Originally posted on Thought Catalog April 25, 2013
Why do open/poly relationships seem to be the new popular thing in the lesbian world? Am I dwindling my chances of being with someone if I say on my OkCupid profile that I’m a serially-monogamous-type-of-girl?
Let me start by saying that you should be clear, clear, clear as to what you want always. Be true to yourself! If you’re afraid of being judged for not being down with an open relationship, then ask yourself if you’re hanging out with the right people. Nobody should judge you for your personal relationship choices. It’s your mind, it’s your body, and they’re your emotions – stake some claim in that, sister! Own it!
Now, that being said, I agree with you. Open relationships are almost becoming a norm with the people I surround myself with. As I stated in my last column, it’s not anything that I am personally comfortable with – I don’t have the time and I don’t like the idea of it because I am a naturally jealous person (I’m a Cancer directly on the cusp of Leo, hello!) and, at the risk of sounding childish, I don’t wanna share. I have discussed this multiple times with my lady and she feels the same way. We’re going to stick to each other, and if one of us really has a need to fuck somebody else, there’s probably something deeper within us that we need to address.
If you’re truly uncomfortable with the idea of open/poly and the person you’re crushing on feels the same about monogamy, don’t be afraid to delve into that instead of just giving up instantly. There might be some push or pull that you’re each willing to give to have a relationship that works for you. But, at any point, if you feel like you’re “settling,” i.e. they want to have sex with other people, and you’re kind of fine with that, but you don’t want to yourself because you’re only into them…think about that for a while. Ask yourself if that’s something you want. And let them know the same thing – don’t talk them into monogamy if it’s just going to tie them down and make them feel stuck. It’d be better for them to attempt to speak to you about why they want an open relationship rather than playing into the idea of what you want only to have them sleep with other girls, right?
There’s obviously a lot that goes into this, but I think it’s a definite individual issue for every person you meet. We’re all individuals and we’re all looking for something pretty specific, even if we can’t answer quite what that is yet. And it’s not going to just pop up and be perfect. Don’t be afraid of conversation, and don’t be afraid if the person you’re trying with just doesn’t match up. It’s okay. The fun is in trying, right?
As for the thought of you being a “serial monogamist,” even after dear Mila addressed it, I have to say…I’m one, too. I don’t even like the idea of that title, though. I’ve found something out about myself recently. I am a weirdly empathetic person. Like, my empathy far surpasses that of the world average according to the three tests I had to take for my graduate studies. I take people’s stories on to myself and I hold them really deeply. I have found that I confuse those feelings of deep emotional relativity with that of a deeply spiritual, sexual, and emotional connection. As in I’m good at thinking one is the other and vice versa. But, since finding this out about myself, I have been able to discern those feelings of how I’m feeling about someone by truly asking if I want to carnally rip their clothes off. Because the empathetic me could answer that I want to hold them in my arms and sweetly make love to them and then ask them how they’re truly feeling afterward, but that’s an entirely different feeling than the exasperated need and temptation to rip a girl’s shirt off and go down on her. That’s when I know there’s a difference. Maybe you’re the same way and you get those feelings confused, or maybe you’re just a gal who’s into nesting with other gals. Either way, you do you. Again, no need to explain why you feel the way you feel or you are the way you are. I get it. I got you, girl.
I’m a queer-identified person, and though all of my relationships after coming out of the closet have been with women, I still struggle with people asking me if I’ll ever be with a man again. I truly do not have the answer for them – I could fall in love with a man one day. How can I explain this without sounding closeted or ashamed?
I’m so sorry to hear that you struggle with this. It’s especially frustrating to be out, yet still answering questions about your sexuality afterward. And it’s even worse when people don’t understand you after you explain it. I’ve been there, trust.
I’ve answered this before. I am 99% sure that I won’t be with a man again, but there’s that 1% chance that my heart will want what my head does not.
When I was entering my first relationship with a woman, I was still with a man. I was with a man that I very deeply loved, both in the empathetic way listed above and in the pants-on-the-floor-now! way. I really struggled with that, because I was coming to terms with having this insatiable feeling of wanting to know what a woman’s lips would feel like when I wasn’t drunk and kissing them, but I also deeply cared about this man that I was with. He was the first and last man that made me feel sexually energized the way that women always have. We ended things because I was falling for the woman I had coveted for so long, and he was over a thousand miles away and still in undergrad. Our lives were in different places. He is still a person I would call a friend. Our love did not dissipate or break, it just came to a healthy and necessary end.
This leaves me questioning – what if my lady and I split and I meet a man who makes me feel the way he did? I do have to say that I highly doubt it would happen, but that’s not to say it couldn’t. Weirder things have. And I don’t want to discredit that. I am not ashamed of my past, and clearly I’m not closeted. I don’t think you should feel either of those things. If you want a clear answer to give people, tell them that you identify as queer, and to you that means you follow your heart. Currently, your heart is tied to women. How could it not be? Women are wonderful. But that doesn’t mean that you find men “repulsive” the way that heteronormative folks think that women who date women feel. You enjoy living in the present, thankyouverymuch.
I’ve always known that I’ve been a lesbian, but I’m still really nervous about coming out. Now in my late 20’s, I feel like people will either not be shocked or be mad at me for not admitting it to myself and others sooner. How can I come out without feeling unsafe?
Thank you for asking this question. I’m always so taken back by how incredible these questions are and how brave y’all are for asking.
I believe that creating a space that feels the safest for you to say what you need to say is key. If you are in fear for your life or well-being, please seek some assistance from your local LGBTQ center. If you are worried about people’s reactions being annoyed with you, then let me help you there.
If you’re so sure of it, then ask yourself how important the “coming out” needs to be in your priorities. Are people doing the whole “So, ________, find yourself a good man yet” gig, you can respond with the ever-eye rolling response of “Nope, Grandma Jean, not yet,” or you can say “Nope, Grandma Jean, I’ve actually been looking for a good woman to fill that role.” I don’t think there’s any shame with coming out in a way that you feel the most comfortable, and if baking a big “I’m gay!” cake isn’t your style, then don’t.
Also, please don’t feel shame. You’ve taken this time to probably answer a few questions for yourself, be that if you’ve been engaging in personal relationships with men or secret relationships with women, or if you’ve been alone but done some research and soul-searching of your own…you’ve not been hiding in a closet, friend, you’ve been organizing it. Feel free to open the door however you see fit. You are who you are and who you are is probably lovely. When you come out and receive the not-so-surprised response, then you can move on and talk about things that don’t make you feel awkward. Like kittens or the newest episode of Mad Men. Can we talk about Mad Men?
I wish you the best of luck. I think you’re going to be just fine. Don’t worry about how long you’ve known; focus on who you are now.