This week has been a hard one. I've sadly had to say goodbye to one of my very good married 'friends' which has been difficult but essential. I'm sure our paths will cross again sometime, and I've told him I'll be at the end of a phone if he ever needs me, but our relationship, as it was, has ended. I'm very sad and disappointed, but some things can't be excused, or understood. I'm never remotely judgemental of anyone, I've always let people live their lives how they choose, but I draw the line when someone uses another person to help them do that.
We had been dating for almost a year, getting together every 3 – 4 weeks and so far it had been great fun, thoroughly enjoyable and, to be honest, very satisfying. We had been to fantastic places, done exciting things, and talked the night away. We had a great connection and felt comfortable opening up about everything, including sex and fantasies. We classed each other as close friends, and felt we could chat about any subject. But this week, during our date, he mentioned a need he had, that wasn't even just a fantasy. It was a complete lifestyle change. In fact it was a life changing conversation that he'd never brought up with anyone before, and had kept buried for over 30 years. He announced to me, over dinner, that he was, or felt he was, gay. He'd been suppressing his feelings for so long they had become confusing to him.
He first felt drawn to other men during his time at boarding school, and a brief sexual encounter with a housemaster had confirmed his desire. However, his family pushed him to marry fairly young, and the social standing they had meant he couldn't possibly 'come out' without causing untold hurt and embarrassment. So he buried his thoughts and settled in to a life of 'normality'.
For 25 years he's played the doting husband and family man, with three children he adores. He's had several affairs with other women, trying to satisfy what was missing, deep down he knew what that was, but didn't have the courage to explore it further.
How does this involve me and why have I walked away? Apparently he saw me on TV one day and tracked me down through my blog, my column with Female First and eventually illicitencounters.com. I hadn't realised he was purposely looking for me when he first mailed me. I assumed he was a genuine member simply attracted to my profile and pictures, mailing other women on there too. I was flattered at the time and enjoyed his intelligent emails and funny texts. He was exactly my type, and was just what I was looking for at the time. Of course I was more than happy to meet him when eventually he suggested it. For the past year we have become very close and it has been a pleasure getting to know him.
When he confessed all of this to me this week I sat in stunned silence. I was so disappointed he had taken almost a year to broach the subject. Then I asked the simple but obvious question – Why? Why was it me he targeted, and why did he choose to wait a year before telling me he was harbouring latent homosexual feelings?
The answers came thick and fast. There wasn't just one reason. First, he knew when he saw me I was the one he had to tell. He knew I'd understand and wouldn't judge. (If he'd stopped there I wouldn't have judged, I would have been his friend for the rest of his days, and I would have supported any choices he made, but he didn't). Second, he was attracted to me and knew if he started a sexual relationship with me and still thought about men then he clearly was gay. In his words 'If you didn't straighten me out, no one ever would!' (Meant to be flattering, but no so much!!) Third, I was so broad-minded I wouldn't mind having a threesome with another man if he suggested it, with him enjoying both of us! (Silence) And fourth, he assumed I had so many gay friends – because I'd mentioned them in my posts – I would be able to set him up with someone once he'd got over his initial fear and had the courage to start an affair with a man. (At this point my mouth had dropped open). To think he had made the effort to track me down, in the hope I'd arrange the homosexual experience he'd been craving for years was a disappointing thought, and that was the deal breaker. A year had passed before he broached the subject, simply because he was waiting for the right moment (when is it ever the right moment for that chat?) and wanted to be sure I would help him with his dilemma (which I was never going to do).
He'd discussed the possibility of a threesome, amongst other fantasies, for several months and it all fell into place when I looked back and realised he was the first man I had met, and had that conversation with, who hadn't asked me to find another woman to play with! Many more of our late night chats started coming back to me, and I suppose, if I'd been looking for the signs, they were all there. But it didn't make it any easier when I realised he'd been hiding things from me for a year, and had been considering his 'plan of attack' since the day he first saw me.
It's bad enough being judged by the world for being a serial mistress, knowing not many people agree with how I live my life, but they also assume this comes with no disappointment, no emotion and no hurt. I see all the men I date as great friends, and we can open up about anything. Just as I would be hurt and upset with any friend who had lied to me for over a year, I was saddened by his deception but most of all, his reasons. Discovering a man I care about sees me as a potential matchmaking/escort/fantasy fulfilment service is incredibly hard. Assuming I'm broad-minded and open is one thing, assuming I'm going to act on every request made is another.
So, as we parted company that evening I told him to follow his desires and find someone who loves him exactly how he is, male or female. If he chooses to tell his wife then so be it. He should, because he surely can't live a lie for the rest of his days, but I have a feeling a man like him will keep his secret until his death bed.
Karen uses dating site illicitencounters.com