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?