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
5 Responses May 18, 2012

I am completely blown away. You have guts for opening up like this and I can tell you this helped me! I am so grateful.

Your story touches me deeply....some of it, I lived (and am living) too, and other parts are very different from my life.<br />
You write about being torn up inside, of conflict, of good and bad choices you have made. I relate to much of that, as well.<br />
I want to encourage you to look deep inside yourself--it may be a counselor can help you with that, maybe meditation or prayer is the best way, perhaps talking with someone you trust. I hope you can go deep to find what your core truth is, and to live your life according to that truth. Only then, will you be living the life you were put here to live--YOUR life.<br />
I'm sending you encouragement to find the strength that is inside you!

Wow... I just read your story. I'm at work now, but if I was home alone I would be in tears I think! I think I will write mine sometime, but not too much different really. I'm totally closeted... my wife doesn't know. I haven't had sex with her in months and she asks why and I just shrug. I too have had unprotected sex with just a few guys and have been tested, but it only takes one! I just started fooling around with guys like 3 years ago when I figured out Craigslist. The last several months I've only played around with two guys (separately) and they are both in love with me and I think its mutual but I don't really understand what they see in me. I think I'm like you in many ways. I take really good care of myself and pretty proud of how I look. One of them is 36 latino and the other 25 white and super hairy, which I can't get enough of. I start counseling intwo weeks, cuz I don't know what to do. The cost of coming out is really high, and like you say, Gay guys don't have a very nice life really. I've seen a lot of miserable lonely gays. I have 3 sons, grown and out of the house. all married and pretty stable happy lives. Because of your religion (crazy Jehovah's Witnesses) I would be shunned by all of them if I came out. HIGH price to pay because I like sex with men. So much of this mirrors your story.<br />
anyway, thanks for writing it. I really can relate to so much of it!

your story is so well written and kept me drawn..requiring me to scroll the next page. ultimately i feel a kinship with u. not in that i have had any of the same experiences/problems..but more rather..i feel a brotherhood in that i can understand. please never come to the conclusion that anything is "too late", or not worthy. being true to yourself has catapulted you so far and so fast in such a brief period of time..it's no wonder you leaped, stumbled, tripped , stood up and slipped and righted yourself..your life is firming up instead of the fragmented realities you lived under for so long. take care friend..mark thomas.

Thanks, Mark, for your encouragement. I am finding out slowly that there is hope after thanks to people like you who have have met in this place and offer me their understanding. Thanks for your comment. It means a lot to me.

Its easy leaving up responsibilities and making your own life,but really hard maintaing things..ur wife loves u nd forsure u too loves her,try making small things that cud bring joy in your family..get involved in things that could make your interior happy..still I believe one can make his life beautiful,even after all damn stuffz, God bless u..