I Took Both Roads by David Matteson
David Matteson’s I Took Both Roads: My Journey as a Bisexual Husband is an account of Matteson’s experiences as a bisexual male, who first became aware of his sexuality in the early 1950s, a dangerous time to be seen as different from the norm. Matteson’s story is both eye opening and inspiring and is as much an account of his incredible and supportive relationships with others – his parents, his spiritual advisors, his God, and particularly his wife – as it is an account of what it is like to be bisexual. Matteson is incredibly blessed to have had amazing parents, who encouraged his curiousity and confidence, which allowed him to profess and live his belief in a Christianity that “had to do with Love, not with the authority of the Bible, [which] made it possible for [him] to be open to the many forms of love, including same-gender love.” Furthermore, his mother had early on educated Matteson to believe that it was quite common for adolescent boys to explore their sexuality with each other, leaving him without the shame and despair that, unfortunately, many other LGBT youth often feel upon realizing that they are “different.” This is not to say that Matteson did not struggle with his identity. He admits to feeling different from other boys his own age, though he admits that “[d]uring early adulthood, [he] remained unconscious of [his] same-gender desires.” This struggle became more intense when he became conscious of his attraction to other men. Matteson was supported in this struggle by his faith and by his incredible relationship with his wife, Melissa, who, time and again, allowed her husband to explore his sexual needs and desires with no judgement or disdain, committing repeatedly to love and honor her husband.
Matteson skillfully brings the reader on a journey through his life, leaving out nothing, which allows the reader to not only sympathize with him, but also to empathize with him. Matteson details his evolving relationship with God and his wife, Melissa, intertwined with his exploration of his sexuality, and these juxtapositions, through Matteson’s creative use of language, make perfect sense. Matteson introduces his story by acknowledging his “hope…that reading [his] story will help you to develop a deeper understanding of, and empathy for, those whose sexual orientation is different from your own, and those who have gone through changes in their identity during the course of their married life.” Matteson’s story does exactly that and is a timely, sensitive exploration of a topic through a loving and accepting lens. Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken,” with its implications about life’s choices is a recurrent motif in Matteson’s book, and readers will come to understand that they, like Matteson, need not recall their choices, as does Frost’s speaker, “with a sigh” of regret, but can instead proudly take both, though seemingly divergent, roads.”