DEAR AMY: I have been married for more than 15 years and have two great kids (14 and 9) with my wife. My life is seemingly perfect from the outside. No one would suspect there was a problem, but I've been living with the knowledge that I am gay for more than five years.
I didn't figure out my sexuality until after I was married. I became very depressed. My life would be so much easier if I were straight. I do love my wife and my kids, but I'm not attracted to her and have not been for quite a while.
Now I've met someone in a similar predicament. We have become best friends and share a lot of the same interests and values.
We have developed very strong feelings for each other, and I could imagine a life in which the two of us were together.
Should this other man and I continue to live a lie with our families and fake being happy, or should we tell our wives and kids the truth and have a potentially hurtful situation for everyone involved?
Sometimes I think it would be easier to just not say anything and sacrifice my own personal happiness for my family, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to do that. What are your thoughts? — Confused
DEAR CONFUSED: If you truly love your wife, you will tell her the truth — before you tell anyone else. You are keeping your sexuality a secret from the person you are closest to. You say you are not attracted to her and have known this for some time. Imagine how sad and confused she must be about your relationship.
The most ethical thing to do is to deal with this within your marriage — and not to engage in a relationship with this other man until you are both honest with your wives and out of your marriages.
A therapist with experience working with people who want to come out can help you find the most compassionate way to disclose this to your wife.
The Straight Spouse Network is a resource for straight people with gay spouses (straightspouse.org). You should read through some of the testimonials and stories written by straight spouses for insight into what this process might be like for your wife. The organization might be able to help her connect with someone who has also been through this very challenging situation.
DEAR AMY: I'm in my mid 30s, I'm a really nice guy, but I never found that special someone.
I know that the bar scene is nowhere near the right place to look; online dating is just a nowhere road, so what do I do?
I've been doing it all wrong all of my life. I can't even find women who are close enough to my age these days. Lately, I've been saying that I'd rather stay single for the rest of my life than look for something I'll never find, but now I feel like I've been lying to myself.
It really does hurt my heart when I say that, but I can't help thinking it may never happen, no matter what I try.
I just don't know what I have to do. Are these normal feelings? Is it really worth my time thinking I'll find someone when I least expect it? Is there nothing I can do? — Baffled Bachelor
DEAR BACHELOR: Every single thought you have is expressed in the negative. You say bars are not the place to look for a mate. Online matching is a "nowhere road." You've been "doing it all wrong."
The journey to meeting new friends and potential partners starts not in your heart but in your head. You need to look at everything you have tried in the past and make a determination to try new things with a positive attitude.
Online matching could actually be perfect for you. Research various matching sites and spend some time choosing the site that seems to reflect your own goals and values. If you approach the matching process as an opportunity simply to meet new people and polish your in-person skills, you might enjoy the process. Stay loose, stay open and choose to learn and grow as you go. Women like that.
DEAR AMY: "Heartbroken Mom" was upset because her daughter was estranged from her son because of a violent incident, possibly stemming from his bipolar disorder.
People with bipolar aren't always violent, though after I was diagnosed and began treatment, everyone in my family remarked on how volatile I was before. — Recovered
DEAR RECOVERED: Many people felt this mother was overinvolved in trying to bring these siblings together. Now that he was being treated, the brother should take the lead to try to repair the sibling relationship.
(Send questions via e-mail to askamytribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)
By Amy Dickinson
Tribune Media Services