February 10, 2013

Ask A Lesbian: What Does A Straight-Identifying Woman Dating Another Woman Tell Her Parents?

Disclaimer: This is an article written in a satirical manner, meant to entertain only. The opinions and views expressed are only that of the author — nobody else. The author is in no way an expert, nor is she speaking for the entire LGTBQ community. If you have serious questions, including but not limited to gender heteronormativity, sexuality in general, or ways to assist in the LGBTQ community, please research organizations that are meant to answer those questions. If you have a story or experience that is different, please share in the comments below! Thank you!

I identify as a straight woman but am dating another woman. When I bring her home to meet my parents, what’s the best way to address the situation head-on?

I am so glad to see that you are holding on to what you identify as and that you can claim that. In the lengthier version of your question, you stated that your parents raised you to love openly and freely, and so I think you’re in a good place for when you go home for explanation.

I think it’s important to explain first that your personal identity is something that they may never understand. That’s what makes it personal. Even if your partner identifies as a lesbian, that doesn’t change who you are or how you feel. Telling your parents that you’ve followed the way they raised you and that you look for the good in a person as an attractor may be the right way to kick things off.

When I first “came out” to my mom, I did it the same way as you (mostly.) At the time, I wasn’t sure what I identified as. My mom was kind of forced to go on this journey with me, and the thing that journey needed most was time. I went through months of struggling to identify: first I identified as straight but in love with a woman, then as queer, and now finally as a lesbian. I stuck with queer for a while because it was really hard for me to discount the men I had been with before. I loved them and they loved me and we were in a relationship together. We had sex. We had conversations. We were couples. That was something that I didn’t want them to feel like I was being not genuine about. But, as time moved on and I discovered more about myself, I realized that what I lacked in those relationships was what I gained in being with women. I now know that male-identified people are not what I am attracted to sexually. I also realized that just because I have now found identity in being a lesbian, that doesn’t mean that my past relationships just go away. They have made me into the woman I am today; into the lover I am today; into the really loud personality I am today. And they know they existed. They may not be the most thrilled, but they understand that this is what I am.

And if you find that your identity still feels straight, then your identity is straight. Nobody can take that from you. By explaining to your family (and friends that I am sure will ask) that you are just madly in love with someone based on the things you share, that should be enough of a first step. Natural questions will arise, and it’s okay to not know the answers to them right away. Let your parents know that you’ll answer their questions to the best of your ability, but that you may not know everything right now, and that’s okay. And let your girlfriend answer, too! You said they’re cool with it for the most part, so they are hopefully curious about the person you are sharing your life with. Let them in to that part of your life as much as you are comfortably possible, and things will most likely even out for you. Best of luck!

What does it mean when a woman flirts with you on different occasions, but is already married?

Ahh! My yellow caution light is blaring right now. First things first, I might not be the person to ask because I am a strict no-cheating advocate. I think that being cheated on in the past and being close with people who thought cheating was okay for their own horrid personal reasons really turned it off for me. So my immediate knee-jerk reaction is to tell you that it means nothing, because this woman is unavailable and therefore …unavailable.

But. I will divulge this question a little bit because there is no back story and sometimes people do get caught up in this: what do you do when someone is attracted to you, yet they’re in a relationship? If it’s to a point of obvious advances, i.e. “Can I take you out sometime?” then it’s something that you need to be up front and honest about. It’s not wrong of you to ask that person what their deal is. If this happened to me, I would say “You’re married/in a relationship/whatever the situation is that makes them unattainable, right? Is there a reason you’re asking me out? Does your partner know you’re doing this?” If they respond in a shocked or defensive way, chances are their partner is none the wiser. But, there is also the chance that this person is in an open relationship. Yes, even if they are married. Some couples do have this arrangement. If this is the case, and it’s something you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask what their guidelines are: is it just sexual? Do they bring other people into their relationship? What are the rules that they follow that you in turn will need to follow, too? It’s better to ask these questions directly, too. I just find it easier to catch someone in a lie if you’re standing face to face, and if you’re looking at them as you ask these questions directly, you should be able to gauge if they’re actually in an open relationship or if they’re really just looking to get their cheat on.
There’s not too much more I can say on the subject. I lived with someone who was the other woman in an affair in college, and the entire experience changed the way I look at things. I vowed to not associate with people who were in affairs, because those morals don’t match up with mine. Then again, I might be friends with people who are having affairs right now and I could be completely unaware. At the end of the day, your decision is your decision, but I would steer clear of it. There are plenty of people in the world that are available and want to be dated. Find them! It’ll be less of a problem later down the road; I promise.

I’m a man, and my girlfriend of six years told me that she kissed another woman and is now questioning if that means she is gay. Does this mean we broke up? What should I do?

I am sorry to hear this. Assuming you and your lady weren’t in an open relationship (wow, these are just coming up left and right, huh?), that may fall along the lines of cheating for you. And if it does, I’m bummed for ya. Getting cheated on sucks.

You say she’s questioning her sexuality. This is something that may be difficult to hear, since you have been together for six years, but you need to give her space. By space, I mean s p a c e. Not seeing each other every day (this may prove difficult if you live together: is there a place either of you could stay for a couple of weeks? If not, separate rooms for sure), not calling and texting each other, the whole nine yards.

When I was going through my breakup with my ex-fiancé, I wasn’t even questioning my sexuality. I was questioning who I was as a whole. I was so uncomfortable with how much of myself I had lost in a relationship that didn’t seem to be progressing in the way I wanted it to. I had requested space, and in turn I received the complete opposite. I was the proud owner of a non-trusting partner: double the phone calls and texts with accusatory tones, asking who I was with and where I was all of the time. A month passed before I had had enough, and I ended the entire relationship over the phone. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I truly could not contain my anger any longer, and I shouted that I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I had been pushed to the edge. Now, that being said, we would have broken up either way. I just wish it hadn’t been on such ugly terms. Being accused of cheating when I was doing the opposite wasn’t really nice, and breaking up with someone that you’ve been in a relationship with for six years from thousands of miles away is absolutely horrific. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Give your girl space. If, in that designated time apart, she discovers that she doesn’t want to be with you, she wants to be with women, she would prefer to be alone, or she made a mistake…no matter the outcome, she needs to figure it out on her own without being questioned. Input from anyone but herself isn’t going to give her the answer she’s looking for. That answer is completely inside of her. Again, I am sorry you’re going through this. It might feel like the short end of the stick, because in reality, it is. Take this time for yourself, too! Rediscover things that you’ve forgotten you loved. Figure out what you are looking for in a partner. You may surprise yourself in finding that maybe you two do need a break after all. Best of luck, friend. TC mark