Turning the Cons of Dating-While-Bi, into Pros

10/22/2018

istock/Wavebreakmedia

If you came out as bi while you were single, you’ve surely experienced some of the many struggles that come with dating when openly bi. People think you’re actually “gay,” or they’re convinced you’ll leave them for a person of another gender, or they think you’re greedy, or incapable of being monogamous, and the list goes on and on.

Well, this week on Good Bi Love, I’d like to not only address the numerous challenges that bi folks face, but also illustrate how these cons can actually be pros. Or another way to put it: I’m going to help you find the many silver linings of dating as a bi person.

Let’s get started!

They fear “bisexual abandonment”

Some people fear that you’re going to leave them for a person of another gender if you’re bi. In fact, a guy I dated once called this phenomenon “bisexual abandonment,” which I thought was somewhat ridiculous.

Right after coming out, I dated a woman who was also bi, and I actually had the fear that she would leave me for a woman. She noted how she didn’t fear me leaving her for a man, so why did I fear her leaving me for a woman?

I knew, logically, it didn’t make any sense. I also knew it didn’t have anything to do with internalized biphobia. Simply put, I was insecure. I worried that I wasn’t enough for her. When you worry you’re not enough for someone, and then in addition, they also tend to like something, or in this case people, and you can’t offer them what these other people can, then your insecurities get exacerbated.

At the time, I had just come out and was really insecure. This was in large part why that relationship failed after a year. I’ve grown and now, when someone says I’m enough, I trust that they are telling the truth.

Imagine that you’re a bi person for whom dating a person of a single gender isn’t actually enough for you. You’re someone who won’t feel complete unless you’re sleeping with men and women. You come to realize this while dating your partner. Hopefully, you trust them enough to say something, and similarly, they trust you enough to say something.

But, I digress! The silver lining of all this? You will immediately know if the person you’re dating has trust or security issues if they are worried about “bisexual abandonment.” With that knowledge comes power, you can either break up with them, or, if you do really like them, try to solve the underlying root of insecurity. Why do they fear this? What can you say to help them feel less insecure? And so on!

They refuse to date you because they don’t date “bi” people

This used to drive me insane. And to be honest, this is something that has really deterred me from going out on dates with (straight) women. I’ve been rejected countless times by straight women after telling them that I’m bi, and I’m tired of it. I don’t want start liking someone, only to be rejected for an innate part of me that I have no control over (i.e., my attractions).

There are two bits of silver linings here. One: It’s forced me to date queer women/gender non-conforming people, which is awesome. I don’t think I would have put myself in these social circles if I hadn’t been rejected by straight women countless times. I also LOVE dating queer women – for obvious reasons – so that’s been incredible.

But also two: I honestly think that being unwilling to date bi people is a proxy for other negative aspects of a person’s personality. In other words, I don’t think someone who refuses to date bi people is as liberal, open-minded, and empathetic as someone who has no qualms dating a bi person. And while I can’t speak for you, I know I want to date someone who has all those qualities.

They think you’re more likely to cheat/incapable of being monogamous

I’ve thought about this for a while, because the majority of people I know have cheated, and studies time and time again have revealed that quite literally hundreds of thousands of people cheat on their spouses a year (regardless of sexual orientation). If someone wants to cheat, they will cheat.

And the idea of “more options” I find hilarious. Nearly every gay man I know is on Grindr. There are literally hundreds of gay men within 3 miles of my apartment that I could connect with for a quick bone. There are plenty of options for gay men to cheat with other men. Just like there are plenty of options for straight women and men to cheat with people of the opposite sex.

I’m going to say something controversial and not substantiated with research – but it definitely has been true in my experience. If they’re worried about you cheating, they’re worried about themselves cheating. That’s the truth. I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been with people who I’m worried are going to cheat and then they cheat on me. I’ve also been worried about them cheating and have cheated on them. (This was years ago! I haven’t cheated since college, and have learned my lesson!)

So what exactly is the silver lining of this? Knowledge. You know what they’re (likely) thinking, and with that can avoid them, if you are someone who wants monogamy. Or, if you’re someone who actually is more on the ethical non-monogamous spectrum, then you can talk to them about potentially having an open relationship.

Alright! Hopefully this helps if you’re feeling a little down or have had some struggles dating while bi. Keep your chin held high and don’t stop putting yourself out there.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.