First Serious Relationship - Help!!

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by alex-j-j, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. alex-j-j

    alex-j-j Member

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    As the subject suggests, this is my first relationship. Let me make this clear: I'm not asking a bunch of strangers if a relationship is worth pursuing. If I had to do that, I should really be reevaluating if I even need to be in a relationship. But what I am asking for is advice because this is my first relationship, and I want to know if any of you fine ladies have been in a similar situation, and, if so, how things turned out.

    My girlfriend and I first started dating about four months ago. We had a pretty rocky start as she's bisexual and was not looking to date a woman again. We're in a strict religion with both of our families being unsupportive, so we need to keep the relationship a secret which adds a lot of strain. Let me give a disclaimer that I'm not some 14 year old that's hiding from my parents. I'm 20, and I've waited a long while to get into a position to get into a relationship. All I have to do is finish college, so I can move closer to her, as she's two hours away. After that, we plan on moving in together.

    Because this is my first relationship, I have the typical insecurities that come with them. I also tend to be a tad bit insecure anyway, so between the two, I have some issues to say the least.

    My problem and question lies in the fact that my girlfriend is bisexual. She's still very much attracted to men, and struggles with that attraction. She feels like she's cheating on me mentally and thinks that she shouldn't be in a relationship with anyone. Period. She feels that she'd fantasize about women while with a man and vice versa.

    You see, this doesn't really bother me. I love her for who she is, and being bisexual is just another orientation. I'm not going to let it bother me.

    My question is for bisexual women or for those who have had/has a bisexual girlfriend. How do I help her with this? I offered to get a dildo or whatever she needs. I just want to help her with this time, but I don't know how. Does anyone have advice? And if you've been in this situation, how did it turn out?
     
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  2. MisMashed

    MisMashed Well-Known Member

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    I'm bi, but not sure how much advice I can offer...personally, I think my preference leans more toward women, and that is what I tend to concentrate on. BUT if I happened to hit it off with a guy that I really liked, I don't think I'd feel that I was missing out on the other gender (or vice versa)...maybe your girlfriend is smack-dab in the middle of the spectrum?!? :?:

    I say, just continue to love her, and be the best lover you can ;) She knows that she has your support, and it sounds like she is just expressing her insecurities and worries. This is a new relationship for both of you. With time, as the two of you grow even closer, some of her concerns might go away. Just showing your support is all you can do!
     
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bisexual queer woman, Kinsey 4, what have you. Engaged to a woman; we just celebrated our fourth year together. I don't think about guys when I'm with a woman; I don't think about anyone else when I'm committed. "Missing out" is not part of my experience (because when you're with someone, you're always missing out on everyone else; price you pay for monogamy, queer or otherwise). I'm just that kind of girl.

    The biggest concern I have is not about her orientation; as you might expect, I don't think that bisexual women are the least bit untrustworthy or unreliable. But bisexual women DO experience lots of social pressures to end up with men, from the overt to the subtle, and a lot of shaming and nonsense whoever they date. In my life, my friends (who are progressive! and allies!) have said things to me like "but you know, you'll marry a guy, right?" And failed to ask or pester about wedding plans after years, even when they ask straight friends after months. Until recently, our wedding had to be out of state to be official, and there are a whole bunch of places where I could be fired for disclosing that my fiancee is a woman. When you are attracted to men, these are all reasons that you don't look for relationships with women, and the underlying fears and realities that result in biphobia. Why would you do that to yourself, when you don't have to?

    So it's not the penis that she's going to miss. Everyone always fixates on sex, like that's the thing - but my lesbian fiancee likes the dildo more than I do, and I get way madder about the way we get treated sometimes and the bullshit laws that get passed, because I know what it's like to have all that straight, passing privilege in a relationship and I am livid that we're being left out.

    Want to support her? Here are some things that partners have done which have helped me navigate my bisexuality:
    - Be as drama-free as possible. Find a safe space, outside of your relationship, to approach your insecurities, so that her experience of being with you is not one of uncertainty or rejection (which it sounds like you have a great start on).
    - Make it clear that you're down for whatever she likes in bed, you want to know how she likes to be loved and cared for, and that you're not stressed about gender roles but about the way she feels most loved. She might feel that there are some things, social and sexual, that men provide, and the she isn't supposed to ask for them from you - or that she is, but wants freedom from that structure. Either way: you're there for her.
    - Educate yourself about bisexuality, bi invisibility, and biphobia; dealing with those things is going to have to be part of her process, because while you've been getting ready to be in this position for a long time, she thought she was going to be passing as straight from here on out. Giving up that privilege is not easy, especially when you have to hide your relationship; she's going to have to come to terms with her sexuality all over again, and its implications (honestly, that's what I think the "I can't be with anyone" is really about).
    - And find ways to be out. Find ways to have positive, open experiences in your relationship, so that she also doesn't experience being with you as shameful (even if you have to hide now, you won't have to hide forever). Introduce her to friends, if you're out to them; watch queer movies on netflix (preferably the most celebratory ones); join a queer book club. My queerness, even while it comes with some nonsense, has also enriched my life - it's made me a better partner to men and women, introduced me to awesome people, and led me to think critically about things I might not have otherwise questioned. It's a source of strength; help her experience it that way, instead of as a calamity that makes her unfit to be loved.

    I hope some of that was helpful; feel free to take it or leave it, and to follow up if anything was unclear.
     
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  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    @lorienczhiu , wow, just wow, thanks for the post. Best wishes to you and your fiancee.
     
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  5. alex-j-j

    alex-j-j Member

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    Thank you all for your input. It's been really helpful, honestly, and I truly appreciate the time you all have taken to respond.

    I do know that bisexuality isn't all about sex. I even talked with her about how I wish that I could provide the social benefits of being with a man.

    I suppose the reason why I bring up sex is because for her, that's where the problem lies. She has problems orgasming and fantasizes about men. I understand that I can't control what she thinks about, and she can't control what she's attracted to. She's attracted to me and fantasizes about me as well, but she feels guilty because she thinks about men more often. She does not do so in bed.

    However, it's a hard pill to swallow. But! I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help her. But I'm not sure where to start. Should I be worried that she fantasizes about men? I want to be supportive of her in any way I can.
     
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  6. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I would not be worried that she fantasizes about men. People are complex creatures and I myself have quite the naughty going ons in my head. Most of the stuff I fantasize about I would not want to really happen even though they all involve consenting adults. Yes she is also attracted to men but she is with you. She probably likes to fantasize about what she doesn't have, or maybe even things she is forbidden to have. I find great intimacy in sharing with my gf what's in my head at times but even more so if I could hear hers. It is especially satisfying to feel accepted by my gf and also having her trust me enough to let me in on her thoughts.

    I think it is sweet that you will try to participate in her fantasy and bring her to orgasm. Feel free though to set limits if some things just don't appeal to you when you are intimate. Tell her not to feel guilty about her feelings and you can say no if she brings in a fantasy you happen not to be in the mood for. I have a feeling your gf would probably like to learn sometimes to just be completely present and enjoy who she is with and be in the moment. You can try to let her start off in her fantasy and bring her into you. If you participate, you can have some fun being with her even if it is in the form of a different character. And if you are no longer in the mood for it you can just say something simple like, "just us", and do it with a come hither smile.

    EDIT: Now, when I think fantasy, I wasn't thinking about real life people. I would not ogle anyone in real life and certainly not someone I work with (where my partner would have no visibility to our interactions day in and out) and then go on and on about that person to my partner. That would be rude and threatening to a monogamous relationship no matter whom I like or what my orientation would be. And if my gf feels guilty about having looked or fantasized about someone and confessed to me, I would try to tell her that it is normal and not make her feel worse and refocus the energy on us. I would also keep the communication open and let her vent about it.
     
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  7. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    @greylin: thanks! I'm taking "wow" as a good thing, and I think you're spot on about fantasy.

    @alex-j-j: hmm... I have a couple of suggestions. (Don't I always? So verbose.)
    1) Challenge yourself - and your girlfriend - to remove the framework of bisexuality from how you talk about sex. As a bisexual woman, she is open to a broad range of bodies and gendered experiences... but there are also things she probably doesn't like, isn't turned on by, which are expressions of a whole range of other labels/identities she might not even access. (For example: yeah, I'm bisexual, but I'm also pretty vanilla, a bit of a power bottom, hard femme, etc. I don't use these labels to describe what I'm into, because that's awfully proscriptive and also complicated for a roll in the hay, but there's a lot more going on than the capacity to have sex with men and women in my preferences and desires.) If you break out of the labels, you'll learn what she actually likes, what her body and brain and wired to find sexy - without that false dichotomy.

    Break down her fantasies into their sensory pieces: the touch, the smell, the words, that turn her on. It might be about penetration, or particular positions that are pleasurable for her; it might be about the scent she associates with arousal; it might be the way she likes to be talked to. For her, that's what "sex with men" is like - but I bet that you can access those fantasies without gender play (unless you want to get into gender play, which is cool, too).

    1, corollary) You're having a hard time (and it sounds like she is too) with the fact that she fantasizes about men. I'm again going to suggest that you take out the bisexual piece, and instead just say: she fantasizes about other people. She's got a healthy imagination and a wide range of desires, and that expresses itself through fantasies that reflect those desires. Does it bother you that she's thinking about others, period, or is it that she's thinking about others who are different than you?

    Fantasies are normal. For women who are bi- or pansexual, it only makes sense that their fantasies involve the full range of their desires, because it's not like my hetero capacities go dormant when I'm with a woman, only allowing me sapphic daydreams until I once again am single and let them go free. This makes some people (some lesbian women, some straight men) very nervous about bisexual women, but you know, everyone always has potential to be turned on by traits beyond their current partner. I like men, but I also like guitar players and contraltos and redheads even though I'm engaged to a tenor-singing, banjo-playing brunette, and I accept that in the smorgasboard of human attraction, I'm only getting a fraction of the buffet with each meal. That's just how it goes, and the piece I've got is delicious and undiminished by all the things it's not.

    2) Orgasms are fun, but... they're not the only fun thing about sex. You (and probably she as well) seem pretty determined to locate her reluctant orgasm as a problem that needs fixing, and one that intersects with her orientation.

    Full disclosure time: I'm terrible at orgasms. Something about my mental health history and past experiences makes coming with a new partner really hard for me, such that it was over a year into my relationship with my current partner that I had an orgasm at all. For that year prior, we were having great sex and I was enjoying myself thoroughly. While it was occasionally frustrating for me, mostly I was just psyched to be with someone who listened to me about my pleasure and was fine stopping short of the finish line.

    I would bet that her worries about her fantasies with men, the way her bisexuality makes her unlovable in same- and opposite-sex relationships, and the fact that she's only four months into the queer relationship she was never planning on having again are making it hard for her to really let go and feel safe in bed. Just be patient, kind, and enjoy what's actually happening between you, which is probably pretty great, without worrying about an elusive, problematic goal.
     
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