SL Letter of the Day: A Married Bi Man Makes His Move
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM
The Savage Love Letter of the Day is back! And, no, the book isn't finished, fuck you very much for asking. But the book is very nearly done and, yes, it took a lot longer to write than I thought it would. They always do. And now, without further ado, and to stem the tide of griping about how I'm slacking off around here—because, you know, I've only been blogging, podcasting, getting a weekly column out, doing public speaking gigs, helping organize weddings at City Hall, and WRITING A FUCKING BOOK for the last four months—here is a brand-new SLLOTD! Enjoy!
I expect to sting from the verbal lashing I'll get from you. It will be deserved, but please try to be nice.
So I'm bisexual, married, and in my mid-30s. I made it clear to my wife very soon after we met that I was attracted to both men and women, and she was fine with that. My interest in guys has always been limited to the physical. I'd had plenty of girlfriends, and these relationships were always more than enough to satisfy my sexual needs. So when I met the woman whom I would eventually marry, I was content to keep the interest in guys limited to porn. Well...
Eight years into marriage—the longest relationship I've ever had—the dam seems to have broken. I'm still attracted to women (very much so), but my attraction to men has surged to the point of obsession. I never thought that my sexual orientation could change so dramatically and so suddenly. It may have to do with the fact that my wife has grown to have a low sex drive, and she's made it clear that she generally only has sex with me to confirm that I'm still attracted to her. She has also become insanely jealous and very, very clingy. This has been a gradual change on her part, and I have talked to her ad nauseum about it. There has been no change—none—except for the worse.
I've recently taken a job on the other side of the country, and my wife won't be able to join me for about a year. I'm relieved at the year of freedom ahead of me. I'm also on my way to seriously fucking up. I've decided to meet up with some guys and do some low-key physical stuff. There is absolutely no way in hell my wife would be OK with this. It would devastate her. I do not want to end things with her, I just want things to return to how they were in the past. I've tried to ignore my profoundly increased sexual interest in men, but doing so leaves me absolutely miserable. It's like trying to will away a throbbing headache. I think I have to use this time to explore my physical attraction to men—keeping it safe, obviously, and strictly physical—and to hopefully "reset" things with my wife. I'm sure I'm being extremely naive and stupid, Dan, but I know for a fact that if I bring all this to the table, my wife will be devastated.
What THE FUCK do I do? Call it quits on my marriage?
Delusional, Unfaithful, Moronic Bisexual
My response to DUMB—and DUMB's response to my response, and my response to DUMB's response—after the jump.
Do you have small children? —Dan
No, no kids, and no plans to have any. Ever. —DUMB
First, before we get to the actual advice, let's not blame the wife for your surging sexual interest in men. Maybe it's her low libido, or maybe your sexuality is more fluid than you realized and you'd be ebbing on women right now and flowing toward dudes even if your wife was fucking the shit out of you daily. (You know, I get in trouble whenever I mention that a lot of bisexuals want same-sex partners for sex only. Maybe some of you could explain to DUMB here how he's doing this bisexuality thing all wrong? Thnx.)
So, DUMB, you've got no kids and the wife makes you miserable. So why not tell her the truth? Tell her you love her, tell her you don't want to call it quits on your marriage, but you can't be monogamous with her for the rest of your life. She's not all that interested in sex, which you can live with, but she'll have to live with you getting sex elsewhere now and then. Because, however inconvenient it might be, you are interested in sex. Hearing that might leave her devastated, DUMB, but the reality of living like this—the reality of being shackled to someone for the next four or five decades who either isn't interested in sex or isn't interested in sex with you—will slowly but surely devastate you.
Before the move seems like a good time to tell her the truth, DUMB, because then you'll have a year to do that low-key physical stuff you wanna do with dudes and she'll have a year to examine her options (including her own sexual options, i.e., other dudes) before moving across the country to be with you.
It seems to me that the real reason she clings, like the real reason she wants to fuck you every once in a while, is because she fears you'll leave her if you start getting sex elsewhere. The only way for her to get past that fear is for you to get sex elsewhere… and not leave her. But to do that, DUMB, you'll probably have to issue an ultimatum (not going to live like this), deal with the drama (the devastation you'll create), and allow the motherfuckin' chips to fall where they motherfuckin' may. Two years from now, you'll either be in a healthy and honest open relationship with your wife, one that allows you to explore your sex-only interest in men without having to sneak around, or you'll be single and free to do what and who you like. Either result would be preferable to the situation you're in now. —Dan
Thank you, Dan. What you advise won't be easy, but I will do my best to work up the courage. —DUMB