Being bisexual while in a heterosexual marriage

bisexual flag

I recently read this wonderful advice column on and it really resonated with me. So I thought I’d add a few thoughts of my own on coming out as bisexual even though I am in a happy, monogamous, heterosexual relationship.

I came out as bisexual about two years ago. At the time I was so naive. I thought, “Oh, I finally understand why I always have a crush on women, even though I am happily married to a man, cool.” I thought that was it. I’m bisexual. Nothing to it, nothing will really change. After all, I am married, and it’s not like I am suddenly going to cheat on my husband. Nothing had really changed except that I now had a label that fit me.

Strangely enough, or maybe not so strangely depending on your experience, that was not it. I had thought that finding a label that fit me would make my life easier. And in a way, it definitely has. I feel more “me” now that I can describe myself as bisexual. I now understand my own history of kissing girls (before I was married, and sadly it was only kissing) and my attraction to women. But at the same time, having this label has brought up a lot more complicated feelings.

I feel like a fraud. I am bisexual, but I have never slept with a woman. And I likely never will, unless something happens to my husband (God forbid). I pass as straight, because I am happily married and have two children (not that having children makes me more straight, but I fit the picture of happily married straight mum). The very few people I have come out to in real life have dismissed my “claim” by saying that every woman is a bit curious as to what it’s like to sleep with another woman, right? I feel like I have to defend my bisexuality, which makes me more reluctant to come out to others in real life.

My family is super conservative, so I wouldn’t come out to them. But I have some friends who are sex positive, and yet I am reluctant to tell them I am bi. I mean, how can I prove that I’m bi? After all, I’ve never slept with a woman. And I know that this does not make me less bi. If I were single I could just as happily see myself fall in love with a woman as with a man. (To be honest, these days I would more likely end up with a woman.) But that doesn’t take away the fact that I am now in a heterosexual relationship and most people take that as “proof” that you’re straight. Bi-erasure is, sadly, all too real.

Two years ago I didn’t really think that identifying as bi would be a big deal. But it has changed how I view myself. It makes me sad that I didn’t realise until I was in my forties that I was bi. I wished I had known when I was in university so I could have maybe experimented more. I also feel different in myself, knowing that I am not straight. Having been raised to think that straight is the gold standard, I still experience the occasional wobble when I realise I am different. I’m not what society wants me to be, even though outwardly I tick all the boxes.

And maybe my frustration lies in the fact that I do tick all the boxes. I feel isolated, lonely. I live in a straight world as an (outwardly) straight woman. I don’t really have anyone I can talk to about these conflicted feelings in real life, because no one in my real world really knows I am bi. And even though I have made friends on Twitter who are in a similar situation, it’s not the same. None of my Twitter friends are that close that I could call them up and have a little cry, or a whinge or meet up for wine and a nice long chat about my feelings.

Writing about all this does help. I have been away from my blog a little bit while I was busy writing my novels, but all writing helps. I find that writing bisexual characters in my fiction gives me comfort. It feels as if I’m not alone. I can work out some of my feelings by giving them to my characters and have them deal with it (yes, I’m evil that way :-)). I do still struggle with my conservative upbringing (I even feel guilty for writing FF or FFM fiction), but I know that’s not going to change overnight.

And I know I’m not the only one out there struggling. I’m sure there are lots of hetero-presenting couples out there of which one – or both – partners identify as bisexual. I wouldn’t know, would I? Just as strangers wouldn’t know by looking at me that I am bi. It’s not like we go around with little identifiers on our lapels. (While that would be an awesome idea, I would be a bit scared/hesitant to wear a bisexual flag pin myself. Maybe I am my own worst enemy after all.)

Anyhow, I feel like I am just rambling on. I’m bisexual. When I’m around queer people I feel like I’m a fraud, because I am not queer enough. When I’m around straight people I feel like I don’t belong. Christian guilt drives me to repress my bisexuality, but my own sense of self wants to celebrate it. I’ve been hiding too long, but I can’t really come out fully either. I’m stuck in limbo. It will get better, of that I’m sure. But it won’t be for a while.

9 thoughts on “Being bisexual while in a heterosexual marriage”

  1. This is definitely something I went through when I realized my bi identity after several years of marriage and motherhood. I too found solace and comfort in using stories to explore and fully experience my identity. My situation changed and I have been sble to be fully myself since my spouse and I opened our marriage and began swinging. We recently expanded that to polyamory, and have both grown in our selves, our relationship with each other, and relationships with others. I wish you a similar fulfilling journey.

    1. Isabelle Lauren

      That’s amazing, so happy you have found a way of expressing yourself in your relationship. An open relationship wouldn’t be for us, but I’m so happy it works for you.

  2. Honestly, this could be me writing exactly the same thing. I live with a man, we have a heterosexual relationship. I hide in a straight world but I hate hiding away. I feel list and lonely too.

    I can’t tell you how to work through those feelings but I can tell you that you aren’t alone. My DM’s are open if you’d like to chat/rant/have a cry in them xx

    1. Isabelle Lauren

      I am happy I’m not the only one, but, of course, sad that you are going through the same thing. I may take you up on the offer to DM you. Thank you!

  3. I’m a straight woman married to a bi man. We had a beautiful strong relationship before he came out publicly but it’s gotten even better since. Relationships should bring your full self into bloom and it’s too bad our culture is so narrow minded. Bless you both

  4. I’ve had your post on my screen for days, mulling it over and thinking about my own situation, which is similar to yours. Yes, I have had experiences with women, but I wish I could be in a relationship with one, and can openly come out as bisexual, but that’s not possible. I have to hide and be seen as a straight woman. I have never thought about it this way, until I read your post…

    Rebel xox

  5. Although my situation is a bit different to yours my feelings are just the same. I have known that I was bisexual since early teenage years but outwardly repressed it. I have had one sexual experience with a woman but I do long for more. I am happily married to my husband (who accepts every part of me for me) and like you to most of the outside world i’m seen as straight. A few of my friends know but I would never tell my family as they honestly wouldn’t understand. I certainly relate to feeling fraudulent sometimes but mostly I feel like i’m letting myself down. I should be proud to be who I am and not hide away. I know when my children are older I want to open about everything so time will tell. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I agree with your statement of wanting to be proud of who you are and not hiding it away. I’m slowly becoming more open about being bi. Maybe as I get older I care less what people think of me, although I’m not sure I will ever be out to my family.

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