Long story short, I’ve recently come to the confident realisation that I’m bi-romantic demisexual, and my best friend is now my boyfriend.

Now, for that long story.

Not that long ago I quite confidently said I wasn’t gay, bi, trans or non-binary; guess I was wrong about the bi bit. But to take it all the way back to the beginning, it’s been a winding road to me finally knowing how I feel regarding my sexuality.

Around the time most people are beginning to realise their sexualities and going through puberty and hormones are racing, I was very much outside of that space. I didn’t look at people and think “Wow, they’re hot” or “They’re peng” (as the slang was for a bit at my school). I was just interested in people as people and sex was not something that was really on my agenda. But I was camp, loved musical theatre and Disney, hated sports, and just generally acted in a way that was perceived as ‘gay’ by so many of the people in my school. And that was part of what led to the onslaught of bullying.

At that time, I didn’t really know what being gay was. It wasn’t talked about in any sex ed classes, it wasn’t really on the news all that much, so my entire context for it was that it was a bad thing that I didn’t want to be and that I was pretty sure I wasn’t because I didn’t see people like that.

That bullying led to a lot of mental scars surrounding sexuality and sex that I don’t think have ever healed properly until this past month. I was already not really into the whole idea of sex, but all the bullying just turned me off the idea and also made it impossible for me to see myself as someone people (girls) could be attracted to. So when there did happen to be a few girls that I really liked as people and thought that maybe I could give it a go because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a teenager, it either blew up in my face or just never got brought up.

That continued all the way through university too. I should’ve felt more empowered to just explore and see what felt right, but the internalised homophobia meant that relationships with men were never going to happen. And at that time, there were girls who I ended up really liking and wanting to try to have a relationship with, but once again, my interest either went unsaid or blew up in my face.

And then came the attempts at online dating which I found even harder than before. It was just such a shallow way of meeting people and I just failed at attracting any of the girls who I thought I might be interested in. Eventually I did meet my first girlfriend and we did have a sweet relationship for the time that it lasted, but as part of me expected, it didn’t last.

I know that all the feelings I’ve had for people over the years were true, as all of them began as good friendships and blossomed into a desire for something more. That’s why I felt very seen when I came across the term Demisexual.

Demisexual is part of the asexual spectrum and basically means that you only feel attracted to someone once they have an emotional bond with a person. When I found that term, a lot of things suddenly made sense. That explained why I only ever ended up wanting to start relationships with girls that I got really close to. It explained why I just didn’t fit in the boxes the world usually tried to put me in. So I’ve known that bit for quite a few years but never really needed to tell the world about it because it didn’t affect the end outcome of what I expected of my life: A dog, two kids, and a wife.

But then as I’ve gotten older and closer to 30, I’ve begun to reassess what I want for my life. I’ve got the dog, the kids will hopefully come, but the wife just seemed completely out of reach.

And then New Year 2022 my best friend shot his shot and I realised something. I cared about him. I cared about him a lot. And all of the walls I had built up around the very idea of me being in a relationship with a man just fizzled away. He was the person I wanted to be with and it didn’t matter that he was male, I just wanted to be with him. And that was the moment I realised and finally accepted that I was definitely bi-romantic. I know the feelings I’ve had in the past were true and I know the feelings I have now are true. So I know I can have romantic feelings for both men and women.

And that’s how I’ve gotten here. I’ve had people try to give me labels my entire life that have never quite fitted. And I think the reason I never looked at this potential sooner was because I hadn’t met the right person yet, but also because I’ve spent the last god knows how many years not wanting to be labelled like that ever again. I didn’t want the people who bullied me to have been right. I didn’t want to let them win by ‘correctly’ labelling me. But now, I know that I don’t care. They didn’t win, they weren’t right.

I’m the only person who gets to choose what label defines me. And it’s bi-romantic demisexual or demibisexual. And now I’m in a relationship with my best friend and I can’t wait to see where our future takes us.