It’s a story I’ve heard several times over the years: a middle-age woman who has been in a longtime monogamous heterosexual marriage feels she can no longer suppress her urges to be with a woman. She admits to having had those urges and sexual fantasies most of her life, and now in her, say, mid-50s feels she has to explore those feelings before it is too late. But she feels trapped: how to go about it, especially if her partner expects her to be faithful?

You might be thinking, well, a lot of middle-age men and women in monogamous relationships — whether they’re heterosexual or gay is irrelevant — experience midlife urges and desires to have sex with people other than their partners (if not before midlife).

And you would be correct, except it’s somewhat different for bisexual people — of which I am one. When we choose to be in a monogamous relationship, we are sacrificing a part of our sexuality. Sure, I might have a happy sex life with a male partner or a female partner, but neither of them can fulfill the sexual roles of both male and female.

I am currently in a relationship with a woman, whom I love dearly and stay faithful to because she expects it of me. But I do miss being taken by a hunky male sometimes . . . It’s a need that will remain unfulfilled.

But what if the desire overcame me to the point of obsession? What if it preoccupied my thoughts night and day?

Well, at that point I could explain to my partner that I needed to be with a man, not out of love, but for raw sex. But if she said no, that it would be a deal breaker, what then? Be dishonest and cheat? Run the risk of getting caught and destroying our relationship?

Fortunately, I am not in this predicament; I can suppress my desire to be with a man, probably because I have been there and done that — I have been able to explore my bisexuality over the past decade or so.

But other bisexual people do get to the point of desperation, and relationships crumble as a result.

It’s easy for us to say that couples in situations like that should explore open relationships — especially if it will keep a marriage from falling apart. But monogamy is sacred for some people, and having sex with other people is out of the question.

And many are just too honest to cheat on their spouses, even if it would mean saving the relationship.

Yes, such tangled webs we weave.

Bisexuals are largely misunderstood in society. Many do not accept the concept of bisexuality, or take us seriously. They see us as swingers. If they see us in a same-sex relationship, then we’re “gay” as far as they are concerned. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, I might be in a same-sex relationship, but I am still a bisexual person. Bisexual people are innately bisexual, just as some people are innately gay and others are innately heterosexual. We’re born that way, even if we never fulfill our desires.

So keep it in mind — if your partner one day expresses the need to explore his or her bisexuality, try to go with the flow. You’ll have a better chance of keeping your partner if you give him or her the latitude needed, and you’ll be loved all the more for it.

— Jillian