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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » bisexual relationship?

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Author Topic: bisexual relationship?
Ohana626
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Hey everyone. Some stuff has been happening with me recently, and I need some advice.

For the past week I have been talking to a guy on facebook. We knew each other through mutual friends, and we'd seen each other in person, but never really talked. But we started a "poke war" and that got the ball rolling. Eventually, we ended up IMing each other, and I could tell he was hardcore flirting, and I was having fun and was getting into him, so I was flirting back. Last night he asked me out, and I said yes.

Now all this is fine. But then something happened. I have liked my best friend for a year now. When I met him he was bi, and then he sais he was gay, and no he says he's bi again. I don't know if he's confused....I think he does like girls, but maybe more for the flirt factor. Idk, it doesn't really matter. But so when I told him about this guy who asked me out (my best friend knows who he is because they go to the same school)he was really confused, and (this is through IMing) tells me that the guy who asked me out was gay.

Now this came as a shock to me. I have a history of liking guys who end up gay, so I was really upset when he told me this. And then he explained a little, but then got off without really talking about it with me! So I was really mad at him, and when I called him to talk, he was with his guy friends, so I knew I wasn't really gonna get anywhere with him that night...plus I was too angry. He was too blunt with telling me. I thought that he of all people would've been more considerate...especially since he knows my history with gay guys, seeing as HE'S the one I'm trying to get over!

But the story isn't over. I needed to know the straight up answer, so I ask the guy who asked me out (let's call him Pat). And I wasn't mean about it I promise, but I was straightforward. And thankfully, so was he. Pat explained to me that he wasn't gay, that he was bi, and the reason that people thought he was gay was because his best girlfriend said that he should come out as gay so the two of them could have a better friendship. And he did, but he realized that it wasn't right for him because he was still attracted to women. So he's no longer friends with that girl, and he's bi. I believe his story because it's the same he told my friend, who asked him about it after I basically had a heart attack.

Please do not take this to mean that I do not like bisexuals. I have full respect for them as people and everything. But the problem is that I was raised to believe that there is no such thing as bisexuality, and that people who call themselves that eventually come out as homosexuals. Personally, I don't think that is true, but because it was drilled into my mind for so long, it feels as if it's a fact, not just something my mom believes to be true. The problem is that I don't know what is true; I'm straight, so I have no way of finding out. Sexuality is a very complex thing, and sometimes it's hard for me to understand. I told Pat about this, and he told me that there is such a thing as bi, and that he really is attracted to me, physically and emotionally. And I told him that I was still interested in him, but I was afraid of him turning out to be gay. That's my absolute worst fear; falling in love with someone who turns out to be gay. After having to deal with facing that multiple times in my past, it has become something that really does terrify me. That's what I actually felt last night while this was going on. It was actual fear, not just upset or anger or anything like that.

I decided that I want to go out with him still, because he still likes me. We joked that he couldn't be gay, because if he was, he would not have gone though all the trouble of flirting with me and asking me out. So we are still going to go out, but I let him know that I am going to be a little apprehensive about the situation for awhile. I'm hoping that once we start hanging out in person and not just talk on the phone or online, I'll be more comfortable with the whole thing.

Am I making the right decision here? Should I be doing this even with having that worst fear? I also wouldn't be able to tell my mother that he's bi, because of what she believes about bisexuals. I never hide things from my mother, but I might end up keeping this a secret, at least until Pat wants to talk to her about it, because he's sure be better able to than me. Do you think I'm making the right choice? I really do want to give him a chance, but that fear is still lurking in the back of my mind.

Thank you for reading! And replies would be much appreciated. I really need some advice.

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Heather
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I really appreciate that you were able to articulate here that you have believed certain things about bisexuality you have felt to be true, but know probably are not. So often when people have ignorance or bias about a certain group, they're not able to make or articulate the kind of distinction you did so well and so respectfully. [Smile]

Addressing your question, I want to ask what might seem like a very obvious question, but think it might help for you to think about.

If and when someone has an orientation that doesn't include you in the group they're attracted to, that usually will mean that the kind of relationship you want just isn't going to happen. However, there are a MILLION ways that we might not get the kind of relationship we want with people, including people who are of a sexual orientation that DOES include us.

So, do you feel like your fears around getting involved with someone gay or potentially gay are about them being gay specifically, or about not getting the kind of relationship you want, period. In other words, would this all be this scary for you if you assumed that ANYONE you got involved with might not turn out to be a good fit for you, or someone who stuck around? Or is this only about possible rejection due to your gender?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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Thank you for replying to quickly Heather [Smile]

When I like someone and they turn out to be gay, I am not upset specifically because I cannot have a relationship, but because I never had a shot. With a straight guy, it is possible to compete with other girls, because that is what he is interested in. But I simply cannot fight for a gay guy's affections because I am a girl, and not what he wants.

I am not very concerned about rejection from a straight person if they show interest. I was not afraid to start something with Pat when he asked me out until he told me he was bi. Of course there are tons of other possible break up reasons, but those I'm not afraid of, but the fear is definitely the possible gay factor. And it is not like I would be angry with him; I do not believe orientation is a choice, so if he was gay, I would not hold it against him or anything. But that feeling that I couldn't do anything because I'm the wrong gender...it almost feels paralyzing.

Another thing that is nagging at me is that I've been so involved with gay people because of my best friend, that my parents wanted me to get to know some straight people (aka find someone i like who is not gay). And I thought I was getting there with Dan, and then to find out he's bi...it feels like I just can't escape. It almost feels like a part of me to be attracted to non-straight people at this point. Of course, I'm only 17, so this thought is probably just that, and not a reality, but that is how I feel about it. It's almost comforting to think he's bi, because that's what I'm used to being around. But at the same time, it's also scary because I don't want him as just a friend, as I have had to come to terms with my best friend.

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Heather
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quote:
With a straight guy, it is possible to compete with other girls, because that is what he is interested in. But I simply cannot fight for a gay guy's affections because I am a girl, and not what he wants.
Later on, I think it might be sound to talk about seeing yourself in competition with people around this. But for now, I think there's some important unpacking we can do here.

What someone is interested in sexually or romantically is SO much bigger than gender. That's just one piece of so, so many piece. For instance, what if a straight guy wants a certain kind of relationship you don't, like an open sexual relationship (or a totally closed one)? What if he wants to only date women of a certain culture, color, body shape, native language, intelligence level or who shares certain interests of his? What if he enjoys and wants sexual things you don't? What if he wants to never have kids or never get married, or ONLY wants those things and wants them now? What if you and some straight guy just don't get along well?

quote:
But that feeling that I couldn't do anything because I'm the wrong gender...it almost feels paralyzing.
But again, what about all the myriad other ways you could potentially be wrong for someone? If you don't feel like any of those are as scary for you, or even matter to you, do you have any sense about why? For example, if you view dating as competing, do you feel like you can't or don't want to compete with men? Or, do you have any gender issues of your own around being/identifying as a woman? Those are only two possibilities, there's a gazillion more, but just tossing some maybes out there to start with.

I do think it's absolutely possible for someone, including someone who is straight, to find they aren't often attracted to straight people. There could be a lot of reasons for that. So sure, that could be the case for you.

Could I maybe though also ask what you see as the critical difference between a straight guy and a bisexual guy in regards to you, since both potentially can like someone of your gender?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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I know that there are a million different factors in sexual/romantic interest, and gender is just one of them. But when I think of a sexual realtionship, I think of one's gender. Of course people could be attracted to certain traits, features, personalities, but gender is something that, to me, is the biggest concern when it comes to preference. Hair color, interests, quirks, they are all smaller things in my mind, because if you fall in love with someone, you usually love them even if they are not the "perfect man/woman". I wouldn't be offended if a guy liked me but said that he preferred red-heads and I'm blonde, but saying that he prefers a male body to a female body is something on a higher level. At least, this is how I view it.
Going out with someone who could become gay is scary for me because it would mean that he would not be interested anymore because of my gender, which is a major part of who I am. I am proud to be a woman. It is one thing for a guy to reject me because of my personality or appearance; I understand that we'd need to have personalities that fit together, and I personally agree that you cannot be with someone that you are not attracted to. But It upsets me to think someone rejecting rejected me because he no longer was interested in me because I am a woman.

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Heather
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Can you consider that you might be projecting your own stuff unto this?

In other words, would you say that for YOU, the gender of a partner or potential partner -- and, seemingly, your own gender in relationship to theirs -- is your biggest concern? And that for others, it is not, and that varies quite a bit with individuals?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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This could be true. I know that I'd want to be with a man, so I think sometimes it's hard for me to understand that it's possible that a person could be interested in both.

There's also another bit of a problem here. I tell my mother everything, and we get along very well, but...many times, whatever she says, I believe and will do what she wants me to do. And since she believes that bi people are actually going to be homosexual at some point, I don't think she's be happy to know that I'm going out with a bisexual. Now personally, I think that after some time, I will be okay. But the thought of my mom's opinion bothers me. I know I need to think for myself and do for myself, but i often do things that she wants me to do because i want to please her. And this time, I want to date Pat, so I am going to have to keep his sexuality secret... least for a little while. Sometimes I think that if I didn't have this desire to do what my mom wants of me, then I wouldn't have a problem with things like this. I always grew up with her always being right, simply because she's my mom. But now that I'm older and am formulating my own way of seeing life, it's getting a little hard to be my full self because I still want to please her. I know my mother should not be a factor in choosing who I date, but she's such a big part of my life that I have a hard time allowing myself to assert my own choices like this.

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Heather
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It's not just about understanding those of us who can have interest in more than one gender (there's also more than two), it's about maybe trying to understand that not everyone leads with, as it were, gender, as what is most important to them in a parter.

There's no right or wrong with that, just diversity. For you, clearly, it's very important, for other people, it's less so, and for others still it's even just totally irrelevant.

But one big thing I think you can take away from what you've voiced about that so far is that not only is gender super-important to you, it is clearly very important to you that anyone you date fully accepts and appreciates your gender. It's so great to identify a need like that, because then you can voice it to potential partners right at the gate, so you can both be more sure that dating each other is going to be right for you on that score. Know what I mean? Being clear like that will also probably serve you a lot better than just finding out what someone's orientation is.

Suffice it to say, I'm pretty bothered by what your mother is voicing too (especially as someone likely around her age who has been queer/bisexual since I was a kid and remains so, so even if I didn't know that anyone else can clearly be bisexual for likely the whole of their life, it's something I know is true just by being me).

However, what your mother thinks is based on ignorance and in likely a lack of good education about bisexuality. And the god news is that any of us who are ignorant or under-informed about something can always choose to change that. Now, whether or not she will, who knows. But she can: what she thinks now isn't set in stone.

But too, this is something you could, and probably should, discuss with Pat. For all you know, he may not even be comfortable with you outing him to your mother right away, and/or that may be something he either doesn't want to do at all, wants to do once he's been dating someone for a while, and may want to do himself, not have a third party do in his stead. We're not all cool with partners telling their families our orientations for us, after all, anyway.

However, it also sounds like maybe you and your Mom could do some more talking about how you feel like you have a hard time making your own dating decisions around certain ideas of hers and how strongly she states them? In other words, you could ask if she could give you a bit more room to form your own opinions, or to feel like you can. You can also tell her that one thing you're seeing about not feeling like you have that room is a desire not to share things with her that you really think you'd want to.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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You are right. It is important to me that my partner likes me for not just my personality, but my gender. I have told Pat about this, and he assured me that he is attracted to me emotionally and physically as well. I haven't known him long, but I've decided that I'm going to believe him and trust that he is telling me the truth; I don't see why he'd bother lying at this point, since he's been telling the truth to be from the beginning.

I don't think my mom thinks she in ignorant, which is why I do not have ill-will towards what she thinks. But I do know that what she thinks does not have to be what I think. I just need her to be okay with that, to understand that I cannot agree with everything she thinks, because we are two different people.

And you are right Heather. Out of respect for Pat, as well as for the situation my mother has with bi people at the moment, I will refrain from telling her. Who knows? If Pat and I work out well, and she gets to know him, when/if he is ready to tell her, she might be okay with it...I just need to be prepared if she isn't. But I think I'm getting ahead of myself. I think about too many things sometimes, so I start getting too stressed. So we can cross that bridge when/if it comes.

Thank you for talking with me. I think I made the right decision now. Yes, my gender is important to me, but talking with you has helped me understand a little more about how bisexuals, and other people for that matter, think. And I do believe that he really does like me, and I'm willing to go for it. Thankfully, he knows that I am a little uneasy about it at the moment, and is willing to see it through with me. I just need a little time spent with him to get accustomed to the situation; this is the first time I've ever gone out with someone, let alone a bisexual.

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Heather
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Happy to talk with you: I think you co-created some really excellent conversation here, and I'm really glad it was of help to you! [Smile]

Ad for sure, I think it's so important to remember that dating isn't marriage or lifetime plans or long-term relationships. It's trying things out to see how they feel, for everyone involved, and just getting started on getting a sense of where they could go, or might not be able to. So, you see someone at first for a while, and feel out your feelings, get a sense of how you do or don't work together, or what you both might or might not want.

If later on it turns out this turns into a relationship that's a keeper, and either of you want some help with getting accurate information into your Mom's hands about bisexuality, just let me know. I'd be happy to help you with that.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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Thanks, Heather, I agree with everything you've mentioned [Smile]

Something else has come up recently, and I think I need your thoughts. I told some friends who know him, and they've mentioned that he's "kind of a dick" (I won't repeat any negative phrases, but I wanted you to know exactly what I heard about him, because this wording affected me). And this really upset me, because I don't like the idea of going out with someone that my friends don't think well of. However, I asked another friend of mine, who happened to know Pat for a very long time, and he said the same thing, but that over the past year he's been not so much, and that the two of them have been getting along very well this past year.

So the end of this whole thing is that I still am going to go out with him this Thursday, because I believe that I need to make my own opinion of him, and it wouldn't be fair to cancel based on other's. However, I am bothered by what they said about him, especially since they are my friends and I value their opinion. It also happened that the first person to tell me this is my best friend, who I still like and am still working to get over him. What are your thoughts on all of this?

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Heather
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My thought is that this is a first date. That's all it is!

Meaning, it's not a marriage, an agreement to a long term relationship, or an agreement to do anything but hang out a bit this one time.

So, if you have good feelings, and still want to go, I don't see a reason why you shouldn't. For sure, if the broad consensus seems to be he's not a good guy, I'd bear that in mind, especially if considering other dates, and I'd just be somewhat cautious on this one.

But I also want to add something to this. I don't know if it's true of your friends, but in some gay male communities, bisexual men are treated very poorly. I don't know if this is playing any part in what people are telling you, but it is one possibility, especially if when you hang out with him and talk with him, he seems pretty great.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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I agree with that, it's just a date. It's just that this is my first time doing anything like this, so I'm unsure about some things. Pat and I talk as if we're almost in a relationship, even though it is just a date. I am fully aware of it, but sometimes I worry that he fully thinks that we're going to keep going after the first date. We might, we might not, and I'm okay with either because I know we're just starting.

I don't know how many people know of his sexuality, so as far as I know, that's not a factor. His closer friend who I mentioned before said that he acts differently around girls he likes than his friends, and says that it's part of his humor that makes him a bit of *insert not so nice word here*. Now, I might not like that, but I don't know how his humor works fully yet, so I need to come to my own opinion on that. And I am going to, it just makes me uneasy having close friends think this of someone that I am going to date.

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Heather
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Again, I'd try and shift things. You're going ON a date, one date, with this person. You're not agreeing to date them in any ongoing way.

If you think they don't get that, or are making assumptions, it's always a good idea to clear that up.

Also, I had a dating strategy I employed for a long time that I found really worked for me that you might consider, too.

On a third date/hangout, I'd always invite a couple of my closest friends to hang out with me and my date, and then afterwards, I'd ask them what they thought both of that person and their sense of how we seemed to click or not together. Then I'd inform my choice about moving forward with more dating -- or any kind of relationship, even a platonic friendship -- with their impressions. It wasn't my whole choice, just part of it, but it always seemed to give me some really useful information and feedback. I can also say with certainly that at least twice, it helped me avoid pursuing a couple people further that would have been dead-end for me, and at least once, helped me reconsider dating someone further (I was on the fence) who turned out to be a really important person in my life.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ohana626
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Yes, I talked to him last night, and we both agreed that this was just a date, no expectations to go further at this point in time. So I'm feeling good about that.

Your strategy is a good idea, thank you. He has been telling his friends about me, so I figured at some point, if we end up going out again, I'd meet his friends, so that I think might help as well. And if I go with how you say would be a good way to try, I should be introducing him to my friends that don't "know" him, right? As in, I shouldn't hang out with him with the two friends of mine who had a bit of a poor opinion of him.

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