Today we will be talking about a topic “How to navigate when your Partner or You are Bi-sexual“. This article is in no way my endorsement of any lifestyle but it’s simply my way of speaking about a problem many families are slowly dying under it’s burden.
“I’m not pro anyone. I’m simply the guy sitting and observing it all as it unfolds”. – Temple Obike
A short story: Richard and Mary (both fictitious names) are the perfect couple, have two lovely kids, a rottweiler named woofy and live in a sweet part of town. Their 9-year old son has Mary’s piercing eyes, just became class captain and is on the schools soccer team. Their pretty 13-year old daughter is blessed with her daddy’s rich mahogany skin tone, the perfect daddy’s baby girl, a budding champion in inter-school debates whose now getting into her Senior Secondary level next session. Sharp as a pin too. Richard is an accomplished real estate mogul, Fresh boy, GQ muscular with loads of friends and the life of the party all day everyday. Mary, is an ace event planner with her own event centre in the upscale part of town, a fashionista in every sense of the word and a lovely sight on most red carpets.. They are both in their mid-forties with their whole lives ahead of them. The thing is…
Richard is gay and hasn’t told anyone about it and Mary since high school has been into girls as well as guys and the older she gets, the more she finds out those desires are not leaving her. Infact she’s seen it as a necessary way to spice up her marital life when it looks like her husband isn’t too into it. The worst part for both of them are that IT IS A CRIME TO EXPRESS ANY OF THOSE LIFESTYLES IN THEIR COUNTRY & the community is predominantly unforgiving about such reveals.
The story is pure fiction but the lifestyle choices depicted are a conversation i have every other month and a reality in the society we now live in. Men and women in their forties and fifties are becoming bi-curious with the ones who already established that personal fact looking for ways to express it in a geography where it’s a crime punishable with jail time. When faced with stress, humans revert to their default state. Facades are dropped, fronts are abandoned and pretense dissolves. This has been a period of great self-illumination for some but for many, It’s been a stressful period. A habit or way of life looks manageable until you have to stay in one place for too long with no room to indulge or maneuver.
What do you do when you wake up one day and discover that your spouse is bi-sexual. lesbian or gay? How do you handle the associated emotions? for the fella’s this may sound like a “T-pain” – My girls got a girlfriend music video scene while for some women, an opportunity to live out a “menage a trois” fantasy that’ll save them from a sexually frustrating relationship. Well, maybe it is all those at the beginning for some but not always for too long in many instances. I’ve seen the pain in the eyes of men and women when the novelty starts to wear off. It’s a pain that leads to resentment, rage & murderous intent. This article is here to help both the bi-sexual who is confused and the depressed heterosexual navigate this tough period post-discovery.
This may well be one of the hardest pieces i’ve had to write till date but the recent pains and deceits in families is becoming alarming. I’d rather be on the right side of the truth & my glass of Vodka than the right side of a lie and deception.
THE “HALF-WAY” LONELY ROAD: BI-SEXUALITY | PAN-SEXUALITY
Most Bisexuals live in a tough unforgiving space between fitting into lesbian, gay or heterosexual communities. Although recent arguments and research on this topic has shown that attraction to just one gender is becoming less common,many bisexuals want to believe they are passing through a phase or a middle-ground where they can stop rather than coming out as fully gay or lesbian. Some of them were born with a particular mix-up of hormones that labelled them from infancy. Trapping them in a body that’s foreign to their obvious gender (an article will treat this in detail). Infact, it becomes harder for them because it’s not just straight individuals who make it tough for them. Even all-out gay and lesbian individuals see them as big fakes living in denial. So they are on a half-way road in the middle of nowhere.
So when a mono-sexual partner discovers that their partner is bi or pan after they’re already in a marriage, these are some of the steps to take if both partners are looking at overcoming this challenge.
For The Monosexual “Hurt” Partner;
A) Fight The Rage – The first thing i notice with clients who have been caught up in this is the rage. The fact that they have been deceived, dragged into a world they never anticipated and have become potential targets for ridicule from an unforgiving society. For most of the affected, especially in a country like Nigeria and across African countries where being in a gay relationship is still a crime, they feel like accessories to a crime.
Solution: Prior to finding this out, there was a reason you married this man or woman in the first place. Focus on it. The fact that they could not mention this means they were afraid of something. Connect with them and fight the urge to sink into your own anguish. Become a pillar of support and draw them outward because most bi-sexuals would love to discuss their lifestyle but the fear of perception keeps them back. Support Your partner and give them room to express everything. Let them talk to you about events starting from the first time they felt that tilt up until the point they came out.
B) Fight The Jealousy – You have been Mother Theresa or the Pope of Mars listening with rapt attention to them despite the confusion bludgeoning you on the inside. The second wave is that jealousy may consume you. You start feeling insecure because somewhere in your head, bi-sexual individuals are more promiscous than monosexuals. This is a myth many have erroneously believed because bisexuals don’t seem to have any sexual boundaries. This my friend becomes the root of your worry. In extreme cases, the hurt monosexual partner may embark on “bi-erasure”. This is when the monosexual partner absolves themself from all feelings of failure by saying the bi-partner is either gay or lesbian meaning they couldn’t have done anything to help. This further pushes away the one who came out because the reality in a lot of my cases showed that most bisexuals needed a heterosexual relationship to fully convince themselves of their sexual tilt.
Solution: In society, women are given more room to explore their bisexuality than men because it seems to be in-line with their nature. However two men all over each other may not seem so cute to society but truth remains that both need to be sure before they embark on the very important next step next step. Curb the jealousy that wants to imagine all the various groups your partner could fit into due to their preference. Jealousy will make you shut them out. Listen to them and assimilate everything.
C) Turn Assumptions to Questions – Before all of this happened, the monosexual partner might have had some particular thoughts about gay people or bisexuals. These stories will come to haunt you, take sleep from you and make you distance yourself from the partner who just came out. This will also push them further away from you.
Solution – Everything you had heard about bisexual, gay or lesbians need to be put on hold. Many uninformed myths about being gay, lesbian or bisexual are constantly being peddled in society. Ask your partner questions and get direct answers from them, Avoid assumptions. Every time you start feeling anger or resentment towards the bi-sexual partner, turn the assumption into a question because that way you shut anger out because a question by itself opens up your “Neo-cortex” (the part of your brain responsible for logic) and shuts out the “Mammalian brain” (the part responsible for expressing raw emotions”).
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For the Bi-Sexual Partner;
No worries, no fears. You just said something that has most probably affected your esteem all your life, affected your ability to fit in properly, affected certain choices you made and affected your ability to enjoy the relationship with your husband or wife. Don’t expect everything to be okay immediately. However, it would do you good to understand that this always ends in three ways especially in Africa and Nigeria.
You and Your Partner may decide to hide this secret for the rest of your lives and present a united front (maybe out of the fear of perception, disappointing family members, attracting disgrace, penal action from the government or criticism from your immediate religious community etc)
You and your partner may decide to explore the opportunities of migrating outside the country to a country where you could explore mixed gender relationship community integrations.
You and your partner could get a divorce if these are irreconcilable or decide to live separately.
I’ve spoken to lots of couples and individuals who revealed their “bi-sexual” tilt and i will write out some of the things they usually face. Having said this, here’s something for you.
A) Exercise Patience & Be totally Honest – Its not an easy thing for your partner when you come out as bisexual especially if you got caught. Your first impulse will be to explain everything all at once or even make it seem that this was a one time trial of curiosity.
Solution: It will take time for your partner to get to the “phase of acceptance” concerning this new aspect of your identity. Make them understand you are willing to help them go through this process. While doing this, speak to a friendly LGBT-friendly therapist near you, engage yourself in a book or simply talk to a “trusted” friend/family member (If i’m honest, the last part about friend and family member should be your last resort. If your partner is yet to recover, you might just scar someone else who suddenly may start finding it difficult on how to relate with you and resort to hiding or telling someone else to lessen the burden on them. Giving you more than one ish to handle”). There’s a personal story under that describes what could ensue when we confide in friends.
As a 12-year old, i remember playing a “tell-your-fantasy game” with a friend’s 17-year old sister and when i found out her fantasy was to smoke while kissing her girl-friends, i avoided her for a full 3 years until we moved out of the neighborhood”. My closure came just 7 years ago when we finally spoke and laughed it off. She had been bothered for so many years about how i perceived her despite us having moved on with our lives.
B) Keep Moving – The fact that you came out as bisexual does not mean you want to go ahead and explore. Although you just might considering all the risks (jail time being the most prominent of your worries🤓).
Solution – Regardless of the decision you and your partner decide to take, Don’t let it stop your entire life. Keep moving. Sexuality is just an aspect of life albeit an important one but there are other equally relevant aspects. Just hold it together and keep moving.
C) Own Your Ish – This is who you found out you are , at least for now. Self-denial isn’t the way out. Remembering all the times you enjoyed having sex with someone of the opposite gender is one thing you may try recounting. Maybe you are still 51% heterosexual and 49% bisexual.
Solution – it’s in your best interest to first accept it (after-all you’ve been battling it for so long in private as part of the components of your shadow self) and then decide to work towards either moving towards exploration or getting therapy to start killing the feeling. Whatever your decision, self-acceptance is key. If you’ve battled this all your life and suddenly because it’s in the open you want to de-programme yourself on this reality, my advice is that you concentrate on the other suggestions for now and leave the de-programming or exploration for a professional therapist.
If you are struggling with bi-sexual emotions and yet-to-be married, my advice to you is to take out time and uncover what your real preference is because;
“bringing children into the world under the mask of a heterosexual relationship simply because you want to keep up an “heterosexual” act is sheer wickedness. No baby deserves to be embroiled in that level of deception”.
If you also happen to be someone who is exploring bi-sexuality for any of the reasons below;
Peer pressure or a need to blend in with a group of friends
Climbing the Career Ladder
Financial Gains etc.
There’s a street addage that say’s; “Surfing with a wave you picked yourself gets you killed quick”.
We’ll talk about this in another piece and understand that i’m always here.
As always, i hope this piece on “How to navigate when your Partner or You are Bi-sexual” helped someone somewhere unpack their emotions.Your struggle with bi-sexuality and the fact that heterosexuals, gay and lesbian communities perceive you in a strange way isn’t an all out condemnation. Knowledge they say is power but i say in it’s right application lies real mastery.
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials. Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.
Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.