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Marriage in Contradiction

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This is my first time ever posting to a discussion forum but I don't know who else to talk to, and I figure there might be some of you who can help. Let me state out of the gate, that I am especially ashamed of where I find myself right now, and I am genuinely worried about my future. I've made some decisions I'm not proud of, but I want to make things right and will. I am just going to pour this out stream of consciousness style. Here's the situation: 

I've been married to my wife for almost 10 years, was married quite young. We are both very religious, and most of our years have been very happy. In fact I love my wife, she's my best friends which is why this feels like such a contradiction. Unfortunately I am not always attached to her sexually because I've always had attraction to men, since I was very young. I was raised in a very religious household that would have expelled me from everything I knew had I come out. I never acted on my impulses. And when I met my wife, I fell in love with who she was and I figured I could get past my sexual desires for men by ignoring them. It has not been the case. I've been able to muster enough attraction to have sex regularly wiht my wife but my will is failing, and in a moment of EXTREME weakness and now regret I had a brief sexual encounter with a man recently. Well this has created a host of internal conflict and shame, and I'm sure my wife can see I am not myself. I've blamed it on other things but well I don't know what to do. 

Here's my dilemma. I really do love my wife, even if it doesn't seem that way, but I don't know if we can stay together through this. To make it right I need to speak with her, but she will leave me 100% or ask me to never again be with a guy, and I get that entirely. If I leave and we get a divorce I will be giving up everything I know, it's worse than when I was young. Both our families, and my entire friend group belongs to the same religion. I will be expelled and shunned by every person I love and know, and there's a lot. I've only ever fostered friendships within our faith, which is encouraged. The thought of losing everyone is devastating. The thought of leaving my wife, is sickening. I am terrified, and sick over the entire ordeal. I see only two paths forward, continue to live a lie and hope I can remain faithful going forward, or embrace the truth and accept the consequences, likely having to rebuild friendships in my 30s and hurting people I love. I will no longer be able to talk with my parents, sadly. I am sure of it as they are devout. Also my mother is quite fragile emotionally, and this could easily throw her over the edge. 

If I do embrace the truth and try to rebuild, is there a chance my life will never be good? As is I have a good life all things considered. We have a very active social life, tons of respect and support (relatively speaking I guess), and close family relationships. My wife and I are very kind to each other (although I know what I've done is not). We get along well as friends. And my wife is quite honestly the best person I've ever known. She is kind, loving, and fun. She loves people and sacrifices so much for others and me. That makes this that much MORE difficult. Ever writing this makes tears come to my eyes, it's hardly believable I've arrived at this place, although had I been more honest with myself and braver in my earlier life I could have avoided hurting everyone as much. 

Whew, there it is. Thank you SO much for your time. Any bits of advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Sorry you are in this predicament. Privately and confidentiality find a licensed qualified therapist (neutral, no religious affiliation).  Start to unpack and sort out what's going on. This way you can navigate possibilities such as telling someone you are bisexual, or divorce or other options. You'll need objective neutral nonjudgmental advice to help figure out the best approach for you.

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I am sorry you're going through this, OP

You have never been able to live your truth, which must be tremendously difficult. I don't believe continuing to live a lie is the best way forward, and will cause you too much distress and you will likely find youself succumbing to desire again in the future. That's no way to live, either for you or for your wife. 

I will echo @Wiseman2's suggestion of working with a neutral therapist to try to untangle your thoughts and feelings before deciding how to proceed. It is a very delicate situation, but you might find greater satisfaction and peace once you start living honestly. I have no douobt the fall-out will be painful and difficult. But you also never know where you might find support and greater happiness. Perhaps the future holds brighter things, once the clouds have parted. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Grumpy Bob


Get over it.  Forgive yourself, ask your God for Forgiveness, and move on.

For some reason people get hung up on issues of sex and sexuality, and start spouting the same old mumbo jumbo about "being true to yourself" and "not living a lie" etc, etc, and it's all BS.  We all live our lives within constraints.  I don't go around punching idiots that annoy me, or running people off the road, or robbing banks.

Here's a true fact for you.  The Majority of Men, including those deeply in love and happily married, are sexually attracted to people other than their wife.

And let's be very clear about something.  NOBODY can tell you how you should live your life.  You're NOT "living a lie." We each have to plot our way through the various challenges of life, and only you can decide what works best in your situation.  "Coming Out" will NOT magically make you happy.  If you feel that you're carrying a burden, then it is self-imposed one, and therefore one that you can take off yourself.

Now I am only going on what you wrote.  It sounds like you have a wonderful wife, that you love her deeply, and have an otherwise great life together.  I hope you realise just how rare and special that is.  

The one rider I will place on my advice is this:  The issue of your attraction to your wife still seems ambiguous.  That's something you'll need to think carefully about.  Being sexually attracted to both men and your wife, are not mutually exclusive.  Perhaps if you can alleviate the obvious guilt & shame you feel, you'll be able to better examine your feelings.  But if you're not attracted to her going forward, and you believe it is beyond counselling, then you should consider moving on.  A Marriage to w man that doesn't find her beautiful, would be very unfair.

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Not entirely sure here just how involved you were with someone else. Was there a risk of catching any STDs? I tend to think the unknowing person needs to know. 

She’s owed a decision/choice to divorce you if the marriage isn’t fulfilling or against her values. 


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Oh and don’t worry about rebuilding. Should that be the case the human spirit is generally resilient and prone to survival. 

Speaking as someone who has rebuilt several times, fear nothing. Just be smart about it and make sure you know what you want. Talk to a private counsellor for your emotions and a lawyer for legal advice on separation/divorce.

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You have to leave her. You do. You are out of integrity right now. Marriage requires some attraction and you know you are climbing up hill.

BTW: just google this. Lots of married men eventually came out and it can be a painful and confusing journey, especially since you're so deeply part of a religious community.

I say go to a therapist, and find one outside of your religious community.  And start sharing your feelings. At the very least, google on this ... married men who come out as gay. 

Here are some links to get you started. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2017/04/07/iowa-psychiatrist-hopes-book-helps-men-who-realize-midlife-theyre-gay/100036050/



And type in your own religious community. I have a feeling I know what community you are speaking of ... name of your own religious community and phrases like "coming out" "married but gay" ... and so on ...

You can't solve this right away. So relax and just stay faithful. It will take some time for you to make a shift. And it might take years ... 

You are also in a crisis of faith--the situation you're in creates a crisis of faith if your faith doesn't accept being gay. That's a lot. 

Just know this: sounds like your entire upbringing was designed to block you from paying attention to your real feelings, your real attractions. So be compassionate with yourself. 

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