“… My wife came out to me this past week as bisexual.
She said it is something she has more or less known for a long time, but it has been part of an ongoing conversation she’s been having with a therapist as part of self acceptance. I long pretty much knew myself, but this was a big step as it was the first time we both knew.
I’m happy she is able to accept that part of herself I am as supportive as I can be. However, I can’t lie and say that it hasn’t caused me some confusion.
The two of us dated since high school and have been each other’s first and only. She’s never been with a woman at all. Now I feel some guilt, as she will never have the opportunity to, even though that part of herself is something we both know for certain now. I know she will always be faithful, which causes me a lot of guilt as I feel now like I’ll always be in the way of her exploring that side of herself.
I also am a little confused because I know she has a crush on some of her friends. It’s going to be discouraging to see them continue to spend time with her and whether they know it or not, not return the same looks and such that she may have for them. I feel bad for her, and I’m just not sure how to process it.
I’m just not sure how to feel about any of it. Can anyone offer some advice?”
I am really happy that you can be so supportive of your wife’s sexual orientation! But I do think that there are some major gaps here that we can work on closing. We should do a deeper dive in the guilt you are experiencing and where that feeling originates from.
It sounds like your sense of guilt stems a bit from the fact that your wife cannot explore same sex relationships while in a monogamous relationship with you. There are three underlying concepts here that I would like to respond to.
One. Bisexual means that she doesn’t just have crushes on women. She also has crushes on men as well. It is true that she is in a monogamous relationship with you. So she can’t explore relationships with either men or women. She has likely had crushes on men throughout your relationship and marriage. But she has chose to honor and follow through on the monogamous commitment that you’ve made to each other. The fact that she cannot explore external same sex relationships is not that much different from the fact that she already cannot explore different sex relationships either.
Two. Her embracing of her bisexual identity means very little for her existing friendships and crushes. Are you implying here that you felt uncomfortable about your wife maintaining different sex friendships when she used to identify as straight? Trust and faithfulness isn’t tied to the person, but to the commitment that you two have made together. That for the sake of your own relationship, both you and your wife will forego pursuing any other relationships. She has already been maintaining her boundaries around her crushes no matter what genders her crushes were for long before she met you. So continue to trust in her agreement with you.
Three. Ethical non-monogamy/open relationship is also an option. Giving her an opportunity to explore her newly recognized connection to women would not only respect her newly embraced identity but also help provide some backdrop for her ongoing relationship with you. I’ll add here that not everyone is suited to be non-monogamous. An attraction to more than one person/gender does not necessarily mean that they can do ethical non-monogamy in a healthy and respectful way for everyone involved. This should only be approached after you’ve both done your homework. Feel free to check out my advice earlier for poly newbies.
So set aside your feelings for a little bit here and celebrate her embrace of her new identity! Bifolks who are in monogamous relationship with one gender often get critique about their choice of partner. Support and cherish in her identity. And acknowledge that her new identity is just a first step in her long journey to not just self-acceptance, but in gathering acceptance from all others as well.
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