A Psychotherapist can't do that. He/she has to gently guide patients to identify and choose the right path for themselves. As a blogger, I don't have such limitations. I can and do get pretty blunt in telling people who are unhappy with their lives what they can do to put things right.
I've known my friend Bill Woods for 6 - 7 years. When we met, Bill was a very unhappy man; and unfortunately, he was resigned to being unhappy. He actually planned to spend the rest of his life as an unhappily married homosexual man.
Last August, my wife and I attended his marriage ceremony to his partner John. It was a wonderful ceremony. John is a great guy. He and Bill complement each other's personalities well. John is one of those guys who no one would ever identify as gay. He lives in a small European village where everyone knows he's gay because he chooses for them to know, and the force of his personality makes it a non-issue. Everyone sees him as a friend and neighbor.
Bill is more reserved, but just being with John brings out his wonderful personality and allows him to contribute his own valuable attributes and personality to interactions with John's friends. John's friends are a friendly, rowdy bunch; and they get a lot of fun out of teasing the American. Bill enjoys the hazing.
However, he is quick to say that even now, in the midst of the happiness he never expected, he is still trying to dig my Texas boot out of his ass. I planted it there over and over again throughout the time I've known him. I never tried to take the easy route with Bill. He needed to be pushed and he responded well to being pushed. Now, he's enjoying the rewards that come from being willing to respond to the push and work for a new life.
Bill is one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, the majority of people I meet will admit they are not happy. They say they want to start a new life. But the reality is they are not willing to do the work, and they are not willing to make the necessary changes from what has become the norm for them. The reality is, they, like most Americans these days, are risk averse. It is a National epidemic! It is so deeply intrenched in our National psyche that one of the recent presidential candidates actually said in his campaign speeches that people had to vote for him because if they didn't, who was going to take care of them? I was utterly appalled at that line; and I know that my father was spinning in his grave, for he spent a good 18 years of his life pounding into me the understanding that no one was going to take care of me. I had to take care of myself. My father was a Texan who wore boots too. Figuratively speaking, that boot was inserted up my ass many times. His belt across my butt was not figurative at all. It was sometimes a reality.
I didn't much care for my Dad as a kid. Now, I know it is because of him that I am who I am. Most of what I have accomplished in life, I owe to him and my Mom. They made me the realist I am. It is not often easy being a realist in an idealistic world. And part of being an enlightened realist is understanding that the world needs idealists. It is the idealists who dream of how things could be better. But it is always the realists who filter through those idealistic dreams and decide which ones can and should become reality. Trouble comes when we have a deficit of realists and a glut of idealists. Anyone can dream dreams. It takes some real talents to change dreams into reality. In today's America, we definitely have a glut of idealists and idealism and a huge shortage of realists and real solutions to our many problems. The PC (politically correct) Americans hold the reigns of power currently and the country and the world is the worse for that.
I'm a big fan of Country Music. I like it because Country Music is all about the philosophy of life and human relationships. The men and women who write Country Music are adept at shining light on the realities of life. The following song is currently playing on Country stations. It really illustrates a facet of what I'm talking about.
Drinking beer can be lots of fun; but as a lifestyle or a career choice, it's not likely to benefit ones self or anyone else. Yet, people make equivical choices all the time. They take the easy way out. They avoid the more difficult options even though the more difficult options are much more apt to bring greater rewards. People are so funny in that way.
And its the same for bisexual guys and gay guys who are unhappy in their marriages. Even though they are unhappy, the easiest route for them is to stick with the devil they know rather than risk the devil they don't know. People are just funny that way. My best friend is one of the worst I've ever seen. We've been friends half our lives; but where I'm always ready to embrace change for a possible pay-off, he'll do anything possible to avoid change, no matter how great the odds are for a pay-off.
I think a lot of married guys fail to realize that if they are unhappy in their marriage the reality is that their wives are unhappy too. In reality he would more than likely be doing her a favor to allow her the chance to start over again. More than likely she is sticking it out because she is risk averse too.
I look back on my life and wonder that I ever grew up. Risk was a part of my daily life. The country side around me was dotted with pump jacks and rod lines as well as the generator stations which made them all work. Riding pump jacks, walking rod lines and sneaking into the generator stations was an almost daily thing for us. If we couldn't get into anything close to home we'd jump on our horses and ride down to the river or some other inviting nuisance (dangerous but appealing thing) that is always so magmetic to young boys.
We didn't wear seat belts in the car. We didn't wear bike helmets. We didn't wear knee pads or any other protective gear. Did we get hurt? Of course! I almost cut off my left hand in one escapade. My brother did manage to scalp himself in another. Broken arms and legs and noses were common place, but that was expected from active boys. Most of us survived.
I feel sorry for my grandson. He's not allowed off his street at an age when I was roaming for miles and miles when I was a kid. Yes there is great risk, but there is also often great reward for a boy in taking risks. True, sometimes the risk wins out and he faces the consequences. But I'm afraid we are teaching many of our young kids that risk is to be avoided at all costs. These risk averse kids grow up to risk averse adults. It is changing what it means to be an American. American exists because our forefathers risked everything they had including their lives and their fortunes for the betterment of the country.
Many of the things which have made my life so successful came to me at great risk. Without the risk, I would not be who I am or where I am today. Even now, years later, looking back some of the risks I took scares the shit out of me. Truth be told they scare me now more than they did at the time because I'm older and wiser and better appreciate the potential loss in the risk.
However, as an older man in the final chapter of life, I also know that we only have this one life and to live it unhappily when happiness could be won is tragic. Happiness is such a grand thing. Happiness is something every person should know in his or her life, but happiness will never come without risk. In fact few good things come without risk.
Increasingly, we live in a country divided into two classes, the haves and the have nots. The have nots increasingly resent those who have. They often feel life is cheating them out of the good things of life which should be theirs. They fail to recognize that the people who "have it all or a great part of it" faced great risk to gain what they have. They fail to realize that success can never be granted. It always has to be achieved and the achieving comes with risk.
So it is for those of us who are gay or bisexual and married. There is no easy road for us. There is only a risky road. I would never flat out tell a guy that he had to out himself to his family and start over. That has to be a very personal decision. What I do tell guys all the time is that happiness will never come without risk. Each guy has to carefully calculate the risk for himself and know when to take on the risk. And risk does not usually demand only one course of action. I know guys who came to realize they needed out of their marriages. I know more guys like myself who felt they just needed some time for themselves within their successful marriages. I know of several other paths involving risk that have worked for other guys. I know of no one who has found fulfillment in their lives without risk.
But people are funny. Sometimes they miscalculate the risk on purpose as an excuse to stand still. I talk to guys all the time who are not particularly religious. They smoke, get drunk, lie, cheat on their taxes, break the speed limit when they drive and get into other vices which are are sins in the eyes of the church. Yet when it comes to acting on their bisexuality, they suddenly are staunchly religious. That makes no sense from a practical standpoint and it is a perversion of Protestant Christian religious dogma which holds that all sin is equal, not some great and some small.
The funny thing is that society is funny too. A great American recently admitted to an affair. He put himself out before the people for judgement. The funny thing is, most of the people judging him have more than likely had their own unadmitted affairs. In many parts of the world mistresses and affairs are a part of life, always have been, always will be.
In America, realists like myself know the same is true here. The idealist know it too, they just don't admit it. It's such a funny thing.
The only thing I'm saying here is that life is too short for chronic misery. Figure out what will make you happy and go for it. You'll face some risk. You may even face a bit of added misery, but in the end you at least have a chance at grabbing the brass ring. Many who have tried have succeeded. Not a single one who hasn't tried has ever succeeded in grabbing that brass ring.