The answer is definitely … it depends.
Outside of the legal definition, marriage is a commitment that two people make to each other. For most couples the commitment includes monogamy.
But what happens if a bisexual person enters into a marriage with a heterosexual person and still wants to have homosexual sex? Will they be cheating if they do?
If you’re bisexual and in this situation, you know this is a complicated question to answer. Yet by your willingness to answer it you’re doing a couple of great things. First, you’re honoring yourself by being aware of your needs (and your sexual identity). Second, you’re displaying love and respect for both your spouse and your marriage.
Getting back to answering the question … The only way to know if having sex with a same sex partner is cheating on your spouse is to look at your specific situation.
Situation 1: Your spouse knew you were bisexual and wanted to continue having homosexual sex when you married.
Since your spouse entered into the union knowing your sexual orientation and that you still wanted to fulfill your desire for sex with a same sex partner, you probably figured out a way to respectfully communicate about when you would do so.
If you communicate as you agreed, having homosexual sex while married to your heterosexual spouse is not cheating.
However, if you do not communicate with your spouse as you agreed, then you are cheating.
Situation 2: Your spouse knew you were bisexual but didn’t know you wanted to continue having homosexual sex after the marriage.
Ideally, you will talk with your spouse about your need for sex with a same sex partner before you engage in it. Hopefully, they understand or at least appreciate your situation and come to some kind of loving agreement with you about how you can have your needs met. Maybe they’ll even be up for a threesome so both of you can enjoy the experience.
If you respectfully communicate with your spouse and together come to agreement about how you can get your needs met and if you follow through with that agreement, then you are not cheating.
However, if you either don’t let your spouse know about your needs or don’t adhere to the agreement you made, then you are cheating.
Situation 3: Your spouse didn’t know you were bisexual before you married OR you discovered you were bisexual after your marriage.
For many this is the toughest situation because it means sharing a part of you with your spouse that you’ve never shared before. But it’s vitally important that you do because if you don’t you’re living a lie and forcing your spouse to live one too.
As uncomfortable as the thought of this discussion might be, you can have it in a way that’s loving and respectful to both of you. That is if you plan for it and expect for it to take some time for your spouse to fully accept it.
Once your spouse has accepted it (or at least come to terms with it), you’ll have an easier time telling them about your need for sex with a same sex partner. You might be surprised by their willingness to experience your newly discovered sexuality (at least it’s new to them) with you by having a threesome. Or they could even suggest an open marriage or polyamory.
After you’ve had this difficult conversation with your spouse and agreed on how you can respectfully meet your needs, then you are not cheating.
However, if you don’t have this conversation with your mate or don’t adhere to the communication you agreed to, then you are cheating.
As complicated as your situation is, there is a basic truth about determining whether or not having homosexual sex is cheating or not. And that truth is if you’re betraying your mate’s expectations about the type of contact you have with another person, then you’re cheating.
Having open dialog with your spouse about your needs, agreeing on how you can have those needs met and then adhering to that agreement is the only way that having same sex sex within your heterosexual marriage is not cheating.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor who believes that choosing divorce is a last resort. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
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This article originally appeared at DivorceForce.