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This question has been edited for length.
I met an amazing person — I’ll call her Kitty — in school and we were instant friends. At first I thought she was really into me, but then I found out she was engaged so I smothered my potential romantic feelings and pursued a friendship with Kitty. Kitty was there for me when a crush I had on another girl didn’t work out, but as our “friendship” (with sexual undertones) progressed she began getting jealous, to the point where she furiously left school in tears. We talked it out, got closer, and I agreed to be a bridesmaid at her wedding.
Kitty often says her fiancé and I are ‘the same person’ except for our different genders. She enjoys my company, confides in me, arranges her life and schedule to enable us seeing each other frequently. I’ve slept over a few times and often she’d snuggle with me instead of her fiancé, even saying she can’t sleep the same without me. We play fight, wrestle, cuddle and hold hands, even if her fiancé is there. This seems awkward to me but he seems totally indifferent. She’s more affectionate when he’s not around. She says her fiancé said it was okay to kiss me but declined her request to have “one night” with me.
We openly discuss sexual matters, share the same sexual preferences, and she got me a dildo for Christmas and tells me she thinks of me when using hers and says her sex life with her fiancé is unsatisfying.
The weird/tangible sexual aspect is strong, but so is the weird/tangible romantic part. We wanna be together all the time, I’ve spent weekends just tagging along as she runs errands, and over the holidays she told me she wished I could be there with her family and even seemed to resent having to spend her anniversary day with her fiancé.
Which brings me to New Years, when she talked me into taking a trip with her. She invited her fiancé, but didn’t press him as tenaciously as she did with me, and he declined — much to my immense, guilty relief.
The trip was both heaven and hell. I’d restrained my feelings beforehand due to her ENGAGEMENT, but away from home, we let our barriers down. She’d text or skype him occasionally, but considering it was their first time apart in four years, it wasn’t much. Even around her friends, she was affectionate with me, and on New Year’s Eve, at a swanky hotel by the ocean, she said farewell to her friends and said she was relieved that it was just us again. We took a walk holding hands, had a great dinner at her favorite restaurant, snuggled and fell asleep before midnight, watching our show on Netflix.
New Year’s Day the sexual tension was especially high: we cuddled and teased and almost went all the way. She pulled away, which I assumed was ’cause of her fiancé, but I did question what the hell I’m doing as I’ve done many times since meeting Kitty. During the flight home we admitted that morning had been on our minds all day, and she said that she regrets stopping but told me it was ’cause she knew I wanted breakfast and didn’t want to miss the ferry. We spent the rest of the trip kissing, talking and enjoying each other.
When we landed the full extent of the trouble I’m in hit me. My heart burned when she kissed her fiancé. I wanted to throw up. I held myself together in the airport on our way home, but I don’t doubt she knew something was up. At home, I fell apart. Wallowed in misery and heartbreak, got two hours sleep. Kitty texted saying she was sad, missed me and hadn’t gotten much sleep either, since she’s spoiled by my cuddles. I foolishly agreed to go with her and her fiancé to the mall.
When they picked me up, I’m sure she realized immediately that something was amiss. I diverted attention ’cause I don’t wanna cause drama, but Kitty was worried and kept asking me why I was sad. It was torture to lie and divert to her face. She sent her fiancé off to do his own errands and I was able to pull some of myself together when it was just us. She confessed that cuddling him didn’t compare to cuddling me, but she’d never dare tell him. At her place afterwards, where I went to help her with school stuff, she kept saying stuff like “don’t leave me.” She must know to some extent what I’m feeling. She invited me to stay the night Sunday to attend orientation together, and I hesitated and fumbled for an excuse but failed, I gave in and agreed. I’m excited to spend more time with her, but I know it’s just gonna cut me deeper.
The sleepover is tonight and she’s texted me asking if I still wanna be a bridesmaid, which has pushed me to reach out to you. I don’t think I can be her bridesmaid and watch her marry someone who I think is a great person but not great enough. But I told her I would be. How can I say that I can’t without it blowing up? I don’t wanna be a home-wrecker and don’t want her to know my real feelings and risk having my heart torn out as she inevitably chooses him over me. But I also selfishly want her to tear her life apart and choose me. I want to be her number one, ’cause she’s mine.
I feel like she’s got genuine feelings for me, but are they strong enough to win over her supposed “true love”? I don’t know. I can’t help but make a pros and cons list of me vs. the fiancé, and who wins depends on my mood. She wants a child with her fiancé, which she’s openly discussed with both of us and made a tentative plan, and she’s told me she’d want me to be in her kid’s life. She doesn’t know the thought of her having a child with him nauseates me.
I know the best thing for me to do is to leave and look for someone who wants only me, fully, but I can’t. I want to tell her everything I told you and more, but I fear the fallout. I don’t want to be the asshole who makes an ultimatum, but at the same time, I feel that she’s definitely played a huge part in creating this situation. I don’t know if she’s aware how she’s playing with my heart. I’m scared I might just be a “lesbian experience” for her, but her actions and her eyes tells me that it’s more than that.
I realize I’m strongly at fault for failing to reinforce boundaries, but I’ve fallen for her and my heart’s being torn apart. I think we’d make an incredible couple and have a solid, supportive relationship.
What the hell do I do, Autostraddle? What could possibly be Kitty’s deal, she has a fiancé she should be madly in love with so why does she say the things she says? Should I be a selfish jerk and confess in the hopes that she may be feeling the same things but was also too afraid that I didn’t reciprocate? I’ve made many hints and comments that it’s not me that will suffer any true repercussions from our dalliances as I’m single and she’s not. It doesn’t seem to affect her much.
Thank you so much for your time and patience if you managed to read all of this hot mess. It was actually cathartic just putting a good chunk of my dilemma to words and it’s ridiculously long so I apologize for that.
Thank you again,
Severely Confused and Torn
OH GIRL. I’ve been in similar places to where you are and damn it’s the worst — been that girl swallowing her feelings in the backseat, angrily scrawling in your journal about how this can’t really be fair, can it, agreeing to be something that needs nothing? But who are you to complain, really, considering the shaky ethics of the situation to begin with? I mean, you agreed to it, in theory, but is “letting your heart fall into somebody’s hands” a thing anybody really agrees to? Especially when she’s such a good catcher? It’s the worst, and I don’t blame you for needing some help navigating this!
Before we continue, a few things: I’m gonna call your friend “Belinda” because I hate cats and I’m gonna call you Harriet, like everybody’s #1 Girl Spy. I’m gonna call her fiancé Tim, because OBVIOUSLY.
Babe, you are in 1-2 of the following situations:
- A hot mess
- A lesbian romantic comedy movie where the girl leaves her fiancé for her lady-lover at the end and they kiss in a traffic jam or hold hands in a European meadow
- A critically-acclaimed and profoundly depressing lesbian movie where the girl gets married at the end and her lady-lover moves to another country, drinks excessively or shows up at her wedding to cry softly while everybody dances the Hora
Should you be Belinda’s bridesmaid? No, you should not. For starters, Belinda shouldn’t have any bridesmaids because she shouldn’t be getting married at all, but also you’d probably have a better time at an MRA conference or running naked through O’Hare to catch a tightly-timed connecting flight. Spare yourself. DO NOT ATTEND THIS WEDDING, LET ALONE PARTICIPATE IN IT.
Harriet, you cannot feel guilty for wanting Belinda all to yourself, especially when she’s made it clear she wants you all to herself by getting jealous over a girl you didn’t even actually go out with. This entire relationship has happened on her terms. She decides when she wants to see you, she decides whether or not she’ll be alone with you — over time, this will slowly erode your confidence and sense of self (not to mention screwing with your other commitments like school, work, and friendships), and something needs to change or you need to get out, stat. She’s free to tell you how she feels about you within the context of her being in another relationship, but you have no such freedom. Belinda’s behavior isn’t fair to you… and it’s definitely not fair to Tim, either. If at any point you’re doing something Tim wouldn’t approve of, which it seems like you are, this isn’t fair to him. (Although I’m super confused about what his deal is, in general?)
I read this question and came away from it feeling like Belinda was being a bit selfish and manipulative, but then I had a friend read it, and she came away feeling like Belinda was often acting out of clumsy, desperate confusion (but agreed that most of Belinda’s actions have been really unfair). I guess that’s the limit of advice questions — we don’t know her or where she’s coming from, or if her treatment of you is because of confusion about her sexual orientation or relationship style — Have you made her realize she might be gay? That she might be bisexual? That she might be poly? — or if gender or relationship style isn’t relevant to her at all. All we can do is project. I’m sure everybody reading this question will interpret it differently too, and have their own advice to give you.
That being said, there is definitely some responsibility you should take for this: people will push you exactly as hard as you let them, and if you never press back, they might truly not know how badly you wish you could resist. She has asked how you feel, and you haven’t told her the truth — although asking you in front of Tim is no better than not asking at all. You’ve never told Belinda that this situation isn’t working for you, you’ve only passive-aggressively indicated, sometimes, that it makes you a little upset and sad. It seems like when she senses you pulling away, she panics and finds a way to get you closer. I know you’ve refrained from telling her the truth because you’re afraid of losing her, but the current situation isn’t sustainable, and the longer it goes on, the harder it’ll be on you when/if it ends. This needs to blow up and run its course.
You’ve gotta talk to her about this, and you need to do it in person at a time and place where Tim is not present. Don’t tell her “we need to talk,” because telling somebody “we need to talk” is the best way to totally freak them out and/or send them into a pre-conversation tailspin. Just get together normally… and then start talking. I suggest you open the conversation by playing the song “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” and doing the dance from the music video, and then talk about your feelings NO BUT SERIOUSLY — tell her that you can’t be her bridesmaid because you have feelings for her. Nobody wants a crying bridesmaid in their wedding pictures, after all.
Ask her how she feels about you and how she feels about the current situation you’re in — is it working for her? If so, why? Where do you fit in? You have a right to know the answers to these questions, even if the answers break your heart.
There are the five ways this conversation should end, which I’m about to tell you, and I’m telling you these ways ’cause I fear the most likely result is that this conversation will not truly end, it will just be both of you sharing your feelings and not making a plan to do anything about them, and then things will just continue as they have been, but with more room for you to express your pain and discomfort as it happens. It’s perfectly fair for her to want some time to think about it, but set a deadline for when you have to face the facts together, again.
So, those five ways:
- She admits she has feelings for you, but doesn’t want to leave Tim, and therefore the two of you need to take some time away from each other and you need to move on.
- She admits she has feelings for you, and does want to leave Tim, in which case you should do your best over the next few weeks to make progress towards that plan.
- She says she has no feelings for you (in which case she is lying) or doesn’t wanna be in a same-sex relationship. Then the two of you need to take some time away from each other and you need to move on.
- She admits she has feelings for you and wants to try an open or poly relationship with you and Tim in a way that appeals to you, in which case the three of you need to sit down together, tell Tim how you feel, and iron out the arrangement going forward.
- She admits she has feelings for you and wants to try an open or poly relationship with you and Tim in a way that doesn’t appeal to you, in which case the two of you need to take some time away from each other and you need to move on.
Just to be clear — zero of these potential conclusions involve you attending or participating in her wedding, let alone contributing to the care of her hypothetical offspring. (ETA: Except #4, maybe!)
I said I’ve been in similar situations before, and honestly, sometimes it worked out for me and sometimes it didn’t. I know people who have been in similar situations and sometimes it worked out for them and sometimes it didn’t. If she does decide that marrying Tim isn’t a good idea and wants to break it off, please know that the process of her doing so will be ugly and messy at times, and will require superhuman patience and understanding, as well as total transparency between the two of you. Be honest about your insecurities and set up ways to subdue them — like a quick way to check in with you via text if she’s spending the day talking about her feelings with Tim, so that you’re not lying on your bed agonizing about what they could be discussing, NAKED. You’ll also need to respect the long and serious relationship she had with Tim.
It sounds like so far your relationship has been built on a foundation of things you both feel but never talk about, so this’ll require a big transformation in how you communicate. Remember when I said people will push you as far as you let them? This is when you have to say, I respect that he is making certain demands of you, and I don’t need you to shift 100% of your attention away from him and onto me, but I need space to make a few demands and deserve some of your attention, too. I have needs too. She should do her best to meet them.
Also know that if Belinda was capable of having this kind of relationship with you while engaged to Tim — the kind where she tells you she prefers sleeping with you, that their sex is unsatisfying, and she relishes alone time with you — that she was clearly not ready to marry him in the first place and shouldn’t have done so, even if you and her had never met. There was a man I knew who got the strength to leave his unhappy dysfunctional marriage because of our conversations about it, and although my subsequent relationship with him only lasted for a few months, he still is grateful that I helped him leave her and has said so, and he’s currently married to someone else and has started a family. Please make sure that if she leaves him, that she is not leaving him for you, that you’re just the catalyst that made her leave someone she shouldn’t have been with in the first place.
I do hope that if this doesn’t work out in your favor, which unfortunately is likely, that you will still emerge knowing that you deserve to be your Number One’s Number One, and that you deserve a healthy relationship that doesn’t require swallowing your feelings, your pride, or her wedding cake.
I´m gonna oversimplify this is a HUGE way though I know it´s so much more complicated.
She´s taken. And from what I understood her fiance hasn´t given her the ok to have relationship with you outside of their relationship. Nor has she directly talked about having a relationship with you.
She sounds kinda selfish (judging from your post) in the sense that, as Riese says, it has ALL been on her terms.
This has pain written all over it. It almost seems like mountains would have to be moved for this to end well for you. She sounds kinda selfish (judging from your post) in the sense that, as Riese says, it has ALL been on her terms.
Leave it alone.
Like, walk away. Quick.
Harriet, can you please write back once you’ve confronted Belinda (because girl, you really do need to) because I definitely need to know how this lesbian movie ends. For all our sakes, I hope you’re living in an Imagine Me and You or a Kiss Me and not a Blue Is the Warmest Color or something similarly depressing.
Kissing Jessica Stein…. equally depressing.
Kissing Jessica Stein was not depressing. It was abominable!
I would love to hear how this turns out!
The story isn’t mine to tell, but I have born witness to the above and run, Straddler, run.
Unless a scene at the wedding is your jam. Make sure someone sober has a camera.
Whether she is acting out of honest confusion or just being a manipulative jerk, you do not want to be anywhere near her either way.
If the shit hits the fan and he finds out, or she chooses to end it, or the wedding goes ahead and she continues with her current behaviour. None of these options will end well for you.
I speak from past experience. This happened to me too. In my confusion and entirely misplaced loyalty to my friend, I ended up being the bridesmaid.
After their wedding, I didn’t speak to her for years because I couldn’t cope with what had happened. Trust me when I tell you that watching her marrying Tim will be utterly devastating.
Don’t do what I did, please.
I would strongly recommend that you walk away.
Off subject question: How do submit something to You Need Help?
To youneedhelp [at] autostraddle [dot] com or via the ASK link on autostraddle.tumblr.com!
Do not go to that wedding. Just…don’t do it. Do not be a bridesmaid either. For your mental health and future happiness, do not go.
If you think you can, maybe send them the nicest thing you can afford.
And following the wedding/honeymoon/etc, have The Talk.
Also, perfect use of GIFS from Imagine Me & You is perfect.
In reading this I found myself wondering how much of these are her feelings and how much she has been influenced by The Fiance.
“If you think you can, maybe send them the nicest thing you can afford.”
With the exception, of course, of thy naked self in a cake.
Simple rule of this universe: you cannot fish in two rivers at the same time.
If you keep letting her take advantage of you, you will simply end up hating her. I think that’s worse than ‘unloving’ a person who you’ve had a lot of good memories and experiences with.
Riese has given you solid gold advice, and I join her and the other autostraddlers here in saying that in the name of all things lesbian, don’t be her bridesmaid and stop letting her use you (even if she’s doing it unintentionally).
in the name of all things lesbian – Amen.
What the HELL is Tim’s deal?
Tim is a dude. He finds the situation somewhat amusing/titillating as men tend to do in these types of situations–or he is merely pretending to be so as not to APPEAR to feel threatened. Probably it’s some combo of both. If the girls were ever to smash it would have to be in his presence (at the very least)for his entertainment.
There are hints that Tim IS uncomfortable with the situation as well. He just doesn’t seem to be very vocal or as affected by it as our dear Straddler because at the end of the day, Kitty is wearing his ring.
I don’t know, it occurred to me that maybe he’s also unfaithful? I say that because him not wanting to go to the New Years thing raised some serious red flags for me. Why would he be so agreeable about her spending the holiday without him alone with somebody he’s allegedly already told her she’s not allowed to have “one night” with? Or maybe Belinda is the breadwinner?
Call me uber optimistic, Riese. But it could also be that he just really trusts Kitty. She’s been honest with him about her ‘special friendship’ with the writer, so I can see why he’d trust her and simply tell her that kissing is okay but SEX ISN’T. He comes off to me as a guy who can’t say no to Kitty – save for the one night thing.
We don’t actually really learn anything about Tim from the question. The op only really knows what Belinda has told her about her fiance and she actually has no idea what he’s like when the couple are alone. Frankly all of Harriet’s descriptions of him sound like a desperate attempt to justify how much she wants to completely fuck up his life.
Eh, I think Belinda needs to take responsibility for ruining his life, not Harriet. Harriet’s just been following Belinda’s lead, and Harriet was never Tim’s friend, I don’t know that she owes him anything.
The Nile is a river in Egypt or uh like some cheated upon people hopes the cheating partner will stop cheating and choose them. Choose him cause those years together had to mean something. All the things he did and said that people are suppose to say to the person they want a long term legally joined relationship had to have meant something, right?
So basically either denial or a distributary of it.
This, that we’re doing right here, is hilarious. This is what chicks do. Though, in this case obviously it’s not sooo much making excuses for people it’s just puzzling it over at a distance. Cuz (sorry Belinda) its entertaining. But I’ve had the experience of coming up with more excuses for a bitch than she could come up with herself (OR me) and I’m glad I did cuz I’m over it now. Cuz that’s how you waste your life staying stuck in the types situations that homegirl is in.If that’s the best you can do, you live in the wrong state (or whatever) make plans to move. I refuse to believe one can’t do better than playing LESS than house with Belinda and fucking TIM.
Correction “Kitty” and fucking Tim.
That’s what chicks do?
Sorry cher, but that’s what people do. Denial and making excuses is part of the fabric of the mind. How do you think people buy goods when they know another human being was exploited to make that low low price possible?
But yeah it’s something that keeps people down and in bad situations with their love lives. Wasting themselves cause they don’t think they can do better.
Like working in a cubicle when you’ve got the skills to be a park ranger.
So sorry you’re in this situation. If she does not leave Tim for you (which, frankly, might not actually be the best thing), where Riese says “spend time away from each other,” I would elaborate: cut off all. fucking. contact. Do not text her, do not call her, block her number if you can/do not respond to her texts or calls. Unfriend her on Facebook. Don’t see her in person, and if you do see her by chance, avoid her. She will likely have a lot of feelings. Her feelings are not your responsibility. Any contact with her will continue to twist at your heart and prevent you from healing. She’ll continue to toss you breadcrumbs, and you’ll stay stuck. Move the fuck on. Make new friends, work on yourself, do what you’re passionate about, date. No contact for at least a couple of years, I am dead serious. After enough time has passed and you’re kicking ass at life and your heart doesn’t hurt so much anymore, maybe, maybe you can be friends again. But it doesn’t sound to me like you’ve ever really been “friends.”
Good luck. Hope she leaves Tim whether or not she ends up with you, because this shit ain’t cool.
HARRIET. Dear, dear Harriet,
Damn, that was painful to read. Painful and familiar. Kitty sounds just like thousands of other straight or questioning girls who selfishly take advantage of their boyfriends’, husbands’, and society’s assumptions that non-hetero female sexuality is not as valid or as threatening as hetero sexuality.
I’m sure we all have experiences with those straight or bicurious women in relationships with men who gush over how open-minded and accepting their boyfriends are because they are “allowed” to fool around with women on the side. No, open-mindedness is not what that is. It’s a super huge package of biphobia, misogyny, and lesbophobia all packed tightly together. Tim said he was fine with Belinda kissing you? Color me incredibly unsurprised. That’s a pretty common male-pattern response to a straight/bicurious girlfriend’s curiosity.
She’s playing with your heart. Even if you’re not just her “lesbian experience”, would it make a huge difference for you emotionally? The ending would be the same either way. Just from what you’ve written, it seems like she values the safety net and comfort of her and Tim’s relationship over her personal emotional and sexual satisfaction, and definitely over your own feelings. I would also approach any possibility of an open relationship with Tim with the upmost suspicion. Your relationship with Belinda would always be viewed as less serious and valid in this situation.
If you like to read and process with books, I suggest getting your hands on a copy of If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan immediately. It’s a little YA tale of a girl in a very similar situation.
And please write back and let us know what you decide to do. We’re all rooting for you to make it out of here okay.
Riese, fantastic use of gifs and screenshots.
“Tim said he was fine with Belinda kissing you? Color me incredibly unsurprised. That’s a pretty common male-pattern response to a straight/bicurious girlfriend’s curiosity.”
I know right? My friend’s ex-boyfriend’s only redeeming feature was that he got pissed off at her when she cheated on him with a girl.
Her: “but it’s just a girl”
Him: “but it still counts!”
(Me: “why am I friends with you again?”)
One of my good friends was “allowed” to have a New Year’s Eve kiss with another girl because her boyfriend said “it didn’t count”. Tim’s actions (or lack thereof) don’t really surprise me either.
I think your comment was very well though out, but I can’t help being a little bit of a bi-crusader here. It’s clear that Kitty/Belinda really really desires Harriet (as in, tells her that she masturbates to the thought of her, however inappropriate that is).
Kitty might play a socially ‘straight’ or ‘bicurious’ role but writing off her obvious bisexuality/queerness in your comment just seems really biphobic. The source of her non-commitment is her personal issues, not the fact that she is not attracted to women strongly enough or something.
thank you :)
My gut instinct is to tell you to run. I think it was the stuff she said about her sex life that did it for me – it just seems disloyal to the point of cruel. It’s manipulative because she knows it’s what you want to hear and it’s not fair to her current partner at all. She’s showing no respect for either of you and seems caught in a whirlwind of her own drama.
OBV only you two can know your relationship- but if you were my friend I’d be so worried about how she’d treat you if you did get together.
Riese – stunning, gorgeous writing, and rock-solid advice as always.
Did anyone else see the plot of Tipping the Velvet in here? Complete with the fucking name “Kitty”?? Yeeeesh.
So I guess it follows, Harriet, that you could be like Nancy and become a faux gay prostitute in the streets of London for awhile, a sex slave to an aristocratic woman, and finally find love as the compatriot of a budding socialist activist with a chill brother. Do it. ;)
I’m so sorry you are stuck in this horribly uncomfortable and confusing situation. It is patently THE WORST, at least in my experience. I have been in similar situations (more than once, much to my dismay) and I think that the advice Riese and everyone else has given you is solid. I just want to add one small piece. Regardless of what decision you make about staying in this girl’s life, or not, or going to her wedding, or not, you need to work on boundaries, because I’m guessing this isn’t the only area of your life that you feel taken advantage of, it certainly wasn’t for me.
You have a right to have needs and ask for them to be met. You have a right to your feelings and are 100% allowed to express them to others. If the people in your life can’t get on board with that, you deserve better people in your life. You are not responsible for other people’s happiness, you are responsible for your own.
It helps me to think of it this way: when you’re on a plane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping someone else, right? Life is like that too. You have to take care of yourself first, so that you can care for others from a place of abundance rather than resentment.
I am sending tons of love and support your way. I know whatever decision you make won’t be easy, but I hope you can remember that you are so deserving of someone wonderful. And whether or not this girl is that person, I’m sure you’ll find her eventually.
THIS. Thank you for validating
Holy hell. I lived this. And I know how the story ends (if you pick the “don’t listen to anyone’s advice and be a bridesmaid, continue this unhealthy awful thing for 6 months into their marriage and then end things” option). Run. Don’t walk. Run away. It hurts and it sucks, but for the love of all good things, run. Find yourself a girl who will treat you with the respect and dignity and love that you deserve. Unfortunately, Kitty will never be able to do that for you.
Where can I submit a (question? Situation?) for You Need Help? I have a kind of similar situation that I don’t know how to deal with.
How to deal with is:DTMFA. Run.
Seriously, please, please don’t do this to yourself. You deserve so much more.
This hurt my heart to read. Regardless of whether or not she means to, she is totally taking advantage of you. Having a loving heart like yours is both a strength and a weakness. I know it’s easy for everyone to say to cut off contact when the reality is that’s the hardest thing you can do. It probably feels impossible to let her go. But I think you should.
*WARNING:Epic comment* Man I used to feel so smug and superior to straight girls and their drama with whomever they were dating. I thought they were so retarded. So lacking in basic common sense. I thought I had the advantage, until I realized that as a lesbian at least in the part of the country I’m in now, I’m at a major disadvantage. It is that much easier even excusable, to be stuck on stupid in a fucked up situation trying to psychoanalyze a douche. I live in the Midwest, I overall identify as femme and never in my life have I been attracted to a female that was not presumably straight, unavailable, and wanting me to be their side-bitch.Now I’ve never been able to be involved with someone like that physically. Still it affects me emotionally and psychologically to the point that I feel like I might as well have gone for broke and slept with them and played that game. I almost feel like if I encounter the situation again I’ll MAKE myself butch up,push past the disgust and just get it over with. Might as well live a little before I finally get some sense, make some money, move to NY and get married. In the meantime BTW, once I start banging “straight” bitches –of wich there are legion, I wouldn’t even try to be faithful to just one. They’re not gonna use me, I’ll use THEM. And you know, being cocksuckers , they’ll fucking love it. On the other hand..I live in America,it isn’t 1933 and I don’t feel I’ve earned the right to be a hopeless (dickless) man-whore just yet. There is sooo much that I personally need to work on, like getting back in school. I’d like to think that If I work on my self and can get to the point that I am meeting my own expectations and have something to offer beyond my current level of virtue and adorable face, things will fall into place. I’d rather not have to use my sexual orientation as a crutch and an excuse to be a victim/douche in 2015.Nor would I accept that from anyone else.In a way I’d say I DO have an advantage in that were I straight I know exactly what I’d expect of myself and anyone I were to be involved with romantically. Obviously I don’t believe that women belong bare foot and pregnant but I am rather old fashioned in a lot of ways. So when I feel confused about something, I have that (albeit hetero-normative) paradigm to work with. Especially if you identify as femme I think it could work for you too as it’s been very very helpful to me in maintaining my sanity and integrity. It gives one some measure of perspective. It can be mind bending dealing with females (in general) in adulterous situations because they don’t just use you physically, they use you emotionally too and you end up reading too much into things. Yes there are societal pressures, homophobia and it’s hard out here for a pimp. Yes the cock they suck might not be “the best”. But none of that is any of your business or your fault, and if you don’t get that, know that you’re thinking like a come-dumpster/homewrecking whore/douche. We all know how we’d advise a straight friend of ours going through something squirrely like this with a guy. As a lesbian, just mentally put a dick on a motherfucker OR yourself and you can cut straaaight through the crap. That’s just how it is.
I’m sorry that stuff can be rough for you but do you have to used ‘ret*rded’, ‘cocksuckers’, ‘bitch’, ‘whore’, etc?
Because, hey, dealing with stress and pain – whether it be from widespread oppression or situations in your own life – doesn’t need to be done with misogyny, ableism, biphobia and more.
Agreed. This especially shocked me: “But none of that is any of your business or your fault, and if you don’t get that, know that you’re thinking like a come-dumpster/homewrecking whore/douche.” I understand things are rough, but come dumpster? Really? I don’t see how that is helpful or necessary.
I actually found this comment very interesting. If “Trainspotting” had a lesbian character, she would make this comment. The writing was an unstructured stream of consciousness, the logic was kind of hard to follow, and she may have been under in influence. But I trust that whatever it was that she is trying to say, she believes it very strongly.
So try to think of it less as biphobic albeism and more as fan fiction.
Yeah, but this isn’t lesbian Trainspotting. This is Autostraddle, and it’s meant to be a safe, feminist and woman-positive space. I don’t care how strongly she believes in ‘straight bitches’ and ‘come-dumpsters’ and ‘homewrecking whores’. It’s not ok here.
Yea, to me it’s not about the words so much but the concepts behind the words. Telling some one not to use a word isn’t effective. Their going to feel censored and disengage from the conversation. Whereas your message about the problematic logic and thinking never gets across.
Vestal its interesting to me that you explain quite well that Harriet isn’t responsible for Kitty’s situation. Then, tell her if she doesn’t get it she thinking like a homewrecker. Kitty can’t be thinking like a homewrecker if she isn’t one.
As for come dumpster and douche (which should be spelled cum dumpster). I think your attempting to say “if you let your self be taken of advantage, your reducing yourself to a object that only provides sexual relief”. Frankly, the problem with using come dumpster and douche is that your point isnt clear.
As for whore. I’m not sure what your saying. It’s clear Harriet isn’t getting compensation for the relationship nor have they “gone all the way”
This is in reply to Salome but the website won’t let me reply to that comment.
I’m afraid I”m going to have to disagree. There are words – like the ones people have picked out from the comment above – that have to be framed in a very particular way to not be offensive and hurtful. vestal’s comment did not do this; the words were, instead, used carelessly and offensively. I’m not really interested in reading the message through/around them. I want to see that kinda language – and the attitudes it betrays – got rid of (or reclaimed by the people it slurs if they wish).
Dizzy, I apologize because I didn’t express my point adequately. The comment was so used language so out of place on this website and degrading to women that my first assumption was that it was written by some random person that was trolling us.
Salome, I don’t think she meant “whore” in a professional sense. I think she meant it as an insult used to describe someone with she believes is demonstrating inappropriate sexual or romantic behavior (like a romantic relationship with someone’s fiancé). I also disagree with this “we shouldn’t ban words” attitude. When is it ever appropriate to use homophobic, transphobic, or misogynistic language to insult other people? I don’t believe that the majority of the people who contribute to this online community would ever argue that its ok to use language that is transphobic or racist or anything along those lines because we should all just get used to it.
Hey, I know it’s been a couple days but I wanted to respond to the people that responded to me. I’m not saying using that type of language is ever ok. I just don’t think she meant to directly insult Harriet. She said “you’re thinking like a come-dumpster/homewrecking whore/douche.” not you are a. It sounds like she uses these words in everyday conversation without differentiating them from other swear words. And from her other posts she seems respectful and perfectly normal. Banning the words doesn’t point out the problem with the words.
I get having that painful feeling when someone tells you that it would be better to end a relationship when you’re still pretty in love with that person. It only comes down to what you want in the end. You really have to be selfish right now. I don’t see how your relationship with “Kitty” will ever work out, especially not as easily as you seem to be thinking. Even if she broke up with “Tim” and you two became exclusive, you would both need to put in an extraordinary amount of work to make what you two have (and are individually) healthy. Breaking up would be so incredibly difficult but, down the line, it would instead be the easiest and best thing you ever did (compared to waiting for her or just staying silent about your important feelings). This whole situation just needs to be thought of in terms of “you.” You’re a lovely human who needs to discover that you are, in fact, lovely and deserving of actual love and care.
One last thing: I didn’t hear you mention any friends or family in your life to confide in. You need to find someone, whether it’s a therapist or an anonymous weirdo on AS. You need people to open up to about this, not only for right now, but for your entire healing process. While I am available, I don’t mean to suggest it be me. Get a journal. Invest in and love yourself for a while.
Shoot. I meant to make a separate comment about this post’s topic as a whole. Oh well.
That was suuuuch a red flag as far as ‘can we do the squirrelly poly sister-wife shit?’, obviously not. Isn’t it great how the world of modern queer transectional blah can help you wriggle around shit? Nope.
I agree with many of the replies….that you should politely decline to be a bridesmaid or attend the wedding. Make an excuse that seems reasonable.
Although Kitty obviously adores you, she is taking advantage of your love for her……most likely without understanding the effect it is having on you.
You are in a no-win position, really. Sigh! Though it hurts, I think the best choice is to let her marrying the guy succeed or fail on its own reality. And if it does, then you ride in on the white horse!
Best of luck!
Holy cow – run! Run the hell away!
Oh girl. I have been in a similar situation – except I was also in a relationship at the time and my “Kitty” was someone I’d been friends with for years who I’d had feelings for when we’d first met but never pursued it because she said she was straight; fast forward 8 years and she kisses me when we’re both drunk and OH MAN was that bad news. These encounters happened a handful more times over the next few years until the shit finally hit the fan and we both agreed that it needed to stop. That’s the short version. (We’re still friends, although not as close as we were before. She lives 5+ hours away now so we don’t see each other often, which makes it both easier and harder.)
ANYWAY – back to the point…
Riese’s advice is A++ but I would add one very important thing. (And maybe Riese did say this and I just missed it, but it bears repeating.)
Before you talk to Kitty, you need to decide what YOU want. Do you want to stay friends with her? If so, under what conditions would that work for you? (No more kissing or other sexual anything should be a given.) Or are you only now interested in her as more than a friend, and willing to break things off completely if she doesn’t reciprocate? Your answers to these questions might change after your initial talk, or over time, and that’s okay. But you need to have a sense of what you need/want from your relationship with her before you approach her, or you could find yourself right back where you are now. And if you really don’t know what you want, that’s okay too. Talk to her, tell her how you feel, and then tell her you need some time/space to figure things out. If she truly cares about you, she should be willing to at least give you that.
All the cyber hugs to you, and please let us know how it goes.
Super A++ advice addition, Ava (wow alliteration). But really, so important to figure yourself out as much as possible before beginning to consider another person’s feelings in the situation.
Yeah, people above have been talking about setting boundaries, etc, which is all so important. But it’s near impossible to set boundaries without working out what you want and need in the first place.
Holy hell. I was a Kitty Lite – as in, I had developed an emotional relationship with my best friend while abstaining from indulging in physical desires because of my own Tim (poor guy didn’t deserve it).
Eventually I woke up and realized that my preference for Harriet meant that I couldn’t marry Tim, and so I broke up with him. Not for her but because I recognized that my life without Tim (my safety net) was pretty good.
I agree absolutely that you should NOT go to the wedding in any capacity. You also need to metaphorically smack some sense into Kitty by telling her how much pain she’s causing you. I was blind to that until my Harriet told me. She still finds it obnoxiously presumptious how I assumed she’d just wait for me to figure my shit out before riding off into the sunset. Once she told me how unfair I was for toying with her, I smartened up, and after breaking up with Tim, I committed myself to her and only her.
So, don’t go to the wedding, and tell her that this game can’t go on anymore. Maybe she’ll realize that marrying Tim will be the worst mistake of her life. If not, run and never look back. Maybe she’ll realize you’re the best thing to enter ther life. If not, you have to let her go to figure things out for herself, because at that point, neither you nor Tim will be responsible for her.
This reply is disappointing , and self serving….. to me…. coming from a woman who is seeking a doctorate.
Sarah, what is wrong/disappointing with PaperOFlower’s advice?
PaperOFlower said that she had been in the “Kitty” role and was relaying her experience on a similar situation.
Because she blames Kitty for how Harriet feels. Harriet is the one who is to blame for how she herself feels….not Kitty!!! Duh!
You/ I am responsible for you/me….and what we feel.
Stop blaming Kitty for our own issues!
I agree that both “Harriet” and “Kitty”, need to take responsibility for their choices and the feelings that have and will result from their choices, but I read PaperOFlowers comment as Harriet having an opportunity to tell Kitty about how Kitty’s actions and choices (ie Keeping Harriet “going on the sniff of an oily rag”)
might wake Kitty up to how badly Kitty is treating Harriet, so in that interpretation, I don’t see it as a dumb comment at all. I think Kitty’s actions are crappy, but, Harriet is not asking for more from Kitty, yet, either. Talking with Kitty is an opportunity for Harriet to make an ultimatum to Kitty. However if after such an ultimatum Harriet didn’t walk her talk then she would be a fool.
Paper is a poop head! She admits it. Then tries to be an advisor….and sanctimous ( poor guy…..didn’t deserve…..me pooping on him…..sheesh!?) bs self-?vindification for being a poop head……who are you trying to kid? Paper?
If the poop fits, then wear it….
Your last comment in this thread was incredibly childish. You don’t need to comment if all you’re trying to do is act like an 8 year old bully.
Reiterating what Alishia said! No one cares that you have a doctorate if you’re going to act like an ass.
I…don’t even know what to say to this, especially since you and I have had personally supportive messages to each other in recent memory.
Maybe I need to clarify? Many of the fellow commenters have been in Harriet’s shoes before, so they are giving her advice from their experiences. I haven’t. Reading this heartbreaking letter struck me as being personal from the other perspective as the person who was on her way to get married to a guy while essentially falling in love with my best friend and traipsing along in denial. “Tim” didn’t deserve to be strung along as I denied my feelings for Harriest, that’s why I said he didn’t deserve what I did to him. I still feel guilty for doing that, and my only regret is not breaking up with him sooner so that he would have been free sooner. My Tim and My Harriet were not responsible for my inability to figure out my sexuality (or love) – I was naive and selfish in assuming that I would have Tim to support me the entire time, and when I was done with him, I was presumptious and selfish to assume that Harriet would wait for me as I dealt with the aftermath of me leaving Tim and refusing to date her immediately. Harriet gave me an ultimatum – “Either you commit to me now, or I’m going to stop being your best friend in order to get over you.” It was only when she told me how selfish I had been that I realized that I couldn’t lose her – not as a “eventually we’ll date” girlfriend, not as a “stay up to 6AM texting her while ignoring my Tim” best friend.
My advice for this Harriet is that maybe her Kitty is just so oblivious to Kitty’s own selfish desires, that Kitty needs to be shown how much pain Kitty is causing Harriet. I may be getting a doctorate (definitely not in coprology), but that doesn’t exempt me from being selfish and oblivious to my own human nature. I’ve grown a lot from going through my sexuality crises, and so I hope to merely add another voice to the excellent advice that Riese has already given.
I really appreciate your perspective, Paper0Flowers, and also I think it would be hilarious if you were, in fact, studying coprology.
i was really glad that you shared your story! i read it out loud to my girlfriend ’cause we’d been talking about the question and i thought you offered a really valuable insight.
Thanks, Riese =) And Mik, too!
I have communicated and apologized to Paper0Flowers privately. But I want to apologize to her publicly as well. I totally misunderstood the emotional and personal basis for her advice. My reply was judgmental and childish and ignorant of the facts. And it turns out I was the “poophead”!
I admire Paper0Flowers more and more as an intelligent, sensitive, and exceptional loving person.
“Paper0Flowers, I am so sorry to have hurt you emotionally, and replied so rudely, without taking the time and effort to simply inquire and understand your reasons.”
I’m glad you messaged me privately as well so that we could talk it out instead of derailing things here. Apology accepted.
I’m now starting to wonder if Belinda is in some kind of situation where being out or being unmarried could be dangerous or troubling to her. I nearly married my ex-boyfriend despite having this huge coming out to him and myself about being only sexually attracted to women because of familial expectations and for visa reasons, and also because asides from the sex thing he was actually a pretty good life partner and we had many good years together.
Is Belinda from some kind of culture where there is a huge obligation to marry? Is the marriage on for some kind of practical purpose?
Too. Bad. If. She. Is. Unless Belinda is a sex-worker in particular and I doubt she is a social worker, kitty’s situation is none of her concern. If there weren’t feelings involved maybe she could try to help her as a friend, seeing as that’s not the case, the best thing to do is distance herself. Kitty can find someone else to be her long suffering ride or die sidebitch.
I think this is quite an interesting and perceptive comment. If she was, it could help Harriet have the talk with her.
I did notice that Harriet says she met Kitty/Belinda at school, by which time Kitty was engaged to Tim. Not saying it can’t happen for other reasons, but the people I know who were engaged that young were from backgrounds where it was very much expected of them that their relationships would lead to marriage asap.
I was wondering this too, especially because this seems to be a marriage early in life. But even if it’s out of confusion or an attempt to compromise between desire and duty, Belinda’s being really harmful.
“I nearly married my ex-boyfriend despite having this huge coming out to him and myself about being only sexually attracted to women because of familial expectations and for visa reasons, and also because asides from the sex thing he was actually a pretty good life partner and we had many good years together.”
I was in the same situation. It sucks, and no one ever seems to understand.
I had to take a break when reading this because it hit so close to home. I don’t know what to say without breaking into tears or a rant so I just want to comment and say I really, really, really, really, REALLY hope this works out for Harriet
We really must have a follow-up post to this. I have to know how it turns out!
Wowsers. As I read this I was pulling “oh no she didn’t!!!” faces at my phone and making huffy noises, such was my absolute disgust at the way you are being treated.
She might love you. You definitely love her. But holy hell, you deserve someone much much better than this. If the universe is fair at all, you will find the one who deserves you, and all this head fuckery will be bit a dream.
We are all rooting for you Harriet!!
Even if she does end up not marrying Tim and thereby opening the door for her to be with you, will you feel comfortable being with someone who spent some time emotionally manipulating you, and playing with your emotions while being engaged to someone else? Not to mention how rough the communication has been between both of you up until this point. This girl doesn’t not sound particularly mature or trustworthy. She may be lovely in all other aspects, but not the right woman to start a healthy relationship with after all that’s happened. We can’t always help who we fall in love with, but we CAN choose who we walk away from.
Walk away. Or maybe run. You will survive this. Time away, time to move on, will help you heal, and the pain will subside.
Wow…So according to a lot of these comments lesbian movies are real life. I feel awkward that I’ve raged against their terrible tropes for so many years, when the reality of this scourge was so much truth.
My thanks to this article for lifting the veil from my eyes. These comments should do well to raise awareness, but isn’t this all far too reactive? I suggest that at the next conclave of Queer Women United that we vote to add a pamphlet on this insidious and widespread issue to our complementary welcome basket. We could tape it to the toaster oven box…
But seriously sorry that Harriet and you all had to go through something so crappy. Good luck!
Imagine Me & You was really difficult for me to watch, because the first time I saw it I thought: “Oh shit, I’m going to be Rachel and he’s Heck.” The second time I watched it, I thought: “Oh shit, I really am Rachel and she’s going to be my Luce.”
In my opinion, the only way Belinda breaks up with Tim is if Harriet cuts off all contact. Right now B has *both* T and H in her life (albeit with a minimal amount of drama), so she has no incentive to break up with Tim. Harriet, if you’re reading this I know that cutting off contact with her might be the hardest thing you ever do, but know that it might be the only way you get her in the end. If she misses you hard enough, she just might do what she needs to do to be with you. But only then.
Run. Run intentionally. Decide to run, and keep running. Take good care of yourself. Know that it will take A LOT of time. I’m just about 6 months ahead of you in this painful marathon. It’s tough, but each day you let go by without talking, each text you ignore, each request to “catch up” you politely decline, makes the subsequent ones so much easier. The comments are making me hopeful (for us both)! Wishing you luck. (And yes, please please do not go to the wedding. I won’t go to my Belinda’s if you don’t go to yours) :)
ps Riese: I laughed my head off when you introduced Tim. Well done.
Oh man. It’s been an aeon since I last commented on Autostraddle, but even I can’t keep quiet about a situation like this.
Firstly, Harriet, I’m sorry that this happened to you. So, so sorry.
Secondly, whatever Kitty/Belinda says when you lay it out for her, I suggest you think long and hard about whether she’s the kind of person you want to be in a relationship with. As Riese points out there’s a lot of different ways to interpret Kitty’s actions, but none of them make her sound like she’s ready for an emotionally honest and mature relationship. Is she manipulative? Desperate and confused? Afraid? Brimming with repressed homosexuality and internalised homophobia? All of the above? We can’t know. But someone who is good partner material doesn’t think it’s ok to kiss you and beg you not to leave her while inviting you to her monogamous wedding to someone who is not you. Even if she leaves Tim, do you think she is ready to be an emotionally open partner who respects your boundaries?
There must be really great things about Kitty to make you love her so, and maybe there’s also a future Kitty, a Kitty who has worked through what she wants sexually and romantically and can be an honest, direct and respectful lover. But you need to ask yourself whether she is that person NOW, whether she can be that person for you now. Ask yourself with your heard, as well as your heart. Maybe you’ll conclude that she is. But ask yourself.
HARRIET! WE ARE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!
let us know how this turns out.
p.s. don’t go to the wedding
In my experience, people like Belinda/Kitty who are engaged in long-term cheating (not poly relationships, just plain cheating) of whatever kind and for whatever reason are not bad people, but they are insecure and terrified of abandonment, and their way of meeting their needs is to have several people fully devoted to them while not entirely committing to any. They will rarely if ever cease that pattern on their own.
So Harriet, I say tell her and then get away fast. This might actually be the only thing that makes Belinda question her situation and who she wants to be with, if that’s still possible, because right now you are struggling but she is already getting everything she wants.
I can’t second this enough. There are definitely cheaters who are jerks, but there are lots of long-term cheaters who’re just insecure— especially in and around the age group it sounds like Harriet and Kitty/Belinda are part of (late teens, early 20s, undergrad/college).
I’d suggest you (Harriet) run screaming. The relationship as it’s been so far is terribly unhealthy, and there are no signs that it’ll get healthier in the near future. If you come out and tell her about how you feel and why you can’t be with her (regardless of whether she stays with Tim or not), that could help serve as an impetus to help her come to terms with her insecurity (if that is indeed what’s going on). You don’t need to entirely break off all contact whatsoever (and doing so could feed into her insecurity), but you do need to make it starkly clear that things are over and that you need space to get your head right before you can be close again.
I say all this as someone who used to be that insecure, abandonment-fearing wreck. And even after I got over that part of my life, I say this all as someone who got into a similarly horrible should-not-go-through-with-it engagement. Once you get sucked into an unhealthy relationship it can be really hard to break out, even when you know you must. Perhaps Kitty/Belinda knows she shouldn’t marry Tim but for whatever reason can’t bring herself to end it, or followthrough with the ending of it. Maybe that’s why she’s using you as an outlet for all her romantic and sexual desires; but even so, understanding that doesn’t help make things right. She’s taking advantage, regardless of whether she intends to or not.
Maybe it’s the romantic and pop culture lover in me, but I really want belinda and harriet to get together. It sounds like they have so much chemistry, and despite the ethical grey areas, it seems they are meant to be if belinda will let it. She’s said a zillion things to make me think she doesn’t love her fiance, and is likely queer in some way, shape, or form. I also worry, because we’re calling the fiance tim, that I’m hoping for this to be a marina/jenny story with a successful twist. I’m romanticizing this way too much I know.
I have communicated and apologized to Paper0Flowers privately. But I want to apologize to her publicly as well. I totally misunderstood the emotional and personal basis for her advice. My reply was judgmental and childish and ignorant of the facts. And it turns out I was the “poophead”!
I admire Paper0Flowers more and more as an intelligent, sensitive, and exceptional loving person.
“Paper0Flowers, I am so sorry to have hurt you emotionally, and replied so rudely, without taking the time and effort to simply inquire and understand your reasons.”
I understand why you would all side with Harriet. I get why you believe she is the victim in this horrible scenario, and yes ; she is a victim. But so is Belinda.
Belinda is trapped. She’s scared and completely lost, more lost than she has ever been in her entire life.
She has a man, a man that proposed and who she no doubt greatly acceptedsaid proposal from and rejoiced over. But then she met Harriet and her world was sent into a tailspin.
She started feeling things for this girl, things she didn’t understand and didn’t want to.
Over time as they grew inevitability closer, She realised what was happening and she tried to ease off, but her heart and her soul pined for Harriet, she yearned for this girl who had awoken her true self….but she hated herself for it.
Belinda loves Harriet, that is clear (to me anyway) But she also cares for Tim and she doesn’t want to destroy him.
She is stuck. She is lost and alone and has nobody to turn to, the only thing that makes her feel half way to ok is being wrapped up in the arms of Harriet…but even then she feels guilty and terrified.
Belinda’s life has been one way all the way through, now all of a sudden her heart is beating faster at the thought of this girl, her mind is piecing together why she hasn’t truly enjoyed sex and why she has felt so nervous around other women for all these years, her conscience is beating her head constantly for doing this to Tim and she is completely and utterly frozen in between these two people she cares for.
Life is hard and it is fucked up…we can’t control everything and I think Bridget is stuck in her relationship with Tim. I mean, the guy loves her…HE PROPOSED! She’s trying to do the right thing by sticking with him but it’s hurting Harriet…it’s also hurting herself.
Don’t be so quick to judge the girl. She’s lost.
I’ve been there.
My Harriet knew I couldn’t leave my Tim…but we still fell for each other and even now almost a year later I still cry over losing her. But my Tim was heartbroken when I told him and he begged me to stay…i made the choice to keep him and both our families happy…maybe that is what Belinda is doing?…I dunno. Or maybe I’m hugely projecting and you’re all gonna hate me for saying this. *shrugs*
One thing I know for sure, she is hurting just as much as Harriet, if not more.
This is not a selfish act or a way of controlling another person..this is a woman who loves another woman greatly and wants so much to be with her, but her life is not that simple.
We can’t all be out and happy, living the life we choose…sometimes responsibilities and loyalties take over and we end up fucked…no matter how hard we try to break free. We’re not all that lucky.
So please, spare her a thought…if she is anything like me, she isn’t selfish she is just so, so lost.
As for Harriet. I’m so sorry and I know how hard this is. But everyone is correct, this doesn’t end well….talk to her, take her into your arms and kiss her lips one last time, then walk away.
I wish both of you all the best. X
Advice for Kitty (for the Kitties who were struggling to come out as lesbians)
Just because the world has ignored, silenced, and devalued your inherent desires to fall in love and share a life with a woman do not follow their lead and continue silencing, ignoring or devaluing them yourself. Based on your actions you feel more deeply for this girl than you give yourself room and space to freely understand yourself. I know it feels like a war is happening inside you. You are THIS close to completing the necessary accomplishments of a good straight girl in the world. Finally if you are able to just prove to everyone that your strangeness, your otherness could entirely be smothered that your chance at what they called happiness is actually true that maybe you just might feel it. But I am sorry to disappoint you. And relish in what your heart has been trying to tell you so fervently and desperately. They were wrong. You don’t get to have that life they promised you and built you up towards. You don’t get to have the wedding, the husband, the kids, the cake. You don’t get to be stamped with this approval of heterosexual womanhood as you grow in rank with higher standard of “priviledge”. The heat in your heart tells you and reminds you that path was never for you. And here I would like to make a promise and invite you. What you would be giving up by leaving that lie to die. Will be nothing compared to the passion and love and joy and hope that you would gain.
The world makes it all to easy to feel comfortable in a lie.
Don’t be seduced by the lie that since it’s been going on (with Tim) for so long that it is meant to last. Length does not determine quality or truth.
You are stepping into a new world if you so choose to let the old one you’ve grown accustomed to go. You get to step into a new world where the integration of your expression of femininity is met with the full passion of your lesbian sexuality. Where valuing your lesbian relationships are honored and respected. Where valuing your sexuality can be adored. It’s challenging to face these new uncertainties after years of training to be otherwise. But your liberation will be rewarded.
End things with Tim. Understand that he may never understand and the chances of him being happy for you are up in the air. The gift you give though is being true to yourself, and therefore growing the ability to be true with others.
Even though you might feel super excited and scared to begin a new relationship full throttle with Harriet. Don’t. Pause. Wait. The instinct to prove your fidelity, commitment will likely seem to consume you and have you forget that such a pivotal moment was not by the actions or inactions of Tim or Harriet but an awakening sparked and growing within you. To be consumed by the instinct will leave you feeling insecure and inappropriately prolong your unhealthy attachments to either. It is time to detach and strengthen within. Remember, it is so much more than that no matter how striking the catalyst.
Take time to process the endings and the internal changes and figure out what you need in order to navigate further. SO MUCH will come up. Like the realization that you have always been a lesbian, the details and intricacies of why you stayed in the closet for so long and the effects of that, it will change how you view and what you realize you want and need from intimate relationships and the depth of meaning for you.
Mourn, celebrate, rage, ravish, enjoy, delight, take pleasure in, and come home to yourself like you never have before. If you want to give yourself a time frame let’s start with 3 moons.
Then when you feel ready and only when you feel absolutely ready. Consider the conversation and changes you’ll need to have with Harriet if you choose to continue a relationship with her. Of course you can let her know you need space to integrate these changes before speaking with her. Because what you had before will die and something new will be born. Expect it to be different. And do your best to prepare to navigate those differences.
And then celebrate in the gift of knowing that what you thought you lost was entirely found anew again.
Gently expand into the community and realize that unions are celebrated, families and children are possible, and actually living together and enjoying sex is more than a fantasy or hidden secret or dream.
*it is also helpful to learn the law wherever you are staying and your rights.* just wanna throw that in there.
And you get to enjoy the best priviledge of all, the priviledge to live fully as the truth of yourself with others.
Happy coming out even if it was scary, crazy, manipulative, rocky, torturous, sad, painful, embarrassing, enlightening, and in brief moments very joyous.
The Stories of Kitties
I had been Harriet in love with a best friend but in this case I wasn’t out as a lesbian and I never admitted my feelings or acted on my feelings but my misguided loyalty made up for that.
I have been Kitty in a relationship with a guy having an affair with an out lesbian.
From someone who has been in Kitty’s position.
Discovering you are a lesbian and beginning the process of Coming out of the closet when you are in a relationship with a guy is an unfair recipe for disaster. I am going to guess. I am going to take a very WILD guess, that Kitty presents as a femme. (not to say that this situation could not happen with a more masculine of center presenting woman but in most cases the Kitty in question is femme.)
Anyway with that out of the way.
Feminine women who are lesbian sadly just learn later in life typically when they realize how unsatisfied they are by following the submissive societal rules of what is expected of them as feminine women in which being a lesbian is not an option. Although within the lesbian community there is now more representation of feminine lesbian women. Um…let’s just say it’s recent, following a longstanding trope that casts us as no better than straight sexually curious femme women. Femininity is a pool in which everyone is born from and can express. it is not exclusive to heterosexuality or heterosexual women. Femme lesbians are born and possess their own kind of magic whether they fully accept it from the beginning or it’s a discovery process. Majority of the time it is a discovery because what is inherited and passed down to them unconsciously is the theme song for heterosexual femme women. So the idea for a femme lesbian woman to exist happily is not really represented or as aggressively ingrained.
A typical unspoken fear then is having to choose between one’s femininty and one’s sexuality. Which is a shitty fear.
A trope in the 90s was “all” lesbian women would have short haircuts. Typically with the unspoken intention of showcasing their sexuality and increasing their chances of meeting other lesbians. But the idea of short hair typically is a femme girls no no, expression of our sexuality comes through the expression of our femininity.
Feminine women (heterosexual or otherwise) also in heterosexual relationships are typically used to not being sexually satisfied. In which all advice is given towards pleasing men not even pleasing themselves. Open up a cosmo magazine and you’ll learn more about the penis anatomy and how to pleasure it than you will about the vaginal anatomy etc. If it’s changed now that’s cool. Yet This is sad for straight women in general but for a feminine lesbian woman this can be equally confusing to why things just aren’t “working” in the sex department. Majority of the time the pressure for feminine women to submit to societal standards of boyfriend marriage husband and babies is stronger. It’s a horrible social phenomena.
I know we expect the “Kitties” of the world to be better. We expect them to have impeccable moral understanding of their behavior. We place expectations on them that we cannot even live up to ourselves. If you ever came out of the closet you faced the confusion, denial and craziness even if you weren’t in a Kitty situation. But the moral expectations we cast upon ourselves need to be tempered with The world situation (how deeply and quickly homophobia is learned etc) we are in and therefore reevaluated and looked at differently. And yet because of their behavior (misguided, oblivious, ignorant, manipulative, confused, truly neglected and abused psyches) their reputation we often perceive as “shit” :/ unfortunate. Creating a painful dilemma which makes the coming out process for a lot of feminine lesbian women challenging. This is probably the reason why we see the trope of girls going back to men because they really don’t receive the support or compassionate understanding for their coming out discovery and process. Just a mess that they are supposed to deal with by themselves.
I was Kitty. I was with a boyfriend and cheated with a woman and fell madly in love with her. I broke up with said boyfriend and immediately started a relationship with the woman. and even with all the joy of discovery I was not prepared for the horrible aftermath of emotional confusion and processing that happened between all of that. There is no guidebook for coming out. There is no guidebook for life. I wish there was. That shit is messy confusing and most secure lesbians sometimes just don’t understand in order to offer continuous support through the process while at the same time expecting a complete relationship. Perhaps because they’ve been through it and don’t bother with those troubling questions or wrestling those insecurities. Attach sexual abuse with that and yea just all shits of fucking ugly.
The point is this story isn’t rare for a reason. It’s been constructed through the lens of society and crafted carefully with massive amounts of misogyny, sexism, hate, oppression, repression, suppression, lesbophobia and more. I am sorry but if I have all the ingredients given to me repeatedly over and over ready to make a cake. Most likely I am going to make said version of a cake. Not necessarily a fucking soup if that’s what I want to eat. In this case, in this society our environments play a huge factor to what we have access to consuming and meeting our needs. In this example I have to know, and seek out the ingredients for the soup if I want to fucking eat it. Is Harriet the first lesbian Kitty has known openly? Maybe, most likely, perhaps.
Sometimes the awakening is the feelings and experiences we have with another lesbian woman who is more comfortable with her sexual identity and feelings. Sometimes we see that sense of courage and peace as separate from us, that our teachings and trainings did not give the space or possibility of to grow in strength. If anyone works out you’ll know that strength grows. It does not happen over night. Given the right conditions and repeated actions it grows.
When we are given the opportunity and space to truly say yes to our desires without shame, something changes.
If we fucking murder Kitty’s moral reputation then we cannot fully understand her as a human, why this Harriet would stay in love with her and it be so hard to let her go. and when needed be able to build the strength she needs to understand and leave Kitty with compassion. Compassion for herself and compassion that Kitty’s struggle is different but she has a choice whether to be there for it or not and have the proper expectations. Therefore possibly increasing her chances of emotionally truly moving on. As sad as it seems it is still a love story in which two human beings discover something much more than will she be with me or go?