I'm soon to be married, and I've been messing around with others
I’m a man, and I’m soon to be married. I have been messing around with other men on the side. It started as a once in a while thing, but it’s been happening a lot. I don't know what to do.
Hello, and thank you for your question. When faced with these kinds of difficult challenges, I usually encourage people to look to their values for help in determining what their behavior should be. Indeed, it is usually when our behaviors conflict with our values that we don't feel very content with our lives.
Perhaps you can take some time to think through a couple of these questions: What kind of person do I want to be deep in my heart? What kind of character do I want to have when in public and in my private world when nobody is watching? How would I want others to describe me?
Let's say that you want others to see you as being authentic, and YOU also value authenticity as something you want to live by. You may feel like this value is currently at odds with the behaviors you are engaging in right now. That you are not being the person that you really are deep in your heart.
This is not an unusual struggle when it comes to sexual behavior and sexual orientation. So please, try not to feel alone. We all know quite well how unacceptable it may be to be seen as gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. And I am not just talking about being unaccepted by others, but a person may have a VERY hard time accepting themselves.
Thinking about your values and living a life based on them can bring a lot of freedom, but I won't lie, it can also bring a lot of pain at the same time. For example, someone with the value of living authentically may decide they have to tell others who they are and what they stand for, even if that means people may disapprove. That may cause a lot of pain, but it may also come with a sense of freedom to live a life based on honesty and authenticity.
It may be helpful to find a counselor who is trained in affirmative therapy, which is recommended for people who are navigating their sexual behaviors and figuring out what is right for them. I would also sit down and think through some of the questions above and consider what your values are... both as an individual and as someone's fiancé.
Above all, I wish you well in this journey.
Robin J. Landwehr, DBH, LPC, NCC
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