Keep in mind, IT (Internet Therapist) only has what I have written in this blog as well as probably 100 or more e-mail exchanges to draw from. And often, the conversations took different directions so I may not have provided him the answers he was looking for. I say all that just in case some of you are real life counselors and you think he has it all wrong. I have to tell you, this e-mail in particular left me and the few people I shared it with thinking he was on target. Aunt Clara said, "He pegged you, and not in the good way."
What follows are his words with my thoughts added in as commentary.
Here are some initial impressions as to what I think are your motivations:
1. I think your attraction is more internally focused than externally oriented...that is, I think the hook is having someone desire you...typically when people find someone attractive, it's because they're stimulating something in them...but I think you're turned on by the act of someone desiring you...that is, making you feel desired is turning you on and not what you see in the other person (which is why you can engage with someone who isn't your "type" at all)...and that's probably related to your desire to be a confidante, your desire to hear someone else's secret...you want to be desired for your ability to be trusted, and that's tied to your sexual turn on...In all honesty, I don't think he could have been more accurate in describing my tendency to pursue people for naughty friendships and then back away. There is one co-worker lady that I've posted about flirting with. This description describes that spot on.
His next piece of analysis was also right on:
2. You're also turned on by having someone who already know you on one level, discover this sexual side of you. I think it's sort of you proving to someone that there are many aspects of you...that you're your own contained person (kind of rebellious side of you)...and that others don't know you as well as they think they do...I think this is why you engage with these co-workers, family members, etc. You want them to discover you and acknowledge that you are much more than who they thought you were.It is true. My coming out as Bi process has been so long and drawn out that any person who identifies as LGBT, I feel this urge to let them know I'm with them, yet I do so in a manner that asks them to keep my secret. My daughter has a lesbian friend who has been close to our family for years. I've revealed myself to both her and her wife, yet I don't reveal myself to my daughter. In reality, I put these people in awkward situations but the benefit is to my ego to show that I'm more than just the guy they see.
3. But you also want to maintain your secrecy--which is why you don't want your co-worker H to chase you further...your identity is inextricably tied to secrets...whether it's your ability to hold secrets or knowing other people's secrets or your ability to pull other people's secrets from them...your identity is about secrets...and even though you want people to know that there's this hidden side of you, you don't want them to go deeper because that'd risk losing your identity by sharing all of your secrets...at the same time, having all these secrets make you extremely lonely psychologically because secrets, by definition, isolate you. But it's this linkage to secrets that'll make you lose interest in someone as soon as they respond to your sexual approaches.I don't think anything blew me away as much as this. "...having all these secrets make you extremely lonely psychologically because secrets, by definition, isolate you." I never even considered this and it was such a revelation to read it. I'm able to see how some friendships I've had have been completely tied to the secrets we share. There are some guys I know who, our only conversations center around sex or sex stories. I am forced to keep these friendships at bay for fear that if these people saw me in my element with other friends and family, they might not recognize me. I'm truly living a double life, just without the second family in a house down the street. Instead, you all live here on the Internet.
4. Your dealings with Erin. That, I think, is playing with fire. I think part of Erin's appeal is all the things that your wife is not. That is, I think you feel that your wife doesn't properly appreciate you, doesn't find you appealing, and doesn't know the depths or complexities of your personality. Erin, above all, appreciates what you've shared with her. You're getting turned on because you're really fighting your wife...and even retaliating...by engaging her. I think this is a real case of displaced anger being transformed into something else. Again, the problem is how your behavior will change once you've consummated anything with her. And the real world problem of the fact that she knows your personal life and others in your life, pretty well. You're not stopping because you want her to convince you to continue. But you will stop once you've done anything with her--and not because of guilt, but because you don't want her to find out anything more about you.Of all the analysis, this was the most difficult to accept and the first one I dismissed, at least initially. For the record, Erin and I have not consummated anything! The only thing I can offer in my defense, if that is even the right term, is that Erin and I have discussed what happens when she moves on with a real live and in person, boyfriend or I outgrow this whole thing. The answer is simple. We have had a close friendship for a long time and that continues.
There are some real conflicts between Erin and my wife. The danger isn't that we e-mail and chat and such, the issue is that my wife would find the close friendship as me taking sides with Erin. And frankly, I do side with Erin in the ongoing debate. It isn't worth getting into the details, but my wife is just wrong. That won't shock any of you readers, though.
I am playing with fire. But I think I've been doing that for years now.
As I said before, you're like an onion...but an onion that wants to be peeled, but only the layers of your choosing...I could not agree more. Thank you Internet Therapist. And thank you to the readers who've been e-mailing me during this mid-life crisis. You really do make this side of my life enjoyable.