Bisexual in a straight marriage

Guest post by beccaboo4407
Bi/Bismuth/Bisexual Pin from OhYouFox

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.

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.

Comments on Bisexual in a straight marriage

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

    • 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 🙂

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Hi, I am only recently coming to terms with the fact that I am Bi. I never wanted the label. I am married to a man and I feel like I am denying who I am and now cannot explore who I am without cheating on him. I am often repulsed by him physically as well…I feel I am as equally bisexual as I am asexual. I don’t get it. Im super confused and I don’t know what to do. I also have two children and I don’t want to disrupt their lives. please help!!!

    • Hi Bi confused,

      I’m sorry you are struggling right now. Have you spoken to your husband about this? Perhaps he will be understanding? You should start there.

      I commented on the thread earlier. Having someone hear your doubts and concerns can be supportive and helpful to get you through the day. The support will further comfort you in your feelings.

      I often feel guilty about being attracted to women and unattracted to my husband. It’s is okay to feel that way. It is who you are. Do not feel upset for emotions and feelings you cannot control.

  7. Thank you for writing this and for the revelation that I am not unique and a one of a kind.. something I have fought with myself about for over 35 years. I am a very vanilla looking white female, now in my mid-40s, married to a lovely man who knows my true self and loves me through the weird self-loathing, the empty part of my heart that just there – pounding with an echo of a small past of truth that once I was myself and has since hidden it away. My children would understand but i’m afraid of them finding out. I was brought up catholic, conservative, suppressing anything and everything that feels good or G-d forbid we do anything that looked untoward to anyone. All I have felt, was done within – never really having anyone to talk to about this. Lesbians would never give me a chance and I was a magnet for the bi-curious .. only one true amazing relationship was had and that was a triad between me, my husband and the woman who at one time – loved both me and my husband just as much as we loved and adored her… circumstances and different future plans caused us to break the triad – both he and I wishing her well and watching her move on – I’ve been shattered ever since. I want to move on, I NEED to move on.. as I am now in my mid 40s, most women are younger and not looking for someone like me. How do you fill the part of you that is a “taboo” in your own mind?

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