Gay Queer Rant


I was with a man last week, a friend of mine.  Married with two kids, good job, comfortable life.  The only fly in the ointment being his insatiable desire for other men.

He had always known that he was gay but fell in love with a beautiful woman.  He still loves her, loves his children and his comfortable life.  When I met him he was in pieces because he was about to tell his wife the truth about his other life.  The life he could no longer contain, compartmentalize.

You know, whether it is another man or another woman the deceit is just the same.  However, his wife, the woman he had been with for twenty years utterly trusted and loved him.  She described him as the center of her world.  Now, after therapy, he had decided to tell her the truth.

You know I am in two minds about FULL DISCLOSURE.  Depending on how it is handled it can be a great thing.  The truth, as we all know, tends to set you free-but at what price for the wife?  For the children?

Is it possible to love and cherish a woman yet have a secret gay life?  I have written on these pages that I believe that it is.  That men think differently about monogamy than women.  Judging by just how broken the man is he really loves his wife and finds his gay life unexplainable.

Of course we do not live in the 1950’s when society was less tolerant of homosexuality but we must not underestimate two things:  firstly, the desire for a regular life of marriage and children with a woman and secondly that the love that develops between a man and a woman regardless of orientation is still real.

The gay lifestyle is not exactly my cup of tea, the bars and clubs, the endless hooking up-found in urban gay life.  Gay men don’t do a very good job of advertising the better part of our lives.  Anyhow that’s another story.

I have loved women during my life and whilst I loved them I was not hankering after men.  The emotional commitment that I had was just as valid as that that I had with men.

Having sex with a man is far easier than telling a man ‘I love you’.

Sexuality and relationships are complicated and whilst some relationships do not fit the norm we should not discount the love that exists there.

My friend desperately loves his wife and children, their lives together have been rich and varied.  Has he been more dishonest than a man who cheated on his wife with other woman?

Can a man still love his wife and have sexual relations with other men?  My friend tells me that he can and does.  Just like Darwin who believed both in God and evolution.  When asked how this was possible to believe in God and his theory of evolution he replied ‘because I do’.

I rather like the Victorian model where gay men married and had children and had affairs with men on the side.  This may not suit the out and prouds or the uber hetero but may suit some people an the middle of the Kinsey spectrum.  We are not all one thing or the other until we say we are.  We are not gay until we say we are.  When we say that we love someone why should this not be believed just because our sexuality is more complicated or in the words of Derek Jarman less ‘common’.

I have loved many women and whilst I have always been honest about my interest in men they seemed to not care as long as they were or felt loved.  Women have a huge capacity for love, for tolerance and forgiveness.

16 replies on “FULL DISCLOSURE”

There are a lot of very valid points in your article and I just wanted to draw attention to this section of what you say:

“Of course we do not live in the 1950’s when society was less tolerant of homosexuality but we must not underestimate two things: firstly, the desire for a regular life of marriage and children with a woman and secondly that the love that develops between a man and a woman regardless of orientation is still real.”

That is very true, but I also think that the same can be said of any long term relationship between a man and a woman, a man and a man and a woman and a woman. Also, many of us desire some sense of ‘normality’ in our relationship, whether it be a man with a woman, a man with a man or a woman with another woman. It may not be the ‘normal’ relationship, but it’s our own interpretation of it.

What can start out as a sexual relationship has the potential to develop into something much more, even when the initial sexual cravings for each other have diminished. It doesn’t just have to be between a man and a woman to make it a strong connection. In fact, often the relationship between any two people can be stronger once the sexual aspect has faded and the relationship becomes about support, trust and respect for each other.

With that in mind, it sounds as if your married friend has all of that and more with his current relationship and out of respect for his wife, he should let her know SOME of what he feels. However, I very much agree with what you’ve said about the fact that she may not need to know everything. Does she need to know that he was with a man he met on the internet three weeks last Thursday while she was seeing her sister and thought he was finishing a report at work? Or a boy from a bar he went to instead of going to his usual football match – as usual?

If it were me – I’d end up obsessing about what I was doing, in total naivity, while he was with another man and wondering when else he’d been doing something similar. It plays with people’s memories of their own lives and creates so many doubts that I don’t think it’s worth telling someone you love so much THE WHOLE TRUTH.

I wouldn’t want to be in your friends shoes, but I think he’s lucky to have friends like you who can help make his situation easier.

The Victorian model would totally work for me. I’d get a man who’s willing to live with me and have kids with me, but he’s gay? Hell, yeah. Means I would have been married decades ago!
That aside, I do believe in full disclosure. Hiding parts of yourself from the person you love, let alone made a public commitment to, is to live a lie. Depending on what your friend’s wife is like, this revelation, coming years after their vows, could be devastating to her, but I think it will ultimately be freeing for him. He’s going to have a hard journey before feeling liberated, though. Good luck to him.

Duncan, For some men is it more, or less, conducive to serenity to live a simple and transparent life? Or, do some men’s complex and powerful sexuality demand the complexity you describe? I have seen what the DL has done to men, to families and to society. It doesn’t seem to matter if the “extra” relationships are gay or straight. Somebody gets hurt. It’s not that men or women lose a sense of roving lust even in the happiest of marriages (gay or straight). That’s why marriage vows typically include language along the lines of “forsaking all others” for the sexual bond. I hope your friend sorts it out with minimal collateral damage. As for love, wouldn’t you rather a banquet than the occasional snack?

Agree with you on that Eve, full disclosure, its not like being gay is a lil white lie. When i hear of things like that, i sure wouldnt wish the pain thats to follow on my worst enemy.And as far as cheating with another man vs a woman? I would think it would be more difficult to understand, partially because women know what makes other women tick, it would be a mind fck if one was to find out your partner was cheating on you with some one of the same sex. Just my opinion anyways.
And so glad to see your spirits up again Duncan, be grateful you have the life that you do,it seems a good life, one full of promise and happiness..if only you allow it.

I think full disclosure is overrated, regardless of gender/orientation. It looks to be liberating for the one that fesses up, and devastating for the one being cheated on. If the man feels he is being inauthentic to his true self, maybe he should examine other avenues to reclaim himself. What’s the plan, post-confession? If he plans to quit cheating, he can do that without the brutal honesty. If he plans to accept himself as gay, and leave the woman, that can be done in a more gentle fashion. If he’s hoping for her blessing for ongoing infidelity, eh, could go either way. She’s going to be hurt, again regardless of the genders involved, and pain often manifests as anger. Duncan, I’m so glad you seem to feel better. I hope you’ll let us know how this little confrontation goes for your friend. At the very least, it will be interesting. I know “We’re as sick as our secrets”, but I think kindness needs to be an important part of the equation since he loves his wife.

I hold honesty to be the most important trait in a person that I become involved with, whether a friend or romantic partner. I want a person that can be totally honest with me, so ideally if a situation arose where my partner felt pulled towards another, they could be honest with me about that before something happened. However, I understand that would probably not be the case if a relationship had problems enough that my partner would be drawn away to begin with.
That said, in my opinion, full disclosure after the fact really only serves the offender, not the offended. If the relationship is on track and there are no present problems, I think there is compassion in keeping that secret untold. Sure it places the burden on the party who committed the infidelity. But (again, just my opinion) that is part of what that person has signed on for, knowingly or not.
The big caveat here is IF the relationship is back on track. If it’s not and it’s ending or there are serious problems that need to be addressed and may have contributed to this infidelity, then it might be better to reveal that.
Every situation really is different.
I hope this man is able to navigate through this and come out the other side with a happy life.

Honest is honest. If he feels dishonest by NOT being honest, then he is. If two adults are on the same page (she knows he sleeps with men etc.) whatever relationship is formed is an honest one. That’s the bottom line.

Kinsey and others have shown that sexuality is a continuum not a finite reality, I believe that our ‘labels’ gay, straight, bisexual, transexual etc… are just that ‘labels’ for the small minded. In a real world people should love on another on the basis of love, and worry less about the sexual transgressions. If I love someone is that love any less because I love another, or have sex with someone else? Love is about how you feel about another person, should it constrain how we feel about anyone else? Folks we’re still in the dark ages emotionally, sexually, spiritually. We really need to grow up as a species…

His wife is likely an intelligent woman who has had some inkling over the years that things are not as solid as they seem, and who deserves to be told as much truth as she says she needs. Marriage is not just about 2 people when there are children involved. I wonder how old they are, if they are grown up or if they are still at home–all of this will affect them as profoundly as it does their parents. I don’t envy anyone else this man says he “loves” because that emotion seems to be heavily qualified by the lies he is so good at telling.

I wouldn’t have a problem being with a man who wanted men on the side or who had a regular man if that is what he wanted and needed to feel fulfilled. Of course I wouldn’t care if he told me before we got involved. After the fact, especially with so many years together, I wouldn’t be able to trust the person again.

There are women around who wouldn’t mind such behavior if it was honest, open, and done safely. I happen to be one of them. My husband and I are happily married. We are also both bisexual. I am not against him getting what he can’t get from me elsewhere and he isn’t against me doing the same. After all ones sexual desires are part of their fundamental needs as a human being. How can you love someone fully yet expect them to deny their own needs? It isn’t fair. It isn’t right and in my opinion it isn’t love. Do I want to know with whom and where and how often? Not necessarily. If he fell in love with another man and wanted to be exclusive with that man I wouldn’t mind that either so long as I got along with said man.

While this certainly isn’t the traditional relationship and it isn’t exactly polyamory either I can tell you that my husband and I are happier then most of my “normal” married friends. We don’t broadcast our situation and only speak of it with friends when necessary… like the well meaning friend who wanted to let me know she saw my husband at a gay bar.

I have had relationships before and in every single one of them I was cheated on. Many times I was even cheated on when I told the man he could do what he liked. My best guess for that is because the man wanted me to stay home like a nun while they did their business. Whether that is so he could feel superior or my giving permission to sleep with others took the fun out of it I won’t ever know. What I do know is that I trust my husband to always be honest with me and know that we will always love one another. It is because of this love that we can allow one another the freedom to fulfill our needs and desires. This allows us to be closer then I ever knew possible.

Who picks up the tab for your buddy’s honesty? His wife and kids. His “honesty” is another selfish ploy to assuage his own guilt. Let him live with it.

And this is what i love about your blog Duncan.
Your readers all have valid points and reasons for their opinions and by sharing them it opens up other peoples minds.I appreciate the other readers here for being so open , and honest.

We live in a time where ambiguity, any shades of grey, scare the hell out of people. Whereas, I believe that that there are more people who would identify themselves as bi-sexual… or not identify themselves at all — if this society would let them — than those who self-identify with certainty as positively gay or straight, unfortunately, we are not allowed the liberty of defining ourselves– unless we demand and take our power back. There were times, when it was accepted for at least men, to have families and affairs, sometimes long-term. In certain classes, usually privileged, and at certain times, even women were allowed their “passionate friendships” as long as they were pursued with discretion. It was also expected that once you made a commitment, that you stuck with it. You took care of your family if you had one and made a space for other fulfillment if you needed.
I think that like so many things, full disclosure, depends on the circumstances and the two people involved. It’s even stickier if there are children in the mix. I keep thinking of the 12 Steps that many groups use, where one of the steps is to make amends and full disclosure except where it would bring harm to the others that were involved. As in, maybe you’re a recovering sex addict and you want to look up an old acquaintance to ask forgiveness for past bad behavior, except that that old acquaintance is still married and their spouse is unaware of the indiscretion. You turning up would certainly put a spanner in the works as they say, and would cause more harm than good. Sometimes the penance of having sinned is that you have to bear the guilt alone and can’t loosen the load by spreading the pain around.
Unless your friend has met someone with whom he wants to build a relationship or he can unequivocally promise that he will NEVER under any circumstances touch another man again, to jeopardize the emotional and financial security of his children and the stability of his marriage is an act born out of a selfish need to unburden himself and not for the greater good. It is easier sometimes to live with an elephant in the room if you can tell yourself that it’s just a phantom born out of insecurity. If someone else says that it’s real, then you have to deal with it whether you would have chosen to or not. We all make compromises. We just have to try and do as little damage as possible along the way.

I had to think overnight about this. I myself would have no such issue being with a man who loved and adored me, yet needed to be physical with men, but then I am a bit more inclined to alternative lifestyles and would enter the relationship with my eye’s open and aware. On the other hand in the case of the friend. I wonder what damage this will cause the wife and children. I think being that he did not tell her of his desires for men when he first began the relationship years ago then why tell her now. It seems to me that this may emotionally destroy her as he is the center of her universe but now she may feel she is not the center of his and will feel hurt, betrayed and lied to for 20 years.

I think of the Johari window with our open, hidden, blind, and unknown selves. I do believe that we must move as much as we can to our open selves to better get a sense of who we are and truly be able to live life. But that being said I feel that some parts of our hidden self must remain hidden in order to protect not only ourselves but those around us. I am a sadist but prefer to keep that hidden from my family as it would not do my mom or my daughters any good to know. Even in a relationship I can keep that part hidden as when I do need to express it I find a masochist who understands there are no emotional ties that this is just a way to release those urges and no more then that. I would not share this with others as I feel that first emotionally they could not handle it secondly I do not want this to be the label they see first when they see me. I wonder the motive behind your friends disclosure is it to make him feel less guilty and lift the weight off his shoulders. If that is the case then all he is doing is yoking his wife with the guilt.

My primary concern is of a medical nature. Not that only gay men contract HIV or any other disease, but that sexual exposure to anyone else increases her risk. The choice of whether or not she accepts those risks have been taken from her, and that is where my fury would lie if I were in your friend’s wife’s position. That, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of disrespect. The “foresake all others” is not an implied promise, but an expressed one. This struggle your friend is juggling is a big one, and I empathize, but he’s made a victim out of his wife because he denied his true-self, he wants it “all” and he figures that the price others pay for him getting the wife, kids, great family life, comfortable living, and a secret life is just. He’s made decisions for her life. That power of whether or not she’d accept this part of him into her life openly has been taken from her. In the end, it is not that he is “secretly and actively gay” that’s the poison on the arrow; it’s the fact that he’s betrayed her. The trust is broken despite her not knowing about it just yet. Man or woman, compartmentalize or enmesh, he’s a selfish fellow, whether or not he’s a good man.

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