electric weekend in my little community.  Because some of the participants are coming from several hundred miles away, I am hosting five of them at my house and am making dinner for the whole group on Saturday night.  When I discussed this with my wife, she smiled and said she would spend the weekend out of town with our daughter.

I mention this to demonstrate how far the gay thing and our open marriage have evolved for us.  When I came out eight years ago we went through a year or more of emotional roller coaster hell.  Initially, my wife was adamant that if I continued to have sex with men, our marriage would end.  Within a year, that gave way to a don't ask, don' t tell situation which, very recently, has moved light years ahead to where we are very happily enjoying a truly open marriage.

I think the main reason our marriage has lasted so long, post coming out, is that we allowed it to evolve - had either of us, taken an immovable stance, we could not have succeeded.  Another major factor is that our marriage was fairly strong in the first place.  Had we been in rough seas when I came out I believe the gay thing surely would have dashed us onto the rocks.  The third major factor was that my wife was very respectful and accepting of the gay thing - she never showed me anything less than respect, no matter how bad things got words like queer or fag were never tossed about.

Up until a couple of years ago, my wife presented me with a big bouquet of flowers every year on the anniversary of my coming out - she was grateful that she got me back from the cave that I dragged myself into several years ago.  I'm relating all of this, because I want to demonstrate that if the marriage is reasonably strong to begin with, a good counselor, patience, and time, along with mutual respect, a successful MOM can be created.

My thoughts on open marriage for mixed orientation couples

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of mixed orientation marriages (MOMs).  I'm somewhat optimistic about them if the couple is older and neither spouse has much hope or interest in finding another life partner. I'm also modestly optimistic about them if the couple communicates well and all the cards are on the table, including an agreement to be monogamous or not.  However, as soon as honesty and good communication end, then I'm very negative.  

Lies are a doomed attempt to create an alternate reality.  Anytime a spouse feels the need to repeatedly lie about who they are or how they live their life, they're moving the deck furniture around on the Titanic.  Lies temporarily hide awkward situations but they don't change the fundamental situation.  When a couple is truly happy with each other, and have a good relationship, then they're able to communicate honestly.  When they lie, they're doing so because they already know they're on a risky voyage, but they want to pretend that nothing bad will ever happen.

Would I advise a straight wife to seriously consider her bisexual or gay husband's request to open their marriage?  

Surprisingly, I would, even though I don't think most MOMs are a good idea.  

A request to open up a marriage is plea to communicate honestly.  When a straight wife says she's willing to consider the possibility of an open marriage, then, and perhaps only then, can the couple start to truthfully share what their deepest thoughts, needs and fears are.  And when that kind of communication happens, wives can start to feel less threatened and husbands more loyal.

The biggest mistake men make when they ask for an open marriage is doing so too soon after disclosing their same-sex attraction.  Once a husband's hidden sexuality is revealed, many wives fall into a deep depression where they question the authenticity, trust and love in their marriage.  It takes time and dedication on the husband's part to rebuild authentic trust.  Until that happens, why would a depressed wife grant permission to her husband to have sex with men?  She wouldn't.  

Ultimately, what the Win-Win does is build trust and confidence in the marital bond. And in those situations where trust cannot be built, that fact soon becomes obvious to both partners.  Either way, doubt is removed and the best path for the couple becomes clear, whether it's monogamy, an open marriage, or dissolution.

Please share your thoughts about opening up a mixed orientation marriage in the comment box below.