Dr. Frankie. I am a 38 year old single lesbian
I am a 38 year old single lesbian. I am quite content being single, and it seems other people are more worried about me finding a special someone than I am. In the past ten years I can count on one hand the women I have been 'interested' in. That would be two. I was somewhat smitten with both of them, we became friends but both were in relationships so nothing ever progressed with me. We remain friends and I am thankful for their friendship. My question is, should I be worried by the fact that I am rarely attracted to women and don't actively look to meet anyone? As I said at the start I am perfectly happy but my friends seem to think I should be trying to find a relationship.
Dear Feeling Pressured-
It sounds like you’re very content being on your own and the only real concern you have is that your friends worry about you. In our society we’re led to believe that we need to be paired or matched to be truly happy. Research tends to support this by showing that when we’re in a healthy, happy relationship we live longer and arehealthier physically and emotionally. With that said, I don’t believe that we need to be in a partnership to feel complete. Although it often makes our friends and family, those who love and care for us, feel better when they see us sharing our lives with someone. It’s important to recognize that that’s their anxiety and/or uneasiness, and not something you need to take on. There was a recent article published about American women marrying not just later in life, but less than ever. It is becoming more acceptable to be single, but there is absolutely still the element of societal pressure to partner up. I say give yourself the permission to live the life you’d like to live. If and when you’re ready to be in a relationship, you will know it.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
This is my first time in a lesbian relationship. We reconnected 6 months ago and dated for 4 months. Her ex wreaked havoc so she spoke to her ex, in hopes that they could hash out some of their past issues. The daily texts between them have caused lot of anxiety and fights between us lately. Throughout our relationship she kept saying I was the one. We planned our future and she even talked marriage. I believed she was really serious! 2 weeks ago she was head over heels and wanted to get married. Two days later she said we needed space. Three days later she ended things by saying that we were not meant to be. This was all via text. I got no explanation just excuses. I tried but she does not want to speak. The following Monday, I got a text saying she was hoping that I am doing well!! I'm devastated. I am so in love with her and she left me so abruptly. In these 2 weeks I got 3 texts without having initiated any. I am thoroughly confused. Did she shut the door too soon, is this regret and she wants an opening? Or is this a game?
Dear Blind sided-
You’ve found yourself tangled in a situation where the woman you care for is not emotionally available for you at this time. It sounds like her recent conversations with her ex may have brought up unresolved feelings. As a result she is experiencing conflictual thoughts and feelings when it comes to you. Sometimes when we experience strong feelings, we ascribe meaning to those feelings which are both premature and inaccurate. Just because we feel something doesn’t mean it’s accurate or even true. The woman you've written about sounds conflicted and is acting impulsively on her conflicting feelings. As a result you’ve been pulled into this whirlwind and left with very little information to try and make sense of.
Our minds naturally try to make sense out of chaos. When we don't have enough information we often fill in the blanks with negative and/or extreme thoughts, and ruminate about it because our brain resists filing away unresolved issues. Right now for you it’s important to acknowledge that she has issues she’s trying to work through. Now is the ideal time for you to refocus your energy on yourself, and prioritize you. Give her the space she needs to work on her issues and emerge whole, so she can make clear decisions about what she wants. In the meantime spoil yourself and make a lot of plans with friends. Make sure you’re working out on a regular basis, and eating and sleeping well. You can of course let her know that you care for her, but you are also aware that you both need space to gain clarity of thought. Good luck and stay strong!
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I'm simultaneously nervous and exited about having drinks tomorrow night with a woman in an open relationship. I've been in a relationship for 15 years so this 21st century dating thing is quite new to me. Any suggestions on how to be more grounded, present, and confident during this new phase in my life?
It's no surprise you feel some anxiety and excitement in this chapter of your life. You are recently out of a 15 year relationship (I am assuming monogamous). I would imagine you'd also feel some anxiety and excitement before going on a date with a single woman, but it is probably even more intimidating since this woman is attached.
Open relationships have been occurring for many years, the only difference today is that it's less taboo and stigmatized as people are trying to make long-term relationships sustainable. People are more comfortable being open and honest about pursuing such relationships.
If you move forward in this I suggest you do so with caution. It's very important to communicate your thoughts and feelings with anyone with whom you share an intimate relationship, but it's especially important when you're seeing someone who is in an open relationship. We all have fears and insecurities, and our minds often fill in the blanks incorrectly when we try to make sense of things without full information. We are naturally designed to keep ourselves physically and emotionally protected for survival. This means complicated situations, such as dating someone in an open relationship, increase the fear and anxiety factor. The fact that you're already thinking about how to stay grounded, present and confident is indicative of someone who is stepping into this situation with her eyes wide open. This will serve you well. Stay open, communicate honestly and make sure you check in with yourself and with her regularly.