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Working through your partner's same-sex attractions

by Ricky Nguyen

If you learn that your heterosexual partner has a same-sex attraction, this can come as a huge shock. While not commonly discussed amongst peers, this is relatively common and does not have to spell the end of your relationship. Here is a guide to some of the issues you may want to explore with your partner while working out the next steps for your relationship.

The extent of their same-sex attraction

Human sexuality is less of a binary, and more of a scale, with many degrees of same-sex attraction between heterosexuality and homosexuality. If you stumble upon pornographic material or flirtatious messages to a member of the same sex, this does not necessarily indicate anything beyond a mild curiosity, but should be explored in more detail in a relationship counselling setting for your peace of mind.

If there has been any infidelity or cheating

While a same-sex attraction, as with an attraction to the opposite gender, does not necessarily manifest in physical relationships, many people who have only realised their same-sex attraction later in life do have an urge to explore this attraction physically. The issue of infidelity should be looked at separately to the issue of same-sex attraction, as these can both be damaging to a committed relationship, but in different ways, as one is an emotional issue to be explored and the other a physical incident to be forgiven and moved past, or a potential end to the relationship.

The relationship history

If there was knowledge going into the relationship that one of the partners was bisexual, this is likely to be a different shock than if this is a new piece of information. If this is a new realisation for both parties, there is not as much of concern around concealment compared to a situation where the partner with the same-sex attraction has been concealing their extramarital sexual activities. This can create issues around trust and honesty, which can be particularly damaging if this intersects with other issues in the relationship around honesty and sharing of personal information.

Relationship counselling, at places like Inner Dimensions, can help you to explore these issues and reach some resolution, so that you can make any decisions as to the future of your relationship from an open and honest place. A third party can often challenge and probe in ways that a member of the relationship cannot do. If you are experiencing issues with same-sex attraction in your relationship, you should make an appointment to start relationship counselling as soon as possible.