Ask Bish – Should I Tell Her I’m Bisexual

Advice for a guy on whether to tell a girl they are bisexual.

I am a bisexual guy and I have enjoyed many times being with other guys however I’m currently in a relationship with a girl, what do I do? Should I tell her that I’m bisexual or should I not tell her?

Hi there

Thanks for your really interesting question. I’m not sure that I can tell you whether you should tell her or not – this is your call really (I don’t think you have to tell her) – but I’ll hopefully give you some stuff to think about.

What we see and what we show

We don’t tell everyone everything about us before we get together with someone. In a relationship I think we project an image of ourselves for the other person to see, but also the other person sees what they want to see. We highlight our best bits, particularly those bits we think they want to see. So a lot of this is about assumptions …

Assumptions (on both sides)

Perhaps she has assumed that you are straight? People forget about bisexuality because it’s a pretty invisible sexual orientation in the media and society in general (despite their being more bisexual people than gay or lesbian people and that loads of people not exclusively straight). Perhaps she’s projecting this image of you being straight onto you because she has an idea in her head about what a boyfriend for her might look like. Perhaps though you might have done the same? Maybe she doesn’t think you’re straight? Maybe she’s bisexual too?

Without talking you’re guessing

So without talking about it you’re only really guessing. When we talk about things and find out more about someone it can possibly bring us closer together. When we reveal any part of ourselves to someone there’s a risk they might not like it – particularly if it’s very different to the image in their heads. This is a risk which we all take when we get closer to someone and it’s why some relationships end (*sad face*), but it’s also how some relationships get really strong and really intimate.

You’re already revealing other stuff about yourself to her. This is going to make telling her the bisexuality bit harder as time goes on because there is more at stake. Also people are often really good at sensing that something isn’t quite right. She might sense that there’s something you’re not telling her. We give off loads of non-verbal clues when we’re uncomfortable about something or trying to hide something.

Honesty?

So in many ways this is just about honesty. If you hold back something you may run the risk of not feeling really close but you may also run the risk of it all ending really horribly if she doesn’t like what she hears (more on this in a bit).

It kinda sounds like I’m advising you to tell her, but I’m not. Honesty might not be something that you both think is important. You might be totally happy not knowing stuff about her and you the same. Also there are many good reasons why you might be a bit worried about telling her you are bisexual.

She may be a bigot

It’s a sad fact that not everyone in the world is very clued up on bisexuality. It’s also a sad fact that many people are very biphobic. They may believe that bisexual people ‘can’t make their minds up’ or ‘are just gay/lesbian but can’t admit it to themselves’ or ‘are more likely to want to sleep around with other people behind your back’ all of this is total bullshit of course. However some people have these views and it’s one of the reasons that people who are bisexual have such a tough time with their mental health. More on this here and here

So I’m not saying that this girl is a bigoted idiot: but she might be. Going back to the honesty thing, if it turns out that she is really anti-bi then you’ve been seeing someone that probably wasn’t right for you. That might really hurt if you thought she really was.

She might not be a bigot but may be clumsy

I wonder whether you have told anyone else that you’re bisexual? How did it go down? What was their initial reaction? How did that make you feel? Did their reaction change over time? Were they not very supportive at the beginning?

If we’ve had a bad experience telling something about ourselves then it’s totally understandable that we may not want to tell anyone else. If you experienced biphobia in the form of bullying, harassment, constant piss taking, or just not being given any support at all then you might not want to repeat that.

However sometimes people’s reactions can be a bit weird at first. Particularly if they aren’t very informed about the subject. They may mean well and try to be supportive but it may not look like that. The person you’re telling might question you, or ask you to explain or justify yourself, or they might deny it, or suggest that you might be wrong. Often our first response to someone when they tell us something big is not our best response. The surprise/shock of hearing something like this may make us say something pretty douchey.

So you may have to be prepared for stuff like this – obviously none of this is your fault (I blame society, man) – we shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on what we think is ‘normal’ or ‘common’.

Tips on how to tell her (if you want to)

Find a way of doing it so that you both have enough privacy and time to be able to discuss it. So bad ways to do it might be:

  • in the cinema just as the trailers end “at last the film’s about to start. Those adverts are so annoying aren’t they? Help yourself to my popcorn. I’m bisexual. Shhh!”
  • at a party or club where there is loud music and other people around.

Try to do it in a way that you feel you would both be comfortable doing and remember it may not be just one conversation and may not involve talking. You could chat about this stuff via IM or BBM (probably good to know that they are online so they will respond to you quickly, if you send a text they might not see it or their phone might die and you’ll be left hanging for a response) and then chat about it in more depth when you’re together.

You may also want to tell a friend that you’re about to do it so you have some back up if it all goes wrong afterwards. With this in mind maybe late at night might not be the best time to do it.

So I think it’s totally your call. It depends whether you think this is an honesty thing and whether this is important to you. It also depends on the risks for you and your relationship if you do tell her.

Whatever you decide I hope this helps.

Justin (Bish)

You might find these links over at the awesome Scarleteen very useful, this, this, and this.

 


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