Hi Jake.

I’ve been hooking up with this guy from my gym for the past few months. It started as a steam room thing and eventually I started inviting him back to my place since I only live a few blocks away. The last time he was over he casually dropped a bomb. Apparently he’s in a relationship with a woman and they have a kid together! He’s never said anything about this before (doesn’t wear a wedding ring), and obviously I never thought to ask (but maybe I should have?). I have no idea if she knows he messes around with guys but I’m guessing not. Honestly, the whole thing feels messy. But at the same time, I actually don’t want to stop hooking up with him. Is that totally immoral? Should I just figure out an exit strategy now?

Shocked in the Steam Room

Dear Shocked in the Steam Room,

Learning more about a casual hookup can sometimes be alarming, after all, at the end of the day Mr. Steam Room is actually a fully formed human with a potentially complicated set of circumstances. It can be jarring when the truth comes out about (and might even ruin the fantasy), however, it’s ultimately going to be up to you to decide what feels right for you moving forward.

The interesting thing about your situation is that Mr. Steam Room actually came forth with the information that he’s with a woman and he has a kid. For whatever reason, he feels comfortable telling you, and I think that actually says a lot about a person. Clearly, no matter what the arrangement he has with his partner, and whether or not he is out to her (as “bisexual” perhaps?), he feels open enough to share it with you and not keep things hidden.

Perhaps that transparency means it’s not that big of a deal for him, or that he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything wrong or shameful. A lot of bisexual guys may have committed to a woman as a partner, but need to get the full breadth of their sexual needs met elsewhere, and they figure out an arrangement to make that happen.

As for having a kid, I don’t think that necessarily means his sex life should be over, but it does probably indicate he’s pretty invested in his relationship with this woman, and hooking up with you is just about physical satisfaction.

It’s definitely messy if someone is cheating, and you’re caught in the middle, but in this case, you’ll probably want to find out more before deciding what to do next. Has he told his girlfriend/wife/partner, and she’s okay with it? Maybe he’s not cheating. Or, is it something that he’s totally fine doing without approval? If so, it’s up to him, not you, to figure out all the complicated stuff.

As long as you’re clear this relationship isn’t going to be romantic, and you don’t have those kinds of feelings for him, I don’t see a need to necessarily run (unless for some reason you thought this thing between you guys was monogamous, but considering how is started, I’m guessing not).

If it bothers you that he’s with someone else in general, then maybe that’s something you’d want to end your dalliance over. But if things are working as is, and he was just trying to connect with you by letting you a little deeper into his life, then why rock the boat?

On the chance that he is cheating on his partner, I still don’t think the responsibility falls on you to decide if you’re leaving or staying. A lot of readers are surprised when I tell them this, because they assume the “other man” has a part in hurting someone who is being betrayed. However, you’re not the one who made a commitment to someone. He is. The onus is on him to maintain integrity in whatever agreements he’s made.

You never really know who that guy is that flashes himself at you in the sauna, and what his life looks like beyond the treadmill. Sometimes the fantasy can fizzle when you find out the truth, and other times, it actually gets better. In fact, in it seems like you’re now the object of male-on-male lust from a bisexual guy who only has you to fulfill his full sexual potential. You may be considering an exit strategy, but I have a feeling there might be a line out the gym door to take your place.

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty columnist and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.

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Queerty’s licensed mental health professional helps readers navigate questions related to relationship dynamics, sex, gay culture, and more, all through a lens of releasing shame and living authentically.

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