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Author Topic: my boyfriend just told me he's bisexual...
sweetheart12
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Can someone be bisexual and want to be in a heterosexual relationship with a person the opposite sex and then not act on homosexual feelings? Is it possible to be bisexual, love and want to be with someone of the opposite sex and maintain a bisexual identity? How does that work?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated - i just found out my boyfriend of 8 months is bisexual... yet he says i have nothing to worry about, he is sexually aroused by me (which i've seen), and that if an opportunity arose with a man someday, if ever,he may consider it. I'm now really confused about my level of trust and about how to understand him...

He's really good to me, he talks about things he wants us to do (trips, outings, food), insists on keeping condoms at both houses now as he apparently wants to continue having sex (which is a relatively new development)... He's bought me flowers, he initiates sex and fooling around most of the time, has told me i'm what keeps him going each day, that he's had the most fun he's ever had...

I asked him if he's dating women to cover up being gay... he said no and that if that was the case, he'd be long gone by now. Is that true? Does it make sense?

I have nothing against someone being gay, but in this case, i'm mildly shocked, a little confused, and not quite sure what to say or do - i don't know if i understand it... Any answers to the first few questions would be great!!

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*Sweetheart12*

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Jill2000Plus
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I think that the "may consider it" is about your boyfriend's individual level of commitment to monogamy as opposed to about being bi.

[ 08-16-2009, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: Jill2000Plus ]

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bluejumprope
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Hi sweetheart12,

Here's some info on bisexuality: Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz

Being bisexual doesn't make someone any less capable of, or interested in, monogamy than anyone else.

So, I agree with what Jill wrote about your boyfriend saying he "may consider it." That has to do with his relationship model preferences, not his orientation.

Orientation has to do with who we're attracted to and have the capacity to be attracted to. So, someone who IDs as bisexual has the potential to be attracted to men and women. But, just like with people of other orientations, because you find certain people attractive, doesn't mean that you have to, or want to, have relationships with them.

Consider, for example, that a straight woman can be in a relationship with a man she loves, find other men attractive, and be wholeheartedly committed to just having sex with her partner. The same can be true for bisexuals, while at the same time there are many straight or gay people who aren't interested in monogamy.

Whether a relationship is monogamous or open has to do with what the individuals in the relationship want, and the agreements they make.

I think I understood that you would not be okay with your boyfriend seeing other people. Is that correct? Is he aware of that?

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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sweetheart12
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Thanks for the info!!

Blue, you're right to say that no, I wouldn't be okay with him seeing other people. I'm very much a monogamous kinda girl. I'm not a big fan of dating around, i'd rather just find the person I'm supposed to be with and be done with it.

If he ever came to me and said he wanted to sleep with men on the side, it's not something I'd be okay with - that would disturb me to no end.

I don't have anything against being bisexual, or homosexual... in fact I know i've been attracted to girls myself.

He and i did talk about it the night he brought it up, and he told me he thought he was interested in sex with a guy and a girl at the same time. At the time, when talking about it, it didn't really bother me all that much, but the more i think about it, the less comfortable i become. I'm starting to feel like there's a whole new side of him that i just don't understand anymore. And it's affecting our relationship - I've not seen him in 3 days or barely talked to him - which is mildly uncommon. I don't know how to go about talking to him about this.
I tried to ask what exactly it was about guys he liked or why he felt that why and his answer was that it was kind of hard to explain. He seems aroused by me obviously, he initiates sex and other intimacies... but i can't help but think now that maybe he's not thinking so much about me.
He's gone to a drag club with a lesbian friend a few times... it worried me before, and now it worries me more. he told me he hoped i knew nothing happened.. but if he's bisexual... and he was drinking... how do i know nothing happened??

It seems now this whole thing has put a major kink in our relationship. I seems like this relationship is turning into long term - we've taken a few trips, met family, been together for almost 8 months (had feelings for each other for almost 2 years prior to getting together). He wants to keep having sex, bought more condoms and wants them kept at both places... but i'm just not so sure anymore...

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*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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I'd try and avoid asking him things like what it is about guys he likes: after all, would you ask him the same about women? Could you answer that kind of question, especially just based on someone's gender? We all vary so much as individuals that saying what we like about one gender really isn't something we can state unless we're basing our ideas of gender on stereotypes.

I'd also bear in mind that someone being bisexual doesn't make it any more or less likely they'll have sex or other romantic relationships outside the relationship. In other words, there's no need to be any more concerned about trusting him with your agreed-upon exclusivity now than there was when you assumed he was straight. same goes for concerns about his sexual fantasies while you two are together: many people fantasize to some degree during sex no matter their orientation or the quality of their relationship.

All the same, you can certainly talk about things like the fact that if you know, for and about yourself, that you want a relationship that's only ever monogamous. You can then both talk together about if he feels like that'll fit what he knows about himself and what he wants in relationships. You also can certainly talk about a lack of communication if that's been going on.

As well, if you feel like while you two work this out, you want or need to have sex off the table, it's always fine to ask for that.

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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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sweetheart12
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I was with my boyfriend overnight last night, and I can't even bring myself to kiss him right now I'm so confused and upset about it all. I was housesitting, so he came to spend the night with me so I wouldn't be alone. He knew I wasn't feeling too good, and I guess I probably gave off a bad vibe, but I'm not sure how not to right now. We didn't talk about anything again. There really wasn't any kind of intimacy at all, which for us, alone, isn't normal. I wanted so bad to be closer with him, but i couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm so afraid. I feel like a fool. I know he tried really hard to get me to have sex with him, but I just couldn't do it. I lied and told him I had my period.
I do feel badly about withholding sex and intimacy from him, because Lord knows he tried, but somehow now I'm really uncomfortable. I don't know how to be close with him and not worry about him one day telling me he wants to be with a man instead of me.
I love him so much, and he's such a HUGE part of my life... I know that if we were to break up, we most likely wouldn't be friends.
I don't mean to sound like a selfish bitch, but if i do, it's not on purpose... I just have no clue how to deal with this curveball thrown at me... he's been indicating he's not going anywhere, but I'm not so sure I can hold an attraction to him anymore. But i want to. I'm not against homosexuality or bisexuality, but in a partner, i'm not so sure I find it attractive.
How do I deal?

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*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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I don't see any reason for you to be calling yourself names here.

You're having a tough time with this: that's okay. A lot of people in the same position have had a tough time. And while nothing is technically new with him -- in other words, he probably wasn't straight before and woke up bi all of a sudden -- an identity you knew and presumed has radically changed. That's not a small thing, and it's a lot to process.

I really think, though, you need to be talking together, and both need to be able to be honest. For instance, faking a period instead of saying you didn't want to be sexual, were just not feeling it because all of this has hit you hard was a move that put up a barrier to communication instead of opening a door. Know what I mean?

You also get to want what you want. While we can never expect people to say exactly the same over years or decades, if you prefer a partner for yourself of a given orientation, that gets to be okay.

Do you feel like, right now, what'd be best for you is to have some big talks with him, or to take some space and time for yourself to think more of this out yourself, and talk to other support people like here, friends, family?

Lastly, please know you have not been a fool, and his orientation isn't about you. His being bisexual isn't about him wanting anyone instead of you, just like your being heterosexual isn't about you wanting any other guy instead of him. I'd strongly advise you not to make his orientation about you. Not only is that just a false construct, it's only going to cause you pain.

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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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Ecofem
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Hey sweetheart (love your username!) [Smile]

In addition to the excellentexcellent advice and feedback Heather (and Jill and bluejumprope) has been giving you, I wanted to add that I know where you're coming from, someone who is technically totally queer-friendly on one hand (even being queer myself! [Wink] ) yet found herself feeling unsettled while dealing with her boyfriend's sexuality. It's like, you know you "shouldn't" be feeling this way but can't help it, at least a little bit.

I want to reiterate Heather's points about being very honest with your boyfriend and trying to be easier on yourself! It's perfectly ok to say "it's not you, it's me; I'm having trouble dealing with it even though you've done nothing bad or wrong... but I do care about you, respect and like who you are and want to be with you so please give me some time while I work this all out." In fact, the more you can talk about it, I think the easier it'll be for both of you. But I understand how it can be hard to talk about this stuff... I've found it so perplexing or embarrassing that I've felt this way (nothing wrong with feeling it though!) and that makes it hard for me to talk about it and here I am a volunteer! (That said, there is obviously more than meets the eye about shared experiences and I want to respect my boyfriend's privacy, too.)

I'll also mention that I think the issues/your fears are really less about his personal sexual orientation (from what you describe, yes, of course he's attracted to you!) but rather external pressures and assumptions surrounding things. So... please do give yourself (and your boyfriend [Wink] ) a break as well as some time to work this all out; I found that just taking the time and seeing how things go with time because I think with mutual trust and good communication, this really can be worked out. At least it has for us! Heather is really good at talking about the "philosophical" (well, and personal stuff, too) but I can also talk to you about this from a been-there-doing-that angle if you're interested. [Smile]

[ 08-18-2009, 11:13 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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sweetheart12
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Thank you Heather and Lena!

It's interesting, among just finding this out about him, there's been a few other things that have been hard for me to talk with about him.
He ended up showing up to the place i was house sitting on Monday night, and I had a friend, who is probably better friends with him, over. Her and I had been discussing things and then he ended up coming. I had a really hard time even looking at him cause I've been so upset and confused. When he went to leave, while she was in the washroom, he kissed my cheek and grabbed my hand, he tried to kiss me but i just couldn't make the effort to do it back and he kinda went "I get it" and went for the door, i started to cry so i ran to the bathroom... I always told myself I wouldn't cry infront of him. But he followed me and busted his way into the bathroom to find out what was wrong..

Long story short, i collapsed where i stood, and I cried while we sat on the bathroom floor and I told him I've been unhappy and that what he said to me last week has really messed things up. I told him I'm incredibly confused and that there's so much he does that isn't adding up> I told him I don't think he knows what he wants - while everything he kept saying to me while we were sitting there is that he's still in it with me... and in my mind i still don't get why... He told me he's not sure if he'll do things with a guy, but that it's something in his head he can't get rid of and that it's a thought... how can I ever come to accept that?
I know he's upset.. and it seemed like he wanted to fix things as soon as possible and that I should have talked to him sooner. Yesterday we took a break from each other - Tonight he mentioned before he wanted us to go out and talk... I work till 8, and as of yet I've heard nothing from him. I'm not even sure i should be the one to call him... and i'm terrified because i'm not sure how to talk to him.

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*Sweetheart12*

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Ecofem
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Hey sweetheart,

Thanks for checking in! I'm sorry to hear it's still so hard for you right now. That sounds really, really difficult.

quote:
It's interesting, among just finding this out about him, there's been a few other things that have been hard for me to talk with about him.
What else has come up, if you don't mind sharing?

quote:
He ended up showing up to the place i was house sitting on Monday night, and I had a friend, who is probably better friends with him, over. Her and I had been discussing things and then he ended up coming. I had a really hard time even looking at him cause I've been so upset and confused. When he went to leave, while she was in the washroom, he kissed my cheek and grabbed my hand, he tried to kiss me but i just couldn't make the effort to do it back and he kinda went "I get it" and went for the door, i started to cry so i ran to the bathroom...
I hear you're upset and still so confused, which you are certainly allowed to be!! I'm seeing that he wants to talk about all this and maybe can't find the words but wants to show he cares through physical signs of affection (like the kissing.) You are still feeling so upset and confused that you are not ready to talk and certainly not ready to be physical in any way; it seems that physical-emotional disconnect is the hardest thing for you right now.

quote:
I always told myself I wouldn't cry infront of him. But he followed me and busted his way into the bathroom to find out what was wrong..
Why do you not want to cry in front of him? Is that something you don't want to do in general in front of him or is it more related to this current issue?

I'm a big fan of crying... well, ok, maybe not 24/7, but I think it can be a good way to get our feelings out when we're not feeling able to express them another way. Along those lines, I think that if there's *anyone* to feel comfortable crying around, it'd be a partner because I'd want to be able to comfort my partner if s/he were feeling that bad and I'd also want to be able to express myself and get that support in reverse. In many ways, I can see parallels between feeling comfortable crying in front of a partner and feeling comfortable enough to have sex with them, because both can be such personal and emotional expressions of self with another.

quote:
Long story short, i collapsed where i stood, and I cried while we sat on the bathroom floor and I told him I've been unhappy and that what he said to me last week has really messed things up.
I'm glad you were able to get out how you are feeling but I would like to talk about some of your word choices: "What you told me has really messed things up" is a really tough statement and lays "blame" in the wrong place, I think, even though this really isn't about blaming. What he told you has made you upset and changed how you feel or even "messed up" how *you* had previously felt about the relationship, but it's nothing new on his part in that he was and has been technically bisexual since even before you were dating. And I think it's better to deal with uncomfortable truths than hide who we are from our partners (I'm thinking of like queer people who felt they had to live secret double-lives, which I believe are quite unfair to everyone involved, including themselves first and foremost!) Still, I get how things can be really hard.

quote:
I told him I'm incredibly confused and that there's so much he does that isn't adding up> I told him I don't think he knows what he wants - while everything he kept saying to me while we were sitting there is that he's still in it with me... and in my mind i still don't get why... He told me he's not sure if he'll do things with a guy, but that it's something in his head he can't get rid of and that it's a thought... how can I ever come to accept that?
I think it does sound like he's a bit confused about what he wants (but I'm also seeing you not being able to totally communication how you feel, too.) As people mentioned before, being bisexual and having an open relationship are not one and the same: Is he presenting the "I don't know if I'd do things with a guy" as in ever? Because that's not something we really can know if we're truly talking "ever" as in "sometime in the future, one day." If it's more specific, like he means that while in a relationship with you, if he were to find some guy he was interested in at a party (and who felt the same way), he would probably hook with him, that would *not* be ok under the current conditions of your relationship. I know you want monogamy, which is fine, and something either of you can take or leave; however, unless you're both ok with it, there's no like special automatic loophole where people questioning their sexual orientation can hook up with people of same sex (unless both partners are ok with it, of course!) I know this is a hard topic, but I'm seeing you both feel strongly about it but also not express *exactly* what you mean and are feeling to each other. It can super hard but it's really essential for making strides to deal with it all. xo

quote:
I know he's upset.. and it seemed like he wanted to fix things as soon as possible and that I should have talked to him sooner. Yesterday we took a break from each other - Tonight he mentioned before he wanted us to go out and talk... I work till 8, and as of yet I've heard nothing from him. I'm not even sure i should be the one to call him... and i'm terrified because i'm not sure how to talk to him.
I think the main difference between my boyfriend and my relationship and the one between you and your boyfriend is that we talked-talked-talked it out, at times with many tears (this is referring to a specific occurrence although we had been talking about it all along.) I would agree with you that a "quick fix" really isn't what we're looking for here, especially when you're feeling so deeply about this. I think it involves a lot of dialoguing and time BUT it also takes starting to talk about things openly. It's ok if you're not feeling ready to but I see it as being essential if the two of you want the relationship to maybe continue. Right now I'm seeing you both care about each other and want to try but aren't able to meet in the middle to start in a way that is ok for you both.

I'm going to link you a bunch of articles, and I'd also suggest sharing them -- and even this thread -- with your boyfriend for a starting point. And, you know, we always can end a relationship if it becomes too painful or just unwanted; of course, it doesn't have to end completely but rather switch to a platonic friendship. Again, it's up to you and I see a lot of potential to stay together but it's going to take some work and willingness. xoxo

Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
The Bees and...the Bees: A Homosexuality and Bisexuality Primer
Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz
Boys Will Be Boys...or Not? Straight Talk About Gender
Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out
Living without Labels
Potholes & Dead Ends: Relationship Roadblocks to Look Out For
An Immodest ProposalSafer Sex...for Your Heart
Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models

And now for many tags (as in a whole bunch of articles and questions for you to pick and choose from!):
http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/bisexual
http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/bisexuality
http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/monogamy
http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/polyamory
http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/open_relationships

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sweetheart12
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Ecofem... rather then elaborating too much, because it pains me alot, i'm still dealing with a lot of aftermath of being severely bullied when I was young... I'm 20 now and it hasn't been that way for almost 4 years... but nonetheless, i suffer a lot of anxiety issues and from denial of being cared about. It's something i've been working on - I am a completely different person from how I used to be, I am happy, I've grown up, I've learned from experiences and i wouldn't change it for the world, but I still suffer the aftermath of cleaning up my heart.

I know that crying is good sometimes... I did feel better after doing it, although It's more of a pride thing I suppose. Too many people have seen me cry, and i know it's portrayed me as a weak person. Crying releases a lot of feelings and expressions that you can't otherwise get out. I recognize now maybe it was good for him to see - because there was really no other way to express how much i've been hurting. I just wanted him to see me as a strong person, not crazy, or insecure, or clingy and needy - i'm not. I didn't want him to think i was too dramatic. I also didn't want him to get up and walk away.

As for what's going on with me now, I went out with my boyfriend last night for a drive and so that we could talk some things out. We both knew it was coming, and we totally dreaded it.

Thankfully, I've found more things out about him that I needed to hear, that he didn't necessarily tell me. He did most of the talking, surprisingly, and he made a pretty big effort to try and make me understand.
I'm not so sure I can say I can completely understand now, or that I'm completely okay, or happy... but I guess it's a good thing we did talk - i feel a little better then I did yesterday. At least he told me he still wants to be monogomous with me, that the interest in men and the thought of them he's attracted to, but maybe that the lifestyle and the coming out isn't quite his style or nature - he said when we was at the drag show, it just wasn't his cup of tea - he didn't feel comfortable and he wasn't as into it as he thought - but that his bisexuality still remains in the sense that he doesn't quite know where it will take him, just that the thought or male form intrigues him. I shouldn't talk, i can identify with being attracted to females.

He also told me that he's finally happy, with me, and that he wants this to keep going - that he's so worried that telling people about how he feels is going to cause them to leave him. Apparently he's so worried about screwing up that he subsequently does things because he doesn't want to mess up in the first place. I told him to stop thinking and willing it. I told him I've been cheated on, that's part of why i'm so afraid of him coming to me and telling me he doesn't want to be with me because either something's happend or he wants to be with a guy. I told him that I accept him as he is, that it's not bad, or wrong, or dirty or whatever.. but that it's who he is. He told me the likelihood of him leaving our relationship or something happening is the same as if he was straight - the odds don't go up. He also told me that nothing would happen because he purposely did something - he told me he would never go behind my back.
He tried everything he could to make me understand where he comes from with his bisexual feelings. I told him I went so far as to do a bunch of research and to post on a website where I was anonymous and could get some sound advice. He was surprised and flattered that I tried to hard to understand it. He asked me what I said on this forum and asked if he could read it. I told him that maybe someday I'd let him...he told me only if I was comfortable... should I let him read this?
We've not broken up, i told him a lot of what I was feeling, and i told him i need time to let things sink in. He thought that maybe breaking up was what last night was about... i told him i wasn't calling anything off - I do still want to be with him... i've worked through other problems and learned to accept other things... this is just going to require a lot of work on my part. He knows that it's going to take a little bit of time to feel comfortable and okay again. Healing is what we both need now. We'll be alright, so long as I can find a way to accept things being different... that's what I still struggle with... how do i accept him as he is and not let the bisexuality freak me out or worry me?

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*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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quote:
how do i accept him as he is and not let the bisexuality freak me out or worry me?
The first thing I'd suggest is identifying what ABOUT it is freaking you out and worrying you.

For instance, the idea that it means he will be unlikely to be faithful seems to be one thing. However, we don't have any evidence that being any one orientation makes that more likely. Your boyfriend is correct when he says that.

Again, bear in mind that heterosexual people are usually not attracted to only ONE person in the whole world of the opposite sex, but to many. And that being so, most people still choose to be sexually and romantically exclusive much of the time. The fact that he may be attracted to other men is no different than the fact that he -- or someone heterosexual -- may find other women attractive. Any of us finding other people attractive, or potentially so, doesn't incline us to be unfaithful all by itself.

So, besides the (false) idea that being bisexual will mean he'll cheat, what else about this has you freaked?

--------------------
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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sweetheart12
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I guess I really have no way of preventing it... what's meant to happen will happen... But i'm afraid that he'll come to me someday and tell me that he wants to leave me to be with a man. Or that he wants to have some kind of open relationship where he can have sex with men. I can't do that.

To me, that's a huge blow to your ego and self esteem. I'm afraid of how something like that would affect me and my life... but also the relationship i have with him... that i very much don't want to lose.

He can tell me backwards and frontwards that nothing will change, but i can't guarantee that... i told him sexuality is fluid... so i guess that's why...

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*Sweetheart12*

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sweetheart12
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I don't mean to sound selfish... it's just something i care so much about that I don't want to lose. I find it kind of hard to look at him now the same way i did before... how do i not let his sexuality cloud my feelings for him?

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*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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I didn't suggest you were being selfish, or get that impression from you.

I think it might help to recognize that he's the same person you knew before. If he's bisexual, he's been bisexual: either he or you both just didn't know or recognize it.

I feel like you're still clinging to the idea that it is more likely he'll come to you saying he wants to leave you for a man than a straight guy would with another women. I'm not sure what else to say to dislodge that myth, save to keep repeating that that's just not accurate. Do you feel like his asking for that or saying that with a man would be a tougher blow to you -- if it even happened -- than it would with the same situation with a woman? If so, want to talk about why?

Also bear in mind that his orientation alone is not the only thing that could change your relationships and that NO ONE in any kind of relationship should make promises about things never changing. Relationships always change, in many ways, as do people. We can't ask anyone, or ourselves, to never change: that's just not how life and people work. But the point is that there are a ton of arenas in which your relationship could change, and this would be just one of them. Either of you landing on the notion that this is the only one, or the most likely, just isn't very realistic.

One of the toughest parts of loving people and being in intimate relationships with people is that we simply have to accept the possibility of impermanence. We have to accept that we may not always be with someone, or with them in the same way, and consider if being with someone now, in the way we are now, is beneficial enough for us that if and when that changes, we'll figure the time we spent and the way we spent it was worth any heartbreak or disappointment we may deal with down the road.

But you can't not risk that: it's just not possible, even if we're talking about nothing more than the fact that life itself is not permanent: we all die eventually, after all. All of what you do simply is or isn't worth those risks, is all.

--------------------
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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sweetheart12
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Thanks Heather.
You are right. It's juts such a difficult piece of news to take in and learn to accept. I want to accept it, i want to be okay with it and to understand it. I need to realize and tell myself he still wants to be with me... that's hard.

And yes.. i do feel like him coming to me about relations or potential relations with a man would be significantly more difficult to deal with. There are so many stigmas attached to being gay or bi. I recognize that it isn't a bad, wrong, or negative thing to be homosexual or bisexual... i'm not against it... it's just different when it hits so close to home and happens to me instead of someone else. It hurts because number one it's just gonna hurt - losing someone you love and care about, with whom you've spent so much time and energy on... hurts. It's also a bigger blow than losing him to a woman.. because i've already experienced that one.. being cheated on for months and not even knowing it until walking in on it.
Also, because of such stigma and negative worldviews i know i'd never live it down. It's a blow to my self esteem.. like i wasn't good enough, or was never able to satisfy him enough...(i know you can never complete and wholly satisfy one person) but you can come close... that's something i still worry about right now.
Also, it's just never sounded good.. it'll be like i turned my boyfriend gay...at least that's what'll be said...it's just not easy.

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*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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I have to say that saying you had pain from someone leaving you for another woman would make that easier or a man harder sounds a lot like guessing or projection to me.

I also think it might help to recognize that homophobia hurts everyone, to be sure -- just like sexism and racism do. But I'm not sure what you mean by "you'd never live it down." If you mean people around you would give you more crap about being left for a man, that's not an issue of someone leaving you for a man, it's an issue of those people's bigotry. And I also don't see how someone leaving you for someone of one gender rather than another makes you more or less "enough." Again, why is that somehow more so, in your mind, with a man than with a woman?

I don't mean to be argumentative, it's just that I feel like you might have some internalized homophobia of your own -- most folks do, just like most of us have internalized sexism or racism, and it's nothing to be ashamed of, just something to try and cultivate awareness around and work past -- and that doing some mythbusting with some of these things with you is the best way I can be helpful.

quote:
I recognize that it isn't a bad, wrong, or negative thing to be homosexual or bisexual... i'm not against it... it's just different when it hits so close to home and happens to me instead of someone else.
I do want to point out that, so far, it doesn't seem that being gay or bisexual HAS happened to you. It's your boyfriend who has expressed being bisexual, not you. And someone else's orientation also isn't something that happens TO us: it's something that's about that person, though there may be issues around it that impact you, which bring up insecurities or conflicts, which may show up some attitudes that are problematic in yourself or others, etc.

But do please know that a whole lot of us in the world aren't straight, so the idea that until now, none of us have been "close to home" was probably a faulty belief on your part. It simply may have been that....well, without implying at all you were avoiding us on purpose, you didn't really have to deal with the immediate reality of us until now.

One other thing I do want to point out is that I do think it's important to remember that all of this is probably harder on him than you. I don't say that to dismiss or discount what you're feeling, but in our world, coming to terms with not being straight and coming out is really hard. So, even when we understand that people around us may feel scared and confused, I'd also encourage you to really try not to keep grilling him about this stuff, as that can be very painful. I'm sure you don't intend to be hurtful, but you might inadvertently be being so.

Also not telling you not to talk about it, to us or others, but that you may want to talk more to others about things like concerns about fidelity and "understanding" bisexuality than to him directly, especially right now, when we probably still feels very nervous and insecure about disclosing to you, okay?

Please know in my saying all of this that I'm not offended or questioning your care or integrity at all in any of this: I'm not. It's just that in some of what you say, I keep hearing homophobia or the results of a culture of homophobia talking.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Ecofem
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Hi sweetheart, just dropping by for a second before I head out again.

quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
I don't mean to be argumentative, it's just that I feel like you might have some internalized homophobia of your own -- most folks do, just like most of us have internalized sexism or racism, and it's nothing to be ashamed of, just something to try and cultivate awareness around and work past -- and that doing some mythbusting with some of these things with you is the best way I can be helpful.

Something else I want to add to this, this being something I've been processing myself a lot lately, is that I think that there is certainly a little bit of internalized homophobia at play (speaking about myself) that I did not realize I had nor did I want BUT I can see how some stress can come from the "queer side of things," too. (Oh gosh, what horrible phrasing on my part. [Wink] ) As a bisexual woman, I get no crap from my friends and acquaintances for dating a man (or a woman) but my boyfriend did face a certain amount of talk from fellow members of his LGBTQ group at uni. It's along the lines of, "We thought you were queer... we've done a lot to support you but now you're dating a woman?!" or "Ha, who do you think you are?! You're actually gay and are fooling yourself." That was said behind his back but to his face numerous guys have actually come up to him to say that they, too, even if they predominently date men, are also attracted to some women and think it's cool he's just doing what feels right. I think also how like when I get tested for STIs at a very queer-friendly place, they ask me stuff like "Have you had sex with someone who was transgendered or a man who sleeps with men?" or like how gay men are not "allowed" to donate blood. That sort of reinforces fears, too, even though as Heather's said, they just aren't true. He's totally strong enough to deal with it but it's still hard and it really makes me feel for him even more.

I want to reiterate her point of trying to see things from your boyfriend's perspective in how hard this is for him. I see you've essentially been pushing him away, even if totally unintentionally, and I can imagine that it's very, very sad. I would encourage you to also try to start hearing more personal stories about women who have relationships with queer men, because they would offer some helpful, been-there-done-that to the mix to give you some positive examples. I know how hard it is to find them because I myself have looked and wish there were more... again, so much stigma and what not. (Guess I should write something myself to add to the mix!)

Again, like Heather said, you're totally fine in expressing how you feel and having these fears, but I know I see you really hurting and going somewhat in circles and I really want to help you and your boyfriend feel more ok about this! xxx

[ 08-21-2009, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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Lena (and others, if it helps), this is only my stuff, but I have to say that as someone pushing 40, who has been queer all my life, and also dated all over the map, a few things. Just one person, but if these personal anecdotes/experiences help, here they be:

a) I have, personally, if I was leaving one partner for another (which I have technically, where it really was that, only done once), only done so leaving one man and being with another man. I have certainly had dating relationships where I have chosen a female partner to get more serious with rather than, say, men I was also dating at the time, but that's it, and I've done the same with men per women, too.

b) I have dated straight men, bisexual men and women, and lesbian women (I have also had a couple gay male casual sexual partners in my life, but this is more about serious relationships, so that's probably not relevant). I have yet to ever have a man I was with leave me for another man, though I have had a male partner or two move on for another female partner and have had a female partner do same for another female partner.

c) Most of the time, no one has left anyone for anyone else, and most of the time, no one involved has been heterosexual.

Mind, again, this is one person's anecdote: I'd have no expectation of that being representative of anything, especially since my impression overall is that it's just all over the map. But there it is, and that's in a LOT of dating and a lot of relationships.

Now, I feel a little funny saying any of that, because part of me just doesn't get why it would or might seem more likely -- sparing biphobia or homophobia -- for anyone to think that we'd need more positive examples of relationships with those of us who are bisexual than we would of relationships with people of any other orientation, unless we're operating from cultural fears/falsehoods like the idea that men who sleep with or want to sleep with men just want to have lots of sex or are indiscriminate (more so than anyone else), or that bisexuality is radically different than other orientations just because we can have a wider pool of attraction when it comes to gender. And after all, we know full well that many heterosexual men have, statistically, a rather huge issue with staying monogamous over time, even in marriages, but we're not here needing to make a compelling point that it's still okay to get involved with them, you know? While we've had well more than one person over the years ask or for kind of ask for that with a bisexual partner, I can't think of a time anyone has asked that simply ABOUT their heterosexual partner's orientation. Do you see what I'm saying? There tends to be an imbalance here, and it tends to be based more on fears than facts. It's totally important to address fears, and the fear itself is real, but I think it's important to try and draw clear lines between fears and facts, and try and identify when fears may be coming from myths or stereotypes.

I know that a lot of heterosexual people have big concerns about dating those of us who are not heterosexual, and I can figure out a lot of why, but since most of it has to do with mythology rather than reality, or with bias rather than fairness, I just still don't *get* it. And let me be frank: part of why I don't get it may well be because I'm not straight and have never been, and also because I wasn't exposed to any kind of homophobia in my formative years, and also grew up in a mixed group of people that were not all hetero.

Sometimes, asking for a lot of proof on things like this feels not unlike, to be honest, and with no intent of being offensive or putting judgments on anyone here, the proposition that I'd ever have to explain to my white friends why my friends of color will not steal their car, if you know what I mean. Fears like the idea that people of color are less safe or that bisexual men leave female partners more often than heterosexual men are exactly that" fears or biases, not facts.

I do want to add that I think one reason we see people being so much more fearful about this that hasn't come up is that a lot of people find they feel like their gender identity is threatened in these scenarios. In other words, have the idea that if a man leaves a woman for another man, it's because that woman was not "woman enough," or that man -- the woman's partner -- wasn't "man enough." There is certainly a LOT to unpack with those kinds of ideas, about the idea that gender dictates orientation or should, that it's potentially somehow more "right" for men to be with women romantically, that love has anything to do with proving our gender and a whole bunch more, but if anyone wants to go into that, or it feels like an issue, we can certainly talk about it. It is common, and it's a good thing to try and work through if it's in the mix.

[ 08-21-2009, 09:05 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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September
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I'd like to chime in with a little personal anecdote, as someone who's also queer and has also dated both queer and straight people of either gender.

About a half a year ago, when I was still with my (straight male) partner, a casual acquaintance found out that I am bisexual and was a little confused by this. Apparently, the fact that I was in a heterosexual relationship meant that I was straight - at least as long as I am in that relationship. Because there was no point in calling myself bi unless I was also dating women, right?

The idea behind this is, of course, that as far as cultural perceptions go, a person who is bisexual is a person who is actively dating people of all genders - preferably simultaneously. Whereas for someone who IS bisexual, what it means is merely the potential of being attracted to people of more than one gender. It does NOT mean that we are always (or ever) interested in dating more than one person, or that, if we are interested in more than one person, they must be of different genders.

And ya know, my experience is similar to Heather's, in that I've never left a male partner for a female one, or been left by a queer male partner for a male one. And in fact, all of my relationships have ended because of issues that had nothing to do with either of us being interested in someone else.

I hope you don't feel like we're ganging up on you here. My hope in posting this is that seeing the experiences of some non-straight people will help you separate myth from fact, as it were, on what it means to be bisexual.

--------------------
Johanna
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sweetheart12
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Hey Guys,

Thanks a lot for the help and the comments. I do genuinely appreciate the passion and the concern. Being able to talk out how I'm feeling, write it down, and then get some concrete answers, explanations and some kind words and some more questions and things to think about certainly does help me feel better about things and to be able to work past it.

I'd like to mention that no, i'm not homophobic, i have a cousin, who is extremely important who has been a lesbian for as long as i can remember. She's 34. And she's one of the nicest people i'll ever know. She's no different than anyone else. I do understand that being homosexual or bisexual is something that is a part of who you are, you don't just wake up and decide it one day. I realize that perhaps the way I came off or sounded like in my messages was perhaps that I didn't quite understand that concept or that I was afraid of people who choose to swing multiple ways.

I'm more afraid, not so much i guess that he'll leave me for a man, (if i'm going to be afraid of that, i guess i should be afraid of him leaving me for a woman too), but more the fact that this is a new hurdle we both have to face together, that presents a whole load of new challenges and situations to deal with. He is still the same person he was before he told me that...i'm just now forced to see him in a different light.
I know it isn't his fault, i don't blame him... it's the way he is... but i do appreciate his willingness to tell me how he feels and who he is to that extent. I'm one of three people who know - clearly this situation is not something he's all that comfortable with expressing to others. I know he faces the problem that both his best friend and his brother are completely homophobic and bash those who are homosexual or bisexual to no end. I saw that for myself last night when I was hanging out with him and his best friend and a few other people. His best friend made some comments about homosexuality that were, to me, baffling and completely inappropriate - it just goes to show how much we as a community lack in information about the subject. It's no wonder the poor guy is afraid to tell people - but at the same time, that's exactly why I understand his decisions to not be so interested in dating a man or in leaving me to experiment. I don't think he'll cheat on me - i'm thankful we had the chance to finish that large conversation and to talk things out a bit more rationally and calmly. I do love him... he is who he is and if i want to be with him, i know i need to learn to accept it.
It's not him being into men that I fear.. i don't fear that, it's just different, and you're right, completely not something I'm used to or was ever properly taught how to accept.

I greatly appreciate the personal anecdotes and the facts that say it's not often that bisexual men or women break up with someone of the opposite sex for a person of the same sex. That does comfort me. I guess people have the capability to be attracted to both men and women, but it's whether they choose to act on that capability and whether they have a desire to be monogamous or not that will affect their actions to a greater extent.
He's told me that he wants to be with me... to continue this, and brought of the fact that we may even still be together next year (in other words he can see it and wants it)and that he wouldn't intentionally ever cheat on me or do something to hurt me. I know he's so terribly worried about doing something wrong in this relationship, doing something that would hurt me, or telling me how he really feels and causing me to no longer accept him.
After hearing what everyone has to say, I know I can accept him as he is... i do... it will take some time to get over what happened, to understand why, and how, but I feel like i've got more knowledge and information about how to go about dealing with my emotions and fears. We both know it's going to take time... i know it's just as hard, if not harder for him...

--------------------
*Sweetheart12*

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Heather
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I'll be honest and say that I sometimes have found that doing any kind of bias awareness is something I find to be a lot more tough with people in your generation. Kind of like I said to Lena with gender, please recognize that it is VERY hard, and often takes some effort, for ANYONE to grow up without internalized cultural biases.

I find that often people are SO quick to say, "I don't have that!" in such a reactionary way that it doesn't leave much room for the person or people at hand to really, with an open mind, look deeply and find the places bias can hide. Having internalized bias, so you know, is not, in and of itself a problem. It's not having an awareness of it so that you can keep it in check, know when it's playing a part in something, and account for it. having internalized bias also doesn't make anyone a bad person or a lesser person: it makes us human, and influenced by all the things in life that influence us, even if and when we don't want them to.

So, yes, you may not be homophobic, however, you may -- as most people do, including a lot of people who are bisexual or heterosexual -- have some internalized homophobia, which is likely part of why it's tough for you to understand why a guy leaving you for a man would seem worse than for a woman, or may be why you say things like "choose to swing multiple ways" without realizing the inherent bias in that statement (unless you are talking about people who identify as swingers). Okay? can you see what I mean and hopefully hear it from a place coming without judgment, but in the spirit of wanting all of us to always be cultivating awareness?

That all said,

quote:
I guess people have the capability to be attracted to both men and women, but it's whether they choose to act on that capability and whether they have a desire to be monogamous or not that will affect their actions to a greater extent.
Really, per your concerns about someone being unfaithful, it's only the latter. Someone's orientation is totally separate from whether someone wants or wants to stick to monogamy or not. Once more with feeling, heterosexual people are not usually only just attracted to ONE person of the opposite-sex either, but to, or potentially to, many. The fact that those of us who are bisexual may have (more on that in a sec) a greater possible pool of people we're attracted to doesn't mean we have more or less attraction to others than people of other orientations.

On that, bear in mind that, for example, some heterosexual people feel attraction to many, many people, while some bisexual people don't. Since gender is only one aspect of people we may be attracted to, within just those two groups, you may find people whose other areas of attraction are more or less specific, if you know what I mean. To give you an idea, while someone bisexual may potentially be attracted to people of all genders, that same person may be very limited in what age or racial groups they feel attracted to, what level of intellect, what kind of hair color or height, how a given person presents their gender, what religion someone is, the whole enchilada. And that may result in them having a smaller pool of possible attraction than another heterosexual person. Catch my drift?

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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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sweetheart12
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Thank you Heather.

I do catch your drift on all of it and I do understand. Thank you for taking the time to clarify things with me.
Honestly, a little bit of education and a few lightbulbs on my head do make it a bit easier to feel better about everything.

One thing I do still need some help with is the fact that I saw my boyfriend last night with a few friends for a couple hours... and apparently i've got some internal homophobia biases i wasn't aware of because i can't seem to look at him the same anymore.
It's not that I don't want to, or that i think he's a bad person... quite the contrary. When I'm not with him, he's all I think about... I miss him, i miss being close with him. It's been over a week and a half and now i'm looking only a few pecks since then.
But yesterday he came over, I thought i'd be happy to see him... but i couldn't really even look at him... i felt really upset and found it hard to be okay and happy. But when he's not around I just want to hear from him or be with him. So now i'm really confused. He asked me if i was okay and if i was still mad at him because that's what it looked like.. and i said no, because i'm not mad... he kissed me goodbye and it was just a peck, i didn't want him to go at all...but i couldn't bring myself to tell him that... i'm not sure what to do or how to get over exactly how i'm feeling.
I know i need time.. that' much is clear... but i don't want to lose him. What should I do?

--------------------
*Sweetheart12*

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Rose17
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Hi Sweetheart12,

I am not sure if you still look at these posts, but I am kind of coming to you for some advise.

I have been with my fiancee for 4 and a half years, and i love him so much, we share absolutely everything. Apart from the other day he got drunk and told my best friend that he is bisexual.

I was really hurt that he had never mentioned it before. However his excuse was that he had made his choice to be with me for the rest of his life and so he didn't think it was an issue.
He says that he doesn't fancy any men or women because he's in love with me, but I know that i fancy people, e.g movie stars or singers, so he must have those type of people that he is attracted to as well.

I was just wondering how you are dealing with all of this now?
Are things back to normal, do you still love him despite all that he has told you about his orientation?

I would like to say that i don't think you are homophobic, as you the way you were describing your feelings are exactly the same way i am feeling.

I don't want to feel upset, and I know that i have to get over this initial shock because i love him too much to let it get in the way, but i just cant sleep, or eat, because i have this fear that one day we will be married with children, and he will decide that he has been missing something in his life. He told me that he has never done anything physical with a man, but he has 'dated' a few when he was younger.

He says that it's the same as if he was straight, that he isn't interested in being with any other women, but he has had relationships with women, so being with a man for him is the unknown.
I am just scared that he won't want it to be the unknown one day.

If you, or anyone can give me some advise i would be so grateful, i don't want to feel upset anymore.

Thank you.

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michan
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Probably one of the things you should think about is how you thought when he was straight.
Did you trust him in the relationship when you thought he was straight? If yes, then you should continue to trust him. Because even though he's bi, he's still the same person no matter what, coming out as a different orientation doesn't mean that the person has changed at all, all it means is that they like perhaps different or more genders.
And this doesn't make him gay, because he is still attracted to women.
You have nothing to worry about.

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~Mi-chan

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