Dear Dr. Olson,
Several months ago I met my boyfriend at a party and we really clicked. He asked me out and we’ve dated since then. He treats me very well. A few months after we started dating, he told me he thought he might be bisexual. He said he’s never been in a sexual relationship with a man, but he admits to having erotic fantasies when in the presence of attractive men our age. He admits those attractions are growing stronger. He vacillates between wanting a relationship with me and exploring his same-sex attractions. He doesn’t want to commit to me “until I understand my sexuality better.” Should I try to encourage him to stay with me or set him free to explore his sexuality? Am I being too old fashioned?
First let me say that most people who are bisexual will tell you that just because they’re bisexual doesn’t mean they cannot be monogamous. If you read through the comments on my essay “The Messy Realities of Bisexuality,” you will find many who say that whether you are bisexual or heterosexual, everyone experiences attractions to people outside their primary relationship. But we also have a choice: to control those desires or act on them. Bisexual people are no more promiscuous in their sexual behavior than heterosexuals. But heterosexuals aren’t all that good at monogamy either. Continue reading
My best friend recently told me that she thinks my husband might be gay. My initial reaction was to tell her she’s crazy and to mind her own business. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I wonder if she could be right. I’ve seen the signs for some time but always made excuses for Daniel since he’s a good husband and great father to our kids. What’s the best way to bring up the subject with him? Should I be blunt and just ask him if he’s gay?
If you ask your husband directly if he’s gay, he might automatically deny it, just as you initially denied the possibility when your friend suggested it. Then you’d be left wondering if he’s being truthful—either with you or with himself.
Hi, Dr. Olson,
I am a middle-aged divorced man, and since my divorce I have been struggling with my sexual identity. Perhaps I have always been in denial or confusion with my sexuality. Growing up I had female friends but felt intimidated by them sexually. My first sexual experience was with a childhood friend, but I felt sick, ashamed, and guilty. This increased my need to always have a girlfriend to suppress this shame. Following my divorce, I felt incredibly lonely and started flirting with guys online. For the first time, I felt attractive. Who am I?
Your story is very familiar to me and not much different from my own. Some find it hard to believe that a man could reach middle age before questioning his sexual identity, but in my research, I have even interviewed a man in his nineties who, having lost his wife of over fifty years, began to explore his same-sex attractions. Seeking an answer to the question of who I am led me to write Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight. Continue reading