Struggling - Is There A Middle Ground?

Until the past year I have prided myself on my integrity, honoring my marriage covenant for 29 years despite differences with my spouse and despite the face that we hadn't had sex for about nine years. I'm a committed practicing Christian, having held leadership positions in my church, including being a part-time associate pastor in addition to my day job (not currently serving in that capacity anymore). Ever since high school, however, I have felt an attraction to other men, an attraction on which I had never acted.

Last year I began to explore on the Internet. I found EP among other yahoo groups, and I began to explore my attraction. I connected online with several, but only opened up to a couple guys both of whom were a good distance away, one 2-3 hours and the other half-way across the country. A bond of friendship was formed. We were, all three of us, in similar circumstances. I felt as if God had led me to them, since both were also practicing Christians. We shared with each other our secret desires and fantasies, and even our experiences, such as they were.

One of these two guys had been a real insipration to me. As we have communicated, I've come to know him as a very religious and committed Christian, a devoted father, a caring husband, an attentive boss, a reliable employee, a very dear friend. Over more than a year he has offered caring and I dare say loving unconditional support and encouragement as I experience all manner of issues in my personal, professional and married life. I've never felt judged by him. In short, I haven't experienced such unconditional support by someone, including my wife, perhaps, in my entire life. He has shared his struggles and feelings with me. And regarding the attraction to men, he is further down the road than I am, partly because he and his wife are separated over the issue, and he now appears to be entering a relationship with another good and caring man.

Unfortunately, I unknowingly offended or repulsed my other friend and he has since blocked me on EP and no longer responds to friendly emails. I've moved past the hurt of that situation, but still wonder sometimes what I did that so offended him.

In any case, I have since met a couple more guys online who are also committed Christians, the two of them are actually in a relationship with each other, and both of their marriages ended because their wives found out about their attraction to each other. Both of them are members of my denomination, and have been shunned by their congregations and local community for their relationship and betrayal of their wives.

I love my wife. I don't want a divorce. My family is important to me. However, my wife does not offer me what I want and need, and in fact crave... the caring touch of another man. I have experienced it briefly and found that, for me, it far surpasses what I have ever experienced in my life.

I look at these three men with whom I now have a friendship, and see three men who have sacrificed a good deal in order to be true to themselves. I also see the pain that their loved ones suffer as a result, and my friends' accompanying guilt.

I want to do what is right: by my family, by God, and by me. I fear the only way to do that is to deny my desires and "return to the straight fold," foresaking the touch or relationship of other men who feel as I do. What I WANT to do, however, is maintain secretly a relationship with man with whom I have established a strong bond, while maintaining my "public persona." In short, live a double life. I don't think that is being true to myself, but doing anything else is painful for me and could be VERY painful for my family, perhaps even devastatingly so.

The two guys who are couple keep telling me that I must not do anything that will cause my interests and actions to be discovered because the consequences are indeed severe for me and for my family. My other friend, although struggling mightily, seems to be in a much better place and seems to be at the brink of a new, happy and fulfilling life.

Now to further complicate matters, I have recently been informed by my senior pastor that he is feeling inclined to ask me for my part-time assistance once again as an associate pastor. Oh my! How can I shoulder that responsibility and help shepherd a flock when I'm struggling so, and I am actually acting in an adulterous manner, and hoping to enter into a long-term adulterous relationship with an as yet unidentified man?

It seems that there is no middle ground. The urges are indeed powerful. My desire to nurture and support my family is strong.

I'm so very thankful that I have my one friend from whom I can count on that unconditional support and caring. He has given me such wonderful advice and support. But he can't give me the answer. I must find the right answer. With God's help, and His grace, I shall, but I suspect it won't be without a mighty struggle.
m2mdad m2mdad
61-65, M
9 Responses Jul 28, 2010

Thanks for your comments and support. Your prayers are most welcome and appreciated.

Thanks biboi! We do seem to have a lot in common although the impetus behind our circumstances is different. Thanks for your support. It is appreciated and reciprocated.

I wish I had the right words for you m2m. I certainly know the pain you are experiencing, even though our situations are different. My wife practically threw me back into the bisexual lifestyle. Some might think "lucky you!" but i don't feel lucky. I was quite happy being a formerly bisexual man leading a straight life with a wife and child. But we all have needs...we all have desires. It is terribly difficult to find 1 person who can fulfill all those things, sexually and emotionally. One of my lovers is much like you, though he isn't as open about tlaking about it lol...His wife simply does not fulfill his sexual needs. She stopped completely! He's a good husband, good provider, good father. Why should he go without? Why should you?? Be discreet but keep the home fires burning. That's easy advice to give without considering all the ramifications of it all, though. You have soul searching to do obviously. I'll try and be a supportive non judgemental ep friend thru your journey.

Well... remember that the two of you could have a "personal" tour guide when you come up here, Free. He doesn't need to know about EP. But I would jump at the chance to meet you -- even if it is in public and fully clothed! LOL

Thanks, J. I'm gathering that what you think would be to follow through on my desires. It wouldn't be the first time I have heard that. The issue is resolving how to do that realistically. In truth, if I continue to do do that, I AM jeopardizing my marriage and family relationships. But, oh my, what a sacrifice to give up the most fulfilling relationship - emotionally and seuxually, in order to preserve the status quo. <br />
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So I ride the fence, which is, in itself a decision to pursue, if only in a limited way, reaching out for that m2m connection. <br />
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The hugs are really appreciated too... I wish I could get them for real!

So let me know when you're coming to DC for that "conversation and lunch!" LOL

LOL... an united in one very pleasant way! It would be so great, though, to be able to sit down across from one or more of you guys and just talk openly. Okay, sure, and my mind would wander and I'd pretty soon wish we were somewhere private so we could do more than just talk... I'd be lying if I didin't admit that. LOL

THANK YOU! That means a lot! I wish I could go to lunch with my EP buds! Alas, none of them live nearby.

Thanks Free, I appreciate the support. I'm grateful for the support I have gotten here in EP. What a shame the non-judgemental unconditioanl support that seems to be here isn't available face-to-face! You're right that one-size-fits-all is not the answer. I feel like such a hypocrite. There certainly is no easy answer.