Bi/Gay Heterosexually Married Men: Who am I, really?
By Merle Yost, LMFT
Early in my psychotherapy practice, I was overwhelmed by a number of bi and gay heterosexually-married men looking for help in dealing with feelings that they most desperately wanted to go away.
Despite the proliferation of religious-based pseudo-psychologists, the power to change sexual orientation is not within the capabilities of a psychotherapist, or even an individual. Coming to terms with who you really are is the challenge goal of life. Some of these men leave their wives. Many do not. Each must choose the path he can live with.
There are many bi and gay men in heterosexual relationships and marriages. The "men seeking men" categories on Craigslist and various cell phone “gay dating apps” are full of anonymous ads looking for sex and sometimes love.
The gay community has been dramatically impacted by formerly married men. There have been estimates that as much as 80% of the AIDS generation — those out gay men born primarily in the 1940s through 60’s — has died, and closeted men who went into heterosexual marriages missed the slaughter of the epidemic. Thus, they make up a disproportionate number of the current older gay community.
Brokeback Mountain was a watershed movie for many of these men, because they saw their story, and for the first time, many felt they were not alone.
This article is an attempt to share some of the knowledge gained over the years working with this population, in hopes of making the journey easier for the men who are now trying to come to terms with themselves. It is sad that in 2018, men still don’t know who they are or still believe that in order to be loved, they have to deny who they are.
COMING TO TERMS WITH BEING GAY OR BI, AND COMING OUT
Internalized homophobia is the biggest issue for bi and gay heterosexually married men. Raised in a heterosexual world, they are different and often they know why, from an early age. They have spent a lifetime being the person others wanted them to be. In an attempt to fit in, be safe, and be accepted by society, they have rejected and hidden who they are. To be gay or even bi, and out, would make them unacceptable to themselves and society, in their perspective.
In most cultures, shame and guilt are a large aspect of sexuality. Shame is feeling badly about who we are, while guilt is feeling badly about what we have done or might want to do. For most people, there is an overlap between shame/guilt and sex/sexuality, as they are deeply intertwined. In order to be truly out and healthy as a gay or bi man, some of that shame and or guilt must be faced directly and worked through. To be happy in life, it is necessary to work through as much of the shame and guilt that you have downloaded as you possibly can.
The Internet, tea rooms (public bathrooms where men have sex), bathhouses, and adult bookstores are full of men who have not come to terms with their sexuality, nor with the shame about who they are. They are lost in their erotic feelings of sex, while desperately trying to avoid any real intimacy that would force them to really look at themselves and feel acceptance. Burying the shame of being gay can only bring more pain when they make poor choices in partners or do other self-punishing things.
Spending time alone and being engaged in the community are both required to move through the process of redefining who men are, as humans and gay. It takes time and effort to move through the self-loathing and self-hate. To be healthy, both sexually and emotionally, it is necessary to move beyond just the erotic as the prime motivation for male-to-male sex, and understand that love is also the foundation of being gay.
Too many bi and straight men want the fun of gay sex without any of the work or responsibility of gay relationships or membership in the gay community. They cannot really value a gay relationship equally, because they have been socialized to believe that marriage or other serious relationships require being with a woman. To be in the wrong relationship for one’s sexual orientation also means a lack of profound sexual attraction or excitement with their partner. Gay men can perform sexual acts with women, just as straight men have been having sex with men forever (think of prison as just one example). It is not the same as having sex with the appropriate gender for a man’s sexual orientation. One reason that makes the physical sex is an age-old issue for men: the separation of sex and intimacy. Men are not socialized to combine the two. One version is the whore/Madonna complex: "Sex is dirty and therefore not to be done with someone I love." For many men, when someone else starts to get very close emotionally, all or most sexual desire dissipates. If your model for intimacy is a parent who has consumed and overwhelmed you, it has been the effect of emotional incest by the mother. With this experience, being loved is a bad thing, since you risk being consumed and overwhelmed, both psychologically and emotionally. By staying on a solely erotic or sexualized level, the risks and perceived “threat” of real intimacy are minimized. It is also possible to eroticize being consumed and overwhelmed by the other. This usually results in some degree of emotional and/or sexual masochism in their sexual expression.
Men coming out after ending a heterosexual marriage often rush out and look for their fantasy man/boy. They are in the heat of their long-suppressed adolescent lust, often mistake that for love, and rush into a relationship. Too many men, as they start to come out, find the "perfect" young man who fulfills all their fantasies, at least on a physical level, and think that they have truly fallen in love. They invest time, and often a lot of money, into keeping the boy. (I am using "boy" as the description of a younger man in an older/younger relationship between two males of legal age.) Most of these dalliances end in sadness, if not tragedy. Many men have wasted a huge amount, if not all, of their retirement savings on this sort of "love." Eventually, they may retreat back into the closet and make huge generalizations about what it means to be gay, thereby solidifying their internalized homophobia. They run away, stop trying and stop growing.
This type of disillusioning experience is the equivalent of being three years old and stubbing your toe on a door. It might cause you to decide that all doors are dangerous, and that you must never go through one again. The journey of coming out really begins when you start telling people who you really are, and facing the possible rejection. This coming out is a rite of passage for an "out" gay man, and it is one that was avoided by men who got married and have instead played the "fit in and belong” game.
Even for an adult, the beginning of the coming out process can take place within an adolescent mindset. Adolescents do not make the best decisions, and neither will a man coming out who lacks basic information or guidance. Being gay, homosexual, or queer is about the healthy combination of love and sexual attraction. Sexual orientation is the unification of the heart and the genitals. Sex and love are not about sexual orientation in themselves; they are about lust and sexual expression. As a man comes out, he enters that painful exciting stage of an adolescent. He is finally experiencing what many of his heterosexual peers did in junior high, high school and college. That adolescent exploration, at that actual age, if short changed, can be damaging to the man and relationships he will attempt afterwards.
Intimacy is at the core of attraction. Regardless of sexual orientation, with enough intimacy, there can be sexually connection. This is how gay men have had sexual relationships with women; as they get to these deep levels of trust and exposing themselves, and this is the definition of intimacy. Consequently, they are able to perform sexually. But that does not change their sexual orientation. Straight men can have the same experience with another man. In a healthy relationship, it is important to not confuse this deep intimacy with sexual orientation. Most heterosexually married gay men report having to think about having sex with man in order to orgasm in their sexual relationships with women. Sex and relationships are complicated enough when it is the right sexual orientation match. Being in the wrong gender match just makes it harder for all involved.
A gay man who has been married to a woman should wait at least two years after the divorce is finalized before getting into a serious same-sex relationship. That time is needed to reorganize and absorb one’s real identity. Being in a relationship right away interrupts that process. We get to know ourselves best when we are alone. Starting a serious relationship before the minimum two-year maturation period is over is a distraction from oneself, especially early on. Being gay is different from being straight. It is not just a matter of having a different hole to use. There is a very important process that must take place so that a man is able to fully be present in a relationship. A gay identity is not easy, especially for a man who is used to all the societal privilege of being heterosexually married.
There is the healing from the divorce. There is financial recovery. There is the discovery of a different world with different rules and players. There is moving beyond an adolescent fantasy of every available sexual permutation. There is a new set of values that relate to a different paradigm. There is facing the self-hatred that comes from being gay in a straight world. The process of discovery and healing never stops, but it does get much easier to face and deal with and can become an exciting part of being alive and growing.
This section assumes that all men are truly all gay or all straight, even if the “bi” label is a famous red herring. What about the spectrum range of sexual orientation? Kinsey 4s?
REASONS GAY MEN MARRY WOMEN: PATHS TO DELAYED COMING OUT
1) There are the guys that just don’t know. They have totally bought into their childhood programming. Also, they may not be emotionally or psychologically developed enough to know who they are. Kids, by and large, do what they are told and what is expected of them. They don’t think about it too much. It is after they form into a person, develop a sense of self and begin individuating that they can begin to discern who they are and what they want. Consequently, they get married, go to college, join the military, do whatever their programming has dictated because it just never occurred to them that who they are might be different from what they were told. He will either stumble across a guy that he falls in love or lust with, or have a form of mid-life crisis. It will be at this point in his life that he finally realizes that he is unhappy. Suddenly, he sees that his life is not fulfilling, and he then begins to search inside of himself and start the process where he will hopefully figure out what is missing.
2) Some men acknowledge that they have had feelings for other boys and men while growing up, and may have even had several sexual experiences, but feel that they cannot still be loved and be gay. They may continue to have sex on the side or not, but they feel like impostors while they do what is expected of them, even as they die inside. By reducing these feelings to quick hook-ups, mostly one time encounters, they can avoid the risk of falling in love or dealing with the messy parts of themselves. It is playing Russian Roulette with themselves and their lives. But they are determined to protect the public life they have built, and often go to great extremes to do so. (Just Google “Republican politician” “outed” “gay”)
3) Another possibility is that, as a boy, he was sexually abused. Whether he identified what happened as abuse or not, he uses those feelings as the basis for the belief that he would not be having those feelings towards men if it had not happened to him. This man is deeply ashamed and full of self-loathing. He desperately wants to be normal, and is angry about what was done to him as child and how it is keeping him from feeling or being normal.
Gay boys are more likely than straight boys to be sexually abused[TC1] . Because they know they are different and in an effort to not reveal who they are, they tend to be loners or at least more withdrawn. When an older male shows interest, it can be a trap. The gay boy is looking for recognition and validation and like any boy, wants to be seen as sexually attractive. Kids generally trust adults in authority; that is how they are trained. When that trust is betrayed, it has life long consequences.
4) Societal pressure plays a central role for many. Fear of rejection by family, a loss of inheritance, a religious belief in damnation, and even the real threat of death, all can contribute to choosing to live the life “they” expect, instead of the one that fits. Kids are socialized that family is the most important thing in the world. Many families, churches and societies teach the child that what they, the family, church, society, etc. think of them is more important than what they think about themselves. This perspective can become the centerpiece of a person’s life. If they are unable to step outside of it, they will marry, have the expected kids, and do the things expected of them, no matter the cost to themselves, their wife or children.
5) Any and all of the above factors are frequently tied to a religious belief that homosexuality is wrong. A common part of the self-hatred that makes up the core of how a gay man or boy may sees himself comes from buying into the belief system that who you is bad by nature. When a religion tells its believers to hate themselves for being who they are, it is a criminal, egregious abuse of power, and creates unnecessary pain in the world.
SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS
When an older male sexually abuses a boy, the boy can be psychosexually stuck at the age when the abuse happened. There are many men who have sex with other men compulsively, because they are trying to replay and somehow resolve this childhood abuse. They may very well be heterosexual, they are often married, love their wives and enjoy sex with them, but they have this drive inside of them to recreate the experience of the abuse. It is called a repetition compulsion. They will not be clear about their sexual orientation until they go into therapy and resolve the sexual abuse. If the experience was pleasurable, this can create confusion about their sexual orientation. Most men know their sexual orientation, but when these feelings come up, they don’t know what to do with them or how to categorize them. Stress can be a trigger for these feelings to emerge as they go into a younger place psychologically and the pleasure of the experience became a bypass to dealing with the stress in the moment. Regardless of sexual orientation, it is necessary to work through these experiences and get to the unpleasant feelings buried beneath the pleasure, so that the psychosexual part of the adult can mature to match the physical age.
Many gay men that were sexually abused will tell you they are happy it happened. They call it ‘starting early.’ However, they are much more likely to not be in a relationship, be sexually compulsive, and prone to BDSM sexual relationships with little in the way of intimacy. For more information, read the article on this site called: Shedding Light on the Sexual Abuse of Boys and the Men They Become.
FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
For some men, emotions and feelings are a foreign concept. Men are not taught that having a variety of emotions is also masculine, nor are they supported in developing an emotional vocabulary as they mature. Without this, a man cannot acknowledge or manage his emotions. As a result, it is likely he will not be happy in any relationship. Society has made women the keeper of feelings for men, women, and their relationships. Everyone suffers as a consequence.
Feelings start as a thought, which is also felt in the body. Then the brain translates the feelings through the downloaded programming. Memories are feelings that are stored in the body. Letting those feelings move through the body is the path to healing and release.
Feelings and emotions can feel good or bad, but they are never irrelevant or invalid. Trying to control them is usually a losing battle. While men have traditionally been taught to ignore and suppress their feelings, a man’s actual job is to learn to manage his emotions, come to understand them so that he can learn more about himself and from his experiences with others in the world. How we feel when we are with someone, even casually, tells us a great deal about that person. Deciphering this puzzle, of understanding “what does my reaction to them mean?” can make the experience of being in the world much easier, not to mention more interesting.
Again, psychotherapy may be needed to assist in discovering the emotional self. It can speed up the journey and make the process easier. It helps to have an ally and sounding board. The discovery, work, and feelings are the individual’s, but having a mentor on the road will make the journey faster and much less lonely.
GRIEVING YOUR HETEROSEXUAL LIFE/IDENTITY
Coming out means potentially losing a lot. It is possible to lose one’s family (both immediate and extended), friends, home, job, etc. Coming out never happens without some cost. At the very least, one’s self-image must be reinvented.
This transformation requires a substantial part of one’s self-image be changed, and part of that process is to grieve losses. Each person grieves in his own way, but the traditional stages of grief apply to most:
Denial: I am not different. This will be easy. Nothing will change except that I am having sex with men rather than women. A relationship is a relationship; there are just different parts involved. No one needs to know. Who I have sex with is private and no one else’s business.
Anger: This is not fair. This should not be happening to me. It messes up everything. People will not like me anymore. They will only see that I am gay, and I can’t handle that. Why me? I did not ask for this. I don’t want it. I won’t do it.
Bargaining: I will only tell a few people. I will only have sex or be gay when I am out of town. I will only get sucked or do the fucking because that means I am not gay, and I am still a man. I am not like ‘them.’
Depression: I don’t see a way to be happy. I can’t be gay. I can’t come out. I can’t stand this lie anymore. It is killing me. There is no happy ending for me.
Acceptance: It won’t be easy, but I will do what I have to do. I want a chance to be happy; I want to be who I really am. I am worth it. People who love me will love me, no matter who I love.
The potential losses can include real loss of social status, relatives and friends, jobs, money and church/religion or community. Each loss has its own process and consequence. Some men pay higher prices to be who they really are and to live in integrity. For the vast majority, the journey is worth the price, and they become much better human beings and happier people. But it is crucial that the stages of grief be felt and expressed in whatever way is appropriate for each individual.
PATHS THROUGH GRIEF:
Reading others’ stories
Physical expression of feelings
With every loss, there is a gain. In this case, the gains include a truer sense of self, a sense of rightness with being in the world, and most importantly, learning who really loves us for who we are, not who they thought we were or who they wanted us to be. So, be sure to celebrate the gains. It is like graduating. We should always take time to celebrate the good that comes, just as we need to acknowledge the losses.
There are moments, days, months, and even years when we much spent time alone. At the end of any relationship, and especially the end of a long-term one, it is imperative that time be taken to re-discover you. To be in any new relationship requires that a certain amount of reorganization of an individual take place, in order to be part of a couple. When the relationship ends though divorce, death, or separation, it is necessary to take a new inventory to see who you are now, because the person who existed before the relationship is no longer there. You have changed. You have more life experience, and you now see the world through a different set of experiences. This is the time to figure out who you have become, so that when you are ready to be in a couple again, you will know who, and what, you are bringing to this new relationship.
SUGGESTED WAYS OF HEALING AND TAKING INVENTORY
Live alone, if possible
There is nothing fun about divorce. It is painful for everyone involved. Most men are glad to move on with their lives. By the time they decide to divorce, they just want it to be over. Many men feel a lot of guilt about their divorce when it involves coming out, and often give away all of their assets to compensate for this guilt. It is important to be fair, but not to "give away the farm." Depending on the couple’s ages when the divorce happens, there can be custody and childcare issues, and retirement and property settlements.
Sometimes, the wife attempts to play the sexual orientation card in the divorce, and it can be really ugly. That sweet woman you married may turn out to be your worst nightmare.
Be sure to get the best, most experienced divorce lawyer you can afford, especially someone local that understands the courts, the judges, and the local prejudices and approaches. There is little to no advantage to stretching this out. Get it done as quickly and fairly as possible, but get it done. Your new life cannot really begin until the old one is finished. Until you are divorced, you cannot fully grieve or move on with your life.
There are many rationales for continuing the marriage on paper only. "She needs the health insurance" is a popular one. If you were straight and divorcing or separating from a wife, the new female partner would not tolerate your continuing to be married, and frankly, neither should your future male partner. While you may no longer be emotionally tied to your wife, the piece of paper that binds you to her is an energetic link that keeps you from being free and available for another. It is ultimately saying "my gay life is not as important as my straight life or commitment."
In some ways, it is much easier to be exclusively straight or gay than truly bisexual. The old joke is that if you are bisexual, you have twice the chance of a date on Saturday night. The real punch line is: but only if you are in the closet. Bisexuals find much less acceptance than men on either end of the Kinsey scale. What I mean by "bisexual" is a man who is both emotionally and sexually attracted to both sexes and able to be in love with either gender.
Many "straight" men, in my observation, can have sex with men. For them it is easy—there are no potential ‘love’ emotions involved, and since they are with a man, they can rationalize that it is not cheating. It is just sex, getting off, nothing more. A term for this is ‘hetero-flexible’ and a newer one, ‘mostly straight.” These men are not really bisexual.
Most bisexual men remain married to women. The payoffs and privileges in this society are so great for being straight that there is less incentive for these men to take on the extra stress and issues of being in an exclusively gay relationship.
Recently, there has also been an increase in the number of men (and women) in open and polyamorous relationships. This allows them to work on multiple relationships as a way of trying to get their various needs met. To be honest about whom you are and your life is acting with integrity.
At the core of insecurity for men and women whose partner is bisexual is the question: "How can I satisfy the needs of my bisexual partner if I am not everything that they want or need?" The fallacy here is that any one person can ever completely satisfy every need of another. When we choose to be in a relationship, particularly a monogamous relationship, we are agreeing that the other person meets enough of our needs to be happy. We choose to give up some things in order to reach a deeper place with one partner. If a man cannot be happy in a monogamous relationship, and knows it, then he should perhaps not be in that relationship. He should be clear from the beginning that he is only interested in an open or polyamorous relationship. Honest conversations in the beginning about what the relationship means and represents will save a lot of pain and betrayal later. And heterosexuals and gay people may not know they are unhappy with a monogamous relationship until they are older or come to know themselves better. All relationships are renegotiable. It may or may not mean the end of the relationship, however, it is honest and both parties get a vote.
Many men attempt to have it both ways by having sex or relationships on the side without their wives’ knowledge. Hiding a relationship is to have shame about it. Being married to a woman while having the man on the side sends a message that the male relationship is about sex, not love. Infidelity does not destroy relationships, dishonesty does.
I would add here something like> Studies have already shown that gay and lesbian couples see “fidelity” as an openly negotiable item in establishing a relationship. Heterosexual couples, by contrast, too often accept the assumption of monogamy without an honest discussion of human nature and needs….frequently leading to tears.
Also, many of these people discovering they’re poly are only just figuring it out, after they jump into a traditional relationship. Hard to say many of them *know* up front what they want……getting off topic, anyway….
HETERO-FLEXIBILITY OR MOSTLY STRAIGHT
These describe a man who is emotionally and sexually attracted to women and at the same time, enjoys occasional sex with another man. Such men are confident in their sexual orientation, but open to pleasure and contact from another man who attracts their attention. A lot of the men who solicit sex from other men fall into this category. They may be getting little to no sex from their wives, and by having sex with another man, there is no chance of emotional entanglements. They don’t feel like it is cheating. In addition, sex itself between men is different. A straight man might take a different role with another man or get sexual needs met that are not happening in their relationship. Gay men can focus on other men’s bodies in a different, and more knowledgeable way than women when having sex with men. Straight men have reported that they find the way that gay men look at and enjoy their bodies to be very different from what women do. These men are not bisexual, and they are not gay. They simply have some type of homosexual sex, occasionally or frequently, and enjoy it.
REDEFINING BEING A MAN
What is a man? This is a question that haunts all men—straight, gay, bi, and transsexual. We strive to answer it as best we can, given whatever role models we grew up with. The answer, whatever the sexual orientation, can be complicated. One of society’s prejudices against gay men is that because they supposedly do not procreate, gay men are not really men. The ability to procreate is fundamental for many religions and communities. Straight couples without children can also face a very similar prejudice.
While most people have moved beyond the "John Wayne, strong, tough, unfeeling" stereotype of manhood, each man must still find his own definition of being a man. Can you be anally penetrated, or perform oral sex on a man, and still be a man? To accept or come to terms with what it means to be a gay man will likely require grieving what you thought makes a man. As we let go of our fantasies and ideas about who we are, and grieve those, then we can see what will fill that empty space.
For most men, being in a relationship with another man emotionally, sexually, and physically means that you do not have defined gender roles, either sexually or functionally. Most men in gay relationships are, to some degree, sexually versatile. Also, who cooks, washes the dishes, cleans the house, or does the yard work has to all be negotiated. It is not just assumed, based upon gender, what each person’s role is going to be. Does doing tasks that are traditionally women’s roles make you only a partial man? Being a man is about knowing and expressing all the parts of you, the masculine as well as the feminine. Being the top and the bottom, however defined, is about a fully integrated you and how you choose to express that. Being gay is an empowering journey, one with fewer set societal rules, and more room for creative exploration. It is the journey, the self-growth that is one of the great benefits of coming out and being in a relationship with another man. Straight men, all too often, do not challenged to truly look at themselves and their programming and figure out what being a man really means to them.
With the legalization of gay marriage, some of the limitations imposed on gay relationships have changed. On the upside, there is legal recognition of the relationships. Spousal benefits, power of attorney, inheritance and all of the 200-plus legal benefits of being married now apply to gay couples. This is recognition of increased societal acceptance and social standing.
However, there are downsides as well. The battle inside the gay community from its emergence as a social/political movement has been acceptance versus integration. Being on the outside, and yet with a degree of acceptance, has allowed the community and its relationships to bypass a great deal of socialization towards conformity. In emphasizing the differences, it meant that playing by society’s rules didn’t apply. Once marriage became legal, many of the downloaded traditional beliefs about relationships and marriage have now come into play. Straight people have been dealing with this for centuries. They are programmed from the beginning about what it means to be married. A big breakthrough in society was when straight people could just live together as a couple without censure, but just in recent decades. Many have very successful long-term relationships that are never formally legalized. Couples who marry after many years of living together can sometimes divorce. This is because while they were unmarried, they had found a way to side-step those societal downloads, and yet, in the moment they said, “I do, “ all of those downloads about what it means to be married entered the relationship. For some, the relationship just gets better. For others, it can fall apart quickly. It all depends on what unconscious beliefs about being married are inside their psyches.
The same is true for gay couples. Mattison and McWhorter’s groundbreaking book, The Male Couple, documented patterns in the journey of male couples, nearly 35 years ago, when the idea of gay marriage was unimaginable. They interviewed male couples who had had been together from one to sixty more years to determine how it was different, and what stages they went through. Now that marriage is part of our vocabulary, gay men are going to be more impacted by that same socialization of what it means to be “married” as their straight counterparts. Thus, we have lost some of our advantage and differentness that allowed us to redefine ourselves outside of the system. Formerly heterosexually married men will likely deeply understand this and yet, based on their internalized homophobia, their own family downloads could sabotage their relationship with a man as well. This is why it is important to look at and work through as much of the internal shame of being gay as possible. The process is life-long, but it does get easier. Shame can show up in the most painful of ways, often in unconscious ways.
Alan Down’s The Velvet Rage should be required reading for every gay man. While not a perfect book, it is excellent at showing the unconscious ways that shame impacts our lives.
To better understand your downloads, read my book: Facing the Truth of Your Life. We are taught very little about how we became us and. So much misinformation is passed on generation after generation. Coming out is another chance to really figure out whom we are, where we came from and where can go from here.
Shame is a poor substitute for self-esteem. Men who post personal ads without showing their face are telling you they are ashamed of being gay. If the ads are just dicks or naked pictures with no faces, they are telling you that to them, being gay is just about sex. Is their online profile picture current? Is your picture current? If the profile picture is ten years or 40 pounds out of date, then the posters are lying to you and themselves. Is the picture of them with a girl? They really could not find a picture of themselves alone? Is the picture from 200 feet away? Do they wear sunglasses or wear a hat that obscures their faces? They are telling you they have not accepted themselves, so they are not ready to be in a relationship. Frankly they might not be ready for sex either. Guys that hide behind body parts or body shots have not fully created a three-dimensional self-image of being gay.
The Internet is certainly the method of choice now for hook-ups (finding sexual partners) and relationships. When reading profiles, read between the lines. Look for what is not there. Ask questions. If a question is asked and it doesn’t get answered, that is a bad sign. The same thing can and will happen in a relationship or hook-up. What else are they not telling you? Secrets are shame pockets. Beware of them as they will come back and haunt you. Lack of disclosure is telling you they are full of shame. Believe them. Move on, otherwise they are likely to dump their shame on you.
Is there more than a one-sentence description in the profile, or is all of the description about the kind of sex they are seeking or the kind of body they are looking for? I call the latter "parts shopping." They are not looking for a person; they are looking for the fantasy parts that will make them happy, at least for ten minutes or so. Having boyfriend who is only pretty will not make you happy. It might distract you for a while, but over time, it won’t work. There has to be more to the person and the relationship than the external appearance.
Pictures in a profile should be updated at least yearly. In the cell phone era, it is easy enough to take a new picture.
Life for everyone is unpredictable with twists and turns on the journey. Figuring out who we are, coming to terms with that, finding a way to be okay with whatever choices we make is just part of life. But it is essential to understand, that while most will not face this particular detour on the road, we all have to make adjustments as we learn more about ourselves. So compassion for you, for what you did not know about you or the pain you were unable or unwilling to face is in order. I suggest liberal doses until you are just willing to meet whatever it is you have to face without self-punishment, shame or humiliation.
This part of your journey is survivable and perhaps one of the more critical growing experiences of your life. It is time to own who you are and come home to being the person you were meant to be.
Links of Interest
For Men And Their Wives
GAY/BI MARRIED MEN SUPPORT GROUPS
NYC (Yahoo Groups page)
(email group owner for info on NYC support group)
HOW (Husbands Out to Wives)- If you meet our qualifications (gay/bi- married man who is out to, or committed to come out to his wife) and if you are interested in joining HOW, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org using your confidential email address for further details about the group and instructions for joining.