I am bi-sexual and am in a long-term, committed relationship with my girlfriend. I love her very much and would never cheat on her. Too often, people think bisexuals switch-off with a man one night and a woman the next; nothing could be further from the truth. We simply have sexual attractions to both men and women, with a general preference for one or the other. Like homosexuals and heterosexuals, once we are in a committed relationship we stay committed! My problem is that my girlfriend, “Janie” is insecure, a lesbian, and afraid that I will one day leave her for a man.
I returned to school last year to take a few classes towards my professional certification and that is where I met my friend “Rob”. I enjoy his company, and although I am not physically attracted to him we do have a connection; I can see our friendship becoming a solid one and would like to try to integrate him into other areas of my life, you know, outside of school. My problem is Janie.
I have mentioned Rob in casual conversation before and Janie has visibly bristled. I took Janie with me to a college movie night where we ran into Rob, and Janie actually yanked me backward when I leaned in to give him a hug hello. After polite introductions were made Janie told me she needed to speak with me privately and asked me if I was cheating on her with Rob! I told her I was not, and awkwardly avoided him the rest of the night, hoping this would comfort Janie. She only said that this proves I am trying to keep the two of them from talking to each other and “comparing notes”.
I have never had a problem like this before because I have never dated someone who was not bisexual, like me. I have tried to explain to Janie what I stated at the start of my letter, and she says she understands but adds that Rob “just might be the exception to that rule”. I have been with Janie for almost two years and I cannot imagine breaking up over something like this, but my certification program is going to take me three years to complete, since I am only studying part-time. I cannot imagine having to put up with Janie acting like this for the next three years, nor do I want to be the cause of such unhappiness; however, there are certain things that are non-negotiable with me: I will not quit my program in order to ease Janie’s fears. My career is important to me, and this certification is important for career advancement. Second, I do not like the idea of Janie telling me who I can and cannot have as friends. She has female friends who are lesbians, and I point out to her that I do not get jealous or possessive, but she claims that this is different; that I am able to fulfill all of her needs, but that she feels she cannot fulfill all of mine. This reasoning takes us full-circle back to what I have already said (here, and to Janie ad nauseam) and nothing gets solved.
I feel that I have tried to compromise by introducing Janie to Rob, but as she pointed out – correctly – that I want Rob to a part of my inner circle, so it really wasn’t much of a compromise at all. Can you think of any way to resolve this issue? Or am I going to have to call it quits with someone?
Torn Between Fidelity And Friendship
Dear Torn Between Fidelity and Friendship:
You have a sticky situation that is not uncommon in any circle, heterosexual or homosexual. You do, however, have special circumstances because Julia – like many people – does not understand the emotional mechanics of bisexuality. I thank you for explaining it here so succinctly!
Since you have explained to Janie than your sexual interest in men is rather low and your connection to Rob is platonic re-explaining it over and over will only result in further frustration. I realize that your greeting to Rob (a hug) was innocent, but you must put yourself in Janie’s place to understand how it looked to her. You mention that Janie is insecure; now, imagine how she must feel to see you wrapping your arms around a man! Ask any woman whose boyfriend/husband was secretly gay and left her for another man and she will tell you how devastating this is. As one woman put it, “When he told me ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ he really meant it! I knew that, and it felt horrible knowing that there was nothing I could do to make the relationship work. I was devastated.” In her insecurity, this is Janie’s worst fear: that you will leave her for a man.
If Rob is as great a guy as you obviously think he is, I do not think he would willingly work to break up your relationship with Julia. In fact, if he enjoys your friendship as much as you enjoy his, he may be hoping to be invited into your inner circle. I suggest you ask Julia to give him a chance. Let her know that you will be in school for the next few years, and that with school comes Rob. Tell her that you would appreciate it if she would try to get to know him because you consider him a good friend. Let her know that he is not a creep looking for a threesome (this could also be a concern of hers, my sources tell me) but a classmate who, like you, is looking to make new friends. Most importantly, continue to include Janie in your school’s events and activities whenever possible. When you started school you started a chapter of your life that does not include Janie, which could be another source of stress on her insecurity.
In the end it will be up to Janie to decide who she can accept into her life, but it will be up to you to decide whether or not to accept her rejection of your friends. I hate to say it, but if she cannot control her jealousy and insecurity your relationship may not be able to last. Couples counseling may be able to help the two of you.
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.