Sunday, March 27, 2011

Facing The Challenge

Though I am out to my wife. I am still very much in the closet as a married bisexual man.  One of the great things I like about being involved with an on-line Group of exceptional Bisexual Men and also writing a blog like this one is that it gives me the opportunity to meet many other married bisexual men and discuss our common interests, and concerns and triumphs. Some of you have become personal friends though we've never met face to face. I like that. Many of you have enriched my life just by getting to know you and know something about you. 

To those of you who linger in the shadows of the internet and read but never make contact with other guys such as yourself I cannot stress enough how much you are missing of the life you should be living. Reading about your bisexuality is a step in the right direction for sure, but it is only a tiny step towards what you should be doing to truly make the most of the live you were born to live.

I remember all too well the  years, decades, I spent in solitary pain and suffering. I'm a much much happier man now. That doesn't mean all the issues have been worked out by any means, but I have worked out far superior ways of dealing with all the issues than just letting them inflict pain on me.

You have to be discreet. You have to be cautious about not betraying your real identify. I get that. But that does not mean you can have no contact at all with other guys like yourself.

One of the friends, I met along the way is Martin. Martin is a homosexual man who was married at one time and who is a Christian. Like most of us who are married and/or Christian, Martin has struggled with his sexuality. But more importantly, Martin has made himself available to help those of us who are also struggling with their own sexuality. It was Martin who first urged me to attend a meeting of "Guys Night Out," a monthly meeting of married bisexual and homosexual men in the Houston area. At first, I was terror struck just to think of doing such a thing. What if I met someone I knew or who knew me? But Martin urged me to consider attending and finally I decided to do so.

I will never forget that first meeting. The group usually meets in a neighborhood bar which is a nice place filled with people taking a break on their way home from work or meeting friends for a drink. As I entered the bar, I was introduced to the guys who were part of our group. Perhaps Martin sensed my uneasiness, for he called my attention to a group of guys seated across the room and asked me what those guys were talking about.

I said, "Well I don't know. I can't hear them." He said, "That's exactly right. They are just guys having a drink after work as far as we know. And as far as they know, we are too."

It's been a lot of  years since I started attending those Guy's Night Out Meetings and I've never had a bad experience from them. I have met new friends there and I've met a heck of a lot of really great and interesting guys - lawyers, doctors, salesmen, information and data techs, teachers, mechanics, you name it. All just ordinary guys with their bisexuality or homosexuality in common.

You should be careful in exploring your bisexuality. But you should not be paranoid about it.

A few days ago a member shared something with me that I want to share with you. I've taken great care to purposely edit out many of the facts that might lead to someone identifying the young man whose story my friend shared with me. Its not his identity or the specific details of the story that are important, its the overall story that is important.

Sam is an  American wheelchair racer, who competed at the Olympic and Paralympic level. At the Summer Olympic Games, he placed in the wheelchair racing event.  Two years later at the Olympic Games, he finished in the top four in the demonstration sport of Men's 1500m wheelchair. He competed in four consecutive Summer Paralympics, winning a total of two gold and three silver medals.
Sam became a paraplegic at in his early teens after being hit by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. Only days after the accident, while still in the hospital, he watched a wheelchair race on television where young lady broke the world record in the 800 meters. Having been a competitive runner he immediately became interested in the sport and attended a camp for disabled athletes at the next summer.
While attending High School, he was a member of the school's track and field team. As a sophomore, he was allowed to race in a wheelchair division. As the only wheeler he often raced in mixed heats with runners, the wheeler and runner heats were scored separately. For his last two years of high school, however, the school barred him from competing in mixed heats with runners because of safety issues. Despite the fact that Sam trained every day with the runners in mixed practices, he was deemed "unsafe" during competition. Sam filed a lawsuit against the school system, concerning the right for disabled students to compete on their school teams. After he had graduated from the school, a Federal Judge ruled that school officials had violated his civil rights, as provided for in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, by not allowing him to argue his case. The judge did not rule on whether high school wheelchair athletes should be able to compete alongside or against their able-bodied peers.
Sam received an athletic scholarship to a well known University and was a member of the school's wheelchair basketball and track and field teams. He later moved to the southeastern U.S.  to work for an international company in their Worldwide Sports Department. He has been active in the American Association of Adapted Sports programs which oversees the partnership of leaders in education building a foundation for a national network of interscholastic adapted athletic programs.
Today, Sam still competes in athletic events and it was in one recent even where my friend had the privilege of meeting him. In my friends words, "Life offers some truly awesome and unexpected opportunities!" He considered it an awesome thing just to meet this young man who has refused to let life get him down.

When my friend was telling me about this young man it occurred to me that in a real sense, life itself is all about overcoming adversity. Fortunately, most of us don't have to overcome the type of adversity this young man has had to cope with. But all of us have had our own adversities to overcome. 

This blog exists because I spent too many years afraid to face the reality of my own Bisexuality. I don't think Bisexuality is by any means as hard a thing to face as being a paraplegic, but it does bring real challenges and sometimes real pain.

I have come to see that their are no perfect and certainly no easy answers for those of us dealing with Bisexuality. Certainly there are no easy answers for guys like Sam who are dealing with paralysis. But the only effective way of dealing with it is to face it head on just as Sam faced his paralysis  head on. He could have spent the rest of his life angry at his fate and doing nothing about it. Instead he faced it  head on and overcame it in a very real way.

There are many guys who have done that. Most of those guys have come to a point in their lives where they manage well.  I urge those of you who are still struggling with your bisexuality or your homosexuality to make good use of the help that is available to you. It can help a lot just to speak up and talk to someone who has walked in your shoes.

Live moves at an ever quickening step. None of us should waste time in coming to terms with our Bisexuality and the impact it has on our lives.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thoughts About Our Wives Side of All This

Yesterday was one of those days which bring a great and unexpected surprise. I enjoy the most blessed of lives. Everyday is filled with blessings, even the bad days. But its always  good to experience a day in which something great and unexpected happens.

One of the really good things about my life is interacting with all the guys I've met through the years and getting to know new guys along the way as well. Because I've struggled through the years with my own bisexuality and because I have extensively written about that struggle on line, I get mail from guy who have found something I have written which speaks to their own struggle with their sexuality and gives them new insight or new peace inside their own skin. They write to say thanks and to share with me a bit about their experience.

Its letters such as these that keep me going frankly. I have come to see my place in life as making men who are still struggling with their homosexuality or bisexuality aware they are not alone and there is someone who understands with whom they can candidly talk.

But while I get a lot of letter from guys, it is exceedingly rare to get one from the wife of a bisexual guy who is writing to say thanks  for what you are doing with your writing. Yesterday I received such a letter.

The lady wrote to tell me that she had been married a few years and that her husband had confessed his bisexuality to her before they married. She had gone ahead with the marriage but had never really understood exactlly what he was dealing with. She said that a couple of weeks ago he had happened to find my blog on line and had read every post. She said that what I have written touched her husband in a very positive way and enhanced his own understanding of himself and gave him a new sense of peace about his bisexuality that he had not had.

At her husband's suggestion, she had read every post in this blog herself and she told me that what I have written has helped her to understand, for the first time, what her husband is feeling and what he is dealing with. She thanked me for giving her insight into this part of the life she shares with her husband.

Without doubt, this is an exceptional lady. Not because she wrote me a letter of thanks, but because she knowingly and, evidently, lovingly took on a  bisexual husband and has endeavored to not only love him but to understand him. As I have said many times, most women are simply not equipped to understand their husband's bisexuality, most men don't even understand it.  For most women, sexuality can not be separated from love and emotion. For most men, sexuality is easily separated from love and emotion. It happens all the time, even with heterosexual men in regular marriages. To find a woman who can understand something about her husband's bisexuality and is willing to understand it in something other than a negative way is very unusual. It is very humbling for me to be told that I have contributed something postive to this woman.

Frankly, for a significant part of my life, I struggled with my bisexuality. Now that I have won that struggle, what I struggle with most is the role my wife is forced to play in my bisexuality. Like the lady who wrote me the letter yesterday, she knows. She understands the dynamic of it all. She knows I did not choose to be bisexual. She didn't sign on to deal with all of it though.

Yet, neither did I choose to have cancer; but it too has profoundly affected both my life and hers. Sometimes in my weak moments, I just think it seems so unfair that she and I should have to suffer through the effects, the side effects and all the implications that result from my cancer. But dealing with expected and unexpected issues is part of life and even part of the marriage covenant.

I'm in a  position in which my wife knows about my bisexuality. She's not glad I'm a bisexual because she's strictly a straight woman, but she accepts that I am a bisexual man. She has even said that she's glad I did not tell her before we married because she would not have gone ahead with the marriage and now she knows that decision would have been a mistake. In every way, our marriage has been a success and it is central to both my life and hers. She's glad now she did have to make a decsion at 18 years of age that she was not equipped to weigh.

Still, I know there are times when in the privacy of her own thoughts, she has a great deal of trouble with the issue and there are certainly times when I have a great deal of trouble with the issue, no longer for myself, but for her.

I deal with all this by trying my best to keep my bisexuality off the radar. As far as anything she might observe or be aware of on a day to day basis, I try to make it appear that my bisexuality does not exist, that I am the straight guy she thought she had married for the first 30 years of our marriage.

If thinking and wishing would lead to an answer to this dilemma, I would have long since come to a satisfactory answer for it all and would be sharing it with those of you who read this blog. If my faith in God could offer some insight into this intractable circumstance, there would be no need to be discussing it. Even after all these years of struggle and even after achieving a large measure of acceptance and peace with it all, I still, even now, sometimes ask myself if I'm just being obdurate. Couldn't I just change? Couldn't I just finally once and for all walk away?

But the answer that comes back to me is, that road is well trodden. I wore ruts in that road for almost 30 years and I was much less unhappy and much more at war with myself then than now. Now, I'm not really at war with myself, I'm not even at war with my wife. She is accepting and supportive. I'm at war in my own heart and soul because I wish above all else, that I could take this thing she has to deal with from her. But I can't. Not now, not ever.

I made the decision to tell her five years ago because I knew I could tell her and that our marriage would survive. I knew her well enough to know I was not risking our marriage. I knew her well enough to know she would not use what I was telling her as a weapon to be wielded against me with our kids. I knew it would all work out alright and it has. Its just that alright isn't good enough. Alright leaves her dealing with something I wish she didn't have to deal with. There were advantages for her in the ten years I spent with one of my buddies in which she didn't know the exact nature of our relationship. But there were downsides to her and to me too and that is the real kicker in all this. There is no where and no way to turn in which there is not a downside.

I am left, simply thankful for women like the one who wrote me the letter and like my wife who seem to be able to stand beside their husbands and continue to love them. There's much to be thankful for in that. In the reality that is life, no one gets a perfect draw. There are always some cards in the hand we draw that have to be played around. If we're lucky, we have a strong enough hand to just hold those problem cards close until we can win the game without them doing us irreparable harm or until we can sluff them off. The bisexual card can rarely be sluffed off. It just has to be held close and we have to play the other cards we hold in our hand well to build the life we want for ourselves and our families.

I'm thankful for the few wives who can and do have some measure of understanding and I'm certainly thankful for the one who took the time to write and tell me she found my thoughts helpful to her in dealing with her bisexual husband.

Honestly, I never thought about the fact that wives might be reading the thoughts I share here in this blog, but since I now know that it is a real possibility, perhaps I should offer one more thing to ponder. I built a very successful career in a very difficult field. I was, not in my opinion alone but in the expressed opinions of other people who mattered, very good at managing people. To be good at managing people one has to know and use almost every trick in the book. Some of them can rarely be used because the won't always work, but I found there was a time and place for almost every technique. One of those techniques which can rarely be used is to just not dig into something you don't really want to know about. Sometimes, though rarely, even if you come to know about something, its best just to act like you don't. In Texas we refer to that as, "letting sleeping dogs lie."

If your a woman who has a husband who treats you with respect and who obviously loves you, a husband who provides for you and treats you as the life partner you are, you've got to know that you are a lucky woman indeed. Many would change places with you in an instance. If you get to wondering for some reason if  there are things  your husband is not telling you when for the most part your life and your marriage are working out just fine, perhaps it is one of those rare times when you should be content to know that he does love you and is not going to intentionally put you or your marriage at risk. Perhaps you should not be too concerned about accounting for his every move and his every minute.

I don't have all the answers. I'm not completely at ease with any  of the alternatives. In the end each of us has to work out what we can live with and what we can be happy with. My wife knows. We both can live with that. We're happy in our marriage. She has asked me never to share details of my bisexuality with her, even if in a moment of weakness she asks.  I think that is a good thing for her and me both. But at the same time I am aware that it is an indication that she wishes this were something neither she nor I had to deal with.

Best wishes on figuring out your  own personal way of dealing with your bisexuality or your husband's bisexuality in as safe and responsible manner as you can.

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott