Ask Elizabeth: My Husband Has Told Me He Is Bisexual
I don’t know what to do with my partner, we have been together for almost 15 years and have two children, he has always been very distant and a couple of months ago he came out to me as bi sexual. Ever since then he is constantly putting ads on Craigslist for sex and sending texts to guys for sex but says he is not doing anything wrong… I feel so hurt and tired.. I just don’t know what to do anymore..
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Thank you for your question
You must be feeling so terribly hurt. I know that women I have worked with in the past feel incredibly betrayed when their partners are finally truthful about their sexuality. Men can choose to enter monogamous conventional heterosexual relationships for many reasons. Usually because for them it has felt impossible, to be honest about their sexuality. Increasingly as society is more accepting of different forms of sexuality living life within your integrity and being who you are is easier. However 15 years ago, if we think back, things were not always that easy. Sometimes our family’s expectations can be more difficult to manage than any pressure that society might place on us. When we think about his reasons for repressing his sexuality, it gives us more understanding as to why he may have behaved the way he has.
One of the things that many women question when they first find out that their partner’s sexual preference is different to what they thought is what their partner was thinking about when they were having sex. They may ask their partner this, and when the answer is evasive, this can make the betrayal feel even worse. Then there are the questions as you go over your relationship and think about anything strange event that happened that you brushed aside. Any wonder you feel so hurt and exhausted. The person you thought you knew has turned out to be someone completely different.
I am not sure from your question whether your partner is seeking liaison with men behind your back and pretending he isn’t doing anything wrong, or whether he is openly doing this and then telling you he isn’t doing anything wrong. What is real is he is breaking the rules of the relationship. Whether you formally married or not, most people have an understanding regarding the fidelity of their relationship, and it seems to me that he is completely disregarding your original understanding because he has ‘come out’.
What can happen when someone is open with their sexuality after having repressed it for their entire life is that they can go though what appears to be almost a teenage sexual preoccupation. It is almost as if they have missed all the hyper-sexuality we experience as young people because they have had to repress what they have perceived as forbidden feelings. Then when there is permission to feel they become obsessed.
The problem is in all this ‘coming out’ your husband is being incredibly selfish because he is disregarding how you feel, or the shock you are going through now your relationship has changed. It is almost as if unconsciously he is thinking that he has ‘played the game’ for long enough and now he is going to be himself and you have to accept it, or be the one to end the relationship, so he doesn’t have to.
Whether your husband is bisexual or not, you have an expectation that he will be faithful to you. They are the rules you started the relationship with and the rules most people assume that they will have when they start a relationship together. Sometimes people can have different rules such as in polyamorous relationships and open relationships, however, there are still rules that are agreed to between the couple.
The bisexuality actually has very little to do with being faithful to your partner. Just because you are bisexual doesn’t suddenly give your partner a green light to disregard the commitment he made to you. What has happened here is your partner has decided to change the rules of the relationship and is expecting you to accept those rules.
Only you can decide what you want to do about that. He has made it clear this is now how he wants to live his life. It is up to you whether you want to accept this or not. I imagine life is very complicated because you have children. It is very important that whatever you decide to do that you try to minimise the impact on the children as much as possible. Options are to leave him, live together and co-parent or choose to ignore his behaviour and go on as before. Please be very careful if you are still having sex with your partner at this time. A condom will not protect you from herpes. If you partner is having unprotected sex then he places you at risk of STD. The most important thing you need to remember is to respect yourself by calling your boundaries and sticking with them. It feels to me as though your partner has betrayed your trust so if your instinct tells you to be careful you need to listen to yourself. Please be mindful to keep yourself emotionally and physically safe at this time. I get the sense you are in America, and I am not sure what support services are available to you, but at the very least you need to reach out to trusted family and friends at this time.
We met through work, I was 17 and he was 19, I did not expect to really fall so hard for him, I guess when you’re young…
We had children young I was 19 and he was 21, when our daughter was very young, a baby, he told me he was gay, then began fooling around with a close friend of mines brother, I was hurt, confused the whole deal, but for the next few months I began moving forward as a single parent. during that time he kept trying to get me to ‘hang out’ with them, perhaps he thought we could all be one big happy family or something…
Then one night quite late, I get a phone call, it was him asking if he could come over, me half asleep I said OK, a few seconds later there is a knock on the door.
He is pleading with me that he wants me, loves me and that he is not gay, that he is straight.
Anyway fast forward a couple of years and we had our son. Things were then more about family life than anything else. We also had the added responsibility of raising a lot of his sister’s children as their mother was an emotional wreck basically. I was focused on the children and their activities. He would ignore me more focused on computer games and such then me or the children. Unless it came to critiquing everything I do, around the house or anything I like he would say was rubbish, I never understood it I always took an interest in his things, I wanted to study child studies and he said no that would never work so I picked something else. I have said fine to everything he wanted and he had always treated me like dirt. I just don’t get it.
For the last ten years he had been drinking and playing computer games ignoring us and after he came out to me, he gets drunk and belittles me… Then putting ads online seeking sex and texting guys, he tells me he had never done it and wants to try it. It seems like an obsession with him, then pressuring me to sleep with other people or join him. But the things he had been saying to me hurt the most telling me that my thoughts are rubbish, that he had so many other prospects before me… The list goes on and on… But then he says he loves me and would be dead without me… I’m so confused and hurt! Why do I allow this I just don’t know anymore…
Thank you for your question
What is important is that you don’t allow him to talk you into compromising your boundaries, especially sexually. You are already in a difficult situation looking after your own children and a friends children. This will only add to your feelings of disempowerment.
You need to slow yourself down and recognise his behaviour for what it is. It is abusive. It is not ok to criticise you or belittle you, leave parenting to you or pressure you into sex. Think about what you want and what is possible given what your partner is doing. Then name your boundaries and stick to them. Each time you allow your partner to act out his behaviour will become worse. As sad as it is it feels to me as if you are caught in a cycle where you partner denies his identity things are fine for a time but then spiral into being toxic. You need to be putting the emotional and physical safety of your children ahead of anything else.
I would really like to see you educate yourself about toxic behaviour and the argument cycle which you can do in our group, listening to my Facebook Live, reading my blog, reading my books and participating in other groups and workshops. My book Stop Kissing Toads talks about why we choose the partners we do, and identifying toxic behaviours and I think this would be a very useful book for you to read. This will enable you to feel more confident about yourself and what is ok and what isn’t ok. Most importantly it will help you understand yourself more so you can move forward with confidence.
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