“Guess what! Guess who did the thing!? I DID! The thing being falling face first into crazy stupid love with one of my straight best friends! Like Frank Ocean this-unrequited-love-to-me-is-nothing-but-a-one-man-cult kinda love! Now, of course I don’t expect her to feel the same way nor do I blame her for not, yanno? I know we’re never going to be together, and don’t even think we’re compatible or capable of making each other happy in a romantic relationship, but here I am, lovin’ her! It’s quite the conundrum!
We’re very close friends and get and see each other in ways that I don’t think either of us has with anyone else, and therefore must stay in each other’s lives forever! We often joke about how for the first two years that we knew each other we were the least close out of anyone else in our friend group, but then there was a period of time in which we were both going through it and would run away to drink a bottle of Jagermeister into the early hours of the morning, so honestly can you blame me? We practically started the month as friendly acquaintances and ended it as twisted sisters, but it wasn’t until a year later that I realized Cupid had very rudely shot me right in my vageen.
Even in non-romantic relationships such as with family and friends, I love infrequently but totally and unconditionally and largely irrevocably. For context, I am a Taurus; therefore the word moderation is one I just learned 30 minutes ago and have since selectively forgotten. I’m not going to do anything crazy like tell her or try to kiss her, but we’re about a year out of college now and dear God I am trying to salvage some semblance of my wasted heart! I haven’t been checking in with her as frequently and have ceased expending all my gay emotional energy previously reserved for her that I otherwise wouldn’t spend on friends.
I am a hookup-and-casual-sex kinda gal, and have been hooking up and having casual sex because pining sounds useless and boring. I’ve even been going on dates with people I find really fascinating and attractive, but my interest never fails to taper off. It. Simply. Does. Not. Compare. Nobody lights my fire like she does, and I feel horribly guilty for leading these girls on when I damn well know I might be emotionally unavailable. I’m worried that I’ll never be able to break these archetypal gay chains!”
“Hi, I am a little confused. I met this girl in 2016 when I had just moved to a new city and we became really close and we used to do everything together and I felt like she was my whole world for a lot of time. I realized I was attracted to her and I wanted more so I asked her out. She said she was confused about her sexuality (straight girls!) and she didn’t wanna hurt me by getting into a relationship when she didn’t know, but also said she had feelings for me later. Basically, we ended up not dating but I feel like we were unofficially dating because of all the emotional stuff (we didn’t do anything physical), and right now, I’m still not over her. I’ve moved to a different new city and we’re still good friends but I think a part of me feels/hopes that she could still decide at any time to get with me and I’d jump at that opportunity. I never really got closure when I moved so I’m still pining. How do you get over straight girls you’re still good friends and in touch with when you meet them every few months and are still attracted to them, without losing a friendship?
Sidenote: we still flirt a little over text which bothers me and gets my hopes up all over again but I know she doesn’t give a shit and is probably over me.”
“How can I avoid being a ‘predatory lesbian’ sterotype? I’m a senior in high school so I still go to sleepovers and interact mainly with straight girls. I feel so uncomfortable hugging or sharing a bed with straight girls because it feels like I’m taking advantage of them because I like spooning or hugging or intertwining arms but they don’t know why I like it and just assume everyone’s straight — not that I tell them otherwise. At parties everyone is fluid and I’ve misread signals and come onto someone or thought someone was coming on to me only to find it was just normal dancing and curling up with friends. It’s been so embarrassing and I’ve had to backtrack and make a giant joke out of it or get with a guy just to prove to everyone that I’m straight. I’m terrified of outing myself and being seen only as ‘the lesbian’ and not for who am I but I’m still 18 and desperate for any human contact so if a straight girl wants to grind on me of course I’ll let her. What can I do to stop my gayness being so prominent when I drink (I’m in the UK so drinking is a normal thing at parties) because I get so tired of hiding who I am yet I’m terrified to be out so I just suppress everything and read everything I can find on the internet which just makes me feel more lonely in my little town? I’m going to college in September and I plan to be more out as either ‘fluid’ or ‘bi’ but even then how can I stop being so desperate?”
Ahhhh, falling in love with or wanting to make out with a straight girl! A classic dilemma. Here’s how to stop doing that.
1. Maybe don’t fall in love with a straight girl.
The best way to fall in love with a straight girl is to not do it. Human connection is a journey and sexuality is wild and beautiful and part of the value of the brightness of love in the darkness of this world is how it can be so unpredictable, so uncontrollable, so deep and soaring and true. But if you can try to just not do that with a straight girl, just don’t do that with a straight girl.
But okay, it’s too late for that. Now what?
2. Acknowledge what you find hot about the situation.
And by “the situation” I don’t mean her ass so stop smirking like that for a second. Is it the idea of having a close romantic and sexual relationship with someone with whom you already have a close, loving friendship relationship? Is it the feeling of having someone in your back pocket? Is it the feeling that someone might have you in her back pocket? Is it the idea of being someone’s first lesbian sex experience? Is it just that straight girls are everywhere? Is it that if you crush on them or cuddle with them you don’t have to be upfront about your sexuality? Something else?
Figuring out what the attraction is based on is part of fighting it.
Also consider that part of it might be this: Being in love with a straight girl is pretty safe. I know it hurts and feels uncontrollable and unrequited and tormenting, but on some level you know exactly what will come of it: nothing. She’s straight. You never have to confront the real possibility of a real non-platonic relationship with all of the possible risks that go along with the rewards, because on some level you know that will never happen. Instead, you get to project whatever you want onto her. Of course no one lights your fire like she does. Nothing’s hotter than a combination of facts and feelings and imagination and wishes when it comes to constructing your fantasy girlfriend.
It’s time to deconstruct her.
3. Dive into your feelings, and figure out what you need to do about them.
Let’s talk about love and friendship for a second. There are lots of ways to experience love and friendship separately, and lots of ways to experience them together. Especially among queers, those feelings can get super tangled until you don’t know what’s what. The Venn diagram of “people you might fall in love with” and “people you might fall in friend love with” can sometimes just be a circle. Falling in friend love with someone with a compatible gender and sexuality can feel similar to falling in romantic love. And like romantic love, friend love can be totally transformative.
You don’t necessarily need to totally stop loving your straight girl if your straight girl is also your very good friend, and if your friend love is the transformative no-holds-barred, really seeing and getting each other kind, you might just not want to. That’s okay. But sometimes excision is easier than moderation — not because of anything she’s doing or not doing, but because of you. If you’re honest with yourself about your desire to end this situation, you deserve to be honest with yourself about what it will take to end it. Stop flirting, for one thing. Consider what you need to do so you can stop pining: Light contact for a while? No contact for a while? You can respond if she texts you but you can’t text her first? Muting her on social media? Rescheduling any in-person time you have coming up together for the future? You can talk but you’re only allowed to think about her twice a day or once a day or three times a week and after that you have to consciously direct your thoughts somewhere else? Often setting boundaries involves a conversation between people, but if you, like these letter writers, haven’t been totally up front about the depth of your feelings for your straight girl crush, and want to preserve the friendship, it’s okay to just set them with yourself.
4. Prioritize and honor your friendship as it is, not as you want it to be.
Especially if you’re not out yet, and in societies or social groups that view queerness as a threat to heteronormativity, it’s easy to feel like you might be some sort of “lesbian predator” (or “pathetic lesbian“) trope for getting crushes on or platonically spooning with or existing in the same universe as straight girls. It’s okay to get crushes on people who don’t have them on you. It’s okay to think that if a girl asks to grind on you she might be into grinding on you. It’s okay to be attracted to girls and enjoy hugging your friends, some of whom are also girls. But the key to those things being okay is respect for people and for boundaries.
Do you like hugging your friends because you like physically expressing affection in your friendships? Or do you like hugging your friends because you like the feeling of girls in your arms? It’s not creepy or predatory to be queer and to hug your friends. But it is creepy to sexualize it without the other person’s knowledge and consent.
It can be hard to remember, especially when part of you wants whatever is happening to keep happening, but you get boundaries, too. If you’re in love with a straight girl and she’s explicitly said she’s not interested but also keeps flirting with you, it’s okay to ask her to stop. If you crave touch and straight girls keep grinding against you and it makes you feel uncomfortable or wonder about being predatory, it’s okay to ask them to stop.
Friendship should be respected and valued and trusted for exactly what it is, not for what anyone wishes it could be. Your friends deserve that, and you deserve that. Honor that as you move forward.
5. Try to move on.
Date other lesbians, bisexuals, and queer women and folks. Surround yourself with your gay community. Seek it out and build it if you don’t already have it. Try to connect with people with whom there’s a possibility for genuine connection on every level you want it on, in every way you want it. Give it time, and then some more time.
When you have a lot of feelings for someone out there, it can be hard to focus on what it takes to move forward, especially when that person out there is rooted in your personal history and experience and deep feeling and the person in front of you is a third date from tinder, or when the person in front of you is just right there when what you actually want seems so elusive.
In the meantime, with those tinder dates, being emotionally unavailable and leading someone on aren’t necessarily the same thing. Be upfront about where you are and what you can give to a situation. I don’t mean tell dates that you’re pining after a straight girl and that’s where your focus is right now but maybe if they don’t mind you checking your phone under the table a lot would they like to go out? I mean, if you aren’t in a place to have a relationship, don’t tell someone you are.
Too often it’s easy to get caught up in chasing a person instead of chasing a feeling. And it’s especially hard to tell the difference when a person and feelings are already tangled up. But think for a second about what you’re really after when you’re not thinking about a specific person or this specific moment in your life. Is it that you want a committed, loving, equal romantic and sexual partnership in which you can be seen and fulfilled on every level? That you want someone with whom you can share your whole worlds? That you want to maybe make out with a girl who also likes and wants to make out with you back? Or that you want whatever you can get with this one straight girl specifically?
With some more reflection, I’m pretty sure the answer won’t be “this one girl specifically.”
If it still is, consider this: You might be going after a straight girl because it’s safer than going after what you really want. (Question writer #3 know’s what’s up) It’s safe to want what you can’t have. It’s safe to not get over something that’s familiar. It’s safe to hold on.
What happens if you just let go?