First of all, I’ll start off by saying I’m pretty isolated from the gay community or, at least, I have been recently. I’d been single a long time and with nowhere to meet anyone, I decided I would go online. I found my girlfriend of nine months and was immediately taken with her. She was exactly my type. She is the nicest person and I know she would never hurt me. (This had been a problem for me in the past).
I love her. Problem is, I don’t know if I’m in love with her. She’s probably the second lesbian I’ve met, and I was lonely when I met her. She’s practically everything I’ve ever wanted, except that I don’t know how I feel. I want to experience more of life, but I can’t bear to think of life without her. And I can’t bear to be a lonely gay in a big straight world. I don’t know if I’m being selfish or I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. Should I wait and see?
Anna says: Feeling isolated from your fellow queer brethren is never a fun feeling. In fact, that was pretty much the only reason I signed up for all those Women’s Studies classes in college. In the end, I’d taken so many that I met the requirements for a Minor without even trying. It’s amazing what sex drive can do for one’s education. But I digress.
What is the big life mistake you’re referring to exactly? You didn’t defy the laws of nature and knock her up, did you? Sign an unbreakable lease on an apartment? Agree to a til-death-do-us-part cell phone contract with GAY-T&T? My point is, very few mistakes in life are irreversible. (Thank god because my mistake bank is way overdrawn.) You didn’t sign your life away to this girl or this relationship. If you want out, there’s an out, and you should take it.
For the record, I think you should take it. Your heart’s not in this for the right reasons. I’m not sure why you think you’re a lost cause either. You met one girl online, what makes you think you can’t meet another (and another)? Loneliness is a powerful emotion, but it is an emotion nonetheless. It’s not a permanent condition. Or, actually, it’s our most permanent condition if you want to think of it in a life cycle way, and therefore should be wholeheartedly embraced. The majority of our lives are spent alone. We’re born alone. We die alone. Yada yada, existential morbidity vignette. Susan Sontag, who was an amazing writer and lesbian, once wrote: “I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing — not just a waiting.” I think we should all strive to perceive loneliness in this way. It requires a mind shift, but not an insurmountable one. Think of being lonely as a great big wave. It’s bound to crash down on you, but will just as surely retreat back to where it came from. This is how all of our emotions work, come to think of it. Sometimes you have to ride the wave until it stops, regardless of where it spits you out.
You say this girl would never hurt you, but not wanting to get hurt again is a terrible reason to stay in a relationship. You know this, I can tell. If you decide to stay for that alone, it’s a disservice to both you and your girlfriend.
As my favorite advice columnist, Dear Sugar, once said: “Be brave enough to break your own heart.” It’s OK to be afraid of a big change, and what that might mean for your near future, but recognize that its role in your life is temporary. While you’re working on that, I urge you to seek community in other ways. Maybe it’s online. Maybe it’s planning an escape route to a more queer-heavy locale (the gay mecca of San Francisco is always seeking new residents). Maybe it’s creating your own community. However you decide to go about it, know that in that respect, you’re not alone. The world is indeed big and straight, but it’s also not. Or, it doesn’t have to be if you change the parameters, if you choose to see the world for its potential and not its limitations.
Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.