As a polyamorous bisexual female coming out of her first relationship with another woman, it’s undoubtedly been a stressful and complicated week. Reflecting on my nearly-six-months relationship with her, though, I can honestly say I come out of it with no regrets. I learned so much from her and our relationship, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Of everything I learned from her, I found these 6 things to be the most influential lessons of them all:
1. Love yourself.
This may seem a bit cliché or obvious to some, but it’s so much easier said than done. When we first started dating, my ex told me she loved my teeth. Let’s get something straight here: my teeth are NOT. I never had braces as a kid, so my teeth are a little jagged and pointy and strange. They’re something I always felt conscious about… that is, until I met her. She made me feel a unique pride about my teeth – and the rest of my body, for that matter, too. I’m no size 6, but I learned to take pride in myself: curves, teeth… she even got me singing at karaoke on multiple occasions.
2. Dress up once in a while – it feels good.
Going along with the first point, dressing up has a way of making you feel powerful, confident, and sexy in your own skin. Before I met her, I was very much a jeans-and-tee kinda gal. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but the problem was that I didn’t feel like my body worked in other types of clothes. She encouraged me to dress up and learn some make up styles, and sure enough, equipped with liquid eyeliner and some motivation, a few (long) hours later, I mastered the cat-eye look. There was something about wearing a dress with heels with my makeup carefully constructed that made me feel fierce – something I didn’t think to even bother with before.
3. Yeah, sometimes people are gonna stare… so what?
This was one that I admittedly still struggle with. I, along with so many others, care entirely too much about what people think. But my ex brought that to my attention while we were dating. I would tell her how I was worried about what people would say if I wore this or did that, and with a calm look, she would just say “And? So what?” There’s something really beautiful about being completely and authentically yourself without caring a single bit what the people around you are thinking. Here’s an example: I have a hickey on my neck. It’s so tempting to glance over at the people around me, wondering if they notice and what they must be thinking. On the other hand, though… who honestly cares? Their opinions hold absolutely no merit over my life. I don’t wanna worry about tucking my hair over my neck to conceal the purple mark… I will wear it proudly. Yes, it’s a hickey. And?
4. Sometimes a relationship ends, and it’s nobody’s fault.
We went on the best first date I’ve ever had. We laughed, we talked, we shared stories about ourselves and asked each other questions… and at the end of the night, we shared an electric-filled, makes-you-dizzy-and-breathless first kiss – with ZERO awkwardness, I might add. How unreal is that? We shared six months full of dancing, laughing, cooking, singing, exploring, and so much more… but in the end, we both knew the time had come. There were simply personality differences that ultimately would have ended us on a horrible note. So we ended it on our terms, agreeing to be friends, because neither of us wanted to completely lose the other. It doesn’t matter if two people love each other to pieces… sometimes there are just things you can’t change, and that’s OK. Be grateful for the experiences you shared, and then gently close that chapter and move on to the next. If you try to force it, you could very well end up tainting even the most beautiful memories you made together.
5. It’s really hard to date another woman…
Your periods may not sync up. That means double the PMS time… though I can’t imagine two periods at the same time would have been a good thing, either. Not to mention the fact that men and women are, at least in my experience, very different. While my boyfriend has a hard time communicating his feelings, my girlfriend never stopped telling me what she was feeling… about EVERYTHING. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely makes for a complicated change of pace.
6. But it’s still incredibly worth it.
The way her hand glides across your back so she can memorize your body with her fingertips… the way she looks at you from across the bed after the first night you slept over… the way she would slip her hands around your waist as you cooked over the stove… her soft skin, lips, smile… Those small moments made every single challenge so much easier to go through, because she was worth it the entire time.
So, to my ex-girlfriend and now-friend: Thank you. Thank you for everything you taught me, and thank you for the beautiful six months we shared together… This is just a new chapter to our story, but I’m still glad to have your company in some way.