I'm gay! Oh wait, maybe I just am trying to stir up trouble in my hetero relationship.
March 6, 2011 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Questioning my sexuality. In a relationship. Also, how do I get over my completely unhealthy need for drama in a relationship? I believe these two issues are conflated in my case.

Hi, I posted something like this anon a few weeks ago but now I can't find it. It was to the effect of, how do I know I shouldn't be with a girl?

My boyfriend and I have a wonderful great relationship (which is why I'm not posting this anon, because if he sees it, so what, he already knows because we've discussed it). And we've been together long enough that we are really really attached to each other. And yes, I do love him AND find him sexually attractive to boot.

But, lately, I have been feeling like I should be with a girl instead. Now I'm not asking if I should or shouldn't be, now I feel like I should (that is the difference between my last question and this).

But I am with a man. Which is my dilemma. I've been with him since I was 18 and now I'm 21. I feel like this relationship is like a kid, if I had a kid when I was 18. I love him, I wouldn't give him up for the world, I don't regret being with him, but it would have been better if I had waited a bit longer before getting seriously involved with someone. And yes, I realize that, unlike a kid, I have a lot more choice in this matter but I really do love him.

I know, I'm young, more people who are perfect for me will come along, whatever. Great. But this relationship is the type that people are looking for when they date, so why jump back in just to find something just like I already have?

I just started therapy... she pointed out my family of origin was very dramatic while this relationship has a minimal amount of drama so I might just want more drama. But that's not healthy; the type of drama my family had was really really unhealthy.

So maybe that's the real issue at hand and wanting to be with a girl is just a means to an end. I feel like I'm idealizing girls since this relationship is my first, and thus I have never actually been with a girl. But don't straight people do that before they ever enter a relationship? Idealize what it will be like?

I am allowed to date girls within the context of the relationship. But I'm worried I will fall deeply, madly in love and that might threaten my primary relationship enough to dissolve it.

So, I guess three questions:

How do I get over my completely unhealthy need for drama in a relationship? (I think this might be the most important...)
Have you ever dealt with something like this before?
I love my boyfriend to pieces but I want to be with girls, how do I deal with that? Dating in a relationship? Resources for that please and thank you.

Thank you for any support. This whole issue makes me feel kinda alone and really confused.
posted by tweedle to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not sure how you just "decided" you should be with a girl, I am bisexual and have known it since I was a child.

I have had permission to date girls on the side as well. I never had anything get serious enough to worry about falling in love. It's hard to say how you will feel until it happens. I would have some more serious discussions about opening up your relationship...it is not a step to be taken lightly and you guys need some clear boundaries (is he allowed to see others as well, etc...)

Maybe you are just not ready to be monogamous yet, you are young and have lots of experiences to have. You don't sound terribly passionate about your boyfriend, I must say.
posted by virginia_clemm at 9:49 AM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I honestly think your problem is almost entirely the first and only adult relationship/need for drama/unhealthy relationships issue. "Is this relationship working for me and how can I make it better" is a separate (and in my opinion, vastly more important) question from the sexuality issue.

Have you considered becoming less exclusive with your boyfriend and just seeing if there's anyone (male or female) that you enjoy flirting with, that you want to spend more time with, for who they are (and not for what anatomical parts they have been blessed with?) Because I think that would help a lot. It's a lot more typical in (liberal) Western society to date around before makings permanent, especially in your late teens and early twenties.
posted by SMPA at 10:23 AM on March 6, 2011

I just wanted to say, OP, you shouldn't feel ashamed for doubting your sexuality because it's a fluid thing. I was straight for most of my life but became bisexual over the last year or two. The real question is how to proceed honestly and without hurting anybody (including yourself!)
posted by grammar corrections at 10:30 AM on March 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think drama is inherently caused by a flavor of dishonesty. You lie about how you feel (maybe even to yourself!), you lie about crushes, and then things blow up. Drama is not having a rational polyamorous relationship of the honest kind.

I am bi. Once upon a time long ago, I broke up with "men"--yeah, it was one man, but in my mind it was "men"-- and was a Lesbian (I thought) for about five years, until I "realized" I was bisexual and went through another crisis of relationship and identity. I am also not monogamous, and I have a life partner with whom I share the (mostly theoretical) openness to others. We've been happy together and I haven't dumped him despite having an only-online love relationship with *another man*. (Yeah, I know that's really a fantasy since we haven't met. I don't want a long-distance RL lover.)

So if you're honest, if you try very very hard to be honest with yourself, most drama is excised as a matter of course. Just try not to involve your boyfriend in *all* your indecision, because that would suck. Think. Think some more. And don't dump him for a hypothetical, awesome girlfriend you haven't even met yet.

I have always thought back to the people I broke up with to "be with" someone else and realized it was dumb. Doesn't matter their gender. If they were open to non-monogamy, things might have been better.

You have permission to explore. Be honest along the way, try very hard to be as rational as you can be, and stay with him as long as it works out. No need to cut him out if he fits you.
posted by RedEmma at 11:10 AM on March 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

This really seems like it might stem--at least in part--from your OCD. Is that being addressed in therapy?

I'm not saying that to be dismissive, but rather to point to something in addition to family-of-origin.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:26 AM on March 6, 2011

Additionally, Opening Up is a great resource.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:28 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend you find a coming out group at a local GLBT center to explore these issues and not rely on a straight therapist. I've never met anyone whose sexual interest in her own gender was some sort of problem based on childhood issues, as your therapist seems to be suggesting.
posted by Wordwoman at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2011

You know, I would argue that the "unhealthy need for drama" you're talking about is not unhealthy at all--it's completely normal to have doubts about being in a serious relationship so young, especially if you're having questions about your sexuality at the same time. Seriously, these feelings are a ton more common than you might think, regardless of gender/sexuality.
posted by sparrow89 at 12:32 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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