Bad at Love: Dating as a Bisexual
“I’m bad at love, but you can’t blame me for trying.” —Halsey, “Bad at Love”
I sing Halsey’s bisexual anthem, “Bad at Love,” whenever I’m frustrated with my dating life. Bisexuals in general are not bad at love, but sometimes I wonder if my love life would be much simpler if I were just straight.
I realized I was bisexual last year after years of believing I was simply “bi-curious.” It was exciting to explore my sexuality, but I still kept wondering if I was wrong. I found myself more into men, which worried me. “Maybe I am straight,” I would constantly think to myself. And deep down, I knew it would be easier to be straight in society—easier for my religion as a Catholic woman, and easier for me to stay in familiar territory.
Denis Yudin, a junior visual media arts major, struggles with this battle on a daily basis.
“Some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Oh you know what? I’m not bi. I'm just somewhat heteroflexible’,” Yudin says. “And then sometimes I wake up and I’m like, ‘I need a strong man to make me mushroom risotto and tuck me into bed. But then some days I think, ‘Can’t I have both please?’”
It’s an internal battle when you want to be with someone, but there’s always a voice inside telling you it’s wrong. Yudin’s first time was during an OkCupid hookup. “Physically, it was quite reassuring, but emotionally and mentally and spiritually, it just felt gross and wrong,” he says.
When Yudin came out to his grandmother, she was confused as to why he was still single because he now had double the options. Yudin didn’t have the heart to tell her that somehow, despite that, he’s equally terrible in both his relationship options.
Despite being more attracted to women than men, Yudin notices that men seem to like him more than women—however, it’s usually men who aren’t his type. When flirting with men, it can sometimes be as easy as just giving a look, whereas with women, he finds that he can easily come off as awkward, weird, and creepy.
In my case, when I see a boy, I’m very confident and flirtatious. But once I see a pretty girl, I panic and just lose all my confidence.
“Look, I don't mean to frustrate, but I always make the same mistakes.”
I rarely go far with girls. It’s hard enough navigating your own sexuality, but it’s even harder if you pursue someone who’s just as unsure about their own. Once I ask them out on dates, they suddenly get scared and stop talking to me entirely. The few times I have been successful with girls, they end up changing their minds and then dumping me for a guy. Yudin has had similar experiences where he would get together with friends who are experimenting with their sexuality, and shortly thereafter realize they’re straight.
“It almost makes me wonder if I turned them straight, but then I wonder if that’s just been my luck so far,” Yudin says.
Dating more than one gender can lead to extremely different experiences. My personality, expectations, and sexual experiences change depending on who I’m dating.
Caitlin Thomas, a senior at Berklee College of Music, says her sexual relationships with guys are different than her ones with girls.
“I’m more comfortable having casual sex with a girl because with guys, it’s cemented in my mind that it’s kind of a more serious connection,” she says.
Thomas thinks there are more things to worry about when having casual sex with men. She worries about protection, getting pregnant, and that, overall, it means something more. Whereas with girls, she sees it as a fun, simple experience.
“With a girl, if anything, it’s a little bit more exciting because of the rebellious part of me,” she says. Thomas says it most likely comes from the idea of defying the social norm of being straight.
Thomas is currently seeing a man, but she doesn’t want to label it. She says she’s confused because she wants to have fun with girls, but still be in a committed relationship.
Dating as a bisexual is difficult. You’re figuring out your own sexuality, figuring out somebody else’s, figuring out who you are with a person, and figuring out what you really want. Sometimes, we’re even bad at love, because even though we have more options, there are consequences with that, too.
“When there’s more options, there’s also more anxiety, more possibilities, and you just end up keeping yourself on the hook,” Yudin says. “You’re always wondering if there’s something more out there for you.”
Illustrations by Lillian Cohen