The question: I’ve just started dating a guy and I’m crazy about him. The sex is great and we were talking about being official boyfriends. Last week, the subject of my sexuality came up. I told him I’m bisexual, and although he didn’t come right out and say it, he was appalled. He keeps saying I’ll cheat on him with a woman, because that sex is different. I’ve said no, but I can feel him backing away from me. The sex has really dwindled. I’m not apologizing for who I am. But should I wait for him to come around, or move on?
The answer: My idealist answer: Don’t wait for him – or anyone, for that matter. If he doesn’t love you for who you are, bisexual and all, then tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out.
But relationships are rarely ideal, and sexuality is a complicated beast. Great relationships – and great sex, I’d argue – require a good deal of patience, communication and respect.
I don’t think you have any of those building blocks right now. Talking it out and educating your man could change that. Hopefully you can broaden Mr. Narrow View’s world a little.
While there’s all kinds of long, overdue societal acceptance for homosexuality, I find a lot of people I know, gay and straight, are still confused and mystified by bisexuals.
There was a time, I’ll admit to you, that I would’ve said that bisexuality is just a quick layover on the way to to Gaytown. I have a tendency to speak in absolutes, but I’ve come a long way in understanding that sexuality is a huge, vast spectrum, and absolute statements and beliefs like these are ridiculous.
I asked Steve, one of my dearest gay friends and lone softball cheerleader, about your situation while on the bench at a game last week.
Turns out, he’d dated a bisexual man in the past and could relate to your man’s hang-ups. “I was uncomfortable about the idea of dating a bisexual man, but actually being with him made me realize it wasn’t a big deal.” He pauses to applaud a home run.
“As long as he communicated his feelings and was committed to me, I was happy. That was the deal we made. Monogamy is monogamy is monogamy.”
That being said, Steve says you should take some responsibility for the pickle you’re in now. How could they be talking about being exclusive, and this man doesn’t know he’s dating a bisexual? I’d back away a little, too.”
I agree: This is a tough conversation to have, but it should have come much sooner.
I called sexologist Dr. Stephen de Wit, a man with a PhD in human sexuality, for his take on why so many people associate bisexuals with inherent cheating.
“When people hear the word “bi,” there’s a certain definition they’ll attach to that,” he says. “The reality is that’s not the truth. How one person identifies as bisexual could be completely different from another.”
He says that generalizing about sexuality is a huge mistake. “Each and every one of us have a sexual fingerprint, a unique identity. The association people have with bisexuals and cheating is an attempt to simplify something that’s not simple.”
de Wit agrees that more communication is in order for you and your guy. “I think work has to get done,” he says. “It’s not sitting there and hoping the bisexual queen is going to come and tap his boyfriend on the head and he’ll understand it.”
He tells me about psychologist J.R. Little’s 13 classifications of bisexuality – yes, there are 13 (more types of bisexuals than I have colours of nail polish). They include circumstantial bisexuals (primarily straight but gay because of circumstances, like prison), concurrent bisexuals (simultaneously has relationships with both genders) and alternating bisexuals (this is you, by the sounds of it – exclusively committed to one gender, one person at a time.)
The doc recommends asking your guy what bisexuality means to him, and explaining what it means to you. The common belief, he says, that bisexuals are going to cheat because they desire sex from both genders is a complete myth.
Cheating, he says, is a violation of agreed-upon arrangement in any relationship and means different things for different couples.
Sit your man down and ask him what he’s committed to, and then explain that you’re committed to an exclusive, monogamous relationship with him. “That’s when he can start feeling safe about what this relationship is.”
So invite him out for a drink and have this hard talk. Tell him you want to commit to just him. But if he can’t deal with who you are, move on.