I'd always liked to think of myself as an open minded person. I've never wavered in my stance about sexual orientation and equality. I'd be the first one to stand up and say "Hey, love is love, it shouldn't matter." I know no real struggle when it comes to sexual orientation; what could a privileged, straight, white girl know, anyway? I'm no expert on sexuality nor am I writing to give a lecture on it. My story isn't about accepting your own sexuality, it's about accepting someone else's. That might seem pointless and unnecessary but I swear this story is worth a good message that more people should hear.
My boyfriend is bisexual.
This new revelation in my relationship and his coming out process has left me spinning. The past week I've been scouring the internet looking for stories similar to mine that I could find some sort of solace in. The problem is, there really aren't any, which is another reason I'm writing this. In some capacity, I might be able to give a bit of relief or advice — although I'm not sure how much I have— to anybody going through this, as well.
First, let me give some background information about our relationship. My boyfriend and I have been dating for the past 6 months. As with any relationship, it hasn't been easy for a number of reasons, but it has been lovely all the same. We're much more than boyfriend and girlfriend; we are best friends. We've discussed marriage and starting a family and have fallen insanely in love in what would seem like a short period of time. Our sex life is active and nothing short of perfect. I wouldn't trade our relationship for anything in the entire world.
Yet the last few weeks had been a little rough for us; I could tell something unusual was up but I had no idea what it was. He had been more distant and every time I asked him about it, he would blame it on school. I knew he was stressed out, but to me it seemed more than just a difficult workload. The more it continued, I began to blame myself. I thought he wanted an out in our relationship and that my struggle with depression and anxiety was becoming too much for him.
But I was wrong.
We were on the phone one night and somehow the topic of a gay friend of mine came up. Something about his tone as we discussed it seemed off to me and so, jokingly, I asked "What? Are you gay?"
There was a long pause.
"I don't know."
Another pause on my end.
"What? What do you mean you don't know?" I became frantic. Here was a man that showed a lot of interest in the womanly body. Not in a disgusting, perverted way, but in a way that made him a great lover. He was always more than willing to attend to my sexual needs — and loved it! Now here he was telling me he didn't know if he was gay.
"Well, I'm not gay. But I feel an attraction to men and I'd be interested in having sex with guys."
The more we talked about this and the more he opened up to me, everything suddenly became real to me and I slowly began to understand. My boyfriend identifies as bisexual. He has a sexual attraction to men, but no real romantic interest in them. He had come to this conclusion recently, but had felt this attraction to men for quite some time. He still feels attracted to women and still wants to be with me. There are so many things I have to keep reminding myself. His attraction to men does not mean he's no longer attracted to me. He is still in love with me. He still wants to have sex with me. A thousand worries come to mind with a discovery like this; I've asked a million questions throughout this whole ordeal, and he has been incredibly patient with me.
Yet, even with all of my questions answered, something in my heart continues to hurt. I don't know if I'm hurting for him, or me, or both of us but I feel so much hurt. I'm not quite sure if this hurting is going to go away, but I'm praying that it will. I want to scream and cry all the time. With all this hurting, I'm confused as well. He can answer all my questions and I'd probably still be left with confusion and worry. I worry that every time he's late coming home that he might be off with another man. I worry that every time he say's he's horny, I don't know if it's for me or for a man. I worry that someday I will not be enough for him, just because of my anatomy. I worry that my worries will become our whole relationship. It's not that I don't trust him, but this has turned our worlds upside down and my anxiety has been known to get the better of me.
At first, I tried really hard to be the super-cool girlfriend who was totally okay with her boyfriend having sex with men once or twice. But I couldn't keep that up, because it was a lie. And just the same way he was being honest with me, I had to be honest with him in this regard. I absolutely have a problem with him having sex with anyone but me. I have a problem with him thinking of anyone else but me. Maybe that's harsh and maybe I don't have a complete right to say that, but to me there doesn't seem like another option.
When he says that he would like to be able to have sex with a man at some point, without breaking our relationship, I can physically feel my heart ache. I have lost so much sleep and shed so many tears simply because the image of anyone else, man or woman, touching the love of my life scares the living hell out of me. In the same sense, I understand it. There are certain things he may want, that I will absolutely never be able to give to him. While that pains me, I don't want to stop him from enjoying things that would make him happy. It's a very thin line that I'm trying to find a way to navigate. Nonetheless, I don't want every single conversation we have to revolve around sexuality. I can't live like that; it's incredibly exhausting. I need my relationship to go back to where we can show each other dumb memes or spend hours cuddling carelessly. But I suppose that will come with time, as well.
This is not easy, and anything anyone says about it being easy is a flat out lie. For me to pretend that this is all okay with me is a complete lie, too. All the things you will read about this subject online are bullshit. I know because I've read them and I'm living it — and these are two completely different things. They make you think that if you are anything short of ecstatic in this situation, you're suddenly not supportive of your significant other. That is not fair. You can be supportive and hurt at the same time. You can be supportive and confused at the same time. You can be supportive and scared at the same time. The emotions that you might feel have absolutely no weight on your ability to be there for your person. At first, I felt like I was not entitled to my feelings. That I should just shut up, accept the new terms of our relationship, and move on. I began to feel sick to my stomach because it was hard for me to come to terms with all of this. I felt like a horrible person for having a hard time with this. I began to think that the open-mindedness that I had always possessed seemed to have completely vanished. Then, I finally realized that that wasn't true. I am still the same open-minded person I have always been. I am completely accepting of my boyfriend, that will never change. I just need time to process how this affects our lives.
I'm still trying, and I'm still finding a way to get used to it because, well, I'm going to have to get used to it. If I were to give up this easily, I wouldn't call what we have love. When you love someone, you are willing to give them everything to make them happy. Yes, this includes sacrifices, and yes, that really, really sucks sometimes. But the love that we have makes it all a little easier. I love him with my whole heart. He is my everything, and I can't imagine losing him. He has stuck with me through my hard times, and I will stick with him through his.
It's a difficult time for him. Extremely difficult. I couldn't even imagine going through something like this and being half as brave as he is. I am in no way, shape or form trying to discredit the struggle that comes from accepting your sexuality. But at the same time, this should not discredit the struggle that comes from being the other person in the relationship either. Just the same as he is exploring a new level of sexuality, I am too in a sense. For both of us, there are new terms to our relationship that are going to take some getting used to. There are new discoveries he is making, and I'm on this journey with him. I'm open to him finding his best self, and I'm honored that I can be a part of him finding it.
I will find a way, because I love him.