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Author Topic: parents, girlfriend, and general confusion
whaticantbe
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Hi there. I'm new to posting but I've lurked on and off here for awhile. Great site.

This is going to be long. Sorry!

Anyway....I just finished up my freshman year at NYU. While there, I started dating a girl who had become my really good friend (I'm a girl). As of last Friday, we've been together 7 months.

Before college, I had questioned my sexuality a few times. I've never dated a guy, only been interested in a few (though never sexually attracted to them), and was sexually attracted to a few girls (some in real life, though mostly girls I saw on TV - never guys on TV though). However, I'm from an incredibly conservative Christian family in Texas - my parents are both very active in their church and my dad has several Masters degrees in theology - so I, having been raised that being gay was, while potentially pre-determined through genes, something that needs to be controlled, like the urge to lie, cheat, steal, or murder, pushed all those thoughts aside for a number of years.

In college, though, this friend (who had never dated a girl but always "knew" though she wasn't out) had a huge crush on me to the point that she had trouble even being around me. After two months, I finally admitted that I wanted to try things to and...here we are.

So here's my two-fold problem.

During the school year whenever my parents would email me something about gays (ie apologizing that i had to be around so many gays in New York, my mom saying she just found out a friend at church's son is gay and it's so sad for the family) I would argue with them and send them websites like SoulForce to look at (I've never agreed with the whole "gays go to hell" thing, even though I am very much Christian myself). I was trying to slowly prepare them for the fact that I am dating a girl. When I got home from school halfway through the summer - three weeks ago - my mom kept talking about how wrong being gay is and asking me if I was. So eventually I just got so frustrated that I said yes mom, I am gay.

I was very nice and patient about it all after that, telling her I know it's hard for her to hear, but that I am still the same as I've always been. (I also told her I ONLY like girls, even though, as I will get to, that isn't true.) She got really sad and said I was going to hell, that I made her want to throw up, and that I am just confused and don't really know what I'm talking about because I've never dated a boy. Since then, she's made comments every so often about how it's wrong and whatnot and wanted to have religious debates with me. She's agreed not to tell my dad - there's a good chance he would stop paying for my college.

So problem #1 - is there anything I can do or say to help me get through the next two months being at home with her? I don't have any gay friends here (my friends here know I'm dating a girl and most are perfectly fine with it) and the few bi friends I have back at school I never get to talk to here because of schedule conflicts. I don't know of any place to meet people here like that. (I live in Spring Texas.) I've been watching a lot of LOGO and reading Curve, OUT, etc. religiously, but that's only so much.

Secondly, I am starting to question now if I am really gay at all. I don't know if it's related to my environment (well, I'm sure to some degree it is), so I don't want to make any rash decisions while I'm here, but I am going to have to deal with it if this feeling persists when I get back to school. I love my girlfriend very deeply and want to be with her forever, but it could just be in a best friend way. Because I've never had a best friend or a relationship before this, I simply can't tell the difference. I also have no siblings and always longed for close female relationships as a kid, and I don't know if that is because I'm gay or because I just wanted a sister/close best friend. I have basically been lacking in any sort of significant relationship (sexual, friend, or family) up until this point so I have no basis in judging them. I don't know if I just get so caught up in having someone love me that I will do anything to keep her. Because I know if I break up with her I will lose her entirely - she is completely head over heels in love with me and wants to spend the rest of our lives together. We talk constantly about everything so she knows I'm thinking these things, but we just don't know what to do (and like I said, I won't do anything until I get out of this environment).

Also, I now have become obsessed with the gay lifestyle, which is another problem in being able to tell what I really am. (I have no problem with actually being gay, but if I'm not, I do have a problem with trying to be something I'm not.) I fit in a lot better with queers of both genders than I ever do with straight friends, and the style, personality, and everything that I have never been able to express for fear of peers in jr high and high school calling me a lesbian fit in so much better with the gay community as well. I also just love the idea of two girls together (I just think it's so sweet), but I don't know if I see that in the same light say, 20 years from now. I can also see myself liking boys, though perhaps more in the emotional context than sexual (I say sexual instead of physical because I do think some guys are hot, just don't know if I want to have sex with them - though of course that could be from lack of experience).

I don't know if all these feelings are coming from the fact that I have been thrown into a completely heterosexual environment or if, conversely, my feelings of homosexuality beyond childhood crushes stem from being in a New York environment where my best friend/girlfriend is unintentionally pressuring me to be in a relationship and I am just more involved in "that lifestyle." I have questioned this occasionally while there, too. Though not anywhere near to this extent.

I know I can't have everything figured out for the rest of my life right now, and I know no one can tell me how I feel or what to do, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any opinions or advice for me on any of this. I just...another thing is that if I break up with my girlfriend, I will lose my best friend, literally all my friends at school (we share the same friends, and I would step back because I'm used to being on my own and she isn't), and this lifestyle that I love so much. On the other hand, I don't want to waste both of our college years on something that isn't going to work and is going to cause a lot of pain when it ends (which it already will, but of course, the more of a life we build together now the worse it will be if we break up somewhere down the line.) I'm also really worried that if I broke up with her and went and tried other things to figure out who I am and what I want that one day I would come crawling back to her but it would be too late because there would be too much damage done.

Anyway, sorry it's so long, and I hope it made sense. Thanks for reading =/

[ 07-15-2007, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: whaticantbe ]

Posts: 3 | From: New York | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, for starters, homophobic family seems to be a theme here this week, ( [Frown] ) so if you look through a bunch of the most recent topic in this area of the forums, you could have a few others to talk to in a similar spot and all help each other.

I'm so sorry you're in this spot. In terms of having some supportive community while you're home, here are the Texas chapters of PFLAG: http://www.pflag.org/map/index.php?state=TX

Even if there isn't one right near you, emailing the closest one and just asking for nearby support, any GLBT youth centers, etc. is a good place to start, and they're willing to help.

Unfortunately, with a person THAT bigoted, unlearning that usually takes them a lot of time, and they have to want to. Certainly, some parents really do change their tune over time once it's THEIR child who is gay or bisexual, so there might be hope, but some really don't. No matter what you do, expecting any big change over one summer, alas, is expecting a lot, I'm sorry to say.

Per your girlfriend: any of us staying our whole lives in a romantic relationship with our first big love is exceptionally unrealistic. And first-girlfriend relationships certainly have an intensity that can doubly feel that soul-mate way, but again, not so realistic.

Also, trying to figure out YOUR orientation based on one realtionship with someone isn't so sound, because how you feel about them is how you feel about them, sepcifically, not about anyone else. What I'm hearing here -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is that while you feel attracted to women, you aren't expressing feeling a big attraction to THIS woman. You love her, you care deeply for her, but I'm not hearing you talk about what sex is like with her, if that's something you want with her, or if that feels as strong for you with her.

Regardless, again, this is about her: not about your attraction for or relationship to all women (or men). This sounds more like an issue of dealing with that relationship than it is about your orientation.

If 20 years from now, you feel differently about women, that's okay: sexuality is fluid, and it's pretty typical for things to shift some 9and for some people, more than some) over time in our lives. You get to ID however you want now: you don't have to committ to identifying however that is forever.

But worrying about losing everyone you know, or feeling like you have to stay in a romantic or sexual relationship with someone isn't okay, and I think that's something you really need to bring up with your girlfriend, because you can't possibly be free to make whatever choice is best for you in that sort of environment. One hopes that she's a person healthy enough, and who also cares for you enough, that she really wouldn't want you to be with her in a certain way unless it was 100% optional for you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • 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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
whaticantbe
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Thank you for the quick response. Yes, I don't really expect any change in my parents ever, quite frankly. I just want to find a way to get through the next two months with out losing my mind. She keeps trying to back me into a corner to change and I'm not sure I'm strong enough to handle that on my own. I will check out what you suggest, thanks.

And sorry I didn't touch on our sexual relationship. I should have. To clarify, we have a very good sexual relationship. I AM attracted to her, as much as I have ever been to any female. I guess, as strange as this may sound, even though I have a sexual attraction to her as well as a strong emotional attraction, I'm not sure if the two go together. I don't know if that makes sense. I don't know if that makes sense even to me! Basically, as much as I do enjoy sex with her, I don't think I'd be heartbroken if it wasn't a part of our relationship (I could be wrong about that. I really do enjoy it a lot). But then again, I think I'm the kind of person that could live without sex in any relationship, so it's not a good basis. (Also, all of my major questioning started around the same time she got her hair cut in a way that I do not find attractive at all - I've wondered if that could be related, actually, as shallow as it is.)

I have talked with her about those things. Like I said, we really do talk about everything, which is very good. She does want me to know that even though she is so in love with me, if I want to break up, or take a break, it's okay, and she would try to still be friends because she doesn't want to lose me. However, I am fairly certain the just friends thing would never work with us. And I think I would be very jealous if she ever got another girlfriend. (which is unreasonable of me, but also makes me think I do want to be with her? I also get really jealous when she starts caring about anyone a lot, which I'm working on, but it too makes me think I want to be with her, because I don't feel that way about other people - except friends I've had crushes on in the past) The part where I think I may come crawling back to her one day still stands. I feel like it's possible she could be the one, but that I should have had other experience before, you know? (She had several boyfriends before me.)

Another thing I wanted to mention is that even before we started dating we had a very physically close relationship. As in, sleeping together, holding each other, etc. I want that with her very much, as I enjoy that kind of relationship but have never had it with anyone else, but I know it's not something we could go back to having if we broke up. Is that something romantic? I don't really feel that towards my other friends.

Sorry, like I said, I know no one can tell me what I feel but I am just trying to sort through things and that involves spelling it all out.

[ 07-15-2007, 07:44 PM: Message edited by: whaticantbe ]

Posts: 3 | From: New York | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Sorry to be late back here, whaticantbe.

I think it's probably helpful to not go to "Are they The One?" with this. Not only is it unlikely you've met a lifelong partner this young, and will stay with an early relationship like this, it just tends to cloud the issues with something like this. So, if both of you can let that go for the time being, I think it's help a LOT.

Is snuggling a lot, sleeping together, etc., "romantic?" Romance, you know, wasn't even invented as a concept until around the 15th and 16th centuries -- by the troubadours, basically -- and it's one of those terms that tends to be pretty arbitrary. I find "intimate" more useful. Is that highly intimate? Yes. Is that something "just" friends do? Sometimes, sometimes not.

One thing that tends to be very unique to lesbian relationships specifically is that there can tend to be more of a blurred line between friendship and romance. There are so many reasons why that can be, and a lot of lesbian writers and artists have treated it a lot of different ways. Some talk about it in terms of sisterhood, some address it as being something that stems from us all being taught from the earliest ages that same-sex people are the people we are friends with, and opposite-sex people those we make lovers of. Some talk about it in more mystical terms, some get more practical about it, adressing how more often than not, lesbian relationships usually arise out of friends-first, to greater degrees than a lot of opposite-sex romantic and/or sexual relationships do.

I think some of what you're expressing here is feeling that blurred line, but I'll also tell you that sometimes sterotypes are truisms: if you stay in lesbian community, you'll notice that more often than not, it actually seems to be easier for ex-girlfriends to turn into best friends -- not just stay friends, but stay close friends -- than we often see in stright or gay male community. Who knows why that is, but unless you have the worst knock-down drag-out breakup ever, however it may look from here like you couldn't possibly adjust to being friends, you probably would be able to.

That given, I think it may be of use to you to try and consider this relationship with that in mind. In other words, that you don't have to choose between being with her as you are now, or not being with her at all. Try thinking about it without that consequence as a possiblity: think about the relationship you have NOW. Is it working for you? Does it more often make you happy or more often leave you feeling upset or dissatisfied? Is there something you might talk about changing in the relationship now to make it work better for you, like perhaps agreeing to non-monogamy for a little while, or trying out the relationship without sex for a while?

Try visualizing your life without this relationship as it is right now. What does it look like? Does thinking about that make you feel sad or releived?

(I'd also still suggest not trying to assess your orientation WITH assessing this relationship. Again, muddying the waters, that, and they're two very different matters.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • 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

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whaticantbe
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thanks. i really was just trying to read far too much into it, wasn't i? i think a lot of that comes from my background having been raised that it is "wrong" - not wanting to do something "wrong" unless i really have no other option.

but that's stupid.

and i love my girlfriend.

and at least for now, i want to be with her.

thank you for bearing with me as i overthought this far too much [Smile]

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I think you are lucky to have someone you love so much. Does the rest even matter?

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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