Many communities, such as the South Asian community, have a high focus on marriage and children. This poses a dilemma for many gay and bisexual men. Should they abide by cultural and religious norms and marry a woman or settle down with a man who they are sexually compatible with? This is not an easy question to answer.
Sometimes it’s not easy for the mainstream community to understand why some gay men cannot come out of the closet and be honest with themselves and others about their sexuality. Well, many of these men may have had an arranged marriage when they were in their early twenties. This may have been a time when they were still coming to terms with their sexuality and are not necessarily ready for marriage.
For others, they may not want to shame their family and community. Many South Asian men, for example, live in extended families. Their loyalty, land, money, and social status are tied to their family duty and above all they are raised to respect their elders and parents. As a result, sex in a marital relationship is often not a priority consideration.
In part due to this collective family unit, there is a lack of personal and sexual freedom. Many gay brown men will probably not bring their boyfriend home to meet the parents. Despite the Bollywood film Dostana which had a gay theme, there are not many gay South Asian role models in the media, whereas the mainstream community has "outed" celebrities such as Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, George Michael, and Rosie O’Donnell.
Living a double life can be an escape from home life and an opportunity to have some quality private time. These men can satisfy their repressed sexual desires. It is no wonder that many of these affairs are with men outside of their social circle and who are not a part of their cultural community. Privacy and discretion is of upmost importance.
Are there any other benefits to living a double life? It may help keep relationships together. Without a gay sexual outlet, many married men may turn to anger, violence, and start resenting their wife. Some people argue being honest with yourself is necessary for emotional stability and forming a healthy sexual identity. If you go through your whole life repressing your sexuality, you are not killing these homosexual thoughts, but simply suffocating them.
Many gay men also have fantasies about having sex with married men. Living a double life may, therefore, be filling a demand in society. This is similar to how many straight married men have lesbian fantasies. Is this wrong? Ethically and morally it may be wrong if they act on these fantasies because its dishonest. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time, unless your an amazing actor of course.
So what are you suppose to do if you’re married with these homosexual desires? It might be a good idea to be honest with yourself and with your wife if you can muster the courage. There is no reason why an otherwise happy couple cannot stay married for the sake of the children but have their own personal private lives. This appears to be a healthy compromise for all parties and I’ve seen it work. The consequences, nonetheless, of any life altering decision need to be carefully considered. For instance, there would be a huge stigma for the wife to bear in some cultures if her husband left her, especially for another man!
If your living a double life you may be in deep denial. This means you think you are straight even though you regularly have sex with men. Internalized homophobia may be an issue where you may not be happy with being gay.
So what are the consequences of a double life? Men may have unsafe sex and put their wife and possibly unborn child at risk of contracting STD’s and HIV. It is a growing health issue. If closeted men would just come out and accept themselves there would be less bullying and discrimination in society. This can save many youth from depression and suicide.
Living a double life may put you at risk of blackmail and you may endure a lifetime of chronic anxiety. There is the issue of a fraudulent marriage. It’s not fair to deprive your wife of her emotional, physical, and sexual needs. Not to mention deprive heterosexual men of potential partners. Living a double life is unfair on the children as well because the father is out having affairs with men instead of spending time with the children and building a healthy family life.
Last, living a double life may lead to sexual addiction or become attached emotionally to your homosexual lover. This will compound your existing problems.
A double life is not easy. Find a way to be true and honest with yourself. As long as you are not hurting yourself or others, no one has a right to judge you. Be happy and live the life you were intended to live whatever path that may be.