Ask A Bi Dad: My lesbian partner cannot accept my bisexuality

By Lewis Oakley

May 06, 2024



Photo credit: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

Hello Lewis,

I am a woman in my mid-20s, and I’ve been with my female partner for eight years. She and I both identify as lesbians. She’s a "gold star" lesbian, meaning she’s never had sex with anyone but a woman, but I am not.

The lesbian label felt right for me for many years, but I’ve come to realise it no longer does. As I have gotten older, reflected on my past, and gotten to know myself better, I think a better label would be bisexual, or pansexual, or no label whatsoever.

The trouble is, my partner is extremely threatened by this. I feel I cannot share this with her, and when I try, she gets angry and breaks down in tears, saying she feels betrayed. I feel so ashamed and don't know what to do. I can't even tell her when I have harmless crushes on male celebrities. This shame and tension is affecting my ability to feel intimate with her.

Any advice would be appreciated. 



Hi Rebecca,

Thank you so much for reaching out. I'm sorry to hear about your predicament.

It seems like the crux of your situation revolves around understanding what you truly want. From your letter, it's evident that acceptance from your partner is crucial to you, yet it appears she may struggle to provide it. It's essential to consider what the ultimate goal of coming out means for you. Perhaps it entails more than seeking acceptance alone. And seeking acceptance from your partner isn't an outrageous request. I empathise with how the lack of acceptance is affecting your intimacy with her. Clearly, addressing and resolving this issue is necessary for both of you to move forward.

My advice really would be to be brave and talk, even if it upsets her, even if she gets mad, and even if you have to keep bringing it up again and again. You need to be persistent until you both address the issue and find some resolution. This is much easier said than done, of course. When you know a conversation is not going to end well, there’s a lot of incentive to avoid it. But if your relationship cannot move on from this issue, then there is no other option — you must discuss it.

From my perspective as an outsider, there is an element of “tough luck” here when it comes to your partner. She’s dating a bi person and she needs to get over it. The reality is she’s been dating a bi person all this time. How much has it really impacted her life? If you can get her to see that nothing is really changing except maybe her perception of you, and that day-to-day, everything will remain the same, it might be easier for her to come to terms with.

Unfortunately, the reality of this situation is that if you can’t find a way to reconcile, then you have a choice: leave the relationship and risk it all to find someone who does accept you, or accept your fate of having to play a lesbian character to keep your partner happy. It’s up to you to decide which one of those is the better option.

I don’t want to push you in one direction or the other. All I would caution is that from my own research over the years, I have concluded that bi people tend to stay in bad relationships for longer than they should. This is a phenomenon that deserves to be explored more, including the factors that keep bi people in unhealthy relationships. I believe part of this comes down to the fact that when a bi person becomes single, their entire life changes because the sex of the person we’re dating defines much of the way we live. Going back to the drawing board and opening yourself up to being single and the possibility of dating a different sex than your current partner can be terrifying. That fear, combined with the familiarity of a relationship, can keep us in toxic situations.

While this isn’t an attempt to sway your decision. I do think it’s important that bi people are informed about some of the pitfalls we're most likely to fall into.

Good luck with everything.


Lewis Oakley standing confidently and smiling against a brick building.

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 in the UK, 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, please email to [email protected]. The briefer the email, the more likely I will be able to respond.

*Lewis is not a licenced therapist, and the advice offered in this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.