Updated: January 28, 2013 5:38PM
When it came to his sexuality, Ethan continued to lie to himself well into his 30s. He dated women, but had anonymous sex with men.
He and Darva, a beautiful, exotic Indian woman, had a very strong intellectual and emotional involvement. They began to date and eventually have sex.
They were in Las Vegas one weekend. There was an antique store in the lobby of one of the big casinos. “I didn’t want to stand at the craps table having some buxom blond blow on my dice, I wanted to be in the antique store looking at the beautiful things.”
They went in. There was a very flamboyant gay man working there. “I suddenly had this wave of understanding pass over me. I wasn’t attracted to the man, but it hit me — he was gay and so was I. I had an epiphany. I turned to Darva and said, ‘I have to talk to you.’ ”
Ethan was 34 at the time.
He told her. She didn’t believe him. She told him he was “confused.”
“She was a psychotherapist and she said there’s a continuum of sexuality all the way from 100 percent heterosexual to 100 percent homosexual. She was trying to convince me that many men have this internal conflict. She convinced me. I wanted to be convinced. I wasn’t comfortable being gay.”
Before they married, Darva asked Ethan not to act on his attraction to men. He promised. Neither of them wanted children, but they settled into a “normal suburban lifestyle.” Except that Ethan was still having anonymous sex with men.
After they’d been married two years, they were at a Christmas party.
Darva was talking to a man who asked her who Ethan was. She said, “My husband.” The man said, “I had sex with him.”
“The cat was out of the bag. I hadn’t kept my vow of celibacy.”
Before they divorced, Darva told Ethan’s family he was gay. “It was the best thing she could have done. I couldn’t have said it. If she hadn’t have told them, I might have been like the guy my friend Liza is dating.”
Until that time, Ethan had never been in a gay bar. Now that he was out, it was time to go. “There I was in the parking lot, terror-stricken. I had no idea what went on in there. I thought I might be walking into Sodom and Gomorrah. I steeled myself. Actually, it was boring. A jukebox and some guys shooting pool.”
But he did meet a man and had his first sexual experience with his eyes open. “I was able to breathe for the first time. It was the first time I wasn’t afraid.”
Since then, Ethan has led an openly gay life.
A lot has changed for gays since he was a boy. There’s more awareness about homosexuality. It’s hard to believe a young man today wouldn’t truly know he was gay until he was in his 30s.
One of the biggest changes is the fact that in 10 states, gays and lesbians can marry.
“If all of society allowed gay men and women the right to marry, we wouldn’t be dating and marrying men and women as a way to fit in. Marriage legitimizes who I am. It says I’m normal. Right now, unless you live in those states, you’re not normal.”
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