I Am

I am

I am 44 years old.  I have been married for 25 years to the woman I fell in love with at first sight, to my best friend.  We have two boys, 17 and 11.  Great kids who idolize me…I am the cool dad that “relates” to them and their likes.  I am also gay…always been.  My wife knows…she found out last year.  My kids don’t know.  I am also HIV positive.  I became infected last year through unprotected extramarital, gay encounters (emphasis in the “s”). 

I am sharing what I am sharing in the hopes that somehow what I am sharing may impact someone out there…maybe help them make better choices than the ones I’ve made and am living with.  I am not looking for “counseling”…I am way beyond that.  I am not looking for reassurance or validation.  I have come to terms with who I am and I am planning on riding the rest of my life the best way possible, taking one day at a time and not thinking too much about my life.  I can’t tell you what to do.  I can tell you what I wish I would have done.  However, whichever way this story impacts you is entirely up to you.

I am the type of guy that you look at and you always wonder “is he gay?”  I am handsome (modesty is not one of my attributes), very sensual, a flirt…at least externally that is the façade I put out.  Someone very sure of himself, a “top dog” (though I am more of a “bottom”…joke!).  Dramatic, I love making an entrance and having all eyes on me, to be the object of desire of both men and women…men, whether they want me or want to be me…women wanting to have me, yet unavailable.  I dress to kill, always very fashionable…“Mr. GQ” my co-workers call me.  I am the poster child of what current society calls “metro-sexual”, a term to “justify” closeted gays and bisexual men, in my opinion.  I like wearing clothes that accentuate my body assets, particularly my *** and bulge.  Picture perfect man who “has it all”…yet inside I have always been very insecure, caring too much about what other people think…hence, coming out 25 years ago was completely out of the question.

When I was a little kid I wanted to be a girl.  Maybe it was because I was a child born out of wedlock and the most important male figure in my life (my father) didn’t want to do anything with me and as a result I saw being a girl as the object of desire of the male figure, instead of being the rejected boy.  It wasn’t like my mom showed the she liked me that much either, so I associated being a boy as the reason, maybe thinking that if I was a pretty little girl she would love me more.  Maybe it was because I was raised amongst women, though I’ve seen other men be raised in similar situations and be completely manly and heterosexual.  Maybe it was in my genes.  One thing I am sure of is that I didn’t choose to be who I am and how I feel.  If it would have been my choice, I would have chosen to be a man’s man.  I was molested a couple of times when I was young, but that didn’t make me who I am.  If anything I secretly always wished that I would have been more proactive in the instances when it happened, instead of cowering and running away.  All I know is that I didn’t like the way people perceived me, ie. as being gay, mainly because I couldn’t stand any more rejection in my life.  As a result I did choose to work very hard at being as manly and heterosexual looking as I could.  As a result, I threw myself into wholeheartedly into my education and became the first in my class through high school and college, gaining the respect of my peers who decided to remain undecided as to my sexual tendencies.


In the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, while at a party for the incoming freshman class, a girl walked into the party, a girl who took my breath away.  It was a “movie-style” moment, time slowed down and all I could see was her hair bellowing in the wind.  It was love at first sight for me.  Looking back I don’t know if I “fell in love” with her because I desired her as a man desires a woman or because I wanted to be her.  We became best friends and in my senior year I proposed to her.  She was the first woman with whom I had sex.  She still is the only woman with whom I had sex.  We married at 22.

Unknown to both of us was the fact that she was bipolar.  I just always thought that she was just bitchy, you know, that she just had a tempered on her.  She came from a family of means and I always tried to show my love by trying, and failing miserably, to provide her the life that she was accustomed to.  Needless to say our financial situation was not great.  Life wasn’t great.  Eventually kids came into the picture complicating life even more.  My wife, being undiagnosed and untreated with a mood disorder, always made things worse.  She was constantly ill, back problems, migraines, vertigo, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, you name it…and somehow I always blamed myself for not being capable of making her fully happy.  As I was reaching 40 it all started getting to me.  I started questioning everything that my life had become, who I had become.  I also started getting tired of living my life constantly preoccupied with making my wife happy and always feeling like a failure.  I started to think “what about me, what about my happiness”.   

I tried becoming a devoted Christian, putting everything “in God’s hands”, throwing myself into much church activity.  That didn’t help either.  On the contrary, looking at the life that my wife and I lead while in front of church people and the discrepancy with who she was at home, made me start losing “faith”.  I once again started questioning my life and what I wanted to do with it for myself.  I was 42 when while reading the newspaper in the bathroom at work I saw an article about a brand new line of underwear that accentuated the man’s bulge.   All it took was that article to make something inside of me snap and I was hooked.  I went to the website and I couldn’t take my eyes off the models.  As with any men underwear website, it was very homoerotic.  I was hooked, and from there it was just a few weeks before I discovered gay **** on the internet.  Needless to say, I became “addicted” to it.  I just couldn’t get enough, so much, that I became careless and my wife caught me downloading a gay **** movie.  I blamed it on our lack of sexual excitement, the fact that I found that watching other women would be more disrespectful to her than watching men have sex…that it was just because of the sex.  She somehow bought it, I promised never to do it again, she changed all the passwords on the computers in the house, we blamed the “Devil” for it, prayed about it, and moved on with our lives.  I only stayed away from it for a couple of weeks.  I got a smart phone and I was able to catch gay **** on my phone.

From gay **** on the internet it was only a matter of time before I discovered the gay hook-up websites.  And exactly a month after my 43rd birthday I had my first gay sex experience in the living room of my home.  From that point on I was hooked on gay sex. 

I guess looking back I went into self-destructive mode.  I just couldn’t get enough.  It was like I needed to satisfy all the repressed sexual desires I had stored for 40 years and no matter how much gay sex I had it was never enough.  There were weeks that I would see a different man every single day, sometimes more than one in a day.  I did ********** and foursomes.  I gave guys ******** in the parking lot of the gym.  I had sex in the back of cars, and in adult video stores, and public bathrooms.  I became a ****. I did all I had seen in the gay movies…and I became careless.  I started having unprotected sex.  Particularly I developed a taste for *****…and after only 6 months of gay sex I tested positive with HIV.

During all that time, my wife and I became very distant.  I only had sex with her a couple of times during those months.  She became suspicious and eventually broke into my emails and discovered very incriminating evidence.  She also tapped into my phone records and discovered to her dismay the dozens of men I had had contact in such a short period of time.  It was then that I tested for HIV.  She tested herself and it came back negative.

We turned to counseling.  It was then that her mood disorder was diagnosed and she started being treated for it.  I, in turn, came to terms with who I really was.  I came out officially to my wife.  Up to that point she still was treating it as a “phase”…I clarified to her that I was definitely gay, and there was no going back to a heterosexual life.  I imagined that after that she hate me would and kick me out.  In my mind I started planning out a transition out of our marriage, particularly because of the impact on the kids.  My eldest son was starting his junior year of high-school, a very important year, and I didn’t want to impact his life so adversely at this point, especially when both my kids have grown so dependent on the “stability” of their household.  I thought that the best thing would be to wait for him to be ready to go to college and then come out with the truth.  My little one would be at a stage where he could recuperate faster.  Besides, I suspect that he is like me, and I thought that this would give him the opportunity to come out and be who he is meant to be.  I wanted to try to remake my life.  I thought I was only fair for my wife to have a second chance at happiness.  However, my wife disagreed.

First of all, she let me know that no matter what she loved me.  She became very concern about my health and very supportive through the process of getting treatment for my HIV condition.  On the other hand she also told me that if I left she would never bring any other man into our kids’ lives and she would not let my kids be around any other men in my life.  She was clear that she would fight for complete custody of our kids.  So, it all came down to the kids.  I didn’t want to be outted to them as “the bad guy”. I basically had to choose between my own happiness and the happiness of my children.  Besides, I had had a taste of the gay life…a very difficult life, I may add.  Through the time I was hooking up I did develop some friendships that taught me how hard it is to be gay and find true love and have a long lasting, stable relationship…probably more difficult than in heterosexual relationships.  I myself did not know whether I would be able to deal with monogamy anymore.  Could I really find a man to satisfy my every need?  Or was I more attracted to the excitement of “the new” and would I continue to be constantly hooking up?  Could I sacrifice the happiness of my children just because I wanted to have sex with men? 

Also there was the issue of my wife, a person who I care a lot about, who has been part of my life for over 25 years.  Even though I may no longer be “in love” with her, I do love her as one loves family.  It tears me up inside that I hurt her so much.  I could not bring myself to leave her alone to raise the kids and deal with the daily craziness of a household with no help…for what? Again, for me to just enjoy the sex life I want?  I just couldn’t do it.

So, where are we right now? We live together.  My wife and I are great friends, always have been and always will be…that has always been the best and primary aspect of our relationship.  Being treated now for her mood disorder has helped a lot.  We have a great time as a family.  We spend a lot of time with the kids and are very supportive of one another.  The kids do appreciate that.  We sleep separately most of the time, primarily because of me.  She always has a hope that I will come back to her…I know that is never happening and therefore I prefer to limit our physical contact as much as possible.  It actually bothers me when she gets all cutesy.  I have no physical desire for her whatsoever.  The kids don’t make much of the fact that we don’t sleep together.  She snores very loudly and I blame it on that…I do need to sleep after all.  We are doing whatever it takes to provide the best home environment for them.  To us both that is the most important thing…even more so than our sex lives.

Internally, however, I am destroyed.  I feel like a monster for all the wrong I’ve done to those I love the most.  I can’t believe how stupid I was in getting myself infected with HIV.  I came out to my sister, who supported me and showed me nothing but love, only to cut her out of my life because I couldn’t deal with the shame of who I am.  I haven’t spoken to my mother ever since either.  I feel that her life and my sisters’ life is better without me in it.  I came out to my mother-in-law, while my wife was present.  She has always loved me as her own son and she has been very supportive of whatever decision we make…but bottom line is the I am not her son, and if she ever needs to take sides, we all know which one it will be.  Therefore, I have become very withdrawn from her.  I have actually become very withdrawn from everybody.  I just work, go home, enjoy my kids, go to sleep only to wake up the next day and do the same all over again.  I actually find comfort in the routine of daily life.  I don’t like being around other people because I feel obligated to pretend to be someone I am not.  I only have one gay friend, with whom I have never had sex…he is the only person I really talk to.  I have stopped hooking up, since my wife demanded celibacy on my part to keep me in the house…not that I haven’t hooked up since “we” made that decision.  I kept seeing somebody steadily for a while, but I stopped since I didn’t think it was fair to him either…to me I only wanted him for sex…he deserved something more.  There is a guy with whom I fell in love, but he does not feel the same way about him.  Besides, he is only 22 and has his whole life ahead of him…what can I possibly offer him? I did hook up with a couple of college students during a recent business trip.  But I have otherwise given up on the idea of pursuing a gay relationship while I remain married.

My one release remains gay ****.  I do ********** a lot and workout a lot.  I do have an incredible sex drive and stamina that is very hard to contain.  I try not to think about my life.  I do admire those who are brave and have come out of the closet.  As for me I have come to terms with the fact that it is too late for me.  If you still have the chance to do something about your life, don’t wait until it is too late.  And, please, do practice safe sex.  Don’t let the heat of the moment make you act stupid like me.

Ralphsnt69 Ralphsnt69
51-55, M
17 Responses May 11, 2012

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Your story struck me between the eyes and tugged at my heart strings. So much of your story is also mine. I knew at age 4 that I was very different and so very unlike my brothers. I wanted to be a girl. My best friends were girls. In private solitude I would dress up as a girl. I would have sexual fantasies about the good looking, athletic and buffed high school guys. Like you, I masked the orientation and feelings with academic achievements including an ivy degree. Like you, through the years some have wondered whether or not I was gay. Like you, I cared what others thought about me, lest I not measure up to excellence/perfection and they discover my dark secret. I am now in my 60’s. The temper of the times was different back then. If choice was a possibility, I would have chosen the easier life of being a straight heterosexual. If I had courage and complete honesty, I would not have married. My wife was a wonderful person, and we had an incredibly intimate relationship. However, a few years after the wedding, I began to have down low homosexual encounters. Invariably, I would have anonymous encounters on my business trips. My dark secret was further masked with the façade and appearances of my solid family: church going, active in the community, high achieving well behaved children, a successful career and material wealth. At age 54, I could no longer deal with the double life. Choosing my marriage and family, I attended a 4 day intensive ex-gay ministry sponsored by fundamentalist Christians. Part of the ensuing recovery process was to come out to my wife, to be honest while refraining from the lurid details. That was a disaster and it totally back fired. She opted out of the marriage, and we were divorced 15 months later. In retrospect, had I not married and pursued an open gay lifestyle, I believe I would have been a fatal AIDS statistic. Your story reminds and cautions me to exercise safe sex practices. In retrospect the ex-gay ministry was based on untruths and discrimination. Many of its original founders have since abandoned the ministry, accepted their true self and returned to live as gay men. Since the divorce, I have progressively embraced myself as a gay man; it is a process that continues with each new day. The shame is far less. I feel strength and goodness in my authentic self. Surprisingly, as much as I would love to have an intimate and loving relationship with another man, that has yet to happen. The temper of the times has changed. I am glad for our youth who now can live a life of truth, honesty and without denial. Your testimony affirms and encourages me. I wish you well. Thank you.

I'm glad you shared your story

Wow.....and Wow again...thanks for sharing....I have been to many of the same places you went....but I was luckier than you....I think I'm now on the safe side....and like you, I have a very understanding wife, we value our love for each other above everything else...thanks for sharing, for what it;s worth, you are NOT alone!
Dug dug59

you could try to deal with teh HIV with smokeless moxa, which at least strengthen your immune system to reduce the impact of HIV.

Wow..an amazing story..thank you for sharing..I have the utmost respect for you and your honesty

I wish you the best man! I hope all is well keep on going things would be better stay cool

Thank-you very much for your words. I too remember wanting to be a girl when I was 9 yrs old because my sisters seemed to get more attention.I now wish I had the characteristics of a mans man. But you are now on a better road which has encouraged me to look for the light at the end of the tunnel as well.

I just joined EP I'm not a married man but I am gay and also HIV positive. But your story is not unique there are MANY men in your situation so you are certainly not alone - I happen to know a few too in almost identical situations as you. BTW any 22 year old "kid" will only want you for your money period and in the gay world they're just hustlers who are straight but milk gay men for their money aka the infamous " gay for pay" hustlers - just an insiders tip lol.

its an honest, and depth story, make me see life more clear, thank u for posting such a well written inspirational story, thank u for share ur life and I am sure like me, there r many others that will take a lesson from ur experienced.<br />
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wish u blessed days, and luck, I really hope u could have a good love and life, we all make mistakes we also learned from it :)

Thank you for you kind words

wow, so intense of a story. Your a hero for sticking with what you are doing. after being in a relationship with someone who was HIv pos, I do have some insight. I really don't know what to say about your relationship and family status. you are handling it well. BUT you deserve to be yourself too. I am not giving you direction, nor am I telling you how to live your life, You have to decide that. I do think that you have to really be honest with yourself and tell yourself what you want. and then come to terms with realities with your wife. she may not be as stanch as you described earlier in the story. with time she may come around. If she has to be honest with her self she may discover she wants more too. and You definitely desire something else. Honesty isn't always pretty, but it is honest and I have found it is the best way to live.

ok first of all i am not gay so i am not going to preach or pontificate or pretend to get it. but i am a human being and sadly yes we all make stupid mistakes , we are human and its a tragedy we pay for it. you and your loved ones are paying. <br />
***but you have to try to somehow and i have no idea cause i am the queen of self inflicted guilt, to let it go!!!***<br />
it is NOT Helping you.<br />
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we are the worst enemies of ourselves, we punish ourselves more than anyone can and more than we deserve. Try to be kind to you. yes KIND to YOU!!!!<br />
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I Kknow it's a cliche yes i have had many ups downs and crap all over my life and the best balm for all is self kindness, forgiveness and love. Things do happen for a reason. <br />
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I think the most terrible thing in our world now is that people are made to choose their sexuality, one or the other not bi not fluid, but gay or straight and with boudaries and restrictions. It's crazy and we are like slaves to it. I hope it ends sooner than later!! We will ALL be happier, at peace about it. It will be a different world picture this i know. <br />
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After the initial novely, excitement, 'REVEAL'discovery and yes promiscuity will wear off i think many ppl will start to discern who they want and maybe try to form longer lasting relations, also depends on age ;)!<br />
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I agree safe sex is so important but i also have had unsafe sex, you are not alone in this. <br />
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I want to wish you luck, joy and say thank you for being so honest so open so vulnerable in your story, it means a lot to hear a man, any man of any orientation to be OPEN and tansparent. <br />
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Thank you for your kind words. This was the first thing I took off my chest when I joined EP. I thought it was just going to be a means to express myself. I never thought I was going to find a community of people who shared my situation and fears, and people like you who even though did not share the same experience are kind enough to take the time to write words of encouragement. I have started the process of healing. And I am really excited about it. Thank you again!

teary 'you're are most welcome' :D!!

Wow man, thanks for the share. I can't really relate to your situation, but I remember what it was like to be alone and definitely gay. Kudos, took guts for you to get it all out.

Huge respect for that post. I have a feeling that will mean an awful lot to a lot of people out there. It takes a big man to admit his fallibility. All the best to you and yours.

Ralph, This story is by NO means unique or, perhaps, even unusual. I just joined this site after reading your story in order to share my own, I think you will find it is almost a MIRROR to yours. Much of what you have said about you and your wife is also true for me, I am just a few years older and also have two highschool kids. I will post in a few days. I am a married gay male. I came out to my wife 3 years ago, haven't had sex with her in over 4 years, and we are together almost everyday to keep the kids homelife as stable as possible. All my time and effort is to keep her as happy as possible (in a non-sexual relationship, ha!), while I get little to none of what I want out of life. Strangely...SHE believes this should be OK with me...and she's NOT bipolar - just female. Hang in there and look for my story.

Thank you for an excellent, well though out, well written post. It makes me wonder how many other men are out there in your similar situation. I can only imagine what you are going through/went through and hope that some how you find the peace and happiness you richly deserve. Kudos for being a good Dad to your sons and wanting to protect them to a point of all that was going on. I wish you nothing but the best.

Thanks for your kind words

You are more then welcome. Always appreciate someone being honest and themselves and can tell that was how you wrote it; straight from your heart. David

Thank you for your in depth story that is your life. I have feelings for other men in me all the time, it's like a deep drilled love somewhere in the pit of my heart. Many instances I have managed to contain my self in the the heat of the moment, but sometimes I worry about my self. <br />
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I find your story enlightening though it's too bad it took you till the infection to finally write it out. My wife suffers inside some days from how I feel, it's her unbroken loyalty I think is what gives me the strength to overcome. In the very least , she had for the most part always known about me, I try never to live a lie. <br />
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I hope for you as your years path, you will find happiness before your end. I agree that in the world of being gay, real love is so very far between. My brother is also gay, even he notices that fewer and fewer gays have any clue what real love is. <br />
You know what an ideal night with a guy would be for me? I just enjoy being held and caressed, I love the feel of affection from a sturdy yet soft hand. I also love to wrap my arms around a nice tone body and a strong chest. <br />
I kinda started figuring my self out years ago, really started to become apparent when I watched fine naked girls and felt nothing about it. When I was watching some very well cared for males, oh wow let me tell you, that lite a fire in me. <br />
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I don't know what will happen to my future, but I really thank you for sharing the story, it's writings like this that help me think more clearly.