The breakup was terrible. I cheated on him and lied about it for months. I finally told him the truth, answering his oft-repeated inquiries about my infidelity with a final, fateful "Yes." Yet we remained locked in a toxic back-and-forth, shouting insults at each other for another month.
Late one night, in a parking lot, after spending an angry hour on the phone, I made a decision that was an act of mercy for both of us: I decided never to speak to him again. And I didn't -- that is, until my phone buzzed with a text message from a name I never expected to see on my screen again: "Do you want to get coffee?"
I did. I needed to tell him I was sorry; he needed to tell me how much I hurt him. We both needed to hug. Since that day, I've reflected on the lessons the relationship taught me, and what I learned from him because he was bisexual.
Bisexual people are not predisposed to infidelity. I was the cheater -- not him. Sure, he may have technically had more options than me. He was drawn to men and women, while I was only drawn to men, but that didn't make him any more promiscuous or untrustworthy than the next guy. Far from it. In fact, he was unbearably monogamous and loyal to a fault. This led to his heartache, since he was trying to date me: a gay guy who's not monogamously inclined, a guy who was too immature at the time to say, "Hey, I'm not really looking for a relationship."
There remains this bizarre notion that someone who is attracted to multiple genders will inevitably miss having sex with people of the gender they're not currently sleeping with and will therefore cheat. Even if a bisexual person cheats, it's hardly evidence that bisexuality leads a person to infidelity -- no more than my cheating is evidence that homosexuality makes homosexuals cheat. At most, it's evidence that the cheater is not presently cut out for monogamous dating.
Bisexuality is real. Yes, he truly was attracted to both men and women. His claim to bisexuality wasn't a transitional phase or halfway point between straight and gay.
I understand where this misconception comes from. Many gay guys (myself included) claim to be bisexual as our first "baby step" out of the closet. We're too scared to swing the door all the way open with a fabulous "We're here!"
Unfortunately for my ex, and other bisexual men and women, those of us who use a bisexual identity as a "halfway house" contribute to the widespread negative notion that anyone who identifies as bi is actually a flimsy, half-hearted gay man or lesbian. It's one reason why so many bisexuals -- my ex included -- feel excluded from the LGBT movement.
Let's acknowledge the real blame lies with queers like me who didn't fully come out in the beginning. Our temporary claims of bisexuality damage the credibility -- and the dating field -- of those whose bisexuality is far from temporary.
You can't get nervous when they watch porn. My ex watched lesbian porn one night and it made me really uncomfortable. The whole time I thought, Oh no! I can't give that to him. He's going to want to date a girl after this. It was childish, but the feeling is understandable: He was clearly attracted to something I would never be able to offer him, and I feared that unmet desire would cause him to seek satisfaction elsewhere.
First of all, porn is fantasy, and although there's very little I won't try once (or twice), I do watch porn that sometimes depicts things I would be hesitant to try in real life. So the action of watching doesn't necessarily translate to a prediction of what someone is going to do later. And even if someone (of any orientation) does want to go out and meet that desire, if they're a good partner, they will talk to you about it first and see what you're willing to accommodate. And if you're a good partner, you will listen to them without immediately getting upset or defensive.
A difference in sexual orientation doesn't need to be a deal-breaker. I've heard many, many people -- gay and straight alike -- say they wouldn't date a bisexual person. Although I understand some differences to be deal-breakers (vastly oppositional religious beliefs or political leanings come to mind), I can't understand why the difference between gay or straight and bisexual is such a no-go for so many.
My ex and I had many differences that made us incompatible, but our different orientations were hardly the reason we split. In actuality, our orientations slightly overlapped. Like a Venn diagram, our relationship existed in the purple area between his bisexual red and my gay blue.
Bisexuals get hurt just as much as the rest of us. I could attempt to rationalize my cheating and say that I did it because I thought, as a bisexual, he would rebound fast with a girl or hit his (larger) playing field with a vengeance. But really, those would be excuses. I cheated because I was horny, and I lied about it because I didn't want him to know, and by telling him the truth -- months after the fact, and long overdue -- I hurt him deeply. That hurt had nothing to do with his sexual orientation and nothing to do with his place in the LGBT acronym. He was hurt because he was in love. It's the worst I've ever hurt someone, and that realization made me take a hard look at my choices and my actions. In the long run, our relationship changed me for the better -- at his expense.
Over the course of the breakup, I started a blog called The Beastly Ex-Boyfriend(referring to myself), where I'd write about gay life from the perspective of "that guy you probably still hate."
I'm no longer writing the blog for him, and I hope it helped me become a little less beastly. I had been nervous about dating a bi person and was initially filled with jealous insecurity every time I thought about the fact that he was noticing women too. It took a while to learn that my insecurity was on me, and my nervousness was misplaced. His bisexuality would be no threat to us, but my recklessness and insecurity were.