The bisexual husband: his perspective is different from his wife’s.
The men in my novel Five Married Men not only recognize their bisexuality, they give in to their urges and act on them. Since their wives have typical perspectives on this issue, the men set up secret lives camouflaged by a system of lies. Though their wives would see their secret rendezvous as betrayal and infidelity, the men fully believe their physical intimacy with each other is apart from their marriages, and is no reflection on how much they cherish the women they married. But they know their wives would never it this way.
What begins as largely a physical attraction, soon becomes a deep emotional bond, something that fills a void in their lives, which is in addition to the love they have for their women. All of the factors in Five Married Men are not necessarily typical of married bisexual men. They are, however, things married bisexual men think about, even fantasize about, just not things they would necessarily do. In a strong loving marriage built on a foundation of time and honesty, most bisexual married men would not consider lying to their wives, let alone get involved with another man. Still, for him, something will always be missing. That’s the nature of this beast.
Therein lies a lifetime of conflicts, conflicts that often intensify as a man grows older. As the years go by, countless notions and scenarios pass through a bisexual man’s mind. While many bisexual married men can and will live out their lives scarcely impacted by their secret, more than a few find themselves wrestling with a relentless phantom. Many will contemplate talking to their wives about their bisexuality. But how would she take it? What would it do to our marriage? They think about how nice it would be to have a like-minded friend, someone to talk to, maybe even touch and participate with in some mutual exploring. They reason it all out: it wouldn’t hurt anything if she didn’t find out. It wouldn’t make me love her any less. They believe to act on their urges on some level would address their needs without harming anyone, certainly not their marriages.
But often the wife will inevitably find out. Perhaps she senses a change in his behavior, or notices something on his computer, or perhaps he will decide to confess. It’s like a bomb going off on her emotions. Very little could possibly impact her less. She is stunned, angry and confused all at the same time. She can’t believe her husband is interested in men … he’s not like that. She is shocked that he lied to her. Why didn’t he tell me before now, before we got married? She worries her marriage has been destroyed, that he will leave her for a man.
The problem here is the two utterly different perspectives. Whereas the wife has had a bombshell go off in her life, it’s something the husband has lived with and pondered many years. To her it’s a total disaster; to him everything is essentially normal. This is where the husband has the responsibility put his perspective on hold and be especially mindful of his wife’s emotions. Understand and share her hurt. Giver her time. Let her express her emotions without arguing with them. Just listen while she vents. Find opportunities to reassure her. Let her know his love for her hasn’t changed, that he no longer wants to hide who he is from her, that he wants her to love him despite his bisexuality.
So why didn’t he tell you before you married him? First of, he should have told you. But he didn’t. Maybe because he was afraid you wouldn’t understand, that you wouldn’t marry him. Or he might have honestly believed his love for you would neutralize his bisexuality. It might have been because he was young and still ashamed of the same-sex urges he felt due of his upbringing. Also, being young and in love, a giddy time in anyone’s life, he was probably too caught up in how he felt about you to even be thinking about those errant fantasies about men. Whatever his reason, a new hand has been dealt and the wife now has to not only deal with it, but also figured out which direction her marriage should go.
Days or weeks after the initial shock wears off, the time eventually comes to sensibly talk it out, to reestablish the marriage under new circumstances and mutually agree to the parameters. Those parameters will vary radically from one couple to the next. Most wives will not want to share their husband with anyone, period. Most women, though they are able to accept their husbands bisexuality, they will not be able to accept his acting on it, no matter what. She will want a commitment from him to agree to this, which gives the husband virtually no choice … he had made this pledge in his wedding vows. Then she will likely want to put the matter out of her mind and back into the closet. I believe, if the marriage is built on a solid, loving foundation, most men will love their wives enough to play by the rules. Even then, in time, a woman’s point-of-view and attitude may evolve.
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Some women will see things differently. Some women will graciously accept their husband’s bisexuality, see it in a positive light, want to know more, have many questions. Again, there are as many variations of acceptance as there are women. Acceptance may end with simple curiosity, coupled with his assurance to remain faithful. But as you can see by the pol (above) results, for some women acceptance goes further than curiosity. Continue reading