By Dave Herman
Back in college, I told my girlfriend that I had once briefly dated a boy, and she very nearly dumped me. A man who would even consider kissing another man did not fit the role she had imagined for me. So years later, when I first met my partner Lisa and she told me she was bisexual, my immediate reaction was relief. I could let the cat out of the bag right away; no need for secrets.
But as fate and hormones would have it, I’m straight—bored by football, able to sing every lyric to Les Misérables, but nonetheless primarily attracted to women. (I might make an exception for Neil Patrick Harris, but nobody’s 100% consistent.) So after the initial euphoria of finding someone to accept me as I am, next came the gradual recognition that my partner and I do not have the same sexual orientation. I doubt I could fully explain quite what this means in practice. It’s both entirely personal and something we are still learning about. I know it hasn’t always been easy for Lisa, nor has it for me. Relationships between the sexes are different from same-sex relationships, and that has to mean Lisa’s missing something. For me, I think it demands a certain level of confidence, one I don’t necessarily always have, to know that I am not everything to this woman I love. By the time we met, Lisa and I had had enough of childish and co-dependent relationships. We were each seeking a complement, not a human crutch.
I am sure we have more tough conversations ahead. But I have a partner who is honest with herself and accepting of me. And we both enjoy pointing out cute girls to each other. What more could you ask for?
Dave is a graduate student at Northeastern University. When he isn’t traveling for academic conferences or industrial committee meetings, Dave enjoys playing the piano for his sweetheart and her cats.