(I came to you before but I never heard back on that subject. You don’t need to get back on that. It’s been solved.)
I am sorry in advance if I may sound too whiney or rant-ish in this letter but I am still emotional. I am a female. I am very independent and I usually can handle my own problems. But this is something I never had to be dealt with before.
About two months ago, my mate....let’s call him Insane...had cheated on me. He, himself, is a bisexual and I am straight. At first, the news of his utter betrayal didn't hit me....But recently I finally snapped. I snapped at him and cried and asked why would you do this to me. But if this isn't enough....Earlier in our relationship, he had lead me to believe he was also straight.
I was happy he could trust me to tell me he was bisexual but the part that got me was that he told me he is more attracted to a male than female. I mean I would have been mad at him no matter the gender of the person he cheated on me with....But it was with a man. A man who has tempted him before with sex and came onto him...He knew this guy gonna try to come at him, even though I am there in his life. And yet....Insane still did it. On the same bed I had trusted him with my own body, he had betrayed me.
I want to scream at him, I want to slap him, I want to cry.... I want to hurt him back. But I know myself. I don’t get even in that sense. I’m not that type of person to do so. Insane had suggested we take a break and ... we did that. I hadn't visited him or vice versa. But we talked, though. I need to get my emotions out.
Insane had told me right after it happened and he is genuinely guilty and sorry. This is the main reason I am giving a second chance. And because I love him and we all make mistakes. I know I will f*ck up too. We’re human. But since then, his anger and guilt to himself has affected us as well. I know he is mad but he won’t stop talking to me like a prick. The way he says things to me makes me feel he doesn't care.... But I realized its anger at himself.
When Insane told me that day, “I am more attracted to men than women”... It made me feel like I can’t compare. I can’t be his everything in that sense. I can’t pleasure him how a man could and toys will only do so much. (We still have yet to try toys.) But I know we are taking a break from sex ... because honestly I don’t want him to touch me in that way. I feel useless and unattractive.... Like I am not his everything. Insane told me I am but ... still. How can I compare to his preference? He told me he fell in love with me and he wants me only. But I sure don’t feel that way.... And after cheating on me with a dude, that made me feel lower than dirt....
I feel unattractive already with my body image issue but that’s another problem for another time.
My question is, though.... How do we get through this? I never have been cheated on like this. And I would like some help that isn't biased. (Went to my mother ... didn't end well.) And how do I get out of the hole of feeling unattractive? I need ... to be rescued.
I would appreciate it greatly and thanks for taking time out of your day to read this.
The Jaded One
* * *
Dear Jaded One,
My sincere apologies for missing your earlier letter. Every now and then, Papabear gets a little overwhelmed and accidentally forgets to reply to a writer. (When I do, dear readers, don’t be shy—poke me!) Anyway, I’m glad the earlier problem resolved itself.
I will get right to the point on this letter. The crux of the problem is to be found in the fact that you are straight and he is bisexual with a preference for men. If there is one thing I have learned in my life it is that if you have a couple who do not share sexual preferences, even if you love each other very much, you are in for a bumpy ride. Unless you, Jaded, can accept that your boyfriend will want to have sex, at least now and then, with men, you are not going to be able to work this out.
I am not contradicting your boyfriend’s statement that he truly loves you. I’m sure he does, and he could probably be happy with your being his only female sexual partner. But his inner wiring is not something that can be changed. If that were the case, I would still be married to my former wife.
It is important that you understand that your boyfriend’s behavior is not a reflection upon you, and you should not let it bruise your self-esteem. You could be the most beautiful woman on the planet, but, believe me, if he has a preference for males it would not matter. So, don’t feel unattractive and unwanted. It’s not about your appearance, it’s about your gender.
The reason for his being terse and surly with you, furthermore, is that he is doing his best to be faithful to you and it is getting him sexually frustrated. Your interpretation that his anger comes from his being angry at himself is incorrect because you are looking at the situation from the perspective of a woman, which is, to be fair, the only way you can do it. No, his anger is born of the frustration of not only keeping himself away from men but now you as well, as you are refusing sex with him, which is only exacerbating the problem.
There is a very fundamental misunderstanding between the sexes that goes back to the beginning of humanity: women are wired to have sex to have children and to be emotionally bonded with their partners; men are wired to have sex in order to fertilize as many women as possible and spread their genes. Now, if a man is gay or bi, even though he is not doing the Darwin thing by seeding progeny, the instinct to be sexually active is still extremely strong. I’ve heard this summarized in a couple of ways, one of which is: “Women need a reason, men need a place.” It sounds crude, but it’s generally true.
(Interestingly, one study claims the opposite is true: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/05/newsflash-women-are-less-monogamous-than-men/. Do note this is just one book and one study, so take it with a grain of salt. It is also interesting that, according to this book, when women get bored with their partners they simply go the no-sex route rather than seeking an outside lover, although that happens, too. In my personal experience and observations, though, I really find this conclusion hard to believe. Men clearly tend more to promiscuity than women do.)
Does this mean men cannot be monogamous? No, they certainly can be, but it is less likely that they will be. Women usually take this to mean that men are morally inferior pigs. That’s really unfair; men are just men. We are all—men and women alike—ruled by biological instinct, like it or not. And, if your boyfriend’s instinct is to be bisexual and to prefer men over women, then there is nothing you can do to change that.
Now, it is up to you to decide whether you can love your boyfriend for who he really is or not because what you are currently doing—denying him sex with you and anyone else—is a strategy that is doomed to fail.
* * *
Sorry I am getting back to you way too fast. But I wanted say three things.
1. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I was seriously thought I was still asleep and it was a dream. I appreciate the words and I will try to get past the sexual preference problem because I do love him that much and I want us to work.
2. I probably should had also stated our relationship was semi-open. So if he wanted to go to a guy friend of ours and wanted to have sex with him.... He could only if I approve the person and vice versa. So I wasn't straining him of sex with a man (totally not saying you said I was or anything.) He could have and did what he wanted with those people I allowed. But the thing was I didn't approve the man he cheated on me with and didn't even ask if it was okay.
3. And I just felt if I limit the sex, we could focus on him and myself without the thought of sex. I hope this was a good idea to also close our relationship until we get over it. Is it a good idea to do so?
Just thought I let that information out to clarify he could have sex with males as long I agreed. (I hope this doesn't come off as rude.)
Thanks again, Papabear
* * *
Er, yeah, that is a pretty key piece of information you left out. If you are allowing him to express his "other side," shall we say, then that is more than fair of you. I also think it is reasonable for you to request that he only play with people with whom you are comfortable and about whom you are aware. I'm not sure why you disapproved of the guy he had sex with, but I'm sure you had a reason to, and he should have respected that or at least talked to you first before he did what he did.
As for having a temporary closing of the relationship and cooling off period in which the two of you also do not have sex, I'm still not certain that is a good idea. While I appreciate your intention for focusing on the relationship's other aspects, it sounds like this was your idea and, as such, might be seen as a kind of "punishment" by him.
Instead of refraining from sex, I would suggest you try to spice things up between the two of you. Instead of a "No sex for you at all until we figure this all out," try "Let's take a few weeks to focus on rebooting our own sex life, just you and me. By focusing on ourselves, I think we can re-bond and regain that trust that we seem to have lost. And once we have that trust again, we can talk about your having sex with other men."
This is called the positive vs. negative reinforcement gambit. Instead of giving the guy an electrical shock, so to speak, to punish bad behavior, give him a nice chocolate treat to encourage good behavior. Continue to reinforce good behavior until you have reaffirmed the bond between the two of you.
Thanks for writing again, and I hope this helps!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.