SL Letter of the Day: Monogamously Non-Monogamous
by Dan Savage
on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM
I need to ask for advice. I am straight and my boyfriend is bisexual. We have been together for three years. He told me he's bi about six months ago when we started discussing a longer term future together. He said he has felt bisexual as long as he can remember, and that he had always hoped it was something that would just go away. He has never had any kind of romantic or sexual experience with another man. When he first told me he was bisexual, he assured me that it did not make him any less attracted to me and that being together was enough for him, but recently, he found himself feeling that he has missed out by never having had an experience with a man. He was very afraid to tell me this because he thought I would be angry with him and want to break up.
Of course I don't. We both want to stay together because we both truly feel that we love each other, and we both want each other to be happy with our relationship. I want to help him accept himself, as he is very confused right now since his desire for men conflicts with his love for me and his desire to stay together in a monogamous relationship, and he says he feels very uncomfortable in his own skin. He has often had the feeling that something is wrong with him because he feels bisexual. I do not think there is anything wrong with him being attracted to men, just as I am sometimes attracted to other men—attraction is not always something you can control. However, he thinks that if I could find a way to feel comfortable with him occasionally sleeping with men, he would be able to satisfy these sexual desires. But I know I would not feel comfortable with that. He says he understands why I would feel hurt and betrayed by this, but says he has trouble relating because he would not feel that way were our positions reversed.
I think he is a beautiful person and I want him to be happy, no matter what that means, but I also want him to be happy with me in a monogamous relationship. How can I learn to accept his desire to be with men as a part of our relationship, and eventually be comfortable with him sleeping with a man if he feels he needs to? We are both really scared because we don't want to break up. But I am afraid that if we stay together monogamously, Dan, my not being able to satisfy his sexual desire for men will eventually become a wedge between us that will make him want to leave. I don't want him to feel restrained in our relationship, but I don't want to be hurt either.
Please let me know what you might tell a friend in this situation.
A Friend Really Asks Interested Dan
My response after the jump...
I'm probably not supposed to say this, but...
Over the years, AFRAID, I've occasionally gotten emails from men and women who thought they were bi—until they had their first same-sex experience. The reality of same-sex fuckinandsuckin didn't match their fantasies of same-sex-fuckinandsuckin. This isn't always always the case, of course; I'd say this happens only rarely. People generally know what they want even if they haven't had it yet. I knew I was gay long before I had anyone else's dick in my mouth. But there's a small chance your boyfriend isn't bi, AFAID, which means his confession isn't the relationship-extinction-level event you fear it is. But you'll have to let him go and sleep with a dude—you'll have to give him a get-out-of-monogamous-commitment-free card—to find that out if you boyfriend is one of those rare bi-only-in-their-erotic-imagination types.
But let's say he is bisexual—and he probably is (again: people generally know what they want even if they haven't had it yet)—does the idea that he's bi turn you on at all? Even a little bit? The thought of seeing him with another dude do anything for you? Because if it did, AFRAID, having the odd threeway with another bi guy would allow you two to explore your boyfriend's bisexual side together.
I remember reading a study of same-sex male couples in long-term monogamous relationships a few years back. It turned out that many of these monogamous gay couples were having threeways. None of these couples viewed threeways as violations of their monogamous commitments because they were only having sex with other people together. Maybe the same sort of arrangement could that work for you?—Dan
Thanks for your reply, this advice really means a lot. I wish it turned me on for the sake of loving him, but as much as I think about it, it doesn't—not yet at least. But your advice made me realize I'd been thinking of his bisexuality in exclusive terms—the thought of threeways had never occurred to me. It makes sense that a couple could do a threeway because they could stay together while exploring that way. It may be something we can do further down the road. Thanks.—AFRAID