Tuesday, August 20, 2013

So You're Bisexual or Gay and Married - Now What?

I've spent years writing to gay and bisexual men encouraging them to look at their lives with a large dose of introspection and strive to come to peace with who they are. I'm always pleased when I get letters from these guys telling me I've been helpful to them; but I never really get to know how much they have actually accomplished because I've never met them in person and I don't have the luxury of staying in touch with them over a period of  years to see how it all turns out. Sometimes I'm pretty confident a guy has really gotten his act together and will stay on course to a better life. Sometimes I'm fearful a guy has ultimately been overwhelmed and ended up in very bad circumstances.

I have had the good fortune to have worked with a small number of men personally and one on one to encourage them to take action to change their lives. I'm happy to say none of the men with whom I've been able to work with personally have failed to make significant changes in their lives and find happiness at levels previously unknown to them. For the most part, at levels they were previously unable to imagine.

Changing one's life patterns is not an easy thing to do. It takes years of hard work and the willingness to never give up. It takes both the inner courage to step into the unknown and the emotional stability and

courage to function in a time of transition in which every value one has ever held is being rexamined, updated or jettisoned.

Such a task is so difficult that I am not surprised at all that the people who do the best are the people who have personal support to fall back upon. Changing one's life long view of himself is no easy task. Most guys simply do not have the tenacity to do it on their own. I think I was able to do it because I had the good fortune to be raised by a mother who taught me to question everything and by a father who taught me never to give up. It didn't hurt that I was inquisitive by nature and a "Type A" personality who was never satisfied with the status quo. Even so, it took me many years to affect the change because I was very much alone and had no one to talk to or to give me advice.

I don't take meddling in people's lives for granted. It often gnaws at my conscience to know that in spite of my best intentions, what I have said to someone could end up opening the doors to tragedy for him. Reclaiming one's life from the wrong path is no easy process. I'm always afraid some guy has absorbed just enough of what I've tried to tell him to get himself in even more trouble, but not nearly enough to get his life on a new and successful path.

I've spent so many years trying to get guys to change the direction of their lives, I was surprised a couple of years ago when I began to hear more and more from guys who have found renewed happiness in another way. It's a complicated thing, as it always is when human sexuality is concerned, but basically these guys have not so much changed the direction of their lives as they have reexamined their lives, their wants, needs and circumstances. They have decided to be satisfied with what they have and choose to be happy, rather than take a risk that might lead to the loss of everything they worked for all their lives.

More often than not, these guys have experienced all the pain, anger and sense of not fitting in anywhere that I experienced while trying to understand myself. However, for reasons that differ somewhat with each man, once they came to know themselves as either married gay guys or married bisexual guys, the knowing and the self acceptance were enough for them. They felt no irresistible compulsion to explore a new life style of sexual intimacy with both men and women. At first, I was skeptical. Based on my own experience, I couldn't really believe such a thing possible. But as more and more men described their experiences to me, I had no choice but to see what they were doing as a real alternative reaction to dealing with one's sexuality and circumstance. In fact, not only was it a real alternative, in some cases it seemed to be a very wise alternative.

I have often spoken of a close friend of mine in my writings, using him as an example of one thing or another. His way of dealing with his own homosexuality helps to illustrate one side of the point I am getting to. He was married for 25 years. These were, he has often told me, the worst and most unhappy 25 years of his life. For all of the 25 years he was miserable in his marriage. It wasn't that he and his wife didn't have many of the trappings of a good marriage. They had more than most. They had one of the nicer homes in town set on a large acreage. He was making in excess of 100K a year in a job he loved. In the 25 years they had conceived three living children who were bright, well adjusted and a source of real pride. I have no doubt, even today, had his wife been a different type of person, he would have never left her. But as it was, she was demanding, controlling, unappreciative, snippy, quick to see something bad in every situation and unwilling to ever see the good in any situation. Living as a married homosexual man was bad enough for my friend, but living as a homosexual man married to an unrepentant bitch was simply too much for him. His wife was exactly like her mother, and he knew that with each passing year she would get harder to live with just as did her mother. His father-in-law dealt with it all by simply giving up. He never voiced an opinion. When she told him to jump his only question was, "how high shall I jump dear?" And my friend saw that his mother-in-law still talked about her husband like he was a dog. She was simply unable to have respect for anyone or anything.  He couldn't see himself playing the role of  his father-in-law.

When he made the decision to come out of the closet and live his life openly as a gay man, he first told his siblings, then his parents. Next he told his children saving his wife until the last. He had expected support from everyone except his father and his wife. Much to his surprise, his father was also supportive. He had not misjudged his wife however. Her anger and rage knew no boundaries. She physically assaulted him. She screamed and cried and carried on simply refusing to accept any of it. The problem was, she made it clear she was more concerned with what their friends would think than she was concerned with anything else.

My friend is a big strong guy. He could have easily defended himself from the physical assaults, but he knew better than to touch her and give her cause to involve the police, a situation that would likely land him in jail. Instead, he simply walked away from it all with just the clothes on his back. He left her the house, the cars, the bank accounts, everything. He left the house with a single suitcase of this things. 

In the over six years of their separation, he has continued to send money every month. In fact, he sends the major part of his income to his ex wife and his kids. He has put one through college. The middle child will complete her college studies in 2014 and the youngest will begin college that year. Mike has sacrificed to get them through college and keep their mother in the house in which they grew up. Not every man would have been so generous with her. I'm afraid I fall into that category. But he was determined to be more than fair.

Had she been a different type of woman, I'm convinced he would have taken a different route, as I mentioned above; and that is exactly what I have heard from other men.

Over the last couple of years a number of men have shared with me their own reactions in the aftermath of coming to understand and accept their homosexuality or their bisexuality. Denial, or failure to
understand that they were different, had been a lifelong bitter pill for them. Strangely though, coming to know and to accept, in and of itself, seemed to bring peace to these men. Just knowing somehow seemed enough. As usual in this era, these are men who always knew they were somehow different from other men; but who, 40 to 50 years ago had no choice but to get married and raise a family if they wanted a successful life. It was what society expected and demanded at the time. Luckily for these men it had, in many ways, worked out for them. They loved their wives, they loved their kids and grandkids. They had a successful career and a place in the community. In return, they were loved and respected by their wives.

They had come to realize, they were married gay or bisexual men; but they did not feel their new born acceptance of it gave them license to chuck it all and go on a spree of any kind. Their were people they loved, people who looked up to them and respected them for whom they had real love and concern. This included their wives who had loved them, supported them and stood buy them through the years and been a mother to their children.

In the end, these men had been wise enough to do a simple risk-reward analysis of their options rather
than just run head long into the unknown of a new life. It didn't take them long to see that the risks they would incur far outweighed the possible rewards in a new and unknown path. It is not that there are not long term successful gay relationships, there certainly are; but they are certainly not yet the norm. Why, these men reasoned, give up a happy long term relationship for the unknown at a time in their life when sexual performance and stamina was on the downturn anyway?

For the bisexual men, the reasoning was much the same. Some I talked to had very enjoyable and substantial sexual relationships with their wives; and they loved their wives. Others were in marriages in which, for both partners, sex had become less than necessary; yet the partners were still committed  and loving companions who enjoyed each other company and the entitlements of being the parents of grown children as well as the joys of grandchildren. Why rock the boat? The risks simply outweighed the possible rewards.

My friend was not the only man I knew well who would have made a different decision had he been blessed with the benefits of a loving and supportive wife. My friend Bill was in the exact same position. From the first, Bill had know that his marriage was not a real marriage in any sense of the word. There was nothing common to a husband and wife that he and his wife had except for the fact that they lived in the same house and had children together. But the children were long gone and he and his wife lived in separate parts of the house. They had no contact with each other except what was necessary for the running of the house. They lived separate lives together. There was no love, no emotional closeness, no joy. No mutual support. Had it been different, Bill more likely than not, would have lived out his life as a married gay man.

As it is both of my friends are now out and happy for the first times in their lives living with their gay partners. Bill is finding out daily the common joy that comes with living with someone who loves him. It is a life he had never known in the past.

As for my other friend, he has very little money of his own now, but he has a good job and a partner he loves. He does not regret the loss of the material things he walked away from. He feels he got the best end of the deal by far. His life is far from perfect, but it is a life which makes him happy.

One of the things I have come to see clearly over the last 20 years is, there is no supreme rule for married guys who are gay or bisexual which, if they follow it, will assure their happiness. Instead I have come to see every man should be wise enough to do his own risk-reward assessment and make very careful decisions concerning the rest of his life. I have seen all to often the tragedy that comes from failing to do such an assessment.

I have done few things in my life without careful assessment and lots of thought and planning. Handling my own bisexuality was no exception. Unlike the two friends I have mentioned, I was blessed with a very happy
marriage and a wife who loves me dearly. We enjoyed a sex life that rocked our worlds. It never seemed to get old or boring. I did make the decision to experiment with my desires for male/male sex. I found it to be enjoyable, but I found it did nott hold a candle to what I had at home. For me a male/male relationship was much more about having a valued and trusted male friend than anything else. I was lucky enough to have a couple of long term relationships in which the bond between us was important. But in the end it was not lasting. I was also blessed to have a wife who I knew would cut me some slack, if she ever found out my secrets. I was not wrong about that.

Now, I have reached the point in my life due to health issues beyond my control in which sex of any
kind is not possible for me. I would have once thought I'd rather be dead than be in this position. I was wrong about that. Life is still good. My wife and I are still very much in love. We've found that love really has little to do with sex in the long run. It has much more to do with true friendships, mutual interests and a common outlook on life.

In addition, I still have close and intimate friendships with the two friends I've mentioned and a couple of other guys. These are not sexual relationships but just true friendships built on their own type of love and the mutual benefits that spring from such relationships.

Had I given up my "straight" life, I would have given up way too much indeed. Had I not come to understand my bisexuality and come to be at peace with it, I would have settled for way too little in my life. As it was I achieved the right balance for me.

One guy put a lot of it in perspective for me when he told me he had come to realize that millions of straight men see a lot of women whom they are sexually attracted to; but they don't pursue the attraction because they take their marriage vows seriously. Further more, they genuinely care about their spouses happiness and peace of mind. They care about retaining her trust. Therefore they make do with, just enjoying the eye candy and continuing to get their needs met at home. It can be the same way with a married gay or bisexual man. There is nothing wrong with looking and appreciating. Really nothing wrong with even a little lust. It can add fire to the primary relationship with the wife.

My wife and I travel a lot. In a few days we will be heading to Europe to see many of the treasures there. I'll never own art treasures or treasured antiquities; but fortunately, I don't have to own them to enjoy them. I can look for free. So it is for married gays and bisexuals who have decided that acting on their male/male desires is just too risky. They can look all they want for free and maintain the enjoyment and bonds of love and trust in their marriage when the marriage is a good one.

When I was sexually active with other men, I was a careful as I could possibly be to ensure my health and safety. But as it seems to be with everything these days, things are just getting more and more complex and difficult. There was once, not so long ago, comfort in the fact that if one did slip up, miracle antibiotics would put all back right. Now there are more and more of the super bugs which have increasing levels of resistance to even our most powerful antibiotics.

Once, not so long a go, a careful guy could spot the signs of STD's and steer clear. That is no long possible. For many of the present day STD's there is no sign whatsoever. They hide in plain sight ready to destroy one's life, maybe soon or maybe years down the road. It is a risk which simply cannot be accurately assessed, a risk which is better just avoided.

More and more, I talk to gay guys or bisexual guys who are joining their partners in complete medical workups before they have unprotected sex. I think these guys are doing the right thing these days. At the same time, I see a bigger number of guys who simply live for today thinking they are bullet proof. It's a fools game. I'm old enough to have lost a number of friends to AIDS. The threat is mitigated now, but it is not absent and even if the right against AIDS is won, there are plenty of other life changing or life threatening STDS out there to take its place.

To me it all simply adds up that simple risk-reward assessments should be the norm for any sexually active person. It is so much easier to ruin one's life that it is to put it back together.

My experience has taught me that identifying and coming to terms with our sexuality is a must. However, once that task is accomplished, there are many paths to happiness and fulfillment. The problem is, for any given individual, there is, more likely than not, only a single path that will lead to personal happiness and fulfillment. For a married man who has come to understand and accept his sexuality, the second task is to carefully assess and examine the possible path to determine the best one for himself and for those he loves.

Men of a certain age, made choices years ago. It is not too late for them to make wholesale changes in their lives without wrecking or damaging the lives of others. I'm certainly not adverse to men making the changes when their situation is no longer bearable, but that is not usually the case. For me, I would be lost now if I had chosen to end my marriage. I could have never replace the love and support I enjoy with my wife. It would have been so sad for me to give up what I spent a life time building simply to die alone.

So, you're married; but you're not straight. What now? Well, the answer might be closer to home than you think. It might also involve a brand new start. Think carefully, for men over 50 you'll probably live out your life with the choices you make now, good or bad!

Jack Scott


  1. Thank you for that very thought provoking post, and the sharing of your experiences at such a profound level. Have a good time in Europe!

    1. Thanks Westernstock. Glad you enjoyed the piece. I wasn't sure if I had expressed my thoughts well or not.

      I am looking forward to the Europe trip. Should be good.

      Jack Scott

  2. Thank you John that is as usual well written. You have a good trip to europe. My favorite is germany, awesome beer, wine and schnitzel.

  3. Thank you for your words and the feelings behind them in your letter today. I'm just such a man that you describe. I've been married for 35 years and just came out to my wife two years ago at age 55. I love her and she loves me, yet I yearn to be in the arms of a man long term. I feel "stuck", loving my family yet needing so much more.

    Many have asked why haven't you left her? As you suggest about really thinking all of it through. I've laid awake wondering the same assessing all the ramifications of that decision. And always I come back to the questions... Move out to what? A lonely apartment where I have successive one night stands or just to sit alone? I've meant some really neat guys who were fun to be around but not live with. Of course now being 57, I'm beyond ancient in "gay years". Yet I have a high sex drive ever looking for fun. In this search I set myself up for rejection a lot. Yet I trudge on lol. I wanted to let you know that you are special and your blog matters.


    1. John, I appreciate your letter. I am always satisfied to know that what I write speaks to someone.

      I know well what you are feeling. I experienced it often in past years. The questions and the probably realistic answers you are giving to them may seem to be leading you to a dead end, but I urge you to look at it not as a dead end but the opportunity for a new beginning in a life with your wife and family which obviously means much to you.

      One of my friends has found peace in giving himself permission to be bisexual and appreciate those persons he finds attractive, but keep his sexual relationship firmly attached to his wife. He says it is strange but there is peace in that kind of thinking for him. It is like appreciating a fine peace of art you will never own in a museum.

      Along the same lines you can remind yourself that everything in life has a price. Sometimes the price for even the things we know we'd love to have is just too high. Other times, we could afford the price, but in the scheme of our lives, the purchase just doesn't make sense.

      As a bisexual man, I have come to appreciate all the things that my bisexuality has given me. I have friends i would never have otherwise met. I have the satisfaction of helping countless others to make the most of their sexuality in a way that makes sense in their particular life situation. But most of all, I have the luxury of growing old with the one I love most in the world, my wife.

      Always remember in life we choose to be happy. We also choose what we concentrate on and dream about. We can dream about what we'll never have and be miserable or dream about how to make what we do have better. More often than not, the second choice is the wisest.

      Best of luck to you. The answer to all that concerns you now is within your head. Find it. Be happy.

      Jack Scott


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

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