All Bi Myself: The Challenges of Dating as an Openly Bi Man
Photo by Jesse Goll on Unsplash
As someone who has remained perpetually single since eighth grade, Valentine’s Day has never been what one would call a big event in my life; the best part about it for me is easily the discount candy and flowers that fill the stores in the days after the holiday has passed. While I do not have any problems with my single life, Valentine’s Day has often made me reflect on the challenges that I have encountered in the rare moments when I have pursued a more stable, serious relationship, particularly on those I’ve faced since coming out as bi.
It’s hard enough to find a person you want to get serious with, but it seems that as an openly bi man, there will always be additional hurdles to overcome that those in gay or straight relationships typically won’t have to deal with. Below I’ve outlined some of the most frequent challenges I have encountered that contribute to my ongoing single bi life.
People don’t believe you or trust your judgement
I believe that one of the most basic elements required for a successful relationship is that it is built on mutual trust and respect. Therefore, if someone is telling me that they do not believe bisexuality is valid, they are indirectly implying that they do not believe me or respect the fact that I identify as a bi man. How could I possibly build a relationship with someone who thinks I identify as a fictional entity? And would they ever actually trust my judgement if they are discrediting one of the fundamental characteristics that makes up who I am? I think that any relationship that starts with me “convincing” someone to accept me as I am is doomed to fail.
People don’t take you seriously
This is somewhat similar to the previous point, but still warrants its own mention and discussion. Those who do not believe bisexuality is a real orientation are often the ones who say things like “You’re in a phase” or “You’re just confused” and, since you cannot “figure out” your sexual orientation, you are incapable of being in a real relationship. To have someone try to invalidate your bisexuality is incredibly insulting; to me, it signifies that they do not believe that all of the years of self-discovery and struggle were valid and that lack of empathy and understanding will cause any semblance of a real relationship to crumble easily.
People view you as a sexual conquest
It might be due to the fact that some people believe bi individuals are living a fantasy by identifying as such, but it seems that we still play a big role in the sexual fantasies of others. I’ve heard things like “I’ve always thought it’d be hot to get it on with a bi guy” or “It has always been a dream of mine to turn a bi guy gay/straight” more times than I would care to admit. When you say that to me, I don’t feel like a person who you are genuinely interested in; I feel like an odd conquest that you’re trying to check off of your sexual bucket list, and honestly, I would much rather feel like a person than a square in your sexual fantasy bingo. Being bi is a big part of who I am, but it is not the only thing that defines me.
People do not believe you can be monogamous
There are many misconceptions about monogamous relationships and bisexuality; the main one being that many people do not believe that bi individuals are capable of monogamy. It’s incredibly frustrating to be labeled as an inevitable cheater simply based on my sexual orientation. When pursuing a relationship with one person, the attraction to others does not go away, but the exact same thing can be said of straight, gay, or any other type of relationship one is a part of. You are in a relationship because you CHOOSE to be with that person, and if monogamy is what works for you then embrace it. Just because I or any other bi person choose to be in a monogamous relationship does not mean that we are choosing to be gay or straight; it means that we are choosing to dedicate ourselves to an individual who makes us happy. Factors like emotional connection, personality, interests, and so many other aspects outside of physical attraction are what make a relationship work; if you’re limited by one component, you probably won’t find what you’re looking for no matter what your sexual orientation may be.