True Story: I Realized I Was Bisexual After I Married A Man

What if you discovered you were bisexual after you married a man? That's exactly what happened to Libby - click through to read her story!
Sexuality is a spectrum, right? What happens if you discover you’re a bisexual woman … after you’ve married a man? That’s exactly what happened to Libby. This is her story.

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m Libby. I live in Central Kansas with my partner and our pets. I write a blog and am helping to develop a local art and literary magazine called &/Both.

I also work at a bookstore where I get to meet readers all day and that’s one of my most favorite things. I love to paint, read, and do all kinds of other inside-cat types of activities.

Tell us a bit about your husband.

Ryan was a few grades ahead of me in high school but he and I never really connected until I was in my mid-twenties and just so happened to move into his apartment building. At this point, we’ve been together for six years, married for two and a half.

I love being married to Ryan. He’s hilarious and intelligent and creative. He really is a true partner. Since day one, I’ve always been drawn to the way that he allows people to be themselves fully. He lives his life knowing that there are no good people and no bad people—we’re all just people.

He lives his whole life without judgment of others and that’s something that’s not only been a blessing to me in partnering with him but something that challenges me to be better and do better.

Growing up, how did you think about sexuality? 

I grew up in an evangelical Christian, church-three-times-a-week kind of family in the middle of Kansas and the thoughts on sexuality were very cut and dry. Straight was right and gay was wrong and, oh by the way, those are the only two options.

As an adult, I began to lay down some of the values that I was raised with and in doing so, I’ve felt a passion for fighting for the “others” among us—in particular the LGBTQA+ community. I just didn’t realize that I would become a part of that group.

When I look back on my adolescence, I can see that there were plenty of times where, had I been given space or the information, I might have realized that I had an attraction to other genders at that point. But that’s not how things went—I just was straight because we were a straight people.

It was a label that was applied to me and I accepted, just like so many other labels. We’re born into them and we keep them until they start to not fit very well.

How did you discover you were bisexual? 

For me, there was both an out of the blue epiphany and a gradual unfurling of truth.

Boiling a very nuanced story down into a few sentences is going to lose so much. But let me just say that one night at a party, I felt an attraction to a very good friend of mine. This was so strong and so undeniable that there was only a matter of a few hours between when it started and when I told Ryan about it.

It was so heavy and pressing and demanding that I didn’t even feel comfortable in my skin until I spilled it all out to him when I got home. I’m a verbal processor and I knew that if I talked to anyone but Ryan—that would have been a betrayal. I don’t know if that’s the case for everyone’s relationships but it was true for mine.

At first, I told myself that I wasn’t attracted to women, it was just this particular woman. But as time wore on, I was able to realize that wasn’t the case. This moment in time had simply unlocked something bigger that I truly had no idea was living inside of me but acknowledging it felt like I was fully breathing for the first time.

How did you tell your husband about this?

Like I said, I came to Ryan immediately. I can’t remember exactly what I said but there was a lot of, “I had no idea” and “I’m so sorry” and “what do I do?”

He was quiet at first, letting it all sink in and allowing me to ramble. But he told me over and over again that he loves me and that it’s okay. We talked for a long time about it that night and in the end he said, “So, this sounds like something you should explore.”

Knowing him the way I do, I shouldn’t have been surprised by his reaction. He told me, once, that he was excited to get to be married to an ever-changing, dynamic person and that gave me wings.

How has this affected your marriage? 

This has changed everything… and nothing all at the same time.

Day-to-day our life looks exactly the same way that it did before. I like to describe this as having turned up the color in every aspect of my life. That includes my marriage.

Ryan and I communicate so much more intentionally and wholeheartedly these days. Months of connecting so deliberately about this topic has created a habit that carries over into other aspects of our marriage.

We’re far more mindful in addressing things as they come up rather than allowing them to build up. We’re not perfect but this is one area where I’ve noticed beautiful improvement.

As for opening up our marriage? All I can say for sure is that it’s not something we feel like we need right now. We have friends who have opened their marriages and it’s great for them. We also have friends who have chosen to do that and the results were not so great. Just like with any decision, really. Every marriage is so different.

Have you told anyone else your life about your bisexuality? 

At first, I just told my closest friends. They all reacted with various levels of surprise and concern but they all have been so quick to express their unconditional love and trust in me. And that’s really all I can ask for.

Some family members have been silent on the topic. Some family members have been very vocal about their disappointment. Others have told me that they are so proud of me and they are so happy to know me better. I don’t need everyone to celebrate this part of me but in an ideal world, my people will trust me and we’re just not there yet.

For Bisexual Visibility Week, I decided to come out on my blog. So, now everyone who follows my blog or follows me on Facebook knows.

Ever since then, I’ve gotten dozens of messages from friends and strangers alike saying, “Me, too.” And that’s why I spoke up—to let people know that they don’t have to live in shame or fear that their life has to be upended by this realization.

What tools/websites/books/etc have helped you navigate this?

Podcasts are my favorite way to learn. Cameron Espisito has one called Queery that I started listening to recently and I’ve loved just learning about the normality of this life.

There’s also a recent episode of Down For Whatever that features an interview with a woman who discovered that she was a lesbian after having been married for a long time. Our stories aren’t identical but it was a relief to hear a story that was at least similar to mine.

Truth be told, I’m touching my toes very slowly into this area so I haven’t sought out that much as far as tools just yet.

What advice would you give to anyone else in a similar situation? 

Well, I hope that you have a safe space to express what’s going on with you. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or even just an online community. And if you don’t have any of those things, send me an email. I’d love to connect with you.

I don’t think you have to come out especially if you don’t feel safe in doing so but I do believe that even private self-acceptance can be a revolutionary act.

More than anything, I want you to know how absolutely normal it is to reevaluate your sexuality long after you’ve entered into an “established” time of life. I hope you’re forever learning new things about yourself and falling deeper and deeper in love with who you find.

What have you learned from this that ANY of us could apply to our lives?

Nayyirah Waheed wrote, “Some people, when they hear your story, contract. Others, upon hearing your story, expand. And that is how you know.”

This is probably my biggest lesson. Living my honest life has taught me who my people are and those who are not. Being yourself is going to give you a chance to see who’s really on your team. You’ll be surprised to find who’s there and also who is not. And either way, it is a true gift if you’re ready to embrace it.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Libby. Do you guys have any (polite! respectful!) questions for her? 

P.S. True Story: After dating for 4 years, my boyfriend came out as gay

15 Comments

Anonymous

I was so interested to read this story because I am also bi, but monogamously and happily married to a man. I consider myself lucky in this, because it means I look perfectly typical to any outward observer, so I don’t have to deal with the discrimination that I would have had to otherwise. Weirdly, the only sexual orientation discrimination I’ve experienced is from the LGBTQ crowd, who sometimes don’t consider me to be *actually* bi since I’m not active in relationships on both sides of the fence. Not like I care. I love my hubby. But from a community that is so inclusive, I’ve found it surprising. Early in our marriage, we loved discussing women together. There was even the year we had a lingerie pin-up on the ceiling. Now that we’ve been together longer, he’s more like, “Hey, what about ME?” if I say something about another person of any gender being attractive… so I have quit mentioning it so much. I also find that I’m (mostly) emotionally attracted to one gender, but (mostly) physically attracted to another, and I’m curious as to how common that is.

Reply
Allyson

Another bisexual woman married to a man here, hi! My husband and I were just chatting the other day about my romantic vs. sexual attraction to different people/genders, and I came to the conclusion that while I’m about a Kinsey 3 in terms of sexual attraction, I’m perhaps more of a Kinsey 4 or 5 in terms of romantic attraction. As far as I can tell, disparities between romantic and sexual attraction are pretty common. See also: r/bisexual.

Reply
Sabrina

I’m so glad to have found this… I just recently came out to my husband about how I feel about women. I’m now just struggling with disappointment with not being able to explore my sexuality before getting married. But I’m so glad I’m married to my husband and we don’t have an open marriage, and I wouldn’t want to explore now. So I guess I’m just still learning what it means to be a bi woman married to a man.

Reply
Libby

Yes! That is totally a thing. I’ve heard from lots of friends who have romantic attractions and sexual attractions that seem to go in opposite directions.
We’re all just so different and that makes this world a really cool place.

Reply
lindsay

Oh my gosh, I could have practically written this, it rings so true to my experience. Thank you for writing this, Libby!

Reply
Libby

Lindsay, thank you for reaching out and sharing that! It’s scary to get real vulnerable on the internet but all the “me, too”s make it worth it. <3

Reply
Jen S

Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! I have a very similar story. I have been married to my husband for 16 years and we have 6 beautiful children together. I was raised conservatively Christian and still am a faithful believer, so I always suppressed my attraction to women. But last year I fell truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with my closest girlfriend and I could not longer deny that part of me existed. (I never acted on my feelings, but the desires were clear.) I confessed everything to my husband just three months ago and we’re still sorting everything out, trying to figure out where to go from here. We have so many questions, but we don’t feel like it’s something we can talk openly about in the religious community. It’s nice to hear a similar story and know we aren’t alone!

Reply
Deziray

I’m 26 years old and I have always had attraction to women but never really acted upon. I met my husband when I was 15 married him at 16, he literally is my best friend I love him so much. So through out our marriage my attraction to women kept arising up and I kept suppressing it and trying to convince myself its all in my head it just won’t go away well 2 years ago my husband and I discussed it but I just feel so guilty so I was like just forget it. Well yesterday I decided to tell him that I feel like I’m hiding who I am and its tearing me apart. Long story short we feel like the only option is divorce and the thought of that absolutely kills me inside. I don’t know what to do or feel. I’m to the point where is to keep ignoring it and just live my life with my husband…. Honestly its just a sexual attraction not an emotional one when it comes to women so at the end of the day me ending my marriage is it even worth it? I need advice please and thank you

Reply
Dee

I have known that I am attracted to both men and women for years however because of how different people in my life reacted to the news I decided early on to bottle it up and not reveal it ever again and low and behold. I’m married to my best male friend of 14 yrs. and he just found out that I was and have been keeping that part of me secret and now I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the emotional scars of hiding while helping him deal with that fact that I kept it hidden . He’s ok the fact I like women too just not that I didn’t tell him for so long . I know I don’t deserve it but any tips on helping him

Reply
No Name

Hello everyone, I like many of you have lived most of my life questioning myself and suppressing feelings for the same gender. Never speaking a word of it to anyone. I met the love of my life while in high school and married him after many years. We are perfect for one another and now have a beautiful baby. I have known for most of my life that I have some feelings for women but never acted on it. I was so young when I met the man I married. Now though Im having difficulties suppressing feelings that ive had for a long time girlfriend. I dont plan on ever acting on these feelings, however I feel like im not being truthful to my husband by hiding this piece of myself. Im also frightened that if people did find out they would blame all of my Likes/Dislikes on my sexual preference and say they have suspected this all along. Im probably best staying tightly in the closet but even typing it out to others in my same situation feels slightly more like im being true to myself. Any advice ladies?

Reply
Shannon

I have an extremely similar story to you, and it makes me so very happy to read someone’s story like mine. Thank you for sharing. I’ve shared with a few of my friends, but not my family or publicly. I have the same Christian Evangelical backround as you, so I understand that mindset for sure. Is there any way I can get in touch with you via email? I would love to discuss further, but if not, thanks again for sharing! This is so helpful.

Reply
Kim

I started crying when I came across this article. I’m super happily married to a sweet man. But I grew up homeschooled in the Evangelical church, self-sheltered from non-evangelicals in college, and suppressed all my sexuality until my mid 20s. Like locked down, nothing allowed even in my head. I had a few non-serious boyfriends, but except for one at age 15, none that lasted more than a few weeks and none from 20-23. I only remember having emotional crushes on guys. I didn’t have sex with anyone until I met my future husband and fell head over heels and suddenly at 23 allowed my sexuality to exist and had a sex drive for the first time. But I never knew anyone who was queer or even considered bisexuality (if I knew about it in my teens at all..I had no sex education at all.) Once I left the church and started befriending queer people, I felt so drawn to them, so comfortable around them. I got married a year and half ago and I’m so glad I did but that caused me to suddenly do some soul searching and I started to wish I had been able to date women (and more men). I told myself I was wishing I was queer because I identified with the freedom of gender expression and didn’t want to be stereotyped as a good Christian getting married at 26. I settled recently on the idea that I wasn’t bi, I just wasn’t straight…whatever that means. Because I’m not dating or lusting after anyone besides my soulmate husband (who is so perfect and loves me for my true self no matter what that is), I told myself that I’d just never know if I actually was bi and that saying I was would just be a selfish way to insert myself into the LGBTQ community and take us space that wasn’t mine. That most straight women were probably at least somewhat bisexual anyway and very few people are all the way straight so me “pretending” to be bisexual would just be rude to people who really were. But that just hasn’t sat right with me. I was so hurt seeing a tweet recently saying straight women should stay out of gay bars, not because I disagreed but because I wanted to be able to be adjacent to the queer community. Then I sent a picture of a not very feminine/butch outfit to gay friends joking that i was flaunting my heterosexuality. And just talking about being straight felt wrong and deceitful. That same night I went to a concert of a young gay female singer and the place was 95% queer women under 21 covered in rainbows and just clearly living out their true selves and full of joy. I felt myself starting to cry in the middle of this pop concert because I wished I’d had that chance to explore me and my identity at that age. All this to say, I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to have sexual encounters with women or an origin story of crushing on my best friend in middle school to know that I’m bisexual. I wonder if I tell my queer friends will they just think I’m trying to be one of them without actually belonging? Long story short reading this and the “me too” comments is so affirming…I feel so seen. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.