When a married straight man falls in love with another man

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When a married straight man falls in love with another man

When a married ‘straight’ man falls in love with another man

Thanks for your email Anthony and reaching out to me like this. It is wonderful to finally have someone to talk to about these things who understands my situation.
In your email you said ‘I guess the question arises Joe – what happens if you and the guy you occasionally have sex with fall in love and want to share a life together…what happens with your wife then????’
To be honest this is what I really struggle with and it does really scare me at times. Whether you “fall in love” or not maybe depends on your age. The older you are, the less likely you would be so taken with another human being. Now I am older in life I don’t think this will happen or that I would allow to happen.
straight man falls in love with another man

These men were not straight

Hi Joe

From my personal experience, and from the many gay men and women in straight marriages I’ve worked with, falling in love is frequently the catalyst that jolts them out of denial about their sexual orientation. Whilst many men will deal with this in midlife, age is not a determining factor it has happened to men I have worked with in their 60’s.

Some though have successfully shut down the emotional part of their life. But putting the lid on something is no guarantee that one day all the planets, chemicals and triggers might align and the persons finds themselves hopelessly in love for the first time in their lives.

For many, up until the point of falling in love, we are happy to live with term bi -assuming that because we have sex with our  wives and sex with men on the side, makes us bisexual. About 90% have sex with one woman many times and have sex with many men once. This in itself should be rather telling.

When you really fall in love with another man everything changes. You not only want to have sex with him, you want to spend time with him, know him, have intimate conversations or just enjoy each other’s company in silence. You may even want to grow old with him. It is at this point we realise that our homosexuality is not about just sex but is far more profound, and is the very essence of who we are. It is at this time many of us will use the term gay to describe ourselves and the shame and guilt previously attached to the term begins to disappear. The identity we chose to reject we are now willing to not only accept but embrace.

If we decide to stay in the heterosexual marriage we need to be aware that our emotions are an area needing constant monitoring or possibly shut down all together. Personally I think this is sad. But I always respect people’s personal choices as its their life to live, not mine, but I think our choices need to be informed ones.

Up until my 40th year I had managed to ensure that I never got emotionally attached to another man. It was too dangerous – too much was at stake. In order to do this successfully I made sure encounters were brief and that I never took the risk by seeing a person a second time.

Just a few weeks before my 40th birthday I was in a place in my life where I let my guard down and the end result was that, for the first time in my life, I didn’t experience sex with a man clouded with shame, regret and guilt – I experienced something amazing, something I never knew was possible. That night was the turning point. Once I became to allow myself to experience what had been awakened within me I didn’t want to shut it down. It was too beautiful and it was as though something inside of me had come to life. The part that I’d tried to deny, control, suppress even destroy.

For a brief while I regretted that encounter because of the long term implications but in the long run I’m grateful it happened as I wouldn’t be where I am at today living openly and authentically.

I’m not saying these things to scare you but just to make people aware of the enormous difference between sexual behaviour/activity and our sexual orientation.

Orientation is about love, affection, intimacy, tenderness and partnering. So if we are same sex oriented……we will only ever experience those things in their fullness in a same sex relationship……not in one night stands…anonymous sex…..or casual encounters with other men who need a sex fix……and rarely with a straight partner.

© Anthony Venn-Brown

See my YouTube playlist on Being Gay in a Straight Marriage here.

By | 2017-04-28T04:31:18+00:00 April 30th, 2013|Categories: General, LGBTI|Tags: , |12 Comments

About the Author:

Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is one of Australia’s foremost commentators on faith and sexuality. His best-selling autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith', detailing his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia's growing mega-churches, such as Hillsong, to living as an openly gay man, has impacted 1,000's globally. Anthony was the co-founder and former leader of Freedom 2 b[e], Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the 'ex-gay' myth. Anthony is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International and has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009).


  1. Anonymous May 22, 2015 at 12:55 am - Reply

    I am actually in almost the same situation as stated above. But in my case, I am not the married one, but the one who is in love with a married man. But unfortunately, the complexity of this feeling doubles as he is much older than me (about 40+ years age gap). We were madly in love with each other until the recent unexpected thing happened in our lives, where the wife found out. She took it very hard knowing that she has been living with a man who basically lied to her. All the dramas and unwanted situations began internally in their family, where in the end the wife decided she can't take it any longer, and decided to live separately. I have never ever felt so guilty in my life for being part of the causation. I was so devastated that it had to go this way, and it even come to a point where the person that I love even thought about committing suicide. But a few months after that incident, somehow we managed to reconcile and have been together since. Throughout those period of times, its undeniably hard for both of us, because he made a promise to his kids, that he would never ever tell lies anymore to them. But not telling lies does't mean that he will reveal the truth either. So in a way, though we're together almost every weekend, there are still unsettled feelings in him. Until very recently, when he had the chance to spend some time with his kids, something really unexpected happened to us. Somehow, I have been confronted by his son saying to me that I better stay away from his dad, or else it will be a police matter. I was in deep shocked by the confrontation, and those words said by his son keeps on playing in my head. And up to this point, I still have no idea whatsoever had happened. I really want to hear some answers from him, for the very least why is this happening, and if he genuinely decides to end this relationship. And right now, I have developed a very serious depression in me, because of the fact that I couldn't understand or even know what has happen. I'm not exactly writing this to find an answer from anybody, but I just feel like writing this to help me feeling better I guess.

    • Anthony Venn-Brown May 22, 2015 at 3:22 am - Reply

      hi there…..I'm so glad you posted your comment. It certainly is a very challenging situation that you are in. No doubt your partner is also going through a lot of emotions. I wonder if he is getting some help as well. These situations are not uncommon and there is help out there for all of you but of course it depends where you live. If you want to email me confidentially then I'd be happy to talk some more. anthony@abbi.org.au

  2. DH October 2, 2015 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    These situations are so hard for all involved. Speaking personally, I’m the “other guy” in a situation very similar. Over a year and a half ago, I met a married man with the intentions of having only a friends with benefits situation. Even though we hit it off emotionally right away and connected. No emotions needed….that was easier said than done when “D” said the L word walking out one day. He has 2 children that he loves very much and says he loves his wife very much. As the months progressed, we saw each other more. We would simply spend time together. Then, a few months ago, he said he was torn. Thinking of me while he was brushing his teeth, working out, and every other minute. D said he couldn’t love two people and wanted to be just friends. When he visited after, we would always wind up kissing and smiling at one another. 4 weeks ago, D told me we couldn’t see each other anymore because he couldn’t be just friends; that his commitments to his family had to come first – no more communication. He said it was the hardest thing in his life that he has ever done was leaving me. Our last words were I Love You. Since then I’ve been in a horrible depression-unable to eat or sleep. Until a week ago when I saw him in the grocery store. Our eyes met and we wound up sitting in my car talking and holding hands. He couldn’t even look at me until I asked him to. When I asked him why he couldn’t, he said “you know why.” His stance is that he will try to suppress these urges and continue to be married by only looking at gay porn every few days. Since college, and throughout his marriage, D has had hookup friends that were all male. I was the only one who he fell for like this. While talking, I pointed out that the urges couldn’t be suppressed for long because it’s who he is. He admitted to having thought of coming to me and partnering happily, but called it selfish. I told him that eventually his wife would find out about his secret. Maybe not the affair, but his sexual desires. He agreed. (While still holding hands in the car). I love this man more than life and it’s killing me to see him so torn and in denial. During our conversation, I urged him to come clean to his wife before she found out another way. She deserves to have honesty and not betrayal. He seems to be making this decision for her which I stated was unfair. D stays on my mind constantly and my prayer is that he come clean to her out of the love a husband should have, also to free himself. Is this wrong of me? We agreed to remain friends through email and I know he’ll visit me eventually as a friend. At this point I just want to be there for him in any capacity. My question is how do I help him along and see the truth? This man is my soulmate and worth fighting for until my last breath. I feel horrible about his earlier choices and the price he will have to pay to the piper when it comes due. Whether because of me or the wife finding some kind of porn link or whatnot. I asked D, wouldn’t it be better to have someone strong enough to stand by you than risk being found out and left alone? We’ve all been scared of family rejection and looked at the mountain of consequences as he is now. My soulmate is scared, in denial, and torn. It’s hell for me and I told him this. How can I help him see that the honesty, even through adversity, will free his soul? Please, from one lost sheep to another, I’d like to know what I should/can do? My mind is so scattered now. All of my friends who know of my relationship with D have been so kind. Knowing all details, they have assured me he will come back, but I’m losing hope. At this point all I want to do is help.

    • Anthony Venn-Brown
      Anthony Venn-Brown October 5, 2015 at 4:15 am - Reply

      Your friend my find my autobiography of benefit A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith
      “There comes a time comes when we have to face realities in life. For some, reality slaps them in the face – refusing to be ignored.

      On the surface, everything looked perfect. Anthony Venn-Brown was a popular, high-profile preacher in Australia’s growing mega-churches, such as Hillsong, and happily married father-of-two. Behind the scenes was a different story. Believing homosexuality made him unacceptable to God and others, a secret battle was being fought. After twenty-two years of struggle and torment, a chance meeting forced Anthony to make the toughest decision of his life. Tired of feeling torn and fragmented, he confessed and came out. Abandoned by his church and Christian friends Anthony began his life of unlearning; a lonely journey that made him who he is today.

      This honest account highlights not only the costs of being true to yourself but that the rewards of authenticity and integrity are worth it.

      As Anthony’s story is ultimately about being true to one’s self – whether you’re gay or straight, religious or non believer – you’ll find relevance in this triumphant autobiography.”

  3. Edward April 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I am in a similar situation, I am a married man in his early 30s and been with my wife since I was 19… Up until about 3 years ago I started experimenting with guys and I had never cheated on my wife until this point.
    I had a few random encounters and reg friends that I would play with while away. 6 months ago I had some business overseas and on my first night I met a guy.

    We were both staying in the same hotel so We met through an app. As soon as He answered the door there was an instant connection and the chemistry was something I had never felt before. I had just arrived so we didn’t have sex that night we fooled around and talked instead…we felt so comfortable with each other.
    The next morning we planned to meet early before I had meetings to attend, again for alittle oral relief – so I happily obliged.
    Again this guy had me mezmorised.

    I was heading away on an overnight trip so we planned to meet up the following night.
    All ready I turned up at his room and it was on. I had never felt so relaxed and carefree like I felt with him. He confessed he was married and that he was in a sexless marriage and told me his real age…. His profile was a few years short… He is in his 40s. Prior to this I had this overwhelming feeling to tell him that I loved him……so I did and he didn’t know what to say.

    the next day he left for home and we continued to message each other
    He finally told me he loved me in December, 2 months after we met I said that on day 3

    It got to January this year and we were still in contact every single day. Every day since then we would request a song to each other for the day ahead….. Remember we live in opposite sides of the world!!!!!

    Now he is in a sexless marriage that has been this way for a decade and we didnt expect to fall this hard and be so emotionally invested.
    Him being a little older I feel he had a little more control of his feelings where I had never felt this way about a guy before so I was hard and heavy. We were face timing daily at this point
    So We planned for me to fly to him while his husband was on work

    It was a week of love fun passion and just hanging out with each other
    I came home from that trip knowing what I had to do.
    I do love my wife with all my heart and I would never want to hurt her but holding this in is, not only hurting her but me as well. If I stay in my marriage it is unfair to my wife if I can’t give her 110% of me. And I would want her to be truely happy with someone who with love her with all of his being. I feel meeting him has forced me to realise who it is I am and want to be.

    So it got to valentines and I noticed a change in his attitude and mood when we would talk
    He was becoming increasingly torn, Between his long term relationship and me. I said to him that I can handle it and he needs to have the conversation with his husband regarding their relationship – and no sex.
    He then came back to me 3 days later and told me he wanted to work on his marriage and give it a go. This meant cutting contact. I tried to stay calm And collected but I went into a spiral of depression. He was away on holiday with his husband so it slapped me in the face abit when I saw pic
    Online . He told me he would check in with me when he got home In a few days. I went crazy over this time and posted a pic that he later confessed he looked at 100 Times on FB. He broke his rule and contacted me while on holiday which was surprising. This man doesn’t express feelings like I do. He keeps a lot
    Bottled up and you have to pry to get it out of him.

    was still under his spell and had to snap out of it so I took the emotion out of the breakup and looked at my life and saw complete clarity in the situation. I told him all my word of wisdom when we spoke for the last time to try and leave thing in a good manner. I told him to take time and let me know

    The next day he messaged saying he is not ready to let me go.

    I need to sort my end out with my wife and getting things in order.’he needs to do the same with his husband and until these matters are sorted it just can’t happen.

    He is my soulmate and I know he feels the same I just hope he doesn’t settle for his marriage if he is not happy and they tried to make it work. He has a lot of money and property etc at stake so I hope this doesn’t scare him as well.

    At the moment we are giving each a few days space but I just don’t know what to make of this???? He is the breadwinner but His husband is a lot more successful than me and I feel like I could never be as good enough to compare. Is this me reading too much it?
    Is this man still in love with me or is he going through a mid life crisis. We are both in therapy to help talk about things but I don’t know where this is going to lead

    He is still having no sex

    I know what I need to do but I wonder if I’m on his mind as much as he is on mine

    Thanks for listening

  4. R June 21, 2016 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I’m a young married man with two kids who I love very much. Recently I’ve developed strong feelings for a male coworker. I am completely torn with my feelings. I feel a strong urge to pursue this man, but I feel terrible guilt for betraying my family. However I can’t get him out of my mind. Another problem is I’m not sure he is interested in men, and I doubt he would even think I am since I’m married. How do explore these feelings without “outing” myself if he happens to be straight or not interested? Also, am I completely selfish for wanting to pursue this man when I’m married? Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

  5. RGL_chaotic July 2, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Greetings. I’m a single father with a grown up son. Recently, I started a new job and developed a friendship with a male co-worker who is married with two little kids. I was instantly attracted to him from the first time I saw him, but didn’t really interact with him until a few months later. Once we began talking and getting to know each other, I began to realize that his good looks was an added bonus to his wonderful big heart. I always feel a connection between the two of us every time we chat with each other and I just want those moments to last long. I also feel that he may have some feelings towards me. He’s in a leadership role where he’s always busy and all over the workplace. But he’ll always find a chance to come and say hi and will apologize whenever he doesn’t get a chance to reach out to me, which I think is so sweet. Lately, we’ve been having more intimate talks and I’m always thinking about him. I’ve never had this kind of feeling for anyone and its eating me up inside since I feel like a lost soul due to the situation with him being married and not knowing if he likes men. I’m turning 40 this year and I’ve been in the closet and have only come out to only a few people. I’m at a point in my life where I’m tired of hiding who I really am and depriving myself of the happiness we all deserve in life. Reading your blog has been inspiring as I take the journey to acceptance. Thank you!!

    • Anthony Venn-Brown
      Anthony Venn-Brown July 5, 2016 at 12:12 am - Reply

      Yes love does change everything. I’m glad that you found this helpful. Midlife is a time for many of us to make this readjustment to be ourselves. You might find some more helpful information here as well. http://lgbtiqcoach.blogspot.com.au/

      All the best yous journey to authenticity

  6. D July 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Good afternoon,
    I really needed to see this website as I am also in a strange predicament. I met a guy 9 years ago and we hit it off. He was in town for work (as he lives in another a state). We spent a lot of time together. When he went back home we kept in contact and he was sent back to my area for another assignment. This time though we did not spend any time together although I tried.
    He later on traveled to another state and worked there for 4 years. We kept in contact.

    He got married a few years ago.which broke my heart as I knew based on conversations that I was not the only guy he had been with.

    2 years ago he hit me up (we had not spokenough in a year). He had gotten married a year before. He basically told me that he had made a mistake in getting married. He was unhappy. The reason he had been so distant was because he realized that he had fallen in love with me.
    He told me that he was going to get a divorce because he wanted to be happy in life. He asked me to form.back the relationship that we had. At first I was apprehensive as he was married.
    But I was in love with him and he was so convincing that I agreed to form a new relationship with him.
    It lasted a year all of a sudden he wasn’t getting a divorce but he still wants to be with me. What should I do?

    • Anthony Venn-Brown
      Anthony Venn-Brown August 2, 2016 at 4:16 am - Reply

      I guess the question is what do you want?
      Sounds to me like an unhappy life ahead if you pursue a relationship with a closeted married man. He is not being true to himself or to his wife. Is that really what you want for yourself?

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