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Author Topic: Current Relationship with my Boyfriend, and my attraction to Women
Brassgirl
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Hi Guys,

I posted a few months ago about how I had finally accepted the fact that I'm bisexual, and I was concerned about how to inform my boyfriend. I came out to him in December, and his reaction was, well, lukewarm. I don't really know what I was expecting, but he was pretty freaked out.

My boyfriend and I are living 2,000 miles apart while I finish my degree. We've been together for a bit over 2 years. I love him, but lately I feel like we've been having trouble. Stress is high, money is tight, and I'm not finding myself satisfied sexually when we're together.

I feel horrendously guilty about all of this- he's a great guy!!! He loves me so much, and he wants to marry me. I used to be 100% sure that he was the one, but I'm not anymore. As time marches on, I'm finding myself more and more attracted to women. It's not fair to him, but I just don't know what to do. When we're together, like, when I go home to visit, it's all good, but I feel like I'm living a double life over here.

What do I do? I'm pretty freaked out - I don't know how to have this conversation with him because I know it will break his heart. I don't know whether this is the end, or if I should just calm down and see what happens. We had a really serious discussion about our relationship a couple days ago, but I didn't mention any of this. I just don't know how to. He thinks everything is fine, and I feel so, so, so awful, but I just don't know how to say all of this to him.

Has anyone been there? Can anyone offer me any advice?

Thank you guys all so much!

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Haleigh H
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Hi Brassgirl,

It sounds like you are going through a stressful time. Communicating with our partners can be really difficult. When you came out to your boyfriend in December, how did you start that conversation? Would starting the conversation back up in a similar way be helpful?

What do you mean by freaked out? Was this something you were able to discuss openly and move past?

Can you tell me a little bit more about why you're not feeling satisfied sexually when you are with your boyfriend? There are so many reasons why people don't feel sexually satisfied with a partner and I don't want to make any assumptions.

As hard as it is to communicate your feelings, especially when you feel they may damage your relationship, its really important that you are getting what you need out of a relationship and that you are satisfied with you partner.

I find it's easier to talk about something difficult if I tell on myself first. Maybe by saying something like "this is really hard for me to talk about and I'm not really sure where to start but..." Then your partner will know how difficult the conversation is for you right from the beginning.

I also find it helps if my partner and I are both feeling really comfortable before we start the conversation. What makes you and your boyfriend feel comfortable? What was the set up when you've had your best conversations (face-to-face, phone, coffee shop, couch, laying down, walking, etc.)

What do you think?

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Haleigh

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Brassgirl
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Hi Haleigh!

Thank you so much for your reply. I am SO stressed out right now!

When I came out to him, I told him that for as long as I've been having feelings for people, I've felt them for both boys and girls. I told him that I'd only recently acknowledged and accepted that about myself. We were involved in a conversation all about things we didn't know about each other. I'm not sure it would be helpful or not. He didn't react super poorly, but his jaw kind of dropped. He only had a few questions, like "How did I know?", and when I answered them, it only seemed to make it worse. I don't think he meant to, but it kind of made me feel like a freak - he said "Yeah, I like my friends, but I don't get a pit in my stomach when they're around".

I didn't feel like I could discuss it openly with him, and honestly, I sort of regretted even telling him because it made him so uncomfortable. Not that I think this makes him a "bad guy".

I'm not satisfied sexually because he always does things the same way, even when we try something new - which we do a lot. I think he does things to me in a way that feel good to him, but honestly, they don't do much for me. I feel like I can't tell him what to do or how to do things because I'll hurt his feelings. (I don't really like the way he kisses, and I tried to nicely suggest/hint/tell him what I wanted, and he got sad and nothing changed.) During our really serious discussion, I told him I wasn't happy in bed, but I just couldn't bring myself to tear apart everything he does, because I know he tries really hard.

He seems pretty comfortable when we're out to eat, but honestly, since we're long distance I'm not really sure how I should bring this up anymore. I have feelings for one of my same-sex friends down here. Do I tell him that? I'm just not sure what to say or how to say it, is all.

Thank you again so much!!

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Onionpie
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Hi Brassgirl. It sounds to me like you're putting a lot of effort into communicating your feelings and sexual wants with your boyfriend. That's really awesome; communication is a huge part of relationships. However, it also kind of seems like the ball is no longer in your court -- you're doing your part of trying to start/keep up sexual negotiation and discussion in your relationship, but your boyfriend is responding in ways that are really not productive. Do you feel that's an accurate assessment?

If you want to, you can discuss that fact with your boyfriend, and maybe point him to the article we have about sexual communication:
Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner

However, if you've already talked about some specific things you'd like to see change, and he hasn't made any effort to change those things, there's not much to be done. It may just be that your sexualities aren't really compatible, which is a totally okay thing and is just like any other incompatibility. If your sex is just not working for you, and if he's not open to communicating about it, then nothing is actually going to change, you know?

So if that's the case, you're maybe going to have to think about whether that is something you want to/are okay with accepting in this relationship, or if you want a partner you're more on the same page with when it comes to sex and sexuality. What do you think? Do you think you'd like to try talking to him about what you need in terms of communication?

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Brassgirl
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Now that I think about it, I may not be communicating well enough. It's definitely something I need to think about - he does make an effort to keep things exciting, it's just that once we get down to business it always winds up the same.

The bisexuality issue is what's eating me the most right now, and honestly, I can't tell if I'm not happy in bed because I want to be with a woman, or because we aren't communicating well enough. I'm also not sure he totally understands/accepts how I feel about women. The curiosity/feelings for women have been really strong lately, and I'm nervous to communicate that with him because of how he responded the first time (very lukewarm).

Maybe it does all boil down to communication?

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Onionpie
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Hi Brassgirl. I can't tell you what this boils down to since you'll have a better idea of that, since you know the situation a lot more intimately than I do [Smile] But it does sound like you guys are having quite a bit of trouble around communication. Often when we're having problems in one area of a relationship, it can sort of project into other areas, you know?

Also, I really don't think that you're the only one having issues with communication here. The way your boyfriend has reacted to some of the discussions you've had have been pretty unhelpful for honest, open communication. Hearing that something you're doing isn't working that great for your partner is something that people have to be okay with to be able to be a really good partner. So I think it'd be a good idea for you both to look over that article and talk honestly about the problems you are BOTH having with communication. What do you think?

And if he IS making an effort to make changes but things just still aren't working out and aren't working? That sounds to me like a pretty clear sign that there's just some basic sexual incompatibility going on here. So if after you've had the conversation about communication, things are still not working well for you in regards to sex? Then maybe it's time to consider whether this relationship is really a good fit as a sexual one.

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Brassgirl
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I think what it really boils down to is my orientation. I'm honestly just not sure how to communicate what a big issue it is for me without him feeling emasculated. His response was so luke-warm the first time I talked to him about it (I'm not sure how I would like him to respond, but how weirded out he was made me kind of sad, to be honest).

Any idea how I can broach the subject again without making him feel awful?

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Heather
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Well, you could be having these issues with a partner who was a woman as well, and you might someday if you start having partners who are women.

But you are going to be the best expert on what this is about for you, and if you feel like this is solely or primarily about you not feeling happy being sexual with this person because they're a man, and not a woman, then I'm going to figure you're the one to know.

But saying to someone "I'm not happy because you're not <something they're not>" generally isn't so sound. Especially since a) it usually isn't really that simple or about that, and b) there's really nothing for someone to do with that. A statement more like, "What I really want is to explore relationships with women right now," or something in that vein, that's really not about him -- since if this is about his gender, then it's really not -- but about you, and about what you want or need right now just being something he can't offer, rather than putting things on him around this that aren't really his. Does that make sense?

I think working out how to talk to him about this starts with figuring out what you want to be asking for here. Especially if there's nothing he can do about what you want, rather than this being about something he COULD do something about, like improving with communication.

In other words, are you wanting to facilitate a breakup? Or to try and stay together in one respect, but have the sexual aspect of the relationship be over? Are you looking to see if he might be comfortable opening up the relationship sexually, so you can potentially have a woman as a partner while still being with him? Or....?

[ 02-18-2013, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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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Molias
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You know, ultimately I don't think his feelings here are something you can control. If he feels uncomfortable about your sexuality, that's really unfortunate but that's his reaction to manage. I'm not sure how your attraction to women would be emasculating to him, but if he feels that way, it's his job to bring it up and discuss it with you.

It can be really tough to bring up serious or potentially stressful topics with partners, but what it sounds like here is that you're avoiding talking about some of this because you don't want to upset him, or because he doesn't react that well to suggestions about things that might work better for you. It's not fair to hold back out of a worry about him not reacting well when that means you aren't getting what you want out of the relationship.

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Brassgirl
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I don't think I want to facilitate a break-up. I really love him. I'm just at this awkward place in my life where I'm finding myself really curious about my attraction towards women, and I would like to kind of explore it. I'm just worried about wrecking what I have - he loves me and supports me. It's just this one side of me that he doesn't really understand, and that I'm struggling to understand myself. And I want to figure it out, and I feel like the only way to is to experiment, but I don't want anyone to get hurt. Does that make sense?
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Heather
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I think so.

So, what you'd like to talk to him about and ask for is to open up your relationship so you can explore sex with women? And you'd also like to ask for a bit of a wide berth in your emotional process to understand yourself better in regard to your orientation?

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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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Exactly. But without emasculating him, because I do love him. You hit the nail on the head!
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Heather
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Can you explain why you keep talking about "emasculating him" and what that means to you here?

In other words, what about any of this has to do with his masculinity, and how could you take it away by talking about your attraction to women, which isn't about him at all, but is about you?

[ 02-19-2013, 05:36 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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 feel like I'm telling him he's not good enough... and to me I feel like that's emasculating?
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Karybu
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What about this: do you think it would be telling him he's not good enough if you were attracted to another guy and wanted to explore sex with that person? Would that still be emasculating?

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Molias
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Are you saying that you feel like it's emasculating to tell him that you are interested in pursuing things with women in a way that it wouldn't be if you were interested in other men, that he might feel like he should (as a man) be more compatible with you or a better relationship fit than a woman would be?
I'm just trying to get a handle on where you're coming from with this. I do agree with Heather that it sounds like the issue is a lot more about your desires than his masculinity at all.

And again, I don't think worrying about how to avoid making him feel a certain way when you're talking about this is the best goal, because you really can't control how he feels or reacts. Of course it's always nice to approach a difficult conversation with best intentions, but ultimately he will feel however he feels and there isn't much you can do to impact this.

So I think it's a great idea here to think about what you want, what your best-case scenario in terms of your relationship with him and possibly other people would look like, take a deep breath, and talk to him about it.

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Brassgirl
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I know that I have to have this conversation with him, and I'm honestly really scared to do it because I love him, and I don't want him to get hurt. What are some ways to start the conversation? How can I be sensitive/understanding?

This is awful and super-hard because I know how much he loves me. I love him too, this issue is just eating me alive.

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