Iím an out 20 year old bisexual girl in college, and back when I was really struggling with my bisexuality, I joined a support forum on the internet in order to listen to other bisexuals and find peace of mind.
I didnít interact with anybody specifically on there for a long time, because Iím a rather cautious person by nature and I didnít want to be involved with any potential creepers.
Then, one person started to message me, and we got along fairly well. We became good friends. I was always a bit suspicious that it wasnít genuine, but now I know that she is a real person. After a while, we exchanged email addresses and eventually graduated to talking on skype. After seeing her on the webcam, I knew that she was a real person, and I donít get creeper vibes off of her at all. However, we both began to have feelings towards each other that were more than friendship.
Since we live halfway across the world, and she is currently working in a country where you can be executed for any homosexual act, she knew that it would be very difficult for us to have a committed relationship if it came to that. And, there is a profound age difference: Iím 20, and sheís 34.
While she accommodated me very much, and always said that I was one to dictate the pace that we went at, never pressured me into anything (because we both knew we could never meet face-to-face for a long time at the least), I continued to have doubts about our relationship, whatever it was.
There was the age difference, the distance, and the fact that neither of us have the money to see each other often. She had doubts about these too. However, she always said that the situation between us was more of a possibility of something more happening in the future, so she never wanted pressure. She is an incredibly nice person, and she never seemingly rushed into anything.
However, I continued to get bad feelings in my gut about all this, not that she was a predator or anything, but the emotions she was putting out there towards me were too intense. I told her a few times that I felt that things were becoming a bit too rushed, and she said that she was glad I was so honest, and that she would always follow my pace. I told her that we should treat the situation as friends, with the knowledge that we have feelings for each other, and she completely agreed. Even with me setting the pace, I still sometimes felt that things were too intense! I was convinced that I was less attracted to her than she was of meóand that concerned me, because I didnít want to be leading her on. Somehow, I got the vibe that she expected more out of me than I did out of her, and I wanted to bring that into the light to clarify it.
When I told her this, she was a bit upset, because she was confused as to where I got the idea that she was pursuing a committed relationship with me, and how could I know exactly what level of love that she felt for me? She said that she was not expecting me to love her more, nor could she quantify or label the love that she felt for me: for her, the love just ďis.Ē I wanted to know how much she felt for me, just to make sure we were on the same page, but she felt that no person can really do such a thing, since love is a force thatís hard to contain. See, I have anxiety issues, and thatís one reason why I kept obsessing over the worries that I was having about the relationship between us. I have lost several nights of sleep over the doubts that I was having. Most of the time, especially when talking to her, I would feel happy and peaceful. I would keep thinking about her during the day and smile.
But, sometimes those doubts would creep in to consume me. There was something in my gut that made me very uneasy about the intensity that I perceived coming from her, whether it was real or not, and I truly think that it was real. We almost dropped everything to forget about each other, since she always gave me that option if I was too uncomfortable with the situation, and she didnít want to stress me out that much. But I finally broke down to talk to my mom about it, and she made me feel better about it.
She didnít really approve of anything happening to us beyond friendship, because of potential differences in life stages due to the age difference, and plus the fact that weíre so far away, but she trusts my judgment. She has a strong judge of character herself, and she felt like she wasnít a predator either, and that she was genuine. She told me that it was up to me, but when she listened to me talk about her, she strongly suggested that I drop the ďrelationshipĒ that I was having with her, because she also felt that she wanted more from me too soon than what I did.
But when I talked to the woman I met online, she said that wasnít true at all! She didnít expect more from me that I wasnít willing to give, and she was frustrated that we kept having to go through this issue, because she already stated what she felt, and she couldnít understand what she was doing wrong to make me feel as though things were still rushed. To be honest, there werenít too many specific things I could think of that she said explicitly that made me feel this way; it was mostly just a gut feeling that I cannot truly verify. Plus, the feelings of attraction that I had/have towards her vacillate: sometimes theyíre pretty strong, sometimes theyíre lukewarm.
I told her about after a day or so of thinking that I just wanted to remain friends, and she was ok with it. I feel much better about it now. The trouble is, I donít want a fantastic friend like her to go away, but Iím afraid that the friendship wonít work out. My gut feels much better about the situation, but I still have creeping doubts about it. I feel that deep down it can be all right, but Iím still nervous about it!
I canít tell whether those are just my anxiety issues or whatÖ my mom says that Iím being too intense over my first experience, because Iím an intense person. Itís times like these that I really wish I didnít have anxiety issues, because then I could cope so much more over things that wouldnít bug other people. Itís like Iím really happy that weíre staying friends, but I keep vacillating over the doubts just like I did before, although theyíre not as bad. But, of course, weíve only decided this in the past couple of days, so I donít know how itíll work out.
So, my questions are: Why was I doubting the relationship between us, besides the practical things like age and distance? Was I really perceiving discrepancies in feelings towards each other, and were they valid? Is it really the anxiety problems that are making me doubt the friendship? Why was my attraction towards her vacillating? If my gut is really telling me not to be friends, why do I feel so happy in her company?
[Just had to edit this to include paragraph breaks so I could read this: it was one big wall o text! -- HC]
It's great that you were able to talk to your Mom, and that she's also already given you such excellent advice and support.
One of the things that I'm hearing in this is what may have been an age difference issue, or a life experience issue (or both). It sounds a little to me like she's perhaps forgotten what it's like to feel so uncertain and nervous, and isn't exactly as patient around those feelings as you likely need, validly, someone to be. It may also be that this is a personality difference, where she simply feels a lot more comfortable without defining certain things or breaking them down, whereas it sounds like you really need that.
It sounds to me like you were just having a very hard time feeling out what as going on and what the nature of it was, which was something you wanted to know for a few reasons, including your own emotional safety and also around your anxiety. I think the discrepancies you were perceiving were apt and are valid. I can't say why your feelings of attraction for her were off and on, but certainly, I think you've said some things here that can give you cues about that.
I also can't say why this person -- or any other -- makes you feel happy, even though your gut is giving you big no's. But I'm of the mind that our gut feelings are always really important and something to pay attention to.
Have you been able to connect with any other women with whom you can talk about your bisexuality: do you have any other close relationships with queer women, or only this one?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me ē Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 63382 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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Haha, yes, it was a rather big wall o' text, wasn't it? I had to run off for dinner, so I didn't have time to separate the paragraphs!
My gut feeling says that it's all right to remain friends with her, but there's also a part that says to stay away. I think it's because whatever the relationship I'm having with this woman represents to me is scaring me. At every stage that I've gone through in accepting my bisexuality, I've freaked out. When I had my first acknowledged crush on a girl I freaked out and I couldn't sleep well. When I fell in love with my best friend last year (who is straight for the most part), I became suicidal. I was freaking out excessively last year over the prospect fo coming out to my roommates, even though I knew deep down that it would be all right. It was.
To this day I don't know why I freaked out so much over these things, barring the simple explanation of me having anxiety issues. For example, I still can't comprehend why I became suicidal upon discovering my true feelings for my best friend. I never thought I'd be so broken up over something like that.
She is a wonderful person, so I don't think that it's her person that makes me uneasy. but, whatever feelings that she's stirred up in me is what I believe is bothering me. She doesn't care what level of attraction that I have towards her, but I felt that I just wanted to let her know that I didn't know if I felt the same way about her exactly so she would know and not be angry later. And, she has brought up a lot of questions about myself that I have not really had the opportunity to think about in a practical setting due to my lack of experience: sex, levels of commitment, what do I really want from a relationship, etc. Why IS the future so uncertain about these things? How DO I handle intense feelings from someone and ambiguous feelings from myself? What if, what if. what if? These are the questions I've been asking myself.
I know it's foolish to think that the future can be controlled; it's uncertain, but that's what makes life worth living, really--if we already knew everything that was going to happen in our lives, why bother to live? But the uncertainty, mixed in with my ideas that this is "doomed to fail, so why bother" are creating such a polar tension in my brain that it's hard to deal with.
She says that she is far too old to waste time on relationships that would be doomed to fail. And, like I said, we were never beyond friends with the knowledge that we were interested in one another, and that it was possible at a later date to have something more if we chose. It was a very respectful approach, and I certainly set it, yet I continually doubted what we had agreed upon. I'm pretty sure the doubts were of my own creation, not hers.
It's true; I feel very happy and peaceful when talking to her, and she feels the same with me. I can tell when I talk to her that she absolutely adores me, because I can see it in her eyes. On one hand, I love it. One the other, I feel like hiding. She says that I could be scared because someone loves me so wholly, and may harbor the belief that I don't think I'm worthy of receiving such love, even though I truly am. It's possible, but I don't know. My mom doesn't know, as wise as she is. And I certainly don't know!
We have still been in contact with each other, and after a nice long talk, she totally agreed that I needed to take my time to figure things out. I've felt much better since then, but with an edge of nerves. I know she wouldn't do anything deliberately to overstep boundaries and scare me, but I keep thinking that she will. She just keeps saying that I need to feel the fear, and let it go. My mom says I need to take this all lightly. She recommended that I go out with people at my school and just go to have fun and gain experience. I agree with her wholeheartedly.
I would feel terrible if I abandoned friendship with that woman, because she's such a good person, yet if I get too worked up about it, it may have to go that way. And it would be my problem, not hers. But, again, I'm so happy when we talk! Most of the time if I get a gut feeling to stay away from a person, I'm certainly not happy to interact with them!
So, I still don't know what I'm feeling, or what this relationship represents to me that makes me so scared. I wish I knew. Now, I may just be babbling.
And, I have other friends I can talk to about my bisexuality, and I have queer friends, but we aren't very close. The advice I got was rushed and not deeply considered for this reason. I know that you can fall for the person that pays attention to you first though, so I understand why you asked that.
Posts: 24 | From: U.S. | Registered: Feb 2011
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So, we've mutually decided to cease contact for a week, and see where we stand after that.
I'm torn between two decisions: to take a break from contact with her, or to cease contact entirely. If we just took a break from each other, it would give me time to think, and it may soothe my nerves. It would prevent me from making hasty decisions, and I could have further insight on our situation. But, on the other hand, I could still be freaking out! I could still feel like she's waiting so hard on me that I could feel the same as I do now: a nervous wreck. I know for sure that I need space and time; I don't need more unconscious pressure that I'm not ready for.
If I broke contact with her entirely, that would probably cure my nerves. I wouldn't have to worry about our situation ever again. But, even with us not having been in contact with her for a few days, I miss her. I'm still attracted to her, although I know in all practicality that a romantic relationship between us is near to impossible. I really truly would like to remain friends with her, but the prospect of us being friends still freaks me out. I still love her, and I don't want to cut her out of my life forever, because I feel that she's been very supportive and that she could still potentially enrich my life and help it to grow. However, I just cannot deal with having close contact with her now, because something tells me that it's not right. Something tells me I can't have contact with her, at least not for a long time. I'm not sure why. I'm convinced that she's a good person, but perhaps not good for me at this time? Ideally, I would want to remain friends with her with no problems, but I feel as if that couldn't happen unless I had lots and lots of time. Certainly, I'd have all the time in the world if I cut her off, but I could end up later regretting it and missing her to much.
Or, I could cut her off indefinitely, saying that there's a possibility I could contact her in the future, but there's no guarantee. But, then I would feel as if I were leading her on and stringing her along, and I wouldn't want to do that.
What should I do?? I keep flipping back and forth!
Posts: 24 | From: U.S. | Registered: Feb 2011
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You know, it sounds like taking that week apart is going to help you some, because it may give you a little time to see things in a different perspective. Something that I really see though all of this is more than just with her - but with you being okay and comfortable as you in general right now, per the anxiety. Have you talked with anyone professionally about this anxiety, or talked to a counselor about some of the difficulties you've faces with that anxiety in general per coming out to friends and those around you as well as to your own feelings about people? Because it may be very beneficial for you to do so.
I think Heather's comment above per the difference in age and life experiences here is a huge one. Sure it's normal to have friends and mentors of different ages, romantic relationships and feelings for people of different ages - but it can also mean a difference of experiences and where you're both/all at in your lives right now not always aligning. But given this all seems to be very much wrapped around that anxiety, is that something you think you could talk with your mom about per maybe getting some help with that end of things? And if so, maybe letting this friend know that you are looking to get some help per the anxiety, and are unsure right now on your own needs per this friendship?
-------------------- "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon Posts: 3365 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008
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I have until Saturday or Sunday (time difference, you know)to talk to her about all this. So I've already had time to think, which has indeed helped a LOT. I'm still not entirely quite sure what do yet though! Which is the kicker.
It also depends on what she thinks too... she's definitely a big proponent of following your gut feeling. That's why she started talking to me in the first place, actually: something told her that she needed to start a conversation with me. So, hopefully she can understand if I say that something deep down is telling me I need space. But, whether I need that space permanently is the question. Like I said, I want to maintain a friendship with her, yet if I continually feel nervous, I may have to break contact forever.
I have been in counseling and therapy quite a bit, and I intend to start again soon for this reason. I'm out to nearly everybody who's important to me, and counseling helped a lot with me managing the fears about coming out, as well as other anxieties that I feel. However, it's still not unusual for me to feel anxious in certain social situations, although it's gotten better since I've gotten older.
My mother has listened to me and counseled me, and it's made me feel better, but for her that stage of romantic angst is long over with. She's nearly 60 years old, and has been married for 22 years or so--so it's not surprising. She's empathetic, because she remembers some of those feelings, but she just keeps chuckling and saying that she's glad she doesn't have top go through it anymore! So, I honestly feel as if she's not giving me 100% of the support that I need right now. I guess that's definitely a difference in life stages. She just keeps telling me to move on and not take all this so seriously. I suppose she's right, but it's not helping because it's very important to me at the moment, and I can't just magically reduce its impact on my life right now since it's an issue that so close to my heart right now.
I definitely agree that the situation is more than just between her and me: it's a larger growing pattern for me (and I suppose her, since we're always learning and growing anyway), and I could be freaking out just because I know that it's all very new and overwhelming to me. My trouble is though, how can I miss someone so much who has made me so happy yet simultaneously has stirred up nerves to such magnitude that I would lose sleep, feel so uneasy, and get stomach problems as a result of the stress? I need to be honest with her when I speak to her (I was never dishonest with her--I just didn't recognize that my gut was giving me warning signals--I just thought it was the doubts), and tell her that part of me is saying stay away, yet another part wants me to keep in contact with her. If we didn't have feelings for each other anymore, I think that we could be friends--but both of us still have feelings for each other. I'm still flip-flopping from wanting to make love to her and never talking to her again.
I'm afraid I just don't quite understand why I have all these contradictory feelings, and all these contradictory desires on how to handle all this, which is why I'm so indecisive right now.
Posts: 24 | From: U.S. | Registered: Feb 2011
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