Ask A Bi Dad: I made a mess of my marriage by coming out as gay and cheating on my wife. How do I fix things?

By Lewis Oakley

April 05, 2024



Photo credit: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

I'm a 44-year-old man, and my relationship of 25 years has just ended due to my actions. We share a few children. About four years ago, after I’d had too many drinks, I told my wife that I was gay. This caused a lot of issues. Last year, she discovered dating app messages from men on my phone, which proved to be the final straw. I’ve also had sexual encounters with men behind her back that she doesn't know about.

The thing is, whilst I'm sexually attracted to men, I'm not romantically attracted to them. I love my partner deeply and cherish our sexual connection. However, I made a grave mistake by exploring my curiosity and cheating on her. I can't imagine being without my partner, and I feel immense guilt and confusion.



Hi Oliver,

Thank you so much for reaching out, and I'm truly sorry to hear that you're going through a difficult time.

I don't need to tell you that cheating is bad — it's pretty clear you understand that your actions have had awful consequences for your family. More than that, you’ve broken the trust.

What's so important in situations like this is that we separate bisexuality from infidelity. Imagine for a moment that your wife had caught you on a dating app talking to other women, and imagine if you had cheated on her with other women. The outcome would likely have been the same. The idea that you're bi and not getting to live your truth isn't really an excuse. The potential to be unfaithful in a relationship has to be dealt with as a separate issue from bisexuality.

With regard to your bisexuality, I genuinely empathise with your situation. It's an issue that many men reach out to me about. Again, I'm not excusing the cheating behaviour, but I do believe there's an argument to be explored regarding individuals who perceive their sexuality as something negative. This perception can lead them to view themselves as bad or deceitful, which may culminate in engaging in harmful or deceitful actions. It becomes a vicious cycle.

It seems losing your wife has clarified your priorities and the importance of your family and children over exploring your sexuality physically. As you move forward, I do think it's essential to recognise that there are non-sexual ways to embrace your sexuality. This isn’t a choice between being bi and having a family, it's about how the two integrate.

There are numerous ways to appreciate finding men and women attractive that don't involve engaging in sexual activity. I suggest taking some time to contemplate what being a successful bi man entails. What does successfully integrating your sexuality into your life look like to you? Nudist beaches? Porn? Open relationship? Getting involved in local bi groups? Just having a bi friend to talk to?

Regarding the breakdown of your relationship, there isn't much you can do other than to explain yourself. In your letter, you didn't clarify why you identified as gay rather than bi, but I presume she would want to understand more about that. This situation requires introspection about your desires and actions, and how you can modify your behaviour moving forward.

Once you're confident in your plan, you can then discuss it with your wife and gauge if she's willing to give the relationship another chance. Additionally, you need to decide if disclosing the cheating that she's unaware of is necessary for full transparency or if it might worsen the situation.

Ultimately, I can only wish you good luck with embracing your bisexuality and discovering what that means to you. I also hope you can repair your relationship. With 25 years and several children, there's undoubtedly much worth fighting for, so do give it your best shot.


Lewis Oakley standing confidently and smiling against a brick building.

Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.

Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers in the UK, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.

Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.

If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, please email to [email protected]. The briefer the email, the more likely I will be able to respond.

*Lewis is not a licenced therapist, and the advice offered in this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.