“No one else I have encountered is in this situation. I’m 17, and my boyfriend is bisexual, and he only recently publicly came out. To say that my parents were displeased would be an understatement. I basically get told that he’s just gay and not ready to come out, he’s going to cheat on me, our relationship will go nowhere etc.- on the daily. Oh, and it’s long distance to boot. But I really love him, and I don’t appreciate my family giving me hell. Any advice? “
In this post I’m going to focus on a question posed by a reader. The question is from a young lady whose boyfriend recently came out as bi, and now she’s getting a bunch of criticism about it from family and friends. I’m so glad she shared her question with me, and I really hope my advice is helpful (even though it is only my opinion). Her question raises a lot of different issues, so I want to break it down and address each one.
- “No one else I have encountered is in this situation.”
Having a bi boyfriend is indeed an unusual situation, especially if you are in high school. Guys tend to be babies about stuff, and most of them don’t have to balls to come to terms with who they are at such a young age (or ever, to be honest). So, having a bi boyfriend is not really a common issue, and it’s hard to find people who can relate. I’m a little older than you, and still none of my girl friends have been in this position, and honestly none of them had anything helpful to say about it.
- “I’m 17, and my boyfriend is bisexual.”
At 17, you are a few years younger than me and Jay, so hopefully your relationship is a sign of a trend- that our generation is becoming more comfortable with male bisexuality. I assume your boyfriend is around your age, and if he felt confident enough to come out at 17, that’s really great.
I do have to make one point, and you may not like it Some young guys are unsure about their sexuality, so you have to leave open the possibility that he may not always identify as bi. I know it’s annoying when people assume bi guys are actually gay (or straight), especially when they don’t even know the person as well as you, but… he is young, just keep it in mind, please don’t hate me.
- “To say that my parents were displeased would be an understatement.”
Yeah… That really sucks. Fortunately (for me), I’ve never had to be in that situation. At first, I was a little worried what my parents would think about me dating a bi guy, because they used to be fairly conservative. However they have become much more open minded in recent years. My mom found out her favorite nephew was gay, and suddenly she became the poster girl for gay rights, and even started working with some non-profits to support marriage equality and so on.
Anyway, back to your parents… I guess what you should do depends on what your parents are like. I mean, how displeased are they? Have they told you to stop seeing your Boyfriend? And why are they upset? Is it for moral/religious reasons? Or are they worried he wont be a good long term partner (as in, he wont be able to settle down, or will cheat on you, or will give you an STI)?
If they have your best interests at heart and simply don’t understand bisexuality, you might be able to reason with them. Tell them to read about it from a reputable source, and remind them that your boyfriend isn’t more likely to cheat on you or have an STI just because of his sexuality. But if they are opposed for some moral or religious reason, that could be trickier… In that case I would just hold out until you turn 18, and in the mean time, try not to draw too much attention to your relationship or piss off your parents.
As for what they are saying, you can probably diffuse these comments with the some quick responses, because honestly these kinds of comments don’t have much merit.
“He’s just gay and not ready to come out”
Response: Well let’s just wait and see.
“He’s going to cheat”
Response: Any guy could cheat on me. Do you know how many people cheat? A lot. And more importantly, this one hasn’t cheated on me so far, so why would I break up with him for that reason?
“The relationship will go nowhere”
Response: Most 17 year olds’ relationships go nowhere.
Overall, it sounds like your family thinks the relationship is going to fail since your boyfriend is (in their minds) gay and going to cheat on you. First of all, they don’t know either of those things, and certainly not better than you and your boyfriend do.
Second, even if the relationship does fail (I’m not saying it will, but many do at your age), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date him. You learn a lot about yourself by dating; you learn what qualities you want in a partner, and what you can put up with etc. For example, my friend Christina figured out she can’t handle guys who always turn and look at other women walking down the street. She tried to put up with it from her first boyfriend, but after they broke up, she knew it wasn’t worth the trouble. Her life was a lot easier and her relationships were a lot happier once she vowed not to date guys that constantly ogle hotter women. If she had never learned that, she could have ended up married to a guy who leers at other women, and spent her life feeling miserable an inadequate.
I, on the other hand, learned a different lesson through dating. I figured out that I don’t care at all if a guy drools over hot women like a brain dead idiot. But I can’t put up with guys who don’t like spicy food. I know this seems like a minor issue, but my dating experience showed me that actually… its not. Dating a guy who can’t handle spicy food makes choosing restaurants and ordering food a constant problem.
Going out to eat just becomes stressful and tense because its nothing but a chance to disagree and to dig up old disagreements about the same issue. If, on the other hand, I date a guy who likes spicy food, the relationship is a lot easier because it eliminates an entire category of things that start fights.
Point being, dating is about learning. You learn so much from dating. And you will come away with that knowledge and experience even if your boyfriend does turn out to be gay, a cheater, a wizard (that would be awesome), or whatever. Maybe you can remind your family of that, and it will get them off your back.
My last point is this: Sorry if it seems like all my advice centers around the idea that he may be gay and it still wont matter. I don’t think he’s gay. I don’t think anyone understands your relationship better than you guys. I just happen to know that when someone says your boyfriend is gay, saying “No he’s not!” doesn’t get your very far. You can’t change their mind. They think he’s gay/a cheater/whatever, and that’s just the end of it as far as they are concerned. If you really want to get people off your back, the best option is sometimes to agree with them but show them even if they are right, it still doesn’t matter. Then hopefully, they will realize they are wasting everyone’s time by trying to make a useless point, and shut up about it.