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How to be out as a bisexual

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Nickw, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Nickw

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    Hey everyone.

    There have been a lot of questions and comments embedded in a number of threads about "coming out" as a bisexual. So, I thought I would start a thread to get poster's opinions on what they believe "out" should entail as a bisexual and the difficulties in achieving those goals. Also, any positive and negative experiences any of you might have had.

    After nearly 4 years "out" to my wife. I am still not "out" to anyone else. I don't hide my relationship with my FWB but I don't really tell anyone about it either. My wife has told no one. I haven't told my family even though I have a number of gay siblings. My issue is that I haven't really defined what it means to be an "out bisexual". Being a very goal oriented person, this means I don't move forward.

    I don't want this thread to be about me. More, a conversation about a topic I think is important to a number of us here.
     
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  2. Journey616

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    Currently in the same boat as you, out to my wife but no one else.
     
  3. OnTheHighway

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    What do you think is holding you back from moving forward and why do you not think you are moving forward? Finally, is “out bisexual” a goal that you want or need to obtain? You have a very supportive wife, you have a supportive FWB, what is it you think you are missing?

    Although I am openly gay, and not bi, our circumstances had some similarities up to a point. When I told my wife I was gay, she was not surprised. But she was not happy with the prospects of her life changing as a result. At the time she suggested we stay together and ask that I entertain a set up similar to what you now have with your wife and FWB. Different from you, I felt disconnected from my family during the years I was married. I also had not developed a true parental bond with my kids. I was living my life behind an emotional wall. So when I came out, I wanted to pursue my truth and live as authentically as possible. So for me I needed to go on my journey of self actualization and do it on my own. So when I was asked to remain married, I declined.

    You have a different type of history and relationship with your wife and you have found a dynamic that seems to be working. But since you think your not moving forward there must be something that is holding you back. Coming out is about embracing whom we are, whether it is gay, bi, lesbian, trans or wherever we reside on the rainbow. Its about getting through our shame that has historically inhibited us from living our truths.

    As I read your posts I often wonder if the current relationship dynamic you have built for yourself has created a comfort zone such that both your sexuality and your romantic needs are being met hence you actually do not feel compelled to continue on your journey towards self actualization. Like as if you have created a cocoon that is keeping you comfortable. That leads me to wonder given your physical and relationship needs are being met is it at the expense of you fully living your truth? I don’t know, I am just brainstorming here.

    My guess is many bi guys would be envious of the situation you have been able to create for yourself; that in of itself is goal many seek but can not obtain. Clearly your looking for more.
     
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  4. Nickw

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    All very good points. The short answer is that I don't know where I feel I want to be, or need to be. I'm one of those people that feel that one needs to grow, in as many aspects as we can, for our entire lives. So, naturally, I wonder how I need to grow in response to my sexuality. That's the selfish part of it. You are right that I am quite comfortable where I am. I would have never imagined I would have a situation like I do. But, do I owe it to the LGBT community to be more "out"? If I would have known that there were relationships like I have out there...that it is OK...it might have made my life a lot different. I might have not struggled as much as I did at a couple stages of my life.

    I will, someday, be out to my gay siblings. One of my brothers was married to a woman. When he left her my mother freaked out. Even though she is the poster mom for supporting her gay children. She saw this an incredibly dishonest thing my brother did. She told me she doesn't believe bisexuality exists. And, she loves my wife. So, we made the decision that I just cannot disclose this to her. The thing is...that's OK. I don't feel like my mom needs to know, or my friends need to know, or, even most of my family. This feels like I am not sharing with them. But, frankly, I don't really care if they know the real me all that much. And, that bothers me that I don't feel I want or need others to know what makes me tick deep down inside.

    So. My relationship with my wife improved as she now knows me better. So, by extrapolation, wouldn't my relationships with my family and friends also improve? I just don't feel it will and I don't know why I feel that way.

    I have this fantasy picture of a future where people don't care how one practices their sexuality or that sex can be an expression of deep friendship and not, necessarily, romance. That a man can love another man and it isn't another's business if open relationships allow that friendship to manifest in a sexual way while he maintains a relationship with a woman. I wonder if I am nuts for thinking this is OK or if it is my responsibility to be a pioneer.

    I love my friend. When we are intimate, it is making love. But, it is also different than when my wife and I are intimate. It's not less. It's just different. And, it is very important to me that others understand that this isn't a perversion, and it isn't a way to be gay while having an opposite sex relationship, it is a beautiful expression of what we feel for each other. And, if others cannot understand that, it is just noise I don't want to hear. So, I don't push it. But, should I?
     
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  5. OnTheHighway

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    When you make yourself vulnerable, you let down your emotional wall don’t you? When you let down that wall with your wife you saw an improvement in your relationship with her. Your assumption seems to be a fair one in regards to how you may perceive your relationship with your family. Particularly given your mother is actually more open minded given her experience with your siblings. Your desire to improve your relationship with your broader family seems genuine, this seems to be a good goal to achieve.

    Isn’t it your responsibility to simply live your truth regardless of being a pioneer or not? The heteronormative script has historically defined what a relationship is supposed to mean. But shouldn’t living your own truth take priority at this point? Shouldn’t a relationship be based on how you define it, not on how others define it for you?

    Defining a relationship as a “prevision” seems to be nothing more than your shame speaking. As reflected above, you decide how to live your truth. You decide what is beautiful rather than living by others definitions. If your mother was able to embrace your brother, despite some opposition you perceive she may have for your relationships, she has shown she is able to be open minded and evolve. So shouldn’t she be willing to do the same for you?
     
    #5 OnTheHighway, Aug 4, 2020
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  6. Bastion

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    I know I have a lot to figure and process. I took a step forward sometime ago because I had a feeling inside that am different. That am not really into any script. Certainly not just the heteronormative script. But then I backtracked because of the backlash I received. It may work for a while with a very tight knit and close circle of people and maybe I can work it out with my wife. But to the rest of the world, I feel it’s something more challenging and difficult. I have tried to convince some people that not everything is black and white. But what I got was. « You’re either one way or the other » And now am kind of stuck. That’s why I got into reading, research and wanting to know more about other people’s experiences.

    Or Maybe the other choice would be to leave everything behind. Start a new life somewhere else.

    Sometimes I think why does even someone’s sexuality has to define who he is. And why do people care about an individual’s freedom of expression.
     
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  7. Nickw

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    I don't feel what I do is a perversion at all. I have to say that the first time I was intimate with a guy, it was an exercise in sexual exploration and, quite honestly, I did feel it was a bit perverted. Since I didn't feel anything for the guy. But, it is, definitely, not the feeling I get with my FWB. Not even a little bit. That's why I have mentioned that I don't know that I would ever be intimate with another man if I didn't feel what I feel with him. I don't even look at other guys right now. I haven't ever felt this way about my same sex attractions in my life.

    It just seems like SO much work to try and explain that to someone I care about. I wouldn't care if someone that wasn't important to me didn't get it. Because, I think a lot of people don't. But, my fear that someone close to me would not understand would be something I just don't want to waste energy on. Sometimes though. I just want to shout out the to the world what it is that we have.

    My wife and I have a favorite TV situation. There is this show, Roswell, that is sort of cheesy thing about aliens that really look and act mostly human. BUT, the aliens are bisexual. They have different sorts of relationships with different people. It is so casual and matter of fact in the show. The humans don't even raise an eyebrow about the behavior. Even though it is a corny show, it feels like a form of validation.
     
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  8. Nickw

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    So. Do you want to be out more?
     
  9. Bastion

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    Having read some of nickw posts. I agree with most of what you said. He has a special and unique situation. I may have mentioned that to him before. Unless he is looking for something else. Or just wants to be out to the world at large. That could be cool. If that’s his goal. I find that these forums are very supportive, helpful and open to discussions for all people at any level of questioning or trying to live their truth whatever that may be.
     
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  10. OnTheHighway

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    You are an achiever, you are goal oriented. I get the sense that you accomplish the goals and rise above the challenges that confront you. How is this any different?
     
  11. Journey616

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    Part of me does. I grew up in a Christian home so I’ve been biting my tongue all my life of it didn’t align to those beliefs. Obviously when I moved out I was a little more free. I think being able to be out about the fact that I like men I think I would feel more free. My wife’s family wouldn’t be cool with it. My mom wouldn’t be cool with it. As I was told to pray for my gay cousin and his sin. My brothers would be.
     
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  12. Bastion

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  13. JessNC

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    I get what you mean in asking what being out as bi looks like. After sharing that I am bi with my spouse some time ago, I didnt see the need to share it with anyone else for a long time. It wasn't until my fwb wanted to be emotionally close that I started to have to think more about what it meant to be bi.
     
  14. Nickw

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    @OnTheHighway highway

    I also pick my battles. The choice of what battles to fight
    @JessNC

    So, what did you and your spouse and FWB all decide about being "out" more?
     
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  15. OnTheHighway

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    You started this thread with the following comment:

    So it would seem you know why you are not moving forward and as you articulated it is a battle you do not want to fight. At a minimum, it is good for you to have the issue framed and you understand how to continue to make progress if you choose to do so. Obviously just my perspective, but I won't challenge you further on the topic.
     
  16. Nickw

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    I apologize for a partial post to respond to your latest and it came out rather abrupt. I was gathering my thoughts on how to respond to my fears that I would be considered a pervert by my mom for my relationship with my FWB. Not the entire idea of being further out.

    The battle I do not want to wage is with my mom at this stage in her life (she is mid-eighties). While I love her, she did create an atmosphere of shame around sexual thoughts that affected all her children (Catholic guilt). She has come around (having gay children). But, her interpretation of gay is that it is heteronormative relationships between same sex couples. I'm not sure she really believes that sex should be important in a relationship. Pretty sure she doesn't. I love her, but there is also a history of rejection (she didn't speak to me for a year when I started dating a non-catholic). So, I learned, in my early twenties that my family is capable of rejecting me, based on their own sense of morality. And, to be quite honest, I learned to live my life my own way without really caring if my family knows the real me. Don't get me wrong. I love them but part of that is that I want to be able to help my mom out when she needs help and not make anything about me.

    What I am seeking for myself to determine how to decide which battles I really do want to fight and which I have no interest. I'm curious to hear how other bisexuals made these decisions.
     
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  17. JessNC

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    It is really something in my control at this point, not something we are deciding together. And as long as my m2m engagement was primarily physical being out didnt seem too meaningful. If this makes any sense.....
     
  18. OnTheHighway

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    @Nickw

    I completely get and relate to the diminished self respect that can be caused from parental trauma. If you followed some of my historical threads relating to my mother, and some recent ones where I refer back to it, I was subjected to significant emotional trauma. From the earliest years that I can remember my self esteem, self worth, confidence and self respect was hammered by my mother through mental games and physical abuse. For me, it created the foundation of diminished confidence which resulted in my inability to embrace my truth earlier in life.

    Based on the broken bond, I have gone through periods of talking on and off to her over the years where my most recent period of disengagement is now approaching two years without me speaking to her. Every time I have tried to engage with my mother in the past to develop even a nominal relationship she would figure out a way to resurface the pain she historically caused.

    Like you, I am goal oriented. I don't need her respect or understanding at this point in my life. She is getting up in age like your mother is. But I have reached my own level of confidence in myself whereby I want to be able to hold a normal conversation and some form of relationship with her even if she is unable to reciprocate.

    Why do I want to do this? I have two kids that don't talk to me, and they have seen the ebbs and flows of my relationship with my mother. My kids have not spoken to me since I divorced their mother about a handful of years ago; not because of any early emotional trauma which I do not believe I subjected them to but because our relationship between us became collateral damage as part of my divorce from their mother. Since they were exposed to my disfunction relationship with my mother, they have seen disengagement with me as an acceptable reaction to the trauma they experienced from my divorce from their mom. So, part of me believes that if I can mend my relationship with my mother, and my kids see that we have mended our relationship (I stay in touch with relatives close to my kids), such mend can be an example for them to mend their relationship with me. This might be a foolish endeavor, but it is one I feel compelled to pursue.

    In terms of deciding which battles to fight, I have a specific objective and I am working to re engage with my mother as part of a broader goal. Based on your overall relationship with your mother as you have articulated, along with her age, her religious beliefs and life philosophy, I can see why it may not be a battle worth fighting. How that decision impacts your own ability to be vulnerable and progress is something that I am sure you have considered under the circumstances.

    There is no right answer here, I empathize with what you are dealing with.
     
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  19. Bastion

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    @Nickw

    So what does your wife and your FWB think about all this? Have you guys talked about it?
     
  20. Nickw

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    My FWB is pretty satisfied with our situation as it is. I think he might not want to appear to be my “boy toy”. He hates it when I tease him about it. We do socialize with a couple other gay couples. We also attend LGBT events like camp outs, Pride and gay ski festivals together as a couple. When we go to the big city, we hold each other’s hands as we walk around. But, not in the small town he lives in. I have a condo in a liberal college town and he and I go out there...all pre covid.

    Covid times we all three lived together for most of the lock down. Either at his house or ours. My family and our friends knew this was going on but I don’t know what they really know.

    My wife doesn’t want her family to know. There are some old friends that she doesn’t want to know too. the bottom line is that my wife and my FWB have, in some ways, a tighter relationship than I have with him. So, she doesn’t want anything to disrupt our little arrangement.

    So. It is only a matter of time before we get caught. None of us care if the situation is discovered and none of us want to tell folks.
     
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