Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Tired of Denying My Bisexual Desires”

I have been with my boyfriend for about six years. We have a great relationship and he has been a better father to my child than her own father has been. We get along great, he’s an amazing cook and absolutely rocks my body in bed! I never thought I ever wanted to get married but we’ve actually been discussing it here and there and it feels right! There is one little problem though: I’m bisexual and don’t think I can be satisfied without having a woman in my life.

For many years, I even thought I might have been a lesbian, and I’d be in a relationship with a woman now if my boyfriend hadn’t come along when he did. I never long for or want other men, but there’s a part of me that has not been satisfied in many years and my feelings are growing stronger and stronger. I really don’t want to break up with my boyfriend but I have been denying this part of myself for years and it obviously isn’t going away. My boyfriend isn’t like most guys and would not have a threesome, and even if he would, I’d be afraid that it wouldn’t be enough. Should I just suck it up and deny who and what I am? I know that there are sacrifices and compromises in every relationship, so does this fall under that category, or am I kidding myself to think this is something I can just turn off? — Tired of Denying My Bisexual Desires


Yes, every couple has to make compromises and a few sacrifices, but categorically denying who and what you are should never be one of them. As much as you may love your boyfriend, you love women, too, and seem unable/unwilling/not interested in committing to a life without them (as romantic/sexual partners). That’s okay. That’s who you are. That’s what you want. What you need to do is be honest about that — first with yourself, and then with the man you’ve shared your life with for the last six years.

Opening up to him will certainly mean that your relationship will change, but clearly you aren’t 100% happy with the way things are now anyway. He’ ll probably need time to process your revelation, and then you’ll have to decide together what your desire for women means for the future of your relationship. Some possibilities: you open your relationship so you’re both free to date others; he remains faithful to you but gives you permission to explore relationships with women; you two enter into a polyamorous relationship with another bisexual woman; you take a trial break so you can date women and decide whether their company is one you can’t live without; you break up for good.

Obviously, these are decisions only the two of you can make together and you can’t make them until you discuss your feelings with your boyfriend. He deserves to know where you’re coming from — especially if you’re seriously discussing marriage. It would be deceitful — to both of you — if you married him without him knowing that your needs aren’t being fully met. There may be a chance to save your relationship and get those needs met, but the only way you’ll know is if you can find the strength to have a long overdue discussion with your boyfriend. The truth, as they say, will set you free. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee it will be pain free.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected].

70 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Erica March 30, 2011, 9:20 am

    she’s definitely right in saying that relationships have sacrifices, i have felt the tug of the unknown here and there during my current relationship, but the love i have for my boyfriend, and the comfort of knowing he is there for me, keeps me from acting on it.

    wendy is right about all of her options, but i think with a child involved it becomes a little more difficult. she needs to think about what it will be like for her child when the life she’s led for 6 years is turned upside down and her mom starts dating again, and dating women. unfortunately, this does have an effect on children, especially school age children. that said, the lw shouldn’t just push aside her sexuality and then live an unsatisfied life.

    talking with her boyfriend is of course necessary and she may be able to keep him in her life while still exploring other options. but i think that eventually she will have to choose one. and if she feels she’s missing out now by not being with a woman, she may miss the company of men if she decides to explore the other way, and find herself in a similar situation.

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      evanscr05 March 30, 2011, 9:47 am

      I agree. Anytime a child is involved, I think parents need to be a lot more cautious with the relationship decisions they make for themselves. At 27 years of age, I’m STILL haunted by relationships past from my parents and it has affected me deeply and in ways I’m only starting to realize. I found out that my mom kept a lot of relationships from my brother and I as kids, and I’m grateful for that. It’s too painful for a child to grow attached to someone only to have them uprooted out of their life for reasons they don’t get. LW, I definitely think a conversation is long overdue with your boyfriend, and whatever you decide is best for you as a couple, good luck. But make sure you both consider how this will affect your daughter, and takes steps to shield her from all the possible pain and confusion. I definitely believe that children are happier when their parents are happy, so you need to do this for you, your boyfriend, and your child.

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    ReginaRey March 30, 2011, 9:30 am

    I think you need to explore your sexuality if the desire to do so is tugging on you like this. If your desires are this strong NOW, how much stronger will they be in 10 years after you’ve possibly married your boyfriend, built a life together, had children? I don’t think it’s something that can or should be suppressed. There are plenty of women, I’m sure we all know of a story of two, who ended up leaving their husbands and family for another woman…probably because they never had the early realization that you’ve had, and tried to deny who they were.

    You have the advantage of knowing what you want and need right now. Explore your options, but be smart about it. Don’t string along your boyfriend through the pain if it’s clear he can’t wait for you while you do this soul-searching…let him go if that’s the case. You may find that you two will come back together one day, or you may discover that you want to be with a woman. Either way, give yourself the chance to figure it out.

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    maynard March 30, 2011, 9:32 am

    Definitely agree with Wendy. She presented some good options for you to think about and hopefully there are a couple in there you think you’d be happy with that you can discuss with your boyfriend.

    I also agree that you need to talk to him asap – especially if he doesn’t know anything about your desire to be with women (as opposed to being aware you’re bisexual but unaware your urges are so strong) because obviously that could come as a big shock. I hope you come to realize that you can’t and shouldn’t hide this part of you just to keep your relationship together. I get that you love him and want to stay wtih him, but getting married is not going to make your desire to be with women disappear.

    It won’t be easy but hopefully you can find a way to make your relationship work where you both feel satisfied.

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    TheOtherMe March 30, 2011, 9:40 am

    I’m not sure to what extent she needs to have a ( or more than one ) woman in her life.
    Is it romantically, does she need the company of women ? In reading this letter it seems more like she needs regular sexual contact that is not necessarily a one time thing ( she mentioned that a threesome might not be enough ). Obviously she needs to talk to her boyfriend. Although she says that he satisfies her, he might find it difficult to think that she needs something more, that he just can’t give her. If she doesn’t need to have “romantic” contact and that they can somehow manage to work out a situation where they agree on some more open terms, she could possibly satisfy her needs and there is no reason to involve the daughter. For example, I think that most couples who are “swingers” don’t necessarily tell their friends or family so why should she ?

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    • avatar

      Laurel March 30, 2011, 1:27 pm

      I was going to ask that too. If she wants the full-on romantic, social and sexual relationship of being with a woman, it is going to be a lot more challenging to have that while carrying on a relationship with her boyfriend. If she just needs the sexual aspect of it, there’s a (bigger) chance her boyfriend would go along with it, I’d think.

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    RoyalEagle0408 March 30, 2011, 9:49 am

    I definitely think this is something you should discuss with your boyfriend. You’ve been together long enough that you should be able to discuss your needs. Maybe he won’t be able to handle it and it will mean the end of your relationship. While this would probably be devastating for a while, you deserve to be happy. However, if you do a “trial run” if you will, maybe you’ll realize that your boyfriend really is the only one you need.

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    nawilla March 30, 2011, 9:52 am

    I would suggest you go speak with a therapist or psychologist before you talk about this to your boyfriend. The desire for woman could be the genuine urge here, or this could just as easily a red herring to disguise the desire to step out of the relationship because of underlying problems. If you took the issue of gender out of the equation, would you still want sex with someone else?

    Normally I would suggest you talk to the boyfriend and work it out between yourselves, but since you have a child involved, I think you have a responsibility to at least attempt to figure out what is going on here before acting impulsively.

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    WatersEdge March 30, 2011, 10:28 am

    I agree that this LW should pursue women if she feels like she should. She doesn’t seem to know what she wants, exactly. I guess she wants the opportunity to explore her attraction to women and see exactly what she wants, whether she finds them more sexually and romantically fulfilling than men. And that’s fair. But I will say that we all want to explore our sexuality to its fullest, and we don’t all get that opportunity. A lot of people meet someone great earlier in their lives and settle down without sowing their oats. A lot of people have unexpected pregnancies and aren’t able to have a free, unstable life anymore for the welfare of their child. You have both those circumstances. I think it’s easy to say that your desires are unique and deserve to be fulfilled because you are with a man and you therefore can’t be with women. But that’s the nature of monogamy for everyone. Monogamy is a mature choice to give up all the opportunities to connect romantically with others and focus on nurturing only one relationship. So maybe this guy just isn’t the person for you. Or maybe you’re not ready to settle down in general. But I don’t think that the fact that you want to be with another person who happens to be a woman makes you exempt from the rules of monogamy that your boyfriend wants to live by.

    I actually don’t see how the LW can win here, and that’s sad. I think that she will feel compelled to explore her relationships with women, and based on how she describes her boyfriend, it will probably break up their relationship. I think it’s very possible that after losing her boyfriend and dating for a while, she’ll miss what she had with him. People who you connect with long enough to stay together for 6 years, and who are a great parent to your child, are few and far between. It wouldn’t be worth it for me.

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    • avatar

      TheOtherMe March 30, 2011, 10:32 am

      This is a really great comment, WatersEdge.

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    • avatar

      Maracuya March 30, 2011, 10:36 am

      Agreed with T.O.M. I was trying to come up with the way to say this and you said it better than I could have.

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      ladiejoy March 30, 2011, 10:37 am

      Agreed.

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      _jsw_ March 30, 2011, 10:59 am

      Very well put! I was going to say something similar… but I’d not have said it so well.

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com March 30, 2011, 11:23 am

      YES!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 30, 2011, 1:09 pm

      Couldn’t agree more.

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      JustMe March 30, 2011, 2:07 pm

      That was beautiful! Bravo!

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      mf March 30, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Like others here, I was going to say something similar about monogamy, but you phrased it better than I could.

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    Sypher March 30, 2011, 10:41 am

    As a bisexual I can tell you 2 stories. The first is my own. I always knew I was bi and thought I was a lesbian (because I thought I had to be repulsed by men–and I never was)–my adolescence was incredibly confusing and the confusion only stopped when I accepted that I like both sexes. I lean a little more towards women, but 2 and half years ago after dating disasters with women I finally started to look at men more seriously and lo and behold I met my fiance. He is sensitive, caring, and a rockstar in bed. I told him about 2 months in about my bisexuality and he was really understanding and cool about the whole thing. He’s a pretty laid back guy. When I told him I stressed that I believe in monogamy and it was cool because he wasn’t the threesome type either.

    The other story is about my friend Ellie who dated men her whole life and married an incredibly nice, great, sweet guy who she then later had to divorce, because she had repressed any of her lesbian feelings pretty much her whole life. Since it didn’t fit into the picture she envisioned for herself she did all she could to not think about it and it took it’s toll on her marriage in the second year. They divorced amicably and she just moved in with her new girlfriend.

    The difference is that I had some experiences with women before falling for my fiance so I don’t feel like I’m missing out–and I was terrified that I’d feel that way.

    Maybe you just need some exposure/experience to women –but my point is that it depends on your needs.

    Neither of the us had children, but I know my friend felt sick about how much she hurt her ex husband. I never thought I’d marry a man, so you really never know, but you should at least explore—-ESPECIALLY if you think that if you married your current man you would ALWAYS wonder–otherwise I think you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of straying.

    Figure out what exactly you want with another women. Is it sex? making out? a relationship? Talk to your boyfriend he might be understanding–this is an issue that will create distance between so you should talk to him, his reaction will tell you how he feels about your relationship.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG March 30, 2011, 10:50 am

    Reading LW’s question made me immediately think of that Girl Talk article in The Frisky about the girl being in a bi-sexual marriage! If you haven’t read it yet LW, please do so:
    http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-girl-talk-im-in-a-bisexual-marriage/

    I thought it was very insightful only because it talked about the many layers of what recognized sexual desire entails in such a frank manner. Before you have any discussions with anyone LW, please have one with yourself: What makes your boyfriend desirable to you? What makes the thought of other women desirable to you? Could the desires you have for women be emulated through your boyfriend as well?

    Go beyond sexual mechanics here and think about what qualities stimulate the sexual desire, not just the fact that you have it – and then have that discussion you desperately need. The last thing you want is to have these unfulfilled desires for other women develop into unjustified resentment towards your boyfriend. Good luck LW!

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey March 30, 2011, 10:57 am

      Thanks for posting this! I immediately thought of it too, but couldn’t remember where I had read it.

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    • avatar

      caramelpuff April 1, 2011, 3:27 am

      I thought about this article too! It was so long ago I thought everyone forgot about it.

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  • avatar

    spaceboy761 March 30, 2011, 11:00 am

    Whatever you and your boyfriend decide, your kid should be your top priority. Everything else comes second.

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  • avatar

    cmarie March 30, 2011, 11:27 am

    You should never deny who you are, unless you’re a homicidal psychopath with an ax. You’ve had these desires for a long time, before you met you BF, and they’re not just going to go away. If you decide to stay with him, not talk about it, try to push it in the closet and hide it, it will come back to bite you in the a** in the future. You’ll resent him for keeping you from exploring your desires, you’ll feel like a part of your life is missing, that you missed out, and you might end up cheating to finally fulfill those desires. Your relationships, and your daughter will be better off if you accept who you are and don’t try to deny it. You might lose your BF but if you don’t you will definitely lose a part of yourself. There are so many LGBT people who spend their lives being a less than honest version of themselves to suit the image others had created for them and 99.9 % of them are incredibly unhappy and feel incomplete. Don’t do that to yourself or your child, you deserve better and so does she.

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  • avatar

    belongsomewhere March 30, 2011, 11:34 am

    Oh, this is such a sad situation (between the kid, the lovely relationship, and the fact that she feels she is betraying herself). It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any clean, simple solution. If he knew how important it was for you to have romantic and sexual experiences with women (it’s not clear from the letter whether he does), he might be more open to the idea of opening up your shared sex life to another woman.

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  • avatar

    Wendy March 30, 2011, 11:34 am

    It kind of bothers me that the LW talks only about being bisexual when it seems like what she’s really talking about is being polyamorous (as well as bisexual), which many of the commenters have acknowledged. I’ve been with both men and women myself, and the last guy I dated, who is from a different culture and not that familiar with nuances of gender and sexuality, had a really hard time believing that I could be happy committing to a man… that I wouldn’t also need to be having sex with a woman. I tried to explain that I fall in love with a person and it’s just that it doesn’t matter whether that person is male or female–but it was a difficult thing to get across, and that’s because of people like the LW who give the impression that bisexuality is incompatible with monogamy. I don’t have a problem with people having nonmonogamous relationships, but please call it like it is.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 30, 2011, 11:49 am

      Exactly. This is no different than a man writing in and saying “I love my fiancée and she’s an amazing stepmother to my child, but I have the strong urge to have sex with other women… what should I do?”

      If one cannot feel fulfilled in a monogamous relationship – regardless of the genders and orientations of the pair – then that relationship needs to end or, in a few rare cases, become polyamorous. It is irrelevant which partner(s) feel the need for which other sexual experience(s).

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge March 30, 2011, 12:23 pm

        I sort of feel like the bisexuality is being used as an excuse to make this situation more unique and therefore an exception to the rule of monogamy.

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        Tulip March 30, 2011, 1:41 pm

        Isn’t it though? I mean, I can appreciate your and jsw’s comparisons to monogamous, heterosexual couples, and I definitely agree that commitments are important (especially with a child involved!), but I think genuine bisexuality is a bit more than just “an excuse”. For this particular LW, maybe it is just an excuse, but maybe it isn’t. I’m not bisexual so I can’t speak definitively on the subject, but I can imagine that it’s potentially a bit more complicated than a totally straight person just feeling like cheating for the sake of it…

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        JustMe March 30, 2011, 4:24 pm

        No, it really is just an excuse.

        Bisexual doesn’t necessarily mean someone who is attracted to men and women equally. If you believe sexuality is on a spectrum, then being bisexual can mean someone who is mostly heterosexual or mostly homosexual, but still enjoys the occasional opposite gender fling.

        I don’t know where on the spectrum the letter writer falls. She may be mostly homosexual who has been suppressing that side of her for whatever reason, and now that she is maybe facing life with an opposite sex partner, that part of her is rising up and saying, ‘no, no,no!’

        On the other hand, she may be mostly heterosexual, but just doesn’t want to settle down.

        I can’t tell from the letter, and maybe the letter writer doesn’t even know. What I refuse to let her get away with is having everybody bend over backwards about how *special* her circumstances are and giving her a free pass you would not give a heterosexual couple writing in about.

        I’m sorry, but I wonder if Wendy would *really* have mentioned having an open marriage if it was a heterosexual male writing the exact same thing instead of a bisexual female. It’s bullsh*t.

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      • avatar

        Erica March 30, 2011, 5:33 pm

        i wanted to say that but didn’t want all the thumbs down. i’m glad people actually seem to agree with you, because i really do. if i asked my boyfriend to consider an open relationship so i can “figure out who i really want to be with” he’d dump me on the spot, whether it was women or men i was longing for. bisexual or not, wanting to cheat is wanting to cheat, and asking permission to do so is SO wrong. this lw should not be starting all this drama when she has a little girl to take care of.

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      • avatar

        Tulip March 30, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Ha, well as a super vanilla straight person I will defer to your personal expertise.

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        callmehobo March 30, 2011, 1:53 pm

        That’s exactly how I felt about this letter.

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  • avatar

    redessa March 30, 2011, 11:47 am

    I think you have to make a choice here. If you are considering marrying this man then yes, that means “forsaking all others.” ALL others – men or women. You are choosing to be with that ONE person for the rest of your life. If you’re not ready to do that (and it doesn’t sound like you are) or don’t think you can do that, then you risk losing the relationship you have now.

    Is it more important to you to explore this side of yourself or to keep your current situation? It’s possible your boyfriend would accomodate taking a break for you to sort out your feelings. It’s also possible that he won’t still be there should you decide you want him back. And you do have a child to consider. For her, any split would probably feel very much like a divorce.

    These are serious issues with serious consequences no matter what you decide. If I may, I would suggest maybe you sort through them with a counselor before talking to your boyfriend. Make sure you really know what you want and are ready to accept everything that comes with it before doing someting that could potentially make things worse (like your boyfriend freaks out and leaves you but then you realize you wanted to stay him afterall).

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    • avatar

      rainbow March 30, 2011, 12:29 pm

      “If you are considering marrying this man then yes, that means “forsaking all others.” ALL others – men or women. You are choosing to be with that ONE person for the rest of your life”

      Not necessarily. Marriage comes in many flavors.

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      • avatar

        Maracuya March 30, 2011, 12:52 pm

        But it seems like this guy likes vanilla. 😛 From the letter, it seems like he’s a traditionalist and would like their marriage to be traditional too so I think redessa is addressing the LW’s personal situation accurately.

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      • avatar

        redessa March 30, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Yes. If consenting adults want to be in a polyamorous relationship, that’s their business. But it seems that her BF expects monogamy. And maybe the LW prefers that as well because she seems to think she’s in an either/or situation – be with him and deny part of herself or leave him and explore other options. I kind of think the fact that she’s wanting to be with another woman is beside the point. Man or woman, she can’t have another sexual partner AND the guy she’s currently with. That’s the choice anyone makes (or are supposed to) when they enter a traditional marriage. If they’re both open to something less traditional then yes, she has other options as well but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

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        nawilla March 30, 2011, 2:57 pm

        I agree with Redessa that the boyfriend likely expects monogamy, but would take it a step further to say the LW seems to expect monogamy on the part of the boyfriend too. (There was no mention of wondering at all if he wanted to explore other options, much less being okay with that, only that he wasn’t into a threesome to satisfy her needs).

        That’s why I mentioned this might not be a ‘needs to be with a woman’ thing so much as ‘bored with this relationship’.

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    Heather Girl March 30, 2011, 11:04 am

    While I don’t know what it feels like to have desires for women, I do think everyone should have the ability to explore who they are and what they want in life. I think we (as a country) are working very hard to be more open towards non-traditional relationships, thus allowing people to feel more comfortable to explore these options.

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  • avatar

    JustMe March 30, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I have two words for you: Grow up.

    Seriously. If you wanted to hear how you being bisexual is reason enough to cheat on your boyfriend or how monogamy is a tool of society to keep all alternative thinking folk down, you really should have written to Dan Savage for advice.

    You have a kid who loves this man, a man who treats her like his own daughter even though there is no blood bond. He is also a great partner, a great cook, and rocks your body in bed. But no, you are special, Bisexual, because you have these unique yearnings no man can ever appease…

    Speaking as a fellow Bisexual, the only thing that separates you from your Homosexual or Heterosexual brethren is instead of only one gender causing you to occasional stop,stare, and go, “Damn! If only I were single,” you get to make that exclamation with both men and women. It is both kinda cool and really sucks.

    Listen, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, don’t be in a relationship. How hard is that? But you don’t want that. You want the guy to be the father to your kid and have that safe steady relationship there, and you want to have your extra on the side. If it were a guy saying this, we would all be rightly calling him an a**hat.

    Please, bisexuals have enough problems as it is with stereotypes about us. Don’t bring this aspect up to justify your cheating a**.

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      cmarie March 30, 2011, 4:36 pm

      As a fellow bisexual as well I understand where you’re coming from about hating the stereotypes. However, she’s feels unfulfilled. She feels like something is missing. That doesn’t necessarily mean she wants out of the relationship, she might genuinely love him but sometimes people have needs that aren’t met. That’s what it sounds like here. Ideally he would be able to meet all her needs but that’s not the case. Maybe she needs to sow her oats or maybe she needs an open relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as she’s honest with herself and with her BF. It’s not cheating if she has permission. It’s not right to judge her for something she hasn’t even done yet or for having desires. The first relationship I ever had was with a woman and we were together for 4 years. During that time I loved her and was very sexually satified but that doesn’t mean I didn’t wonder about what I was missing. I’d never had a sexual relationship with a man before. I didn’t cheat, nor would I have if we were still together, but if I had felt an overwhelming need to explore a part of who I am I would have communicated that to my partner. That’s what’s important here, that she be honest and talk to him about her needs. Being bisexual is not a good enough reason to cheat on her BF and I don’t think that’s what she was implying or that she was asking if it was ok to cheat. She loves him and want to be with him but she also feels like something is missing. There’s nothing wrong with that. She isn’t immature and trying to get away with cheating, she’s confused and torn between what she wants and what she needs. Being bisexual isn’t a reason to cheat but that also doesn’t meant that you have to deny a part of yourself, as long as you’re honest and safe.

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      cporoski March 31, 2011, 6:48 am

      I would have said this more delicately but I agree. Monogomy and denying who you are are two totally different situations. Guess what, when you commit, then that is that. You make the decision and then you keep making that decision every day for the rest of your life. As a parent and as a person, you deserve a good relationship without the drama. If you walk away from this guy then go to a shrink and figure out why you won’t allow yourself happiness.

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    JD March 30, 2011, 5:51 pm

    I’m in the boyfriend’s position (well, kind of). My live-in boyfriend of two years is bi- I’m the first girl he’s ever been with actually- and there is no way I’d ever be able to handle him going and “taking care of business” or what have you. He told me his history from the start of us dating, though, so we were both able to navigate this together. Because we talked about it early on, he knew from the get go that I expect complete monogamy and that a long term commitment would mean giving guys up for good, since even the thought of him being with anyone else eats away at me. consequently, he knew to adjust his expecations of what life will be like down the road and has promised to talk with me if he ever gets to the point that the LW is in, actually, so we can deal with it together. He says it’s worth it because everyone sacrifices things for the people they love and I can only hope that’ll continue to be enough.

    What I’m trying to say is that the LW has to be prepared for the possibility that her boyfriend won’t be okay with her being with a woman or taking a break. Especially if he’s the type that’s not okay with the idea of a threesome (some people don’t want to share their loved ones and that’s okay) he might not take the news so well if he doesn’t know about your desires to be with women yet. She has to think about his position in all this before broaching that initial conversation about how she’s feeling and avoid laying out an ultimatum to the effect of “this has to happen or I may never be happy”, because I know that would’ve done lasting, irrepairable damage to my relationship. No one wants to think that they might not be enough. She has to understand that there is a chance that the exploration of her desires might lose him for good. But have the talk! At least then she would know exactly what situation the two of them are in, instead of just how she herself is feeling.

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      Erica March 30, 2011, 6:44 pm

      “He says it’s worth it because everyone sacrifices things for the people they love…”

      exactly.

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    Eric King March 30, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Some of you people are just a-holes.

    This woman writes with an issue that is very real to her and you tear her apart and reduce her to a series of assumptions and cliche’s. You don’t know the totality of her story or life, yet you proceed to presume, condescend, and give frankly dimestore advice. It’s just ego on your part. it’s real easy to judge from your perch on high, jerks.

    She didn’t write you. She wrote to Dear Wendy for thoughtful advice.

    The conflict between what is truly in your heart and finding a way to not hurt someone you love has paralized countless people troughout time. If she were so thoughtless and selfish she wouldn’t have even opened herself up to your petty criticism in the hopes of getting some helpful advice that could help her figure things out without damaging those she loves.

    So how bout this: be original, let your own anger at the world go for a second and show some kindness to a someone asking for help.

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    • avatar

      JustMe March 30, 2011, 7:55 pm

      Oh please, dial down the drama.

      Of course we don’t know the totality of the story, all we have is what we are given in those few paragraphs. That’s all we can comment on.

      And no, she didn’t just write Wendy. She knew there was a public comments section. If you are correct, if she just wants Wendy’s advice, then it is very easy for her to ignore the rest of us.

      Here’s the thing. If she said something to the effect of, “I’ve always thought I was bisexual but I’ve recently determined I’m truly a lesbian. However, I am in a relationship with a man who I really do love and who is a great father figure to my daughter. Do I break up with him and live my life as a lesbian, or do I deny this part of myself both for my daughter and for the love I truly have for this man?”

      If she had said something like this, we’d be crying as we wrote our advice, because that is a heartbreaking situation, and it is one nobody would ever wish on someone.

      That wasn’t what was said. What she said is she’s bi, and she misses being with a girl, excuse me, that she’s been ‘denying’ herself, and she’s not sure a threesome will meet her needs. Well hell, poor girl.

      This is a classic case of someone who wants everything. She doesn’t want to give up the safe relationship and the father figure for her daughter, but she’s bored of the relationship. Only she’s smart, she throws in the whole Bisexual angle so that if we tell her she’s being an a**hat, well, we are all just prejudiced scum, now aren’t we?

      I still say bullsh*t.

      Listen, if she’s done being in this relationship, she’s done. It is a sucky decision for her, especially as you factor in the fact this man is for all intents and purposes her child’s father. I feel bad she has to make that decision, and I really wish she didn’t. However, the only thing her being bisexual has an impact on is she wants to leave this guy to date other women instead of other men.

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        _jsw_ March 30, 2011, 8:11 pm

        I very much agree with you, JustMe.

        I don’t have any animosity towards the LW. I sympathize with her. I just think that the bisexuality has nothing to do with anything. An urge to be sexual with someone other than the person with whom you’re in a relationship is not unique to any particular sexual preference, and the desire to find out what it’d be like to be with a person who is different that one’s S.O. in some way – gender, orientation, career, age, religion, ethnic background, intelligence, etc. – is not unique to bisexuals.

        I think that the answer, sadly, is to leave this man and to explore whatever urges she feels need exploring. But I don’t think that the fact that she wants to screw other women is going to make him feel any better – and perhaps in ways worse – than if she were to tell him she needs to go screw other men to feel happy.

        There’s nothing wrong with feeling unfulfilled in a relationship and wanting another one. The problem here is one of trying to rationalize it because of uncertain gender preferences… that doesn’t make any difference at all.

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        Eric King March 30, 2011, 9:17 pm

        I called for being respectful. The response: ‘Dial it down. She asked for it. Now here’s all the reasons she deserves scorn . . . ‘ – that’s laughable, man.

        That’s like saying “Your such a drama queen. It’s just a little finger in her eye. She’s got another one. What does she expect, she asked for it by putting herself within reach of my arm. It would be different if she had done so and said X. BUT, she didn’t. She said Y. So, I’m not responsible for what my arm does…”

        My point was are these questionable posts trying to help a girl with a problem (which is the purpose of the article) or just the ramblings of someone in love with their own voice? I’m guessing the latter in many cases. You can give advice, even hard to hear advice, and be respectful to the person you’re giving it to.

        It’s cheap and easy to lay into someone on an anonymous comment board. I’m not the one who should dial it down. In fact, I wish more folks would take a stand for civility on these boards.

        Do you really think this girl is looking at these posts and thinking “Wow, that really helps, I’m glad I asked for advice here.”?

        Further, do you really think that they in any way improve on or provide anything new to the original advice in the article? Very little of what I’ve seen in these posts do that.

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        JustMe March 31, 2011, 2:02 am

        Calling people a**holes is your way of asking for a discourse full of respect and civility? Brilliant strategy, that.

        Here is where we differ – you believe she is asking for advice. Personally, I read that letter as seeking justification.

        The letter is just a little to melodramatic – tired of denying my bisexual desires? OK, everyone on the board who has a SO, are you tired of denying your heterosexual/homosexual desires and want to have Wendy tell you that you can’t deny who you are, and just maybe you need to approach your partner and ask about an open relationship? Oh, and bringing up the threesome – you see, I can’t fulfill my fantasy because my boyfriend is such a loser, what guy doesn’t want threesomes? I have no choice but to think outside the relationship. You see, it feels right to be married to this guy, but gee whiz, I am bisexual, and I can’t live without a woman in my life.

        Sorry, my bullsh*t antenna is just vibrating reading this letter.

        But hey, I might be wrong! Wouldn’t be a surprise, it’s happened before, it will happen again. So, on the chance I am indeed wrong, let me give advice.

        Bisexual, you need to look inside yourself and answer this question – Are you really a lesbian, and stuck the bisexual label on yourself because you feared coming out for whatever reason, and you liked guys just enough that you could handle being in a relationship with them? If that is the case, then I’m really sorry, but you need to let this man go, and you need to let him go now. Don’t try to make do, don’t say it’s better for your child, because if you are really a lesbian, it won’t work. You will still eventually leave this man, but you will cause much more destruction, plus possibly will have brought more children into the situation.

        If that is not the case, you really are a true blue bisexual, then I would determine what is more important to you – sowing some oats or being in a committed relationship? It sounds like you were in two long term relationships with men in a row plus have a child. I don’t know your age, but it doesn’t ‘sound’ like you are that old. Right now, with the possibility of marriage being discussed, you might be feeling like you will never have a chance to be a wild child and are bitterly regretting that possibility.

        Lots of people, though, will not have much sympathy for you if you say you want to dump the really great guy you have who is a father figure to your child just so you can play around. So instead of saying this, you are instead coloring the argument by speaking of your ‘bisexuality’, about how a man alone just can’t fulfill you.

        Don’t do that. It’s not the truth and it’s not fair to the guy who has stood by your side and helped raise your daughter. If sowing oats is more important to you, be upfront and honest enough to let the guy go without telling him you just really need to be with women. That does damage to a guy, and he doesn’t deserve it.

        Finally Eric, while I enjoy Wendy’s advice (she’s level-headed and practical, though perhaps a touch more liberal than I) I find the forums often add great depth to the argument. You see, Wendy has to be… how to say this… nice. She is not Dan Savage or Howard Stern, and her brand is not about taking no prisoners. Therefore, sometimes I find she is too soft or too ‘everything is equal’ to really tell the person asking the question what’s what. The forum can pick up the slack.

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        WatersEdge March 31, 2011, 9:45 am

        We do tough love around here. We call bullshit when we see it. Look at the next letter about the sexual assault and you’ll see all the kid-gloved sympathy responses that you could ask for.

        I think this letter struck a chord with a lot of writers because we don’t feel justified in giving this LW a pass to do what we can’t do- sleep with other people outside of a committed, monogamous relationship. We don’t get to sleep with other people, so why should she? We choose the perks of a relationship- intimacy, comfort, stability, partnership- and we take the tradeoffs- sexual exclusivity and working through differences. Most of us here are about as sexually fulfilled as we can be by the same person day in and day out, and if we have to deal with it, then so does she. And yes, I do believe that the inability to accept the tradeoffs while longing for the benefits of a relationship speaks to immaturity.

        You could make the argument that everyone should be polyamorous, but that’s a different letter. This letter says that her boyfriend wants monogamy.

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        WatersEdge March 31, 2011, 9:47 am

        What I mean to say is, monogamy is a choice we all willingly make. We do it because we want all the perks of a relationship, and at least for me, it’s 100% worth it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish I could date or sleep with other men anymore.

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    Calliopedork March 30, 2011, 6:19 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with being a non monogamus person as long as you are an honest one. However being an honest NM person means that you will have to be truthful with your boyfriend and yourself. The problem here is not your repressed bi yearnings that make it impossible for you to be happy with your amazing (except for the no lady bits) boyfriend, the problem is that you dont want to be fully monogamus. So tell him that but dont confuse the issue bymaking him or yourself think this situation is special because you happen to want your non-vanilla relationship with titty sprinkles.

    Also if you and your bf decide to have an open relationship it may be best to keep your daughter in the dark until she is much older

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      fallonthecity March 31, 2011, 12:23 am

      I’m loving the phrase “titty sprinkles.”

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    Rachelgrace53 March 30, 2011, 6:38 pm

    I think people are being a little harsh on the LW. I understand the thinking that she’s using this as an excuse. However, what would we be saying if she had never been with another man or in any other relationship? And what if she felt she needed more experience before settling down to see if this relationship was what she really wanted? Wouldn’t that be a fair concern? I think that would have been more well-received for some reason.
    I think there is something to having your “single girl” desires out of the way before settling down, so you don’t ever have to wonder and feel like you missed out on something important. I think that’s especially applicable to this because of the sexuality issue. What if she is more pleased being with a woman? Isn’t it better for her to realize this before marrying a man? It boils down to the fact that she needs to decide what is worth more to her. If she is convinced she needs this experience, she will have to risk her relationship but it might be better that way.

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    cmarie March 30, 2011, 9:50 pm

    You assume that she’s just trying to rationalize and justify when she’s only trying to understand and come to terms with her own feelings. This isn’t a matter of her not wanting to be monogamous, it’s a matter of her feeling conflicted with what she wants and what she needs. She doesn’t deserve to be castigated for simply stating her needs. She loves him and doesn’t want to hurt him but she also knows that she doesn’t feel completely fulfilled in the relationship and if she stays on the current course she’ll only hurt him more because if she can’t reconcile her desires she’s just going to be unhappy and eventually she’ll either cheat or break it off. Isn’t it better that she be honest with herself and her BF now instead of later. Don’t attack her for having feelings she can’t control. Either way they’re both going to be hurt but it’s not her fault if that’s the way it has to be to make her happy. She deserves to be happy. As long as she’s honest about her needs and doesn’t deceive him there’s nothing wrong with her. This isn’t about being bi or wanting to cheat, it’s about wanting to be happy and fulfilled in life, something she doesn’t think she can have right now with the way things are.

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    Rani March 30, 2011, 9:59 pm

    How is this any different then wanting to explore with another man? Her sexuality has nothing to do with it. You just aren’t happy with your bf, and that is totally fine. But I don’t see even the tiniest bit of difference!

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    Spark March 30, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I don’t think staying in a relationship is denying who you are. When you’re bisexual, any time you have a committed relationship, you are excluding one of the sexes. I compare it more towards this hypothetical scenario: My type is tall/dark/handsome, and I happened to fall for a short/fat/bald guy. I love him and want to be with him, truly, and I can’t wait to start my life with him. However, I occasionally catch glimpses of guys who are my “type” and I can’t help but to briefly fantasize about them. But at the end of the day, I know that I want the man I have–even if he isn’t my original idea of what I thought I needed to be happy. The point is, no one that you will settle down with will ever have everything. Just because you are bisexual doesn’t mean that you have an intrinsic inability to commit to one person.

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    cmarie March 30, 2011, 11:36 pm

    The problem is that she isn’t briefly fantasizing, she’s going over it again and again. I wasn’t even saying she didn’t have the ability to be monogamous, I was just saying that right now she is denying a part of who she is, the part the desperately wants to explore her sexuality. She’s had these feelings for years and they’re not going away and the talk of marriage only makes them stronger. I’m the biggest advocate for monogamy and don’t even get me started on cheaters so I’m obviously not saying she can’t be or she should cheat. You’re brief fantasies aren’t affecting your real life relationship, her needs are. She’s also not happy with the relationship she is in because she feels unfulfilled in it. That’s the issue, not whether or not she can commit. She’s not happy, and her bisexuality is just the catalyst to those feelings. Maybe she does need an open relationship to be happy or maybe she just needs to sow her oats or maybe she just needs to have an honest talk with her man about what she’s feeling (definitely needs to) to put a dent in her unresolved feelings but if she marries him right now, with the way she is feeling, it won’t make her happy and it won’t make them happy. If she commits to him feeling like a part of her life is missing then all she’ll get is more unhappiness for her, him, and her child. She needs to deal with what she’s feeling right now before they make any long-term plans. Being bisexual doesn’t mean you can’t be monogamous but when you’re “fantasies” become overwhelming and detrimental to your relationships you need to rethink the whole spending your life together.

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    cmarie March 30, 2011, 11:37 pm

    I fail at spelling 101: your, not you’re.

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    as March 31, 2011, 8:59 am

    everytime i think about this article i am drawn back to the first 4 lines.
    “I have been with my boyfriend for about six years. We have a great relationship and he has been a better father to my child than her own father has been. We get along great, he’s an amazing cook and absolutely rocks my body in bed! I never thought I ever wanted to get married but we’ve actually been discussing it here and there and it feels right!”
    This lady has found a man she shares a profound love with, enough that she has changed her long held views about marriage for him. A man who is a great father and satisfies her personally, as a father to her child and also sexually ( to the greatest extent possible). I feel like while no one should live a lie we must count our blessings in this world and this girl has many. Be grateful for what you have and how fulfiled it sounds like it makes you. And consider how you would feel in 6 months having let it all go for something that may not be anything more then a curiosity.

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      cmarie March 31, 2011, 11:18 am

      It isn’t a curiosity, they are feelings she’s had for a long time. She says that if she hadn’t met her BF she would probably have ended up with a woman, that indicates a pretty strong attraction to females. Sometimes the right person comes along and you fall in love and everything is good until it isn’t. There is obviously something missing for her that she’s not getting out of this relationship. Nobody has the right to cheat no matter what the reasons, and I honestly think she knows that. She asked advice on whether or not her feelings were something she could ignore for a lifetime, whether or not that’s standard sacrifice for a relationship. No the feelings won’t go away and the longer she denies them the stronger they will get. Denying attraction to other people comes with the territory of committment but if it’s not something you can do, or are willing to do, you shouldn’t have to. As long as you are honest. Tell the BF what you’re feeling, don’t cheat, but don’t think it will just go away if you ignore it. I would give the same advice to a hetero male. Be honest in your feelings, it may hurt at first but in the end it will be better than betrayal. I don’t think we should attack her for putting her feelings out there, I don’t think she’s asking to cheat, I think she’s just confused. It sounds like she truly loves him but there’s a part of herself that isn’t ready to fully commit and they’re at odds. Yes, monogamy is often a condition of relationships but wouldn’t you rather your partner tell you he doesn’t think he can right now than just cheat down the road. I don’t understand why everybody is trashing her, if you’re so miserable in your monogamous relationship you have to punish someone for being open about her need to sleep with other then maybe you should rethink your own relationship. Sorry, to sound snarky. I’m sure that’s not what you meant but that’s just the way it came out. Miscommunication when you only read a paragraph of someone’s life tends to happen. Seriously though, before you attack me, just using that as an example. You don’t know who she is and the fact that she cares enough to seek out advice before leading him on anymore shows that she’s not some evil cheater looking for someoneto pat her on the back. I just don’t understand all the negativity towards her. If she cheated that would be one thing, if she came out and said she wanted to cheat that’s another thing, what she said is that she has feelings that are becoming more difficult to ignore and that isn’t sure what to do about it. The obvious advice is to talk to her BF and possibly a therapist to sort out her feelings before taking any action, to make sure she considers all the possible consequences of any action she take, whether she stays with him or doesn’t.

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    as March 31, 2011, 11:37 am

    Marie you dont know anything about my relationship… or for that matter whether I am even in one. This isnt a personal debate and no one is making it personal except for you. You say that ” clearly there is a part of her that isnt ready to commit”. I hate to break it to you but she has been in this relationship for 6 years already…SHE IS COMMITTED. Its not like they have been together for 6 months and now she has to decide. I acknowledge that curiosity might not have been the correct word, but reality is as someone above pointed out, at some point if she chooses a relationship she is going to have to leave sex with one gender behind if she is with someone who wants monogamy ( as she suggests her current partner does) . With that in mind, I understand if she is a lesbian then she has to leave him. But if we are judging the situation based on her own self assessment ( that she is a bi sexual) then yes, I think she needs to think very very very carefully about ending something that sounds so fulfiling in so many ways with someone who sounds fantastic for the sake of sex with a women, which ultimately she might have to give up down the road again anyway. Giving up a something that is precious and so many people struggle and fail to find in an entire lifetime means undoing her entire life and that of her child so that she can satisfy a sexual desire. This is reinforced by the fact that this is not a situation where she is sexually unsatisfied. She makes clear that she has a man who makes her feel great, which just adds further weight for me.

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      cmarie March 31, 2011, 2:49 pm

      I wasn’t attacking you or your relationship, I wasn’t making anything personal, and if you actually understond what I was trying to say you would know that. I was trying to say that when all you have is a snippet of information, without context, it is very easy to get the wrong idea. I was using it as an example. She says, “I don’t know if I can be happy without having sex with women”, you hear, “I want to cheat”, she means “I’m not happy and confused about my sexual feelings and am afraid that if I fully commit (as in marriage) I’ll regret not exploring my feelings before”. You say, “Monogamy is a sacrifice everyone in a relationship makes”, someone hears, “Well if I have to be monogamous so do you so suck it up”, what you mean is “When you’re in a relationship sometimes you will feel attraction to other people but if your relationship is monogamous you can’t act on it”. I don’t know you so I don’t know your relationship any more than you and I know her. She does need to think carefully before ending a relationship but part of what she thinks about is whether or not she can suppress her desires forever. Maybe for her marriage mean forever and she wants to figure herself out before binding herself legally to him. People end relationships for all different reasons and sometimes that reason is that you’re just not sure if he is truly the one or if there is someone else out there. Being bisexual doesn’t mean she’s exempt from being monogamous but it can complicate things for some people when they think of never being able to explore that side of their sexuality. That’s not true for everybody, but it is for some. It’s easy for a hetero to say I’ve slept with a man, why do I need to sleep with another, but for some bi people sleeping with a man is only one aspect of their sexuality; sleeping with a man is so different from sleeping with a woman just as being in a relationship with a man is different from one with a woman (for some people, not for everybody). It’s not justification for any sort of cheating but it is a pretty good reason for being confused. The point I’m was trying to make is that we shouldn’t be so fast to attack her without understanding everything. Yes, by writing here she opens herself up to criticism but we should still be respectful and understanding because all we’re getting is a corner of the whole picture.

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    TheOtherMe March 31, 2011, 11:57 am

    Dear Wendy,

    Could you please clarify if you are the one choosing the titles for these letters ? I think that a lot of the comments here are based on judging the “denying my desires” part which may or may not even be part of the letter at all.

    thanks

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      _jsw_ March 31, 2011, 12:03 pm

      Good point about that influencing people’s attitudes, and I’m guessing that Wendy always (or almost always) chooses the titles/LW “names”. I assume that most people emailing her do so without a stage name in mind.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 31, 2011, 12:15 pm

      I almost always choose the title for the columns for several reasons, not least of which is that the LWs almost never provide their own titles. The subject line for this particular letter, for example, was “Dear Wendy.” So, yeah, I create titles that I think sum up the letter, pique the interest of readers, and help drive traffic to the site.

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      JustMe March 31, 2011, 12:37 pm

      The word ‘denying’ is within the body of the letter, not just the signature. I’m going to assume that while Wendy may edit letters, she would never add words that aren’t there originally.

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    Fairhaired Child March 31, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I really feel bad for the LW and have held of on commenting because I felt that with all the other input that I didnt feel more was necessary. However I didnt see anyone putting that she could just need a close female friend one that would be “like a girlfriend’ in all aspects except sexual”

    My own personal story is that I have a best friend who, prior to my current boyfriend, I have felt like I was more in a relationship always with her than any boyfriends I had. We had even discussed the possibility of us being an actual “couple” but had no real desires to be that intimate with each other so we settled for the constant joking of “well if one of us was male then we’d already be married and have 5 kids we love each other so much”. We have a “intimate” factor without being sexually intimate together. My current boyfriend also knows that if she would come to visit (I moved because of a job closer to him) that her and I are going to be “disgustingly adorably cute together” and he’ll have to put up with it.

    Both of us have also individually explored the possibility of dating women (previous to meeting each other) and while I have not found it most desirable I know that she still leans towards women occasionally while I always prefer males but if I’m single I’m open to making out with females.

    *ramble ramble ramble* the real point of the story is that maybe the LW should discuss with her boyfriend, in a very serious talk about her previous past, her own fears and desires and how happy he makes her (remind him constantly throughout the talk!) but that she also needs some contact with women. Maybe having a close friend who she could spend time with, and enjoy “female company” that is similar to having a girlfriend without cheating on her boyfriend (no kissing, sexual caressing etc – unless the boyfriend is ok with that – and if it has been explained and/or hidden from the child to not confuse it about what mommy does).

    I don’t know if this really helps or adds any extra input since it kinda goes along with what SGMcG posted with the link earlier up.

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    Mister44 March 31, 2011, 7:04 pm

    A reader mentioned this in an earlier post, but I’m interested in having a not-so-scientific survey. How would the advice and comments thread be different if a hetero guy (or gal for that matter) wrote this letter?

    Thumbs up if its totally different, thumb’s down if its mostly the same.

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    Peter July 21, 2013, 1:05 am

    What if it was the other way round?

    If the man told her that he is bisexual and he wants to sleep with men as well with her, would you give her the same advice?
    “let him explore his bisexuality and you still remain faithfull to him?”

    I bet that if that was the case, most of the women here would reply “dump him” “he is gay, leave him”

    So this woman should sleep with women and her boyfriend should remain faithfull, right?
    Is that whan you are saying?
    What if the boyfriend claimed that he wanted to sleep with other women as well with her?
    Yes, if he said that one woman isn’t one enough for him and wants a mistress. Not for threesomes, but having a wife at home and a mistress for weekends.

    Would you advice her, “let him have another woman and remain faithfull to him”

    but still you say that she could have a relationship with a woman, or the three of them having a relationship with a bisexual woman and him being faithfull to him.

    Well, I am straight guy and having one woman isn’t enough for my sexual needs. I want a steady girlfriend/wife and I also want to have something on the side with another straight woman, not threesomes, I don’t want my wife to be involved in this.

    So should I sleep around with other women and my wife/girlfriend should remain faithfull?

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    Peter July 21, 2013, 1:24 am

    Bisexual women can have multiple sexual partners but straight men (or women) can not ?

    I have a brunette girlfriend but she can’t satisfy all my needs, I also want a blonde girlfriend and I feel I am missing out. Should I tell her that I want to date a blonde women and she should remain faithfull?

    Did I say that one woman isn’t enough for my needs? forget that, even two women can not satisfy my needs.
    I need a wife at home, a mistress in the city on weekends and having one night stands on nights.
    That’s my sexual needs, hey it’s nothing wrong with that, that’s how I feel and I can not change it.
    I love my wife and she loves me, so she must accept that and remain faithfull while I am out there exploring by sexuality.

    Now, I am sure you wouldn’t like that, right?
    Bisexual women are special and can do what ever they FEEL like they NEED to do, but a man isn’t supposed to do whatever he FEELS like he NEEDS to do.

    I NEED a wife and something on the side.
    I don’t want to cheat, so I should tell her that and expect her to remain faithfull.

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