I'm a bisexual girl with a great boyfriend... and a bunch of guilt

<strong>Shadowlover says:</strong> I am feeling extremely guilty at the moment. I am a seventeen year old bisexual girl, and am currently involved in a relationship with a lovely boy. But I am also lusting after (or crushing on, really) another girl. The problem isn't that I can't have her, I know that, but rather the guilt I feel towards not wanting my boyfriend as much. I really like him and he loves me, but I don't know whether I want to stay with him, and I don't want to hurt his feelings as I have broken up with him before. But I really would prefer a relationship with another female, and feel extremely guilty as I am with someone. I have no clue what to do! Or even how to find another bi/gay girl if i do break up with my boy.
Lena replies:

I will start by saying that, as confusing as this situation may seem right now, you have a really good head on your shoulders:

  • You know who you are and what you're interested in, and seem OK with it. That right there is fantastic, because it's something that many people of all ages continue to struggle with.
  • You are keenly aware of your own feelings as well as those of others, such as your boyfriend.
  • You are realistic in terms of considering dating options. Unrequited crushes, regardless of gender, can be tough, but going about them realistically helps avoid more heartache. You can admit your crush while realizing it's most likely not going to turn into the relationship you'd hope for.

First, I want to address the relationship you have with your boyfriend. I know how throwing your bisexuality in the mix can seem to complicate things, but I would like to look at this relationship in a separate context for now. I hear you saying you really like and care for your boyfriend, but also aren't wanting a romantic relationship with him anymore, or at least right now. I get that you really like and care about him, something essential to any friendship or romantic relationship. I also get that you’re not wanting to be in this relationship right now and have even broken up with him in the past. You don’t want to break up with him right now, because you don’t want to hurt his feelings. I totally hear you on that, but I also want to stress the importance of being true to yourself and your feelings.

Breaking up with him when you no longer want to be in the relationship, for any reason, may feel hurtful but is most likely the right thing to do in the long run. In fact, ending the relationship might make him– and you– sad at first, but is actually the unselfish thing to do. Staying in a relationship for the other person’s sake wears you down and can make you feel resentful; likewise, the people who wants the relationship is stuck with a partner who isn’t really into him or her, which is also pretty unfair.

You each deserve to be with people who you want to be with, and who want to be with you. One reason why ending relationships are almost always sad, even if it's mutual, is because you worry about losing the closeness and friendship you’ve created over time. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! It sounds like switching to a platonic friendship would be the best thing for you right now, because you still can care about and support each other without the romantic commitment or pressure of a relationship.

Your boyfriend might be too sad to be ready for a platonic friendship right now. He may need a break, some time to adjust. There's always the chance that the transition to friendship won't work out as you’d hope, but it could also turn out to be much better than you'd feared. Regardless, it’s not as “bad” as staying in a relationship you’re really not into anymore.

Next, now to address the questions you have about finding girls to date. First, you sound right on target as to how you’re going about your crush. I suggest that your feelings for her could also be your subconscious urging you to move on in your current relationship, an awareness that there are other options out there. I am sorry that you feel so guilty about the whole thing; you shouldn’t feel guilty about who you are or the choices you make. However, listening to your gut can be important when you are feeling torn between what your heart and head are saying. Even if we’re trying to avoid or ignore feelings we’d rather not deal with, they have a funny way of creeping up on us when we least expect or want it.

As for dating options, I do not know where you live or if you’re out or not, but I can say that the same-gender dating pool can be and/or seem pretty small when you’re still in high school. Finding people to date can be tough, whether you’ve lived in the same small-town all your life, where even mixed-gender dating options is are limited and the number of queer people even more miniscule or you just moved to a big city where there are many options but you feel lonely and overwhelmed. However, from the most conservative village to the largest, most liberal metropolis, there are people who are queer.

I encourage you to try to connect with your local queer community, if possible, and continue to seek out more people nationally and even globally. You'll notice that I'm saying connect with rather than date or look for relationships with; a vivid dating life can be a lot of fun, but it's important to have a platonic support network as well. Of course, that's not to say that you won't find bisexual and lesbian girls to date while you're at it! Whomever you date next, whether it's a girl or even another guy, I would recommend taking a break from dating and relationships for awhile to accept the end of your current relationship. Again, even if you're feeling ready to move on, it's good to take time to adjust to the loss, to start to forge a friendship with your boyfriend, and deal with coming out, should that apply. (Please see below.) It's also worth mentioning that what you're experience here with your current boyfriend, losing interest in a relationship over time, one person wanting to stay another and another person wanting to date around, is something that can happen in any relationship, gay, straight or otherwise.

We have a lot of articles and resources here. If you visit the Scarleteen message boards, we can help you locate and get in touch with queer groups in your community.

While unsure of how to go about this situation, you seem comfortable with being bisexual (fabulous!) Are you out to family and/or friends? If you do not feel ready or comfortable coming out or if that would not be a safe thing to do in your town or with your family, I would absolutely wait. However, if you are out or are interested in coming out, that would be a way to find and reach out to fellow queer people in your school and community, for starters. I can think of situations where people felt lonely and isolated while the closet in a place where no one seemed to be like them; however, once they came out, so many people expressed their support and many even confided their sexual orientation to them. While there always are people who are going to be mean and intolerant, being more open about who they were brought them more support and friends than staying in the closet had. We have a number of articles on coming out listed below.

Finally, at age 17, you will soon be of legal age and have the chance to continue your studies at college or join the working world. Right away in the next year or two, you will be able to tap into new resources, meet new people and get new perspectives, and go new places. Waiting for this can feel like an eternity, but it may help knowing you have something to look forward to in the near future.

Ultimately, it is your choice whether or not to stay in this relationship; however, I say it’s better to bite the bullet and feel free immediately than wait around in something that makes you unhappy. In fact, ending this relationship, while maintaining your friendship, may even help you recognize cool opportunities out there right before your eyes. All the best, and good luck!

Some related articles to check out (Here's a bunch!):

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