Dear Jody: The mess we've made

by Jody Valley

Dear Jody

Q: I've been involved with "Ryan" for over a year. I met him while I was working in a city about 100 miles from where I live and work. I get assigned to different projects and am often away from the main office. I get to where Ryan lives several times a month.

I need to backtrack a little before I get into my problem. I've been living with "Stan" for over 10 years. We've not had a commitment ceremony, but I guess we have a commitment of sorts, though it has never been spelled out, exactly. That I know of, Stan has never been deeply involved with anyone, though he certainly - I'm sure - has had his little trysts in the past 10 years of our being together. I haven't told him about Ryan. I don't think he would take kindly to that knowledge.

Back to Ryan: I met Ryan in a bar, and we fell madly in love the first night. He didn't take me back to his place, but instead we went to my hotel. And this has been the case ever since we met: We go to my hotel when I'm in town, not to his place. This didn't start to bother me until about a month or so ago. Although I teased him in the past about not being worthy of staying at his place, it seemed OK because Ryan said that he got "turned on" by going to a hotel. In fact, it worked out well that Ryan liked hotels, because when he came to my city - on a few occasions - I got a hotel for us. (I couldn't exactly bring him home to Stan.) I told Ryan about Stan, so it's not like I've been lying to him. Ryan seemed OK with my being with Stan. He told me, very firmly, that he was not involved with another man.

I should have asked Ryan if he was involved with a woman, because he was! Not only was the other person a woman, but she was his wife! They were, as he put it, separated but still living together - supposedly sleeping in different bedrooms. (That's why I was never invited to his place, and why he told me that he got "turned on" by hotels.) Apparently, about four months after we met and fell in love, he began couple counseling with his wife. They have now reconciled, leaving me wonder where I stand, or if I should hang around.

Ryan told me that he wants to "stay in touch." I don't know if I want to do that, or exactly what that will mean for me. I feel like he has deceived me, so I don't know if I can trust him. Also, Ryan said his wife doesn't know that he's bisexual, and he doesn't want her knowing. (They have two kids.)

I'm still in love with Ryan, but I'm not sure how this is all going to play out for me. Do you think I should hang in there and settle for half a loaf?

Half A Loaf

A: To hang in there with your metaphor, do you think that you are offering anything more than a whole loaf?

I'm not sure why you are upset with Ryan for not being honest with you. Why would you expect, or demand, honesty from someone else when you don't bring full honesty to the table yourself? Do you think you deserve something you're not willing to give? You did tell Ryan about Stan, but you didn't tell Stan about Ryan. You apparently pick and choose your moments of honesty.

My advice to you would be to back away from Ryan and his wife, let them work things out. Hopefully, one day, he will inject some honesty into his life. However, he's not writing to me, and you can do nothing about his behavior, only your own.

Though you didn't ask me, I suggest that you and Stan work on what your relationship means to you both, and how you want it to work. If an open relationship is what you both want, then be honest about it. In other words, try and get something honest going in your relationship with Stan. Then, you can ask and deserve honesty from others.

When we start lying in our relationships, we create a sticky web of deception; then eventually, get caught in it. It's just a matter of time.

Want to learn more about lying in relationships? Look up Dear Jody Valley on Facebook.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. Reach Jody at DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly.
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