Though I’m far from perfect when it comes to anonymous sex, infidelity and confusing sexual relationships, I recently took a stand with a friend that I felt compelled to share here (toned down, with names removed to protect those involved.)
As background, this friend has been married to a woman for the past 25+ years, with a son who is starting college. About 5 years ago, he “tapped” into his dormant sexual attraction to men and has acted out on the side on a regular basis with various combinations of single men and male couples (“friends with benefits.”). In discussing his situation, he has made comments like “I would never leave my wife at this point after 25+ years of marriage…” and “If I were to leave her, I’d probably never enter into a relationship with a man because I don’t believe two men can be in a monogamous relationship because after all…they are men. We are just sexual beings.” I guess he figured he could continue having his cake and eating it too, so to speak — maintaining the “heterosexual” image that society accepts, while pursuing friendships and sexual relations with men on the side. But, after being single for several years, struggling with my own sexuality in the past (but eventually coming to terms…), and knowing the ongoing debate around marriage, I felt compelled to finally speak up. I hope for his sake that he finds resolution one way or the other, and doesn’t continue to lie to his family, himself, society…and undermine the potential for a healthy, monogamous relationship between two men (or two women) through his own actions and hypocrisy.
I don’t know if he considers himself bisexual or homosexual, but for the record – I actually believe in bisexuality…that sexual attraction and intimacy exists on a spectrum. And, I imagine, it may even change for an individual over time…or at least their awareness and self-acceptance may change over time. And, I acknowledge that we all have a journey to come out. But, he didn’t seem that compelled to make any changes, and for that, I couldn’t stand silent.
These were my parting words:
Since you trashed gay relationships and said two men were a lot less likely to be faithful then a heterosexual couple because….they are men. Let’s get real dude.
Clean your own house. You made a commitment, for better or worse. If you’re not happy now because your sexual orientation has been awakened and you now need the affection of a man, do the honorable thing and get a divorce. Your wife is not in denial (well, she may be, but you’re contributing to that state…you’re misleading her, and for that I’m sad.) She wants to believe that you’re the man she married. You’re lying to her and that’s not her fault. You’re not sparing her the pain. You’re only prolonging it. It’s not fair to her.
How dare you imply two men can’t keep a relationship monogamous. It’s because the laws designed by hypocrites like you exclude us from being legitimized, while you run around and act out however you want. Since we gay men and women can’t get married in this State (yet…), I’d at least appreciate it if those of you who can get married would respect the honor and integrity of the vows that we don’t have the right to make.
And if you feel judged, that’s your own guilt. But yes. I think what you’re doing to your family is selfish and wrong, and gives us gays a bad name – if only indirectly, in passing conversation, or in your own mind/bias. No wonder homophobia exists today (including my own internalized homophobia and bias..) – society tells me everywhere that what I feel is wrong, bad, degenerate, unhealthy…if you hear that long enough, you start to believe it. Until you believe in yourself enough to stand up for truth and integrity….
I think of my friends Alan and Paul, Amy and Cathy, Mike and Jeff, Mike and Mark, Todd and Duane, Alan and Dave, etc. etc. who have chosen a family of their own, out and proud for the world to see. And then, I think of this infidelity on the backside, tearing us down and judging our ability to make the same level of commitment that a heterosexual couple does. I’ll tolerate growth and experimentation in one’s journey of coming out, but I draw the line at self-hatred and internalized homophobia. I choose to be around folks who, though far from perfect, strive for authenticity and integrity as best we can, amidst all the mixed messages and challenges we face…
Sorry for my anger…I feel like I’m back in college, taking a stand for basic gay rights. And perhaps I should be more supportive and tolerant of my friend who is perhaps simply struggling. But just for today, I have different needs…and with my own struggles, need more support and integrity than I do deceit and hypocrisy.