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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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    @Dan2469

    Are you out to your wife? Is she OK with a FWB arrangement?
     
  2. BiGemini87

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    I don't really feel there is any right or wrong way to coming out as bi. There are times when it's more/less advantageous, times when it's safe/unsafe, but as to how someone comes out? Well, it's a personal journey.

    I think the difficulty in achieving it (and this is true of other orientations, but there's a certain challenge to it for bisexuals) is that you don't just come out once and it's done. I don't just mean because you meet new people (as that affects others orientations, as well) but that you have to continuously affirm it to people who already know you every time you start a new relationship. I know of many bisexuals who, if they enter into an opposite sex relationship, friends and family will be like, "Oh, so it was just a phase; you're straight now" or if it's same sex, they assume fully gay/lesbian (you know, "bi now, gay later"). I can't speak to this particular challenge, as I haven't experienced it, but the one I can speak to is having people question my bisexuality just because I haven't been with a woman. It's funny how people ask "How do you know if you've never had sexual relationships with same sex?" but these same people don't question straight virgins who know they're attracted to the opposite sex. It's such a weird double-standard, I think, and one I'm sure gay/lesbian people experience as well when they first come out.

    Then there's also people assuming everyone who comes out as bi (be they teenager or late into adulthood) is doing it for attention/clout/what-have-you. I don't mean to suggest that there aren't people who do this, of course, but I think it's pretty insulting when people equate one person doing it as everyone doing it.

    On the whole though, my experiences haven't been too bad; I've had a handful that have irritated me, maybe a couple that I could actually consider negative, and mostly anything ranging from minor teasing, indifference, to fully supportive. The great thing is, if someone has a problem with it, I don't have to give a shit; at my age, I'm long-passed the need for other's approval.
     
  3. Nickw

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    I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I also find it odd that it is so easy for a bisexual to be given the “gay” label rather than the “straight” label. I think this labeling can make it more difficult to be out and to be up front. I know that my wife may very well not have married me if I would have been a fully out bisexual. At least in those days. There would always be this question about when I go to gay.

    I was asked at Pride one time when I would make up my mind about my sexuality. My response was that “I couldn’t see myself going full on straight”. That really threw them for a loop. The expectation was that if one embraces being bisexual it means something like “gay light”. That is hardly what it feels like though.
     
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  4. BiGemini87

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    Ugh, I hate that attitude (both the "make up your mind" and "gay lite" ones). It's so reductive and demeaning, like we're really half and half. I'm not 50/50--I'm 100% into being attracted to/loving both. I'm not a big TedTalk person, but I'm reminded of this one I watched a couple of years ago: "I chose a partner, not a side."
     
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  5. Nickw

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    @BiGemini87

    Part of the reason I started this thread was to address this issue. If bisexuals don’t come out a bit more, these attitudes won’t change. I just don’t know if I can.

    At another Pride, I attended with my wife. After 35 years together we are obviously a couple. During the registration, they commented that it was “so great to have the support of the wider community”. I responded with “I’m not straight”. But, my wife later commented that I really should have said bisexual.
     
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  6. Bastion

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    It is exactly like you and @Nickw mentioned. Both camps assume you are one way or the other. That you have to choose a side. Many people just don’t understand and don’t really get it. It’s not about sides. It’s about a person or the people involved as people or as humans. We all have different needs and wants. And It’s definitely not very easy to be accepted even when it’s there (lgbtq+) remember the b it’s there for a reason and it’s very clear. But unfortunately i guess it’s not enough for some. That’s why I think labels are not very constructive especially for people who might be in the middle.
     
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  7. dirtyshirt84

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    I relate to a lot of this. I had a relationship with a woman when I was younger and I think people just assumed I was a lesbian. Now I’ve been with a man a long time people assume I’m straight. Or that my relationship when I was younger was an experiment or something like that.

    I do think that younger people now don’t care about labels quite so much and I think they are most useful in helping other people understand.

    Now that there are more bi celebrities I think it has normalised it a bit although I still find it difficult sometimes not entirely being one thing or the other. But to an extent being able to fit in to both spaces.

    I agree as I’ve got older I care less about what people think and if they have a problem with it then it’s their problem and not mine. Where as before I would have considered my problem.

    Maybe in being bisexual we are naturally more open minded and something more unconventional might be more likely to work for some of us.
     
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  8. Crow67

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    I think the biggest hurdle would be coming out to my gf but I don't trust her enough to come out to her.
     
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  9. RD Spencer

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    If you’re in a monogamous relationship with the opposite sex, I can still see sharing this with your spouse.

    But is there any benefit to telling family, friends or co-workers?

    Or in my case where it seems like most people can just tell anyway. Sometimes it seems like they think I owe them an explanation. But that could just be my imagination.
     
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  10. SilentM

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    When I was in my twenties I used to talk to bi-guys on internet and lots of them were like: they decided to live like a straight person, got married, then kids and then somewhere in their thirties started to feel a stronger drive towards same sex. So some of them were coming out to their wifes first, which more than often turned their relationships into serious hell. So others tried to be "smart" and were secretly having extramarital sex with guys, which they usually didn't even considered cheating. But their wives did and when they they got found out... well divorce mostly but also revenge outing in front of family, co-workers, friends, judge and so on.

    So I wanted to be even smarter and decided that I will come out to my significant other way before I got married. So I did. I still believe I did the right thing. The problem is - initially she was OK with it. We had ground rules for our relationship set: she wanted monogamy and I agreed. I wanted to explore my sexuality - with her or on my own (but without extramarital sex) - and she agreed. I was faithful and after over a decade still am. But I feel that she broke the deal. As our relationship progressed she shut down everything that was not hetero and vanilla. She said some of this things disgust her and others don't interest her because they do not serve her pleasure, so whats the point? Next she ruled I'm not bisexual, that "it was just a phase". Besides me being bisexual would "offend her as woman" and degrade me as man ("Bisexual man are not masculine", "Bisexuals are not men" she says). She also likes to make statements in front of our friends like "I don't know anyone bisexual or gay" (which is not true BTW because she gas gay and lesbian co-workers) or "if a man cheats on his wife with another man, it is worse than with a woman". She once told me that "a bisexual man is gay in denial" and "I will always suspect a bisexual guy to cheat on his wife with a guy sooner or later".

    So finally she's beaten me back into closet. Yup. I did it. I told her that I don't feel interested in anything kinky stuff and don't think I'm bisexual anymore. She was satisfied. I'm wrecked. With all the trust, intimacy and excitement gone our marriage is spiraling down. And she makes even more curious remarks now: "I was never very passionate about men", "I don't find anything exciting about men's private parts", "women are beautiful and sensual, men are plain and boring", "you are soo boring" and the in front of our friends "alcohol and fat are the greatest pleasures of my life". Indeed she does not seem to enjoy intimacy with me like she used to instead she drinks and eats so much she got into serious health problems. And this forced me to work so hard around the house and taking care of our child that I got serious health problems. I often felt like a lone parent and got burnt out as a dad.

    You'd probably say that we should go to therapist but she does not believe in therapy. She was displeased when I got antidepressants from a doc because she claimed "they change me into someone else". Every day I think of getting divorce, suicide or actually cheating for the first time in my life. But the thing that I want the most is to get back to the early days, when she was OK with me as I am.

    Having enough problems as it is I'd never come out before my family. Long enough they have suspected me to be gay solely because I didn't have a girlfriend in high school (not that I didn't want to). When I was younger and used to have friends (I don't have time for having friends now) I would live hints that are readable to LGBT people that I am somewhere on their side. Gay guys read these instantly and act really cool towards me but often they get kind of confused or disillusioned when they realize I'm not gay.
     
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  11. Nickw

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    Hey @SilentM

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to this some. I came out to my wife about 4 years ago after 30 some years together. At first my wife was good about it. She still is. I even have a FWB who she adores. But, occasionally, she will still mention my keeping this secret from her. Just a couple days ago she asked me, again, why I came out at the time I did. She resents the date because of some health issues a dog of ours was having and he died the weekend I came out. It’s crazy that she picks that out as a way to show she is not 100% thrilled with my sexuality.

    There are a lot of prejudices against bisexuals out there and it is hard for some to get rid of all of it even with someone they love.

    I need to bring up, to my wife, that even off hand comments can cause me a lot of pain. I revisit how hard it was to come out and it sets me back a little. Maybe you should get this out in the open with your wife too. I guarantee that keeping it bottled up doesn’t work.
     
  12. SilentM

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    Than you Nickw

    I was digesting what you've said and the first thing that came to my head was: "damn I wish I had a chance to be FWB to a couple". This made me think about polyamory and the polyamorous definition of fidelity: not as sexual exclusivity, but as faithfulness to the promises and agreements made about a relationship. This is exactly how I feel now: cheated despite mutual sexual exclusivity

    I've realized that having a little more open relationship would work fine for me. Not because I want to go on a sexual spree but because I don't want to feel like a property. But I don't know how to make it work with my wife yet.
     
  13. Nickw

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    @SilentM

    It would seem to me that there are other issues in your marriage that may, or may not, be related to your sexuality. The way you report it, your wife appears to be a bit abusive.

    I suffer from a bit of sensitivity about my sexuality. Enough that part of the reason I did not come out to my wife sooner was my fear of rejection due to my sexuality. This created a feeling that being bisexual was being less. It took me a lot of effort to accept that my sexuality does not diminish me. But, even the most offhand comment, by my wife, will cause me to crawl back into a place where I close off and hide. My wife, for the most part, doesn't use my sexuality to punish me. But, she has on occasion. We all use whatever tools we have when we have a disagreement about something even if we don't really feel that way. For me, those rare digs on my sexuality have an outsized importance and I over react. I don't think someone who hasn't dealt with sexuality issues can understand how this can feel.

    Your wife may not be aware how much pain she is causing you with her comments. She really needs to know. I do know how hard it is to bring this up. If she is doing this on purpose and is hoping to hurt you then you need to address that.
     
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  14. SilentM

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    @Nickw

    Yeah, you're right I've got other problems too. Problems that made me look back and think "how did it end up like this" or "would it be any different if". Trying to find first cracks, moments when I made her upset. Well, talking about my sexuality always makes her upset.

    Back in my twenties, I've dreamt about supportive girlfriend. But you know: 2/3 of women declares they would dump a guy who had sex with another guy. When you go out with girls you don't start with "hi I think I'm bisexual, do you mind?" because this way you might get no relationships at all. Then again you will not dump a girl you've fallen in love with just because it turned out she does not believe bisexuals to be "true men". You try to make it work - somehow. I mean most women with bisexual partners report better sexual and family life, right? But maybe these are those 1/3 who I never met.
     
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  15. Findmepls

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    Once I figure out who/what I am That will be all the "out" I need unless I decide that transitioning is in my future then I will have to rethink that answer.
    My ex found out about my crossdressing via her snooping. She was not accepting at all about it and made it very clear that if I was interested in men that the marriage was over so I denied it vehemently. Considering that the marriage was a disaster for another decade maybe I should have told her but she was a very vindictive person and on social media and probably would have made my life as miserable as possible that way. Out to me means accepting me for me , if I had friends then tell them and if I had family tell them but in reality who else needs to know and why should they care. As with family and friends honestly it shouldn't make a bit of difference to them either as long as you are happy and accepting of yourself.
     
  16. Crow67

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    This thread makes my heart hurt. All of my worst fears about coming out to a partner seem to be the most common reactions. I think the only way to come out if in a relationship is to end the relationship first in most cases.
     
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  17. SilentM

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    Think about bias: people who had great reception and full acceptance usually do not discuss their problems online cause they got none.
     
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  18. LostInDaydreams

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    I think @SilentM makes a good point in that where it goes well, we’re probably less likely to hear about it.

    The other thing is (assuming the relationship is not casual), how do you navigate the best way forward if you’ve not been honest? If you’re bisexual then there is scope for the relationship to survive, if that’s what you both want, and there is also evidence of that on EC. If you lean towards or are gay, then you have fewer options but with being honest, compromises can be found. It doesn’t always end badly...I know of a divorced couple who live together to co-parent and it works for them. If you do ultimately go your separate ways, isn’t it easier to be honest about the reason for the separation? Your husband/wife might reasonably suggest couples therapy or another way try to make it work, but if you’re gay and know it’s not going to work, isn’t it better to be honest about that from the beginning?

    However, it does depend on the relationship and if you are concerned about abuse or being harmed, then yes, leaving first would be the only way to approach the situation.
     
  19. KeLeWi

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    First off, the three of you don't owe anything to anyone except yourselves. If you three are happy and emotionally and sexually happy, it is no one else's business. If you all want to be more open in the LGBTQ+ community, then do it. If you want to be completely transparent to your families, then do it. There will be obstacles to overcome, but again, it is YOUR lives, not THEIRS. Chances are, if the three of you have been cohabitating during COVID, they already suspect, and have chosen to turn a blind eye. If all depends on what you want. If you want family gatherings where the three of you are accepted as a "family," then you have to be open with the families. If this is not something that you want, then continue as you are and let them draw their own conclusions. You simply will not have the freedom to be a thruple at family gatherings. Decide what the three of you want, and then do it. The important thing is to be happy. Life is short.
     
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  20. Songful

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    SilentM, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry to read about all the difficulty you have had in your marriage. It makes my heart hurt to read that your wife has tried to erase or closet your bisexuality. Her words were very upsetting too. I'm a bisexual woman and I think bisexual men are great. There is nothing "wrong" with you. You were honest about your sexuality from the beginning....if she had a problem with your bisexuality, she shouldn't have continued a relationship with you. I have no advice. I just wanted to offer you my support.
     
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