Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
I feel excluded by both gays and straights everywhere because I am bisexual! I often get put down, as if I don't exist, or as if I am just fooling myself and am really gay.
So, my life is lonely! What can I do?
Being left out on both sides is doubly rough. It is ironic that some gay people exclude you because they do not understand your bisexual orientation. Hang in there. Do not blame yourself. What kinds of people are you surrounding yourself with? Maybe the gay and straight people you know are just uninformed about bisexuality. Perhaps networking in more bi-friendly gay and straight circles is the key. Seek organizations that draw such people and make new bisexually affirming friends there. If you feel this is more of a universal problem, then there are a couple of choices.
You can make a conscious decision to let new people know a little about you first as a person before you tell them you are bisexual. This is not in a shameful, internalized homophobic sense, but rather as a way to work with peoples existing bisexual prejudices which leave you feeling like you do not belong. It does not mean they are right, but it acknowledges the problem exists. As they get to know you over time they will see you as a person who is bisexual and not as a bisexual person. This will enable them to like you, trust you and prove their stereotypes wrong. This can be powerful. It does not mean you have to hide your bisexuality either. Come out fully, but over time when it's safe. If the first thing that people know about you is that you are bi, then they may see you through their lens of what they think a bisexual is, and be less likely to see you clearly for who you are.
While safer, this may be too close to being in the closet and catering to homophobia for some. We would never suggest a straight person wait to disclose their sexual orientation!
So, on the other hand, if you want to be open about who you are from the go and not be attached to how people respond, then you need to make the shift to turn it around for yourself where you are empowered instead of the target. Educate people head on with pride, both gay and straight, about what it really means to be bisexual. Share how discrimination has hurt you. You can make change one person at a time. Meanwhile, be patient, be yourself and remember to befriend yourself too. Joining a bisexual support group may also help you now.
I have been in relationships before where my partner cheated on me. I have been with my current partner for a little over two years now and things are going well. I don't think he has been cheating. Though he has not given me any reason to believe it, I still have an almost compulsive fear that he is not being faithful. What can I do?
Dear Possibly Paranoid,
I am sorry you were betrayed in the past. It is understandable that you would be cautious in your next relationship. After all, you do not want to be cheated on again. It hurts deeply and takes time to heal. At the same time, you must recognize that you are with a new man now. From what you write, there are no signs that he is cheating. But you write that you are still paranoid that he is cheating. This is a false expectation.
You seem to be holding on to the conclusion of what you believe is there, rather than seeing what is really there. This blocks deeply connecting with your boyfriend in the now. Maybe that is desirable because you were hurt in the past. Unconsciously, creating some distance between you and your boyfriend keeps you safer. That way, your unconscious may believe he cannot hurt you like guys did in the past. But is a suspicious mind what you really want as the backdrop of your relationship? Loving inherently involves some degree of risk because we have to trust to love. The only other option is to wall ourselves off from others.
Your boyfriend can only control that he is trustworthy. Whether or not you trust him, is up to you. Deciding to trust someone involves balancing your life experience with their character, reputation and track record with you. Yet in the end all trusting has a degree of unknown risk. It requires faith in the person you are trusting. This is particularly true for fidelity. That may be why it is referred to as being faithful. Ultimately, trust is a precious and beautiful gift of faith that we give another person. It is the foundation of any relationship. Without it, a partner is likely to feel suffocated. When you are ready, my wish for you is that you can choose to give that gift again, giving your faithful partner a chance to heal you.
Angelo Pezzote, MA
For more information, visit www.askangelo.com.