For some of you more professional or casual acquaintances who read this blog, if the details of my dating life are TMI, this might be a good place to stop … But for all my good friends, this is a coming out of sorts. Something’s been occupying my mind lately, and normally when that happens, I blog about it. This is one topic that’s been off limits, because it’s related to (~whispers) sex. And that’s just not something I normally talk about here. But it’s just as much about love, and friendship, and who I am. So I decided to just jump in. I’m interested in living an honest life – it’s pretty much the most important part of my philosophy these days. And just because my family and colleagues might be reading this (gulp) this can’t be nearly as hard as it was for my gay friends.
So here’s the out-of-the-closet part – I’m bi. I don’t mean this in a night out, just playing, bi-curious way. I’m talking life partners, lovers, friends, what have you. I’ve never felt the need to exclude an entire half of the population from any way that I might feel about anyone, just because of their gender. This feeling started in high school, and I’ve just gotten more confirmed in my certainty about it as I’ve gotten older. People are people, and I like, love, and am passionate about them because of who they are.
Here’s the weird thing. It’s hard to be seriously bi. It’s easy to be playfully bi, and have a lot of fun that way. But very few people take it seriously as an orientation. My husband never took it seriously when I had feelings for women, which could have been a real mistake on his part. But it seems most guys feel the same way – which makes it a little easier to be yourself, but at the same time, easier to have things become truly complicated. To most guys, it’s just a fantasy that they can’t really feel threatened by. They don’t seem to really understand that they could lose you to a woman just as easily as to another man.
At the same time, lesbian women generally won’t give you the time of day. I swear they’ve got some kind of radar that tells them that you’re not truly a dyke or whatever, committed to the lesbian cause and forsaking all men. Never mind that you might be a perfectly good life partner – because when I choose someone again, it will be just as much from the heart no matter what gender he or she is. Being bi doesn’t mean you’ll sneak off and be unfaithful with the other gender, though people do seem to think that.
I did have a couple of serious relationships with women in college, before I got married. None of them worked out, for various reasons. The first girl who really fell in love with me was only 16. When she decided she wasn’t going to go to college in order to stay where I was going to graduate school, that was the end of that. No matter how painful for her, I could never allow an intelligent young woman to end her career that way. The older woman I fell for turned out to be a closet alcoholic, and after a fair amount of abuse, I picked myself up and walked out of that one. The bi-curious women I fell for were always way more into men than me, which seems to be the main story of the women I’ve met since then.
I always thought that if my marriage ended I’d be interested in being with a woman next. Of course, it didn’t work that way – it’s the person that matters after all. So after a long and committed relationship with a man that I was very much in love with, I now find myself truly single again – and wondering how to even go about meeting women. Finding a good man is hard enough ;)
Or more precisely, how to let someone know I’m interested in her without risking offense and the end of a friendship. There just aren’t a lot of self-identified bi women out there, especially ones that aren’t already partnered. When I get interested in a woman, she’s almost always someone I’ve met through work or some other similar venue – and I have no clue how to start. All my life in that situation, I’ve chickened out. After all, the friendship is important to me, and there’s no reason to openly represent my orientation in that context. Unlike my gay friends who are out, the women around me have no reason to know I might even have an interest.
So I’m interested in hearing from all of you in the know out there – if you’re a straight or bi woman, how would you prefer to be approached? Has this ever happened to you, and how did you feel? If you’ve been the one doing the approaching, how did that go? For my gay and lesbian friends, any advice? (and do keep in mind, this is a family-friendly blog)