Unsure

Friday, November 26, 2004

Question

My life is in a state of severe self-denial. Just last month, I finally admitted to myself that the evidence adds up. When I look for porn, it rarely (if ever) involves men. I've had numerous, though sporadic, physical affairs with women since the beginning of my sexual experimentation, although only one woman captured my heart and changed my life completely. We had a secret affair for years. When she left her husband, I thought she was coming to me. But she didn't. She went free to the world, and I took a husband.

At the time, I thought, "It's time for me to settle down and quit messing around with girls. I was never really a lesbian anyway, just experimenting." But now I wonder if I was just covering up, trying to pull my act together by acting straight.

Now there is a girl who is a co-worker of my husband. It's just a summer contract, and for the last two weeks of work, her summer apartment lease is ending. She's coming to stay as our houseguest. I can't stop looking at her. It's like when she is around, there's no one else in the room. I think she looks at me in the same way. My husband will be leaving town for his next contract soon. He would never tolerate me if I strayed. What should I do?

Answer

You are struggling with more than one issue here. Not only are you worried about your sexual orientation, you're wondering if your marriage is worth preserving. And you're tempted to seduce one specific woman despite the danger this poses to your marriage.

All of these things have to be dealt with separately. If you have problems in your marriage, you need to decide if talking your issues out with your husband or getting some couples counseling might help, or if you want a separation. Don't end this relationship by getting caught having an affair with another woman. This can only make you feel bad about having sex with her, and cast even more doubt on the status of your straight, bisexual, or lesbian identity.

All you know right now is you like women-only porn, you've had several affairs with women and one serious relationship, and now you've got a crush on another woman. You don't say anything about whether men turn you on or whether sex with your husband has been good. If it has been, why assume that you've got to make a choice between being heterosexual or being gay? Maybe you are more affected by a potential lover's individual characteristics than by their gender.

Unfortunately, because you are in a monogamous marriage, you can't conduct any experiments with other women without breaking your agreement with your husband. I would imagine that discussing this with him will be very, very difficult. But I think the guy deserves the chance to give you permission to find out more about yourself or decide he doesn't want to be in this marriage any more. Your doubts about the nature of your desire are not likely to go away. If you repress them now, they'll return even stronger and in a less controllable form later in your life. Fix the mistake you made by marrying him, knowing you were in love with someone else.

Of course, if you are physically unsafe in your marriage, and telling your husband something like this might result in him attacking you, complete disclosure is a bad idea. In that case, you ought to get out of this marriage with as little fuss as possible, and postpone sexual exploration until you've gotten a new and safer life.