Thanks again for all your messages - I sincerely appreciate it!!
Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. I had to take a long look at not only my relationship, but at myself, as well. I decided the best strategy was to be loving and understanding with my boyfriend. If he felt the love and warmth from me, I figured he'd be more likely to be honest with me. Also, I have to be real with myself about what I may have done to contribute to his inability to tell me about this. So, I took a deep breath and wrote him an email. I wanted him to read it and know he has my love and support, and that if he were honest with me, we could get through anything together. So, here's the email I sent him yesterday:
"Before I begin, you should know that I've been struggling to fight back my tears all day. With that being said, please forgive me in advance if this email is all over the place. Don't focus so much on the scrambled up sentences, or misspelled words. Instead, I hope you can see and feel that this comes straight from the deepest, most pure place in my heart.
Where should I begin? I guess the first thing I want you to know is that my heart goes out to you. I see that you're truly suffering and that you have been for some time now. I'm very sorry you've had to endure all this for so long. I need you to know (because perhaps I didn't show you enough before) that you have my unconditional support. Do you hear me? It was never my intention to make you feel any worse than you already feel. I'm sorry if I've contributed to your pain in any way.
The only thing I want to do is be here for you, ... period! You're fighting some serious demons, babe, I see that now. As I sat here for hours thinking about all this, adding everything up, things became very clear to me. My eyes are suddenly open - I see now, and I'm sorry I didn't see it before, what I need to do. Part of loving someone (friend, family or significant other) means, as hard as it may be, often times we have to set our own feelings/pain aside and focus all our energy into helping the person we love. I feel that, as your partner & your friend, someone you tried to confide in, that I have failed you. Knowing that I let you down, that I didn't provide a safe place for you to turn to, absolutely kills me. The disappointment I feel is not just in you, but in my self as well.
I thought a lot about you today. In fact, I thought about you all day. As much as I think I get a feel for what you're going through, I'm sure I'll never fully understand the depth of your pain. If you're shame/suffering is anything near what I can only imagine it to be, it's practically a miracle you've been able to hold your head up at all.
So, with all the love I have to offer, I come to you with my arms and my heart wide open. Let me in, babe. Let me share this terrible, awful burden with you! In fact, if it were at all possible, I'd even take this entire burden from you and lay it all on my shoulders, ... that's how deep my love runs for you. Do you hear me? Do you understand that I WANT to share this pain with you? That I love you so much that I'm willing to go through this hell with you, and burn forever if that's what I have to do. That's true love and that's exactly what I signed up for. I'm not running away from you or from any of OUR problems. Instead, let us both face them head on and do what we should have been doing all along, ... Run straight into each other's arms and find that safe place we've both been desperately searching for.
Signed with all the love imaginable"
Now, in no way was I telling him that his dishonesty was okay. However, I did want him to know that he has someone he can count on. Sending him that email was the best thing I could have done. I'm very proud of myself for letting go of my own ego and finding the capacity to love him, even in the darkest of times. That act of love was what he needed to open up and be honest with me about EVERYTHING. When he got home, we sat on the couch and the flood gates opened, he held nothing back. I know it took an enormous amount of courage on his part and I'm very proud proud of him for taking that step. There's a lot of shame and confusion on his part, he doesn't understand why he has the desire to be with men. That shame and disgust he felt for himself is what led to the deceit.
So here's the deal: Yes, he is sexually attracted to men and has been for about 10 years or so. It's not exactly men he's attratced to, it's men that look like woman, have breasts but still have their penis. The turn on for him is that it's a woman with a penis. He told me how many of those types of people he's been with, how he met them, where they'd meet, what they would do and when the last time this occurred. (there was no intercourse, it was mutual oral sex - no exchange of fluids and he was always very safe) I just sat there and listened to him, my heart open the time time. No judgement at all. Here's a man who has been living with this terrible secret for 10 years and it's destroyed his self esteem. He said it made him feel like he was a freak and a pervert. It broke my heart to watch him, this person I love dearly, sit there in so much pain like that.
After we talked, he made it very clear that he has no interest in dating these types of men. It's not something he thinks about on a daily basis, it comes and goes at random. He said he does love me and doesn't want to lose me, however, he also understood that he was risking losing me after this all came out.
I've given this a lot of thought. I have to be real with myself. No one is without fault. Everyone faces demons in their life. Why should I end our relationship just because he's been intimate with people of the same sex? If he were gay, that would be a deal breaker, no question about it, but he's not. He's simply someone who is turned on by kinky things, period. Now, there's still the issue of his deceit about all this. But I see why he wouldn't tell me. We've been together 14 months now and this is something you don't just tell anyone. Especially when it's something you aren't proud of, you know? You do have an obligation to your partner though, when the relationship becomes serious and there's a potential for a future together. This was our crossroads and took the opportunity to finally be honest, even though I could have turned on him and made him feel even worse. Instead, because he knew it was the right time to come clean, he did just that. In a way, him opening up to me and sharing this with me, brought us closer together. He got to really see how deeply I love and care for him and it bonded us. It's only when we're faced with challenges in life that we learn and grow as people. When you face things challenges in a relationship and you work to overcome them together, you grow as a couple. That's love. Love is so much more than just being with someone when times are good. It's about sticking together, especially when you face hard times. When you attack things together and have open communication, you really become one. That's exactly what happened with us last night. Our relationship shifted and this situation brought us closer.
Truthfully, I didn't know how I'd feel if he did decide to tell me everything. There was the possibility that I would be repulsed by him. I wasn't though. That also showed me that my love for him is true, it's solid. I'm still very attracted to him and I'll do whatever it takes to help him. If he hadn't opened up and been honest with me last night, I was prepared to leave him. As much as I love him, I can't be with someone who dishonors me. As hard as it is to walk away from someone you love, I know I'm strong enough to do it if I have to.
Moving forward, we have some work to do, of course. Also, because this is a fantasy he really enjoys, I'm okay with watching porn or playing in the bedroom. We've always been very playful with sex anyway and I have no doubt we can get creative with this as well. That does NOT mean I am open to inviting other people into our bedroom or that I'd let him go outside the relationship for sex. Now that I'm not kay with. I made that very clear to him last night. I did let him know that he doesn't need to be ashamed to explore this fantasy with me.
I know many people would say I should leave and that I'm making a huge mistake. To those people I'd like to say, why? Where's the real loyalty in people these days? When you leave someone because there are problems, you're only trading up for a new set of problems when you start a new relationship. The way I see it, when you have a true connection with someone, you have to communicate and face those problems as a team. That's what separates a relationship that works and doesn't. It's all about finding someone you're ready to go through all the B.S. with.
Again, thank you all for reaching out to me and sharing your words of encouragement. I love this site!