My boyfriend of 2 and a half years, and now fiancé, just dropped the bomb on me that he experimented with another man when he was 18 years old. Twelve years later, and now 30, he insists that this is the only man he’s ever been with and has only been with women since. He claims that this was a phase. Should I be as freaked out as I am? I feel like I don’t even know him. We are set to get married in a year and he is the love of my life. However, I feel so confused and betrayed.
How do you answer a question like this honestly all the while trying desperately to take your own 46 year old preconceived notions and very non-millennial views out of it? The answer...I’m not sure I can. You’re writing to me for honesty, but the honest answer is there are two ways to look at this.
I always look at things through the lens of a parent first. It’s almost impossible for me to strip myself of that view point now. I think often about what my parents would have done or said when I go to parent my own kids. Sometimes I lean into this, sometimes I steer away. I know categorically what my father would have told me if I were in your shoes. He would have told me to run for the hills. And the parent in me sort of wants to tell you to do the same. Protect, shield, envelop; it’s what us parents do. So candidly, if you were my daughter, I’d be helping you pack and frantically calling the florist to get my deposit back on peonies.
But guess what? You’re not my kid, and I’m not a frantic panicked parent who wants everything to be boxed up for you with a pretty bow nice and neat. Life is messy. But I have a feeling you know that right about now. So let's get real, and let’s get down to BUZZness! After all, I’m much cooler I like to think after having watched a few episodes of “Game of Thrones” so you’re catching me at a very open minded time in my life. Hee hee hee.
So while I’d love to know the details of how he dropped this little grenade in your lap I’m going to write to you only responding to the facts that I have in front of me:
Love of your life.
18 years old when this happened.
One time only.
Only women since.
My initial instinct when I opened your letter was one of anger. When reading it, I felt how it would feel to have this happen to me. I felt the betrayal you felt, I felt how you would feel duped, and I felt how this could feel like this was a lie of omission. Why tell you now? Why back you into a white tulle filled corner now when you're making plans to sashay down the aisle. Ok, maybe not sashay, but you're the one who called this “Fianc-Gay,” I’m just getting lost in the visual. Cue Liza Minnelli!
But then I took a giant jazz step back and called in the big guns. The big gay guns actually. One of my favorites, one of my best friends, who also happens to be fabulously gay. I don't use fabulous because he’s gay, I use fabulous because he’s FABULOUS. He also says it like he sees it whether you want to hear it or not. I wanted to hear it. ALL OF IT. For you darling, of course. Wanna know what he had to say? I thought you might. It was an eye opener for me and left me somewhat ashamed of my own boxed up ideas of sexuality and love. It’s not to say I’m not still calling a moving company for you, but I could also be convinced to co-host your bridal shower, too. Hmmmm the themes are endless...sorry I digress.
There are a lot of things to think about here and for you to mull over. The first is which therapist to call. No joke. The strongest of couples should be in therapy before tying the knot. And you may, in fact, prove to be the most “with it,” evolved couple of the century. That said, this is important enough to be addressed with a pro-fesh. And while I love that you reached out, and I’m so honored and touched that my thoughts count, I am only a professional mama bear, wind up ass on Instagram and to the core a girl’s girl. I am not qualified to have this blog post run your decision making. Go talk to someone, ok? Ok!
Sorry to get personal, but did you ask him questions? I sure as shit hope you did and I hope he’s willing to really go there with you; in a therapist's office if that’s where you both feel safe, but it's time to get real. This is not at all the time to be demure. How was it for him? No bullshit now, no laughing away the response. How much did he enjoy it? Does he need this in his life? If he’s being truthful and it was only that one time, my guess is it wasn’t that good, but you better ask and you better feel damn good about his answer. Because finding gay porn on his laptop in 5 years while you nurse a newborn baby at 2 am is not my idea of a “happy ending.” Speaking of which, did he have one? What exactly took place? One time or many times? For a month or multiple months? It matters.
How’s the sex now? Again, time to get real. In life we tend to look back and go, “Ah yes, the signs were there. The writing was on the wall.” This one might be spray painted sweet pea so I hope the sex is lighting you on fire. You better be purring like a kitten satisfied AF. And I hope to G-d you’re getting the feeling that he is, too. There’s no receipt for this one. No returns or exchanges allowed. Final Sale. Get it?
Here’s what I hope for you. I hope that him telling you this was less of a confession and more an act of love. You’re not yet married with kids, he was straight with you (pun intended) and my guess is if you told him you had had a sexual experimentation with another woman at 18, he’d be psyched. Most men would, let’s face it. We live in a society where fragile masculinity is very much an issue. So while I don't envy your position, I do recognize that him coming clean was perhaps the ultimate expression of his love and commitment. Women are encouraged to experiment with other women by straight men, while men are shamed and labeled. Does your straight bias allow you to see this?
So from where I’m sitting, press the pause button on choosing your favorite flavor of cake filling, tell your wedding planner you’ll get back to her on song choice for that first dance and do some real soul searching. You’ve gotta figure out first if this is “Fianc-Gay” or just “Fianc-Play.”