This isn't something I care to admit, but it's the truth: I sometimes get tired of being bi. I get tired of justifying my sexuality to naysayers. I get tired of explaining to people that even though I primarily date men, I'm still bisexual. I get tired of feeling the need to justify or "prove" my sexuality, even though I know I don't have to.
The idea of settling down with one person frightens me, but not for the reasons you think. It has nothing to do with commitment. (If I do decide to be monogamous in the future, I believe I'll know and be ready.) It's because I know that if I do settle down with one person, folks will assume I'm gay if I'm married to a man or straight if I'm married to a woman. I don't like the idea of having these assumptions made about me. I don't want to appear straight or gay when I've embraced my identity as a queer, bi man.
In fact, I wonder if I do settle down with one person, whether I'll be quiet about my (bi)sexuality. Should I reaffirm my attraction to other genders when I'm with a person of one gender? Wouldn't that make my monosexual partner feel insufficient — like they're not enough — if I'm constantly reclaiming my bisexuality? If I do decide to be monogamous or committed to one person, I want them to feel like they're enough. So constantly correcting people, telling them I'm bi, seems like I'm repeatedly reminding my partner that I'm attracted to other folks. That doesn't seem like the courteous thing to do to the person I love.
I'm exhausted from telling people that bisexuality doesn't perpetuate the binary. That the two in "bi" stands for genders that are your own and genders that aren't. I feel upstaged and "out-queered" when I say I'm bi and someone else says, "Oh, I'm pansexual." Given that I'm attracted to all genders, I ask myself why I don't tell people I'm pan instead of bi. Isn't that the younger, hipper, more inclusive label that millennials are using? Why am I clinging to this older label when there is another label, right now, that fits me?
I sometimes wonder if it's even worth it to date women. I'm currently more comfortable around men, and I love gay male culture and spaces. I feel less awkward flirting with men and being myself around men. I don't question if I'm being "too aggressive" or "too effeminate." I also get rejected significantly less by guys. So why do I put in the effort to meet women, especially straight ones? Besides, research has shown that most of the time straight women won't date me because I'm bi. So why do I try to date them?
I hate feeling part of gay culture while simultaneously isolated by it. I hate feeling like I have this community, only to bring a girl I have a crush on out with my gay friends and to feel like a pariah and fraud. I hate how quickly gays turn on me when I simply talk about a woman in a way that shows I'm sexually attracted to women too.
Wouldn't my life just be a hell of a lot easier if I identified as gay? If I only spoke about, dated, screwed, and loved men?
Yes, I believe it undoubtedly would be... if I were gay.
But I am not. I'm not gay at all. I have never been, and I never will be.
And while at times I may question whether it's "worth it" — so to speak — to claim the bi label, I always come to the same conclusion: Yes, it really is.
And it's something somewhat unexpected that brings me back to this conclusion. It's not that I want to live my life as my most authentic self (although that's part of it). It's not my desire to claim my own identity for myself and not to give other people that power over me (although that's part of it, too).
It's my exes.
I have been blessed to have dated some of the most incredible people in the entire world, from my first love, Sarah. She taught me that I have the capacity to love and care for others more than I love myself. She also helped me with the self-esteem issues I struggled with when I was 16. She saw the diamond in the rough before anyone else did.
To Jenny, the genderqueer/transgender bi dominatrix who I dated for a year after college. She was the first person to unconditionally accept me for who I was after coming out as bi. She pushed me to question myself and others.
To my most recent ex, Jason. He introduced me to polyamory, helped me overcome my issues surrounding jealousy, and encouraged me to explore myself more. We were one of the most compatible couples that have ever existed. I shared many of my happiest moments in life with him. In fact, many were directly because of him.
It's clear that each one of the people I loved helped me grow as a person. They all challenged me. They've all taught me things about myself, others, society, culture, history, art, and everything else imaginable.
They were also all folks of various genders.
It pains me to think that if I forced a route of being gay or straight or anything else other than bi, I wouldn't have had these experiences. I wouldn't have had these lovers. These people who shaped who I am. If I forced a monosexual route now, I would be forgoing intimate relationships with future partners too. Nor do I ever want to deny the important role these relationships played in my life. I'm only 26. I have my whole life ahead of me. Many more partners to share my life with. Many people to love and to love me.
I believe that we were put on this Earth to make meaningful connections. To have loving relationships. Being bi has allowed me to connect with more incredible people. Thus, only in embracing my bisexuality and my attraction to all genders can I live my life to the fullest.