Dear Neil: My husband of 15 years has just told me of his active bisexuality. He has been having sexual liaisons for the whole of our marriage, and tells me that 80% of the men he has sex with are heterosexual, in stable relationships, and with no intentions of leaving their partners/wives/families—or of revealing their secret lives. How common an issue is this for couples? If he hadn’t been caught by a third party, I still would have been none the wiser.
I feel such a huge sense of loss, grief, rage and confusion—as he says he loves me
Still—but that he has no intention of stopping meeting men online for sex. He is keen for me to be part of his fantasies and sexual activities. How can I start to make sense of all of this? Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
Stunned in New Zealand
Dear Stunned: If your husband said he had been cheating on you with multiple other women—and has no intention of stopping—and invites you to be part of a threesome with another woman, how would you respond to that invitation?
No matter what the gender, infidelity is about cheating—and that means having a sexual and/or a love relationship with someone else other than the person you’ve promised fidelity to. Such behavior ruptures trust in a relationship, oftentimes irreparably. I have no statistics on this subject, but I don’t think this is a widespread issue. That, however, is utterly of no solace to you.
So what do you do? First, do not do anything to compromise your own sense of right and wrong. Because your husband wants you to become a part of his extra-curricular sexual activities, does not mean you need to do so.
Second, you have loss/grief/mourning work to do, because the marriage you thought you had is no more. You don’t have the marriage you thought you did, and you don’t have the husband you thought you had. A compassionate counselor/therapist may be of great assistance to you for awhile.
Third, get yourself checked out for STD’s right away. Fourth, if you’re going to have sex with your husband in the future, insist that it be safe sex only. Fifth, make sure you have healthy outlets for your anger, and take precautions so that you don’t vent your anger at the wrong people.
Sixth, you’re going to have to decide whether you want to stay with your husband, and that may not be such an easy choice, because you may also love your husband, be attached to him, and be personally, emotionally and financially co-mingled with him and his family. Breaking those ties will be painful. On the other hand, staying in a relationship you feel betrayed by will feel even more painful. You’re going to have to decide what’s most in your self interest here, because if he has been doing this the entire marriage—and has no intention of stopping—you’re going to have to decide if you can live with this.
If you can, there needs to a different level of honesty, truthfulness and openness in your marriage for it to survive. If you can’t, cut the ties quickly.