I was inspired to write about Bi folks in relationships because of a conversation I had with another Bi person recently. That person will, obviously, remain anonymous but one thing they said really resonated with me. The more I sat with it the more it bothered me. This person said their partner did not want them to openly discuss or express their bisexuality. However, they thought this was OK because they loved their spouse and wanted to remain in a relationship with them because they love each other.
Now, my marriage has had its ups and downs but if I felt I could not express or discuss my authentic Bi self I would feel as though I was in a cage. My self-esteem would definitely suffer. If my partner did not want me to be out to my kids I would feel as though I was living a lie. How can someone truly love me if they want me to be something other than I am!? A person who loves you, your most intimate partner, would never want you to pretend to be something you were not or to hide your lovely Bi light under a bushel basket.
This does not mean that by being out/visible I am trying to appear ‘available’ for relationships but rather to be anything but my authentic self is an unfair thing for anyone, especially the person closest to me, with whom I share my bed and my life, to expect.
I think it all comes down to the fact that too many people do not think of Bisexuality as a ‘standard’ or as ‘normal’. Given that the studies tell us that over half of the LGBT community is Bi (and, no doubt that number would increase if folks did not feel straitjacketed by the biphobia in the gay male and lesbian community) and surveys across the board indicate the number of Bisexuals are increasing (I would argue the actual number is not increasing but that younger people have no issues w/identifying as Bi) I am starting to believe there are far fewer monosexuals than previously acknowledged.
I am just fearful that Bis set the bar too low for their partners and are willing to accept invisibility for the sake of their relationships. Do we need our partners’ validation? We certainly don’t need anyone (including our partner) to tell us who we are or how we should live. Do we need acceptance/celebration of who we are? I would argue it is critically important and that we do. Our lovers, the people we share our deepest intimacy with, sometimes ask Bis to live a ‘half life’ and to be only a minuscule portion of who they are and by doing so live a lie. But why are so many willing to accept that our partners can dictate whether or not we can be openly Bi? For our sense of self and peace of mind we should expect, I would say demand, the person with whom we create a life should not want any one of us to hide our most complete, complex and authentic selves. If we don’t expect to be valued we won’t be; if we don’t expect to be celebrated, we won’t be; if we don’t think it is important to be visible; we won’t be — and then our entire community suffers because we feel as though we don’t matter and that there are far fewer of us than there really are. We cannot establish social relationships, we cannot communicate our truth, we cannot be proudly Bisexual if we don’t even expect the support of our own partner.
Perhaps this prejudice won’t be a problem as we move forward and younger people accept their sexual fluidity….it will just become commonplace to wholeheartedly accept your Bi partner. I just don’t think anyone (young, old, and everything in between) should ever have to be less than who they are. ❤
Please note: I would never encourage anyone to do anything they do not feel safe doing. I care about my BiFriends (and anyone else in an abusive relationship). If you are not coming out/do not feel safe coming out to your partner and suffer from an abusive relationship only do what you feel safe/secure doing. Here is the Domestic Abuse hotline if you need it: 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. http://www.thehotline.org/