I have a question about culture. I’ve recently come out of a long-term relationship with a guy and have begun dating again. One thing that I’m finding odd is when I go on dates with women they still expect me to pay because I’m a man.
I find this terribly old-fashioned. Look, it’s not me being cheap, I don’t mind paying but I must say I find it odd. It’s also getting expensive. When I go on dates with men, we split it 50/50, occasionally one of us might offer to pay for the whole thing — but most women want you to pay every time. It’s 2022. What’s worse is it’s really signifying that women feel their time is more important than my time and that I should pay for their time. Is this a usual thing to feel? I think it’s just being with a man for so long I notice things now that I maybe didn’t before. I’m all about equality. And this doesn’t seem equal.
I do feel you on this one. I myself found a culture shock difference when I came out of a long-term relationship with a man.
When you’re dating someone of the same gender, those "gender roles" melt away. I didn’t do all the cleaning because society said I had to. I did the cleaning because I was better at it and enjoyed it more. In same-sex relationships, people tend to play to their strengths more.
So going back into the world as you are, you’re bound to notice these things. Let’s put it in context though. Anyone coming out of a long-term relationship is going to struggle with elements of comfort their previous relationship brought that aren’t there anymore. You aren’t shopping for a replacement. You’re looking for a new person to build your life with and their ideals on what that looks like are going to be slightly different.
With the paying thing, there are many women out there that share your feeling that it’s an outdated practice, but equally many that don’t. This might not be helpful but I always felt that being bi meant you had to remember that you exist in both the gay and the straight world. What I mean by that is that, unless you’re really lucky, the majority of people you go on dates with will live firmly in a culture that’s either the gay world or the straight world. These two worlds are so far apart. In particular the straight world is a strange little dance, but if you’re going to get on, you need to respect their way of doing things.
Luckily I do think the straight world is evolving and gender roles are fading away. I’m in an opposite-sex relationship and I still do most of the cleaning as I did before. One thing I will say is that although as bi people we exist in gay and straight worlds it’s not on us as bisexuals to always be accommodating them. They should be trying to impress us too so if there are elements of dates that you don’t agree with, challenge them. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, you could make a little joke about the differences with the past to make a point and make the other person think. Sometimes people won’t have even considered that there is a different way to do things.
Ultimately, going from a same-sex relationship to one where there are different genders is going to be an adjustment. It’s part of the bi journey and it’s for you to navigate. Have fun with it, use your sense of humour with it and enjoy the ride.
What advice would you give to this reader? Give us your take in the comments below.
Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.
Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.
Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.
If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, email at [email protected]