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22 Nov 2005
Dear expert, While you were away I posted a letter to you, but they advised me to try again now that you are back. My husband slept with our gay friend while working away from home for two years. He was only home over weekends. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to have sex with a man. He refuses to talk to me about it and said he is not gay. The letter is in detail if you want to go back to 17Nov under fragile. Pleas advise me as I love him an d will stand by him no matter what. Even stay with him if he is too rigid to come out, but I won't have sex. Can he have sex with other women to see if the problem is not me, that I make him feel bad, and that if he is attracted to other women he might not be gay? He loves to flirt, and said I need to start living recklessly and dangerously, I'm not living?
Hi Fragile and thank you for your posting. I went back and read your previous posting and was seriously impressed with the advice and support given to you (Dyl, Tammycdtv, Deeve and Lilly, you guys are great and Nikki and Natalie dominique added an interesting twist) but I also noted the cold and callous manner in which your husband is responding to your current circumstances. You seem to have gone to great lengths to accommodate and please him while you've been treated with indifference and disdain. His blunt refusal to discuss the matter must be exceptionally frustrating for you and it is disconcerting that your self-esteem has been negated to the extent that instead of being angered you continue to attempt to please him. You afford him too much power.
As others have already pointed out, it is not possible to know the content of your husband's inner fantasy world and how he expresses this unless he tells you. However, it is quite apparent that he's not straight - like everyone else he's situated somewhere on a continuum between totally straight and totally gay. It could be that his sexual orientation and sexual identity shifted with time - both are relatively dynamic - or that he has harboured gay tendencies for many years. It is very possible that he began exploring his sexuality during the two-year period he worked away from home, which afforded him an opportunity to experience himself and others in a neutral environment.
It is quite possible that in spite of your husband possibly being bisexual or even occasionally having sex with other men he doesn't consider himself gay. We've frequently seen postings on this forum from straight men wanting to masturbate with other men, even saying they don't want to meet 'gay' men. Many heterosexually-identifying men who have homo-erotic fantasies think of themselves as totally straight and consider 'gay' men to be effeminate or not hetero-sexually married. Collectively they're referred to as MSM (Men who have Sex with Men, or Males who have Sex with Males), irrespective of their sexual orientation.
Your husband's refusal to acknowledge the circumstances in your marriage, and his non-responsiveness to your trying to be sexually attractive for him, render you invisible and powerless. What concerns me is that while you're obviously open-minded and willing to consider various options that would cater to your husband's needs, you're neglecting yourself. What are YOUR needs of this marriage? You suspect that your husband has interacted sexually with others - you've had repeated infections - and possibly it doesn't matter whether these interactions were with other men or with women but he has put you at risk. You sound like an insightful, bright, emotionally mature and attractive woman, and a caring and thoughtful mother - surely you deserve to be treated with more respect and dignity? It is for you to decide how you choose to live your life and it is not for your husband to suggest that you should live recklessly and dangerously. Stop making excuses for him - even if he's totally gay he has no justification for his behaviour towards you. At the very least, after all these years of marriage, he owes you honest and frank communication.
You're not as powerless as you may feel. Since he won't address the issue you may need to take the initiative - you can't live in a vacuum. Decide what you want from your marriage, taking into account all the information available to you, and set limits on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to you. Negotiate parameters within which both you and your husband can function that afford you both a comfortable level of privacy and both emotional and physical security. Decide whether this includes safer sex and you may want to insist on HIV testing before resuming any sexual contact.
Stop trying so hard to please him and rather invest some energy in looking after and nurturing yourself. You're entitled to it.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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