Thursday, 30 July 2015

I'm Married, Should I Tell People I'm Bisexual?

That is totally up to you. Some people feel that their sexual orientation is an important part of their identity that they want to share with others. Some might feel it is a private thing, and they don't want to share it outside their marriage. For example, if they have been in a long term opposite gender marriage, then they might see it as irrelevant to share. Others might take the middle ground of sharing as and when appropriate. Some may consider coming out as bisexual in solidarity with more visible bisexuals, and to help others with their own coming out struggles.  The stats show a lot of bisexuals never tell anyone else. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, or a good thing, for you personally.  However too much bisexual closeting or self-denial across the whole of society may not be healthy for the bisexual community.

Whichever stance you decide to take, remember to consider your partner's feelings too and your personal safety. A spouse might feel incredibly insecure about you being more open and declaring your bisexuality and they might need extra time to adjust. It could lead to feelings of anxiety and issues with self worth with a partner who still believes in the bisexual myths and biphobia. The partner who has finally accepted their own bisexuality might suddenly feel a big sense of relief to finally understand and accept themselves. However their partner might feel, incorrectly, but not unreasonably, like their whole marriage has been a sham. Remember, marriage is a partnership. Respect where your partner is on their journey to acceptance and understanding. Don't make them feel unworthy or uncomfortable. Again, communication is the key.

At the other end of the spectrum, a spouse might what to keep their bisexuality private. That is totally their choice and must be respected.  It doesn't mean you can discuss it with your friends, as it isn't appropriate to out someone who has asked for your discretion, however keen you are to talk about it to someone outside the relationship. Try and support each other. Talk through your feelings. If you still feel you must talk to someone outside your marriage, even though your
partner wants privacy, consider getting some couples counseling. Working through your feelings in a safe environment might be a helpful experience, although beware of therapists who promote promiscuity or promote breaking your existing relationship boundaries.

We have decided to take the middle ground. We have decided to tell people only if an appropriate place in a conversation comes up, and only with people we feel comfortable telling. We aren't planning to just go ahead and tell people without any sort of conversational opening. We have been married nearly two decades so we don't want to confuse people as to why we are suddenly telling people now. We are keen to minimise any confusion too. If one of us comes out to another person, we have permission to out our spouse too, in fact we agreed that we have to do so. Also given the awful stereotyping around bisexuality, we will also make it clear that nothing else about our relationship has changed: we are staying monogamous and committed.

Someone just starting out dating will have very different experiences to our own, but we are primarily aiming, with this blog, to reassure the already married about what they can expect from their spouse and those around them. We feel good communication is the most important thing, coupled with a united front. You and your spouse are a team, they should be the person that always has your back, and you for them. If you are struggling with your spouse's bisexuality, talk to them and not about them to others. We understand not everyone has the luxury of having a spouse who is also bisexual too, and if that applies to you, you might have to make a leap of faith to understand what your spouse is feeling. Talk to them, not about them with others, unless you have express permission to out them.

Many of the bisexuals in opposite gender relationships feel that their sexual orientation is being erased, as people assume they are straight. This may or may not be the case, but it seems that a lot of the erasure is coming from the gay and lesbian community as well as from the straight community. While we have no personal experience here to offer, it does seem that there is a view that bisexuality doesn't exist or isn't valid as a long term sexual orientation. We find this rather baffling. We know who we are and we know we exist and we both know we've always been this way, I won't go as far as to saying born this way, because that's a whole other argument. We will tell people as and when it's appropriate to do so because bi-erasure is not helpful to anyone. One way we are educating people is by this blog. We aim to be the boring non-titillating voice of monogamous bisexuality.

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