Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend of Seven Years Thinks He’s Gay”

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend, “Jason,” for nearly seven years. I am a single mother, and we started dating when my son was one. We live together and I would classify us as a family unit despite our not being married. I own the house we live in so we are not constricted by a lease, but if he were to move out, my bills would double and I would also have no support system in regards to back up with my son if I am at work or want to go out or have any kind of life.

Over the years we have had a wild sexual relationship, and both of us have explored our bisexual sides — we have had threesomes and gone to sex clubs while on vacation. This has always been mutual play, and I have had no issues with the fact that my boyfriend is attracted to men. It pre-dates our being together, and I am the first and only person to know. Over the years, Jason has met men from online and then has come home and told me about the experiences in detail. It’s been kind of like foreplay.

Anyway, apparently over the last two years he has had increasing cravings for doing this and has been obsessing over it. He thinks of it daily and tries to resist it. Our own sex life has been limited as he has had very little interest in me sexually. He has also admitted that he has been hiding his watching of gay porn. I’ve no problem with his watching porn, but I have a problem with the hiding.

He has been withdrawn and moody for quite a while, and I have felt like he has been hiding something – and it turns out I was right. He is currently on vacation with a friend and he texted me, after drinking all night, basically telling me all of the above and that he thinks he may be gay. This was a six-hour text conversation and we covered a lot. He also admitted that he had been giving me shit to try to hide his own feelings, which really resonates with me as I have been feeling like I have been going crazy with all of his negativity towards me. So, mentally, I haven’t been doing great, and physically I have felt so unattractive because I thought maybe it’s because I’ve gained the smallest bit of weight or that I’m starting to age. (I’m only 30 and reasonably small though.)

I have tried to approach this supportively, but I don’t know what to do. I understand that sexual orientation can be fluid and can change. But how do we figure this out? I am open to letting him play physically, but I also need to look after myself and my son – I don’t want to waste any more time on a relationship if it’s not going anywhere. However, I don’t want to throw a relationship away without exploring all options. — Exploring

I understand that the idea of being alone is scary, especially when you have a child. I get that the expense of raising a child without financial help is daunting. And I even understand the desire to “explore all options” before you leave a relationship. But you HAVE explored the options. Or, at least, Jason certainly has. It sounds like he’s been doing a lot of exploring and has come to the conclusion that he’s no longer interested in having a sexual relationship with you. If you don’t want to waste any more time on a relationship that’s going nowhere, you should break up with Jason. There’s no chance for a romantic or sexual relationship with Jason any longer.

You might feel tempted to continue a platonic, co-habiting relationship with Jason, but I don’t recommend this. I think your history together and your feelings for him would complicate the success of such an arrangement, and how would you explain to potential new boyfriends his role in your life? How would you explain to your son the nature of your relationship? It may not feel necessary to do so immediately, but what if one or both of you becomes seriously involved with a new partner? At some point, your son would need to know that Jason is no longer your boyfriend, and it would likely feel very confusing to him that Jason still lives with you (especially if you share a bedroom!).

The best bet is for Jason to move out and for you to either downsize to a home you can more comfortably afford on your own or seek a roommate to help share the bills (which may mean moving to an apartment with an additional bedroom). As for a support system to help with “backup for your son,” that’s something you need to develop. Even two-parent homes have other people they can call on when they need childcare – babysitters, friends, family members, after-school care. In time, you may even find that Jason can still fill this role if he’s willing and interested, considering he and your son have had seven years to form a bond and trust. You will likely have to make some financial sacrifices to afford childcare that you’ve previously enjoyed for free; this is one of the prices of parenthood. Fortunately, your son is eight now, and it won’t be too much longer — a few years — before he’ll be independent enough to not need babysitters for short amounts of time. None of this is reason to stay in a relationship with someone who clearly no longer wants to be with you and has been “giving you shit” in an attempt to get you to break up with him (which is what he’s been doing).

It’s time for you to move on. And it’s time to get tested for STIs since you have a partner who has been exploring his options so liberally.

***************
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

6 comments… add one
  • avatar

    mimi March 9, 2020, 12:42 pm

    LW, WWS for sure. It seems that Jason effectively left your relationship about 2 years ago. Since then, despite the history of openness and acceptance between you, he’s been lying to himself and definitely to you and has been more than unkind and dismissive. You deserve a lot better from him, even just as a person, than what he’s been doling out. The good thing about breaking up with someone is that you don’t have to worry about their journey or their process anymore, so let Jason fly off to wreak havoc elsewhere while he figures out his life. You are free! Free to lavish love and care on yourself and on your son, to stop doubting your reality or your value. Free to get your mojo back! what are you waiting for : )

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  • avatar

    gr8katch22 March 9, 2020, 1:07 pm

    Some bills may double, but some may reduce! Your grocery bill will go down because it will just be you and your son. Your electric bill and water bill may also reduce due to one less occupant, also see if you qualify for help with your electric and gas bills. Instead of daycare, talk to your son’s school about any after school programs. Talk to the school secretary, there may be other mom’s in your same situation and maybe you can help each other out with either before and/or after school care. Check with your local YMCA. I was a single mom of 3 kids, there is lots of options out there, you just have to look for them and be open to new and different ideas that will work for you and your son! Good luck!!

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  • avatar

    FYI March 9, 2020, 3:02 pm

    “This was a six-hour text conversation…”

    I would’ve broken up over THAT. He can only communicate after he’s been drinking all night, and even then over text? Ugh.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 9, 2020, 5:49 pm

    Sure, sexuality can be fluid. But he’s not expressing that. He’s expressing that he thinks he’s gay, which is him sort of telling you that he’s thinking it’s NOT fluid. And this has clearly affected your relationship already. I don’t think this is a case of someone being fluid and you needing to get used to it. I think you’re with a gay man, and need to decide if that’s the kind of relationship you want to have.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse March 9, 2020, 8:21 pm

    He drunk texted all of this to you over 6 hours? Have you actually spoken to him? Has this just happened?

    I think he just broke up with you. “We” don’t need to figure anything out. You do, though. And as Wendy said, maybe that will still involve Jason to a certain extent. Presumedly, he and your son have bonded. I wish you strength and luck working through this. I imagine it seems overwhelming right now. You can do this.

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  • avatar

    Donna March 10, 2020, 10:14 am

    LW: I know it’s hard, but I think during that 6 hour texting marathon after a night of drinking, he was telling you the absolute hardcore truth of how he feels, and it doesn’t seem like a passing thing. He was gaslighting you a little bit by making you feel the way you did, but now that you know, it’s really time to MOA. Better to be alone than to be physically with someone and emotionally alone. ♥

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