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Do you think I am gay?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Yossarian, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Yossarian

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    So, after my talk with my bike riding buddy last week,(Can we talk?), I felt my thoughts were sufficiently organized to have a conversation with my wife, which I have been avoiding for some time, out of concern for bringing this whole topic of my sexuality up and having her freak out in some unpredictable manner that would ruin both of our lives. We are sitting in our respective recliners, computers in lap, and I ask her if she can talk with me for a few minutes. I told her about my conversation with my riding buddy, and the fact that his girlfriend was reading gay vibes from my Facebook page, and that he had asked me if I am gay. I then explained what I had told him, which I will not repeat here since it is encapsulated in the other thread, but the essence of it is that I have always been attracted physically to lean muscular men, and wanted that same look for myself, but that I have never had sex with another man, only with women and primarily her. Then I asked her, “Do you think I am gay?”

    She knows that I have been going to gay-straight alliance potluck dinners and gay movie nights at the local LGBT center, trying to get to know people who are active in changing LGBT laws locally and at the state and national level. (I would be doing this regardless of my own orientation, because it is a civil rights issue to me, and this kind of discrimination and limitations on the right to marry is patently unconstitutional to me.) I have had the mixed purpose of wanting to find people I can talk to about my feelings as well as support these legal/political efforts. She told me that she felt some kind of change in me when I started doing this about 6 months ago, but that she did not know why I had this sudden interest in “gay issues” when I had never said much about them before.

    I then told her again about the young man at the gym who had come out to me (not that he was closeted, just not broadcasting his orientation) and that he had told me that he wanted to get married some day, but was legally blocked in our state from doing so, which he felt was unfair as well as illegal (i.e. the law should be found unconstitutional); he was almost in tears when he told me this and it had a big emotional impact on me at the time, which is what lead me to project myself into his situation and think about how I would have felt if I had finally met someone I wanted to marry and was legally blocked from doing so. I also told her that I have been reading a lot of psych books about gay men in denial and their habits and actions. That they usually have little interest in dating women in high school and college (like me), that they often don’t date women during their 20s and 30s while burying themselves in work and careers (like me), and then find themselves single and still alone in their 40s (like me) and then get married to women when it is almost too late to do so in time to start a family (like me), because they want to have a “normal” life with a happy home and kids (like me). This is beginning to sound like someone I know.

    This is the point where I said, “_____’s girlfriend looked at my Facebook page, saw the various “likes” of gay issues and organizations, and asked him if I am gay, which lead him to ask me if I am gay.” So, I asked her, since she has obviously seen my Facebook page too and everything I post or others post on it, “Do you think I am gay?” “Am I throwing off a gay vibe unknowingly, or am I revealing something about myself through these “likes” which make you think you have married a gay man.” (Which she probably has in one interpretation of ‘gay’ or another). I then went on to tell her that I am no different than I was 24 years ago when we got married, that I have always admired well-built men and women with beautiful bodies (which she knows) and that I have never had sex with another man before or after we were married, but that I have always felt more comfortable and less awkward with guys than women, preferred doing “guy things” with other guys (sports, outdoor recs, exercising, camping) to doing “date oriented things” such as dancing and dining that other guys like to do with girls. She also likes to do a lot of these “guy things”, so it has not been a bad match in that regard. Most of the guys I do these things with are straight as far as I know, so there isn’t any question of me getting involved with them other than as friends. Unlike truly “straight” oriented people, I may be subliminally attracted to them at some physical level in my head, but our interactions are just as friends, and nothing more.

    Her reply to me was that she has always known that I admire well-built men as well as women, but that she doesn’t think of me as being “gay”, because I don’t do the things that stereotypical gay men do. That she loves me as she always has. Then she asked me if I was asking for a divorce, and I told her no, that I was not having this discussion because I wanted to divorce her, but because I have had this conflict, or dissonance, or whatever you want to call it in my head all my life, and I want to figure out what the hell is going on with me before I die, and I want to be free to do it without deceiving her or hiding what is going on, which I have up until this discussion.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that I reach the conclusion that this suppressed need has to overwhelm common sense and drive me to separate from her. She probably is thinking that at some level, but is not saying so to me if she is. I don’t want her to be so concerned, because that probably isn’t what is going to happen given my historic levels of patience and procrastination. If I were at that level of intensity now, I would have to separate from her so I could pursue a male relationship honorably, but that is not where my head is right now, and at my age it would be ridiculous to think I would likely find someone to partner up with anyway; most of the people who I am attracted to and do the kind of things I like to do are 40 years younger than me, and straight.

    What I would like to happen is to be able to find some really close gay male friends, so I could be honest and open with them about what I am feeling, talk to them, and get some “tea and sympathy” from people who understand what I am feeling. Maybe a hug or two (I love it when my sports buddies give me a big parting hug), and some casual time acting like I actually feel inside without having to filter my thinking, actions, and speech. I don’t think that is too much to ask for as long as I remain faithful to my marriage vows and don’t let this side show go out of these bounds. But what I want to ask opinions about today is, “Is it being honest and faithful to feel this way and do this as long as I tell her about it and she does not object, or is it a betrayal to do this even if I keep my attractions from becoming physically intimate?”

    I can’t seem to convince myself one way or the other what is “right and fair” to both of us, and I cannot stop the physical attractions which have been going on all my (sometimes) miserable and unfulfilled life. To make matters worse, we have not had physical sex in over 15 years due to a medical issue she has, which a surgery was not successful in correcting, so it is not like I am getting what I need at home and just looking for cheap thrills with the boys in the band; we don’t even sleep in the same room any more. We never kiss. We rarely hug. I need some kind of physical show of affection even if it is nothing more than an occasional friendly hug from a male friend. What say you? Am I being unreasonable in wanting to do this 'exploration'? Am I really gay to the core and just unwilling to declare it openly?
     
  2. Dragonbait

    Dragonbait Guest

    Wow, Yossarian, your conversation with your spouse went completely opposite to my own - probably because our situations are completely opposite. I was well on my way to divorce before ever acknowledging the fact that I can be attracted to women. So it was my STBX asking me if I thought I am gay!

    But while labels come in handy as a succinct way to answer a direct question, in situations like yours, they're either inaccurate or incomplete, while sexuality is not always so cut and dry. Look at the Kinsey scale. Even with that I'd have to argue that people aren't exact numbers - if I had to be a number, I'd pick pi - but he attributed sexuality to a scale and his numbers represent inclinations ranging from exclusively one or another to predominantly to incidentally.

    If you're hanging out with a younger crowd, you could try the more recently popular adjective "pansexual".
    Pansexuality is sometimes described as the capacity to love a person romantically irrespective of gender. Some pansexuals also assert that gender and sex are meaningless to them. Others say that gender plays an important role in their attraction to someone while not being a deciding factor.​

    Also, as someone who shares your yearning for touch (and will probably have to relearn the delicate art of offering it) I can only suggest that the definition of "honorable" should be left to those affected by a situation as personal as this, so it's up to you, your wife and any potential partner you may encounter to set what may or may not be done "honorably". If your wife is not physically vested in the relationship in any way, she may not be adverse to you fulfilling your need for touch elsewhere.

    And lastly, do not discount the possibility of finding someone to share all that you enjoy - no matter what your stage in life. I know plenty of people - gay and straight - that live the same active lifestyle as you, century riders, marathoners, skiers, Spartan-runners, etc. in their late 40's to their 70's and most of them are in damn fine shape too! So don't hesitate to put yourself out there and keep your options (and your eyes) wide open. You never know!

    Good luck and Happy New Year! :thumbsup:
     
    #2 Dragonbait, Jan 1, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2014
  3. skiff

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    Ha ha ha! I love straights in their utter and total ignorance about being gay.

    We have have all heard of Lounge Lizard Larry. The straight, sleazy, horn-dog; who's life's total ambition is getting off with woman. What if we applied that stereotype to EVERY straight male? Why not, they do similar stereotyping to us gays all the time. A tight narrow gay stereotype of sex, flamboyancy and drama.

    Total NONSENSE!!!!

    Gays come in all demographics, all behaviours, all beliefs.

    Some of us naturally pass as straight to avoid straight oppression.

    Your wife is ignorant. Being gay is NOT a stereotype, it is who you love and prefer to have sex with. No pink thong, no gold lamey jock strap, no lisp necessary (no offence intended). Some straights love their wife's underwear, doesn't mean all of them do.

    What the stereotype comes down to is visual queues that the most ignorant of society can pick up on. Period.

    You are not gay your wife says because you don't fit a stereotype? Means nothing as there is NO gay stereotype! Gays come in all flavours.

    I cannot tell you if you are gay, only YOU know.

    Tom
     
    #3 skiff, Jan 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  4. Lexington

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    I read your posts. I understand and appreciate what you're going through. But I can't help but feeling you're doing some fishing here. If I might rewrite and re-emphasize...

    "I've been married to her forever. I've lived a miserable life keeping my attractions under wraps. Wouldn't it be good for me to finally explore these attractions? And hey, it's not like we're having sex anymore. We rarely even hug, and I still have needs, so if something were to happen..."

    Let me cut to the chase. If you want to go "explore" - sexually or otherwise - that's your call. You can ask your wife's permission, or just announce that you're going to start doing it, or not say anything to her at all. Again, your call. Just as it's her call what to do if/when she finds out.

    Lex
     
  5. Yossarian

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    Skiff: I didn't really ask her if I am gay, I asked her if she thinks I am gay. Those are really two different things. Only *I* can say whether I am gay or not; you are right about that. Like I have said, I have always been attracted to the lean athletic males I meet. I like to be around them, look at them, and would like to have been born as one of them, but I was always a thin kid, not very muscular or athletic, and never recruited by an ad agency to be in an underwear ad. I would not be the guy everybody would be hitting on in a gay dance club. But I am physically attracted to this sort of masculine physique and look, much more so than I am attracted to "hot" women; the difference is strong enough that I do not categorize myself as bisexual. This is why *I* think I am probably most accurately described as gay in orientation, and, if I had been born 16 years ago instead of 68 years ago, I would probably be thinking about "coming out" to my parents in the environment which is present today and trying to meet up with a guy. Of course NOTHING was remotely like today in the 1950s in the south, so there would have been nothing and no one to come out TO back then, and the notion of coming out would not have even existed, so the point is academic.

    I love my wife, but I am not "in love" with my wife; it is hard to remain "in love" with someone when there is no sex going on for a long time. But we do "take care" of each other and support each other, and depend on each other, so our relationship is nothing to be casually thrown away like it doesn't matter any more; it just isn't a "normal" heterosexual relationship like it was when we were first married. If it were, then I probably would be enjoying an un-intense heterosexual relationship right now, instead of wondering if I am missing an intense homosexual relationship that would probably have been a better match for the body and mind I was born with. I hope that explanation makes sense.
     
  6. Yossarian

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    Not sure what you mean by "fishing", but yeah, I was miserable for quite a while during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, then happy enough for a few years after I got married, then somewhat miserable again after she was unable to have sex without pain, but we had a child to raise and consider, who is now out of the house and on her own. Now I am trying to decide whether there is any point in going back to explore what I never did to begin with due to the way the world worked back when you were killed, jailed, court marshaled, or just fired for being gay. It's my call whether to do it or not, but I am trying to do it in a non-destructive way that causes minimal damage to me and her, not just say "Fuck it, I am going to go do what the hell I want to do, and she can do what the hell she wants to do if she doesn't like it, and we will deal with whatever wreckage is left after the attorneys clean us out."
     
  7. Rose27

    Rose27 Guest

    Yossarian- A hug can make such a difference in a day sometimes. I came out to be me for the first time in my life. The things I need to make me happy are simple.
    What would make you happy? (*hug*)
     
  8. Yossarian

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    Good question, Rose. What I *think* would make me happy would be to find some gay friends to play with, who would care about me and invite me to do things with them. To invite me into their circle of friends and "understand" how I feel, and with whom I could talk freely and experience the "gay" side of myself openly, with the benign acceptance and/or indifference of my wife. I don't really need some kind of affair, or to move in with anyone, or to engage in sex orgies at this late stage of my life. Basically, I just want to be "myself", which includes being attracted to men, without anyone freaking out about it.
     
  9. ormanout

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    Our stories are quite similar. I have felt many of the same attractions to men throughout my life, and as my sexual relationship with my wife faded, my male attractions grew and grew. I now believe that I was fulfilling an expectation by marrying a woman and having children. Men of our generation didn't have the role models and open public discourse on gay identity to encourage self-exploration, so we end up later-in-life with this very difficult decision.
    After many months of couples' counseling, my wife has stopped freaking out at the prospect of being alone and has come to accept that whatever happens....happens. If I decide to stay, then I am living a very modified identity and fewer people will know. Should I decide to go live on my own, then many more will be told and I am free to live as I see fit.

    For now, I'm taking a wait and see attitude. We have an anniversary trip to Hawaii coming up and my decision will come somewhere the other side of that vacation. Until then, I have lunch regularly with another married/gay man. I have many men, both gay and heterosexual, who are quite comfortable with physical touch between men, but then again, I've been in the forefront of men's identity development work for decades. Non-sexual physical contact between men is one of the ways that we can destroy homophobia in this society. Mixed orientation men's groups are hard to find, but they're out there.