Sexolve 238: ‘I Am Single. Does That Make Me Abnormal?’
“What matters is that you are honest to yourself and happy with yourself,” writes Harish Iyer.
(Trigger Warning: Some questions could make you feel agitated. Reader discretion is advised.)
Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any queries regarding sex, sexuality, or your relationship, and need some advice, answers, or just someone to hear you out – write to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop-in a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s Q&As are below:
‘I Am Bisexual, Polyamorous and Confused’
I am a 28-year-old polyamorous bisexual woman. I am in love with a man and recently I fell in love with a woman as well. I have been in love with the man for over three years. The woman has just come into my life. The woman is okay with me having this relationship with my man. And the man knows I am in love with this woman. However, this is not as easy as it seems. I am now living with the woman and the man is in another city. Now, I am with the woman and dreaming about making love to the man. I am more drawn towards the man. I don’t know if I am making complete sense of things… hope you get the drift. Every passing day, I am feeling less drawn towards the woman and more drawn towards the man. It is kind of getting too complicated in my head. I want to go to my man. This woman is very loving, very understanding, very loving, she takes immense care of me and feeds me and looks after me with a lot of love. I don’t want to lose that. I am not giving enough back to her. However, I don’t want to lose my male partner. I am constantly thinking that he will find someone else if I carry on like this for long. I don’t want her to think that I am leaving her for a heterosexual convenience and am homosexual cheat. That’s not the case. I really love him. Please help me see sense. I am very confused.
Thank you for writing in. It may seem that the situation you are in, is complicated. Until you realise that love, in general, is complicated. In my opinion, to stay in love isn’t easy. That’s why maybe people add so much value to it.
Let’s break down the situation you are in.
You are polyamorous. You believe in ethical polyamory. You have dutifully informed both your partners about your relationship with the other.
So far, good. However, there is a little twist in the story that I gather from your email. For a second, let’s forget the genders of the two lovers. Let’s refer to your boyfriend as A and girlfriend as B. Do you recognise your relationship with A as the primary relationship? If the answer is yes, then this needs to be communicated.
Polyamorous relationships are best when there are ground rules that all people involved in the relationships are aware of. Rules like, how far one goes in the relationship, expectation setting, how far does one accept love, so that the person doesn’t start expecting the same in return. Is there a primary and a secondary relationship in this structure?
All this needs to be laid down. In that context, if person A is your primary and person B is your secondary, they need to know about it.
Relationships between humans involve expectations. It is nice if we are able to reciprocate the love that we receive. Else, one becomes a giver and the other the taker. And that can be too exhausting to the giver, for they will soon be exhausted of their reserves of love and empathy.
I also read that you recognise yourself as a bisexual person.
It is a myth that bisexual persons would leave their same sex partners for heterosexual alliances.
Bisexual people are of all kinds. I know several bisexual people in committed homosexual relationships. I know bisexual people who are in heterosexual relationships. I know bisexual people in polyamorous relationships. They are as good (and as bad) as everyone else.
I would very strongly suggest that you communicate more freely with person B and let person B know what you feel about person A. Be honest, be open. Reengineer the dynamics of your triangular relationship. Find out what you are okay with. Tell them what you are not okay with. Don’t force yourself into a relationship. Don’t force yourself out of a relationship. Communicate and find ways to work out. Let no one feel lesser in this.
You don’t need to feel guilty about feeling what you feel. Just be honest about it to your partners. And chalk out a new path from the old road.
P.S. Speak up. Be honest.
‘Am I a Person With Bipolar Disorder?’
I have been wondering all day. I have a very very confused life. I have had traumas in my life, like yours (i.e. have been raped as a child). I have had peaks of highs and lows in my mind. There are times when I feel like killing myself. I have attempted to take my life more than one time. There are also moments where I laugh like a lunatic. I feel immense amount of joy. I feel like tearing the universe with my happiness. That’s when I get very creative. I get very loving. I don’t know why these extremes exist in my life. Is this because of my childhood? Do I have bipolar disorder? Can you please tell me? I haven’t mustered the courage to show up at a doctor’s. I am afraid of the diagnosis.
Dear Mr Curious,
Thank you so much for writing in. The trauma of child sexual abuse could leave a lasting impact on our minds.
The more we address the issues that haunt us and hurt us, we also gain the ability to dissect them and heal one portion of the hurt at a time.
I wish that no child goes through child sexual abuse. I also wish that if a child has gone through it, they never deny that it happened to them.
We can’t undo our past. We can only heal from it. And we can only heal from it, when we do not deny its existence.
I am not a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist, so will abstain from diagnosing or giving names to your experiences, but since you asked about persons with bipolar, here are a few things that I know.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by highs and low emotional swings. When high one could slip into something that could be called mania. When low, one could slip into clinical depression. There are also mixed episodes that one could experience.
One thing that one shouldn’t do when someone is feeling low or high, is self-diagnosis. No one can tell you that you are a person with bipolar disorder without proper examination by a qualified mental health expert. Not even you, yourself.
I understand the stigma that surrounds mental health. Maybe it will help to know that many of us suffer from mental health conditions, and those who take treatment are able to deal with their lives more effectively. There should be no place for any taboo in mental health. Many, if not all, have mental health challenges that we grapple with. And many of us have been diagnosed with mental health disorders by mental health professionals through proper testing. It is possible to lead a good life with a mental health disorder. We may need to take a little more care of our mental health. Self-diagnoses will not help.
Acceptance after diagnosis will help. Let me take the lead and share - I am writing this to you, as a person with dysthymia. I was diagnosed by a qualified clinical psychologist and have been taking care of myself with talk therapy and medicines. It is not that I am totally fine. Life topples all of us sometimes. However, I seek help and assistance more freely after I have understood what my challenges are.
Hope you visit a good mental health professional soon for a thorough mental health check.
P.S. Please visit a professional. No self-diagnosis – please please.
‘I Am Single. Am I Abnormal?’
A very small question – is being single abnormal? Why is everyone obsessed with being in relationships?
Thank you for writing in.
No, being single is not wrong (or right). Being in a relationship is not right (or wrong).
Don’t be pressurized by trends. Stay true to your true intent.
It is okay to be single, even if you are the only person who is single. What matters is that you are honest to yourself and are happy with yourself. So you may be single and mingle, or single and not mingle and single sometimes and mingle sometimes – everything is fine.
P.S. It’s fine. Seriously.
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals)
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