A day before engagement, my fiancé told me that he is a bisexual and that he wants an open relationship. I was devastated but went ahead with the engagement function as everything was planned. It has been a year and I have been having panic attacks. My fiancé is in another city because of work, and I keep imagining him having sex with strangers. I have cried my eyes out but not told my parents as his parents have been family friends and my fiancé has been my best friend since childhood. If I disclose this, I will lose my friend, my parents will be devastated and also lose their family friends, it may ruin things in his family for him. If I go ahead I will always be unsure of his commitment and also fear sexually transmitted diseases. What should I do?
Ans: The challenge in life is to choose between two categories of pain and misery since discomfort is both an inevitability and a right of passage towards smarter thinking - that all individuals go through. You had to choose between the pain of social embarrassment before you marry him (if you’d called it off) and currently there’s the pain of anxiety because you’ve married someone who wants an open relationship (you worry what he’s up to when he’s away).
Realistically speaking, you can’t control how your husband thinks and behaves but you can certainly manage what you expect from him and how you negotiate with him. If you’re concerned, tell him you’re concerned.
If you’re uncomfortable, tell him that you’re uncomfortable. You both are childhood friends and such communication could be a great jump off point to help him see how vulnerable and disappointed you’re feeling.
The idea is to communicate and appeal to the care he feels for you (as a friend and a husband). The panic attacks are an indicator of suppressing emotions.
Do you judge yourself for wanting what you want and feeling what you feel? It’s important to have clarity and communicate clarity as well. STDs are a common occurrence and risk if a person sleeps with multiple partners and you need to discuss this with your partner. To really get through to him, make sure you’ve planned what you’re going to say to him so you can work through an agenda of ideas and place your needs in front of him.
Whether your concerns shall be met with denial or a rebuttal or with a heartfelt apology are entirely dependent on the kind of man your husband is and how much your happiness means to him. If he didn’t want to be in a committed relationship with you and only wanted an open relationship, why did he marry you? Perhaps the answer to this question may indicate what he sees in you to want to be with you and yet simultaneously pursue open relationships too.
What do you represent for him in his life? If you disclose the current state of affairs to others, no doubt there will be several emotional reactions you'll have to be ready for. Denial and disdain commonly follows disbelief.
However, you must stick to your guns and not water down what you want just to make your dreams for yourself more palatable to other people. If you continue to suffer by keeping mum and not reaching out for help, your pain and anxiety will compound. The price to be paid in life for speaking our mind and wanting what we want is the dismissal and frustration of other people.
We can’t help being who we are and wanting what we want and they can’t help having something to comment about what we want and who we are.
It doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is our plan and adaptability to difficult situations so that we can live with dignity. Your dignity should be non-negotiable. You owe yourself peace and clarity.