Bisexual but first real FEMALE relationship

Discussion in 'Coming Out' started by Katy Harrison, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Katy Harrison

    Katy Harrison Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I'm new, my name's Kat.
    I've known I was bisexual for a long time but only experience full, long term relationships with men. I've had a lot of sexual encounters with women but unfortunately it's always been after a night of drinking or because a girl wanted to experiment, etc. In the past few months however I met a girl through an online dating site and now we're getting to a point where I think we both are ready to take it to the next level and admit that we're actually dating. The weird thing is, despite how open I've always been with friends about my bisexuality, I realize that this is the first time I'll actually be dating a girl.

    It's very strange in my head for a lot of reasons. Mainly I come from a VERY close knit community that raises their girls primarily to think the key to a happy life is marrying a man young, having children & living the country life. This also means that my parents are not particularly prepared for the reality of me bring a woman home to announce as my girlfriend.

    She's amazing and I'm enjoying this courtship and blossoming of what I think can be a great relationship. I'm just trying to find some love & support for others who have been in this position.
     
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  2. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Kat! Welcome to AE! I'm fairly new here too!
    Happy for you that you have found someone with whom you may want to have a serious relationship! Good for you!

    You have been open with friends about your bisexuality, but how about with family? I guess, I'm asking if both your sexual orientation AND your new girlfriend would be a shock to your family?
    Along with that, are you worried about about being in a real relationship with a woman? or your family's reaction to the relationship? Separate issues but closely related and both can impact the relationship's success.

    So here is my advice. It is biased. You don't have to do things the way I am suggesting. These are just my thoughts and opinions through the lense of some personal experience with similar issues.

    If your family already knows you identify as bisexual, then when they ask you about dating, it may not be so scandalous if you let them know you are dating a woman and are in the early stages of the relationship. If they don't know and don't suspect, then you are introducing both concepts to them: Hey, I'm bisexual and I have a girlfriend. This can be a shocker for some families. I don't suggest that you "bring a woman home to announce as (your) girlfriend" :) that may be a bit stressful on you, your family, and the new girlfriend :)

    How about enjoying the early days of a blossoming relationship (not hiding it, but not announcing it) before adding the stressors of family and their expectations? It is a sweet and special time, and you will want to figure out how compatible you are together during these early weeks/months of bonding. You and your new girlfriend may need a nice solid foundation before you take on family who may or may not be supportive of the two of you. Sounds a little old fashioned, I know, in the age of updating a status on social media as soon as one has a good date!

    When you feel serious enough that it is time to let family know about her, then it is probably a few private face to face conversations with your most-likely-allies and your-biggest-concerns-in-your-family. Let them process it for a bit...and maybe wait for an invitation from them to meet her when they are ready? I would suggest this whether you are dating a man or a woman. No need to push family members to accept someone until they are willing to consider accepting him or her...and no reason to put that kind of pressure/drama on a new relationship, while you are supposed to be enjoying the sunshine-and-roses-feeling of new love! :)
    (Trust me: if you are in the early stages of love, it feels Wonderful and you want to Shout it out to the world...but if your world is not so happy for you, it can put a real damper on that early stage. Enjoy that bubble while you can. It is such a safe and happy place!)

    Let your family warm up to the idea that you are dating her, and have them be curious about meeting the woman who is making your life so happy, stable, fun, wonderful, etc....Also, if they have a bad reaction, it is You who needs to deal with them and set the boundaries before you expect her to walk into an unsafe, homophobic situation so early in a relationship. It's ok to share with her what you are dealing with and let her support you emotionally, but why actually expose her directly to that stress and pressure? It's Your family, Handle them. And when they are handled and ready, THEN they can have limited access to that part of your life, on your terms, if they keep themselves in check.
    Keep a protected, safe place for the two of you where you can deal with any backlash, like a close circle of supportive friends, other gay couples/straight allies.

    Let any drama or issues be your family's to work through, not yours or your girlfriend's to deal with just for being who you are. It may take time, be patient. Look for gradual progress. It really does happen, but it is a slow process. Don't expect huge changes from your family overnight. They may love you deeply, but they are likely to make mistakes during their process of accepting this news. Try to look for the progress. It will be more satisfying to you than their mistakes. But keep good boundaries, don't make their issues, yours to argue/defend against. If you are sure and solid and happy, they are likely to come around to acceptance because they love you.

    I can go on and on and on about this. My family is VERY conservative with absolute expectations of god/husband/babies as the Only key to happiness for a woman. So, I have more than a little experience with this stuff...and lots of funny and heartbreaking stories of the journey. But, that is more than enough for now.

    Best wishes to the two of you, and keep us posted!
     
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    I'm another queer, bisexual, Kinsey 4 (though these days I think I'm creeping up to 5). I dated men and women starting in high school, and am now married to a lesbian.It's not clear from your post whether your family knows your sexuality, so I'm going to wait for clarification on that (and don't have a ton to offer because my closet has always been made of glass).

    The thing that I think I can give you some perspective on is the choosing to be in a queer relationship, and confronting the ramifications as someone who knows what it's like to be with men and be generally accepted/applauded/visible in your relationships. This is always the thing that strikes me about dating/being in relationships with women; it is much, much harder for me, who has actually loved men too, than for my lesbian partners who only know love-while-queer. I bristle at the subtle homophobia, the stares, the weird comments; I get really angry about discriminatory policies; I harbor much more stress about interacting (mostly extended) family that is not the greatest and disapproves of our "lifestyle." I am super frustrated by the kinds of expectations and default heterosexuality that you describe. My wife kind of takes these things in stride, with a shrug and a "that's the way the world is" fatalism that I can't even hope to emulate, because I know that the world is not that way when I'm passing as straight.

    So it's worth taking some time to think about the privilege you're giving up, in this amazing new relationship. Not to decide whether it's worth it - I have found, in my life, that love was always worth it, and I would not give my wife up for anything - but to acknowledge it and forgive it as a strain on your budding relationship. And then to decide how you will face those new, unfamiliar, sometimes funny or sad or frustrating or scary things. Will you be private? Honest? Open? Deliberate? That answer can change as you get used to this relationship, and your actual with-a-woman reality, and it can inform how you interact with your community and your family.

    It's okay to give yourself some time to learn how to do this, because it is actually a new and separate skill from identifying as bisexual, or sleeping occasionally with women, or being in a relationship with a man - even if those are all part of the foundation of this new thing you're building. It's okay to do it first in your head, with your just new flame, with friends that you trust to keep your confidence while you're getting the wobbles out. And it's okay to keep your relationship private, play the pronoun game sometimes, keep yourself and your heart safe, while you learn what that is and plan the next move. (It is also 100% fine to say, screw that, and shout it from the rooftops. You don't have to make anyone else comfortable by keeping your relationship to yourself, or coming out in the perfect way, or anything else. Advice on the perfect way to come out is certainly available if you want it.)

    And there is another side to doing this - and that is being part of the family. For every moment I've had when I went, "damn, it's hard to be not straight," I have had moments of affirmation and community from other queers. My wife and I get "family discounts" from homos at cafes, we get smiles and recognition from folks walking down the street, random and welcome love and support and laughter from people we don't know, because they all know how hard it can be to do this sometimes and want to make it a little easier.
     
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  4. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    Lorienczhiu - You just have an eloquent way of stating your thoughts, which seem to be spot-on! Thanks for sharing that skill with all of us here! Always so helpful, thoughtful, kind, and honest in your responses.

    I can relate so much to the experience you just described, and I have never had someone else be able to state some of those shared thoughts/experiences/observations. Friends/family/spouse/therapist: many great listeners, with lots of love, support, empathy... But no one ever able to say: "Yes, Me Too!"
    Wow! ....Cool! Thanks!

    Don't mean to hijack your post, OP, so, back to you... :)
     
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  5. TheScandinavian

    TheScandinavian Well-Known Member

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    I remember the time when I came out and the look on my mother's face was priceless. Joke aside-I come from a family that tried to imply the same idea on me too (aside from the fact that about 90% of the marriages ended in divorce) so coming out is likely to not be an easy thing to do. However, sooner or later you're gonna come out so I'll keep my fingers crossed for the best since my personal coming out was not good and still isn't. I'll still keep my fingers crossed for you because you never know-sometimes parents take it better than we think so there's always a possibility :)

    As for the dating-relationships are hard to keep. It takes a lot of work but I really think that you two definitely have the potential of being one of these cute couples that are so cute that it makes me wanna throw up sometimes. Don't overstress it-you will be fine, so will your girl. Don't be afraid to jump into the deep water and enjoy its depth :)
     
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  6. Katy Harrison

    Katy Harrison Member

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    Thank you EVERYONE for your wonderful words of advice/endearment/support and experiences. It means a lot to hear such things as everything mentioned are all thoughts bubbling around in my head. To set the record straight with family, my parents do not assume I'd ever be with a woman. My father is convinced I'm waiting to be found by a strong man who's a farmer/works with his hands/hardworking gentleman who aims to protect me & provide for me like he did for my family. My mother expects me to finally bring home a man who has his life straight and plans to marry me, so we can bring grandbabies to her & my father. They aren't going to crucify me but it would be a heavy shock. My mother has had suspicions in the past from a previous relationship I had where she found photos of me with my closest girlfriend. Basically she said "Are you......" and proceeded to be unable to say the words "gay/lesbian/homosexual" and left everything in stale air. I just said "no" and we moved on. I've often displayed my beliefs & my parents are accepting of gay couples by all means. My mother believes in gay marriage, was happy when that was more accepted & enjoys hearing about my friends who are happy in same-sex partnerships. My father on the other hand is not as accepting but never believes in any kind of hate where he thinks someone should be a victim of a hate crime based on their sexuality. HOWEVER neither of my parents would ever expect that these feelings of acceptance for same sex relationships would ever cross the boundary into the lives of their own bloodline.

    With all that being said, I do not fear that my parents would ever disown me or crucify me if I decided to share with them that I was enjoying a relationship with another woman. In the same idea I'm also not really sure how they would react. I imagine them just being a bit confused, probably thinking maybe I'm in a phase or just denying something and ultimately imagining that I would still end up with a man. As I said in my area, you just get married and have babies. That's what you do.

    I am enjoying things though as you lovely people have suggested. We are enjoying this time together, I haven't had a relationship in so long that has been real like this. I've had people "ghost me" after sleeping with me, decide they didn't want to talk to me, etc. She wants to see me, talk to me, keep me close. Enjoys watching anything on TV, going anywhere, etc. Bottom line is that we are definitely into each other and enjoying this time. It's wise to allow that to happen and yes, at work, I'm finding it the hardest. I definitely am forced to play the "pronoun" game. My closest coworker who I spend 8 hours with everyday has learned I have found someone. She keeps asking about "him". "What does he do? What's he like?". I don't say ever call her "he" because that's just wrong but I never correct my coworker. It's difficult.

    The good thing is that this wonderful girl has been "out" for a long time to her family and friends. Therefore I know that when I feel comfortable talking to her about my worries & struggles, she'll be a strong support system. I'll need that guidance because suddenly I'm realizing "oh my god you're right, I'm about to come out". And you guys can't be more right about when you're used to being in heterosexual relationships and being allowed to parade around in a happy, public, relationship dance.

    I appreciate all the support. Please keep it coming!!!
     
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  7. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes I don't do this because I can't be bothered... and I've been out for years! My current boss spent MONTHS asking after my boyfriend and referring to "him," when I had mentioned my fiancee a few times in the first few weeks of working there. Eventually, she overheard me and a coworker in conversation, referring to my now-wife by name. The look on her face was hilarious as she processed it, but I just kept chatting and didn't make it a Thing.

    I could have set her straight at any time, but you know what? It didn't matter, and it's not always my damn job to push back against assumed heterosexuality . I'm sure she was embarrassed, but she corrected herself and hopefully will be a little more careful about jumping to conclusions next time.
     
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