Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
DATING/RELATIONSHIP: I think I'm a lesbian, but I have a boyfriend
to make things brief, i think i'm lesbian. i've been attracted to girls ever since i can remember. around ages 6-9 i would have repeating dreams of me sitting on the couch across from my mom and telling her "i like to kiss girls." i'm 15 now, almost 16, and my first kiss was at age 14 with a girl who was my girlfriend at the time. i was her first kiss too, we were also eachothers first real relationship. i was head over heels in love with her and we dated for a little over 6 months. when we broke up, i went crazy and started doing sexual things with boys to try to distract myself. i didn't really want to, it just was a twisted sort of coping mechanism i guess.
around a month ago, i found this boy who i got along with really well and now we are together. things were good at first, because me and my ex-girl haven't talked regularly in awhile. but the other night we hung out together and i stayed the night at her house. nothing happened besides us laughing and hanging out like we used to do, it was so nice, but i can't tell if she wants to just be friends again or more than that. ever since, though, i am finding myself more and more unattached/unattracted to my boyfriend. the other thing is that my parents do not approve of me liking girls due to their religious beliefs and it would be super hard to be with my ex girlfriend again even if it did come to that. i feel lost. any advice would be helpful, thank you
I'm glad you've written to the Elder Wisdom Circle. As you probably know, we're not professionals, but we've been following social trends and issues and problems of younger people for decades. Most of us have our fingers on the society's pulse, and your dilemma is certainly a familiar one. One the one hand, the good news is that it's no longer a matter of shame or guilt to be either quite sure one is not straight, or to be sexually unsure of where one fits in. We recognize there are straight folk, gay folk, and lots of in-betweens. We try to respect and accommodate everyone who's seeking a healthy sense of their own sexuality, but we know there are still many social and religious forces that don't want a level playing field when it comes to sex, or sexual partnerships.
Tori, a great many of these misunderstandings will fade away as your generation turns adult and sets the social agenda. As you're painfully aware, that hasn't happened yet, so you find yourself torn between a natural exploration of lesbian life to see where that takes you, and family pressure to live as a straight woman who partners first with boys and then with a husband.
While I sense you really have few doubts about the sexual direction your heading, you've realized you can also respond to boys, and in the process have acquired a boyfriend you've been seeing for a few weeks, though I gather you find him less and less appealing. And now your old girlfriend is back in the picture, you really enjoy her company, and the result is you're feeling lost. Hence your letter.
Tori, I want to support you in the choices you'll be making, but I'm going to urge you to resist reaching conclusions of any kind for the moment. Two big reasons: one, you're still exploring; and two, stating a commitment right now is going to create stresses you don't need, and your family doesn't want. But with respect to your boyfriend, if you haven't already, I suggest you let him down lightly, and disengage. He doesn't need to be part of your confusion, and it's not totally clear whether it's his personality or his gender that turns you off.
That done, I further suggest you take a break from any search for romance. I bet that sounds hard, but despite superficial appearances I think you'll find most of your classmates haven't paired off yet, and many won't until after high school. Fortunately, you're just over two years away from adult status; two years that will fly by, and then you'll be much more certain of your sexual identity, and far freer to express it. I'm not implying you keep your hands to yourself for two years, just you resist binding yourself to any one person before you graduate. Have fun, date whoever appeals to you, but stay uncommitted. I think if you define yourself as a free being, you'll sleep better, and have fewer worries.
I hope these comments are helpful. Whether they are or not please feel free to respond. I'd be happy to hear from you again. And please note I've used free and freer three times in four lines. That's no accident. I believe in freedom!