Woe Is Me! “I Thought I Was Straight, But I Now Have Feelings For A Woman”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I’m a woman, quarantined with my female roommate due to the Covid19 lockdown. We’re great friends and enjoy hanging out together, but I think I’ve developed feelings for her. I’m confused, because I’ve only dated men before. Should I rethink my sexuality? ”
— Quarantine Is Queering Me
RD: Hi! I’m glad you have a crush to focus on during this lockdown — it whiles away the time easily, right? Lucky you. As for the object of your crush — we’ve heard countless times that sexuality is fluid. Attraction is also fluid. There are a host of feelings between the strictly platonic friendship we see celebrated in school and college movies, and the die-hard romantic and sexual love we see glorified in Bollywood. These could be feelings slightly stronger than platonic intimacy, solely romantic or sexual, or a mix of all three. And same with your sexuality — yours could lie anywhere on the wide spectrum. My question to you would be — what would you like to happen with the object of your affections? If you’re attracted to her, I think your sexuality has already rethunk for itself, haha. The only thing left for you to figure out is what you want out of it, for yourself, and from her, if at all. Don’t try to dictate your desires; let them tell you more about yourself. There is no rush.
KB: I don’t get stumped easily, but I’m a little stumped. Not because I’m at a loss for opinions — quite the contrary, I have plenty of those. But because I don’t understand why you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to define something that does not need to be defined right now. There is no urgency for you to rethink anything about the way you define yourself or describe yourself to others. Our sexuality is a fluid, evolving thing over the course of our adolescent and adult lives. Having a lifetime of being attracted to, and sleeping with, men does not preclude you from falling in love with, or being attracted to, or sleeping with a woman (or women). There’s nothing incompatible about what you’re experiencing now in the context of your life so far. So don’t worry so much about big questions like “who am I?” or “what does this mean?” — you’re you, and it means you’re attracted to a woman these days.
Now, all of that said, I think you need to tread lightly here because friend-roommate relationships are already very complicated, and can be fraught with complexity and tension even at the best of times. So please make sure you explore this added dimension to your relationship with care, so as to preserve the friendship you clearly value, whether or not your feelings are reciprocated.
LG: I don’t think this is a case of should or should not. Do you want to? It’s entirely up to you. The crucible of the pandemic lockdown is making us confront all kinds of buried secrets and/or revealing unknown sides of ourselves; sexuality could be one of them. That said, a crush on anyone developed under extreme circumstances, especially extreme isolation, is probably not definitive. But, the good thing about sexuality is, despite the ubiquity of precise labels, it doesn’t have to be defined. You can be into this girl without reconsidering your sexuality.
Or, this could be the gateway to exploring a new truth about your identity. Or it could be the former now, and the latter, later. There are many permutations of how this plays out for you – all of them in your hands and none of them imperative or urgent. Take your time, and don’t worry about labeling yourself or your sexuality as you decide what these new feelings mean to you. Finally, as confused and alone as you might feel, you’re definitely not the only person going through this! Check out GLAAD and It Gets Better for resources and online communities that can offer support and understanding online. Hang in there and best of luck!
AM: There’s absolutely no problem in rethinking your sexuality, the problem starts when you are rushed into picking a label to either satisfy yourself or others. Don’t ignore the feelings or dismiss them because that would equal ignoring your sexuality. Try to explore without judging yourself or over-analyzing the situation. Self-discovery is important, and there’s no harm in connecting with others you know who’ve gone through this process of discovery or seeking help. And you can also educate yourself about gender and sexuality because it’ll help you understand what you really like. There’s no harm in telling yourself, or others, that you’re not sure about your sexuality. Take time, as long as you want, and be true to yourself.
DR: Hey! It’s never a bad time to start rethinking your sexuality. In fact, I look at an existential crisis in the realm of sexuality as a rite of passage into adult relationships. I understand that since you’ve grown up in a very heteronormative society, this must be a strange feeling to live with, especially at a time when all our perceptions of normalcy have gone for a toss. While you’re stuck at home under lockdown, why don’t you take some time to introspect or try to read up some online literature on the subject? You could also talk to a therapist to help you navigate through this process of figuring out your sexuality. Alternatively, talking to a close, trusted, non-judgmental friend could help too.
However, don’t completely discount the fact that you could still, perhaps, be heterosexual, but just craving human touch in this strange dystopian phase of social isolation. But, whatever you choose to do, I would strongly recommend you to not act upon your feelings towards your roommate under lockdown — since that could make her end up feeling uncomfortable, in case she doesn’t reciprocate. And, you don’t want to be stuck in a situation like that, especially right now. So, take your time, explore your feelings, and at the end of the lockdown, if you still feel the same way about her, you can let her know. If she reciprocates, well, good for both of you! And, if she doesn’t, she’ll at least respect the fact that you cared enough to not spring this upon her during a lockdown. Good luck!