Dear Dr. Hurd,
I am a straight male who is attracted to a woman who is bisexual. She is also attracted to me. I want a committed, monogamous relationship, but am uneasy about making such a commitment with her because I feel she will always want a woman, too. Can you give me some advice?
Dr. Hurd replies:
Your reservations are likely right. A truly bisexual woman will always want a woman as well as a man. In my experience, however, most people who label themselves “bisexual” are really homosexual. The label, while not a deliberate lie, often serves as a transitional, subconscious means of helping them accept their homosexuality.
If she is truly bisexual, then you should ask yourself if you can accept the fact that your partner (and perhaps your future spouse) can also be fulfilled by a woman. Does it threaten you, or make you insecure — or can you live with it? The true bottom line is this: Does she have integrity? Or is she capable of sneaking off with somebody else, man OR woman?
This kind of situation isn’t as different as you might think. For everyone, gay or straight, it’s not necessarily the case that their choice of partner will meet their every single need. Many relationships face this pressure and succeed in spite of it.
In order to avoid being a transitional “phase” if your girlfriend is actually moving towards homosexuality, I suggest you do what everyone should do anyway: Take the time to get to know her. Let the relationship develop over several years. Don’t rush into anything. Take it slowly.
Don’t waste your time worrying about “the psychology of a bisexual.” Instead, explore HER psychology; her character and her values. Her sexuality is secondary to whether she’s the kind of person who will cheat on you. Above all, don’t commit to a life with her unless she demonstrates that she’s trustworthy and genuinely wants to spend her life with you.
Of course, it’s always better to be with someone who’s certain of his or her sexual orientation, assuming that it’s considered out of context and isolated from other things that make a partner desirable. But if this woman is special enough, she might actually be the one for you. She might be a better partner than another individual who, while less complicated in that respect, is not as well matched in values, tastes and interests.
As with any life decision, open your eyes and consider the risks. Your own security is important in a situation like this. In other words, you have to believe you’re attractive and desirable enough to be a viable alternative to another man or a woman. And if you think about it, the situation is the same for everybody. If you’re married to a heterosexual woman, how do you know that you’ll not lose her to another man? If you’re secure with yourself, then you’re confident that what you have to offer is sufficient to help her resist temptation.
Variations in sexuality are far less understood than conventional and medical opinion (note the word, “opinion”) on the subject suggests. It’s more reliable to look at someone’s character and the choices they make under pressure. These sorts of things tell you much more about someone as a potential partner or spouse.
All that being said, you might say to yourself, “Why make life more complicated than it has to be? I should find someone who knows what she wants.” That makes perfect sense. But you have to decide if this woman is, in fact, confused, or if you really are what she wants. After all, if she wants to be committed to one person, it’s going to be either a man or a woman. If you’re the one who she’s thinking of settling down with, then try to find out what makes her feel that way.
Plenty of women who aren’t confused about their sexual orientation are confused about the kind of man (or woman) they want. That’s why it’s so important to understand why your partner loves you. Do that, and you’ll better understand everything about her.
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