When the topic of non-monogamy is broached in a relationship which was originally predicated upon monogamy (as is often the case with newly-discovered or uncovered bisexual desire), it can bring about the same kinds of strong emotional responses usually associated with breaking-up and ending a relationship, although this is not what is being proposed.
Depression, loss, self-loathing, anger, jealousy, devastation and feeling as if the whole world has come undone are often experienced. These feelings can come about even if nothing has happened and no one has “cheated” on their agreement. The response is even more pronounced when non-monogamous behaviour has been discovered unintentionally.
It’s interesting to note that both parties experience these feelings of loss – the ones who introduce the subject or commit the transgression, as well as their partners. They experience these feelings at different times, but they do experience them.
The cause of this intense emotional response is nothing less than the shattering of the One True Love mythology.
Up to that point the couple believed in the One True Love mythology, which states that there is one person on earth who will complete you; a Soul Mate who will be your everything; satisfy your every need, sexual and otherwise, from the time you meet each other in your youth till the day that death parts your ways in old age.
The rarified atmosphere of the One True Love mythology is much like living in a glass snow globe. When stating that monogamy is not working for them, by word or deed, consensually or not, one of the partners is admitting the they have sexual needs which in fact cannot be met by the other – which extend beyond the quaint little world inside the snow globe.
Smash! The glass is crushed, breaking the seal on their world of wonder. All the liquid comes pouring out, leaving the couple exposed to the harsh, natural elements of life outside a glass bubble. They writhe in pain like fish out of water; their skin too sensitive to the touch without a liquid enclosure; lungs straining for breath as they adjust to the unprotected atmosphere of life in a world where sexual desire and temptation know no bounds.
The revelation of sexual needs which extend beyond monogamous unions is one with which all of those in relationship with bisexuals who feel a need for more must contend.
The first thoughts which flood our confounded minds are along the lines of: “If I cannot satisfy all your sexual needs, then I am not enough: not sexy enough; not sexually pleasing enough; not attractive enough. If I cannot be all things sexual to you then I must be a failure as a partner, as a lover, as a person.”
We all have plenty of difficulties with feeling worthy, which is why this admission that the other has sexual needs which extend beyond you strikes so deeply and hurts so much. It’s easy to internalize this and see it as a personal failing, despite the fact that it is in no way such a statement.
Be aware that, as strong as these feelings of personal failure and lack are manifest in the receiver of this information, they are 10 times stronger in the bisexual person who has mustered up the courage to express their needs.
Both of you are at the mercy of the powerful forces known as authentic human sexual expression.
Despite what many believe, human sexuality is a vital, integral, non-negotiable aspect of Who We Really Are. Our authentic sexual expression is so important to us as individuals that we are willing to risk our loves, our friends, colleagues, relations, and in some cases our very lives to live our own truth. This is true of all sexual orientations.
Sexuality is not something you can keep in your pocket, put down, ignore, defy, deny, or escape. Its authentic expression need not be relationship-ending, life-threatening, lethal, wrong, shameful or feared.
Authentic bisexual expression can be easily accommodated within the bounds of a long-term, committed relationship of either homosexual or heterosexual nature. Bisexual desire is “in addition to”, not “exclusive of” our other sexual desire. This is not a denial of what is, but an expression of an expanded need.
Again, people of all sexual orientations discover they have authentic sexual needs which cannot be met within the confines of monogamy.
Monogamy is a human issue, not a bisexual issue. Monogamy is a lifestyle choice, sexuality is not. Monogamy is not morally superior, biologically natural, more important, emotionally easier or safer.
The One True Love mythology has run its course; the supporting evidence for its validity is non-existent. To believe that you will not change, that you will have the same wants and needs in your early twenties as you will in your early 60s is naive to say the least.
Allowing for sexual growth, freedom, expansion and exploration make life as a lifelong, committed couple sustainable for many. Whether this is at all desirable is another story; one for another post.