I get way more email than I can keep up with. It’s quite flattering, actually…(“ME? you’re asking ME? *squee*)
I’m glad yall trust me with your secrets and stories. I am going to try to address your email directly here throughout the week. I’m happy to offer my input or perhaps lay out some different perspectives to help you make the best choice for yourself. If I post your email, rest assured, it will be 100% anonymous.
Hey Laci. I’ve been dating this wonderful woman for over a year now. I know that she is bi, but it’s hasn’t been a problem until recently. She has mentioned to me that she wants to explore her sexuality and be with a woman. I have no actual problem with that act, hypothetically, but what I do have a problem with is the fact that we’re in a relationship, which should imply a matter of devotion, right? We didn’t go into our relationship looking for something polyamorous or anything of that sort (I think we both want our relationship to remain monogamous). What I’m getting to, is I want to let my girlfriend find out who she is sexually, but I also… sorta don’t. I know that sounds terrible to say, but I don’t see how it would be any different for me to “explore” my sexuality and be with another woman. (I’m not saying I want to do that; I really do love my girlfriend to pieces) Should she get special privilege because she’s bi?
Sounds like you’re having a head/heart brainfuck.
Totally understandable. It’s a tricky situation you’re trying to handle here.
Having new experiences and figuring out what you want sexually is very important–bi, straight, pan, gay, whatever you might be. I’m not sure that I’d called that “special privileges”, but it can certainly feel that way.
Let’s talk about that “devotion” word. It seems that, often, “devoted” relationships lack the flexibility necessary to accommodate our evolving needs & sexual interests. In other words, your gf’s desire to try it out with a woman doesn’t necessarily mean she is less interested/devoted to you. In my experience, maintaining a healthy, satisfying relationship sometimes involves a little flexibility to keep everyone happy. I’m not saying that committed relationships should be a free-for-all, just that some boundaries might change over time. Additionally, a little openness and trust to step outside of your comfort zone together may not hurt as badly as you think….granted, you approach it thoughtfully and maintain honest communication with each other in how you’re feeling about it all.
If she’s curious and wants to explore her orientation, that’s something that should be addressed. That said, your needs should be addressed too. If you don’t want to be in an open relationship, you don’t have to be.
Here are some questions I would be asking if I were in your shoes: What is it that she’s expecting in a new arrangement? Does she want to have an emotional relationship with other women? Sexual? Both? Does she plan to stay with you while this is happening? What are her expectations for your relationship?
What compromises could the two of you make so that both your needs are met?
Here are some (likely obvious) possibilities in this situation given the info you sent:
1) Open the relationship. I know you are averse to this idea, but this way you won’t have to split and she can explore for a bit. It might help to ease into it. Chew on the idea for a little while and get comfortable before you jump in.
2) Share. If you are both open to it, you could share the sex/relationship experience of bringing someone new into her life. Then, she gets to try it out and you are not left out.
3) Take a break. Give each other some air. You do what you need to do, she does what she needs to do. Reconvene when you’re ready.
4) Split. If you are not digging the situation, you have every right to leave the relationship. But, yknow…that can suck.
It may also help to explore your own internal conflict on this a little more.
1) What is uncomfortable about your gf having experiences with other women? Does it make you feel insecure? Inadequate? Cheated? Jealous? Is it unfair?2)How can you turn those uncomfortable feelings into something more palatable? (i.e. if it makes you feel insecure, how could she offer extra love and support during this period so that you still feel valued & wanted?)
I hope these questions help get the brain juice flowin’ and the conversation goin’ so you can work through the situation together.
Have something more to add? Experiences? Strategies? Encouragement? Share your thoughts with us in the comment thread. :)