I'm a man in a long-term, monogamous, straight-facing relationship, who has recently come out as bi. I love my partner deeply and we have a great relationship, but I often feel anxious and awkward around her and I have been wondering how much of that is related to the whole question of “How can I be a proud, fulfilled bi man while in this kind of relationship?” Is this something you’ve come across before and, if so, do you have any advice for me?
Thanks so much!
Thanks for reaching out to me. Coming out while in a relationship can be one of the most difficult things to do. It can feel as if the dynamics of the relationship have completely changed, but it’s important to remember that you are the same person you’ve always been — other people just know a bit more about you than they did before.
It’s important to ask yourself whether you felt this anxiety and awkwardness before you came out. If not, then perhaps you are primarily worried about how your partner perceives your sexuality and what she thinks you need in order to be happy. If you didn’t feel that way before you came out, then it’s important to remember that you haven’t changed; you’re still the same bi person you were before coming out and if you weren’t beset by angst back then perhaps you don’t need to be so anxious now.
You don’t mention how your partner reacted to your coming out, so I’m assuming it went okay and didn’t cause any problems. Just remember that communication is key in any relationship, and it's essential to have open and honest conversations with her about your feelings and concerns. Your partner may not fully understand your experience as a bi person, but she can listen and be supportive.
As to being a proud and fulfilled bi man in this kind of relationship, try to remember that your current relationship is exactly what being a fulfilled bi person can look like. Most bi individuals are in relationships with opposite-sex partners. It's crucial to acknowledge that being in a monogamous relationship with someone of the opposite sex doesn't negate your bisexuality. The skepticism with which our monosexual society regards bisexuality can make us question our own relationships. Because so many people wonder how we could be satisfied in a relationship, we may look for problems that don't exist. But you're in good company; there are millions of bi folks worldwide who are in happy relationships with opposite-sex partners; they feel validated in those relationships and find completeness in them.
That said, some bi people find that being in a relationship that could be perceived as gay or straight can make them want to reassert their bisexuality. This can take many forms. Some might want to post about bisexuality more on social media, or get involved with the LGBT community, or simply talk about their sexuality with others. It might be worth trying out different ways of publicly affirming your bisexuality to see if any of them work for you. If you can, try to find some bi friends to talk to: connecting with other bis can have massive benefits. Speaking to people who have had similar experiences to yours might make you feel more confident in yourself.
Never forget that you are an example to lots of young bi people out there. Many of them worry that they might not find someone who could love them as bi. Some of them might fear that being in a relationship won’t be right for them. We have so few visible examples of bi people in happy, long-term relationships that it can be reassuring to others when people like you show that it’s possible.
Please remember, I’m just a bi man with an advice column and you may need to seek out professional help for dealing with anxiety.
Wishing you all the best, and remember: being in a long-term, monogamous relationship with someone you love is a beautiful thing, and it's possible to find fulfillment and happiness within that relationship while still honoring your bisexuality.
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]