Dr. Evan Goldstein is the founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical – a first of its kind health practice specializing in gay men’s sexual health and wellness, offering an integrated, unique and unified approach to patient care.
I’m Evan Goldstein from Old Bridge, New Jersey. I was in surgical residency many moons ago and I met a woman, at the time, that was so instrumental to the process of surgery training. We fell in love about a year into residency.
I had kind of dabbled with guys and with girls throughout the – throughout my whole life and kept going back and forth and back and forth and when I met her, I thought, okay, this is where, you know, I need to be. This is the perfect match for me. There were many programs that would send residents to other programs, so we would go to Maryland, and in Baltimore, Maryland is a place called Shock Trauma, which is like one of the best trauma centers in the world. We would go there for two months at a time to kind of learn the trauma system. There was this snippet of time that we decided that we would do two months where she would go down to Baltimore, I would stay in New York, and then we would switch. I would go down.
She left for Baltimore and I started to really look at my world. I had left the city. We rented a little beach cottage out on the south shore of Long Island. I had a boat. I had a small, little cottage. I had cars. And I was back, I was into this suburban world and I was thinking about whether or not I was happy or not.
And then I started to reach out online and there wasn’t Grindr or Scruff or any of the stuff that we have now, but it was more of Gay.com. And I started go into chat rooms a kind of talk to people, and it wasn’t necessarily a sexual piece, though of course that was what was driving it, but it was more of “Is it okay, is it okay to be me?” and these are the desires that I’m having, and “Is it okay to be married and with a woman, and to have those and kind of question who I was?” And then I met someone and I started to continue to talk to him.
We were going back and forth with like texts and photographs and, like, you know, underwear, naked, and fun stuff and things like that because we were courting each other. We would talk all day long. Finally, I think he reached his point where he’s like okay, you know, shit or get the pot. Where is this kid going to go? You know, this is the last time I’m gonna text him to come and meet me. And he texted me and said come and meet me, and I at that time said yes.
I remember, it was a really long process of getting into the car, going – and it’s the same route that I normally take to go home – and it was at a pivotal light. It was the same way I go to all the time, and I make the right hand turn to head home to the shore. And I’m sitting at the light and I knew that my world was about the change and that I was gonna make a left hand turn and meet him.
And I was so in my world, I remember this lady behind me just honking the horn going, “Go! Go! Go!” and I was like, “Go? Go where? Go where?” I thought I was still at the red light and this and that and I was like, alright, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna make that turn.
I went to New York – he lived down in the Financial District – and parked the car and walked over to his apartment. He wasn’t at the apartment but he was – I could see him, you know, because we’ve been courting for like a month, and I could see him coming up from the subway stairs and it was right on the corner. He was more than I, like, could even imagine. Everything that we had kind of built up over the month of going back and forth with texts and calls and Skypes and stuff like that, it was 300 times that. It was like so much more than that.
And then it was me living two lives. And it was me living two lies for awhile. One time, I forgot to take my wedding band off and we were out for brunch. And I’m sitting there and we’re talking and talking and I’m, of course, I’m an animated that talker, and he saw it and was like “What is that?”
We had obviously conversations about this. It got to the point where when I was in Baltimore, he had kind of written texts to me saying that “There’s a few things that you can do in life to me. One is go back to your married life and live happily ever after or whatever you think is that. Two is come out, and be alone and just be you and enjoy your world as being a gay male and do what you want to do in your life. Or come out and be with me. And those are kind of the three. But it’s not what you’re in now.”
And how she found out was a completely different story. She had known that – she could feel that something was up. I mean, it was like four months apart, but it was like a year, two years apart because there was no communication on me, I was sick and losing weight and all this type of stuff. And one day she surprised me down in Baltimore and she found a cologne that he had gotten me for Christmas. But the note that was written on it was signed with his name that could be a unisex name.
So her response was, “Who is she?”
I remember the conversation of that like, “No, it’s not a she. It’s a he.” I knew that neither I nor her could walk away from it but that someone had to. There was no right way to do it, so one day I remember she went to work and she was staying overnight and I had called my boyfriend at the time, I had called my family and said, “I don’t know how to walk away but I think I need to just do it.” And everybody agreed that it was just the right time. So while she was at work, I literally moved everything of mine. I grabbed everything, I moved – and anything I didn’t want, I just threw out and I just kind of was really getting rid of that world. I left and I went right into my boyfriend’s apartment at the time.
You look back now and – how terrible it was for her to kind of spend five years with someone and then that person is dead – basically dead, not even there, nothing, no existence of that person that’s involved. And I walked into his world and we’ve been in that same world for now eleven years. We have two kids together.
The lies, the deceit – that sucks. I live with that everyday to know that that’s just not the right way to be in one relationship, end that relationship is not through lies, deceit and just not being who you are. So I think now looking back, I would have done things a lot differently.
If you were to just be true and honest and who you are, think about how much time you can enjoy just being you. Everyday, I just love being gay. I love being who I am. And you walk around with confidence and you’re not lying and you are you, which is so awesome.