I'm pretty sure it was the wedding of two of my best friends at the end of July 2016 that finally tipped the scale. Seeing their love and commitment broke down the last wall I had built up, and made me decide to admit to what I had been hiding for years. In the following weeks I came out as bisexual to the people closest to me, including my parents and those best friends after they returned from their honeymoon.
While my first romantic thoughts for men probably date back to high school, those had been neatly tucked away behind layers of insecurity and telling myself "it's just a phase" and "everyone probably feels confused like this" until I believed it myself. Even though I live in one of the most accepting countries in the world when it comes to LGBT, it took me a long time to accept these feelings - and myself.
Being bisexual also didn't help. While it's fine if you have trouble choosing what you want for dinner because the entire menu looks amazing, or being unsure about how business decisions will pan out, for a long time I had more-or-less accepted that I was different from the norm but couldn't figure it out. At times I thought I was just so deep in the closet that I didn't want to accept I was just gay (and since coming out as bi, several people have suggested this to be the case too), but I knew the feelings I've had for women were just as true. That just confused me even more for a while.
Eventually I accepted that on a scale from 0 (straight) to 100 (gay), I'm about a 65 right now. Everyone's somewhere on that scale, and may be on different places throughout their life. I just happen to be more towards the middle than most people. (While writing this post, I learned about the Kinsey Scale which is the same idea, but uses a scale of 0 to 6; I'd put myself as a 4 on that scale).
So, to get back to why I started writing this post...
Since the summer of 2016 I've been telling people of my sexuality regularly, but I've not made a big deal about it or announced it to the world. Even within my family, many people probably don't know. Typically I tell people when they ask if I have a girlfriend yet, by saying something along the lines of that it could've been a boyfriend too.
I don't introduce myself as "Mark Hamstra, 27, bisexual", I've not posted unambiguously on Facebook or Twitter about my coming out, and you wont find me dancing half-naked on a boat during the Amsterdam Gay Pride anytime soon either (you're welcome). While my sexuality is part of who I am, it is not what primarily defines me, and I've been treating it like a detail not everyone has to be made instantly aware of.
From time to time that has made some things a little more complicated than strictly necessary. In situations where people who I have not told unintentionally touch on the topic (for example "are you seeing anyone?", "did you buy your house by yourself?"), there's sometimes an (unintentional) undertone that assumes I'm straight. This can come from people that I've known for ages who I trust enough that I want to correct their assumption. But as I have about a split second to decide to either come out to them (and whoever else may be part of/listening to the conversation), or to fall back to pretending to be straight like I've done for so long, I sometimes choose the latter and regret it a few hours later. It feels like I'm lying to those people, which is also holding me back. As if one leg is still stuck in the closet, and I need to break it down to really get out.
So, long story short, I'm bisexual, and now that it's public knowledge I can stop caring as much about who does and who doesn't know.