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Hi,

 

I am a 33 year old bisexual male. Since the age of 14-15 I've had a great group of about 15-20 very close highschool friends.

 

Since the age of 21-22, I began questioning my sexuality. I secretly began to experiment with guys, and for years only one close (gay) friend knew about me not being straight. I found (and find) myself still attracted to women emotionally and sexually, which has been the biggest reason for me to only come out to partners and not publicly.

 

From my early twenties, rumours arose if I might be gay, and also in my group of friends. I never confirmed them (mostly because I was still questioning and this was very stressful in itself without the added stress of people knowing). When I was 27, one of my friends' friends had once seen me in a gay bar, but nobody ever asked me something about that, I guess people were trying to give me space to address the issue on my own pace and in my own way.

 

When I was 28, one of my at the time good high school friends asked me around 2 am at a wedding of another of these great friends if I liked men. I remember being a bit drunk and I answered her honestly, not because I wanted to, but because I hated to lie to someone I considered a good friend. She was the first person I had told (except for the very good gay friend who had known for 8 years but who had kept my secret the entire time).

 

The day after I already felt bad for having told her. I wrote her an e-mail and asked if she would like to have a coffee together to talk things through. She didn't reply. I sent another e-mail after 1 week, but again she didn't reply. When I confronted her in person another week later, she said she had forgotten and still didn't reply.

 

Soon I began to notice people around me acting differently. People asked after my love life more frequently. A few months on a few more friends asked if I might fall for guys? I knew they knew, I assumed they found out because of her, and I didn't want to lie to them, so I confessed. This stretched out experience of having your self-identity/image that you love, being slowly but surely taken away from you, was heartbreaking and extremely stressful. I still hadn't come to a 'final conclusion' about my sexuality let alone if I wanted to be open about it, and the knowledge that I could meet collegues who could know, or that my family could find out before I had the chance the tell them, while I really didn't want to, was paralyzing. I also have a quite high-profile job in a rather conservative setting, which added pressure.

 

I moved to a neighbouring country 2 years later, largely because of this. I felt stressed about this 24/24 and 7/7. I felt so angry and bitter at my old friend. I didn't want to confide in anyone because I felt I couldn't trust no one. I felt isolated in this other country. I felt my future chances in love, especially with women, were determined by my friend outing me in public. My social isolation led to unsafe sex and even drug abuse at one point, both of which luckily were temporary and had no further consequences.

 

My old high school friends told me everything 'was in my head' and that they 'loved me regardless'. But I felt like my market value with women had (of course) plummeted and it should have been my decision. Of course you know this can happen when a few people know, but what kind of friend takes this all away from you? Without even considering to ask your consent? I felt I should have had the right to open up privately to partners instead of this info being made public. I felt I deserved friends who respected my feelings, my privacy, my person. I felt my feelings were being so invalidated by my friends telling me it was 'in my head'. And that 'it would have come out anyway'. Which might be true, but is such an uncaring and insensitive thing to say as a friend I feel. I felt they never understood the scope of bisexuality, which to them wasn't a 'real world problem' but just a little 'inconvenience' or even a 'luxury' (which it often is not if you really know bisexual people).

 

We are now almost 5 years after the conversation at the wedding, and to this date I feel such a deep mistrust, bitterness and sometimes downright hatred for this female friend who never apologized and just laid my secret bare for everyone without even having a conversation first with me about who knew, what my sexuality really was, or just offer any emotional support. She has been trying to reach out during social gatherings and I get the impression she is finally starting to realize the deep impact her acts have had, and is finally somewhat remorseful. Her own dad came out as gay after 25 years of marriage and I think she honestly never considered the option of bisexuality and just thought I was gay and needed to come out for it. She pjust projected her own psychological trauma I think. So I do know there were some good intentions, but still, the arrogance, coldness to think you have the right to do this... after 15 years of friendship...

 

My feelings have recently somewhat softened, because I realize there are worse things in life, and I just want to get on with life, and be positive again, build something.

 

But 1) I find myself resenting my 'gay image' (which is not the truth because I am still interested in women, making this a major hinderance in still meeting women), and I don't know how to get past the feeling that my friend played a big part in 'destroying my reputation and market value', which, admittedly, might have happened anyway. But to have it happen by a friend is very sour.

 

2) Even if my friend had 'good intentions', the betrayal for me cuts so immensely deep, especially considering the fact that she never even bothered to have a conversation about it with me, let alone apologize for it, and for years never even showed any sign of remorse, the fact that she lied about having broken my trust and tried to keep it hidden for me (together with my other friends, which was also very painful) and also the fact that we had been friends for 15 years. Also the arrogance to decide such an important thing for somebody else, I just can't get past. And the consequences: deciding to move away, losing contacts with colleagues, friends (which of course was my decision but I was so extremely stressed I felt I had no other option). Having my self-confidence and chances with women damaged irreparibly at an age that would have been perfect to meet my true love to settle down with... And then the labels I got: that I only had self-pity, that everything is in my head, that I liked to make drama...

 

I don't think I'll ever see her as the friend she was before, but I do acknowledge she is a very positive factor in organizing stuff for the group, keeping these people together. I also think she is very bad at judging complex nuanced psychological situations, and probably also genuinely wanted to help me find my balance in life, which turned out the opposite (a completely unbalancing experience). But for another part I suspect she wanted to have some of the 'honours' for having outed me. She is so focused on social status.

 

I feel with the years passing by, pressure is rizing to make a decision whether to try to sort of reconnect and keep a low-key cordial relation, for the sake of forgiveness and for the sake of just getting on with life without holding on to negativity, and for the sake of the functionality of the group of friends. My friends have nothing to do with what happened but have greatly suffered from the situation.

 

On the other hand I honestly feel she has messed up so many things for me, is a liar, a person incapable of empathy, a conservative person, somebody trying to control people, and if we wouldn't have all these great mutual friends I am 100 % sure I would have cut her out of my life a long time ago. Am I a doormat then for considering forgiving her (even if I'll never go back to a full-on friendship with her), or am I a healthy person for choosing love (eg for my friends, for her partner, who is a great guy and who has also suffered because of this, for myself: to be a strong loving man loving people and accepting that mistakes happen) and going on with life?

 

Any input? What would you do? Forgive or not forgive?

 

Thanks for your opinions, I know this is just a forum but the idea to share some honest thoughts with total strangers feels very refreshing ;-)

 

Manu

Edited by manu85
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I'm so sorry you've struggled with this. I think you need to forgive her for the simple fact that your anger and resentment are hurting YOU not her, and it is the only way you will ever gain peace of mind for yourself. I would recommend finding a support group, online or in person, that is specifically for bi people who are experiencing similar struggles. It always helps to have support from people who completely understand what you are going through.

 

Also, if you're going to move because of this issue, why not move somewhere that has a high population of LGBT people and are generally more accepting of it. I live in California and nobody even blinks at LGBT. Nobody really cares what sexuality you are here.

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This woman had no right to share your secret. Terrible! I would never speak to her again, but you need to forgive.

 

You really need to work through this. You have wasted 5 years of your life harboring this anger. it seems that others have accepted your choice; unfortunately, you have not. You need to deal with your sexual orientation.

 

i strongly suggest therapy with someone who works with gay/bi patients. Time to accept who you are!

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I don't know about any of this. You really don't have any proof that she revealed your secret. Are you sure you just didn't start acting different and that's why your group pulled away from you? And what country are you from that being gay or bi makes any difference? None of your friends would confirm your scenario. Plus you moved to another country so you isolated yourself even further. I agree with Awanderer and Hollyj that maybe you should speak with something, because you're only hurting yourself with your anger.

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Hi guys, thanks for your input! Pretty valid points!

 

@Awanderer: I have been to a bi conference, have joined 2 anonymous talking groups for bisexuals but those were mostly 1) complete weirdos or 2) married couples with children where the man discovered after years that he liked men too. I haven't found a group of young and out, normal, educated, single bisexual men. Understandably, this is the group that is most often in the closet. The group that I would get most support from is largely invisible. Scared bisexual men who are afraid to risk their relationships with their wives, girlfriends, families, reputation and thus make the (understandable) decision to stay in the closet. I do live in a very LGBT friendly place and feel much freeer and more comfortable with my sexuality in this country ;-)

 

@Hollyj: thanks for your support, yes, it does feel terrible and yes I have contemplated never speaking to her again. The funny thing is: I have tried therapy as well with a therapist specialized in sexuality issues, and while it did help to express my feelings, it hasn't solved the problems I daily face with people not understanding my sexuality and what it means. I accept my orientation fully and feel comfortable with it, already since a few years. I have accepted and I actually like that I can be attracted to both genders. I have mostly found that society is not ready to accept my sexuality. Women are not open to having a stable monogamous relationship with children with an openly bisexual guy. That is a problem. Men view you as weak and 'softer', 'more feminine' than other men, not into 'real guy stuff'. Which is a problem. I am a very capable and valid partner in a straight as well as a gay relationship and just as loyal partners as straight or gay men. We just happen to fantasize not just about other women but sometimes of other men.

 

@DanZee: one friend admitted last year that she had 'broken my trust' without explicitly specifying what had happened. She has sent (very rare) pictures of me and her together in our friend's WhatsApp group, usually undertitled with 'look how much love'. Which is for me is just her trying to put social pressure on me to forgive her. She has bought 'chocolates' for me on our last friend's holiday - which made me furious, how do you think a few chocolates could soften the blow you gave someone by taking away their right to decide to open up or not about their sexuality when they like it? Other friends have declined to comment on the issue, which I understand. But whenever I talked about my vision of the facts, they never denied when I said she had shared my secret with others. Quite a pile of strong indirect evidence IMO. I understand my friends, they probably feel a bit similar to children of parents in a divorce, they don't want to pick sides and want to stay out of the discussion, hoping it will be solved ASAP. Still, it is hurtful. By the way, I pulled away from the group, not the other way around. I needed space. I needed an environment where people could see my sexuality for what it was, not a 'state of progress towards a gay identity', not a 'form of denial', 'weakness' or 'incapability of honesty'. I will decline to comment which country I am from, but I will say it is Western European. Opposed to what you might think, even in progressive countries, bisexuality is still very much misunderstood. It is a totally different matter than being gay. And largely still taboo. Yet people treat it as being equal to homosexuality. Which is damaging to bisexual men, their future, their chances to meet a partner and start a family, their mental and sexual health, their career, their friendships, their social status, their self confidence. People need to start accepting that bisexual men are valid masculine men, that bisexuality is a beautiful thing and that it does require more sophisticated communication but doesn't impede a healthy monogamous relationship. Not being open about your sexuality in public, and only sharing it with your partner to protect yourself from stigma, can be a valid and respectable choice in the case of a bisexual man. 40 % of bisexual men are out, opposed to 80 % of gay men. Mental health in bisexual men is up to 6 times worse than in gay men. Society stigmatizes them for all dirty things in the world. That has got to change. We should be able to be ourselves without any repercussions and have equal chances as gay or straight men.

Edited by manu85
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