I am pleased to offer an insightful article from my partner, Lianna Walden. People are often curious about her side of the story. I think this is very helpful for those dealing with their partner’s coming out.
What did this mean for me?
The husband I thought I knew completely changed before my very eyes. Suddenly everything about our marriage, our relationship, our sex life and our friendship was put into question. I felt as if my life was turned upside-down.
I could see that it had been difficult for him to tell me. He had spent many years tormenting himself about his desire for men, then hiding and suppressing his feelings until he could no longer keep his inner truth locked inside. He was willing to risk everything to be authentic, even though he was terrified of my reaction: afraid I may leave him; take the kids; tell everyone what had happened. It was also evident that telling me left him incredibly relieved, almost elated.
Freeing himself from his secret had released a massive amount of stress. For my husband, telling me he was bisexual was the end of a long process. For me however, this was the beginning of mine.
Now that I knew, what was I going to do about it?
I took a number of days to digest what had just happened. We talked, argued, cried. I asked many questions which he tried his best to answer. I just could not shake the thought that he had secretly created a whole separate erotic world away from me. I felt left out, not trusted, separate from him. I wondered about where he had been, when, with whom and what he had done. More importantly I did not understand why he had not confided in me?
I was going crazy, circling around and around.
It was then I knew I had to make a very serious choice: either I would leave him so that I did not have to deal with his bisexuality and indiscretions; or I would stay, which meant fully supporting him and making our relationship work within this new paradigm. I loved him. We were good together. We had created a life with children, a dog, cats, house, memories, and experiences. After fifteen years of marriage here he was, exploring his sexuality. I knew that I was also an explorer and that I wanted the same. Could we do it together? So I decided I would stay and risk it all too.
I was now part of the exploration.
In order to accommodate his man to man desires it would mean freeing each other to experiment. I didn’t want to put more restrictions on him with the line, “I will stay with you, but if you have sex with a man one more time, I will … (not sure what that would have been)”. Instead I wanted to accept him and try to and make it work. With this meant changing our relationship, our thoughts about our marriage and turning into a very different couple.
For me this transition had to be drastic and new; a fresh start; leaving all that had happened behind us. I was terrified but I knew this was the only way we could move forward and accommodate his bisexuality. At the same time I was awakened.
At 44 years old, I was going to begin discovering my own sexuality!
Monogamy had always seemed daunting to me. I had loved him and wanted to be together but when I thought about having sex with only him for the next 20, 30, 40 years down the road, it felt very restrictive and confining. I wondered if we could keep our passion strong for each other for the rest of our lives? My experimentation up to this point had been limited to a monogamous-heterosexual configuration. Now being faced with allowing my own desires to surface, I felt lost. What turns me on? Women? Other men? Couples? I had no idea.
It took time to work through limitations I had put on myself and the fears about allowing myself this freedom. I am a wife. I am a mother of two children. People saw us as a normal, heterosexual couple. Could I allow myself to be a sexually explorative woman as well? I was determined to allow this part of myself surface. I wanted to open up as he had, seeing where this journey would take me.
Your husband being bisexual does not have to be a life-threatening, relationship-ending situation. This is an opportunity to start developing a more communicative, loving relationship. Most of us want this and when a partner comes out with intimate information, you are in a place where you can start creating it.
Exposing your own desires and knowing the innermost desires of your partner creates more intimacy in the relationship. This is an amazing thing. Every risk I took in exposing myself around my desires caused me to grow and for our relationship to strengthen. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that he has not lost his desire for you and most importantly he does not want to lose you.
Here are some questions to stimulate thought as you embark on creating a new relationship.
1. What do you know about bisexuality? This took me a while to truly grasp. Was he just testing the waters with men, a desire that would go away at some point? I couldn’t digest what this dual desire meant. I’ve really only ever had a desire for one sex. He made a comment to me one day that helped me understand, “You can’t understand me having a desire for both men and women, but for the life of me I can’t understand how you do not.”
It became clearer to me that we had different desires, that’s it. We are not always drawn to the same things. And that’s OK. In actuality the differences make it all the more exciting. And talking about those differences, accepting them, exploring within them and allowing them opens you to this incredible adventure called life.
2. Is bisexuality the real issue in your relationship? Being afraid to tell you about his desires, relates to the fear and inability to communicate. He may say things you do not want to hear. That is what communication in a relationship is all about: being open and allowing each other to express anything without judgement.
Being vulnerable and revealing something intimate is an opportunity to start having real, honest, raw dialogue about sex, about desires, about fantasies. These are steps towards creating more intimacy which will then allow you to move forward in your relationship.
3. Who are you sexually? You may be a mother, sister, wife, friend but who are you and what do you want to explore sexually? Any thoughts or desires you have are valid. You have to know that you are a sexual being and that you have every right to allow this part of you to grow in whatever way you want at whatever speed.
Sex is an energy women are taught to keep contained, whereas it is an ever-changing and powerful force which needs to be ignited and expanded. Women are naturally highly orgasmic and receptive. Unlocking that energy can be transformational.
This can actually be an exciting time for you.
I know that it is not easy. There are many layers of beliefs you need to work through, decisions and discussions you will have to embark upon. You are entering a marital situation people are not used to and have very little knowledge about. That is OK. Know clearly that this is your life. You can make the decisions about what you want even if everyone and everything around you tells you differently. There are no rules or manuals here. You have to feel what is right for you and your husband and head in that direction courageously.
My husband and I have now been married for 20 years. We have and continue to navigate though these undulating waters of marriage, monogamy, sexuality, honesty, jealousy and trust. Our love for each other has grown to a place we never imagined possible.
In order to keep moving forward I have a mantra:
I am a strong, understanding woman on an adventure;
I want him to be comfortable talking to me about his desires;
I also want to expose my desires and needs to him;
we are going to love each other for who we are;
we are going to stay together because we want to;
we will allow each other to continue growing and expanding throughout our relationship.
This has been working exceptionally well for me, and it can work for you too.
Lianna is a Sex and Relationship Coach. She has been helping people worldwide deal with their own erotic and sexual exploration.
Please contact her if you want to talk.