When Two Straight Men Fall in Love

Mike Iamele's history of heterosexuality did not prevent him from realizing that love can come in many forms. After the wellness coach and writer started suffering from a mysterious illness, it was his straight male roommate who took care of him and comforted him, even in his most painful moments.

What started as brotherly camaraderie soon developed into something far more romantic -- something that Iamele never thought could happen, given his past sexual preferences. Suffering from a potentially life-threatening illness, however, gave Iamele the courage to seize the moment before it slipped away. He was lucky that when he confessed his love to his roommate he was met with a reaffirming smile, a signal of commitment that now has these two otherwise straight men trying to make a gay relationship work.

"We have this myth of identity — that who we are is the summation of a lot of choices we made in the past. That we've got a map for the life we're supposed to lead, and we've got to stick to it. But that's assuming that we're all static beings, and that's not how people work at all," he wrote.

Iamele's personal essay hit an emotional nerve with a lot of readers. He has received thousands of e-mails from a wide range of authentic modern partnerships: gay men who fell in love and married women, sexless same-sex couples and people committed to open bisexual relationships. The fact that his story has touched so many is a testament to that we are truly living the "new normal." To Iamele, normal now means being honest with yourself about whatever brings you happiness -- if that means creating your own relationship rules, redefining your identity and shattering societal norms, then so be it.

"When I chose to tell Garrett that I loved him, it didn't matter if it didn't fit my identity," Iamele concluded. "It didn't matter if it didn't fit my sexuality. It just mattered if it brought me love."