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Author Topic: Came to terms with my orientation - What does this mean for my relationship?
Brassgirl
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Hi everybody,

I'm in an LDR with the man I'm certain I want to marry. He's really wonderful, we have so much in common, and he's super supportive. I love him so much!

We've been dating for 2 years (We're in our mid-late 20s), and a few months ago I moved about 2,000 miles away to go to school. It was after I moved that I realized that I'm bisexual. It wasn't like, a lightbulb moment - I just came to terms that I've been getting crushes on girls for quite some time, admitted and accepted that about myself.

I'm just not quite sure what to do. I want to spend my life with him. But now, I'm getting a case of the "what ifs...", even though I know that I love him. I'm guessing these thoughts are because I never really allowed myself to feel that way about women before. I know that I don't want to leave him. He's the one.

I already sort-of had an "I'm bi" conversation with him, but not really. (I had/still kind of have a crush on a girl here, and someone tried to out me, and I told my boyfriend about it, and semi-admitted to having feelings for her, but not really because I was afraid of giving him a heart attack). How do I have that conversation? Do I even have to? I feel like I should.

Has anyone ever been in this situation before?

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Redskies
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Hi, Brassgirl. I can understand why you might also like to have a discussion about your own personal feelings and situation, but in the meantime, there's a blog post and comment thread that I'd love to link you to. It felt incredibly affirming when I first found it, and was equally so when I revisited it. It's http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/08/04/i-like-boys-but-also-girls-but-also-boys/ and to be clear, for this post, I'm explicitly recommending that you read the comments. (The site is generally ok, posts are nearly always ok but occasionally have fail, comments on the blog generally are explicitly Not a safe space and may contain fails of all descriptions. Comments on the linked post are absolutely fine for everybody.)

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Brassgirl
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Wow! Thank you so much for sending me this - this woman pretty much IS me! And all the comments are so enlightening. Thank you thank you!
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Redskies
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Awesomeness! [Smile] I'm so pleased, and you're very welcome. I think that whole thing is one of the best things ever too [Smile]

Do feel very free to talk or ask more about your own feelings and circumstances if you'd like.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Brassgirl
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Thanks so much for pointing it out to me. It really was so comforting to read.

I'm just wondering how do I start this conversation with my boyfriend? And should I come out? I told 2 people so far... and it made it weird with one of them -though things are getting more normal now. (I panicked after I was almost outed. I wish I had kept a more level head!!)

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Redskies
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I think some other folk might be more useful to you than I would be with your questions, so just making sure this thread doesn't get lost [Smile]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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Hey, Brassgirl.

I think what often helps in navigating the how's with any kind of coming out is first identifying what you, yourself, want from the conversation.

In other words, things like: what would you like from the person you're telling this, in this case, your partner? What are the reasons you want to disclose: for example, so this person can know more of who you are, for openness in your relationship, for acceptance, etc?

What would you be asking this person for in this conversation, be that something, again, like acceptance, a change in the model of your relationship, etc?

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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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Brassgirl
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I'm not really sure what I would want to happen once he knew this information. I mean, I feel like it's a part of who I am, and that I want him to know it about me, but I'm afraid it would somehow have a negative impact on our relationship, depending on how I present it.

It seems kind of odd for me to say to him "Hey, I just realized I like girls too now, but don't worry you're still #1 and I'm not going anywhere".

I guess it all ties into acceptance, me of myself, and of him knowing who I am entirely. I don't think I'm looking for a change in the model of my relationship - though, I am curious about experimenting, which I feel quite guilty about.

I guess I'm jut afraid that telling him would do more harm than good.

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Heather
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Apologies for the dealy in reply: in winter here, when we get bad weather, I sometimes lose power, and have twice in the last 24 hours. Ugh!

I don't know the history with this relationship, but assuming you aren't talking about planning to marry this person frivolously, I can say that while orientation can shift through life sometimes, it doesn't tend to just magically go away. Who we find attractive also is something that will come up, seriously or casually, throughout relationships, especially long-term.

So, considering keeping what you know to be your orientation a secret in a relationship you intend to be that serious and go on for that long? Personally, that doesn't seem sound to me. keeping big secrets isn't something that tends to work for anyone in serious, long-term relationships, and it sounds like the only reason you wouldn't say something to this person is out of fear for them being okay with it. Well, with you, more to the point.

To me, that's one very good reason *to* come out. After all, if you're thinking that seriously about this person, if nothing else, you need to know they accept and are okay with really core parts of you before even considering that kind of commitment, IMO.

I don't think the gist of what you'd be saying is an odd thing to say. And after all, even people who are, say, heterosexual, are rarely, if ever, ONLY attracted to any one person. Just because they're serious about and way into one person of the opposite sex doesn't mean they don't have or will never have interest in another.

I hear you also saying you're curious about "experimenting." I don't know what that term means to you, nor if "curious" means "would like to." But I think whatever all of that means to you, it does sound like something to share with someone where you two are talking about being exclusive for a very long time.

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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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Brassgirl
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Yikes! I hope the weather clears up alright soon!

I really appreciate all of your responses. Do you have any recommendations for how to start this conversation? We're long-distance, and I will be home for the holiday this weekend, but I'm just not sure what the right time is/how to bring it up. Should I do it this weekend? Or should I let it come up more organically?

Would it be wrong to have this conversation while I'm away, say, on the phone or Skype?

Thanks again, Heather!

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Onionpie
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Hi brassgirl! I figured I'd give my two cents since heather's not around at the moment [Smile]

How you come at this conversation and what medium you do it via depends upon what you're comfortable with and what your communication has been like. So, if you guys are good at, and good with, more-heavy-life conversations via skype and it doesn't feel like this would become a TOO-heavy-for-anything-other-than-direct-contact, then you could do it like that. But if thus far you guys have had your more-important conversations face to face, or you feel like this would need more than a skype/phone conversation could offer, then you could wait until the weekend.

"either is good!" I know, not helpful, sorry [Razz] But you have a better feel for how this would go -- if you're pretty certain it won't be a big deal to him, then a phone conversation might be enough. But if you're worried it might need to be a bigger conversation than that, then it might be best for you to save it until you see each other in person.

In terms of bringing it up, what about even linking him to that feministe post that redskies linked and saying "I feel like this really represents where I'm at right now" and then take the conversation from there? Or you could say "so I've been doing some self-discovery regarding my sexuality lately and I want to share with you some of the progress/conclusions I've come to, because I think it'd be good for you to know even more about me/I want to keep you up to date with the progress I've been making with this self-discovery".

What do you think? Would any of those ideas work for you?

[ 11-19-2012, 10:47 PM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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Brassgirl
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Hey! Thanks, I really appreciate it. Sorry for my slow response - it's been busy with the holiday!

Either is good is actually quite helpful - I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be a big "feaux-pas" if I did bring it up on the phone or skype. I'd rather do it in person, and probably will, but when you're long distance, I feel like you don't always get to pick. (If I -need- to talk to him about it before my next trip home, etc).

Showing him the blog is a good idea - I never thought of that! I feel like he'll be really accepting, but I'm just nervous. I don't want to upset him - make him feel like I'm looking for something new/fresh you know?

Thanks again!!

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Heather
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I feel like sometimes it helps when explaining bisexuality to people who aren't to explain that just like if they're heterosexual or homosexual, that a) doesn't mean they are attracted to only one person of that gender, but b) the fact that they are potentially attracted to way more than one person of that gender doesn't mean they can't be monogamous when they want to be.

Really, the same goes here, you just have more than one gender to whom you can be attracted. And the same also goes in that just like for them, being with you doesn't mean somehow they have everything in you every person of your gender could have.

In other words, if they think being bisexual means a bisexual person *has* to have partners of more than one sex or gender to tick all their boxes, it's kind of a bit like saying, say a straight guy would need to have partners to represent all the kinds of women there are.

Make sense?

Of course, whatever someone's orientation, people don't always want to be or stay monogamous. But that really has nothing to do with sexual orientation: no fewer bisexual people choose and stay in monogamous relationships than people of other orientations do.

--------------------
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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WesLuck
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Yes, that was the first (or one of the first) real relevations to me from the Scarleteen web-site - it really makes sense that bisexual doesn't mean you have to have relationships with both males and females at the same time, because the people you are attracted to are a sub-set of the groups you CAN be attracted to.

It is a fact that no-one is attracted to everyone in their orientation group, and as Heather says, monogamy is not a function of orientation. Also, monogamy is not superior to other relationship models either - it depends on the people in the relationship as to how good that relationship and relationship model suits the people in that relationship.

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Brassgirl
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So, do you think it would be harmful to have this conversation with my boyfriend? I want to stay with him and be monogamous. I feel like I'm going around in circles - part of me wants him to know this about me, but part of me feels like it would be more harmful than helpful to talk to him about it.
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Heather
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I keep hearing you conflate monogamy or nonmonogamy with bisexuality.

Unless being bisexual ALSO means for you that you want nonmonogamy, that strikes me as having nothing to do with anything.

Why do you feel telling him about being bisexual would be harmful? To who? How?

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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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Brassgirl
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I'm just concerned that if I bring it up, he'll automatically think that I want non-monogamy, which isn't at all what I want. I know that bisexuality and monogamy aren't mutually exclusive, but I guess I'm just afraid of what he thinks - I don't want him to have any doubts. I'm afraid he'll think I'm hinting that I don't want monogamy.
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Redskies
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Do you think your worry here is more to do with him, or to do with general misunderstandings of bisexuality? For example, how have things gone before when the two of you have had discussions and you've wanted to explain something to him - have you felt that he's been open to things you've said when it was different to what he already thought? Have you felt that he's open to hearing and accepting your own feelings and experiences about things?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Brassgirl
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I feel like it's more about general misunderstandings. He's very open to things - he's very understanding, and he has been very accepting of my feelings/experiences in the past. I guess I'm just worried that I'm either a.) making a mountain out of a mole hill, and b.) that the general ideas about bisexuality will cause there to be some sort of tension in our relationship, even though it's not warranted.
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Redskies
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Well, someone's past behaviour is usually a good indicator of how they'll respond in the future, so that's a good sign. If he's accepting of your feelings and experiences, that suggests that he'll be able to listen to what you're saying about what you want and feel rather than getting sidetracked by misunderstandings he's come across elsewhere.

You're really not making a mountain out of molehill. Our orientation doesn't have to affect a relationship for it to be something important or meaningful to us, and it makes a lot of sense that you'd want to share something personal about yourself with someone you're so close to.

Would it help at all to remember that the way bisexuality features in your relationship isn't in an abstract or general way, isn't about "a bisexual person", but about You, and what You want? It doesn't really matter what any other bisexual person in the world think or feels, or what anyone thinks of any other bisexual person, but what you feel and what your boyfriend thinks of you. You're saying that you want to be with him, and that he hears what you say: that's actually quite straightforward.

I know this kind of thing can feel very scary and like a big deal, mostly because the world in general makes too big a deal of things to do with orientation. If you'd like to tell him about your orientation, would it help you to feel any more at ease about it if you had a conversation with him about orientation in general before you told him specifically about you? That way, you could have the reassurance of knowing that he at least knows there's more to bisexuality than the stereotypes. If we're ever unsure about telling someone our orientation, it can help to have a general talk first to a) sound out that they're a safe person to tell, and b) reassure ourselves of that even if we believe they're safe. If you wanted to do that, you could bring it up by mentioning it as something you read, or saw on television, or something a friend was talking about. Does that seem like a possible way into talking about this for you?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Brassgirl
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That actually makes the whole thing seem much less daunting - really great advice! I really appreciate it. I feel much more empowered. :-)
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Redskies
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Great [Smile]

I think the boards are going on a break for a week, but other than that, if you have any more thoughts about this you'd like to talk about, do feel free to come on back.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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