Love and Irony: Addressing Internalized Biphobia Through Marriage

The author holding hands with their wife on their wedding day. Photo courtesy of Saxen MJ.

I came out at 16 and my first LGBT mentor told me to steer clear of bisexual girls, because “They don’t know what they want, they always want what they don’t have, and they will break your heart.” I ignored this advice a few times and each time, I was met with heartbreak by the relationship’s end. Eventually all that heartbreak convinced me to heed my mentor’s warning. So, I stayed away from bisexual women. How ironic it would be, to find that the key to my happiness would come by way of a bisexual woman?

If you came out as gay or lesbian, you may have heard similar warnings from others to steer clear of the bisexuals. If you came out as bi, you may remember people claiming that you were selfish, greedy or just confused. I confess, I was convinced bisexuals were troublesome heartbreakers for any gay person. You may have thought this about bisexuals, too. No judgment; I think we are all better aware of the erasure of the bisexual experience.

When I met my wife seven years ago, she identified as bisexual and I was worried about it. I could see the heartbreak coming, so in the beginning many of my lesbian friends repeatedly warned me to be careful. “She’s not like us, she’s bi.” I could hear the concern in their voices and who could blame them? After all, bisexuals are greedy, selfish, heartbreakers, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Remember earlier when I confessed that I worried about  my wife because she was bi? The reason I worried was because I had always blamed breakups with those women on their . It’s true: it never occurred to me that the common denominator was me and that I could have been at fault, too. Oops. So, you can see how this was a bit worrisome for me in the beginning, right?

Anyway, my wife loved her bisexuality and found great strength in her orientation. She owned it and was unashamed. Good thing, too, because her bisexuality was good for me. She was attracted to me regardless of my gender and it turned out that the more I explored my own gender, the more her sexuality helped me find strength. She was able to be a partner comfortable with herself enough to explore my own struggles with me. She played important roles in me figuring out more about myself, as she was not confined to one inflexible idea about what her own sexuality meant for me and us in our relationship. She was comfortable catering to my needs and made it easy for me, whether a gay female or straight male, to be with me.

Bisexual people march in the San Francisco Pride Parade, June 29, 2008. Photo by Caitlin Childs (CC BY-2.0).

My wife was able to be content with me and unashamed, without confusion, which gave me more freedom and a safety net to figure myself out. Her openness and understanding during some of my most confused times inspired her as well. My own exploration gave her a reason to explore her own sexuality further.

Throughout our relationship I have learned more about myself than I even realized was needed. I have known myself to be genderqueer for almost nine years and I have always felt comfortable with it.  But over time, I continue to leave behind the feminine pronouns and other aspects, as I finally feel comfortable enough with myself to do so. A major part of that comfort has been the role my wife has played. As she has watched me grow and understand myself better, she has done the same. Realizing that many, if not most, of her past  have been with non-binary people, she herself decided that a pansexual description fits her even better than the bisexual terminology she had proudly claimed for nearly a decade.

My partner’s pansexuality and bisexuality gave me the freedom to explore my gender and help me understand myself better, with the comfort and safety of knowing that I would not be forced to sacrifice my love and my relationship to be truly happy with myself. In turn her pansexuality and bisexuality gave my wife the freedom to explore her own sexuality. It was freeing to date someone not bound by the constructs and restrictions of a label that doesn’t allow for as much fluidity as many of us need.

For me, dating a bisexual woman after all the years I spent swearing I’d never do so again, ended up being the best thing that could have ever happened to me. She used to say, “boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, I’m satisfied.” Now she says, “whoever you are, however you identify, I’m satisfied.” She is satisfied, I am satisfied, and I hope you can be too. You never know, a bisexual or pansexual person might just be your chance for happily ever after too.

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