Dear Kiki: My boyfriend is bothered by my bisexuality

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Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area can be sent to (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.

Illustration by Jav Ducker

Dear Kiki,

My boyfriend is wonderful and feminist and sex positive, but he has issues with me being bisexual. It’s not that he’s openly raged at me or anything. It’s just that whenever it happens to come up, you can see the micro-flicker of discomfort on his face that he’s trying to suppress. I know it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable at the idea of your partner having a past, but he feels especially threatened by the idea of me checking out a girl over a guy (when I actually don’t check out anyone; I’m too in love with him to really notice anyone else in that way). This is just one example, and it’s a one-off, but this sort of thing has happened. I’ve tried asking him about it and explaining all my feelings about this gently and directly… No dice. He acts like it’s fine because it bothers him that it bothers him or he just clams up. What do I do?


Too in Love to Notice Anyone Else

Dear Too in Love,

As the Buddhists and Elsa would suggest, let it go. Let him be with his micro-flicker of discomfort. Jealousy about a lover’s past, although not uncommon, is never productive, and it seems your beau knows this and is trying to be cool and calm. He doesn’t want to be bothered with being bothered, and reminding him that he’s being bothered will remind him to be bothered. Do not summon the green-eyed monster, but certainly don’t tolerate unhealthy jealousy from him. (And because you mentioned the possibility, I hope he never openly rages at you about anything.)

Here are some questions for self-reflection (I don’t think it’s important to ask him these directly): Does he have issues with your bisexuality, or could it be more like curiosity? What does he need to feel more secure? Is he fearful because he thinks he can’t give you what only another women could, sexually and/or emotionally? Has he had an experience that might be causing him to be triggered or uncomfortable with bisexuality? Why are you bothered by him being bothered by being bothered? When and why is the subject of your ex-girlfriends coming up? Could it be he feels less sexually experienced?

In answering these, hopefully discomfort fades into the days of yore, and you two can love happily ever after.

–Xoxo, Kiki

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 244.

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  1. I think we’re missing something here. If he only shows a “micro-flicker of discomfort” then how is it that you know “he feels especially threatened by the idea of me checking out a girl over a guy”? Is it possibly more than a micro-agression and you’re just reluctant to share that fact? Perhaps he isn’t the sensitive one, and it’s you that is a little too worried about the micro-whatever? Either way, the advice is solid. If he does have a real issue it will ferret itself out soon enough. My bet? He’s a guy who, like many of us, wants to keep his girl and is faced, probably for the first time, with worrying about fending off more than just the one sex he knows how to fend off! To answer your question (What do you do?), how about just make sure he knows you’re with him. It’s a sure remedy for straight people feeling like you feel as well. ;)

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