I was leaving him, but he begged me back, crying, saying that he’s finished with that “phase” and he would be lost without me. This was so hard to grasp. I’ve had boyfriends cheat on me with other women, but….with a man?! I was confused, angry, hurt, everything. After some thought and some research on the web, I kind of realized that it was more common than I thought and that the reasons why made some sense, too.
So now we are still seeing each other, it’s a little rocky, and I told him if we were going to continue seeing each other, which we are because we are crazy about each other, I need him to cut ties with these two men. He somewhat agreed, but he still kept their phone numbers because he said they were still good friends. I can’t agree to that — it’s either them or me. He said he chooses me, but now there’s trust issues — these other “guys” are into drugs and they are lonely and miserable and I don’t want my boyfriend involved in that path.
What advice do you have? — Not Interested in That Path
Ok, so you’ve had boyfriends cheat on you in the past but it was with women and this time it’s more devastating and shocking because your boyfriend cheated with men? But then you did some “research on the web” and learned that something like “30-40% of straight men have done this,” and your boyfriend was “touched at a young age” and “exposed to porn” and those reasons “make sense” to you, so you’re ok with staying with your boyfriend, but you just don’t want him to continue on a path with “those guys” — the ones who are lonely and miserable? Wow. You sound incredibly homophobic. And in pretty serious denial about your boyfriend and his commitment to you.
First of all, I don’t know where you got your statistic that “30-40% of straight men” have had gay sex (at least, I think that’s what you were implying). That’s simply not true. But what’s more alarming than your inaccuracy is that you use that inaccuracy to make yourself feel better about your boyfriend having gay sex — like, if lots of other straight men are having regular gay sex, maybe it’s not so bad that your boyfriend is doing it? Guess what?! There’s nothing wrong with people being sexually intimate with others of the same sex. It’s not gross or abnormal or perverse. The only wrong that your boyfriend has done is CHEAT ON YOU, period. Twisting this into a question about his sexuality or justifying what you imply is a bad path because of things that happened in your boyfriend’s childhood is misguided. People don’t “become gay” or have gay sex one to two times a month because they were exposed to porn at a young age. Homosexuality isn’t an affliction that results from “being touched” at a young age. That’s just not how it works. Your boyfriend is likely attracted to men, and he’s likely attracted to men for the same reason that you are: because you were both born that way. Could you imagine if someone tried to justify your attraction to men by saying you were touched when you were young? You see how offensive that sounds?
Look, I get it: it hurts to be cheated on. It was a shock to find out your boyfriend was cheating on you with men. I think you need to leave him and move on. He’s been chronically cheating on you for the entire three-month duration of your relationship and he has done nothing to try to convince you he’s done. In fact, he won’t even promise to stop seeing the men he’s been cheating on you with. This is all enough reason to MOA. Leave the motherfucker because he’s a liar and cheat. Leave him like you should leave any guy who cheats, cheats, cheats. But to paint him as somehow different than any other cheater you’ve dated because of the sex of the people he’s been cheating with is fruitless. His sleeping with men doesn’t make him any better or worse than your former boyfriends who have cheated on you with women.
His attraction to and sexual experiences with men is not something that can be “treated” or reasoned away with experiences from his past. It’s not something that 30-40% of straight men have experimented with. You don’t have to try to normalize your boyfriend’s gay experiences with false statistics. Being gay or bi is normal, period. It’s fine, period. What isn’t fine is lying about who you are and cheating on your significant other, which is what your boyfriend has done. That’s reason for you to move on, so move on. And, really, you shouldn’t be any more bitter about it than you would if you were moving on from a guy who has cheated on you with multiple women. Instead, what you should focus on — maybe with the help of a good therapist — is why and how you continue ending up with men who cheat on you.
I want to mention what I saw to her and start a conversation, but I’m not sure the best way to approach it. I don’t want to push her into being more emotionally distressed so that she starts drinking/using (more often?) in secret. If (or when) she relapses, I want to encourage her to be open and honest with me about what she’s going through so we can make a plan together. I understand that recovery is a life-long process that includes relapses. I also don’t want to live with someone I can’t trust, and I’ve learned that people in the throes of addiction can’t be trusted, even our closest loved ones. Any guidance about how to go about this conversation? — Glass Half Empty
I wouldn’t mention what you saw in her bedroom, which I think could put her on the defensive, might tempt her to lie, and might make her feel like you are spying on her or infringing on her privacy. Instead, I’d find a moment you two have to talk together and say something like, “I’m so inspired by the work and commitment you put into your sobriety, and I was was thinking about how we never had a conversation about how I, as a friend and roommate, can best support you on your continued path of sobriety. Specifically, I realize it’s a lifelong path and that there may be points of relapse, and I’d like to be able to support you through those times. Do you have any suggestions for how best to address a potential relapse?”
At the very least, these kinds of questions will start a conversation and you can use your gut to determine whether your roommate is being honest and genuine in her response. If you continue to feel uneasy or like you can’t trust her, you may want to consider asking her to move out. But accept that doing this will likely have a negative impact on your friendship. This is a risk anyone takes moving in with a friend, and certainly renting a room to a friend. I hope, even if you didn’t think to discuss a potential relapse with your friend before she moved in, you at least considered the potential repercussions to your friendship if living together didn’t go well. It may be that you have to face those repercussions sooner rather than later.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.