Q. OMG I don’t even know where to begin! I have been with my bf on and off for the last 8 yrs. Well, I’ll just get down to my concern. I was with him this past weekend and noticed that our lovemaking was very different. He did some things to me that he has never done before. Being a woman that I am, I decided to go through his phone text messages while he was taking a shower and lo and behold, I saw some weird texting back and forth from another man. And this has been going on for a couple of months. From what I have read, it looks like my boyfriend has been having sex with this man for a while now. I don’t know what to make of this! He tells me he loves me and treats me like a queen. I am so flabbergasted! I don’t know how and when to confront him with this. I had a feeling that he was bisexual, but I never thought he was actually having sex with another man. I love him and don’t want to lose him but I also can’t accept the fact that he is having a sexual relationship with a man. It seems like he does that at least once or twice a week. Currently, I am not living with him but he has asked me to come and live with him. I am so confused about this. Please help!
A. My love, please don’t blame being a woman for your innate trait of snooping – that’s not a trait determined by gender or social conditioning, it’s an innate trait of people who are insistent on looking into the private affairs of someone else. When you blame a trait like snooping on being a woman, you give us one more thing we have to fight off on the generalized assumptions and stereotypes merry-go-round, and really, there is enough we are fighting off as is. Snooping is one of those polarizing subjects that seems to bring everyone to one corner or another. Some feel that snooping is fair game if one gives someone something to snoop about. Some feel that snooping is okay in times of crisis. Some think accidental snooping is okay and not really snooping; it’s more more like, “Huh, look at all this brand new information I just happened to find.” Where you may find yourself on a day-to-day basis, I am not sure, but I will say this: this being your partner of eight years or so, you may feel that you have the right to snoop. Well, you don’t. One of the things about being partnered with someone is that you have to respect certain boundaries and trust your partner, something which you seem to think does not apply to you. Consider it a red flag. A big ole red flag that cannot be unseen.
So, what then about this textual behavior that may or may not be indicative of him sleeping with another guy? A back and forth type of flirt? An outright confession? Is sex explicitly stated or implied? Given that it is text messaging, it seems like you are now in a situation that requires you to suss out what exactly is going on, but with only a little bit of information. Certainly you may have seen some texts that told you point-blank what was happening, but you don’t mention exactly what they were. You just say that sex was different, and these texts imply something. Since I am not in your shoes, I can assume, but only on the vaguest of information. Whether or not it is purposely vague is also something to consider.
But, let’s drop all this just for a second and talk about the real undercurrent of this question: male bisexuality. A lot of people have a problem with male bisexuality, mostly because a lot of people seem to think it doesn’t exist or that it is only a cover until a man comes out as gay. Now, there is truth in this because coming out is hard and sometimes baby steps are necessary, but there is also truth in the fact that some men are bisexual. Bisexuality is just as legitimate as being gay, straight, or wherever else you fall in between, but because our tiny little lizard brains like to compartmentalize, the spectrum of sexuality doesn’t always seem to compute with us. Personally, I think men have a harder time with this stereotype. Sure, being bisexual is something that unfortunately everyone gets the shaft end of at times. “Isn’t that what people are before they come out?” “Are you just doing it for attention?” “Bisexuals aren’t bisexuals, they are just greedy.” The list of absurd and mind-numbingly archaic assumptions is as long as the day is hard. But one of the things about being a bisexual woman is that it is more readily accepted than it is with men, albeit not without some baggage. Now, many people might debate me on this, and they are more than welcome to. But bisexual women not only have the idea that women in general are more fluid in their sexuality than men, but also the social conditioning of sexy women escapades: think woman-on-woman porn or girls gone wild hijinks, where said bisexuality is really just performative sex for male consumption. It’s a double-edged sword that certainly has its own pitfalls. If sexual fluidity be the case, then it’s assumed you will have sex with anyone or that your sexuality exists for the pleasure of others. But bisexual men don’t seem to have even that because the social acceptance around bisexual men is slim as it seems that male sexuality is thought of in more concrete terms. This is not only damaging for how we view male sexuality at large, but it’s personally damaging in a number of mental and physical ways.
So, let’s talk about one of those damaging ways. Yours. Yes my love, you explicitly state that you can’t accept the fact that he might be having sex with a man. I’m sorry my love, but this means you can’t be with him. All the love and history of you two together can’t erase the fact that you have a serious issue, which may or may not be rooted in slightly homophobic feelings. Of course, there are people out there who choose not be in relationships with bisexual people for reasons all their own. Is this right? Is it okay to choose someone to be with based on their sexuality? Well yes, of course. We do it every day. We choose to be with people based on their mutual attraction to ourselves and how our sexual (as well as other) identities fit with one another. As much as I’d like to be in a relationship with Raja from season three of Drag Race, our differing sexual identities probably wouldn’t work, and there’s only room for one queen in all my relationships. Now, all this being said, I’m hoping no one gets the impression that everyone needs to just be with the person of their exact sexual identity. Oh no, that would be really boring and really unrealistic. There are straight folks with bisexual folk, gay folk with bisexual folk, bisexual folks with bisexual folks, and that’s just the sweet tip of the iceberg and doesn’t begin to touch upon the thousands of sexual identities that don’t fit neatly into these categories. But the the thing that holds it all together is that they are partners who are making their sexual identities work for themselves and their partner. There is care and respect in what each needs and for who that person is sexually. You, my love? That person is not you. You point blank say you can’t accept your partner having sex with a man, if that is what he is doing. If so, you can’t accept that part of your partner, and you need to cut the cord. His bisexuality is just as much a part of him as your straightness. You have the choice of accepting him for who he might be and figuring out how to further build your relationship from there, or you need to let this relationship go, if anything, at least so that your partner can find someone more accepting of who he is.
If you do want this relationship to work, you need to accept the whole – yes, the whole. Bisexuality and all. But can it work from where you are? You know this relationship better than I, and from what you have presented, you seem to have a closed, yet on-and-off again relationship, where your partner might be hooking up with men on the DL. This may be because you have expressed in the past that you aren’t accepting of the fact that he is bisexual or of bisexuality. Of course, now you know that he may be bisexual because you snooped through his things. You have a lot of groundwork, my love. A lot. Some things cannot be unfucked, even if we want them to be. You two have to decide, after you both sit down with each other and talk about this like adults, whether or not you are in the situation of fucked forever, or fuck it, we can do this. Look at it this way: as of now, you are standing on scorched earth. It doesn’t look good. Do you want to take steps to move forward into better lands with your partner and tend to the scorched earth behind you? Or are you willing to forsake all of it? You must decide what it is you both truly need and whether or not you are both capable of giving it to each other, a decision that only you two can make.
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