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.

Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health in a Primary Care Setting

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

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Frank Theus
Frank Theus
MA, LPC, NCC, CSAT

   It took a lot of courage to share what must be so shameful to you and to ask for help. Regardless of your sexual attraction/orientation, I'd encourage you to get honest with yourself and your partner/fiancee and put a temporary hold on your wedding plans -- getting married will NOT resolve your acting out. It seems to me you need more space, time to sort through with an experienced therapist more of your sex/sexuality story-line and apparent anxiety surrounding the upcoming nuptials. In the immediate I encourage you to also take the initiative to have yourself tested for STDs, etc. and if you've been sexually intimate with your partner/fiancee s/he needs to be similarly tested. Best wishes.

Resources for Your Consideration: 1) The book "Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men" by Jane Ward, 2) http://www.sca-recovery.org/, 3) https://slaafws.org/


The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lorrie Guerra
Lorrie Guerra
Transforming emotional pain in adults

I would start by examining the reasons for seeking out other relationships. Are you getting something from the other men that you do not currently receive from your current partner? Such as, is it more exciting with others and that excitement is lacking in your current relationship?

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Karen Thacker
Karen Thacker
Relationship Specialist

Divorce is expensive emotionally and financially. If your fiance is not ok with an open marriage, it would be a good idea to seek the help of a counselor before you get married.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

If you are happy with the person that you are about to be married to and are also enjoying time with other men, it could be possible that you are attracted to people of more than one gender.

Having said that, some people have feelings toward people of more than one gender that are not really related to romance or attraction, but any number of other feelings, such as trust and communication. I don't know whether your use of the phrase "messing around" was related specifically to being romantically or sexually involved with the people who you are or referring to or if you are saying that you are enjoying spending time with them. These terms have different definitions for almost everyone.

I would definitely recommend speaking with a local mental health practitioner in your area, not because there is anything wrong about the way you are feeling, but because there are a lot of different parts of what is happening in your life right now and it may be helpful to talk about the feelings and thoughts with someone who can help you to learn more about yourself and the people are most important in your life (yourself included).

I also suggest looking at a few things that you love and appreciate about yourself.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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