Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Husband just admitted having feelings for men(34 Posts)
Omg I am in shock.
Dh and I have been married a long time with two children. He told me he wasn't happy with our relationship and we went for counselling and things improved. A few weeks ago he told me he's suffocating and doesn't know why but is struggling with life/us. He couldn't really explain much more and he decided to move out for a break. Today I saw something that made me think he was attracted to men. I've asked him and he said yes. He didn't know how to tell me.
For the last two yrs he has been attracted to men and women. Nothing has happened but he's so mixed up and can't understand why he feels like this.
I feel so sorry for him because I can see why he's so mixed up ESP as he's said our relationship is good and our problems were the result of him trying to figure his head out, but he couldn't tell me why he's been struggling. But then I'm also feeling so many different things. I don't know what our future could be. What do I tell friends, kids etc. I feel that it's now my secret.
I could also add that I feel your sexuality is being case as second rate currently by the main players here. Please remember that your DH coming out as gay or bisexual does not mean that his sexual needs take precedence over yours, if you remain 'only' hetero/vanilla at this point. Any kind of non-mainstream relationship, eg one where there are more sexual partners, isn't an 'improvement' on monogamy, just because it's got 'more' going on in it. It's only an improvement if everybody involved signs up for it and feels it increases the value of the relationship.
Who knows - you may start your own journey of sexual exploration at some point; but it will be when you are ready for it, just as this has happened for your DH when he was ready for it, and nobody gets to tell you otherwise or castigate your current state.
Whoa whoa whoa... couldn't read that last post and not comment.
Whoknows: you need to go out and find your own professional supporter right now - is there any particular reason why you haven't already? I'm concerned you are subjugating your experience of this marriage entirely to your husband's crisis.
You do know that 'ideal outcome' is another word for 'fantasy', don't you? There's nothing wrong in your DH expressing his thoughts as a way of working through what's going on for him, but it doesn't mean anybody should take it as some kind of roadmap. Of course getting to act out his fantasies 'with your permission' would be his ideal outcome! Most people would say the same, including me. It doesn't mean it's an appropriate, desirable or realistic suggestion that you should even be considering and I hope to hell he doesn't consider it so.
Did he ask what would be your 'ideal outcome'? Your DH is stuck in a very self indulgent moment as previous posters have pointed out (and also that that's not nec meant perjoratively), or he would have asked you that question in return. Don't mentally hand him the reins in the relationship, it would be like expecting your toddler to be the family key decision maker.
We spoke a bit about it and I asked if there have been any times in the past, teenage years, etc that he thinks were perhaps a sign that he had feelings before but had hid them or denied them. He says there's never been any signs, he always liked girls growin up and even when sharing rooms with other men when travelling never felt anything towards them.
At the moment he said he still likes woman, loves the bodies and sex is a turn on with a woman.
I've spoken to a few gay friends who told me they never found woman attractive and used to put the feelings on in an act to be straight until they eventually came out. I think dh is bi but of course doesn't mean that he may prefer men to women. I think he is curious about his feelings and has admitted he has no idea if he would even like the actual act of sex with a man, there's a possibility the thought is better than the act.
I thought when he first told me it was a mid life crisis and he was unhappy and as he works with a number of young gay men saw their life as more interesting, and got curious and decided it must mean he's gay. However I think he does genuinely feel attracted to them.
He hasn't had any 'real life' experiences. So he's never been to a gay club, never touched a man, never even tried anal sex or gay toys etc the only thing he's done is watch porn.
Lucy to answer you, he's told me he hasn't thought about it. I asked if he would like to kiss a man or hold his hand and he pulled a face and said that wasn't what I was thinking about but unless I did it I wouldn't know!
He's started telephone counselling and she's told him a marriage is what both adults are happy with so not to think you have to stick to the norm. And she's also told him to put the sexuality to one side and think without that what would he do, so she's probably trying to get him to think is he happy enough to stay if this wasn't an issue or is he unhappy to start with.
He's told her he feels that he knows what he has here and it's hard to know whats the best to do because having never experienced gay sex how does he know if it would make him much happier or not.
She asked him what his ideal outcome would be if he could choose. He told her it would be that he stays with me but gets to try male sex with my permission and see how he feels about it.
Does he see himself as the active, or passive, male partner in a gay relationship?
That's why I feel he really needs to be very honest with himself here.
That level of honesty and introspection can be difficuly to achieve without guidance if you are very confused, the confusion becomes a focus and cover for a separate and underlying issue.
I, of course, can have no insight into his personal feelings but in my own experience we can end up caught up in a highly specific style of spring fever - unfortunately the cost can be ruinous by the time one discovers by yourself that the sweet itch for 'space to explore' and discover and the heady, nervewracking, exciting feelings of those first forays are in fact nothing unique and special. It's what everyone feels when they are freed from the moral obligations of responsibility - heightened often by the pass we give ourselves because this is 'different'.
This is where he needs to be sure - has he buried feelings all his life? Is he actually slowly admitting to himself he is gay but fell in love with you the person? Is he just shocked to realise he is bisexual but has yet to be comfortable with that fact? Is he just under the spell of the stress of a bad patch?
Has he been out on the scene as an observer? As I said, in the flesh can be different to in the head.
It's also as important for you to get good support so you have your line and can stick to it - whatever it might be, not my business, as long as it is a sticking point you feel is right for you.
Thank you again. You both made lots of sense and I view bisexuality the same way. Maybe if dh is having such a hard time deciding what he will do then maybe he thinks the grass is greener and feels he could be happier with a man. Maybe in his eyes he thinks our marriage isn't as strong as I had thought. Because surely if what you've got is really good there is no need to look elsehwere.
I've been thinking as he hadn't experienced anything that was what the draw was, but as you've both said neither of you have tried anything as you value what you have instead of weeping over what you don't have.
I agree with Pattie that I think it is better to talk about it. Sometimes a wound needs to be opened so it can heal properly.
I didn't admit my sexuality to my family although I knew myself. I did have varied experiences but met dh when we were both 18 so, although I've lived a rather busy life, didn't have the greatest amount of time to fit things in!
I generally felt more comfortable around women and so it was a surprise to me that I felt so strongly for DH. I was very open with him from the start.
Yes I am happy, and prefer, to be in a closed relationship.
If I am being scrupulously honest though - We have been married a long time and dealt with a lot of rubbish, I have never said as much to him but there have been times when things were hard and we were both fraught, when even simple communication was misunderstood when I wondered to myself if I would be so unhappy if I had married another woman, someone that understood things about me that I had to explicitly explain to him.
However, the answer has always been no. Even the best marriages have times where you work hard to stay together, this isn't negated or created by gender. It was the same mechanism that would have thrown up feelings of 'is the grass actually greener with gorgeous Bob from accounting who is still after a date?'. It was almost an easy way out or an excuse for pushing the boundaries 'you don't understand I need xyz' - rubbish, I need nothing more as a bisexual person than a heterosexual one I've just doubled the pool of potential if I don't work at my marriage and opt for single life.
It's clear to me I have a good marriage (and am very happy) so I have nothing to gain and everything to lose if I were to go and seek a sexual relationship outside of it. Had I made a grave mistake and was miserable then yes I would leave - I just don't think that would have been preceeded by so many years of happiness.
If fidelity is vowed then the goalposts don't move because you discover these feelings otherwise it's a bit 'I'm a vegetarian except for fish, chicken and bacon'.
I'm glad you've been using that site. I've made a lot of great friends there that have really helped with questions I've had that I can't speak about in rl.
I think although It's raw and emotional you do need to talk about it freely. It's painful to hear/ say at times but it needs to be said/heard. Not talking about it for a few days isn't going to make things any better.
I've always been bi, I know that now. So prior to my relationship yes, but not 'out' bi. To myself, or anyone!
For me, I went through a 'am I gay?' Period in my teens. I was attracted to females, more than men, then it went the other way again. Although each time I was still attracted to the other sex, just not equally. I came to the conclusion I wasn't gay otherwise I would fancy women all the time and not men at all, and this wasn't the case for me.
I dismissed the idea of being bisexual, because whenever a conversation with anybody, friends or family, arose about bisexual celebs etc the usual comments were made that 'x can't make their minds up' 'is greedy' etc. I was brought up to believe bisexuality was a choice. So I put all my thoughts and feelings about women to one side put it down to teenage hormones, a phase perhaps, then started having boyfriends.
None of them serious till I met Dh.
Then I had the realisation, that it wasn't a choice to be bi, that I was and always had been.
We have a closed relationship.
Sometimes, I wish I'd of discovered my sexuality sooner, then I could of experienced both sexes.
But now I feel It's too late, I have Dh & dc and far too much to lose.
I will most certainly go to my grave without having a relationship or encounter with a woman.
But I would never want to sacrifice my relationship for that.
If that's the way it is, then so be it.
Thank you both for your support. This is such a tough time for me. We spent some time apart this week and I gave him the link suggested above to help him read other men's experiences. I also found it helpful. The counsellor has suggested they keep in touch but he doesn't have any counselling yet until he's had time to process his thoughts. He is getting support from a close friend too. I'm so confused and I replay conversations in my head for signs, I try and over analyse the meaning into everything he says to me. I've said we need to be honest with each other and both say what we are feeling so we can deal with it. No point hiding what were thinking. For now he's asked not to mention anything for a few days because for the last week its been on our minds 24/7. Whether this is the right thing to do who knows. Can I ask you both, did you discover your bisexuality prior to your current relationship? And do you find it difficult to remain in a closed relationships
Xales! That bit about locking up your saucepans just made me choke on my coffee
IME, admitting and coming to terms with my own sexuality was a long process and the effect it had on my marriage was like a rollercoaster. At first Dh was really happy and excited at the though of me being bisexual, all the typical thoughts went through his stereotypical head about threesomes etc. When he realised that wasn't what it was about, it wasn't about fantasy or sexual gratification for me he started to worry that I wouldn't want him anymore and that i'd leave him for a woman, that wasn't going to happen either.
When I made new married bisexual friends he didn't want me to meet them because he felt threatened by them, I wanted to meet them because they knew what I was going through and we could share our thoughts, fears and feelings with each other.
Realising and accepting my sexuality didn't mean I had to act on it, I don't need to sleep with a woman to prove that I'm bisexual, I know I am!
Our relationship has grown stronger as a result and now we can look at events that have happened over the years and know that my surpressed sexuality had a lot to do with it.
We are more open with each other now and have no secrets. We are both happy with how things are at the moment but that's not to say it won't change in the future.
If you think your marriage is worth saving climb on the rollercoaster but prepare for a long bumpy road.
How are you doing today Whoknows?
Sorry I have been away for a couple of days.
I hope things are moving in a positive direction for both of you.
I can totally understand where you are coming from, hopefully being able to explore his feelings without censure from you and with the help of a councillor will allow him to find out what he actually does feel. Many people have to face a sudden bout of mid life crisis, separating all the threads will, I'm sure, be beneficial. Not easy for you though.
I hope he can move through this period of self indulgence (that is not meant perjoratively, I did it, many of us do) and see the bigger picture that is inclusive of the happy years you've had together.
Xales - Worry not, your pots and pans are safe from molestation! Well...unless you've got some Le Cruset :drool:
My worry is whilst I can accept his bisexuality, I'm worried as to what he will decide to do. Only he can decide that, but I really don't want my marriage to be over.
That's a great post TotallyBursar.
Sexuality & monogamy being different things. Sums it up completely. If you have agreed a monogamous relationship, sex with either male or female outside of it is an affair.
I did have to go and google pansexual incase I had to lock up my saucepans if you ever came around!
Thank you everyone for the advice. I have confided in a close friend who is helping me through this.
Totally bursar- your message very much helped, thank you.
I know I don't have to wait for him to decide and he is prepared for me to say its over, but at the moment I don't want to throw away a good marriage for what may just be a fantasy and a realisation.
I've asked him why he has chosen to tell me, and he has said it was eating him up and even though he hasn't done anything he felt he was being deceitful. I've also asked if he wants to act on these feelings and try gay sex but for now he said he hasn't thought about it and really doesn't know. He has been honest answering every question and tbh I have asked a lot and also very graphic questions which he has answered
For him I think he has been worrying about feeling this way and now it's out he will explore what he wants from this. Maybe he will decide he needs to try it and then that will leave me with another decision to make ie do I allow him the one try or at that point call it a day.
I suspect at the moment through counselling and finding himself he will need to try this to see if its for him. But who knows! It's just so so mixed up.
This must be incredibly hard for you Whoknows.
I am bisexual, or maybe more pansexual these days I suspect.
However I am also in a conventional straight marriage. I think the key thing is my sexuality is actually a non-issue or red herring maybe because on the day that we married I took a vow of fidelity to him. Not a vow of forsaking all others, except those with the same genitals.
There are marriages/partnerships that do work with consensual extramarital relationships but many of us don't feel that we can accept that. It's not what was signed up to & so I don't think there is an obligation to accede to this purely on the basis that there would be a same sex partner.
Sexuality and monogamy are 2 different things. If you are monogamous by nature then the gender of an extra partner is of no consequence (for me at least). The thing is, what's to be gained here? If it is a case of feeling he can't give you what you deserve & will only be happy in a same sex relationship then that is vastly different to wanting to see if he prefers sex with men.
I can think of a few encounters with women that are 'better' in a way dh isn't able to provide but that is not the sum total of marriage.
I do wonder where he will find himself - many, many people ime can find homosexual porn arousing & may even include that in fantasy but still are very much hetero in real life and would find physically experiencing same sex acts is not for them.
I think I am torn as to how much I feel for him - I can see his need to find out how he feels about this & stop his turmoil but at the same time - you have a sex life together that has been working & he still finds women attractive also so is not finding himself unable to meet that part of your marriage. So...what? Having sex with other people outwith the confines of your vows is an affair regardless of gender. The marriage was otherwise happy - I wonder how much greener grass syndrome is affecting his rationale here.
I hope you get plenty of support - you are an equal partner and while you may not be in control of where he's going you absolutely have the right to decide if you accept it or not.
I will probably be told I don't understand but I think this can be reduced to fidelity or not - and as with other cases you don't have to wait like the condemned, you get to choose too.
I hope the space apart gives you time to process how you feel & what you want to do.
I feel like its all one big dream. I have a thousand questions that need answering.
dh is moving out today temporary to give us both space.
I don't think he's even thought through what his next move is ie does he try it and see what it's like or of its all just a fantasy.
He accidentally looked at gay porn! and then realised it turned him on and then started to deliberately watch it.Maybe because he likes watching it he thinks he must like men. I have no idea. I think at the moment if he told me its just something that turned him on and he didn't want to take it any further I wouldmake a go of the marriage with counselling. However anything other than that means were through. But until he can understand how far he would take his feelings I can choose either iyswim. He's booked himself in for counselling. I almost wished he had carried on hiding his feelings or had an affair so I could be angry. I've asked if he ever felt this way before and he's said no. He has always wanted sex with women and never thought of men until recently. Unless counselling unearths something that he's forgotten at the moment I believe that. He has no reason to lie to me now.
I think in your position i would want to separate in a friendly way.
Yes I agree with this in your case. As people have already said, he doesn't get to play about and start experimenting, all in the name of 'what he wants', while you sit around waiting for him to finally decide. Telling him you want space for an indefinite period will give you both a chance to regroup, especially you. Ultimately it would be nice to think it could be amicable no matter what, but you need to look after yourself.
I know a couple of men this has happened to and have felt very sympathetic towards them, firstly because in both cases, they were from the type of families who would judge, and did. In once case, the woman was and has remained very bitter about it (only bf/gf at that stage) and took it personally as a reflection on her; in the other case, the couple are not together but amicable. These are great guys and behaved honourably. I do think sometimes we underestimate how much influence a very judgemental society or family can have on a person.
But your mention of porn has made me a lot less sympathetic towards your DH. It's a bit too late for him to be treating his sexuality like some sort of a la carte menu when he has gone as far as marrying someone and bringing children into the world with her. It makes me feel as if his reasons are just frivolous and the whole thing has probably even been brought on by porn iyswim. Put it this way, if he wasn't a regular porn user, would this be an issue at all? Maybe I'm wrong but I do think this could be self-indulgent and I don't think you have to indulge it.
Yes, you need to look after your your own needs here and make that clear to him.
I think in your position i would want to separate in a friendly way. I would want dh to be free to try sex with men to have space to see if he wanted to be with someone else. He has been honest and faithful and i would respect him for that. I wouldnt want to be with someone who doesnt know 100% that they wanted to be with me.
It doesnt mean what you had was a lie just that people change. He will still help with the kids and be a dad. He will still help if you need it. You would also be free to date, concentrate on yoirself, your hoddies, do things that interest you. I think importantly you can start to emotionally detact from him and the hurt his dessions would have on you.
I think you need space to see what you want out of life and to think about your need for love and a healthy relationship with someone who knows he wants you and can care and love you. This is no longer the man you are married to.
Good luck for the future and take care of yourself xx
I think this is really tough. If your DH had said that he'd started finding other women attractive
after only having eyes for you and had started watching a lot of straight porn, then you'd be fully entitled to yell at him to get his act together and focus on the marriage.
But I don't see how people can realise they're gay later in life and not want to act on it. I just think it's too big a thing. Sexuality is an active thing and I don't see how someone can come to the mental conclusion that they find men attractive and not want to put it into practice.
Would you be comfortable coming to an arrangement where you stay together but he's given some space to explore his sexuality outside of the marriage? I think most people would struggle with this.
God how do you cope with.this feel for you.
You're also going to need RL support for the break-up. Friends and family are probably going to be more supportive than you think. Plus there's legal and financial advice available.
Poor you I echo cogito in saying you need support. I was in a v similar situation to you 10 yrs ago v little counselling for me available even in the se. HE struggled after his disclosure for a year then left. I offered emotional support during that time but then when he left had huge problems pulling my life together as he turned quite nasty. i Suffered severe depression etc as it puts a certain lens on your past. The year of being in the closet with him was agony but worse after he left. Get support not necessarily from a friend- professional help- friends tend to think its the best gossip ever. I felt so stupid after 12 yrs together.
It's all about him at the moment isn't it? What about you? What help are you getting? You've had the classic 'I don't know what I want' which is usually code for 'I do know what I want but you're not going to like it'. You know he's using porn (which many find an infidelity problem in and of itself). He claims to have never had these feelings before.... which makes me at least question whether he's being honest. All the previously married gay men I know (and I know three...) tell me that they always had those feelings but chose to suppress them for reasons of social expectations, embarrassment etc. until the need got too strong and they could no longer lie about it.
So what help are you getting?
Join the discussion
Please login first.