I have fallen hopelessly in love with another man. His wife knows and has been supportive since the initial shock. In fact, she's suspected his orientation for quite a while. She also really likes me because I am a decent guy with a good job and very responsible―a good boyfriend I suppose...
I suspect that this guy loves me too, but he is a typical "manly-man" and has trouble talking about his feelings with anyone. The wife has become kind of a confidante and she says her marriage is more like "best friends with benefits."
What is happening here? I am head over heels in love with this guy, and his wife seems to want to push us together. She also stated that she's had some same-sex experiences of her own. She has actually been quite nice about this, but I think she is a little bit jealous and insecure.
What should I do here? They say they don't want me to walk away, but I get such mixed signals. My heart is breaking and I don't know how to make myself feel better and fit in. I want to be this man's friend as well, and it seems to be a bit difficult for me to find the words to tell him how much I care for him... I don't want to break up a marriage, but I would sure like to be closer to this guy. Do you think it is possible?
Dear Brokeback Jack,
I can't wait until the days when article and blog comments are replaced by voice tags. Then you could hear the collective "Huh?!" your situation is probably soliciting from the folks reading this right now.
We're all used to hearing about the angry, resentful wife, the deceiving husband, and the other person waiting on sitting on the side lines; but rarely do we see a supportive wife who's open to a mixed marriage. The thought of this may confuse the hopeless romantic in all of us.
The concept of a mixed marriage, where one partner is gay, is not as uncommon as we might think. According to psychotherapist Joe Kort, mixed-orientation marriages are "real, though far more likely to operate underground." Kort admits, "They can, and do, work well for some couples," but cautions, "What I don't support are mixed-marriages that are steeped in secrecy, which is how these relationships too commonly operate."
Your love affair, on the other hand, is out in the open. It's possible that his wife really is ok with the notion of you and her husband doing the tumble weed toss; however, it's also a very real possibility that her emotions haven't fully developed yet. She may still be in shock and he's still coming out―which we all know is a process.
You say the wife seems a bit jealous and insecure? These feelings will only get more intense as you and the hubby's feelings start to squeeze her out. I know it seems strange that she's trying to push you too together, but take her gestures at face value. She's not the confidant you think she is!
Remember the cliche, "Keep your enemies closer than your friends"? I'm not suggesting she's out to get you, but you did basically steal her man―best friends or not. She knows he's gay or bi and apparently she's curious as well. Now she's trying to play it all out and see where she fits in.
That's the difference between men and women. While you're thinking about your boy toy's abs, she's calculating her next move. If she doesn't see a victory (or compromise) that will make her happy―trust me―she'll take evasive action... eventually. Manage your expectations. The wife may be ok with the situation right now, but that can change very quickly.
There are an infinite number of possible scenarios: You want him; she might want the both of you; she might just want him; and, he might not know what the haystack he wants.
In my experiences, three-way relationships (hookups or dating) always seem like a good idea and compromise until feelings become lopsided over time. If she feels like she's being squeezed out, eventually she'll run and he may go with her on the premise that her love is more established than yours.
Keep all of the possibilities in perspective and you might all be fine. Be patient! If they're willing to work this out together, just stay in the loop and make it clear that you don't want any casualties of the heart. Continued communication is key to this relationship's survival. I would suggest you get yourself another confidant, though. You may need an outside party if the cow patties hit the fan.
Yours in Claustrophobia,