Bisexual in a straight marriage #Relationships#LGBT#marriage#sex June 10 | Guest post by beccaboo4407 By: Christopher Wilde – CC BY 2.0 I didn’t realize I was bisexual until I was about halfway through college. I called myself an ally, and gladly spent my time learning more about the community and how I could fight for justice. During my junior year, I went to an LGBTA conference, and decided to wander into a session about bisexuality. It suddenly hit me that the session was about me. Even though I had been immersed in gay culture for that past few years, I couldn't shake my conservative upbringing. It had been so easy to assume being gay was a choice because I honestly could choose between the two. Walking out of the session, I wanted to cry at how much my old thought patterns still dictated my life. This was also just over three years into dating the man that is now my husband. It took me a week to talk to him about my epiphany. Coming out to him was as strange as coming out to myself. I ended up speaking in so many circles that it took another conversation about two months later for him to realize that I was actually trying to come out to him. He had questions. I had questions. The biggest question was if I still wanted to be with him, or if coming out was also me realizing that I wanted more dating experience with other women. Given my current marital status, it’s clear that I decided that I wanted to be with him. Now, almost a year into our marriage, I still don’t know how my identity fits into our life. We have tried to figure out how to not ignore my sexuality. We make jokes about our various crushes in the movies we see. He is supportive of my lady fantasies. We donate to local LGBT organizations, specifically those involved with youth. I’ve been working to get a GSA network going at the school where I teach. We talk about our gender neutral parenting strategies practically on the daily, just to feel like we’ll be ready for it. I came out to our immediate family and our closest friends about a year after I came out to my husband. But it’s not something that really gets brought up. I’m with a man, and we look like a very typical heterosexual couple. But despite being as out as I’ll ever be, I feel like a part of me is erased. Related Post Everything I know about marriage I learned from Terry Miller (Dan Savage's husband) Back in 2006 when I was working a full-time corporate job, while also trying to write what would become Offbeat Bride the book, I almost... Read more The hardest thing is when they forget. I make some offhand remark about how gorgeous Scarlett Johansson is, and they all give me strange looks for a second, before recalling the conversation we had years ago. I knew intellectually that coming out would be a continual process; I just didn’t realize how often I’d have to remind people. I’ll probably always feel a little like I somehow "cheated" by marrying a man. I’ll always feel like I have no right to complain because of all the privilege my relationship grants. We will always be a work in progress. In the meantime, I’d ask all of you a little favor for me and all my other bisexual Homies. Don’t assume that every couple that “looks” straight is. Bisexual erasure is a real thing, and until we get to a point in our culture where it doesn’t matter who you like, we’ll always be stuck proving that we belong in the QUILTBAG. Join our community! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo beccaboo4407 I'm a Spanish teacher and nerdy academic. Just married to a great guy, and "mom" to a kitty and a hedgehog. We play DnD, Mario Kart, and more board games than can fit on our limited shelf space. PREVIOUS 6 tips for a third trimester babymoon NEXT Jurassic World-inspired dinosaur eggs for all the "clever girls" Show/Hide comments [ 80 ] feeling your pain. i have been ostracised by the local gay community because i married a man yet occasionally date women. i have been told i'm disgusting because i refuse to settle or accept that i'm "selfish." i have been told by women that they would never date me due to the fact that i enjoy my husband. i'm sick and bloody tired of bi erasure. i'm sick and tired of being told i'm wrong, or broken, or sick. 40 agree Reply Here's my tip for you. I have been with a number of women and men in the past. When I married my husband, I gave up both. I still look, and make remarks, and have occasionally kissed another woman. But I don't have sex with anyone other than my husband. I got 'married' because I wanted to be with him. When straight people get married, they can't (depending on the circumstance of open marriage) just go sleep with someone else. Most of society will continue to beat you down about it because "open marriages" are still more taboo than being LGBT! Open marriages only work for a few people, most people get married to be with 1 person. I don't intended to sound closed minded or naive, I'm trying to play devils advocate and explain it from the perception of society. I, actually, have been in open relationships. It is possible, but not for everyone. My husband has opened up to the idea, set boundaries, yet I still don't want to bring another person into our marriage. I think it was fun when I was younger. And people are allowed to change their minds and perceptions about if they want to continue open relationships. Maybe one day in the future I will choose something different, that's the beauty of this life! I hope you find you way! 6 agree Reply I'm bisexual and have known that my entire life. I never got the chance to be with another woman, and now I'm getting married. I am grateful of this article because I too have felt like I cheated, or will never get the chance to experience that part of me. We've talked about it, and as of right now, going outside the relationship isn't an option for us, but we've agreed it might be in the future. Plus how do you justify that? Going outside the marriage to experience your other half while expecting your significant other to understand that this is a part of you you never got to experience and would like to, just so you can feel whole. 55 agree Reply Feeling this. I'm pretty much in the exact same boat. I didn't realize I was bi until I was in university, and already with my (now) husband. We're monogamous, so I've never dated a woman or non-binary person and I might never. Personally, I'm okay with that, because it doesn't change my feelings or my identity. But not everyone agrees. I'm not going to deny that there's some privilege in being a hetero-passing couple (eg. being able to walk around holding hands without being a target of hate), but that in itself is an expression of bierasure, which hurts too. I haven't even really "come out" to my family. Most of my friends know, and my family might have noticed by now (I'm not shy or secretive about it), but I've never officially told them. They're pretty conservative, so I worry about their reaction, and I'm also worried they won't believe me or take me seriously or think I'm "just doing for attention" because I've only ever dated men before, and that's not likely to change soon. 43 agree Reply Yeah, I sometimes feel like I have to stick up for my panromantic demisexual side too, but my husband sticks up for it as well so I don't feel cheated….I feel blessed. My husband brags that his wife is accepting of all people yet picked him. We do what we can to support the lgbt community and to educate those around us. I talk about my past relationships of women and transgender as often as I recount heteronormative relationships. I have a few people that brush it off as a phase, some who already treat that as norm, and some who are inquisitive but luckily not too judgemental. It's just a part of you and really in the ideal world no one will react to any of it. Being in a "hetero" relationship should not be what bothers you…but being in a healthy relationship that makes you feel cheated…is. I would've picked my husband regardless of his gender. If he comes out to be transgender then I will rally for support. He supports me in all my identities and I do the same….how can I feel cheated when the most important person is on my side. Sorry if I sound a bit preachy, but just hope you remember that you are lucky. And your bisexuality is part of you and your husband loves you. 🙂 17 agree Reply Super late in reply, but I just wanted to clarify that I absolutely do not feel cheated by my partner; I couldn't have asked for a more supportime guy. The "cheated" part comes from feeling guilty that I pass as straight and get all the societal benefits that go along with it. It's a bit of internalized biphobia, if I'm being really honest with myself. I love my husband, but my heart hurts that if he was a Stephanie instead if a stephen, I'd have to put up with all the homophobic bullshit that I don't have to worry about in my relationship right now. 5 agree Reply Lately with all the discussion about trans rights, and particularly the idea of people who transition while in committed relationships, I've become more and more frustrated with our culture's obsession with binary sexuality. I'm dating a cis man, I've always dated cis men, and it's entirely possible that's the only demographic I'll ever date. But in the interest of inclusion and open-mindedness I'm struggling more and more to identify as straight. Maybe it would be more accurate to say pansexual than bisexual…or maybe just stop using any sort of label altogether? Either way, thanks for this post! We need to be having this discussion to help evolve concepts of sexuality in our culture. 2 agree Reply Bisexual, as defined by the bisexual community, means attracted to your own and other genders. Using the term pansexual or bisexual to describe this is an entirely personal choice. I'm fine with either term for myself, but I use bisexual more because it's easier to explain. On the other hand, because people assume it means just attraction to men and women, that can erase non-binary people, but that's why I like to define the term when I use it. For some reason most people are more likely to accept a redefinition of what they assumed bisexual meant than an entirely new term that they've never heard of before. As for why I like labels, it helps to find other people I can identify with and form a community. If you don't like labels for yourself, that's awesome! I find them useful in my own life. It's also important to me because of what this article talks about, if I don't label myself, everyone assumes I'm straight. It's exhausting to know that everyone thinks of me as someone I'm not. Because heteronormativity is still a thing, I like to have words I can use to counteract that and challenge people's assumptions. 20 agree Reply I feel that the term pansexual has arisen due to bi-phobia. It's part of the erasure. If one is bisexual one will always be bisexual whether they are in a homo or hetero sexual relationship, or with someone who chooses a non-gender binary description. It's as simple as that. The L&G part of the LGBT group can be filled with bi-phobia. I think it's partially based on jealousy and insecurity. The common fear of leaving for the opposite gender is a great example of this: would it be any better if I left for the same gender? Why isn't that mentioned? If I can leave a woman for a man, why wouldn't I be able to leave a woman for a woman. There was also a time when people used being bi as a stepping stone to coming out. It was safe. 1 agrees Reply I am married to a bi woman. I tend to be very liberal when it comes to sex. She knows that I am ok if she wants to be with another woman. I do not feel that I'm in competition with women as I can offer things a woman can't and vice versa. I also made it clear that I do not want to do a threesome because this will destroy our marriage. I only ask of her that she tells me when she is going to do it so that I know where she is at for safety reasons. I want to provide support to her because I am convinced that open communication will make our marriage better in the long run. Reply Even though I knew bisexuality was a valid identity (I bi roommates, friends, and an SO or two) I never connected it to me and my identity until recently. My upbringing was very religious and conservative so I repressed my attraction for women and viewed myself as straight. If you only date guys you're straight, right? At least that was my thought. I always felt a little weird around women that I found attractive and didn't understand why I felt so jealous when they spent time with other people. It wasn't until college that I kissed a woman but I still thought I was straight because I found men attractive too. I finally game myself permission to be myself and admit that yes I am a bisexual woman. It only took me three decades. (Better late than never, right?) I struggled for months whether or not to come out because I am in a monogamous heterosexual relationship. Ultimately I decided if I was going to be honest with myself I should come out. I've spent most of my life erasing my bisexual identity and I am sick of not being true to myself. My husband has been really supportive and understanding. (Yeah, I kinda knew you are bi was his response.) And the few friends I have come out to have also been understanding. My husband and my sister are the only family members who know I am bi. I still haven't worked up the nerve to tell my parents or my in-laws. I'm a little worried that my parents will be judgmental and not understand. Coming out is a process and not an easy one. 7 agree Reply I get it. I pass for being a cis-woman, married in a heteronormative relationship, but while my husband is straight, I most certainly am not. I totally understand my privilege in this regard. Bi or Pan, not really into labels, but I was always open to love in form. It's fun being able to talk about which women we find attractive with my husband, we have similar taste! 17 agree Reply I feel you so much on this. I'm bi, married to a man, and have never dated a woman because by the time I was ready to, I was already in a serious relationship with my now-husband. Identifying as bisexual sometimes feels like cheating – like I'm trying to feel "special" or "different" or "less privileged" – because I can reap all the benefits of being in a hetero relationship. But the fact remains that I am sexually attracted to both women and men. It's hard to make that part of everyday life without saying things like "As a bisexual woman, I think our third-quarter profits are looking good," but there are two things that help me. First, I have quite a few friends who are also bisexual women in hetero relationships. Having a group of people who won't question the validity of my sexuality is crucial for me. And second, my husband and I have an agreement that we can both kiss other people. So I occasionally get to go make out with girls at parties, and that's nice. Having even a small outlet to express the other aspect of my sexuality is quite affirming, and helps me remember that I'm still me, and I still like who I like whether or not the rest of the world can see it. 21 agree Reply Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am also bisexual lady married to a dude. Who also didn't really fully come out to myself until I was married. 6 agree Reply I think I am in the middle of figuring it out. It is weird. I am married to a cis-man. My brother is gay. And I feel more and more attracted to women. I don't even know where to start, and I don't know if I should tell my husband. I guess I'll figure it out. Luckily, it's only a little bit scary. 3 agree Reply I am a bisexual female married to a man. I did not fall in love with my husband because he has a penis, I fell in love with him because of who he is, just like the men and women I fell in love with before him. I have always preferred women to men when it came to our "free pass" list, and I still enjoy looking at women more than men. Women are the epitome of sensuality and strength to me, but my husband is the person I fell in love with and who had the capacity to love me the way I REQUIRE to be loved. Having dated men, and then women, and then marrying a man, I feel ostracized by my lesbian friends (whom I miss greatly), and my family seems to shush me when I say that I am bi or refer to ex girlfriends. My husband knows me, he accepts me, and he is completely fine with my sexuality, as it is part of who I am. I will never let anyone shame me, and it also took for me to have the realization that I love men AND women to identify that bisexuality is real, and it is my truth. Thank you for this wonderful story 🙂 27 agree Reply "Women are the epitome of sensuality and strength to me, but my husband is the person I fell in love with and who had the capacity to love me the way I REQUIRE to be loved." Thank you for this.. I struggle to label my sexuality because calling myself bisexual doesn't seem entirely accurate, but calling myself straight seems even more incorrect. The fact that I didn't date before I met the man I'm now married to makes it even more difficult to define exactly what my sexuality is, I suppose, but your statement rings true. I've long found women to be attractive in many ways, but the person I married, regardless of gender and body parts (which I will readily admit are beautiful and enjoyable), is absolutely the person for me. But we still agree that if we ever have a threesome it would be with a sexy lady. 8 agree Reply ALL OF THIS. I realized in my late 20's I adore women as much as men. I've had the same male partner now for 2 years and he's known all along and is totally open to me dating other women (it's actually a turn on for him, not surprising) and other men. The problem is, as open and accepting as he is of me dating others, no one (so far) is okay with me dating him, ESPECIALLY lesbians. I've never heard the term bi-erasure until this article but YES, that's for sure a thing. Having to pick one or the other and pretend half of you doesn't exist isn't fun. I understand that dating multiple people is hard enough for partners to understand, let alone when you start mixing genders, but I guess I just haven't found a way to be okay with stuffing half of myself back away again after just coming to terms with it and letting it out. 4 agree Reply I am a little bit on the other side of this. My husband was only attracted to boys as a teenager, but never acted on it or came out to anyone at the time. When he went to college he found himself also attracted to girls and got very confused. I was his first girlfriend, and he came out to me a while after we started going out – it was also quite confusing for me. My family know (he told me I could tell them at the time so I had someone to talk it through with), and he is now happy chatting about it in random bar conversations with acquaintances if it is relevant to the discussion. His family do not know, although given other bi/gay members of his family they are unlikely to react badly. For the first few years of our relationship it was a Big Deal for him: this huge secret that he was frightened people would find out about. Now he says the only reason he doesn't want to open up that conversation with his family is that it is quite awkward to do so and it doesn't feel that relevant to his life any more: he hasn't felt attracted to any guys for a while now and he's comfortable with the impact it had on who he is (mostly made him more tolerant). I would quite like him to have that conversation, partly to exorcise any last remnant of that "big secret" feeling, and also because in the future I want us to be able to be open about our experiences with any children we have, and openness that comes with the qualification "but don't tell Grandma" doesn't seem that great. I haven't forced the issue because I respect that it is his decision. He's been edging towards it: a year ago he came out to some close friends of his family, and recently he alluded to it in a chat with a family member (although no one picked up on it). I do think (despite the paragraph two above) that he will feel more comfortable when that conversation has been had. 5 agree Reply I'm also married to a bi man (and he's allowed to pursue male sexual partners outside of our marriage). It's still a secret from both of our families, though he also sometimes makes comments about it that no one picks up on (because he must be joking, right?). Usually he does this when people make ignorant comments about gay folks, and I can tell it's super frustrating (and hurtful) for him to hear these things while he's closeted. He wants to defend himself, but doesn't want to open himself up to more judgement. Like you, I'd like for it to not be a secret, and I also think that openness would benefit our future children. Sometimes I end up in conversations about open marriages, and I want to tell people about ours to defend the concept, but it's absolutely his decision when/whether to fully come out. He did tell a close friend recently, and it's been nice for him to just have one other person who knows. I just try to be supportive of whatever he chooses to share. 2 agree Reply My future husband is bi. Although he dated a few guys throughout college, my parents didn't meet him until we got together his senior year of college. As far as my parents knew we were a totally heteronormative relationship. Instead he's come out to them in pieces because we've found it to be a really good way to get my extremely conservative family to understand lbgt issues. For instance last Thanksgiving we were discussing blood donation restrictions and he directly asked my parents if they thought he should be restricted from donating. I'd like to think it opens up those conversations now. 1 agrees Reply I'm so glad this article was posted and that there are others out there. My husband is bisexual and I'm not sure exactly where I fall/don't really know how to label myself. He explored a little in college before we started dating but not much after that. He came out to me about 2 months into dating. I still feel terrible that he never really had a chance to fully explore his sexuality before meeting me. He is free to explore with other men but there really haven't been many good experiences thus far. He is in the closet to our family members and some friends. Unfortunately even the friends he has come out to do not understand that just because he's married doesn't mean he's magically straight. Reply Wow, OBH&L is really targeting to my demographic lately 🙂 While I knew I was bi long before I shacked up w/a fella (& I'd had a couple important relationships w/women), I'm also very deeply monogamous, so when we got married, it's made bi-erasure a real thing in my life. I'm still bisexual, I always will be, it's part of who I am just like my eye color or my shoe size, even if I never have sex w/a woman again. 22 agree Reply This article expresses everything I feel and I am so happy to find I am not alone in this – as not only the article, but also the comment section shows. 12 agree Reply Same! I have been thinking of coming out, I think I will do it this year. I wonder a lot about what took me so long. I think because I was attracted to both, but men were more conventionally available, and I was always happy and excited and being with people, I never felt robbed of it. Then met my husband and we have been together for the longest time. I hate lying to people, but do fear what it'd do to people's perception of me, but feck it anyway. 2 agree Reply As far as I understand the maths, this is likely to be the situation for most bi/pan people – only because on average there's just more straight cis people around to be in a relationship with than there are people in the QUILTBAG. So at the least, you're not alone. 5 agree Reply QUILTBAG! LOVE IT. I haven't seen it in that order before. 1 agrees Reply I definitely can't claim credit for that (it's linked in the post!) but it's definitely the most memorable and pronounceable acronym 🙂 Reply It's certainly more friendly than "alphabet soup" as a activist friend sometimes refers to it in jest. I'm going to pass on this term to him, hopefully it takes off in our community. I really loves that the U is included – it really makes things more welcome for people coming to terms with who they are. 2 agree Reply I'm on the opposite side of this. Bisexual (although I prefer the term queer) and married to a woman. There is a generalized assumption by most people in my life that I am a lesbian. I'm VERY lucky to have many close friends who know the truth but it is weird sometimes. When I'm not with my wife I pass as straight very easily but when we are together it's "obvious" that I'm a lesbian. 18 agree Reply Thanks so, so, so much for this article. Whilst I didn't think I was alone in this, many of the things you mention I've been thinking about a lot and kind of kicking myself, why wasn't I more honest with myself in the first place, years ago. Thus I totally understand the cheated feeling, but I'm with a wonderful male partner who is one in a million regardless of gender. 3 agree Reply I'm another bi-girl but for me it is a little different. I have dated women, although not seriously, and I am now married to a trans man. Depending on the day and who approaches us we are either a hetero-normative couple or lesbians. Neither of those are quite true although for my husband's sake I prefer appearing hetero-normative, we live in a very closed minded area and if he is identified with correct pronouns at a restaurant it is a victory. As far as labels go I have always used bisexual but when describing my sexuality I always explain it my attraction to a person has nothing to do with their gender. 11 agree Reply BIG THIS. Just so much this. 4 agree Reply In another comment thread on another site, I saw an interesting further parsing of identity into homo/hetero/bi/a sexual/erotic/romantic. So the example the commenter gave was Tobais from Arrested Development was hetero-romantic in that he tended to fall in love with women, homo-erotic in that he probably fantasized about sex with men, and asexual in that he didn't actually want to have sex with anyone. Obviously there's fluidity all over the place, but it did help me identify that I'm probably homoerotic, though I'm (mostly) heterosexual and hetroromantic. It's not something that I feel like I need to come out to my husband or anyone else about, but it helped me immensely in feeling comfortable with my own identity. 9 agree Reply I very much relate to this. I'm very aware that because I'm married to a man that it is just assumed most times I'm straight. My friends, my parents, and anyone I've dated know I'm bi. Most of my coworkers and other relatives do not. For me there is an added awkwardness that I'm kinky so I avoid discussing my sex life like the plague at work. Even less people know we are monogamish. I don't feel like I have to share my life's details with everyone, yet at times I do feel like I'm playing a role by not coming out. 2 agree Reply Hiii, so this is me. I realized about 9 or so months ago that I probably am not as straight as I thought I was. Similar to you, I was super involved in LGBT organizations and identified as an ally. I realized when I had a romantic day dream about a woman. Not so much sexual, just romantic. But I have never been with a woman and so I thought that makes it impossible to identify as bisexual. I told my boyf and the way he reacted (so incredibly supportive, saying he felt comfortable with me experimenting) only solidified my love for him. We are still together and still haven't been with a woman and I still identify in my head as bi, but haven't come out. It is a hard road to navigate, but it is so nice to see someone else on the same path! Reply The conservative upbringing part really resonated with me–it's definitely easier to convince people that being gay is a choice if they are attracted to all genders (Hi, confused bi republicans). Until I realized bisexuality existed (and pansexuality, and the spectrum), I assumed that I was straight and girl crushes were normal, then that I was doing the "holy" thing by choosing to be straight when being gay was an option (yeah, I know…), then that I couldn't be bi since I was more frequently attracted to men, which isn't the 50/50 bi suggests, and then finally became educated enough to realize that I definitely fall in the category of bisexual/pansexual. Maybe heteroflexible, but ick, that term. Dear Republicans: I do have a gay agenda–educating youth so that they can know there are more people out there that share their sexual identity and so that their confusion can't be manipulated to support your backward, homophobic policies. I know my bi, [formerly] Republican, [formerly] small-town self would have benefited from a gay agenda. My current, in-a-hetero-relationship, liberal-as-fuck, in-a-city self would benefit from a lot less bi invisibility and just a more widespread understanding of what bi means. No, being bi doesn't mean that I want to date anyone other than my boyfriend–I am monogamous first and love him. Yes, when I was single, I would have loved women to not always assume I was straight, and I would still love my friends to not always default to that (I'm not actively closeted from them, but since I didn't figure out who I was until 22, I've been coming out to older friends on an f-it-comes-up basis, which it turns out, isn't often). 5 agree Reply as a bisexual woman engaged to a man who is also bisexual, we have an interesting situation. for him, it's more a matter of he likes to give pleasure and the body doesn't matter but it takes a lot for him to be attracted to anyone (kind of demisexual); for me, it's definite attraction to multiple genders. we both have been with same-sex partners and both deal with the assumptions day-to-day that we're just another cis-het couple. it's nice to not only have sympathy, but empathy, from my partner, and we have a great time discussing what attracts us to various genders/people. it does make the process of getting married a little sad or painful, because we are monogamous (it would get ugly to add partners, believe me) and by getting married as any hetero couple can i feel like i'm cheating or not standing my ground in some way. it was definitely a comfort to read this article and know this odd feeling isn't just mine, but many people's. 1 agrees Reply Well, if ethical non-monogamy is ever an option for some folks. There's a crazy amount of good and super-informative podcasts out there, along with their spin-off discussion groups. 4 agree Reply I agree. My new husband and I have taken a slow, yet very successful path down ethical non-monogamy, and 5 years in I find myself with an incredible non-binary second partner who really compliments the relationship I have with my husband. Conversely, he dates other women (LESSON: stick with poly people (at least at first), it makes things infinitely less complicated than trying to "convert" someone and disappointing both them and yourself in the process). Pacing is important, and we've learned that the situation is forever going to move at the pace of the slowest person, and truly accepting that can really help to avoid any resentment in the future. Additionally, fairness doesn't always have to come into play. For years, I had the freedom to date freely (even though i didn't really) while any outside experiences he had (beyond bar make-outs) were to include me. I felt it was unfair and had a lot of guilt about this, until we redefined what that all meant. Re-framing the freedoms as "gifts" from the other partner helped a lot to alleviate my guilt over not being as "good" at poly, not having as much compersion, not being able to give him the same level of freedom as he offered me so freely and easily. I think often in a bi-woman hetero relationship it will be easier to offer the female person freedom to date other female-types, due to the deep issue of competition. We have said many times that it would be a lot easier for me to give my husband freedoms if he were bi himself, and many many apologies have been made for my slow pacing in "gift" giving. Certainly they have been met with love and acceptance and so very little pressure to speed up (he has been urged to push me a LITTLE bit out of my comfort zone, because I know that I won't likely do it on my own and I truly do want to learn and grow as a poly person), that each time I struggle it makes it clearer and clearer as to why I married him. The point of all this rambling is to say that my being bi had probably pushed us even harder to practice poly, and I am thankful to my husband for considering my happiness and wanting me to explore this side of myself, because without him I wouldn't have found such an amazing partner (who loves my husband so much). Honestly, he knew I loved her before I did. I would come home from dates and he would say "Just tell her you love her already!" while I hid my smile and turned beet red. Gaining my second partner forced me to come out to my family and friends in a way I never thought I'd have to. Up until then my coming out would basically have been telling my family "I have weird sex sometimes, have fun with that information!" Honestly, I hid behind a lot of things to avoid coming out to my family. Getting married to a cis male was exactly the smoke screen I needed to avoid telling them, until I couldn't avoid it any longer. With our relationship gaining traction just 4 months before my wedding to my husband I had to face this head-on. I didn't want to alienate her OR my family. Falling in love really took me by surprise but I wanted to respect my partner as a whole person, and our relationship (her primary) as a fully-formed thing, not just "my second partner". So, here we are…totally out as poly, actually our feature on OBB last week was the final straw in our coming-out process. http://offbeatbride.com/2015/08/falcon-ring-bearer Don't live the next 30 years mourning the side of yourself you discovered "too late." It's NEVER too late. Challenge yourself and your partner to be fulfilled, and don't get too caught up on fairness and guilt, just go at the pace of the slowest person. No decision you make in the path to poly can't be reversed. You'll feel more like a team than ever before. Don't forget to talk. TALK. ALL. THE. TIME. And go slowly. xoxo 1 agrees Reply LOGAN, I LOVE Y'ALL AND YOUR LOVE SO MUCH. 1 agrees Reply Ariel, this is for you (our "how we met" story) http://jenniferdery.com/blog/page/2/#/falcon-ring-bearer-logan-and-gary-get-married/ Reply WAIT: this is the version I wrote. https://www.facebook.com/loganlmitchell/posts/10153389712245973:0 Reply "It had been so easy to assume being gay was a choice because I honestly could choose between the two." I've never connected bi/pansexuality with the perception that it's a choice before! That's really interesting. For me, monogamy trumps sexuality. This simplifies things for me a lot. I know everyone doesn't feel the same way! I tend to just say "Welp, I found my person. Done deal." 12 agree Reply I had the exact sentiment when I read that statement too! I'd really like to read an essay about that perspective some time, here or elsewhere in the internets. =0 1 agrees Reply i went off the grid right when this got published, but i'm glad this resonated with you! it was seriously such an a-ha moment for me. i'm not sure how much more i can explore because it's strictly my experience. quite frankly, my upbringing was fairly typical as far as conservative smaller town america goes, so my experience is certainly different from someone coming from a really restrictive background. there was a comment farther up about republicans who are probably bi and confused, and i think it's the same kind of thing. there's a blogger on the patheos atheist channel that i really like (libby anne of "love, joy, feminism") that explores some more of these issues. i highly recommend it! Reply I've never heard of bi-erasure until this article- thanks for educating me! I've never identified as bisexual, primarily because I don't know where the line is between "I find attractive people attractive, regardless of gender, and I'll sleep with any gender with equanimity" and "I'm bisexual". IS there a line? Where does one find that? 1 agrees Reply i firmly believe you gotta find your own line. i think where i embraced it as an identity is when i realized that when i heard/read homophobic shit, it was effecting me beyond "this hurts my friends". potentially if i was living in a more lgbt-friendly area, i wouldn't have really felt the need to carve out an identity about what turns me on in the context of my monogamous relationship with a dude. Reply I'm a lesbian who lives with her bi girlfriend. She's dated both men and women before me, for context. She's the only person I've ever dated. (This is for context.) I would caution those who commented upthread that lesbians aren't interested in dating them because they're married to men. I suspect (though I'm not sure) that their main objection to dating married bi women is that they are married, not that they are bi. Lots of lesbians are strictly monogamous (just like lots of everybody, really) and wouldn't be interested in dating someone who's already married. It wouldn't matter if they were married to a man or a woman. And I would reject the idea (alluded to upthread) that bi people do not get a semiautomatic pass to sleep with people of the gender(s) they are not married to. Monogamy is monogamy, regardless of sexual orientation. If you have negotiated non-monogamy, that is something different. 15 agree Reply OMG YES. SO MUCH THIS. I, too, denied being bisexual for so long. When I finally accepted who I was, my then fiance, now husband was the first person I told . . . and he couldn't have been less surprised because he knows me so well. I've come out to people since then but I feel like I often get dismissed because I am married to a man. I feel like it took me so long to come to accept who I was but it was an almost non-event because of the gender of my partner. Or I've been told that bisexuality doesn't exist or that it doesn't count because I'm married to a man, as if all bisexuals need to be perpetually in a relationship with a man and a woman at the same time in order to "count." Thank you for posting this. You articulated so much that sits at the back of my mind and it helps a lot to know I'm not the only person who feels like this. 5 agree Reply I have a story so similar to all the others in this comment thread- I fell in love with my now husband very young after only having sex with a couple of other men and kissing one lady. So, I knew I was Bi but I thought it was irrelevant because we were monogamous and I had no past relationships with women to 'prove' it anyway. As I became more comfortable in my body and more sexually adventurous me and my husband realised that I was 'missing out' on a big part of my sexuality but didn't really know what to do about it apart from talk. Then I found the perfect solution over coffee with a friend. I had been mentioning to people (when it came up- which is rare) that I was Bi and when I mentioned it to her she said she was in a similar situation (but with more pre-monogamy lady experience than me) because she is in a committed relationship with her male partner my husband didn't feel threatened or wierd when I told him that I had propositioned her (in a very clumsy but apparently 'cute' way) We both went home and checked with our partners and when they have their 'permission' we booked a hotel and spent an amazing night together- we now do this a couple of times a year and are still really good friends too. If you are a Bi woman and lucky enough to have a friend you are attracted to- come out to her! You never know what might happen. 4 agree Reply I think people are attracted to specific people, gender doesn't necessarily enter into it. It is a chemical reaction. I am in a hetero normative relationship, and because we have agreed to be monogamous I don't drool over other women or men just as I would not want him to drool over other women or men. It is all about what agreement you come to with the partner of your choice. I feel like so many people are so eager to put others and themselves into boxes like "straight" "gay" or "bi" – terms that are just so many qualifiers that limit who a person is and can be. If people didn't all assume what other people's sexuality is and try to box up who they are and how they experience the world bi-erasure wouldn't be a problem. 3 agree Reply When I had a relationship with my ex-girlfriend, everyone around me started saying I'm lesbian. Why did they deny my past with men? I am bisexual, regardless of what gender I'm with. I don't change from straight to lesbian. 2 agree Reply Offbeat Editors: Thank you so much for publishing this, it has been really nice to read these stories in the article and comments. I dated both men and women (and both at the same time) before finally "settling down" with my straight cis male partner–and now almost everyone who knows us assumes we're just like any other heteronormative couple. As someone else above said, I don't miss really miss dating women the same way I don't miss dating any of the other billions of people who are not my partner. However–what I DO miss is feeling like the outward picture of my life better represented my internal life. Dating a man, I feel like other people's assumptions about us are so wrong, and so confining. I've been thinking lately though that maybe a lot of "offbeat" people feel this way–or maybe all people. Everyone is constantly making assumptions about everyone else based on the context they see them in, but those assumptions are likely way off the mark! When I show up at my corporate job in a grey suit like anyone else, it's not just my QUILTBAG membership people don't know about, it's a whole lot of my offbeat identity. And I'm starting to realize there's probably a lot of other grey suits around me who feel the exact same way. 3 agree Reply I'm in a similar situation, so thank you SO MUCH for this article! My cis male straight boyfriend and I have talked about the issue which for us is twofold: I'm bi but because we've been together since junior high (now 11 years and counting) I could never experience my "bi side". I'm his first and only girlfriend and he has admitted that he feels insecure about the fact that he has only ever slept with one woman, me. He would never cheat on me but I totally get that! This is why we talked about hiring a professional to broaden our horizon. We'll still have to talk a lot about what will be okay and what won't (think safety) but I think it's a good though expensive solution, especially given that I can be quite jealous and don't want to introduce anyone into our relationship who might develop feelings. Has anyone had any (positive) experience with this particular solution? I would be very reassured to hear that we are not the only ones considering this. Reply I am bisexual and it was a slow process for me to realize and accept it about myself throughout my 20s. I have only really dated men, though I've had a lot of sexual and pseudo romantic relationships with women. I was married to a man, and ended that relationship, only to fall in love with another man. I fought it for awhile, feeling like I 'needed' to go date women to be a 'real' bisexual, but I'm not here to check of a list or fit someone elses definitions. Maybe I'll date women some day, maybe not. In the mean time, I try and find relevant tasteful ways to reference my own sexuality. I feel very privileged to be a white middle class woman in a hetero relationship. I can talk about being bi and no one is going to freak on me about it (I live in the Pacific Northwest). I still sometimes feel like a fraud or that I haven't earned the title. 1 agrees Reply I am a bi woman engaged to a dude. We are monogamous and I have no plans to try to change that. So I'm pretty much saying sayonara to the idea of ever being with a woman again. Which is completely fine with me. I don't talk about my sexuality to people. I told my parents I was a lesbian when I was in college because I was head over heels for this woman and I thought that she was The One. She dumped me and I had to figure things out all over again. I initially slapped the lesbian label on myself because I thought it would be easier, since no one I knew really believed that bisexuality was a thing and I didn't want to have to explain it. I just wanted to be with my girl and be happy. I wish I'd been a little more circumspect about the labeling. A few close friends know what's up because I needed to talk through with them what was going on in my head after the breakup, and upon meeting my now fiance. Everyone else in my life just rolled with it when I brought a man home, and probably assume that me being a lesbian was a phase that's over now. I'll probably never correct them on that, although I am pretty much constantly engaged in a debate with myself over whether or not I should. Ultimately though I think my sexuality has very little to do with other people and if I pass for straight because I'm with a man, well that's something I guess I can live with. My fiance knows though. He knows that I am attracted to very few people in the world. Some men, some women. And that I have zero interest in anything outside our relationship. And this seems to work well for me and for us. 2 agree Reply My husband and I are both Bisexual and we both did not get to experience that part of our sexuality before we got together. He was born in Russia and moved here when he was about 14. He became involved in JROTC a few years later and went on to attend the Naval Academy. Not exactly the greatest environments to test out your sexuality. I was just painfully shy and was barely even able to hold it together enough to date men when we met. Now that we are older and more comfortable with ourselves it is something we have begun to discuss exploring. It is scary and exciting. It is nice to know we are not alone. Reply I feel this so much, Im panromantic gray asexual in a cis m/f relationship with a heterosexual partner. Ive been told that I cant be ace if Im in a relationship or that I cant be pan. Ive been told Im just bi with a low sex drive most recently Reply I could have written this, almost down to the letter. This is my life. It's so relieving to know someone out there is living this too! ❤️❤️ Great article. Reply Dear lovely cis/mainly monogamous bi ladies in a straight relationship, I love you all, I really do, but please be gentle with those with whom you try to express your "bisexual" side. As a bi (but mainly lesbian) woman, I've been on the receiving end of "experimental" sex and kissing on the part of bi women in straight relationships who wanted to try it with me, or reaffirm a previous lesbian side prior to their straight relationship. Accepting my responsibility not to get hurt, I said yes, but no emotional attachment, sex only. The hurt came when THEY got emotionally attached, told me of their feelings for me, they wanted more than sex, they flirted with me and courted me, dated me, they loved their husbands but wanted to "explore" this sensation of emotions which they could only get with another woman and not with guys. And no, they didn't want to hurt me, but in the process of this "exploration", I got hurt anyway. Whether it was the casual mention of their cosy domestic life, while telling me that I gave them the excitement they craved, or the quickly hung-up phone calls, or the cancelled plans because their partner came first….ladies, don't confuse being queer with polyamory. You don't HAVE to sleep with a woman to express your bi side any more than I have to sleep with a guy to express mine while I'm with my girlfriend, or sleep with another woman if I was wholly gay. If you decide to be polyamorous that is totally fine, but is a whole other story and requires careful planning and consideration for the other people, and much more work than a monogamous relationship. It can be done but don't think of it as the easy solution. Not meaning to preach, just saying how very delicate and easy this is to get wrong…thanks. 5 agree Reply I have been going through these frustrations lately even though my life is amazing. I feel like a spoiled brat in a way. I enjoy where I work, am happily married and have a beautiful little one. But I have felt so lost within myself. I constantly find myself daydreaming of kissing a woman but never have played on those feelings. I have only been with men and never really saw a choice of having both genders. The only lesbians I have ever met dressed like guys and I always felt an attraction to more girly girls. I always stuck to one side because I thought it was was how it works. It sounds stupid and naive but I just grew up thinking that way. Lately I've been online trying to see why I am so frustrated and I found these blogs explaining everything everyone is going through and I am coming to the realization that I am absolutely bi and don't have anyone to talk to about it. I find so much solace here. I haven't told my husband of these fantasies nor my friends whom I have known since we were kids. I think they would understand but I am so painfully shy that I just hold crap in and suffer in silence. I feel guilty because my husband is such a great person but I can't find the courage to tell him. I am lost and am slowly trying to find my way while living in the day to day. I can't help but feel this urge to connect with a woman on a more personal level and feel that kind of kiss. Reply So tough! In my experience sharing my orientation openly has actually helped the urges and attraction to be put in place and put into perspective. Having it locked away, as if it were shameful, makes it all the more alluring. I guess it comes down to how much you trust your partner. For me, hiding something like that from the person I love so deeply would not have been a good option. Living openly is so much more comfortable than living in shame. Perhaps, if it is part of your sexual fantasy life and something you're not planning on acting on, you could share it with him that way rather coming out and trying to define a fluid sexuality? Introduce it to him as a sexual fantasy rather than a life changing realization? I know my husband loves it when I whisper about threesome fantasy situations. Reply Let me start by saying thank you so much for sharing this is my story but only in reverse. Took me 2 years to figure out my new husband is bisexual with a lot of kink while I have always been vanilla. I have learned to embrace his desires and allow him to be his self while it seems like I spend my time learning and reading to educate myself to be in his world. If there is any advice you could give me I would deeply appreciate it. I know I have desires to cross over too always have but nobody to talk to about till now. I think he doesn't know how to talk to me about it so we keep it inside and suffer from the silence. Reply I'm a 30 year old female in a very committed relationship with a male, but I've only recently realized that I am bisexual. I've had moments of being attracted to women in the past and fantasized but have never had a sexual encounter with a woman. This year, a new coworker started at my job, she is a lesbian, and as soon as I laid eyes on her it's like the whole room ignited for me. Rockets went off everywhere. We became friends and hung out and I developed a crush. Shortly after, I think she realized I had a crush and completely stopped speaking to me because I'm not her type even though I would have never made any kind of move on her, as I am not a cheater. I figured crushes come and go and there was no need to make a big deal of it, it would pass and then I'd just have a new friend. In retrospect I'm realizing that my feelings were very hurt and that I can't be sure that the attraction to her would have gone away if she hadn't cut me off. So maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Ever since then, I've been meeting more women that I am very sexually attracted to (or perhaps more aware of and honest about that attraction) and honestly I want to act on it, but I won't. I love my boyfriend too much to hurt him. But I can't talk to him about this though, because he does have some insecurity issues from a past relationship where his ex cheated; I don't want to make him feel like I'm going to do the same. So I'm in a situation where I have to suppress those urges and I don't want to, but I want him too. I guess I'll keep that part of me in my fantasies. 1 agrees Reply I pushed aside my feelings this way for a long time. Suffered through intense, unspoken crushes and resisted opportunities to cheat. My curiosity only intensified to the point where I couldn't ignore them. Part of me wishes I would have told my fiance how I was feeling earlier on, so we could work through it all together. The longer I waited to confront and be honest about my feelings, the more I was hiding things, losing myself, unhappy and creating a divide and mistrust between my fiance and I. Reply Thank you for this article and thanks to so many of the commenters. I'm a bi girl who has mostly been in relationships with men and have felt like my sexuality has been invisible for years, even to the people closest to me. I'm feeling a lot of envy of those bi people who have commented about their straight spouses being wonderfully supportive of their sexuality. In my last two relationships my male partners were not supportive at all of my bisexuality. The first, my now-ex-husband, would make bigoted comments against gays just to "bug" me. My last boyfriend was absolutely convinced that me being bisexual meant I could never be monogamous and could never be satisfied with him alone. Absolutely not true, and it hurt so much not to be fully accepted by the people I loved most. I am so tired of the belief that bi can't mean monogamous. And I will never ever be with someone who does not accept this part of me. 1 agrees Reply high-five from another bi chick in a hetero marriage! ♥ #fuckerasure 2 agree Reply By the time I graduated high school, I learned through experience that I was polyamorous, gender-fluid and bisexual. Fast forward to today, I have been monogamous with a cis-gendered straight man for 4 years. (Weird, I know, honestly, I never expected it.) We have talked about my identity, but still, neither of us knows what role my sexuality and gender identity plays in our relationship. We have joked and argued about opening our bedroom doors. We've come to an understanding of right place, right time. I'll let you know if/when that happens. For now, we both have crushes on Scarlett Johansson. Reply Many people are confused about how to find a good bisexual couple site online? There are so many online bisexual sites. There a review site, named top10bidatingsites.com, you can read our editor and user reviews. Then you may find your needs. Come out to explore your bisexuality. Reply bisexual people are normal human beings, we need support and friends, no matter when, We are bisexual and always be… Many bisexual people want to find and meet bisexual and bi-curious friendsa, but don't know where and hot to meet, here : bisexualdatingsite.us is a blog site, you can meet many bisexual dating sites here for your choice. bisexual women, men, couples.. Reply I too am facing an internal divide: a commitment to real love, family, loyalty, and a hope for a deeper relationship /vs/ finding my true self and propensity to experience a more profound existence given my late-found love and strong sexual attraction to women. I've found myself torn for months after accepting my sexuality, being in a committed, monogamous relationship with a cis-man. We have a beautiful 2 year old son. Our relationship was rocky before I came out to my fiance a few months ago. Since then, other issues between us get pushed aside – my sexuality is now the scapegoat. Sad and angry discussions are now the daily norm. I want to stay and work and suffer until I am certain that I'm finished with our relationship, yet still a hypothetical voice is telling me (screaming at times) that this is not where I'm supposed to be. I can't let go of a hope that our deepest divides could somehow be resolved and bring us closer, but can I really be my true self with a man? No easy answer. I feel pressured to feel a certain way, to identify with stories of late-life lesbians leaving their relationships and becoming happier down the line. However, I don't want to deny the complexity of my true feelings: torn in two. Reply Sounds like it is definitely time for couples and or individual counseling. I would bet both of you have some really deep feelings and beliefs that aren't getting expressed or acknowledged. Living personally divided is horrible, it is time to do the work to feel your whole person. I wish you all the best and happy healing whatever you choose! Reply This is me. This is so close to my situation and spot on as to how I feel. So much so that for a brief moment I wonder if I written it. Reply No wonder you wanted to marry him, sounds like a great guy! Being bi doesn't mean you have to be with both to be legit, just being able to be your authentic self helps the whole community. I came from a conservative background and hid for years and years. Finding a partner who accepts and loves you is the holy grail, regardless of gender or orientation. He is the one who has given me the encouragement and confidence needed to come out to my family and friends and I love that about him. I choose to be monogamous, though in the past we have had occasional dalliances with other women together. It is a system that works well for us as long as it is a rare occasion and we keep communication open about our feelings. Each has complete veto power at any minute. I wont say it doesn't help to know that is an option, even if I don't choose to act on it. Thank you for being your authentic self and bringing more visibility to the bi community! Reply http://bipeopledate.com Reply I'm a little bit on the other side of things, I identify myself to be straight since I have only ever steady dated men. The man I am currently in a relationship is, as cheesy as it might sound, that person I've been looking for my whole life. He pushes me to try hard in all I do and supports me through my decisions. I have never been so happy in my entire life. My significant other defines himself as bisexual, which personally, I love. I think it's fun to be able to share similar celebrity crushes or point out what guys are "hot" in our favorite movies. He came from a very christian background and has only ever came out to a handful of people. When he first decided to come out to me (a few months back) he was so nervous about what my reaction would be, that he started to cry. This broke my heart that people even have to worry about being themselves or expressing who they are in our messed up culture. Since that day, I have been a student advocate for LGBT rights at my university and help lead seminars for our fellow students raising awareness. [side note: for those that care- my immediate reaction when he came out to me was to hug him tight, thank him for telling me, and tell him that it doesn't change the way I feel about him, that I still love him no matter what, and would love to help any way I can.] Now that I am done with my little background spill, I have some questions myself. Recently me and my lover have talked about marriage. I've put deep thought into this and have come to the conclusion that I would say yes if he asked me to marry him. I know I would be happy with him forever. However, I am wondering if he would be happy with me. We are very open with each other and have discussed all of our past relationships. Although he identifies himself to be "split even" with his bisexuality (50% attraction towards women, 50% attraction towards men) he has only been in a relationship with one male before. He has told me that this particular relationship was his favorite (besides ours) and he would have probably dated more men if he felt like he could be more open earlier on to himself and others in his community. He says he is completely happy with me and couldn't ever want anyone else, and I believe him. But marriage is a huge commitment. I know he wouldn't ever cheat- he isn't that kind of a person to do so. But I also don't want to deprive him of experiences with his same sex. Should I cut things off for a while and let him experience a bit more before deciding to get married? Or should we create an "open relationship" for a few months and see how that goes before getting engaged? Or do you think that marriage would be a good choice for us right now? I just want him to be the happiest he can be. I don't want to deprive him of experiences or the opportunity to become closer to another part of himself. For those of you who are already married, how did you know if marriage was the right choice at the time? How do you and your significant other make the marriage work and stay strong? What sort of things does your significant other do to make you feel accepted and like you can be yourself? Thank you in advance for anyone who reads or responds to this post. I am sorry it is so long! xx -Kamber Reply This is really a conversation you need to have with your husband, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution or advice. So ask him (and yourself!) if a monogamous marriage is what you want. If it is, ask him if he's ready to leave behind the potential of further relationships with men. And then (and this is the important part), you need to believe him. If he continues to say that he's happy with you and wants nothing and no one else, you need to believe him. You don't get to decide for him that because he's bisexual, it would be better for him for you to call off your engagement. My husband would have been absolutely devastated if I had suggested that! On the other hand, if he says he thinks a temporary break or open relationship is a good idea, embrace it–and only suggest these things if you would truly, truly be okay with them, not as a way of testing where he's at. Also, keep in mind that straight people entering monogamous marriages are also giving up potential new partners and experiences, so while there's a little something extra bi people might be giving up, you aren't asking anything outlandish of him to be monogamous, if that's what you want. Also keep in mind that relationships can change over time, so what you both decide now doesn't have to be forever. When we got married, we were monogamous, but knew that there was a possibility that we would open our marriage at some point (my husband is also bi). We've since done that a little bit, but haven't for a while. It just requires constant communication and checking in. There are so many different ways it can be handled. So what should you do? I don't know, other than talk talk talk to your fiance! I'm sure you'll figure it out together 🙂 1 agrees Reply Bisexual woman here; married to the man of my dreams. Crazy thing about us is that I didn't realize I was Bi until I was 30. I mean I had "experiments" in college but mostly I guess that was to impress guys. It wasn't until my husband and I had someone else in bed with us that I realized I really enjoyed and had feelings for women. My husband I had some very difficult conversations and are at a point in our marriage where I am open to women only and he is completely supportive. And I'm out to my close friends but finding this article made my heart feel so full. My friends listen but they don't understand. My best friend is a lesbian and often disregards my sexuality. "Yea, cause a straight couple totally belongs at *the local gay bar* at 3 am" and she doesn't have any idea how much this hurts. It's like because I came out so recently it just doesn't matter. Thank you for writing this; that's all I wanted to say. Thank you from the bottom of my warm little bisexual unicorn heart! <3 Reply Thanks so much for your article! I am also bisexual and married to a man. I love him a lot but I also struggle with where my sexuality fits in our life. Sometimes I feel tired of him and I miss women. We have discussed having an open relationship but have not taken the plunge. I think we are both scared. I am just so happy he is understanding. I have to read articles and tell people I am bisexual often just so I feel that I am being my whole self, because otherwise it feels like a part of me is missing. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Participate in this conversation via emailGet only replies to your comment, the best of the rest, as well as a daily recap of all comments on this post. No more than a few emails daily, which you can reply to/unsubscribe from directly from your inbox. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.