• An exploration of the tensions experienced by bisexual men in long-term, monogamous, mixed-orientation relationships, whose bisexuality is known to their partners: Implications for counselling

      Gubi, Peter; Neath, Michael (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-10)
      This research explores the tensions encountered by bisexual men who are in a long-term monogamous relationship with someone who does not identify as bisexual, in the circumstance of their bisexuality being known to their partner. It was anticipated that tensions and partner anxieties would arise from preconceptions of bisexual men, as described in the literature. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six bisexual men. The interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The analysis uncovered three main themes: formative experiences; fear and longing; and the relationship. Within these themes, the participants revealed how formative experiences have left them aware that a part of them which they experience as fundamental may be met with rejection, stigma, denial, incomprehension, and misconceptions. The second theme revealed how the tension between the desire to be known and live authentically on the one hand, and the desire to be safe from rejection and stigma on the other, creates situations of living with partial disclosure, vigilance and caution, and inauthenticity. In the third theme, romantic relationships were shown to bring opportunities for being known and accepted; the possibility of rejection; further restrictions to living authentically; and the onus of answering to partner anxieties. Additionally, an incongruence was observed between participants’ averred feelings about their relationships and implicit feelings about the terms of their acceptance. The implications of the findings for counselling are considered from a person-centred perspective.