Dear Mark, I am married to a wonderful woman and we’ve been together for four years. We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and she is pregnant with our second child. My problem is that I’m beginning to realize I may be bisexual. I have never acted out on it but have always thought men to be attractive. I struggled with it for a while in hight school and even went to a counselor who said it was just a phase. I wrote it off after I met my wife and fell in love. And I really am in love with her. I just can’t stop thinking about men. I don’t think I even want to be with a man as it would jeopardize our marriage and I want to be faithful. I’m afraid to bring this up to my wife because she may come unglued. I have gotten on the internet and even done some research. That is how I came across your column. I have found other people like me are not that uncommon. I have even been in a few chat rooms but have stopped it at that. Should I talk with my wife or just let it alone.
This is a difficult situation. If you talk to your wife you run the risk of derailing your relationship with her. However, if you don’t discuss your feelings with her you begin to develop your “secret life” away from her and it could cause many problems. You have been able to rationalize to yourself that you are doing nothing wrong. On paper, you would be correct. But the fact that you have been in some bisexual chat rooms (and most likely talked with others who may or may not be interested in you sexually) already falls outside the confines of an “honest relationship”. If your wife found out about your internet experiences she would be upset.
My advice is usually that honest communication with your intimate partner is always the best route. I believe that as well here. However, I think you need to explore your feelings a bit more beforehand. My suggestion would be to get to a therapist and talk through some of what is going on inside. There are many happily married bisexuals out there….some practicing and some not. Your journey is to find out what path is right for you and your wife. At some point, fill her in on your feelings and work out her reaction together. How this will unfold is anyone’s guess. Your best guarantee for a happy ending is to be true to yourself and your wife.
Of course, you can continue to “explore” on your own without telling her. However, this will lead to emotional distancing between you. There is a chance she will begin to suspect something and do some investigating on her own. you may even be tempted at some point to act out with someone you meet in one of those chat rooms. This is a recipe for disaster as it could deeply alter the level of trust between you and your wife. You still have her trust at the moment. I say do everything you can to hold on to it.
One of my best friends is gay. We’ve been friends forever and it’s been a great friendship. His sexuality has never been an issue between us. I believe that people are born the way they are and that’s that. You love the person and not their orientation. I read a gay newspaper for craps sake. I’ve always hung out with his other gay friends and he has hung around with my straight buddies. There has never been any sort of problem. Except recently.
We were dancing one Saturday a few weeks ago. It was a mixed crowd and I was having a blast. My friend and I had some with three other gay guys. One of the guys in the group I could just tell had sort of a “thing” for me. This was not new territory as some of his buddies in the past had developed sort of a crush on me. I admit I took it a little far that night. I had been drinking and I flirted back with the guy. It as fun and, I thought, harmless.
Well, the guy started getting his hopes up and has been talking to my friend about wanting to go out on a date with me. What’s more is my friend is beginning to ask me questions like “are you sure you’re not gay?” I’m starting to get a little frustrated. How can I handle it?
Dear Gary, I sounds like you have a little misunderstanding going on. You have to admit how some people could interpret your actions. You’re in a gay/ mixed bar with friends flirting with a gay man. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck…..usually is a duck. This is not to say I believe you are gay. I just want you to be clear about how others around you may interpret you behaviors. I’m also not saying change your behaviors. You sound like an evolved person who does not conform to ordinary standards. I commend and respect that in a person.
Just be clear to the people in your life about your feelings. And know that you may have to cut them some slack from time to time for not completely understanding your reactions. For example, why did your friend only ask you now if your were gay when you had been hit on before by other gay guys? Was this the first time you flirted back? If so, you must understand why he may be a bit confused. Take some time and explain it to him.
Sexuality is a fluid creature. I don’t particularly believe in labeling a person. Gay/straight/bisexual or whatever. Most people, however, feel more comfortable with some sort of label. When you step out of that label you run the risk of confusing these various people in your life.