Sabine Waldeck gives her take on being in a heterosexual relationship as a bisexual woman and how this leads to attempted erasure of her sexuality.
Being straight is considered the norm, and so it’s always assumed that you’re straight. Straight until proven gay. Especially when you’re dating someone of the opposite sex- but that doesn’t always mean you’re straight, such as in my case. I’m bisexual, and I’ve had my bisexuality questioned on multiple occasions since I started dating a guy. Being bisexual in a relationship with the opposite sex is filled with a lot of weird moments when other people, typically the guy’s friends, find out that you’re bisexual.
When you start dating someone, you are brought into their world, and that includes their inner circle. These meetings are stressful enough, but the pressure of disclosing your sexuality when you’re in a heteronormative relationship just increases it tenfold; most of the time you are met with awkward responses.
I remember the first time my sexuality was brought up to my boyfriend’s friends. We were all hanging out and somehow the topic of girls being gay came up in the conversation and I mentioned that I was bisexual. This was promptly followed with one of his friends telling my boyfriend, “Oh you must be a lucky man.” When I asked him what he meant by that, he responded with an awkward string of broken sentences that translated to something along the lines of “bi girls are more likely to have threesomes.” Let me just say this: being bi does not mean you are more sexually promiscuous nor does it mean that threesomes are more likely to be an option when in a relationship. That depends on the people in the relationship and the boundaries they are comfortable making, as is with all relationships, regardless of sexuality of those involved. After he said this I tried to mask my increasing frustration with humor and made some joke on how that's not true for everyone, but it was clear he wasn’t actually listening to what I was saying.
Another time, I said the lesbian slur “dyke” when singing a song, and was called out by another one of my boyfriend’s friends saying that I shouldn’t be saying that. I responded by telling him I was bisexual, and the formerly smug look on his face transformed into one complete with wide eyes and an open mouth. After a brief silence in which he said nothing and simply stood there with the same expression on his face, I asked him why he looked like that. I watched as he tried to laugh his reaction off, but I knew how uncomfortable my comment had made him, and he just didn’t know how to respond. While I knew this friend had no qualms with my sexuality, I still couldn’t help but be upset with his reaction. It was not the fact that he didn’t know what to say that got under my skin, but instead the pure shock on his face. I was bothered by him being so taken aback that I did not fit into his preconceived notion of who I was.
Unfortunately, these proved to not be isolated incidents, but ones that continue to happen, each leaving me frustrated than the last. The comments and looks I receive from these instances no longer shock me, but still affect me in ways that I never expected. I’m used to people being a bit taken back by my sexuality as I’m not the stereotypical image of a lesbian/ bisexual, but I didn’t realize how much more intense these reactions would be when I got into a relationship with a man. I can’t help but feel invalidated by the stereotypes that are put onto me and my sexuality. While I’m comfortable in my relationship, there are still waves of discomfort when having to explain myself to those that respond with less than satisfactory remarks. I learned from these experiences that we need to accept peoples sexualities regardless of who they’re in a relationship with; straight isn’t the norm anymore.